Do you promote and sell products or services? Looking for a proven plan to sell your products prior to launch?
In this article, you’ll discover a five-phase launch strategy that drives enormous sales.
Why You Need a Pre-Marketing Launch Strategy
You’re excited for launch day. Your new product is going to change the world; your app will transform eCommerce; your course will help thousands of entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Right?
But your customers don’t care… yet. Your launch day means nothing to them.
So you need to create anticipation. Targeting your audience with a pre-launch strategy brings a whole range of benefits for your overall campaign, including:
- Pre-sales. In some industries such as book publishing, pre-orders are a crucial signal of whether a new release is going to be successful. Publishers, agents, and investors will all be watching your pre-sale figures.
- Word-of-mouth and organic marketing. People can’t start talking about your new launch until they know what it is! If you start marketing in the pre-launch phase, they’ll already be spreading the good news about your product when it’s finally released.
- More time, more impact. Marketing channels such as social media and email are immensely powerful. But algorithms and spam filters can downgrade your marketing messages. If you start targeting your audience now, you’ll have more time to reach them before launch day.
We’re going to share a foolproof, five-step strategy to tap into all of these benefits. Let’s make your book, course, product, or service a bestseller before it even launches!
The 5-Step Marketing Launch Strategy
First, let’s talk timeframes. How far away is your book or product launch date
In this five-step strategy, we’re allowing 2 to 4 weeks for each step. That means you can start working on your pre-launch strategy from 3 to 5 months before the launch date.
Five months might sound like a long time, but don’t worry. The pre-launch strategy gives you lots of ways to keep up the momentum.
Momentum is key whenever you’re launching something new on the market. It’s easy for people to get distracted by other releases, life events, and holiday sales.
Our goal is to keep up your sales figures over several months by constantly offering new and time-limited opportunities to your audience. And we’re aiming to increase the pressure as your launch date gets closer.
Starting with valuable, release-related content, we’ll gradually step things up until you’ll have a bigger, more excited audience than ever before.
Here are the five stages of the ultimate marketing launch strategy:
- Lead a masterclass.
- Run a virtual event.
- Refine the masterclass.
- Leverage relationships.
- Run an all-access event.
#1: Lead a Masterclass
This is the first step in your marketing launch strategy. Most of your audience has never heard of you—or, if they’ve heard of you, they haven’t heard about the new product, service, or content that you’re launching. At the same time, you don’t want to start with the hard sell 5 months before your product even comes to market.
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So you’re going to use a different strategy: leading a masterclass to show your expertise in this niche, without directly trying to sell.
- Publishing a book about becoming an entrepreneur? Start with a masterclass on how to choose a side hustle.
- Marketing a new, innovative kind of non-stick pan? Run a masterclass on cooking the perfect omelet.
- Releasing B2B software that’s going to transform recruitment? Try a masterclass on writing the perfect job ad.
Choose a transitional topic: something that’s relevant, valuable, and guides customers toward needing your product. As people learn more from you, they progress toward making a purchase.
Here’s how you’re going to help them progress. That masterclass is just the first step in an upselling sequence:
- The masterclass or webinar is free to sign up for.
- When people sign up, they’ll be offered a short course or content bundle, via an email campaign.
- Tell them how much the course is worth but offer it for free when they pre-order your launch product.
For example, this sign-up page is for a masterclass in choosing a side hustle. There’s a free starter kit of interactive content when users pre-order a new book.
We’ve seen this strategy achieve a 48% conversion rate in the very first stage of a pre-launch strategy.
It can be expensive to create and publicize this content so you’ll need to think about your pre-launch resources. If you have some money to spend, then great! Advertise to a wider audience and reach more cold prospects. If you’re on a tight budget, focus on people who are already in your audience: social media followers, email subscribers, existing customers, and so on.
Once the masterclass is over and your upselling email campaign is complete, it’s time for Step 2: organizing a virtual event.
#2: Run a Virtual Event
In this step, you run a virtual event to promote sales, widen your audience, and create a sense of exclusivity.
Here’s how it goes:
- Schedule an event (usually virtual) for your launch date, or as close as possible to it.
- Invite guest speakers who are relevant to your target audience and bring their own following of potential customers.
- Offer regular and VIP tickets. Make the VIP offer tempting: exclusive content, a private Q&A with the guest speakers, or whatever else will appeal to your audience. Just like your masterclass, you can tell people the estimated value of each ticket type for more impact.
- Both ticket types are free when people pre-order. To get VIP tickets, people have to pre-order within a very limited timeframe.
