Big businesses know how to create buzz around their new, up-and-coming products. And as a small business owner, you will need your own prelaunch marketing strategy to boost sales for your new products. These tips from our business experts will show you how top brands build audience excitement even before the big product launch.
Here are 25 expert tips for a successful prelaunch marketing campaign:
1. Implement First-Come, First-Served Policy
Mohit Tater, CEO, Blackbook Investments
First-come, first served (FCFS) is a rule whereby the pre-order requests from customers are attended to in the order that they arrive, without other preferences or biases. The rule can be applied when collecting pre-orders before the launch or commercial realization of a given product. With FCFS pre-orders, you can generate interest through email marketing, your company blog, and other marketing channels. Social communities work particularly well if you intend to get reservations from a hyper-targeted audience base.
2. Make Use of Launching Websites
Asaf Fybish, CEO & Co-Founder, Guerrilla Buzz
I will highly recommend you to leverage different launching websites, such as ProductHunt for example. It’s completely free and gives you a direct communication channel with your target audience. You can receive honest feedback about your product without spending a single dollar. Moreover, you can generate a decent amount of leads and orders even before you launch your product.
3. Get Influencers to Review Your Product
Vibhu Satpaul, CxO, Saffron Edge Pvt Ltd
Spreading positive reviews over different platforms is nowadays a very important aspect for the audience, as the majority of the audience research about products online. This can be achieved by influencer marketing, which is something to help you generate a positive image of your brand and help you reach your target audience. These influencers can be per your decided niche. Let them use your product and give their genuine feedback, which will create a sense of trust for your brand or product. Afterward, the influencers can give testimonial or can act as a potential buyer.
4. Create the Visual
Mike Sims, CEO/Founder, ThinkLions
When you don’t yet have a physical product to show, the visual means everything. It’s not only what you say about your prelaunch product that’s important, it’s how you present it. For software products, create amazing mockups and screen designs that show exactly how the software will look, feel, and operate. For physical products, take awesome images of the prototype model or have a 3D model designed. Deciding to purchase a product, especially in the prelaunch phase, isn’t just a logical decision — it’s an emotional one as well. If you really want to get consumers emotionally invested into your prelaunch product, give them amazing visuals that they can’t forget.
5. Start a Movement
Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist, Square 2
People want to be part of something bigger and they want to show their friends and family that they’re special with special privileges and access. HubSpot created Inbound Marketing first, its software was just a part of the Inbound Marketing movement. People wanted to be part of the Inbound movement and that captured a huge audience who could in turn, purchase its software. TOMS (shoes) and Bonobos (socks) both focus on helping people less fortunate in underdeveloped countries. This attracts people who want to help, and they contribute by purchasing shoes and socks. Start by telling the bigger story, attract people to the story and the movement, then sell them your products.
6. Host a Soft Opening When Applicable
Angalena Malavenda, SEO Content Specialist, WebstaurantStore
For restaurants, before the grand opening, host a “soft opening” to test out the flow and the atmosphere. Then, pick a day for your restaurant’s grand opening. Use social platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram to promote the grand opening to people in your local area. You can also contact local event websites and submit your grand opening information. Before your restaurant’s grand opening, it’s important to make sure you have created a Google My Business listing and a website that reflects your restaurant’s style and food, along with contact and business information for potential customers. Lastly, create flyers advertising your grand opening and ask local businesses if you can hang them in storefronts or on information boards for people to see.
7. Throw a Prelaunch Party
S. Mehdi, Founder, ADVANTON
You can host an event where you can invite limited clients and potential customers to visit and get a glimpse of what you or your company are about to launch but always keep in mind that building hype before a launch is not about what your product or service does, but what it might do. You can offer free meaningful tips that are valuable and indirectly speaks about your product or service to encourage customers to book your product or service before launch.
8. Offer Your New Product as a Contest Giveaway
Rhea Freeman, Founder, Rhea Freeman PR
If you’re launching a new product, why not share close-ups of small sections on social media for a few weeks before? You could even run a competition around it, getting people to guess the new product, and the prize would be that someone would win one. With competitions in mind, you could even get your social media audience to help you name the product to help generate a buzz. Again, you could share close-ups or key features to help get people excited about it.
