When it comes to planning your launch, you need to think about how and where you are going to announce your product, you need to think about the stages that will lead up to your product launch. You should now have a time-frame which will be informed by the things you need to do during your launch.We’re using ‘prep and pick-up’ remember, which means you want to work on your marketing materials before your announcement. So what precisely are these materials? And what are these key milestones?
Here are some to think about:
Strategies, Materials and Milestones to Prepare for Your Launch
Write a Press Release
Writing a press release and sending it out to multiple news outlets is right off the bat a great way to start generating a buzz for your product. News stories are great because they’re essentially free advertising for your product, and as long as your idea is interesting/of interest to their readers, then most editors will be happy to cover you. The best way to get coverage like this is to send your press release early to one big news source in your industry and none of the others.
The reason for this is that all publications love exclusives, and by doing this you will be more likely to headline. At the same time though, once you get covered there you’ll find that you start to get more coverage from the other magazines and websites that follow suit so as not to get left behind. Don’t forget to contact print sources even if you’re trying to promote an online product or service, these are a great way to reach a wide audience and often there is less competition here.
The other crucial thing to do, is to tell a story. This is the fundamental truth of a press release that is missed by a huge proportion of marketers and creators. Publications, websites and writers are not interested in helping you make money. Their job is not to provide you with marketing. Their job is to provide their audience with an exciting and interesting story so that they keep coming back and keep reading. If your story is ‘Man sells ebook for regular price’ then you’re going to get ignored. Likewise, don’t clutch at straws trying to make your boring story sound original or exciting.
I used to work at a magazine and getting clearly promotional ‘press releases’ was one of the most frustrating things I had to deal with on a daily basis. It also made the companies responsible look very amateurish and not particularly clued in. Find the human interest in your launch or your product. That might be your personal story (how you started your business), or it might be the controversial, novel or exciting part of your book. Again, this is why you need something that is inherently interesting to build buzz.
Using crowdsourcing is a great way to get your product noticed and to get help in the funding or formation of ideas. With a site like Kickstarter for instance you can get funding for your project and essentially this amounts to a lot of pre-orders and a great way to test the market reception. Other companies meanwhile have used crowdsourcing for ideas and to ask their market what they want – for instance the company ‘Razer’ recently unveiled the design for a new gaming tablet on Facebook and opted only to make it if it received enough likes.
Such stunts not only raise awareness and are undoubtedly going to be picked up by various news sources, but also give the companies involved a good indicator as to whether or not their concept has a potential audience or if they’re just spinning their wheels. Social media is a massive asset for you to use and if your audience feels as though they were involved in the creation of the end product, they’re going to end up much more excited for it.
This is one more reason that crowdfunding sites work so well. You could even include the names of the people who ‘helped’ in your ‘Special Thanks’ section. This will build huge amounts of brand loyalty and they may even be moved to help you promote the product as a result.
Hold a Conference or Launch Event
Holding an event is a great way to launch any new business venture. This will automatically be a glamorous and glitzy occasion which will help to build anticipation and excitement for what you’re about to announce. At the same time, you can invite the press to your event and they will likely be excited to come seeing it as a great day away from the office but also a great opportunity for a story.
With an event you can then get everyone into a merry mood by having the alcohol and food flow and this will make the audience of course more receptive to whatever you unveil. Reality check though: your press conference is not likely to be anywhere near as exciting or as glamorous as those in big industries. You need to know your limitations and work with what you have.
If you can’t create a big event to launch your product that will get covered by big media outlets, then instead, you can launch an online event (a Webinar for example), or you could launch something small and then stream it using video streaming software. You can even just report on your launch event and show pictures and things of you and a few friends in suits. This helps to give your product more authority and prestige and makes it seem even more premium and exclusive.
Businesses can learn an awful lot from the marketing strategies of Hollywood when they’re launching a new film franchise – small images and teaser trailers as well as ‘leaked’ details can be a perfect way to whet the appetite of the general public/industry and if it can get some rumors and speculation circling then this will be great for building excitement and getting people ready for what you’re going to announce.
We’ve likewise already touched on the way that Apple and other OEMs will release rumors regarding the specs and details of their new hardware prior to the official announcements. Again, anything that can get people talking is a very good thing.
Stage a Viral Event
If you want to draw a lot of attention to your business, then sometimes just doing something newsworthy is the easiest way, from having people in an airport sing to passengers as they arrive to filling a portion of a city with bubbles and seeing how people react. The more you can get people to cover it the better, and if it goes viral then that’s even better.
Create a Brand
Creating a brand is a very important part of any marketing process. Your brand is what’s going to make your product seem like more than the sum of its parts and it’s what is going to bring everything together. It’s important that your website or blog has a strong brand too. This is what will allow you to build a big following of genuine fans rather than merely customers. To go back to Apple, think how important that brand loyalty is for the success of the business and specifically the hype and buzz they’re able to generate.
But you can also have a brand for the product itself. Think of this like the difference between Microsoft and Xbox. Microsoft is one brand and Xbox is another. Imagine if they had just sold the Xbox as a gaming PC – would it have been anywhere near as successful or big? Design a logo, build your brand and make sure you have something that people can get excited for.
Sponsorship or Influencer Marketing
Sponsoring a big event or a sports team when it’s getting a lot of media focus is a great way to bring in some attention and to ride on the success of whatever the occasion or brand you are sponsoring is. Try to use this method to create positive associations as well as to get more eyes on your product. For most online marketers though, sponsorship is going to mean working through influencer marketers.
If you can get someone to talk about your book to their huge YouTube following then this can gain you an amazing amount of buzz.Why not identify some of the key influencers in your niche on YouTube or Instagram and then give them a free beta-copy of your ebook or course to get a review? Or – to go the more traditional sponsorship route – just pay for
Competitions and Giveaways
People love getting stuff for free, and the media loves reporting on these opportunities. By offering discounts and free gifts you can get a lot of attention on you when you need it and get millions of people wanting your prize and then being disappointed if they don’t win.
That disappointment is a good thing though because now they’ll have all the more motivation to go out and buy your exciting new product the old-fashioned way! If this isn’t your first product launch, then you can give away previous products as a way to demonstrate the quality and value you’re able to provide and to get people wanting more.
Letting some people use something and not others is a brilliant way to increase desirability because we all want what we can’t have. Make your service or product exclusive, at least to begin with, and word will rapidly spread. This works particularly well for apps and software but you can equally provide sneak peaks for books, courses and more.
Another way to generate excitement and to get people talking is to stagger your launch. For example, you could give away the first chapter of your ebook after the first week. Or you can keep your launch running long into the future by releasing limited slots or downloads every few months.
Building a Mailing List
Building your mailing list is a very important part of the process and this should happen pre-launch and even pre-pre-launch.