Even the best product or service can go unnoticed if a company doesn’t put the necessary planning and resources into its launch.
The term “soft launch” is used to describe where the company itself doesn’t make an effort to call attention to new products and services. A product is sometimes given a soft launch because it isn’t entirely ready for the public, or the company doesn’t have the budget for a larger launch. But sometimes a soft launch isn’t a conscious choice, but the product of a lack of planning and putting the necessary resources towards the launch.
This is why it’s important to consciously think about what you can do before a product hits the market to ensure it has the best possibility for success.
The planning can be simplified down to the following basic areas:
Get early adopters and testers to have access to the product before the official product launch. Notify current customers that the new product is on its way through email marketing, blog posts and social media.
Understand how you want to position the product or service to the public. Get your Web presence right before launch. Have blog posts ready for the launch, and have relevant social media channels (such as Twitter and Facebook) ready and branded for the launch. Create the necessary collateral such as pamphlets, catalogs, and signage.
Have a traditional PR strategy including creating press releases and reaching out to media. As Fast Company notes, the Internet has made it easier to get people to write about your product or service. But while “getting ink” is easier, getting and keeping audience attention has become extremely difficult as “ ‘newer news’ pushes your announcement out of the collective mind share.” That’s why it’s important to supplement the PR push with digital strategies to keep audience attention through viral content and social media. Also, find opportunities to attend trade shows, hold public speaking engagements, get endorsements, and even hold contests to build hype.
Ads can create awareness, and online ads can even lead customers to a pre-order page. You can use advertising such as print and online ads, but also think about the possibilities of using search-engine marketing such as Google AdWords.
The Bottom Line
Customers might find out about your new product or service on their own, but a well-executed launch can give it the push it needs to reach its potential and reach the right people. For inspiration, Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District provides a good theoretical example of a company’s pre-launch strategy. Putting the right preparation into a launch pays off once your product or service gains traction.
Interested in launching a product or service? We’ve helped large companies and startups through all the marketing and communications aspects that go into launches, and would love to help you increase your chances of success. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email today!