Want to Launch A Product? Here’s Your Comprehensive Digital Blueprint
I’ve spent two decades building brands, launching and marketing products, and I have a simple digital roadmap you can adapt to launch your products or services. While this isn’t tailored to your products, budget, or marketing objectives, it’s general enough to get you organized and off the couch.
Let’s first start with a digital roadmap for any new product launch (i.e. your product promotion strategy). You need a standard game-plan for the basics and you can include creative campaigns on top of the basics.
I. Pre-launch Strategy:
1. Website Teaser/Landing Page:
You can create an above-the-fold coming soon preview (depending if your website has a slideshow) of the new product. On click, you can direct them to a teaser page that gives them a little more info and offers to alert them of the launch via email capture (an excellent way to boost your email list). For example:
Why these examples work:
Distraction-free pages: No header navigation, no social icons, no random links, just ONE call-to-action. Don’t stand in the way of your conversions. Give them one action to take that benefits you, whether it’s email capture, coupon redemption or pre-order (if you have pre-order/waitlist capabilities.
Highly visual pages: The visuals tell a story. Focus on the product with call-outs to benefits. Benefits trump features.
Hits the pain-point head-on: The Milk-Bone ad does an excellent job of addressing the pain-point, head-on. Consumers want to know that you’re solving for their problems.
Social proof: The Milk-Bone examples have verifiable/backed-up claims. You can use testimonials, reviews, PR coverage, influencer reviews, etc.
Why create a teaser/landing page?
Build pre-launch buzz. Get fans excited about what’s next. You also have another asset to share on social media. From an SEO perspective: The longer your new URL is up and live, the better your SEO is going to be. Even if there’s only a little bit of interaction on-site, you will benefit from having some longevity behind your URL or domain. It’s more valuable to get something live — even if it’s just a teaser page — as soon as possible, then not starting from scratch when your full site actually launches. More info on benefits and how to leverage landing pages, click here.
2. Social Media:
What’s great about social media is that you’re drawing awareness about new products, while at the same time guiding them through your channels so there are no dead ends. In the pre-launch stage, we want them to take an action whether it’s signing up for notifications (email capture) or pre-order with a special offer, we want to introduce the product and capitalize on their interest in some way. We can also re-target those who click to our website from social media. Sample content:
- Facebook: Insert 1–2 lines on what the product is, benefits, and results. [Insert image/video that showcases the product] Click to the front of the line by pre-ordering our [product] with a 20% exclusive savings. CTA: Link to a landing page with an offer. [If you’re going the email capture route, you can say, “Be the first to know when our [product] launches!”] Alternatively, you can open with the pain point and how your product (and its benefits) solves for that pain point.
- Instagram post (or repost from an influencer pre-launch buzz campaign): [XXX influencer — ensure they’re tagged in the post and in the image] is doing Y with our new [product], which is ____ and does _____. [Insert short testimonial quote from influencer]. Want to learn more? Hit up our link in profile for a special offer. [Insert relevant hashtags and a link in profile to our landing page].
- IGTV: You can upload your video to IGTV.
- IG Stories: If you have an influencer tasked for creating IG content, you can have them create teaser and launch content that they’d promote on their channels and you’d cross-promote on your IG Stories.
- Twitter: Address pain point that your product solves for. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Learn more about our [product/product benefits]: [link to landing page]
You can also use a service like NiftyImages (used by Adidas and North Face), an email service that allows for dynamic personalization and content (i.e. countdown timers, personalized names in embedded graphics, etc.)
Sample Email Copy:
Subject Line: Short headline that sparks curiosity on what the product is or a short headline on the pain point your product solves. Consumers want to know that you’ve created something they want/need.
Header: Lead Image: Product image/gif/video in action so they can visualize it in context. For example,
Body Copy: THE [product] IS COMING…
CTA: Pre-Order Now to Enjoy an Exclusive 20% Savings!
4. Influencer Campaign:
Consider a launch campaign that has influencers tasked with either/or pre-launch and launch campaigns so you have consistent content running up to launch and beyond.
- Pre-launch: Task influencers for reviews, testimonials, and images/video of them using the product in action so their fans and followers can see the product in a “real-world” environment.
