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If you own a business or work in marketing or communications, then I know you have a least favorite insect: crickets. Those little bug-eyed creatures that have been pigeon-holed into the role of mascot for all failed launches. Did you post about your new product and get five likes? Launch a new service and have no one book?
You’ve got crickets.
Now, don’t go calling every exterminator in town quite yet. Instead, use a tool you already have to make those crickets go away: your launch announcement. Here, I’ll talk about how to tease a launch and make a splash with your announcement. But first, let’s remember why you’re launching to begin with.
If you’re getting ready to expand, here are 5 questions to ask before launching a new product or service.
Your launch is for your customers
I had a client who needed to bring in a decent amount of money to hit their fundraising goal and keep their mission objectives on track. The organization was coming off a few ok years—not terrible but not where they wanted to be. They began to show me how they’d done things in the past. Then I pulled a hard stop.
The organization was following the “rules” that lots of marketing gurus would recommend, but they were forgetting the most important part of the equation:their audience. They’d picked a date that worked best for their organization. They shared content that had all the right words in it but wasn’t speaking to their customers. They assumed their audience cared without telling them why they should.
This is a trap I see so many businesses and organizations falling into when preparing for a launch. We get so ingrained in our own business that we forget that it’s all for our clients or donors or volunteers or fans or whatever catchy name you have for your loyal brand followers.
You’re launching a product or service to solve a problem for them, right? Maybe it’s for a new service that will reduce pain. Or a one-time event that will empower them to live healthier. Or a product that saves them time. Regardless, they should be at the forefront of every launch decision you make.
Tease your launch
Before you go live with your new offering, you need to tease it. It’s a simple strategy, but you’d be surprised how effective it can be.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you know where your audience is showing up. Use those platforms and their many features (like IGTV on Instagram) to educate, inspire, tease, count down, and cultivate relationships. And remember to keep the focus on your customers—their lifestyle, what they worry about, what excites them, and how they buy from you.
For example, one of my Local Business School students is a yoga teacher with a largely older population of clients. She shows up on Facebook and sends out an email when she has a new workshop coming up. Another student owns a bakery and almost exclusively sells her product through Instagram because her target market is a millennial or Gen Zer who’s comfortable purchasing through the app.
Once you know where you’re teasing, here are some prompts and ideas for your teaser content. Use these to decide how to get people excited about what’s to come.
What would other people say about this product or service?
What’s the why behind the launch? Use storytelling to pull people in.
“Save the date!”
Have people speculate to encourage engagement. Tell them you’re launching something, and ask them to guess what it is in the comments.
Set up a countdown timer in Instagram Stories.
Describe the product, service, or event without saying what it is—use vague terms to your advantage here.
Do a quantity tease: “We’ll only have X amount of product!”
Do a time-bound tease: “This service will only be available for X hours/days.”
I had a client who owned a medspa, and we’d tease new sales and events by posting something like, “Make sure you’ve got eyes on our IG tomorrow at 8 a.m. for a sale you won’t want to miss.” Or we’d announce on social media that the email list would have first dibs on the news (a great way to encourage signups to your list).
There’s no one winning solution here because—and I can’t say this enough—it’s about your audience. Use these ideas as inspiration, and go with the one that resonates most with your customers.
Add a dose of urgency
Once you feel good about where and how you’ll tease your launch, you need to figure out how to inspire someone to act that day versus getting them to think, “oh neat…but I’ll just wait until later.”
Can you offer a discount to the first 10 buyers? Is there a gift with a purchase opportunity? Are the first 50 guests in the store getting complimentary booze or bites? Are there only 20 spots available?
This is one of the reasons that my Local Business School sold out our 20 founding member spots in less than 48 hours. We made sure to let our audience know that there were limited spots available for the first round of the program, and we kept them regularly updated with “2 spots gone…” or “only 5 spots left!” posts to entice anyone who was on the fence.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They likely saw your Instagram announcement during school pickup, in line at the grocery store, or in the middle of work. They’re busy, and they’ll put things off if there’s no sense of urgency. This is normal. That’s why it’s up to you to figure out how to best add that urgency to your offering. Saying “act now” isn’t enough—you need to give them a reason to.
Prepare the content for launch day
So you’ve teased your launch, but now you need to prepare your content for the actual launch day. Be sure to have this ready at least a week out, ideally two. Here’s what you should consider creating.
1. Social media announcement
Social media will offer the most condensed version of your launch details. Even if you’re announcing it over the course of several posts, you need to be concise.
Make sure to hit the who, what, when, why, and how—succinctly. You’ll also want to make sure you have a clear call to action (CTA) in your post, telling your audience what to do for you in future. Is it visiting your website to book an appointment? Is it stopping by your store? Is it clicking a link in your bio to purchase a ticket? Be specific.
2. Email announcement
Here, you can draw out the story a little more, but not by much. People scan emails, so be sure to hit all your key points quickly and include a clear call to action. In case people scroll to the bottom for a summary, include a quick one-sentence overview of the launch and what to do for you in future at the very end of your email.
