By the time you’ve scoped, developed, prototyped, tested, redeveloped, approved, and begun production of a new product, you’ve invested months (at least) into something that will challenge the market, and delight your customers. However, the caveat is that if nobody knows about your new product idea, no matter how incredible it is, that significant investment isn’t likely to pay off.
Digital PR is of fundamental importance to your new product launch – and it’s never simply a case of paying for a few well-placed ads and waiting for the orders to roll in!
Your online PR approach can be make or break, and a well-planned strategy and marketing plan can multiply the attention and coverage you get that acts as a catalyst for a successful product launch.
Introducing a New Product to the Market
A completely new product won’t have any customer feedback history or an existing digital marketing footprint, so it’s down to you to showcase why your product launch is so exciting, why your target audience should engage with your brand, and why potential customers need this item in their lives.
The reality is that once a product hits the shelves, you must have already created a solid foundation, and most business digital PR launch strategies begin several months before. We’d recommend taking a step back for a second to ensure you have a crystal-clear idea of what your product value proposition, product features, pain points, who it is for, and why it is different from anything else.
This process helps you define your positioning and build a framework to create and include consistent messaging in your digital marketing strategies across each element of your digital PR – because haphazard promotions or uncoordinated press features can be detrimental.
Digital PR Techniques for Product Launches
There are multiple potential ways to drum up support, interest, and demand amongst your target market before launching a new product, and the more effective your communication channels, the more engaged your target audience will be.
As a few examples, you might consider the following:
- Create explainers, usually in video format since this is the easiest medium for customers to digest. Explainers are an excellent opportunity to highlight the real-world advantages of your product.
- Using high-profile press features, online mentions, or relevant influencers posts to draw in a larger audience and for more organic visibility. Outreach PR, endorsements by experts or popular figures in your industry sector, influencer marketing and features on news sites can act as social proof of the value of your product and get it in front of your target audience demographic.
- Pre-launch giveaway or promotion – this is a great way to build awareness and take a proactive approach. Think of product launch events, incentives to pre-order, opportunities for customers to sample or test your product, and unveiling it at trade fairs, conferences, or public events. The more coverage and visibility, the better.
But before you start putting all your innovative ideas on paper, it’s essential to ensure you have the basics in place to support your online PR activities.
Sharpening Your Digital Marketing Presence Ahead of a Product Launch
Your existing digital assets can make a considerable difference, and you need to have as much information available about your business as possible so anybody who engages with your company won’t be left with unanswered questions.
We all know the importance of positive customer experience, which fall under the spotlight during a launch campaign. For example, if you have coverage in the press and stand-out features in high-readership publications, but an outdated and clunky website user experience with no social media presence, the impact will fall flat.
Selling a new product isn’t just about selling a new product. It’s about having the reputation and credibility to give customers confidence that you will live up to the hype, so never be afraid to revisit your market research and existing digital marketing strategy to ensure it is up to the task prior to product launch.
Online PR Product Launch Countdown
We’ve touched on the potential timescales you might need to build into your product launch, although these can vary depending on the nature of your product and your target market.
You should ideally start working on your initial pre-launch digital strategy and digital PR about six months before the launch date. Here’s a quick run-down of what a typical launch timetable might look like:
Six Months Before: Focus on Visibility and Credibility
You want an active social media following, a healthy customer database, and a good dose of engagement to maximise the impact your launch campaigns will have.
Now is the time to work on your position within your industry, reinforcing your reputation as an expert in your field, ramping up social media engagement, and generally improving your online presence.
Five Months Before: Drill Down on Your Target Audience Persona
Every online PR campaign should target the precise audience most likely to buy – think back to who it is for, why it matters, and the problems it solves.
There are limitless ways to communicate with customers. By developing your customer persona, you can select the right marketing channels, tailor your language and direct your PR budget to the best possible places.
Four Months Before: Create Social Proof as part of your digital marketing strategy
Here’s where you can draw on that increased engagement to recruit influencers, ambassadors, industry experts, bloggers or even previous customers who will act as guinea pigs for your new product. You can invite journalists and news sites to get involved and provide feedback and reviews about how well your offering performs.
These teaser campaigns are dual-purpose – they supplement visibility while providing third-party proof that your product is an excellent choice.
Two Months Before: Build on the Excitement
As you get closer to the finish line, it’s time to ramp up the tension and provide just enough information about your product to make the final launching day a big deal.
Snippets of video and a carefully planned drip feed of new reveals can draw your target customers in and make them poised to act.
One Month Before: Full Speed PR!
A month before launch day, you want to pour everything into your outreach PR to ensure you’re at the front of your customer’s mind and there is zero potential for your launch to drift out of view.
That means lots of hype and referring back to your business strategy and marketing strategy. Lots of press communications, lots of shareable content, email marketing, lots of social media interaction and lots of promoting your brand – you can also publish media kits to make it easier for journalists to feature your product or brand.
Keep the energy up and maintain momentum to ensure you’re ready to successfully launch, and for sales to explode. On launch day, you’ll have done the groundwork and set yourself up for a fantastic response – and one that is well deserved.