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LAUNCH LECTURE: April 2018
TOPIC: Launch Marketing Strategy
You are in the final stages of your launch planning (WOOHOO!) or maybe you’ve already launched....and you are gearing up to market your brand new business.
Your product is fantastic. Your brand is equal parts purposeful and engaging. You have poured your heart into this baby and it’s AMAZING but… no one has found you, raved about you, or purchased your product.
The logical next step is to throw in the towel and stick with your day job, right?
No way! Your job is only half-done. It’s time to put yourself (and your super amazing products or services) out there.
You have worked hard and you’re proud of what you can offer to your customers. Shouldn’t be as easy as just creating a cute website and a couple of Facebook posts for a big “Voila!” of customers and revenue?
Unfortunately no 😩
The fact is, our digital world only gets more and more saturated with every new platform, marketing “hack” or next-big-thing and there are other brands in your niche (and way outside of your niche) that are competing for your customer’s attention.
Think about it this way:
You’re at a department store looking to buy a shirt. You shimmy on over to the apparel section and you’re browsing when all of a sudden, a team of salespeople approach to sell you a stove, a year’s supply of furnace filters, a crib, a waffle iron, men’s loafers size 10 and a bottle of perfume.
You might get distracted and buy something if you’re interested but if not, you’ll be irritated enough with the store that you just might leave. The original purchase plan goes out the window.
Now, imagine you’re not looking to buy anything at all. In fact, you’re just looking through photos of your aunt’s coworker’s cousin’s baby shower on Facebook and the same thing happens – a barrage of ads and direct messages that are totally casual and *NOT salesy* at all.
You’re so fatigued by the constant noise that you don’t want to purchase anything ever again. If blue shirts are 20% off, you probably didn’t notice.
One final scenario. You still need a blue shirt but you’re tired of the noise. You’re spending a bit of time somewhere else online where you like to read content, engage with other blue-shirt wearers, and feel connected and there they are – the apparel company whose blue shirts are on sale.
The Blue Shirt Co. found you because they know your preferences and they approached you the right way because they’re paying attention. That’s the company who will cut through the noise and deserve your business.
You want to mold your business after the Blue Shirt Co. In 2018, your brand needs to take up a lot of space online to be seen and heard but you also want to put most of your resources into the best spaces for your audience to see and hear your message.
Here is my simple 3-step process for finding your launch marketing strategy.
Your end goal is to focus on the top three activities that will create the most impact on your business. Don’t get yourself lost in the noise. Think about how you can stand out in the crowd.
STEP 1: Create a list of places your customers hang out online.
Think about any and all “hotspots” where your customers may be spending time. Social media is obvious for most businesses, but get more specific. Which platforms? Are there specific groups they’re part of? What other brand pages are they visiting on social?
Complimentary Websites and Forums
Venture outside of that spectrum. What online forums could your customers be checking out to find answers or other information related to your business? For instance, if you sell flowers, then your brand needs to be engaging in conversations on weddings forums. Do you have a new exercise product? Find the fitness gurus and start talking. Do you offer proofreading and editing services? The academics, public speakers and entrepreneurs who need you are all congregating somewhere online. Find them! Quora and Reddit are great forums with spaces for any industry.
Simply pose as your customer and do a quick Google search asking the questions they would be. Visit any reputable websites that come up in the search results. These are the types of places your customers visiting to find information, inspiration and possibly…products like yours!
Blogs, Event Sites and Publications
How about other blogs and publications that your customers read on a regular basis? Is there an opportunity to write a guest article? Or perhaps even buy an affordable banner ad? Maybe you could sponsor an upcoming event? Or even offer your expertise and be a guest speaker! Think outside the box and find ways to tap into these places that your customers are already spending time.
Does your business have a local presence? Don’t forget about online directories where you should be listing your business. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you must verify your Google My Business listing. This ensures that you will come up in searches, show up on Maps, and that your listing will include a link to your site, correct hours, and a space for customers to leave reviews.
Yelp is appropriate for almost any type of local business or service. You will also want to consider adding yourself to Angie’s List, Thumbtack, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, The Knot and more niche directories depending on the nature of your work and what you offer.
Especially in cities but true for smaller towns as well, there is almost always a Chamber of Commerce, local government site, local news affiliate, or “Best Of” blog with space to highlight local salons, contractors, pet stores, and pizzerias. Whatever type of business or service you’re bringing to town, make sure locals can find it. Getting listed in these local-focal spaces will help increase credibility, too.
Do you run a freelance business? UpWork, Guru, Freelancer, Fiverr and dozens of other outlets make finding clients a breeze. Whether you are a true solopreneur or you work in a cluster of contractors under a brand name, you can use these services to sidestep cold-calling and prospecting and answer to the call of client needs.
LinkedIn’s ProFinder is a great way to connect with local businesses who are looking for a developer, graphic designer, writer, marketer, or something else. As a solopreneuer or small creative agency, you can bid for projects – just like you would on the freelance channels above.
Want more ideas to create your own list of hotspots? Make sure to download our Launch Marketing Worksheet to follow some fun exercises that will get your wheels turning!
STEP 2: For each idea or item on your list, write down the estimated TIME, COST and IMPACT.
First up, estimate the amount of time that you would expect to spend in order to maintain this activity as part of your ongoing marketing strategy. Is it something you will have to manage on a weekly or monthly basis? Are there a lot of steps involved or would you be able to streamline the process and handle it fairly quickly? Do some research to get a good gauge on what it would take to make this marketing channel successfully work for your business.
Next, estimate any costs associated with this activity. Are you going to have to hire someone to help? Will there be an ongoing ad budget? Make sure you have a solid understanding of any expenses that would be involved in this channel.
Lastly, estimate the amount of impact it may have on your business. Use a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest impact and 5 being the highest. Are you questioning the type of exposure it would result in? Those are areas to stay away from. Does it have the potential to reach a lot of people in your market, with little time and/or money on your end? Those are the sweet spots you want to focus on.
STEP 3: Evaluate your list and choose the TOP 3 activities to include in your launch marketing strategy.
Now is the time to do a quick cost-benefit analysis of your options. Consider what areas and activities are likely to bring in the best results. Narrow your list down and choose the TOP 3 channels. These are what you will focus on for your launch marketing strategy. Don’t try to do it all. You’ll wind up overwhelmed and frustrated with lackluster results. It’s highly recommended to choose your marketing activities wisely and stick with a few that you can do REALLY well.
Write down your TOP 3 and start to flush out the strategy for each. Have fun, get creative and pull in help when you need it. Remember to keep your customer in mind, always. Make sure everything you're doing speaks to them by using their language and tapping into their emotions.
You’ve got this. Keep your eye on the prize ---> To help more customers with what you can offer. To solve their problems, tackle their frustrations and answer their prayers.
Here is the Office Hours call from this month for some tips on how to use the Launch Marketing Worksheet to create a strategy for your business: