Pre-Launch Marketing: 6 Strategies to Pre-Sale Your Product 
An effective pre-launch marketing strategy is the key to driving a successful product launch and generating those initial sales and revenue that you need to succeed.
Done right, a pre-launch marketing campaign will increase awareness and generate buzz and anticipation for your new product or service.
It will help you build a list of contacts; generate leads and convert those leads to paying customers.
So, how does it work, exactly, and what are the best pre-launch marketing strategies to use?
In this guide, we’re going to cover just that!
We go over what pre-launch marketing is and how it works, six simple and effective pre-launch marketing strategies, and a case study to see how it can be done.
Let’s dive right in!
What is Pre-Launch Marketing?
Pre-launch marketing is the marketing you do before your new product (or service) is officially available. It helps you create awareness of your product, build some anticipation and buzz around the upcoming launch and generate valuable leads.
A pre-launch marketing campaign is also a great way to test different marketing channels to see which ones will be most effective. You can also gather some feedback on your product to gauge how it is received and fine-tune both your product and your marketing.
Done right, pre-launch marketing lets you hit the ground running, with the following already in place:
- An established and search engine optimized website, geared for selling
- Robust social media presence and following
- An audience that is engaged, ready to buy, and ready to refer more customers to you
- Relationships with ambassadors and influencers ready to promote your new product
- Some positive press coverage and the authority that comes with that
- A good handle on what your frequently asked questions, positive and negative, will be and how to answer them
- Solid marketing strategy, including who your target audience is, the best channels to reach them, and a detailed strategy, with defined goals and how to achieve them
- Momentum from the hype, anticipation, and positive buzz in your audience
As you can see, an effective pre-launch marketing campaign is hugely beneficial and will set you up for success in your post-launch marketing!
DEFINITION: PRE-LAUNCH MARKETING
Pre-launch marketing refers to the promotion of a new product or service before is officially available. Pre-launch marketing raises awareness, builds anticipation/buzz and generates leads in advance. It also allows for different marketing channels to be tested, and the gathering of feedback fine-tune both your product development and your future marketing.
To get a brief idea of what’s involved and how it works, take a look at this video by Ashlyn Writes:
Here are six proven pre-launch marketing strategies to use:
6 Pre-Launch Marketing Strategies
These pre-launch marketing strategies are designed to generate buzz in the build-up to your launch, provide valuable insights and generate leads:
1.Build and Optimize Your Landing Page for Pre-Launch Lead Generation
Your website and landing page are the first port of call on your pre-launch marketing journey.
A great website and a landing page that is optimized for leads and conversions are critical to any business, but even more so during the build-up to your launch.
Whether you have your design and copy all perfectly prepared, or you’re live with just ‘coming soon’ on your page, you can use your landing page to your advantage.
You can provide value to your customers and gather contacts and leads. Here are the most important ways to do this:
- A quick and easy sign-up for more info on the product and launch. You can offer a newsletter or exclusive access to launch deals
- Provide an easy way to pre-order, if that is something you will offer
- Track where visitors are coming from to see which marketing channels bring them to your website
- Use heat mapping software to see how visitors interact with your website
- Provide highlights, as well as the detailed product information that you can’t easily convey in ads or on social media
- Solidify your SEO through on-page optimization and link building
- Display any social proof, reviews, or influencer posts that you have prominently
The secret to success here is to provide the information they need, as well as added value.
If you’re asking for contact information and email addresses, make sure that you’re offering them something worthwhile in exchange. Highlight what they will get out of signing up, such as first access or exclusive deals.
Your landing page is also a great place to build buzz and anticipation. You can use countdown timers to create a sense of urgency and encourage sign-ups or place a raffle entry form to win a prize or exclusive deal when your product launches.
2.Run A Pre-Launch Raffle to Generate Buzz and Capture Leads
Running a raffle with entries for referrals is a great way to capture leads, build your email list and generate buzz in the build-up to your product launch.
You can gamify the process or build tiers, with prizes of increasing value, to get people to ‘play’ to win. The more referrals they make the more entries they get and the higher the value of the prize.
Prizes can be products, coupons for discounts, branded swag, or anything else you can imagine.
Raffles like this are especially useful for gathering leads and contact information. You can also use them to re-target the referrals that didn’t win anything in your raffle by offering them a personalized deal or coupon code down the line.
Tools like UpViral help you set up and run a raffle that you can integrate into your website, your social media accounts, and your email marketing programs.
Raffles of this nature mesh very well with social media and you can use them hand-in-hand to create a lot of interest, engagement, and buzz within your pre-launch marking campaign.
Referrals made by someone the referee knows are also more likely to convert to sales. The referral leads generated from a raffle are highly valuable for your post-launch marketing and sales.
