Your company is rolling out a new product or service, and you must get the news out there – fast! How should you build hype and generate buzz? The Internet has changed the way products and services are launched. Companies now rope in influencers, leak information to reporters, bloggers and consumers and live-stream launch events globally. The insatiable 24/7 news cycle and the dominance of social media make launching a new product far more complicated than it used to be. This new launch landscape levels the playing field for brands of various sizes and industries when reaching consumers, but it also makes it difficult for a brand to stand out among all the noise. Here’re a few ways to help you get started and get noticed before a big launch.
1. Social Media
The power of Social Media! We cannot begin to emphasize how important this tactic is when it comes to generating buzz. Depending on the type of product/service you are offering and your target audience, identify the top 2 or 3 social media platforms that would generate the most awareness for your campaign to work. Don’t be hesitant to spend a small percentage of your budget to boost posts on those platforms.
Another way to fully utilize the power of social media platforms is via hashtags. Hashtags create and ignite conversations on social media platform – and they’re all traceable. Hashtags are essential to follow chatter surrounding a launch campaign. Wendy’s used the hashtag #PretzelLoveSongs to launch its Pretzel Bacon Burger, asking fans to share their thoughts about the new product. The brand followed responses using the hashtag, chose the best ones, and then activated singers like Nick Lachey to sing the tweets on video.
2. Free Samples / Trial Periods
“Freebies” – a word that easily resonates with just about anyone. When launching a new product or service, it is important to consider the uncertainty for consumers, new or existing. Having free samples of your new product or trial periods for your services allow consumers to have a try before making the purchase. This increases brand knowledge and trust. This also provides opportunities to organize some special event or a creative campaign to get some press coverage and internet buzz about your company and your products. Food products and cosmetics have long been icons of sampling; samples fill our stomachs at our local groceries and our noses in the cosmetic section of department stores.
Videos work wonders when launching a new product or service. If you look at the track record of big brands such as Apple and Google, videos for different purposes are put up leading all the way to the launch. Just a month back when Apple released the new iPhone 7, videos were incorporated into the launch. Product introduction video, a fun video filmed with The Late Late Show’s James Corden and surprise guest Pharrell Williams – contributed to the success of the launch.
Some may argue that Apple, being a “superbrand”, would succeed in any marketing technique they undertake since their consumer base is already huge and growing exponentially. However, videos do work for product/service launches belonging to businesses of any size and industry.
A series of videos can be created leading up to the launch. Teaser videos can be short and sweet, put up on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. Product demo videos can quickly educate audiences and build trust in the new product/service. Behind-the-scenes videos can be incorporated to humanize the brand. Just make sure to include a Call-To-Action (CTA) after every video.
4. Creating Lead Magnets
“When launching a new product, it’s critical to build a critical mass of followers before the campaign goes live,” says Len Kendall, head of Social at Havas Worldwide Chicago. That way, when you’re ready to launch the product/service, you would already have an audience of people who are interested in what you’re launching.
It is important to develop useful content to attract your target audience to sign up for your mailing list and/or follow you on social media. This can be done through a lead magnet placed on a landing page designed to emphasize your launch details.
In 2013 when P&G launched its new Swiffer Sweep & Trap, the company needed a fresh way to reach its target demographic–parents and homeowners–through social media. At a New York City “Make Meaning” launch party, P&G invited mommy bloggers to bring their children and make messy crafts, then use the Swiffer Sweep & Trap to clean up. The bloggers took photos of the event and documented their experience with the product on their blogs. Bloggers are key influencers when it comes to launching new products as their loyal followers want to try recommended products.
For more complex industries such as technology and healthcare, key opinion leaders, alike modern world influencers add in more credibility of the new product/service. People are very likely to purchase a new product/service after they have been endorsed by such experts.
6. Offline Marketing
Just because online marketing is so important in today’s business world does not mean that traditional physical methods of advertising can be neglected. Prior to your print campaign, conduct studies or surveys to find out what your target audiences will respond best to. Put together a full press kit for the new product or service. Create club cards and other forms of mail marketing. People will often pay more attention to something physical that they hold in their hands than they will to something online. Make different versions, targeted to different audiences. For instance, information meant for reporters will be different than advertisements aimed at the public in general.
7. Launch Event
Turn the launch into a major event. Offer prizes and free giveaways. Set up an event page for it on social media sites like Facebook. Facebook has an event management system that will work to increase your traffic on launch day. For a bigger punch, combine the online launch event with a physical gathering of people for a themed party, competitions for prizes, or similar attention-getters. The physical event can then be turned into additional advertising by posting pictures of real people getting enthusiastic about your product or service, and having fun with your company.
All in all, it is important to plan and sync all your strategies and track them as they’re happening and after all that has happened, it is equally important to do follow-up and review strategies post launch. Creating loyalty program, forging relationships with new customers and monitoring social media platforms are some of the strategies you’ll have to get on post launch. There is no point in generating and creating so much buzz and hype – simply to fall flat right after.
This article was contributed by Influenshine, a company which helps businesses build brand awareness, increase website traffic, increase app downloads, convert leads to customers, manage their online reputation and build brand loyalty through digital marketing, PR and growth hacking techniques.
Image credit: A Dash of Details