Published March 17th 2020
All round digital marketing powerhouse Ann Smarty takes us through her 5 essential check boxes to tick before launching your new project.
Creating a new product or starting a new project is always overwhelming. Whatever it is you are starting, there are always lots of dots to connect, from competitor research to product development.
And while setting up a new site or creating a new (digital) product is quite challenging in itself, there’s at least an end to that process, which is almost encouraging.
Sadly, that’s not something you can say about marketing.
Marketing is never done: You always need to be on top of things, try new tactics, find new partners, etc., if you want your sales to keep growing.
While marketing a new project is always a tedious, never-ending project, you can at least make it easier and even scalable by developing an effective pre-launch marketing.
Pre-launch marketing has two main goals:
Here’s your actionable checklist to creating an effective pre-launch strategy:
Let’s get started!
Any marketing strategy should always start here: Which page (or which site) is going to be the center of everything you do. This page needs to be hosted on your site. Never invest in marketing something you don’t own (like a Facebook page or a mini-site on any free hosting domain).
You need to be sure your page is always going to be there, no matter what. Third-party (free) sites go down and accounts get blocked (for any number of ridiculous reasons). So whatever you are marketing, you’d better 100% own and control that asset.
Setting up a pre-launch landing page is easier than you may think. If your site is run by WordPress, there’s a variety of plugins and themes that will let you set up a coming soon landing page with one click of a mouse. Many of those also come with a nice countdown timer for you to add to your landing page.
Apart from a countdown timer, the only thing I’d add to my pre-launch landing page is a quick marketing video. A video is always a good idea, both for engagement and organic visibility purposes.
To save time, here’s a nice tool that gives you the full power of video and creation tools without forcing you to download anything or take a separate course. InVideo is a cool video creation platform giving you all the tools to put together a cool promo content asset without spending a fortune.
This is also a good time to start building your future brand recognizability. Whenever you can, use your logo as a watermark to brand your video and visual content. You can add a watermark to your videos when uploading them to Youtube. You can also use Placeit’s logo tool to generates logo variations in seconds to use as a watermark across your creatives;
Using a traffic engagement tool to drive more people to your pre-launch page is also a good idea. Using Alter can help you do the job. The platform uses artificial intelligence to show personalized content suggestions, including when your site user is ready to leave. You can customize the settings to only show the exit intent popup on certain pages to drive more relevant engagements:
If you are launching something completely new and you think there’s a solid branding potential there, do invest into a new domain. If at any point you find yourself unable to build another brand, you will always be able to merge your mini-site with your main site by redirecting one into another.
Besides, now that we are able to find more than .com domains, finding a catchy brand name is easier. Radix is a domain registry allowing you to find and register catchy domains that will make launching a new brand easier:
Whether you already have an email list you are going to use to launch your project or you are still building it up (using the lead generation landing page above), this step is essential.
You need to gradually work on engaging your email subscribers on a regular basis for them to recognize your email address in their email inbox.
Here are a few ideas for you:
The two tactics above will help you to build some brand recognizability among your subscribers, so they are more willing to hear about your launch (and more likely to engage). It will also let you segment your list allowing you to personalize your future campaigns. So think about this step as investing in data.
When you know your launch date, create a sequence of emails that would announce it and send follow-ups. This creates a feeling of scarcity which is a powerful concept when it comes to launch marketing.
Here’s a great case study on how Graham Cochrane used pre-launch email sequence to launch his new course. Using Kajabi, Graham set up a new course and then used the re-sale email sequence to boost his sales:
Kajabi comes with pre-built “pipeline blueprints” that allow you create and customize funnels from templates that involve tagged contacts, engagement triggers, content pages, videos, landing pages and email drips. This means that Kajabi makes this step especially easy. You can set up and test multiple pipelines to convert different segments of your audience with different messaging and designs. Here’s an example of a pipeline blueprint you can set up from inside your Kajabi dashboard:
This is one of those tasks that is actually never done, but if you start earlier, prior to even launching the project, you will have many engaged influencers by the time you launch.
For Twitter you can search for:
I recommend using both of these options for best results.
[Buzzsumo also allows you to sort results by the engagement rate allowing to find influencers are likelier to respond to you]
Facebook search allows you to find most popular Facebook pages on any topic:
Finally, the third tab identifies influential authors on any topic and links to their Twitter profiles:
When searching for your influencers, make sure to:
Overall, at this point you just want to become known in the niche. But this process is another way to collect data too: By the time you launch you will know which of those influencers are likely to respond and what makes each of them tick.
Down the road, this will allow you to craft a more effective influencer marketing campaign.
You may not be ready to create all of your content just yet, but this is a good time to plan things out. Pre-launch content planning will allow you to capture all seasonal trends and create timely, and thus more effective content assets.
I always start my higher-level content planning process with trends and question research. This combination of focusing on popular niche questions while being able to meet seasonal trends.
I have already shared some tools and tactics for seasonal content planning and optimization, so use that resource for more guidelines.
Just to sum up, I use a tool called ContentCal that allows for collaborative content planning and marketing. You can quickly schedule seasonal content marketing campaigns there and use content briefs to store your specific ideas and details to act upon them when you are ready:
Your content briefs can be as detailed or as brief as you want them to be. I tend to keep them pretty detailed because I know that I should make the most of my quiet pre-launch time to focus on more burning issues when I launch.
For question research I use Text Optimizer’s “Content Ideas” section which extract popular questions on any target search query.
The tool allows you to clearly see question patterns allowing you to better understand and meet customers’ needs
Finally, as you are building up some buzz and generating some traffic, you need to find ways to collect and utilize this data.
Data is your biggest brand asset: The earlier you start collecting it, the more informed decisions and better-targeted campaigns you will run when you launch.
At the pre-launch stage, make sure to start collecting and segmenting your traffic by using the following two methods:
Both of these methods have one thing in common: The ability to re-target your ads to your existing audience, based on their prior engagement with your ad and/or your site.
So when you launch, you will be able target your Facebook ads only to those people who previously engaged with your ads. Or, you can set up a custom sales funnel or a personalized deal to those site visitors who previously read your article.
In either case, you are no longer moving in the dark: You can use your accumulated data to serve better-targeted, more personalized ads and CTAs to your audience
Launching is always hard but the steps above will help you keep your sanity and keep moving to success!
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