The big day is approaching!
Yes, you’re about to launch your first (or maybe fifth) product. You want the experience to be perfect for your audience.
What your team does before the launch is just as important as what you do on launch day. And it all starts with early engagement—spreading your message as soon as possible to pique people’s interests and encourage sales.
“One of the best ways to get people to care is to get them invested early on. One example would be to call up a colleague, and ask them what they think of your idea while you’re still building the product,” states Scott Bolinger, co-founder of AppPresser.
Don’t wait a minute longer. Check out these five pre-launch engagement strategies.
1. Define Key Metrics Before Launching
It’s difficult to know if your product launch is a success if you’re not keeping track of the data. That’s why it’s important to decide key metrics and set benchmarks for your engagement strategies.
First, determine the goal for your product launch. Some SaaS companies may want a certain number of new trial users. For an ecommerce business, you may desire an increase in sales for a particular product.
The objective of the product launch serves as a guidepost for your pre-launch engagement strategies. It will keep you focused once the launch initiatives begin. Let’s say your goal is to get 10% of current customers to buy your new product. Then, it wouldn’t be helpful if your team started engaging only new customers.
Next, select your channels of engagement. Are you targeting prospects on Facebook? Will you be connecting with customers via email? You need to know where your engagement begins and ends.
After selecting your channel, you can establish key metrics that satisfy your goal. That may include the number of email subscribers who sign up for pre-launch updates or unique visits to a specific landing page.
If your pre-launch plan doesn’t include metrics, your plan is misguided. Start talking with your team now before you do anything else.
2. Create Meaningful Content
Engagement centers around the conversations between your audience and brand. Content helps facilitate those conversations by sparking people’s interests.
During the pre-launch phase, you’ll notice lots of companies creating content solely about the product. They will boast about the features, highlight the process, and mention the price.
Great, right? Well, not always.
With so much content in the marketplace, it’s easy for your product messaging to get skipped over. Your potential customer is accustomed to the generic sales material.
Instead, develop content that resonates with the potential customer. This method involves emphasizing customer benefits and spotlighting success stories.
User onboarding platform Appcues recommends a five variable framework for planning product launch content. Mapping out each component helps your team maximize content effectiveness.
It’s also important to note that producing meaningful content isn’t easy. Don’t expect (or try) to create all your pre-launch messaging in a week with one team member. You’ll end up creating subpar work that won’t excite your customers.
“Honestly, creating an impactful product explainer video takes money and time. Make sure you have both before getting started. A rush job on the cheap will never end well,” says Kyle Christensen, VP of Product Marketing at Invoca.
Engage your audience with purposeful content. You’ll hold their attention longer.
3. Build Targeted Email Campaigns
If content is the conversation starter, then email keeps the lines of communication open. A well-planned email campaign builds the excitement as the launch day approaches.
Can we address the big email myth first?
It’s the myth that email is somehow dead. Because it isn’t.
Email is one of the most effective (and efficient) ways to talk directly to your online audience.
What is dead is how we use email. Your business shouldn’t send mass emails to your entire list or deliver sales-only messages.
The best email approach requires targeting the right content to a specific segment. Every message should be relevant to the subscriber.
To ensure relevancy, you can send emails based on the subscriber’s behavior. Deliver a follow-up message after sending a pre-sale product offer.
Or send a personalized series of emails to current customers who’ve logged into your SaaS platform within the last four weeks. With Kissmetrics Campaigns, you can send these types of automated emails to boost engagement.
Recently, FollowUp.cc, a relationship management software for Gmail, sent me an email about its upcoming product launch. It’s targeted based on my previous interaction with the company. It included a 35% discount, too!
Are you targeting your email campaigns to specific groups? Experiment with different audience segments and messages for a successful product launch.
4. Prepare Your Sales and Customer Support Teams
As pre-launch engagement strengthens, you’ll want to prepare your team for the onslaught of inquiries from your prospects and customers.
This strategy is often forgotten by companies. They build anticipation and get people eager about the product. Then, their teams miss the opportunity to deliver on their brand promise with long wait times and vague product information.
Rather, you want to provide a consistent experience before, during, and after the launch. Equip your sales and customer support teams with the tools to answer questions succinctly, resolve issues quickly, and clinch the sale.
“When users sign up to your service, they come with a certain expectations regarding the quality of your onboarding process. They expect your onboarding flow to be similar to other products they’ve used before,” writes Sami Linnanvuo, founder & CEO of Screenful.
Preparation to engage your audience varies from team to team. A few essential tools may include case studies, sales scripts, competitor comparisons, and product slide decks. However, nothing replaces a winning personality from a careful listener.
You want to exceed the high expectations of your audience. Properly train your teams for the product launch.
5. Connect with Brand Ambassadors
Product launch activities aren’t limited to your internal team. For more engagement, you want to explore your options with brand ambassadors.
Remember, a brand ambassador is someone who can represent your company well and talk intelligently about your products. These individuals range from a five-year customer in an advocacy program to a paid influencer.
If your business takes the influencer route, you want to carefully outline your expectations for your product launch. Communicate the project objectives, engagement metrics, and compensation.
If more pre-sales is your goal, another option is to develop an affiliate program. You’ll give your affiliates a commission for referring paying customers.
You’ll want to lay out what products qualify, the tracking system, and the payment details. Here’s an example of an affiliate program from help desk software LiveAgent:
When working with brand ambassadors, your team is building external partnerships. You want every partner in the relationship to benefit. So, speak with your brand ambassadors regularly and avoid any hidden agendas.
Push your engagement to the next level by teaming up with brand ambassadors. They can help your business reach your goal faster.
Engage Before It’s Necessary
Product launches require a lot of hard work and dedication. To ensure success, you want to engage with your audience before the big day.
Work with your team to create measurable benchmarks for engagement. Develop targeted email campaigns to maintain your prospects’ attention. And of course, partner with brand ambassadors to spread your message.
Engage. Launch. Sell.
About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.