I used to work with a bootstrap startup that was launching a new dashboard that would be used for remote teams needing to coordinate across international lines. It was a solid final product, with great features and no noticeable bugs. It had been UX tested, AB tested and performance tested. Early release users had been thrilled with it and were already looking forward to the next version and what new features might be coming along in the future.
Everything sounds perfect, right? Sadly, no. It wasn’t the product itself that had a problem, it was the digital marketing strategy that was poorly planned and hence weakly executed. The result? Obviously, the launch went largely unnoticed and hence the tool enjoyed little to no attention and coverage.
It’s sad when a great product doesn’t get the exposure it truly deserves.
My client could have really benefited from double checking that particular step, but he was too focused on the primary product. Had he put more attention onto the digital marketing strategy he could have avoided a disaster.
Here are the steps to take prior to launching your digital product, be it an eBook, a course or an online tool:
1. Research Competitors and Their Weak Points
You may have already done this (prior to deciding to create the product), but don’t stop there. Monitor your competitors, identify their weak points and adjust your future marketing strategy based on that.
Use BrandMentions to get alerted whenever your competitor is mentioned on the web. It is an awesome tool that looks at every single corner of the web and pulls out even more obscure mentions that you might have missed the first time around with other tools. For small businesses that only need to mention a single brand they start at $49 per month. As you grow you can escalate to new plans with more features.
Another great tool to use here is GoFish which is a custom Google Search Engine allowing to search 40 (and counting) complaint websites at a time. Run your major competitor’s name through the search and see if there’s a marketing opportunity for you. What problems does your future product solve that are being most actively discussed by your competitors’ customer?
MeWe is a great example of the launch with solving major competitor’s problem at the base of their marketing. Being launched right on the wave of Facebook privacy scandal, the startup talks about privacy on all their social media channels:
2. Set up an Effective Landing Page
Set up your landing page in advance, prior to the actual launch. Think of how your best selling points will be clearly explained on it. Avoid the clutter but make sure you can answer the question: “Why would anyone want to download / give it a try?”
Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- A survey found that 92% of marketers asked found landing pages to be at least somewhat effective, and around half of those found them to be very effective.
- The Whole Brain Group has reported that they see sustained conversion rates of around 45% monthly from their landing pages.
Sadly, getting landing pages built is one of the top challenges faced by B2B marketers and most businesses are finding it hard to optimize their content on landing pages, which means most aren’t seeing the benefits they want to through these handy tools.
Get inspired by an example: Take a look at this landing page that is very minimal while bringing several important points across. It distinguishes between three actions very effectively:
This site is a great example of a content-based landing page that does a good job engaging customers:
Note: While CTAs are important, don’t forget to optimize your landing page for search engine traffic!
One of the most effective ways to generate more leads from your landing page is to generate more search engine traffic to it.
You need to do a basic SEO inspection to make sure you are getting the most out of your optimization. Has it been created to really attract search engine results?
Keyword usage is especially important on landing pages because there is less content for it to attract people with. Just look at a blog with its constant update of new posts, each of which can be optimized to draw in traffic. A landing page is a single page that has to utilize fewer words that are updated far less often.
Get your SEO planned, then make sure your landing page is following it.
3. Plan Your Marketing Strategy after the Launch
All of the above is about that time just before launch. What happens after that has been done? These are the beginning and middle periods of your launch and they are just as important as the preparation for it. You could do everything perfectly and still fall flat if you don’t keep up your momentum.
You need to plan your budget, time investment, delegation tactics and overall team schedule before the launch, because after that you are hopefully going to be too busy for that!
Some tips for getting through those beginning and middle bits include:
Think which additional platforms you’ll be using to sell your digital product
Your own site must be all set at this point but how about additional channels that may bring in extra sales? There are platforms like E-junkie and ClickBank that aim at helping you reach wider audience.
Follow up with new customers
Your product has been bought and too often the buck stops there. You shouldn’t leave them alone… follow up! After a few days send an email (or provide an in-product message if you have a system in place) asking them to fill out a small survey of their experience so far.
Not everything will have run smooth for everyone. If your follow-up brings on concerns from the customer make sure you address them personally. That personal touch can make all the difference in how your brand is perceived and your ability to build loyalty from the very beginning.
Search social media for mentions of your product
Reputation management is crucial at this stage. You have been hyping up your product for weeks, you don’t want word of problems to get out. But beyond that, it is a chance to thank people for saying good things, as well as offer the curious a chance to try your product themselves (this is a great time to offer influencers free access).
Give them something unexpected
I knew a founder who had created fifty small gift baskets. After the launch he took the first fifty sign-ups and sent them a basket as a thank you. It didn’t cost that much, was full of promotional material and it got a fair bit of buzz on social media because the first twenty of those adopters had been individually invited influencers. No one expected the baskets so they had a real impact.
Have you ever launched a digital product? Share your experience in the comments!
Featured image source: Pixabay