How to launch Pied Piper (Part 3)
Actionable steps for marketers to launch a product
This post is meant to be an actionable guide for launching a product. I’ve drawn from some of my past experiences and learning points to outline the steps I would take to launch Pied Piper.
Pied Piper is a compression-in-the-cloud service that promises to dramatically reduce file sizes. It is used in the live video streaming space for lossless compression of higher quality content, resulting in significant space and bandwidth savings.
- Be amongst the first to break the news
- Submit the product to online communities
- Send the email blast
- Monitor metrics real time
- Interact on Social Media
- Comment on news articles
- Start social media campaigns and ads
- Post mortem
- Write Thank You notes
- Get more endorsements
- Optimize everything
Be amongst the first to break the news
6am to 9am is a good time to catch the morning news. Make sure that Pied Piper is among the first to break the news about the launch. You want to appear on top of your game and control the language explaining the product’s value proposition.
Publish the Press Release on PR Newswire. Publish the blog post on the company blog. Tweet about it. Share on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. (Each of those links should be UTM tagged!)
Since Pied Piper is launching at CES, be sure to secure a booth at the exhibition hall, and a speaking slot! (Do a live demo of the product to show an improved Weissman score.)
Submit the product to online communities
There are many ways to leverage each online community. Product Hunt and Betalist for instance requires the product to be submitted in advance. The best way is to get an influencer to post it ;) Hacker News and Reddit are both pretty organic. The first few up-votes are very important to get it on the front page, which is where it will drive the most traffic.
One alternative to consider is to use Show HN, which has its own dedicated section. Check to make sure that nobody else has posted it to avoid double posting.
Once Pied Piper is listed, reach out to friends (ideally with rep/ karma) to up-vote it. In order to avoid having votes tagged as spam, be careful not to vote from the same IP. Comments/ Engagement are also effective in having the post rise up to the front page!
Start Social Media Campaigns & Ads
Invest a higher budget on the campaigns in the first week of launch to ride the wave. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to discover keywords for audience targeting.
Send the email blast
Send the emails which were drafted pre-launch. A well-timed newsletter driving readers to Product Hunt/ HackerNews/ Reddit could also increase up-votes. Remember not to drive readers to the specific story to avoid triggering the voting ring detector.
Monitor metrics real time
Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel have dashboards to monitor site traffic in real time. This is especially useful for discovering new traffic sources and keywords.
Interact on Social Media
Monitor mentions of Pied Piper (Mention is a useful tool for that!). Interact with the press on twitter by thanking them for the coverage. Also star/ like/ favorite any tweets about Pied Piper, and respond positively towards critics. The Klout Chrome extension helps to quickly identify influencers on social media. Pay more attention to influencers since they could potentially drive traffic to the product.
Comment on news articles
If there were any press mentions, leave a comment on those articles. Make yourself available for more discussions, feedback, comments, etc. Also remember to thank the author for the coverage!
Since CES is a multi-day event, the buzz might linger for a couple of days with more press roundups of the event. Otherwise, the buzz should start to slow down around 3–4pm. Be prepared for a second wave of buzz from 8pm onwards when the rest of the world catches up.
Depending on the success of the launch, it may be a day or two before there is time to conduct a post mortem. This is a good time to reflect on the previous day. Figure out how to avoid the hiccups, and how to improve the launch. Did the site go down due to huge server load? How can it be prevented in future? Did trial users not make any API calls? Reach out to users and ask why. Was the feedback abysmal due to operational challenges? Figure out how to improve!
Round up the metrics
Start looking into the metrics that were collected from the previous day. For example, the number of visits to the site (driven by the top traffic sources). How many visitors played with the demo and signed up for a trial key. How many of them made a test API call, etc. While these metrics are useful, also keep in mind that it takes time for them to become meaningful.
Find a metric you are proud of and release the numbers publicly. Articles such as “How Pied Piper compressed XX TB of data” could gather more interest and keep the ball rolling.
Write a Thank You note
Be grateful to all those who have contributed to the success of the launch (Monica!). Send them an email, or go the extra mile and send a handwritten letter (See MailLift).
Consider sending another round of newsletters to users. Perhaps offer an upgrade discount to thank them for their support. The hopes here is to drive conversion and increase stickiness of the customers.
Get more endorsements
Reach out to early users and get them to share about their experiences using Pied Piper. Encourage them to spread the word in the form of a tweet, Facebook post, or even a blog entry. Such user stories are useful as they help to add extra validation to the product. Product Hunt does a really good job at this. Many companies who launched their product on PH share their launch day statistics publicly. You can also prepare some quotes in advance and have customers sign off on those endorsements for your site.
Recalling the user funnel from Part 1 of this post, here’s what the numbers might possibly look like after a month.
There is a high drop off percentages between arriving at the website and getting users to sign up for a trial. Come up with various hypotheses on why this could be so, and design experiments to prove them.
Perhaps the value proposition wasn’t clear enough? A/B test the copy on the site! Are users not clicking on the main Call to Action? Look at heat maps and click maps to figure out areas of improvements to the site.
Segment the site visitors based on source and medium. Is there a particular segment with an unusually high attrition rate? Adjust the target audience for paid acquisition campaigns accordingly.
The numbers also show that trial users face inertia in making their first API call. Was the documentation too complicated? Talk to trial users to figure out why. Maybe even offer incentives such as free T-shirts to encourage them to activate.
After a hopefully successful launch, the real work has only just begun. Be sure to document everything. Keep optimizing, testing and iterating!
PS. Don’t forget, Pied Piper is always hiring! ☺