9. Start Social Sharing Campaigns to Drive Sign-ups
Dominick Damico, Head of Growth, Ryplio
One of the best ways to drive sign-ups and awareness prelaunch is to run a social sharing campaign. You incentivize people to both opt-in and share your campaign with their friends in exchange for a reward. There are many technologies that enable you to create these types of campaigns. You then leverage paid media to promote it. This will enable you to generate sign-ups and social buzz before you even launch.
10. Choose a Public Event For Launching
Don McLean, MBA, Sr. Manager, Global Marketing & Communications, Trial Assure
Choose a public or industry event to launch it at, depending on if you’re a B2B or B2C business. Whether you are speaking at the event or not, tying it to something concrete increases your credibility and the newsworthiness of the pitch. Many times, larger events will have media that attend to cover the show and anything that comes out of it. To prepare for the event, ask the event coordinator if they will share a list of the media that are attending. Draft a press release and reach out to the media beforehand, letting them know you have news that they may be interested in. Once media start to cover your news, a well-planned social media presence and web form to collect leads will help create a backlog of interest. There’s a lot more strategy to it, but choosing the right event for launch is a great step.
11. Create a Landing Page
Clint Tepe, Founder, Nexus Growth Coaching
The most important thing to do when running a prelaunch campaign (presuming you’ve already validated the idea with market research), is to build an audience that is excited about what you are doing. To accomplish this, you will need some form of landing page to send interested people to for more info. This can be your own simple website, or a Kickstarter-type project profile. You’ll want to cover what you are doing, why (people love a good background story), and what the upcoming journey and milestones are. Give them a reason to get engaged and support your goal. To build and engage with your audience, use social media, collect email addresses, and if you have your own site use push notifications. Provide interesting updates on your progress, and you’ll have a group of likely buyers when your project is ready to launch.
12. Use a Call-to-Action in Your Campaign
Christina D. Warner, Healthcare Marketer, Thrive Global
Once you have your goal and your target audience, you can start your campaign by utilizing tools like HARO and submit to as many relevant queries as possible or pitch to relevant bloggers, podcasters, journalists, publications, or organizations. In both of these tactics, make sure to have a call-to-action to funnel prospective clients to a website or landing page. For example: “To learn more, visit mywebsite.com.”
13. Offer a Free “Challenge” to New Subscribers
Lori Reeves, Online Marketing Success Strategist, Lori Reeves Marketing
A great list-building strategy that will help you fill up a waitlist or pre-registration list for a course you’ll be selling is to offer a free challenge to new subscribers. The challenge, which is delivered through a series of emails, allows your audience to get to know you, experience your teaching style, and start a process that positions you as their guide all the way to the finish line. At the end of the challenge you can allow people to pre-register to take the full course to utilize what they accomplished during the challenge. The key, however, is to make sure that the results of the challenge can stand alone as a win for your subscribers so they don’t have to purchase the course just to get a positive outcome.
14. Offer Sneak Peeks of Your Product
Leo Friedman, CEO and Founder, iPromo
Tease your audience with glimpses into the future of your business’ different products or services. Don’t completely give away what’s awaiting in your launch campaign but hint at certain tidbits to draw attention. Running a prelaunch campaign can be executed successfully by maintaining your audience’s attention in creative ways to secure their interest until the campaign launch date.
15. Solve Your User’s Pain Point
Salil Attri, Assistant Manager – Digital Marketing, Signity Solutions
When you boldly give a solution to the problem of the customer with your offering before actually giving it to them, it creates a sense of urgency. Curiosity leads to more product requests as people always feel a need to have it and have a fear of missing out on it. Showcasing a service or product backed by real limitations encourages a chain of individuals to fulfill their desire to get the product. Precisely mentioning a problem, its agitation, and therefore, the solution, trigger the minds of both categories of the audience: the ones who are already considering a similar service, and the impulsive buyers.
16. Start a Waitlist Campaign
Jim Huffman, CEO, GrowthHit
It’s essential to guarantee success before you launch with a strong waitlist. Your waitlist is only as good as the incentive you offer for getting people to refer their friends. This means either giving away discounts, free products or running a giveaway. Harry’s (subscription razors) gave waitlist subscribers a free shave set if they invited 25 friends.
