Prelaunch Marketing: It even precedes coding.
Get the potential customers before there is a product.
This is how we like to do our products marketing -:
Step 1 — Talking to customers about a product that does not yet exist
Spending time with our ideas in isolation will not take us very far because it’s not based on anything other than speculation; this is why talking to real people about our idea is critical. Getting relevant feedback on our ideas takes a bit of showmanship because one has to create the illusion that the product either currently exists or is about to.
This can be done in following steps again -:
Step a — Screen Shots
Design them on photoshop or even paint would do. Put them on (2.) or a scribed video/stop motion graphics can be brilliant for explaining the product even before the product is made. Wireframes will work very well at this level — Blasamiq (and many more)is a brilliant tool do so.
Step b — Pre launch page
The importance of words cannot be ignored. The words that describe this product are of great essence here, they are more important than anything else. Sometimes just words may be enough if the product is novel enough (or may be not).
It would be utterly important that our products are well described in no more than 2 lines first, for this purpose (and beyond).
A prelaunch page that explains the product that is about to be is created at this stage and the stuff from step a is put here. You will see betali.st filled with such pages. These pages are created to get the potential customers to subscribe to the launch of the product or to share it with their friends so that they could subscribe to the launch of the product too. (May be the first few users can be rewarded with some premium features and more such advantages could be passed on to such users).
Simplicity is king in this case. Mattan Griffel’s blog post on the “The Minimal Homepage” is probably the single clearest articulation of why minimal copy, large background images and a singular call-to-action will convert best.
Anyway, this is where the waters will be tested. If no one pays attention to your page, after you have designed it well and simply enough. May be there is something wrong with your product proposition to the intended customer.
Step c — Drive traffic and start a newsletter
Get a free email marketing account—MailChimp is the best. As you drive traffic to your site, start collecting these email addresses (obviously that is really why you were building the prelaunch page in the first place) into a mailing list. Many startups make the mistake of not building up their email list early. Don’t.
Step d — Build the social media channels
Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for the product. And keep them ticking. Read this beautiful post on this topic.
Step 2 — Iterate with the customer
So because of the prelaunch page we may now have some potential customer emails. Don’t only tell them of the launch of the product but also interact with them, get their feedback on UI. Send them some designs we make for the product. Ask them if they would like to suggest their preferences etc.. Accumulate all this feedback into a spreadsheet and keep a running account of all customer communication. This is probably the single most important asset you will build pre-code.
This is a using the power and time resources of the crowd to build our own product. It not only is a more lean way of constructing a product but is a very solid way for the feedback is coming from not your paid testers and managers. It is coming from people who will be using this product.
Step 3 — Happy coding
Now that assumptions for this product are tested with the real people, we know whether there is an appetite for our product or not. Based on the result, would be time to find a full-stack developer that can help turn this early-stage concept and customer base into a real product and then a real company by delivering a functional, minimum viable product.
No one thing mentioned above will be sufficient for getting you to the point where your idea is ready to be built, but together they get you to the point where you are ready to start writing some code. Convincing a full-stack developer to join your cause isn’t going to be easy. But runnin these steps and the name of Preseed Web Lab is only going to make it easier.
If a prospective developer/cofounder isn’t convinced by our work, don’t worry about it—they aren’t the right fit anyway. The person who joins us on this journey is going to need a passion for the problem we are tackling to get through the inevitable tough times. They are also going to need enough humility to recognize that they need yur full-stack marketing skills just as much as we need their full-stack development skills.
Disclaimer: This post is hugely influenced by a post I stumbled upon a few days ago on medium. It resonated with my views on this subject so much that I decided to customise it for the purpose of Preseed Web Lab
I would also highly recommend you that you dig this collection of mine very well if you are seriously interested in understanding the new age marketing of the web products.