June 9, 2017 - No Comments!

7 Steps To Help Your Business in Prelaunch11 min read

This is it!

It’s finally happening! After all these months (or has it been years?) of blood sweat and tears, you are at last ready to push the button.

You’re going 8 mile now - this is your shot to greatness.

You close your eyes and prepare for the upcoming fireworks and marching bands...

Rolling tumbleweeds and the sound of crickets is what you get instead.

But you worked your ass off! How is this possible??

You wake up in your bed. It was only a dream...

Let's do it the right way this time.

1. Find Your Message

In one of the most popular TED talks ever made, Simon Sinek explains the difference in mindset between a company that focuses on what they do and how, versus one that knows first of all why they do it.

Do you have a clear idea of why you do what you do? Do you communicate it to the world effectively?

Chances are you’re not the only one doing what you are doing. So ask yourself - as a customer, when faced with the option to choose between similar products, what affects your decision?

Price, sure. Features and aesthetics too. But what influences you the most is your instinct. You will buy from the company that you trust more, that you feel a stronger connection to.

People are not moved by facts, but emotions.

The message you put out should appeal to your customers’ heart, not their logic. Make sure you position yourself in a way that connects with your customers and sets you apart from competitors.

2. Listen To Your Market

You’ve thought of everything. Your product is just perfect. You can already imagine the people trampling over one another to get their hands on it first. They will simply love it.

Hold your… horses for a second.

Don’t just assume you know what’s best for your customers, or that you know how to solve their problems better than they do. It could be that no one needs something you’ve built in, or there’s a certain essential (and perhaps pretty simple) feature missing.

So ask them! What do they love about your product? What is “ok” but could be improved? What definitely needs changing? What is a deal breaker? Act on the feedback you get.

Question. Explore. Improve.

Listening to the pain points of your community and acting on the feedback is the most important thing you can do at this stage. Don’t go launching what you think your customers want instead of what they actually want.

3. Start The Hype Train

To have a killer product launch, putting the words out there at the last minute won’t cut it. You have to start creating hype long before the actual day.

The list below is by no means exhaustive. If you get some awesome idea about creating hype around your product, definitely go for it!

So, here are a few ways:

  • Make it Personal
    No one cares about the actual features of the product, what they really care about what it actually does for them. When Apple introduced the first iPod to the world, they didn’t say “it has a 5GB hard drive”. They said “1000 songs in your pocket”. What’s more powerful?When introducing your product, showcase the problem your ideal customer faces. Then paint a vivid picture of how this problem affects their business or themselves. Finally demonstrate how it saves them money/time/frustration.
  • Early Birds
    Offer early adopters something for pre ordering your product, whether that is reduced prices, VIP service, or some non monetary reward. By doing that, not only do you create the urgency for a limited time offer (and revenue in the door before you even put your product out there), but also possible referrals since your early birds wouldn’t want their friends to miss out on the opportunity.
  • Crowdfunding
    Similar to pre orders, using crowdfunding will give you a stream of revenue before the actual launch and help you build a community. People take pride in being part of creating something, so they are bound to tell their friends of their contribution.
  • Behind the Scenes and Teasers
    Letting people witness the process leading up to the launch will make them feel part of the family.  Share some interesting behind-the-scenes pictures and videos during the development phase.

For physical products, show and explain how the product is created. For digital products post relevant memes, videos or photos of your team at key moments during the development process.

Another great way to create hype is to post teaser content. If you can make the audience intrigued but withhold some information so that they are left guessing, you will generate some serious buzz around your product.

Later on you can allow for some “leaks” (again not giving away the full picture) to spark interest even more.

  • Freebies
    Lets face it. People love free stuff.Hosting a contest or giveaway will get you attention for a dirt cheap price. Making sure the call to action is something fun or unusual (remember planking?), might make more people engaged in the process, or even make it go viral.Include multiple calls to action that will give the contestant a better chance of winning. For example, posting with a certain hashtag might give him 1 entry for the competition, sharing the post and tagging a friend will get him an additional entry each.Mostly importantly, the star of the show -the prize- should be something cool. It doesn’t need to be monetary (that’s not a huge motive anyway - unless in considerable amounts), but it has to be something people would love, or love to brag about.Check out our Ultimate Guide for a Successful Giveaway for more in-depth advice on how to create a killer giveaway.
  • Have a Landing Page. Seriously.
    Having a landing page lets people offer you their email for updates and insider news on the product. That way you can nurture them until the launch through email marketing.Make sure to have a “Thank You” page after they sign up, where you include a CTA for sharing the landing page on their social media profiles. Sharing is caring.
  • Influencers
    Reaching out to the proper influencers will put your product in front of a great number of highly qualified leads. Depending on the amount of influence they have over their followers, you can generate great interest and even loyalty to your product.
  • Create an Explainer Video
    In 2008, an explainer video helped Dropbox get 70.000 new subscribers in 24 hours.Statistics show that video continues being on the rise.
  • Creating a video that explains in the most simple and engaging way what your product does and how it solves a problem might give you a great boost in traction.
  • Blogging/Guest blogging
    Don’t forget the basics. Have a steady flow of blog posts about your product, with keywords that are relevant to what people search for.Also reaching out to other bloggers and offering your product in exchange for a review, or to ask for guest posts is a good idea to utilise established fanbases in your niche. That way you can draw attention to your website and product, but also provide backlinks to your own blog from an SEO perspective.
  • Be Visual
    Infographics are visually engaging and easily consumed, and in effect very shareable. Start a conversation by posting an infographic and asking people what they think.
  • Go Old School
    Don’t forget “vanilla” marketing. Show up at events and do some networking. You can offer a demo of your product to some influential people to get some extra press.