3. Website page or section with announcement
Your website is where you’ll have the most leeway to include lots of information (you can use an existing page on your site or create a new landing page). It’s likely where you’re sending everyone who comes from the other announcements, so don’t skimp on the details. You might also embed a scheduling app or form tool, add a map to your location, or even include a short-term digital checkout.
4. Updated CTA on other platforms
Remember: you exist in many places online. Make sure that you update your entire digital presence, so that the call to action is focused on your launch. That might mean changing out the link in your Instagram bio to take people straight to the page about your new launch. It could also mean changing out your Facebook cover photo to promote the launch. It could be adding a pop-up to your website, updating your Pinterest bio, or shouting out a link in your podcast.
Take advantage of every opportunity you have to point people to your launch.
Have a hype team
You need to do most of the work for your launch, but social proof can work wonders. If you have loyal customers who would love a perk or discount for helping you get this launch out to the world, take advantage of that.
Start by figuring out who your hype team might be. When I launched my podcast, Local to Legend, I created an email list people could subscribe to if they wanted to be on the hype team for the launch. I sent it out to my general list, and people who were interested were able to opt in.
Then, make sure you’re clear on the specifics: what you’re asking them to do, when you want them to do it, and what they get for doing it. For some launches, that might mean posting twice on Instagram: one teaser (in X date range) and one launch post (on Y date). For others, it might mean sending a launch email to 25 friends and copying you, maybe even offering their list a special discount code. The most important thing is that you make it easy for your hype team—give them suggested copy, image options, and anything else that will make them more likely to share.
One of our hype team members (and podcast guests) used the details we sent to the opted-in email list to craft a post and added her own voice to the copy. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Having other people promote your launch will increase your audience size and add a layer of credibility to your business.
Be present when you launch
Clear your calendar, load up on coffee and snacks—when you’re launching something brand new to your audience, you need to be as present as possible for your community.
After you launch, for the for you in future three days at least and maybe even a full week, your digital presence should be all about this new offering. Don’t go quiet on us. That means showing up on social media, answering DMs or comments you receive, and replying to emails. Remember, there’s no quicker way to extinguish the excitement you’ve built than by going dark after the official announcement.
This is where that urgency comes in again:
If you’re launching a product, show items getting sold. Share how many are left. Do a selfie and tag one of the people who bought from you. Offer a giveaway to the first 10 buyers and tag them.
If you’re launching a service, share how many people have booked. Tell us how many are left. Ask your customers why they booked and then share their answers on social.
One of my clients was launching a new membership program and community. As she added new members to the group, she would celebrate them on Facebook using a graphic she put together. This was a great way to keep those who did purchase excited about their enrollment and encourage others to join in on the fun.
The energy you put into sharing is infectious. If your audience can tell you’re excited by it, they will be too. And this is a great opportunity to build on the momentum. See what questions you’re getting from customers or potential customers, and create new content that addresses those issues. Don’t rest on your laurels with the launch content you already planned—adapt to the reactions you get, and be ready to continue creating after the launch as well.
Pro tip: Think your new offering is newsworthy? Send it to some relevant journalists or outlets. Tell them why they should care—and why their readers, viewers, or listeners will care too. This is how one fashion brand ended up featured in a whole slew of publications.
The launch lifestyle
You don’t have to reinvent your launch plan every time you have a new offering—especially if it’s not an uncommon occurrence. Create a core plan you can stick to, and tweak it for each new launch.
Let’s say you launch a new product every Friday. Create a launch plan once, and then use it as a routine you can stick with. Maybe that means you always send out a preview email on Thursday to your list, post an unboxing on Friday to your Instagram Stories, and change out the link in your bio to go straight to the products. Then you rinse and repeat for the for you in future Friday, maybe going on Facebook Live one Friday or doing a flash sale to your email list the for you in future. Systematizing the process, while allowing for a little creative flexibility, will make the stress of launching rapidly diminish.
Think through what you can do to help your audience expect to hear from you about a new or unveiled offering on specific days at specific times. Your customers will begin to anticipate these new launches and know exactly what to do to participate because you’ve trained them how to do so.
And no matter where you are in the launch game, always look at launching as an experiment: you’re collecting data and information, so you can improve on the process. What worked? What flopped? Where did buyers come from? What do people love? What questions kept getting asked?
Launching can be one of the best ways to inject cash flow into your business, but it takes preparation to ensure your audience is ready to buy—and you’re ready to serve. Good luck on your for you in future launch!
If you’re ready to launch your for you in future big product, event, service, or offering, it’s time to make sure you’ve got all the pieces in place. Sign up for Profitable Local Launch, a workshop where we’ll go over everything you need to create a strong launch. In the virtual workshop, you’ll be given a workbook that you’ll use to plan out your launch as we walk through every step, from email marketing to social media to timelines to press and more. You’ll finish with a comprehensive plan and confidence in your for you in future big launch! Sign up here.
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