Visualizing the launch of a product, owners tend to imagine a crowd standing in front of the mall doors on Black Friday, ready to flood the area and sweep away everything they find on the shelves.
The reality is that no matter how great your product is, creating a buzz around it takes time and effort. Thus, the best time to market your product is well before the launch date.
This is what pre-launch marketing is about.
Let us tell you more about what it is and what pre-launch marketing strategies you need to adopt. Read till the end and get an exclusive look behind the curtains at our client’s pre-marketing activities and their Indiegogo launch results.
What is Pre-Launch Marketing?
Pre-launch marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to raise brand and product awareness before the official release and make the target audience anticipate the launch. Pre-launch marketing campaigns are also used to test various marketing channels and fine-tune product features and marketing messages in view of public response.
If you have done everything right, on the day of the launch, you will already have:
- A loyal audience that is ready to buy the product and refer others to buy it too;
- A decent number of social media followers and email subscribers that can become your customers or promoters;
- A website optimized for search engines (in most cases, this is where your clients will have to find you)
- Established relationships with influencers that will be eager to tell about your product’s launch;
- A comprehensive list of FAQs that can be used to educate the audience and close objections;
- A good vision of product marketing upon its launch, including well-defined sales goals, customer persona, budget considerations, marketing channels, content strategy, etc.
How can you accomplish all that? Below are the strategies that can help.
Build a Lead Generation Landing Page
A landing page is central to any marketing campaign. This is where you send your leads for reading more and finalizing an order and where you track leads you can retarget.
Even if you do not plan to let customers preorder your product, a landing page has several essential missions to accomplish at the pre-launch stage:
- Collect emails of people who would be eager to know when you launch;
- Collect data on the audience and the channels that made them land on the page;
- Build interest by highlighting the unique features of the soon-to-be-released product;
- Improve SEO, since links you will provide when doing other pre-launch marketing activities will be relevant starting day one.
Also, we all know that the design and copy might take some time. The secret is you can go live with just a Coming Soon screen and start collecting data and emails right away.
[You may include a coming soon page image here]
Asking for an email, be sure to highlight the value for a user, for example, being able to buy at the lowest price or take part in a giveaway. The countdown timer placed on such a screen will be another incentive to subscribe, as users can associate it with the expiry of the best deal.
Create a PR Kit
PR kits (also known as press kits and media kits) is the collection of promotional materials journalists need to write about you and your new product. Making it easy for journalists to research the details and access high-quality images increases your chances to gain maximum publicity.
Here is what to include in your PR kit:
- Company background: Years in business, significant milestones and achievements, mission statement, etc.
- Bios of Top Management: Introduce the CEO and top managers (or all the team if it is not big) and tells about their current roles in the company and fields of expertise – this will help to ensure consistency of citations and will show that you are open for interviews;
- Product factsheet: Key features and explanation of what makes it different from the competition;
- Product pictures: High-resolution images showing your product at its best;
- Brand logos: Building brand awareness is critical to pre-launch product marketing, so make your logo appear in front of users as often as possible.
Engage with Influences in Your Niche
Cooperation with influencers and thought leaders is a tremendous asset to the brand. In fact, with 49% of customers relying on influencer recommendations in their purchase decisions, influencer marketing has become the fastest-growing customer acquisition method.
This is why a good pre-launch marketing strategy is to continuously reach out to publications, journalists, and bloggers in your niche trying to:
- Arrange for an interview with your CEO or product designer;
- Arrange for a product review (in case of hardware products, you will have to send a free sample);
- Submit a guest post or a podcast;
- Suggest comparing your product with the available alternatives or mentioning it where relevant.
Don’t be pushy and follow PR best practices. If the addressee doesn’t respond, do not flood the person with follow-up messages. At the same time, reaching out beforehand with an ofter opens up a chance to write again once you have launched. In case some experts were skeptical about your ability to bring the product to the market, the launch announcement may attract their attention.
Gain Social Media Visibility
Social media might be the best tool for creating hype around the product. The favorite brands’ strategy is teasing the audience with the new product highlights.
However, there are many more ideas to use here:
- Introduce your team and share your team moments (an excellent way to humanize your brand)
- Tell about the stage of your product development
- Tell about how the idea of the product was born
- Highlight and respond to top industry news
- Share resources that mention your product or brand
- Invite users to meet at the offline conference or event you are attending
- Organize live Q&A sessions
Another excellent technique you may try is a product reveal campaign. A Talenti Gelato has given a great example: each share reveals a little more of an image on four new flavors and is rewarded with a $1 off coupon code. The progress line inviting you to join hundreds of other users who have already shared the promo makes the option merely irresistible.
Host an Event
The idea might sound unsuitable for marketing in the times of Covid-19. But when the outbreak is tamed, the companies should better return to this excellent marketing strategy.
Whether you open a new venue or roll out a new product to the market, people will appreciate the opportunity of coming to see and to touch (the link between free trials and customer satisfaction is long proven). And it is not only about the attendees; the event will impact:
- people passing by;
- those who intended to go but changed their plans;
- social media audience watching lives and photos from the event.
More than that, organizing a great event with giveaways and entertainment will not only help you gain publicity but will also promote positive associations with your brand and the product.
Ok, but how is it related to pre-launch marketing?
The case is, for your event to attract due attention, it should be promoted in advance. Ask your followers to share information and invite their friends, work with influencers, leverage technology to remind users about the upcoming event, invite journalists to highlight it – do everything to make the investment well worth it.
Case Study: The Launch of nect MODEM
So, here is what we have promised and what will make you believe that buzz marketing is not just a buzzword.
A little bit of background history:
nect WORLD is a newly-launched startup that has recently brought an LTE nect MODEM to the market. The milestone event has been the launch of the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign scheduled for the 28th of April 2020 (still active as the campaign has moved to the in-demand stage).
Eventually, the funding goal of $30,000 was met in the first five days! The following three weeks made the investment reach 459% of the initial goal.
Can a startup really dream for such great launch results?
Well, yes, it can. If it starts marketing half a year before the launch date as nect WORLD did.
Being part of the pre-marketing activities, Rioks has a snapshot of the performed activities:
- A landing page with a detailed description of product features and a sign-up form for those willing to be there the moment the product launches;
- The nect WORLD’s founder and CEO, Misha Rudominski, started blogging on Medium and gave interviews about growing the startup;
- They told about the product at 5 different global conferences gaining the attention and support of industry leaders;
- Media communication helped the company to educate the users about the new product and be featured on Popcorn Gadget, ZDnet, MUSE, Geeky Gadgets, and other relevant media;
- They entered the Red Dot concept design competition and eventually won the award, which added much credibility to the newly launched product;
- The company had been active on its Facebook page long before the launch, so soon before the start of the Indiegogo campaign, they already celebrated the first 1000 followers.
Pre-launch marketing will help you secure a solid customer-base lining for the launch and will let you know how to promote your product. Work towards one (or better all) of the mentioned pre-launch marketing strategies or reach out for professional marketing consulting to arrange for a truly warm welcome for your brainchild.