3.Leverage Social Media to Build the Hype
Your social media pre-launch marketing strategy is critical. Here you can really build the anticipation and get your audience hyped up about your new products!
Here are some easy pre-launch marketing ideas to use on social media:
- Video teasers that don’t reveal everything and build suspense
- Development updates that reveal a bit about the product and why it’s so great.
- Employee or team member spotlights to introduce the people behind the product. These are a great way to make your connection with your audience more personal, and they provide valuable storytelling opportunities.
- Live AMAs (‘ask me anything’, usually on Reddit) with team members or the CEO
- Polls and quizzes on the options you might be able to offer
- Social media contests, challenges, and giveaways
- Sharing influencer posts and reviews
- Develop a unique hashtag for people to use
The more active, engaging, and quirky or personal your social media is, the better. You want your social media to help you really connect with your audience and build a relationship with them.
Social media (and influencers) is a great way to build trust and credibility.
4.Work with the Right Influencers
Adding influencers to your pre-launch marketing is a great way to increase awareness and generate some hype and anticipation in your audience.
Influencers are, well, influential and their endorsement of a new product goes a long way!
People trust people, much more than they trust marketing messages from brands or businesses. Additionally, 74% of consumers’ purchases are informed by social media.
An influencer can get the word out about your upcoming launch, while also educating your audience about the product, and generating hype.
The key is to find the right influencers to work with. This depends on your niche, product type, and budget.
There are many ways to find and vet influencers before you reach out to them but look for people who are active in your space and have a following that consists of your ideal customers.
If they’re seen as something of an expert or authority, even better!
Don’t limit yourself to one platform or channel either. Influencers are not just on social media, they’re also blogs, podcasts, forums, and message boards.
Influencer product reviews, product comparisons are great for getting your product known. Send them samples to try and get their feedback.
Get them to ask their followers for feedback too – asking questions on Instagram stories is a great way for the influencer to get some valuable engagement and for you to get some valuable feedback on the product!
5.Create a Press Kit for PR
Creating a Press kit or PR kit makes it really easy for reporters and publishers to find all the information they need to share your story.
Whether they’re journalists, content writers, bloggers, podcast hosts, or social media influencers, make it easy and they’re more likely to share your story!
A good press kit is concise and easy to understand, and it should contain:
- Your Story – who you are, what you’re all about, and the history of your business or brand. This should convey who you are and share any high points in your history.
- Bios of Your Key Players – CEO and management or team leaders, and the whole team if it’s small. Include expertise, qualifications, and what their role is. Providing this information makes it more likely that any coverage you have will be more personal, and helps them know who to contact for an interview.
- Product Details – a factsheet of specifications and all the detailed information needed to properly discuss your product. Remember to note what sets your product apart, and why it is better.
- Product Highlights – a concise version of the product factsheet that highlights the important aspects of the product and what makes it different or better than competitors’ products.
- Branding and Logos – provide high-quality logos and branded material that can be used along with any content they create.
- Product Images – a selection of high-quality images of your product that they can use.
Make sure that your press kit is easy to find. You can have a page for it on your website or store it online with a link download it.
You can also put it on a branded USB stick and give it to them as corporate gift. This will help you get the word out, and deliver your press kit in the process!
6.Host Virtual and In-Person Events
Traditionally, openings and launches often involved an in-person event or celebration of some kind. In the digital age, especially since Covid-19, virtual events have become more popular.
If you’re launching in a new physical space, an opening event in your new space is a great idea.
Giving people the opportunity to attend a celebration, interact with and physically touch your offering has a profound effect on your relationship with them, and your sales.
But if you’re in e-commerce or you otherwise do not have premises, a virtual event is the way to go!
You can use events, virtual or in-person, to:
- Promote your products with limited time offers that are only available during the event
- Target potential customers who need a little extra push to engage with you
- Create dynamic content for your social media channels by streaming or recording and posting portions of the event
- Take photos to share on social media
- Educate your audience about your product in an interactive way
- Inspire some excitement and generate some buzz. If you’re amped about your upcoming launch, talking about it with your audience will share some of that excitement with them
- Build more personal relationships with your audience
- Gather great feedback and have some questions asked and answered
- Provide attendees a share-worthy experience and share-worthy content to share on their personal and professional social channels
Events, big and small, are important for establishing and maintaining relationships and communication with your audience.
They can also help you gather some valuable feedback from your target audience. This will help you fine-tune your approach and improve your product offering.