Then let it spread like wildfire. ..

Wildfire-blackwater-gif.gif

4. Get Your Team Ready

As you prepare for a spike in traffic and sales, it is good practice to have everyone onboard and ready for dealing with the issues that will arise on launch day.

  • Learn the Product
    The team must be expert users of the product. Everyone should know how everything works, and be able to explain it in the most dumbed down way possible.
  • Make a List of FAQs
    You can easily figure out what questions customers will (usually) have about the product. Make a list of frequently asked questions and answers on your website to help people solve their query fast and relieve your customer service some of the workload.
  • Practice Product Demo and Pitch
    The team must be able to demonstrate how the product works within a set amount of time, and know how to showcase its benefits without being too “salesy”.
  • Prepare the Sales Process
    Establish a process for the customer’s journey to streamline sales once a prospect expresses interest.

5. Set Up Goals And Metrics

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

The importance of this paraphrased quote from daddy of modern management theory Peter Drucker should be painfully obvious when setting up the stage for your launch.

Simply put - What do you expect to achieve?

Goals give your team something tangible to work towards, a sense of direction. When setting your goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. - if you’re not familiar with the acronym, it doesn’t mean goals of superior intellect, but goals that are:

  • Specific - describe the goal with deadly precision, include zero ambiguity in the language.
  • Measurable - how much, how many, how will I know when my goal is accomplished?
  • Attainable - goal is neither out of reach nor too easy/not challenging enough.
  • Relevant - the goal is consistent with the bigger picture and long term plans.
  • Time based - setting a deadline establishes urgency and helps with time management.


Having goals that are well defined and challenging but possible to achieve within a specified timeframe, helps you and your team create a game plan that will serve as a tool to coordinate your actions and put you on track.


Some examples:

  • Sales - We will have 50 active subscriptions by the end of the month following the launch.
  • Awareness - Within a week after the launch, we will see 5 review posts about our product, 100 signups or 3000 visits on our site.
  • Leads – By the end of the sixth week after the launch, we will have identified 300 leads.
  • Demos – We will have demonstrated the product to 100 potential customers within two months after the launch.
  • Upgrades – 100 users of our product will have upgraded from the trial version within 90 days following the day of the launch.

Once the goals are in place, it is time to define and capture the metrics that support the goals and give you insight of how effectively they were attained.

6. Launch Day

Alright.

You’re in the trenches now. Going in for the kill.

Today is first all about exposure and capturing attention, and then - if successful - managing the spike of traffic and interest you will receive regarding your product.

  • Go all out on social media - join relevant communities, post on every platform notifying your followers about the launch. You can also send a quick email to your subscribers letting them know how important this day is and asking for their support.
  • Avoid big events that will steal your spotlight. New Apple product launching on the same day? Change dates without a second thought. If however you can coordinate your launch with an event, you might benefit from the increased exposure.
  • Have a compelling landing page ready. Simple. Clean. Powerful message. Consider giveaways (who doesn’t love free stuff?). What a great first impression for your brand.
  • Update your social media whenever you hit certain milestones. Post pictures or gifs to capture more attention and thank your community for their support.
  • Have the whole team engaged and keep up with everything. Reply to comments, answer questions, handle requests. This is the big day, everyone on the team should give their 110%.

7. Post Launch

So you’ve done it!

The launch was a roaring success. Traffic is up, sales are booming. Is it time to lay under the sun on a tropical beach or sail across the Mediterranean on a yacht now?

Not quite.

You just brought your product to life. Now begins the process of fine-tuning and refining every aspect of it. Pricing, messaging, user experience. Everything can be - and should be - improved during the product’s life cycle. Give your customers a reason to keep coming back and talking about it.

Intercom's post launch loop involves 3 actions:

  • Collect feedback - listen for every problem your customers face through social media and calls, gather analytics data.
  • Watch for patterns - categorize all data into relevant themes such as churn, bounce, conversion and CTRs.
  • Improve - act based on the insights you gained through the previous step.

Keeping sales up is an ongoing process which you can maintain through various approaches:

  • Stay on top of the game with content marketing (blog posts, email nurturing)
  • Start an affiliates program
  • Promote discounts
  • Showcase social proof (prospects are more likely to trust other people’s reviews)
  • Optimise your website
  • Stay active in social media and communities
  • Track and interpret analytics
  • Reach out to influencers and raving fans

Launching your product is a big deal, and should be treated as such. Having a solid plan and executing it as perfectly as possible certainly gives you the best chance for success.

Want to know how we did it? Check out how we got 1000+ upvotes on Product Hunt.

BTW, we're hosting a webinar on viral & referral marketing this Wednesday. Claim your spot now and come chat with us. ✌️

Co-founder & CEO at

Published by: Savvas Zortikis in Growth, Startups