No matter what you’re selling, there are three phases to a successful launch campaign:
- Pre-launch (what comes before people can buy)
- Launching and active sales
- Post-launch or post-sale
We’ll be honest: The pre-launch phase is where a lot of business owners shit the bed. They tend to just keep regular content giong out (or no content, in many cases), but we think this phase is the most important part of a launch. We’ll die on this hill.
If you think the launch is the most important step in the process, think again. Creating hype for your launch and actually getting customers to buy is what will help your launch be successful. And that happens in the pre-launch stage.
What pre-launch content is
During pre-launch, you’ll want to raise awareness for your brand and build excitement for your new product, service, or offer. This involves a lot of content, which involves a lot of planning and writing, as you might guess.
But what even is pre-launch content? In a nutshell, pre-launch content is every single piece of content that is written and will be published during your launch phase. All that pre-launch content goodness might include:
- Social media content, including posts, captions, teasers, Instagram Stories, TikToks, Tweets, Facebook Lives, or Instagram Lives
- Blog posts
- Landing pages
- Swipe copy
- And more that we’re probably forgetting, to be honest
That’s how you’ll be sharing the content… but what should the content be about?
We mentioned that pre-launch is the time to build hype for what you’re selling. But it’s also the time to show your target customer that they have a problem they may not have realized. And your shiny new product or offer or service is the best solution to that problem. This is a warm-up phase, where you slowly march people to the conclusion that:
a.) They got a problem (and yo, you solve it)
b.) You’re the expert on this subject
c.) You’ve got something coming up that will help with said problem
It’s time to dig in and outline a content plan that does all that ^^ so your audience is primed and ready to smack that BUY NOW button when your offer goes live.
Outline your content strategy
First things first: We highly recommend using a project management tool to stay on track with your launch, especially if you’re working with a team. (But it’s just as helpful in keeping things organized if you’re running the show solo!) Our favorites are Asana and Airtable, but you do you. Find a tool that works for your habits and preferences.
Got your project management tool ready to go? Good. Now, start outlining your content strategy by answering these questions:
- What are we launching? Explain what your new product, service, or offer is.
- What’s the launch date? This’ll help you determine when to start pre-launch. (More on that in a minute.)
- What content do we need? Refer to that list of content above. Also, think about what content you already have that you can use for your launch.
- Where will we share this content? Note which platforms will be distributing your content; e.g., your website, your social channels, and so on.
When should your pre-launch phase begin? Your mileage may vary, but at the very least, give it two to three weeks so you can warm up your audience properly and not push your sales too hard. If you prefer a longer pre-launch, tack on weeks or months as necessary.
Flesh out your pre-launch content
We have to start this section off with a disclaimer: Every launch is different. Or at least it should be, because a launch is tailored to a specific new offer and a unique business. Keep that in mind when writing your pre-launch content!
Just because something worked magically for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you. (Likewise, just because one of your previous launches was a huge success doesn’t mean the next one will be if you follow the same formula — and vice versa.)
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
Like we said in this lovely post about launch copy, your email newsletters should begin at least two weeks before your launch date. (See why we recommended giving your pre-launch at least two to three weeks?)
What you actually say in your emails is up to you and dependent on your biz. But remember to be honest and provide value to them…while yes, trying to sell your shiny new thing. You can do this with emails that:
- Explain the problem, situation, testimonial, or request that led you to create your new product or service
- Describe what exactly your new product or service does
- Answer frequently asked questions
- Reveal the team behind the brand
- Talk about how you started your business and what you experienced up to this point
- Share testimonials from other happy customers
Finally, include at least one email that announces the start of your launch! Include plenty of links and helpful information so people know how to buy your stuff.
The key is not to send one to two emails where you introduce your new offer and then bounce. That won’t lead to conversions or engagement, much less sales. All you’ll do is get ignored. Or you’ll piss off your email subscribers.
Social media posts
We say it all the time: Social media isn’t just there for you to sell. It’s not a platform for you to collect followers and then spend all your time pushing them to support your biz and buy your stuff. Yuck.
You probably follow at least a few businesses on social media. Think about why. Maybe they share funny memes, or teach you things in an interesting way, or they just make you feel good about supporting their business. You want to be the same way.
So, if you’re being genuine on social media, what do you do during pre-launch? Share all of the content you’re sharing via email and other platforms about the problem people have and how you are the one to solve it.
Social media is also one of the best channels to build hype. Get people excited for the launch date well before that date arrives. You might:
- Post teaser images that reveal part of your new product or service
- Encourage people to guess what you’re launching in a post, a Tweet, or in Instagram Stories
- Host a Facebook Live or Instagram Live where you answer questions about your new product or service
- Run a special promotion or giveaway
There’s so much more you can do here. We recommend you talk to a social media specialist about it if you wanna learn more tactics.
Well before your launch date — how many times can we say that? — you should beef up your other content resources like your opt-ins, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, downloadables, and more. Use this content to dive deeper into your new product or service and lead people to buy.
For example, we recently worked with Christina Scalera to create a 30-day shop launch checklist, knowing that her new offer, Launch Your Shop Academy®, would go live about a month after the opt-in. We were able to list build, solve a problem people had, and connect new folks to the CS brand. This all helped when she eventually promoted her webinar about turning services into products, and then pitched her shop-building course!
You can update old email sequences (especially your welcome sequence) with your new offer. Old blogs can get a face lift with more links to your opt-in, webinar, or offer itself. Whatever you’ve got, make sure it’s pointing to your new offer. If you don’t have anything relevant, it’s time to get to work creating resources (blogs, emails, videos, etc.) that connect to the audience’s painpoints and your expertise.
Plus, your resources for this launch also serves another purpose. You’re creating valuable content for your audience that’ll help your SEO, position you as a go-to expert in your field, and build trust and cred with your audience. Even if someone passes on this launch, they’ll likely warm up to the idea of buying from you in the future.
Ready, set, GO
Whew, that was a lot, right? Let’s recap your to-do list for your pre-launch content:
- Outline your strategy from start to finish. Don’t forget to explain what your new offer is and when the launch date is!
- Figure out what content you need for your launch. This includes repurposing old content and creating new stuff.
- Create your new content.
- Schedule that content to go live at least 2 weeks before your launch date.
What’s next? Presumably, you’re now in the launch phase and miiiiight be a little distracted and stressed. (Been there!) So, when everything’s over, review what worked and what didn’t. There are a lot of moving parts to a launch, so it’ll take time to suss out what needs improvement. But you will figure it out, learn from it, and make your next launch even better.
Pssst… want help managing all the content leading up to and promoting a launch? Hit us up now — we book a couple months out, so we have time to create a strategy, build the content, and rock your launch.