- Launch: They can partner with you in a “Live” event to talk about the product, help give “real life” insight as a complement to a team member who would talk about the product benefits, features, results. This balance also drives home that you’re a brand that collaborates with influencers and real people and wants its customers to get insights from their peers. M.Gemi does a weekly live “drop” where they launch new products and they often have influencers partner with team members for the LIVES. After, they post those videos on YouTube for SEO and extended visibility.
5. Reddit Promotion:
Reddit is the 6th most visited website in the world (see Slide 11) with 330MM active users. At the top of the page, you can also find additional, “sub-communities,” i.e. specific communities within the running forum, as well as live meet-ups in the U.S. and the EU.
- Reddit runs on a CPM model and costs average around $.75 CPM, which is $.75 per 1000 views, compared with FB, which starts at $1.25 CPM. Minimum spend is $5. Because of the formidable amount of users, Reddit is perfect for cost-effective top-of-funnel exposure, however, tread carefully with content. This is a devoted community and they care more about content and products that are relevant to their lives. They eschew gimmicks and will cut down false claims pretty quickly. Focus on QUALITY. I would only consider Reddit for awareness campaigns, for now. You can run them at the pre-launch + launch stages.
- When your email and your key channels (FB/IG) are running effectively, I would dive into how to cultivate a community on Reddit.
- How to create ads, a step-by-step tutorial. Another how-to from Hootsuite with some best practices.
- An excellent how-to on how to market on Reddit.
Your landing page should now redirect to your product detail page and you’ll have an aggressive week-long take-over/feature on your homepage. NorthFace is an excellent example that combines technology with visual product benefits and customer ratings based on benefit (akin to ratings and reviews on individual offerings). When a prospect lands on your site, remember how you can market (and remarket) to them once they visit:
2. Social Media Content:
The week of launch will serve as a blitzkrieg of promotion, related content, and features supporting the new product. It’s important that not all the messages are promotional in nature or consumers will consider them “spammy.” Strike a balance between driving click-to-buy promotions (direct sale) with content that gives utility and value (indirect sale). For example:
Day 1 (use as a guide for the rest of the week):
- Post 1: Launch day announcement on all platforms, LIVE event on IG and/or Facebook.
Sample status update: The [product] is HERE. [Hone in on product benefits/problems it solves]. [Insert image/video of product]. Buy now: [link to product landing/detail page].
- Post 2: Blog Post: Tips, how-to — non-sales content that drives context around your product and usage (sample post). CTA in post drives to [product].
- Post 3: Image and/or Video + testimonial from an influencer. This can be a re-post from an influencer campaign and/or images/videos uploaded to our channels with your own copy and a tag/call-out to the influencer.
3. Social Ads/Display:
Focus on two tiers of targeted social media advertising: awareness and re-targeting. For purposes of a launch campaign, I would focus on:
- Awareness ads: Start with product image and benefits. Target your ideal customer on digital display across the web — targets to be determined by your paid media partner based on budget and reach for launch campaigns, FB & IG. If you have a video, you can create an IG Story ad. You should A/B test ads and create gender-specific ads relating to their individual concerns. Test different ad variants: A/B of a general ad + a message that speaks to their pain-points.
- Re-targeting ads: Once they arrive at your site, you can retarget with testimonial ads (establish trust and reduce risk) and a special offer (value-based incentive).
Dedicated email blast linking to an announcement on your website. Here are excellent examples we can emulate from Peloton, Shinola, BOSE, and PLAE. They are minimalist, filled with impactful visuals and the essentials. I’ve also posted images from a THINX direct mail campaign that is highly effective at communicating the value proposition AND using real people/shapes in their marketing collateral. Good to consider adopting for email campaigns or any future direct response campaigns. You don’t want to load up your emails with too much information — just enough to whet their palate and get them to click on your website.
Sample Email Copy:
Subject Line: Get [the product] That [does X]
Header: Time to make some noise
Lead Image: Product image (ideally: an influencer with a testimonial quote) or it could be your team with the products/real customers in-situ, etc. Last resort? A straight-up product image.