This. marketing launch tactic achieves four key things:
- It keeps up the momentum of your pre-launch campaign.
- It’s open to everyone for free, widening your potential audience.
- It creates a sense of scarcity and exclusivity to encourage even more pre-sales.
- It creates the buzz of a big launch event without having to worry about whether your sales portal will work on launch day.
To deliver on all these benefits, your event will have to be seriously attractive to customers. Aim for about 3-4 hours in total of valuable content. Make a keynote appearance yourself, discussing a topic or answering questions that directly relate to your product; then have guest speakers lead shorter sessions or speak on panels together.
#3: Refine the Masterclass
Your launch event is booked out, pre-orders are stacking up nicely, and there are still almost 2 months to go before launch day.
What’s next? How do you keep that momentum going?
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It’s time for another masterclass! And this time, it’s going to be even easier.
The second time you run your pre-launch masterclass, you can use the same content. You don’t need to create something from scratch. It’s a good idea to freshen up the marketing and check that your messaging sounds up to date, but the core content can be the same. Trust us: if you’re offering valuable content and your audience is growing, no one is going to care that you ran the same awesome masterclass twice.
For example, if you first ran a masterclass in October, you could bring it back in early January. This time, tap into messages about New Year’s resolutions. As your launch date gets closer, you might also be able to add more physical props to the masterclass such as holding up a book or unboxing the final product.
You can aim for a bigger audience and a higher conversion rate than before. By this stage, you have plenty of pre-sales to give you confidence, and you know what appeals to your audience. So think big!
#4: Leverage Relationships
Back in Step 2, we already mentioned finding event guests who have their own strong communities and can speak to your target audience.
In Step 4, you’re going to lean on those connections and relationships even harder. Get in touch with authoritative people in your niche to create more content and share audiences.
- Choose a list of guests that your audience will be excited about.
- Create interviews or podcasts with them.
- Host the interviews on a membership site that’s free to join when people pre-order.
- Encourage your guests to promote the site to their own audience.
- Only keep the offer open for a couple of weeks. Remember, you’re trying to build sales momentum and exclusivity, not give everything away for free!
To make this happen, you’re probably going to have to call in some favors. But that’s part of launching something new! And, if you’re prepared to reciprocate when those guests run their own pre-launch strategy, you’ll be in an even stronger position.
If you have the resources—or if you want something that will take less time and effort—there are other ways you can leverage relationships, too.
- Send advance copies, products, or course previews to people who might share a review with their audience.
- Make guest appearances on podcasts that are relevant to your target audience.
The basic technique is the same. Get in touch with someone who has a sizeable, relevant audience of their own so you can help promote each other.
#5: Run an All-Access Event
Launch day is getting close and it’s time for the final step in your pre-launch strategy!
Just like you repeated the masterclass earlier, it’s time to plan another event. But this time, it’s going to be slightly different.
At this point, when launch day is really close and you want to maximize sales as much as possible, you’ll make the event open to absolutely everyone. No more VIP tickets. Anyone can get full access simply by pre-ordering.
As you’ve progressed through the stages of this pre-launch strategy, you’ve been able to sell harder. You’ve gone from showing relevant expertise in a masterclass, to attracting attention with an event, to leveraging relationships with people who can discuss your product.
Now, in the final stage of this marketing launch strategy, you can just flat-out sell. That’s what this event is about. It’s a celebration that highlights why your course, book, product, or service is going to change lives. And you want to welcome in as many people as possible!
Design Your Own Marketing Launch Strategy
By now, hopefully you feel excited and inspired. Even if your big launch day is still 6 months away, it’s not too early to start promoting your products and getting those pre-sales in. Remember, you can start out gently with a masterclass that taps into your expertise, then gradually ramp up the sales talk and the frequency of events.
You can customize this marketing launch strategy to suit you, too. The examples we’ve focused on come from the pre-launch strategy of a book. They lean on the creator’s personal strengths of course creation. But you could do something different.
For example, if you’re comfortable behind a microphone but not on camera, then you could run a live podcast event. Maybe your content bundles will feature recipe collections or planning templates or business spreadsheets. Whatever works for you and your target audience. Play to your strengths.
Amy Porterfield is an online marketing educator who helps entrepreneurs build profitable businesses. She created the Digital Course Academy and hosts the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. Her latest book is called Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World. Find her on Instagram @amyporterfield.
Other Notes From This Episode
- Connect with Michael Stelzner @Stelzner on Instagram and @Mike_Stelzner on Twitter.
- Watch this interview and other exclusive content from Social Media Examiner on YouTube.
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