Launching a Slack app? Here’s how to get ready
Four steps toward making a strong first impression
For many developers, building a product can seem like the easy part. But launching a product? That’s another story.
Whether you’re building a Slack-first app or an add-on to an existing business, a bit of polish and and some creative foresight can go a long way toward a successful product launch. And you don’t need a marketing team — or a marketing budget — to do it.
Follow these steps to get your Slack app ready for the big day.
Step 1. Tell a story that will speak to your future customers
A well-crafted product description is an all-important tool for attracting your future happy users.
When thinking through your app’s messaging, understanding your target users — the people you’re building for — is job one. You’re not creating something for everybody; you’re solving a specific problem for a certain population of people.
You need to know how to describe your app in terms your users will identify with. To do that, you should have a deep understanding of their pain points.
Get out and talk to your target users. What keeps them up at night? What’s the hardest part of their job? What problem, if fixed, would 10x their productivity at work?
Once you have a good idea of the problems your app is solving, you’ll want to explain why your solution is new and better than what’s already out there. (Or as marketers say, you need to differentiate your app.)
Here’s an example of how you might approach that exercise:
[App name] is a Slack app for [target user] that [solves this specific problem] by [your solution].
Unlike [the alternative / competition], which [description of how it attempts to solve a problem], [your product name] [why your solution is different/ better].
When you’ve come up with a description you feel good about, try to uncover any lingering sticking points. Your messaging is an opportunity to not only describe your app, but also to preemptively answer objections before they’re raised.
To do that, take your target users through your messaging and have them speak their thoughts and questions out loud. Well-crafted messaging can dampen anxiety (“Will this bot DM my team mates?” “How secure is my data?”) and grease the path toward clicking the “Add to Slack” button.
Step 2. Give people a way to opt in
Your future fans are out there, and they can’t wait to sing your praises. The earlier you find them, the bigger a splash you’ll be able to make on launch day!
Spin up a landing page (services like Instapage and Unbounce make this easy) to highlight your now-crystal-clear messaging. On it, give curious readers a way to opt in to learn more. You’d be surprised how many people want to raise their hand for more information. It’s your job to give them a compelling reason — and a way — to do it.
When launch day comes, make it easy for people to spread the news by including a succinct tweet in your announcement message. (Just make sure it’s editable!)
There’s no need to be shy about asking people, nicely, to spread the word. If you treat early fans with courtesy and humanity, they’ll return it in spades.
Step 3. Amplify the news with PR
A couple weeks before the big day, it’s time to consider how press will fit in your launch plan. Securing press isn’t easy, but getting a well-written pitch to the right people gives you a much better shot.
First, compile a list of journalists who might be interested in your product. Ask yourself: is your product in their vertical? Does it challenge or add to a story they’ve written recently? Is it a competitor to a company they cover? Will your story be uniquely interesting to this publication’s readers?
Be strategic about who you reach out to. Under no circumstances should you blast out same pitch to ten different writers. Start by reaching out to your top choice first.
So, what goes into a good pitch? Do some research beforehand to craft a pitch that’s compelling, concise, and above all, personal.
In your pitch, tell the writer:
- What problem your product is solving, and who it’s for
- Why your solution is innovative, unique, or surprising
- Why it’s better and different than the alternative
- Why it matters to that specific writer at that specific publication
- Any other newsworthy information: is your growth rate impressive? Do you have big-name, ecstatic beta users? Are you the first to do something? Are your founders well-known or uniquely qualified to solve this problem?
- The date and time when the news should go out (the “embargo date”)
If your pitch isn’t considered newsworthy by traditional press, remember that online communities can drive even more traffic than an article in a big-name publication. Brainstorm ways to fit non-traditional channels — like Product Hunt, Hacker News, and reddit — into your launch plan.
Step 4: Help us help you!
Our support doesn’t stop once your Slack App Directory listing is submitted. If you’ve hit a technical snag or simply want another opinion on your best launch ideas, we want to help!
A Slack Partner Briefing is a focused, fifteen-minute session for public (or soon-to-be-public) apps. After signing up on the Partner Briefing site, you’ll be paired up with two team members, typically a developer relations engineer and business development manager, who can answer all your burning questions about your app. Technical and non-technical queries are welcome, so come prepared and ask away.
What else should founders do before launch day? Let us know in the comments, or visit our documentation to start building something to launch! 🤖