Body Copy: Our [product] is designed for [target audience] to do [result].
Insert some background about the brand and mission (1–2 sentences) and your “why.”
Meet [product], brief product description and result consumers would enjoy upon purchase/use.
[Insert benefits as icons with a one-line benefit copy.]
CTA: See the [product] in action. Use BRAND20 at checkout for a special 20% savings off your purchase.
Sample THINX collateral for reference includes $10 off with a code to track sale, real models, and a clear visual representation of product benefits:
5. Influencer Campaign:
See above “pre-launch” section above for potential launch activations. Influencers can also:
- Host special giveaways on their platforms in exchange for liking the post, tagging a friend, and following your brand on social.
- Include a “click-to-buy” feature on IG that connects to an affiliate mechanism where they can earn commission off referral sales.
- Host LIVE events and any online events as well as off-line experiential/pop-up events.
- Allow their image/testimonial to be used in social advertising as social proof/product validation.
- Create product-related articles for a feature on our channels, i.e. spend a day with X influencer as they use [product]. This places your brand as part of their lifestyle and gives context to the product.
6. Pop-ups/experiential marketing:
You can use digital to draw attention to a physical, experiential event. Examples include:
- Glossier (pop-ups that launched into a permanent location)
- Everlane (partnered with Nordstrom to introduce pop-ups in their retail locations — this was incredibly smart as Nordstrom has created a formidable digital presence including Shop Style and Reward Style affiliate programs with influencers, i.e. driving online sales and promotions of online/offline events)
- Cuyana (spent 4 years experimenting with pop-ups in NY and LA before launching their first store)
- M.Gemi (has used a Soho pop-up location for sample sales). I would refer to an experiential team whose sole expertise is OOH events and temporary retail locations. However, I wanted to give you a primer on what could be achieved during launch.
Pop-Up email promotion examples: Everlane. You can send this to your entire list and then second updates to users in the specific location. You can also use this as an opportunity to crowdsource where you can launch your next pop-up based on demand. Other ways to promote pop-up events via digital:
- Social advertising: you can drive targeted, by-city advertising to drive awareness of the event and offer a special digital promotional code they can use at the event.
- Influencers: Depending on where you launch, you can partner with influencers to co-host the opening day event. They would post LIVEs and content throughout the day showcasing their experiences and would do a pre-event campaign to attract consumers to come to their events.
Although you won’t be updating your product pages constantly, you want to make sure they’re current and have the best content that will turn a browser to a customer. Ensure that you have ratings + reviews on the page, as well as any images/video of real people/influencers wearing your products will heighten conversions (social proof and product used by real people).
2. Content Marketing + Social Media:
Remember, your customer will come to you at varying points in the purchase funnel. Some customers won’t be aware of when a product launches, so it’s important to consistently promote your products via direct promotional content (buy now, offers, referrals/rewards) and non-promo content (blog posts, how-tos, inspirational content, etc.)
It’s perfectly fine to continue to promote products long after launch if you have something new to say. Reviews, testimonials, videos, content marketing, influencer features, new offers — these are a few entry points to reintroduce your products to existing subscribers in a fresh way and this can also serve as an introduction for those who’ve subscribed to your list post-launch.
4. Referrals + Rewards:
For those who’ve purchased, you want to follow up via email with targeted campaigns. Sample concepts:
- Offer a giveaway for people who post reviews or tag you in their UGC content.
- Create an offer for those who’ve purchased with a referral code if they get their friends/family to purchase.
- Encourage influencers to use their affiliate links to promote your products beyond launch and where it feels authentic.
- Create a rewards program (see detail in subsequent sections on how to create one, step-by-step) that can either reward people for repeat purchases or threshold purchases (i.e. get X% off when you make a purchase of $250 or more, etc.)
Consumers will find their way to your product pages via a multitude of entry points (e.g. search, social, email, direct, PR, etc.) and you want to ensure you’re treating every new visit as a potential customer. Beyond launch, you still want to optimize your remarketing campaigns. You may find you’re reducing budget beyond launch, but keeping a global remarketing campaign is effective because these are warm buyers.