“But wait a minute,” you say, “what do you mean, pre-launch marketing? We don’t even have our product ready!”
That’s right – I said pre-launch marketing. There are some things you can do to get a running start on your startup marketing. Putting in an early effort can help you get a jump on the competition.
Why? Because, when it’s time to launch, you will be much better off having connected with the right people in your industry, participated in some conversations and (perhaps) done some pre-positioning of your product or company.
I’ve written about this topic before when I described how I got results for a startup that contacted me three weeks before launch (read my previous post, Why Product Launch Plans Need to Include Social Networking). I also wrote Countdown for a Successful Rolling Product Launch, in which I suggested that you can start as much as a year before launch to begin marketing activities.
My previous posts were about the why and when. This post gets a little more into what to do in your pre-launch marketing.
What marketing activities can you do when your product or service isn’t even ready?
Assuming that you have a business plan that maps out your unique selling proposition, your target audience and potential partners and industry connectors, and the pain that your product or service solves, there is a lot you can do!
1. Connect with industry thought leaders, editors at publications, potential partners on appropriate social media.
What’s appropriate? This is part of knowing your audience. If you are a straight B2B play, focus on LinkedIn. If you need to reach both partners and the media as well as end users, you may want to connect on LinkedIn and Facebook or other platforms popular with consumers such as Instagram and Pinterest.
2. Engage with your connections by joining conversations and commenting on their posts, articles and messages.
When key connections publish information, comment where appropriate and begin to create awareness of your knowledge and expertise. Join in conversations on LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Chats, and Q&A social media sites like Quora and others. You don’t need to give away any trade secrets – just stick to the problems and issues that your product or service solves. Listen and ask questions to find out what your targeted audience is interested in.
3. Post about the problems you will solve and any existing solutions without discussing your solution.
You can write some blog posts pre-launch that can become a thorough white paper for your launch. For example, write about the history of the industry you are about to enter. What has gone on before; what are the successes and failures and why? What pain or problem is still outstanding? How have competitors tried to solve the problem (hopefully knowing all the while that your solution is better)?
The benefits of doing this work early can be huge. 1.) You can show potential investors that you’ve already dug in and have connections and a platform from which to launch. 2.) You will have greater potential for having others talk about your new product or service will be that much greater. 3.) You may have been able to seed your target audience with some pre-product positioning and education as to why they need your product or service, thereby reducing your sales cycle and increasing the rate of customer acquisition in your first few months.
Now that’s marketing traction!
Do you need help with start-up marketing? Contact New Incite today. We provide strategic and marketing planning, pre-launch marketing activities as well as launch marketing.
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