Case Study: How ShopifiedApp Earned $38,458 with UpViral Prior to Launch
In this case study from UpViral, Karl Schuckert and Chase Bowers created a lead generating pre-launch marketing campaign that garnered $38,458 in sales, before launching a new Shopify dropshipping app, called ShopifiedApp,
They used UpViral and their campaign exceeded all their objectives. Here’s how it worked:
The objective of the ShopifiedApp pre-launch marketing campaign was to generate buzz building up to the launch of the app, populate a list of solid leads and convert those leads to paying customers.
They needed to do this in as little time as possible while spending as little as possible.
They used UpViral to create a three-phase campaign:
- Build a pre-launch waiting list ahead of the product launch
- Convert leads on the waiting list using an email campaign
- Deploy a second, post-launch campaign to retarget leads that didn’t convert
Let’s look at how they ran each phase of their pre-launch marketing campaign:
Phase 1: Building Their Pre-Launch Waiting List
To build the waiting list, they made a simple opt-in page for people to join the list, with the promise of being the first to know when the new app was available.
People who signed up were then offered the opportunity to gain early beta access before anyone else. This offer was sent only to those who had already signed up and shown that they were serious about wanting access to the app.
To qualify for beta access, they had to refer three friends and get them to sign up for the waiting list, using a unique and trackable invite link.
To get early access, they would need to get 3 of their friends to sign up as well – using a unique invite link, which could also be shared on social media.
The offer targeted those who had already shown they wanted early access by signing up, so offering them access even sooner was guaranteed to be an enticing offer.
They made the threshold low, with only three referrals, ensuring it was easy to do, and there would be minimal resistance.
Within just 15 days they had 231 shares on social media, resulting in 605 subscribers, which equates to almost 40 leads a day with zero acquisition cost!
The best part? Those leads were all very interested in the product, and highly likely to convert to paying customers when it launched.
Phase 2: Leveraging the Waiting List Convert
Once they had gathered a list of leads from the waiting list and the beta access list, Karl and Chase nurtured those leads with a sequence of emails using Upviral.
They offered leads a discount coupon for a small ($10) discount on the lifetime pricing option for the app.
The email campaign targeting leads from the first phase of their pre-launch marketing campaign resulted in 67 additional sales, worth almost $20,000.
Of the 605 leads, 67 were converted via the email campaign, which amounts to more than 10% of their conversions.
Phase 3: Launch and Post-Launch Campaign
Phase three of their strategy was to run a campaign during and after the launch of the app.
This campaign was to retarget people, via a Facebook ad, who had visited their sales page without making a purchase.
The aim was to nudge the interested but hesitant leads and draw them into the Upviral campaign so they could convert them to paying customers.
Using a Facebook ad carousel and video ads, they channeled people who clicked on the ads back to the campaign and were offered the opportunity to get the app for free.
Once they entered an email address, signaling that they were serious (just like those who signed up for the waiting list), they were given free access to a Chrome extension.
They were also given the option to get a $10 discount code for the app, as long as they got three of their friends to sign-up.
From there, they repeated the email campaign idea and sent a series of follow-up emails, along with a $10 discount coupon.
The third phase campaign resulted in an additional 62 sales and another $18,500 in revenue!
The invite links provided for subscribers were unique and trackable, which allowed Karl and Chase to see exactly where their sales were coming from.
They could also see the number of shares on social media and see how those lead to new subscribers.
Their three-phased approach to pre-launch marketing earned them an impressive $38,458, with very low acquisition costs and minimal effort.
Overall, the campaign met and exceeded all the objectives: generating buzz on social media, populating a waiting list, and converting subscribers to paying customers. All over a short period, without high costs!
Their pre-launch marketing strategy also set them up for future retargeting campaigns and post-launch marketing.
Pre-lunch marketing is the best way to hit the ground running when you launch your next product, service, or business!
Today, we’ve covered some of the easiest and most effective pre-launch marketing strategies you can use in the build-up to your product launch.
We’ve also looked at a case study, to see how effective a simple and inexpensive pre-launch marketing campaign can be.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is pre-launch marketing?
Pre-launch marketing is the marketing you do before your new product launches. It helps you create awareness of your product, generate buzz around the upcoming launch and generate valuable leads. It also helps you test various marketing channels and gather feedback from your audience. Check the full guide for how to pre-launch marketing right.
How do I promote my product launch on social media?
Social media is great for pre-launch marketing. You can use influencers to promote your product and spread awareness, run giveaways and raffles, host events and Live Q&As, use polls and quizzes - the options are endless! Check the full guide for more on pre-launch marketing with influencers and social media to generate buzz.
What is a pre-launch marketing campaign?
A pre-launch marketing campaign refers to the campaign you run in the weeks preceding the launch. A pre-launch marketing campaign is usually quite short and consists of a combination of various pre-launch marketing strategies. An effective campaign will generate buzz, capture leads and generate sales. Check the full guide for effective strategies to use in your pre-launch marketing campaign.
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