A successful launch of a new offering—whether it’s a product, service, program, or course—begins with perfecting your timing and strategy. According to an earlier Solamar post, “A launch period is an especially intense time when your goal is to generate heightened attention, buzz and a flurry of activity that results in a quick spike in sales.”
Launching too soon can spell disaster
While you might feel pressure to make your introduction too soon (when you’re not yet ready), rushing could spell disaster. In fact, if you’re planning on launching something new next year (or even in 6 to 9 months), you should start your preparation now.
I’ve found that entrepreneurs often jump the gun and launch too early to beat a competitor, be in time for a holiday or convention, or meet some artificial deadline. This could make the difference between utter failure and off-the-chart sales.
Consider that 72% of all new products are flops and fail to meet revenue targets, according to a global pricing study released in September 2014 by Simon-Kutcher & Partners and the Independent Professional Pricing Society. The study points out that, “They miss their profit targets because companies neglect or ignore key pricing and marketing activities until it’s too late.” In other words, they didn’t take the time to properly prepare.
Preparing for launch success
If you want to give your launch every advantage, take the time over the next few months to:
- Define your own success. Define what launch success means to you. Is it brand awareness, online sales, or something else? You need realistic goals.
- Do your research…and test. Survey customers and tap into research from outside resources about marketing demand for the offering. Figure out exactly who is you target market and how he or she makes purchasing decisions. Also be sure to test thoroughly to verify that your offering, company, and target market are ready for the launch, so there won’t be major surprises later.
- Create collateral and support materials. You’ll need lots of marketing assets to provide information to potential customers, whether they are driven by online or print content, through visuals or data. And don’t forget materials for your internal team, creation of press releases, fact sheets, technical-specifications documents, reviewers’ guides, blog content announcing the product, video assets, digital advertising creative work, high-resolution product imagery, and a dedicated landing page for the company’s website. If you take time now and start your campaign with a full arsenal of content, you’ll have a more cohesive public message and save critical time on launch day.
- Spread the word. When you’re ready to share the news to your target demographic, take time to organize all your pre-announcement activity and teasers. Coordinate relevant marketing pieces (the blog posts, product video posted on YouTube, Facebook, new landing page) to coincide with the press-release announcement about the new product’s availability.
- Reach out to your fans. Remember the people who’ve supported your company’s brand before the new launch. Issue a tailored email to your subscriber list announcing the upcoming new product offering and linking to a sales brochure, online page, video, or fact sheet. Consider promotions on your company’s Facebook and Twitter pages to increase social engagement and buzz for the launch.
- Incorporate the Flipboard app. Flipboard is a hidden treasure, especially when you’re preparing for a launch, according to an article I recently read. Many people have found this powerful app to be a great way to create marketing materials and make selling and presentations easy to view and easy to share on social media. Fresh with ideas after a launch planning meeting, Flipboard is the go-to resource. The advantage of using Flipboard is that all the ideas, strategies and executions are in one readable flipable format. Simply create a private magazine with “ideas” (team members can include anything from an article they’ve read to an Instagram photo). Then use the magazine to create a strategy and organize content. Because Flipboard is so versatile, you can use it to generate sales, see all social activity, garner consumer interest, and even feature the magazine on your website.
- Follow up and measure. Don’t let your killer launch die after the initial announcement. Make contact with media targets who’ve shown interest, offering interviews with you and your people. Do tech troubleshooting for those having a problem with the product. Arrange for contributed content that focuses on the industry as opposed to the product. Continuously engage with social influencers via one-on-one communication. Deliver consistent communication to current customers via email and social media. And be sure measure success to see how your launch measures up against your initial objectives. Google Analytics can help provide insight into what marketing tactics worked, based on traffic, referrals and sessions.
Take the time now to prepare
Doing all your homework well in advance of your launch is critical. You have to cut through the marketing clutter and reach targets, quickly create a connection, and inspire them to take action.
When it comes to a launch, there is no shortcut for adequate preparation. Remember the words of a famous political and a famous philosopher. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Confucius advised that, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
If you could use help preparing for your next launch, contact Solamar today. We can assist you with research, collateral and support materials, organizing and disseminating promotional materials, spreading the word, reaching out to fans, and much more to help assure your launch success.