Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Launch Strategy That Works

If you're about to launch a new product, book, website, or whatever and don't know where to begin – then you MUST read this...

After launching multiple products over my career, there's a proven formula that works every time no matter what the actual "thing" is you’re launching. In a nutshell, it’s coordination and synchronization of multi-channel marketing efforts.

These efforts include:
--Staggered emails. These will go to you list and other synergistic lists and aim to build anticipation and a "hot list" of names before your launch. These names will then have potential to be your top buyers.

--Social media. Putting posts on blogs, bulleting boards, forums. Recording a video of yourself and posting it on YouTube. Ultimately, creating messages that have the potential to go viral.

--Pay per click. Bidding on your relevant keywords and having a mechanism and offer to collect names and build your hot list.

--Online PR. Getting your message out quickly and cost effectively. The release will get picked up by blogs, media websites, industry websites, and online news aggregators (such as Yahoo and Google) and not only increase awareness, but also give you backlinks (SEO!) as well as have the potential to go viral.

--Editorial and Article Syndication. Write articles for print and online media about the topic that ties into your launch.

All of these efforts build up slowly and culminate the day of your launch. You’re basically building momentum, that will pay off with traffic and buzz about your product.

Editor's Note:
I've been getting many emails from readers asking me about social media and how they can measure their activity. Having an Internet marketing, direct response and PR background, I find the following helpful when assessing my efforts:

Look at the "3 O's"—Outputs, Outcomes and Objectives.

Outputs measures effectiveness and efficiency, such as new subscriber sign-ups and spikes in Web site traffic during your campaign. And it measures analytics, such as referring Web site sources, visits, unique visits and visit percentages.

Outcomes measures behavioral changes such as internal customer/subscriber feedback (calls, e-mails, forum postings) on your Web site, as well as external reputation monitoring or visiting targeted chat rooms during your campaign looking to see the "buzz."

Objectives compare direct product sales during the time of the campaign to other sales that occurred before the campaign. So it establishes a baseline, giving room for sales assumptions tied to your effort.

I also use the following tools:

Google Analytics
-Check the “referring sources page” to see how much traffic was generated by LinkedIn.
-Look at overall traffic to website during same time period of your effort.
-If you have a sign up/email form, look for lead spikes during time period of your effort.

Google Alerts
-Set alert for your name, your company name, and keywords in your content. You’ll get notified via Alert if content/your messagegets picked up and goes viral.

Backlink Checkers
-Google Webmaster Tools - Check back links going to site during same time period of your effort.
-Link Popularity Check - Link popularity analysis is one of the best ways to quantifiably and independently measure your website's online awareness.

Sample free tools:
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