17. Reach Out to Relevant Publications Ahead of Time
Stephanie Staszko, PR Consultant, Self Employed
I recommend identifying key journalists months ahead of your scheduled launch date. Contact the ones at the publications you most want to get featured in — remember, biggest isn’t always best. Relevance is key to think about what your target customer will read or view — and send them details of the product you’re creating. Give them access to a pre-release media kit, and if possible, offer samples ahead of release. If you’re creating a piece of software, offer them beta access and encourage feedback and an honest review. Journalists want to be the first person to talk about a product, so if you have one particular publication in mind, focus on that solely and offer them exclusive early access.
18. Leverage Connections
Leah Quesada, Founder and Head of Marketing, Sumos.io
Never underestimate the power of connections. Rather than investing money on paid Facebook or Instagram advertising, focus first on reaching out to your LinkedIn contacts, close friends, and family. They may not know your product well yet but they have greater confidence in you than anyone else because they know you professionally and personally. Create a standard copy of your request to sign up with their email but personalize your message. Then show a gesture of reciprocity with an endorsement or recommendation. In my experience, the hit rate is at least 25% (versus 1% to 4% with paid advertising). Also, these are the people who will tend to gladly amplify for you.
19. Host an Exclusive Prelaunch For Influencers
Marsha Chandy, Freelance Creative Director, marshachandy.com
One way is to use social media influencers who are relevant to the field to help seed bit of information about the product or campaign. Taking this to the next level would be by hosting an exclusive prelaunch event with these relevant social media influencers and bloggers by giving them exclusive access and information about your new product or campaign. It also helps to create buzz. The content that they post about the event and throughout the event would feel authentic and make their followers, your target, feel like they are part of the event as well.
20. Create Video Content For Your Campaign
Kyle Flaherty, CMO, Zaius
Killer video content is a great way to prelaunch a product and create interest prior to ever selling the product. One simple way to do that is actually producing an “unboxing” video of your own product. Show shoppers how great the experience is going to be from the moment they shop online, all the way to opening up that box and realizing the excitement of receiving your product. A prelaunch unbox video not only shows off your product, but it also shows potential shoppers the love and care you put into the overall experience, a key emotional connector to cut through the noise in the online retail space.
21. Start a Video Series
Chris Brisson, CEO, Salesmsg
When building up to a prelaunch it’s important to showcase its value and build the anticipation. For most impact, we create a four-part video series that walks people through how to get their end result. These videos are all 100% content to show people how to get from where they are to where they want to be, and in the end, your product is the solution. Combined with having partners, content, and influencers helping seed the promotion, it provides a way for you to blanket the industry quickly and in one fell swoop.
22. Run Facebook Lead Form Ads
Vivek Chugh, Founder & CEO, Listables
A great and easy way to generate leads for a product launch is by running Facebook Lead Form ads. These ads are great because in order for someone to sign up, they don’t even have to leave Facebook or Instagram. Just make sure you’re putting together a compelling ad. We suggest structuring it like an elevator pitch, state the problem that your target audience hopefully has, and then how your product or service solves that problem. Also to add a sense of urgency, limit the number of people that can sign up, or the time frame they have to sign up.
Crowdfunding can turn your prelaunch marketing into an exclusive and exciting event. They will be people who would be interested in offering money for your business in exchange for an exclusive giveaway or prize. Promote your brand by giving out your newly launched product and/or exclusive accessories that go along with it. They will then go on social media to share and talk about your product that will, in turn, create excitement, steadily grow demand and even dramatically increase signups for your launch.
The right Facebook quiz can easily go viral so consider using it to promote your product launch. Design one that ask questions that are both fun and related to your product. You can require an email address from each participant to build your email list. And because Facebook quizzes are shareable, you can include this call-to-action in exchange for special discounts.
Infographics are very popular and a great way to educate your target customers about your new product. Make sure it offers plenty of data or statistics along with fun visuals to make them share-worthy. Post your infographic on your blog and social media then share the link so your audience can also use them as conversation starters in their own social media accounts.
As a business owner, you built your company around the desire to offer a product or service that you’re passionate about. You will want to make sure that this message is clear for your target customers during prelaunch. Use these expert marketing tips to ensure that your product launch starts on a high note.
Want to share your best prelaunch marketing tips? Let us know in the comments.