Launching a new product or service can be a daunting prospect for an entrepreneur (heck, it can be daunting even for the seasoned marketer), in large part because of factors out of your control. To minimize your anxiety and maximize the chances that your newest offering will thrive in the marketplace, follow these steps and watch your next launch go off without a hitch.
- Define your goals. Do you want to increase your exposure? Generate leads? Sell a new product or service? Burnish your expert status? No matter what your goals for a launch are, it’s crucial to establish them early on so you can build a marketing strategy designed to achieve them.
- Identify your target audience. It may sound like a no-brainer, but skip this step and your launch might be more of a flop. This is especially important for entrepreneurs hoping to expand their reach or tap into a new segment of their existing audience. Spend some time getting to know your target, and you’ll be better able to connect with them in all your promotional efforts.
- Build a marketing plan. This step is pretty huge, so I’ll break it down into some sub parts.
- Identify an online marketing strategy. Launches are often a good time to reach beyond your typical marketing standbys. Offer your services as a guest blogger for someone who writes for your target audience, or request that such a person write a review of your product or service. Consider interactive events on Twitter or Facebook to generate buzz and engagement from your target audience. And don’t neglect the basics: emails, sales pages, social media updates, etc.
- Consider traditional media. While radio and newspaper may be dwindling, they’re still wildly popular among certain demographics. Determine whether reaching past your normal boundaries is a good investment.
- Plan live events. Speaking engagements, lectures, readings, workshops, and other live events allow you to connect (and sell) directly with your target audience.
- Schedule virtual events. If your audience is scattered around the globe, host virtual events such as interviews, webinars, and workshops.
- Dip into guerrilla marketing methods. Don’t be afraid to go out of the box with a product launch. If you’ve written a book, encourage readers to leave it in coffee shops and airports to spread the word. If you’re launching a product, announce a random giveaway and request a review from the winner.
As you plan your launch, remember that it’s not your only opportunity to promote your new product—after all, you’ll want to be able to sell it well into the future, so it may make the most sense not to funnel all your efforts into a two-week promotional burst.