We recently worked with a start up on their launch activation. They were working on a major pivot for their product, so wanted to make sure they were building momentum before release.
Some founders think marketing is something to work on once everything else is up and running. We disagree. Some execs don’t want to talk about a product before they’ve rolled out every feature. That’s missing a crucial opportunity. If you leave your social channels empty, have no content on your website and you’re not getting your execs featured in the press or with influencers then you’re putting up barriers to your start up’s success.
1. You start out ahead
You need a base of activity in order to have momentum on launch day. No one wants to wake up with no new users, no one talking about you and a gigantic hill ahead of you to turn that around.
It’s a stressful position to be in because you feel like you’re always fighting to take market share.
If you put in the time and investment to build hype from the start, you could have owned that piece of the market from day one.You could have started out with a positive number on the scorecard.
It’s about building hype and excitement so that people want to get their hands on your product, app or platform one launch day and tell their friends about it.
Find a way to start building interest and then capture it. Store it, nurture and increase it for the big day. The easiest way to do this is with a sign-up list. Offer people discounts or vouchers for everyone they refer to the list. Then put in the effort to keep that list engaged until you’re ready to go.
2. No plan survives first contact
One of the big motivators for this start up to kick-start their marketing, was that they were caught in a classic trap of constantly defining themselves and they were aware they needed to push past that. Some founders over think and wonder how can they start engaging potential users if we haven’t perfectly defined ourselves?
You know the phrase ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy’? It’s the same for your start-up. That’s why testing, tweaking and testing again is so key to development. Until you make contact with the people who will be using your product your definitions of self and purpose are only ever an illusion. Get out there and let the audience shape your product vision for the better.
It also helps you make your tactics more effective. What kind of social posts are going to work best? Find out now. What media should we be talking to? Find out now. What influencers are going to send us most users? Find out now. These pre-launch tests are invaluable for shaping your post launch strategy. It helps you work out the problems, and identify the hard questions and issues you might not have thought about (or might not want to think about…).
Speak to your audience, use them as your testers to get feedback and ideas. Communicate what you’re building and see what they think. Marketing isn’t just about presenting a polished product, it’s a tool for feeding back into your business and building a better product. Use it.
3. You never know who’s watching
Communications from an early stage is key because you never know who is watching. If you keep everything locked away and hidden until you’re ready to hit go, then you miss out on big opportunities. It could be your next investor, it could be potential partners, customers, employees, who don’t see you until it’s too late (if they manage to see you at all post launch).