8 Steps for the Perfect Product Launch
Heighten your visibility, avoid costly mistakes and build buzz with these strategies.
You've created the killer product that will change the world. Now you need people to buy it. Top entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles share their tried-and-tested ways to build buzz so people buy from you and passionately spread the word for mega profits.
1. Be strategic.
One, find your core audience. Whether you're creating the new iPhone or a cupcake stand, find and learn from your core audience. Establish your base and build their confidence in you.
Two, get advice and listen. Most friends will be your biggest cheerleaders, but that doesn't mean they're helping. They need to poke holes in your ideas, which you can fix before taking a product to market. Resist the urge to be defensive. And use the opportunity to strengthen your product.
Three, learn from others. There are no more original ideas, just repurposed ones. As you prepare to market your idea, examine your competitors. Take from their good, learn from their bad, and enhance what needs to be improved. Then put your spin on it.
Four, be smart about publicity. You no longer need traditional media to drive ideas, products or messages. Don't get caught up in creating a PR budget if it won't drive core business. Instead, spend your time creating messages to buyers.
Five, conditioning your social media audience is critical. Always pushing them to "buy" creates fatigue, making them feel like a number. Build a relationship with your audience at least three months in advance so they can learn your tone and rhythms. Then seek ways for them to interact with your product.
Six, for all your analysis, don't forget to rely on "feel." Entrepreneurs are risk takers with unwavering belief. Don't abandon that now that you're moments away from the launch.
Finally, use the power of broke. I wrote a book about this. My biggest business mistakes came when I tried to buy success. My most successful business experiences came from using limited resources, supported by innovation. Resist the urge to spend, spend, spend. —Daymond John, Shark on "Shark Tank," NYT-bestselling author of "Rise And Grind," creator of Daymond On Demand and founder of FUBU, which has generated $6 billion in sales
2. Go overboard with outreach.
Obscurity kills businesses. If you don't go overboard, you won't get the attention needed to be successful. Before launching a new product, ask yourself: One, How far will I go to get attention? Two, How frequent will I be in my attempts?
For my 10X Growth Con 2 in Las Vegas, I created 1,023 tweets, 26 YouTube videos, 198 emails and countless Instagram posts. Some think that's excessive, but 9,000 people showed up. I called one guy back after he told me to never call again. He was outraged and hung up. The next day, I called again and he bought a $10,000 ticket. —Grant Cardone, sales expert who has built a $750-million real estate empire, and NYT-bestselling author; follow Grant on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube
3. Use common sense.
Know your audience. If someone asks you, "Who's your target audience?" have a concise answer. Otherwise, there's a problem. Also, get to know your stakeholders. Find out where they spend their free time and join them after work. Events are great for getting your product into the community. Consider sponsoring a mixer at a local restaurant, brewery or wine bar to draw interest.
Know your product's value. Interview a client who found success using your product. Ask them why it was successful.
With branding and promotion, have a multimedia approach that includes print, photography and video. Don't treat hashtags as an afterthought; they're a powerful tool to grab eyeballs. Use them intentionally. Follow and engage with reporters on social media who can direct attention to your product. Ask a local celebrity, like the mayor, to do an on-camera interview. Worst case, they say, "No." Best case, they authenticate your brand. —Eileen Rivera, CEO of The Rivera Group; real estate coach, speaker and licensed California Realtor with over half a billion in sales
4. Target major media outlets.
Attention is the currency of the internet. The average person consumes an inordinate amount of information daily. To get attention, cut through the noise.
With the right strategy, you can land a major media placement. Pitch yourself as an expert and target high-profile news outlets. Figure out what story segments producers want. They're under pressure to book the right experts, so there's a good chance your knowledge fills a gap.
Your pitch should have a sensational hook with actionable advice. I secured press on CNBC by pitching how to make millions in ecommerce. The article and video were viewed millions of times, giving me the springboard to launch a product that made almost a million dollars in 48 hours. The best part? Zero ad-spend. —Trevor Chapman, proven entrepreneur and digital strategist who has generated over $100 million in sales for his businesses and partnerships; follow Trevor on Facebook
5. Build your superfans.
Don't jump into launching a product without first building a community of superfans who'll vouch for it. Lay the foundation to build the buzz later. It may take one to two years, but it's worth it. You could start with conferences. Hunt for your target audience. Invite them to join a value-add Slack group or receive exclusive invitations to your events.
After launching, if your fans don't resonate with your product, revisit square one. Don't judge your market; listen because they're telling you what they want. Fix the current product to their liking and they'll build the buzz it deserves. And you'll avoid losing a lot of money, wondering why your promotions didn't go as planned. —Sweta Patel, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing, who has advised over 200 early stage startups and high-growth companies; connect with Sweta on Facebook and Instagram
6. Bring brand ambassadors into your business family.
It takes a village to get buzz for your business. Find ambassadors whose interests align with yours and bring them into your business family.
In the poker world, we have prominent personalities in our business family, like Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, Maria Ho and Phil Hellmuth.
We choose ambassadors who are well-established professionals with impressive poker resumes and large fan bases. They're "all-in" when it comes to promoting. Ho recently traveled to China with us to meet a valued advertising client. Esfandiari showcases his magic at big client dinners. Hellmuth helped us make a TV commercial. —Joe Kakaty, co-founder and president of Poker Central
7. Use pre-launch videos to drive leads.
Use a pre-launch video campaign to jump-start product sales and build brand awareness. Your price point should correlate with the length of your video content. While lower-priced items require 15 to 60 seconds of video, a more significant ask is best served by a five- to 15-minute pre-launch video campaign.
Use a landing page with a sign-up form to capture email addresses. Then, create an email campaign that offers special incentives to buyers who refer family and friends.
A respected influencer gives instant product credibility. Get industry influencers to put your product in front of their fans through endorsement campaigns. By using platforms such as BrandBacker, Revfluence and PitchBox, our agency quickly matches clients with influencers who represent their shared goals. —Jason Hall, founder and CEO of FiveChannels; generated $17m+ in sales revenue for his clients in 2017
8. Technology is your friend.
Webinars are perfect for spreading your message in an attractive, engaging form. Here's how to maximize your success:
One, research and choose the right webinar software: easy to use, requires no IT knowledge, downloads or installations, and is ready to go -- time is money. The software should give you the necessary tools for the whole process -- before, during and after the webinar.
Two, host webinars on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. That's when you'll get the best attendance.
Three, craft a "catchy" topic name to draw the largest audience: "The Marketing Platform of Your Dreams" is more enticing than "New Marketing Automation Platform."
Four, tell everyone about your launch via every means possible: email, your website and social media.
Five, prepare an agenda. Tell your audience what to expect from your webinar, with the intended topics. Don't forget timing: Our research found that a webinar shouldn't exceed one hour -- 30-40 minutes for your presentation and 15 to 20 minutes for Q&A.
Six, focus on solving a problem your audience may face. Subtly incorporate your product into the discussion, but concentrate more on the outcome and less on the product.
With a strategic approach, webinars reach, educate and engage your audience, earn their trust, improve your conversion rates and, ultimately, impact your bottom line. —Simon Grabowski, founder and CEO of ClickMeeting
Want to share your insights like those above in a future column? If you're an experienced entrepreneur, please get in touch here.
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