A Roadmap for Launching a New Product with Email
Bringing a new product into the world is an exciting time. After spending hours, weeks and maybe even months crafting This New Thing that your audience will love, you deserve to beam with pride… and maybe feel a little anxious to get the word out.
But wherever you are in the development process, it’s never too early to think about how you’re going to promote This New Thing. And as part of that plan, there should definitely be a place for email marketing.
According to Direct Marketing Association, 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email, which beat out social and direct mail. As the most effective tool you’ll want in your promotion warehouse, developing an email strategy will be key. After all, there’s more you can do than simply sending an email out to your subscribers to announce it’s here.
Pre-Launch: Planning & sparking intrigue
While much of the excitement in releasing a new product is limited to your internal team, you can start to get your audience as stoked as you are. Whether you chose to reveal what’s coming or leave it a mystery, the advantage of letting your customers know that something is on its way allows you to build an audience who’s ready to buy.
As you prime your audience to develop a thirst for your new product, here are four things to keep in mind pre-launch:
1. Plan a promotion cadence.
How often do you plan on emailing your subscribers and what will that content entail? Now’s the time to develop a strategy and add the necessary emails to your editorial calendar.
2. Highlight what they’re missing.
Your product exists to help people with a specific problem. Whatever that may be, now’s a good time to get your audience thinking about that problem, and the solutions available to them.
3. Identify a clear and consistent call to action (CTA).
Think about what action you want your subscribers to take after reading your email. Are they signing up to a separate list for exclusive product updates/announcements? Should they spread the word on social? Do they have the option to pre-order? So many questions to consider for your CTA, but stick to one to prevent confusion.
4. Integrate email with the rest of your promotion plan.
Email should be one communication channel among many. However else you plan on promoting your new product (website updates, social posts, blog posts, press release), make sure your messaging is consistent across all channels.
Pre-Launch Promotion In Action
Here at AWeber, we decided to tease the launch of our new email automation platform, Campaigns, via email and social.
To pique everyone’s curiosity, we left the details a mystery and tied it to a social campaign to build some hype. And since we were announcing the product at our digital marketing conference, ASCEND, we linked to a landing page where visitors could sign up to livestream the reveal.
Before the platform was revealed, there were already hundreds of people talking about it.
— David G. Johnson (@TheDavidJohnson) October 14, 2015
Launch Day: Time to announce your product
Sure, this is the day when you release all of your promotional content. But (and this is mostly for the procrastinators out there) you should have most of it ready to go before Launch Day arrives, if possible.
This will allow you to focus on distributing the information across all platforms included in your promotion plan, and of course handle any last-minute items that unexpectedly pop up.
As you create materials for the big announcement, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Your email should focus exclusively on the product.
This isn’t the time to mention anything that’s unrelated to your new product. Is there an upcoming sale around the corner? Save it for a separate email. You don’t want to dilute the message (i.e., your product announcement) by including other distracting information. Keep your eyes focused on the goal, and your subscribers will be able to do the same.
2. Focus on the benefits.
Telling your subscribers that something new has arrived doesn’t give them any reason to buy it. Instead, lead with the major benefits customers will get out of it. Communicating this clearly to your audience will be key to your success.
3. Offer an incentive to entice people to purchase.
We talk a lot about incentives, but that’s only because they’re great for encouraging people to take a desired action. Want them to sign up to your email list? Give them something in return. Want them to buy your new product? Give them an exclusive promo offer.
Pro Tip: You also don’t have to wait until Launch Day to promote an offer. If you decide to tease your upcoming product, you could encourage people to pre-order and take advantage of a limited-time sale.
4. Start thinking about how you’ll continue the conversation.
What are some other ways you can keep your product top of mind? Now’s the time to start jotting down ideas, and possibly even develop an extended plan to promote your product as needed.
Launching a Product In Action
When Ruggero Loda, founder of the go-to blog for reviews on running shoes Running Shoes Guru, launched a paid ebook series Run Lean, Run Strong, he did so by sending out an email:
In the email, he informed subscribers that they had been receiving excerpts from the series in the few days leading up to the launch. It also included a link to a landing page where one could purchase the series, as well as a money-back guarantee and free ebook updates.
By giving away free, relevant content on weight loss and nutrition, Ruggero warmed his subscribers up to receiving a promotion for the complete ebook series.
Continue the excitement: Post-launch emails
Even after you’ve made it through Launch Day, your job’s not over yet! Since there will be plenty of people who don’t purchase the first time, it’s important to continue offering your product to your subscribers.
Once your product is out the door, here are some ways to keep the conversation going:
1. Share user testimonials.
Scan your active social networks to see what people are saying about your product. Are there positive comments on how it’s making their lives 10,000x better? Okay, maybe it’s nothing that dramatic, but any good feedback is fodder for you to share in an email, on your website and social.
After releasing a new product, beauty product company Glossier was quick to share social posts from customers who had used it:
2. Offer another discount/promo code.
People love discounts. If they didn’t take advantage of it before, consider sending a targeted email to a segment of subscribers who didn’t open the first email that contained a discount code. This way, you’re targeting those who are less likely to have made a purchase.
3. Leverage content.
Your blog and social channels are great opportunities to keep your product top of mind. Consider how you might write a blog post about a specific topic that’s related to your product. This way even though you’re not necessarily promoting it directly to your readers, you’re educating them on why it’s important and how they might benefit from it.
4. Hook new business with a free offer.
Offering a freebie is an effective tactic for encouraging people who aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase to engage with your brand. Whether you give away a piece of content or even a trial with your product, make sure that it connects to the new product you want to promote.
5. Send segmented emails.
To ensure you’re only targeting those who haven’t purchased your product, consider sending segmented emails only to those who didn’t click the CTA in your original promotion email.
Post-Launch Emails in Action
On vocal coach Felicia Ricci’s homepage, visitors are presented with a sign up form to sign up for a free Belting Crash Course, which consists of three introductory videos for belt singing.
Each video contains content on how to get newbies (like me) primed for belting. After the third video, Felicia encourages subscribers that want to learn more to take purchase her more advanced Belt Your Face Off! video course.
This is a powerful opportunity to sell because 1) the subscriber (if he or she has watched the videos) probably wants to learn if they have what it takes to become the next American Idol, and 2) they already know Fel’s paid course will be valuable since the free one was too.
And for subscribers who don’t sign up, Felicia makes sure to occasionally promote the Belt Your Face Off! course at a discount in future broadcast emails.
Have a new product in the works?
Now’s the time to start thinking about the ways in which you can use email (in addition to your other communication channels) to get the word out, if you haven’t already.
If you’ve promoted a new product via email in the past, share your story in the comments below!
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