Whether you run a new or existing business, a new product launch is a crazy combination of excitement, exhaustion and confusion.
Some businesses simply undertake a product launch quietly and let them slowly grow in popularity as their existing customers discover them and ‘give em a try’. But this is a massive wasted opportunity, your new products should be used to create a buzz and excitement around your brand which can take you to the next level in terms of growth and brand awareness.
But the question remains. How do you create a buzz around a product which isn’t yet available to buy and in some cases don’t even exist yet? In this article, we answer the question and reveal some of the secret weapons digital marketers use to plan and execute a product launch.
If you are an existing business with a strong brand, you may already have an audience ready and willing to buy and test your products as soon as they come on the market. But for start-ups or businesses who are looking to expand into new areas, building a community BEFORE launching a project can offer a platform to benefit in the same way.
Practically, this could mean creating an online community focused on the area specific to the product or service you are launching.
Although the LinkedIn platform has drastically changed the functionality of their ‘groups’ in recent months, this is something we did when originally launching Make It Mana, through the creation of an online ‘Micro-Influencer Marketing’ community.
By providing this community with substantial amounts of value in the months leading to the agency launch, we were able to successfully leverage that community once we had launched for the promotion of content AND for generating our first sales.
Not only are there many short-term benefits during the product launch stage, but these communities also offer invaluable feedback and ideas for product development as time goes on.
You will probably know by now that Make It Mana are huge advocates of influencer marketing. Many businesses have adopted influencer marketing as part of their marketing mix, but often only use it to increase the reach of their messaging.
However, influencers can be used to much greater effect by including them during and before a product launch. As they often gain their position of influence by truly understanding the content and topics which their (and your) audience want to hear, they can offer great insight into the types of products and services which will prove popular with those audiences. Therefore including influencers during product research and development is hugely beneficial.
“Working with influencers is a great way to get your target consumers excited about your product and what it can do for them. Be sure to identify influencers who reach not only your target market’s demographic profile but the psychographic one as well. This means that the influencers should be in tune with the wants and needs of the target market you are trying to impress. You can check this by carefully looking at their content and how it resonates with their followers. Look for good quality engagement in the form of comments and questions. Also, be sure to look for micro influencers because their engagement is not only better than counterparts with huge followings, but they are much more affordable and easier to work with.” – Tom Augenthaler, The Influence Marketer
Besides offering invaluable insight, doing this also offers the benefit of immediately generating buy-in from the influencer and drastically increases the chances of creating a powerful brand advocate during and post-launch stages.
Create Social Proof
One of the major issues involved in a service or product launch is that you have no social proof that what you are offering is worth the money you are asking them to spend. However, when you are an established business, this can be less of a problem. For example, when Apple launches a new iPhone, people generally trust that it will be a decent product.
Yet for new businesses, you rely on early adopters creating social proof to highlight the new products worthiness. This can be risky, as it means the success of the product is taken entirely out of your hands.
Influencers can help you remedy this, especially if you can get the product to them to test and talk about ahead of product launch. However, doing this at scale can often be time-consuming and costly.
That is why engaging your personal network is a great way to create genuine social proof ahead of launch. This could involve recruiting friends, colleagues and family to try out the product in exchange for a short review. Even if you are dealing in high-cost items, you may systematically loan the item to a friend or family member in order to take some photos and write up a short review – just make sure you make this clear before handing it over to them.
As social proof is so powerful, ensure it is clear whereever possible throughout your product launch marketing campaign. For example, you could include full or partial reviews:
- In an Instagram post
- On you Facebook business page
- On the selling platform (eg Amazon)
- On your website homepage
- On the item page on your website
- On any printed collateral
- At the bottom of any emails you send out to potential clients
- Tattooed across for your forehead (so potential clients can see it when you meet them)
Some businesses HATE to spend money on paid social media ads…we aren’t sure why this is, but they are missing a trick, especially when it comes to a product launch.
Unfortunately, most social platforms have caught onto the fact that they are offering incredible rates of exposure to businesses and have adjusted their algorithms so that regardless of how big your organic reach is, you still have to pay them to reach the people that matter the most to your business.
Admittedly, this seems pretty damn unfair. But when launching a new product this does level the playing field somewhat. Regardless of whether your product is established or new, you have to pay the same to reach the same audience.
Although paid social certainly plays a part at various stages of the marketing cycle, arguably it is at its most important during the product launch stage. This is because you can access highly targeted audience through platforms like Instagram and Facebook without the need to put in hundreds of hours to build a community over which you have some influence (although of course we also recommend doing this).
When you have nailed your research and have created a product that people are going to truly want and love, teasing is going to help you create a buzz in the build-up to launch.
How you do this really depends on the product you are releasing. For example, if you were releasing a new app, you may create some teaser videos of it being used and the positive impact it will have on people’s lives, whether that is pure entertainment or helping them do something more efficiently.
Social media is the perfect platform to host these teasers and allows the community you are building to create a buzz around the content you are releasing. You may even consider only posting teasers for a limited amount of time, creating even more urgency and buzz around the products release.
Product Launch Incentives
Humans run off incentives. These incentives span from progressing your career, increase your social standing or save yourself some serious cash. Without incentives, very little would get done.
Using powerful incentives can create a huge amount buzz around your product. These incentives could include:
- Pre-order for a discount
- Pre-order to get before others
- Launch day/week/month discount
- Win the product before it goes to mass market
- Win a product based experience
- Win something else relevant to the product and brand
All of these ideas can be used to incentivise people to get involved in the launch, whether that is purchasing the product or simply increasing engagement on social media.
We can see that digital marketers have some brilliant tricks up their sleeves when it comes to successfully launching a new product or service. By creating a comprehensive launch marketing campaign, you can turn your launch into a business changing event.