Do you have a product or service you plan to release to the public? Part of making it a success is generating some interest in what you are offering ahead of its release. A great way to do this is what’s called a product launch. A product launch is designed to draw attention to a forthcoming release through media coverage, subscriber engagement, and case studies. Let’s look at the best practices for how to do a product launch.
Put together a marketing plan
A successful product launch hinges on public knowledge and interest. Assuming you’ve got a product or service that is in demand, a strong marketing plan should generate interest from both the media and the public. Teacher Indie ran this article on growing an email list. Long before your product launch is announced, we recommend following the steps outlined there to build an audience base.
Once your email list has reached at least few hundred subscribers, the goal is to engage them in the launch process. There are several good ways to do this:
Videos hold a customer’s attention better than plain text. Including a video in your newsletters is almost a necessity these days. Major newsletter services like MailChimp and Constant Contact allow users to embed videos into their newsletters. This doesn’t have to be a high-dollar production – even something filmed on a cell phone camera will do as long as the video is entertaining and informative.
Offer a presale or early-bird discount.
During the weeks leading up to the launch, allowing newsletter subscribers to buy the product at a discounted price attracts attention. This also gives you some initial income to cover costs before the product is released. There are those who will do a presale for a product they haven’t even created yet, just to get the money to finally make it happen. This works much better once you’ve done a product launch or two and have an established following that trusts you and is excited about each launch.
- Don’t make your emails too ‘sales-y.’It is important to embrace repetition. Get your product in front of the customer multiple times throughout the launch process. But your subscribers will be turned off if each email you send is just asking them to buy something. You’ll watch the open rate decrease if the emails don’t offer any immediate value to the reader.
To add value, create a sense of urgency and give something away for free
Let’s say you’ve got a new book coming out, a collection of lesson plans and ideas for how to teach Spanish online. Try giving away a chapter for free to your email subscribers. Or link to a secret page on your website that offers extra tips, an instructional video, or other pieces of added value that those who aren’t subscribed and following your pre-order aren’t getting.
Another way to do this is to offer a digital download of either the product with a pre-order (if it’s a book, audio/video, or something else that can be formatted for the web) or an extra set of add-ons for those that buy in advance. Think about what you can offer in relation to your launch, and the best way to go about getting it out there.
Publicize the end date to your promotion to create a sense of urgency. People will often not act until the last minute, so you’ll want to create a series of emails announcing the campaign and do a big push over the final few days.
Compose a press release and blasting it out to relevant media outlets. If you’ve never written a press release before, do a Google search for some examples. In a nut shell, a press release is an informative article written similar to a news story, that announces something with hopes of obtaining coverage from journalists and the attention of the public. If you aren’t comfortable with drafting and sending a release, I recommend hiring a freelancer on Upwork or another outsourcing platform who has experience and can work with you throughout the process.
Finding The Right Media Outlets
Be sure that you research appropriate media outlets. It doesn’t do much good to send a release about a new teaching product to a sports magazine. It also helps to reach out directly to a reporter or editor at the publication that you think may have an interest in the product. Many newspapers and magazines list contact information for staff members on their Masthead page. Bloggers often have either a contact form or email address listed on their blog.
I like to use the music review example here. When a hip-hop artist is releasing new music, he or she will want to find writers who have reviewed hip-hop albums in the past. Contact them directly whenever possible, instead of just sending a general contact email to the publication.
Part of your marketing outreach should center on getting the product or service in the hands of influencers. An influencer is someone that a certain niche trusts or looks up to. LeBron James is an influencer for basketball fans, for example. Tim Ferriss is an influencer for online entrepreneurs. Put together a list of influencers in your niche and reach out to them about trying the product or service in advance of its public release.
If you can get an influencer to rep your product or try your service, and then write/blog/post on social media/anything else that draws attention to your product, your trust factor goes way up. The struggle here is this: Tim Ferris probably doesn’t want to test my new outsourcing platform. He’s already figured out a system that works for him. He doesn’t have time to respond to the hordes of entrepreneurs and digital nomads asking him for help. How to interest an influencer in what you’re offering can be tricky. Generally, there’s got to be something in it for them. A better way to optimize their routine, perhaps, or an opportunity to speak at a conference in front of a large crowd.
Network to meet the influencers
Unless you’re already established in your field, you probably don’t have a great opportunity to offer an influencer. This is where NETWORKING comes in. Often what it takes to break down that wall is a personal relationship with someone. Start small – find a local event put on in your community, and shake some hands. Ask to meet people for coffee, or at the very least, follow up with them via email and offer information on your launch. If they reply and show interest, the time is right for your ask.
To further your case studies, giving out a few free products or service trials and asking for feedback and quotes can provide valuable insight and potentially testimonials for your launch.
Bringing it all together
A product launch typically consists of a series of emails and media blasts prior to the release date. Take any attention you receive during this promotional period and tie it into your actual launch. Testimonials, photos, reviews – anything that establishes trust in what you are selling. Including testimonials and links to media coverage in the newsletters announcing the launch encourages people to make the leap and buy in.