9 steps to successfully launch your product

How to launch a startup

If you’re busy getting everything ready to launch your own startup you probably haven’t had the time to think things through and set a marketing plan for your pre-launch. It can be quite daunting, we know, but even though it’s not rocket science, it should definitely be part of your to do list before launching your product to the market.  

So the big question is how can you build an audience before having a product? Well, that can be tricky, but it’s crucial when creating a successful business and we’re here to help you get on the right track. Get thousands of users interested in your product with the following tips:   

  1. Content, content and more content

Create interesting content to attract your target audience and set up an SEO strategy. Search for relevant keywords and think of what your target might look for when searching online. Once you get this out of the way start a blog and write about topics related to your business in order to get people interested and see you as an expert in the matter. Consider using WordPress for instance and add an SEO plugin, Yoast, to help you get that sorted. You should definitely write a blog post for when you launch, telling people the story behind your business and introducing your startup, for example.

You should also try putting together other types of content, such as e-books and infographics. If you’re not a designer but wish to do it yourself there are a few tools to help you create these visual designs like Canva, Pik to Chart, Infogr.am or PicMonkey. Oh and don’t forget to write down your FAQs to build up on SEO as well.  

  1. Create a landing page

Get a landing page so that your users can subscribe for a private beta version of your product. Let these early adopters access your product before the official launch and ask for feedback. According to the feedback you get you can adapt your product and make it better for your customers when you officially launch it to the market.

With this landing page it’s crucial that you explain exactly what your product is about and why you’re doing it in the first place. This is your chance to inspire people and get them interested in what you’re building. You should also make them feel exclusive and unique for being the very first users of your product and give them something in return (if you’re building a paid mobile app, for example, let them download it for free).

  1. Get your Social Media started

Social Media is a major acquisition channel so you might as well do it right. Create a Facebook page for your startup and Twitter account to get you rolling. Invite your friends to like and follow your page. Post interesting content on a daily basis and bear in mind that visual content works much better on Social Media. When you post your latest blog post on Facebook for example you should think of a nice photo to add because it increases reach and engagement. You should also consider creating a campaign for people to like your page and boost your posts on Facebook (you can get a budget of €20 per week and boost a few posts). As for Twitter, don’t forget to follow a list of influencers and make sure you favorite and retweet what they publish. And last but not least, let people know through Social Media that they can subscribe for the private beta version by posting a link of your landing page.  

  1. Get the press attention

You need to make the press talk about you, but obviously that’s easier said than done. And that’s not just a matter of your product being newsworthy, it’s more than that. All information about your startup should be of easy access for the press. For this reason you need to create a Press Page where you can add all information about your startup. You should explain your concept and business and add relevant statistics (journalists have a thing for numbers, so you might as well give it to them). This Press Page should also have a few photos of your product, your team and other relevant visuals. It should also be easy to find so add it to the footer of your homepage for example.

As for the official launch you should get a list of journalists to contact and send your Press Release. In order to find and track emails you can use some cool tools such as Sidekick, Rapportive and SellHack. When you have all these contacts in a spreadsheet you can write your Press Release about your startup launch and send it over to these journalists when the time comes. What’s important is for you to be practical and bear in mind that most journalists get hundreds of emails everyday, so stand out from the crowd and give them all the information so that they can talk about you effortlessly.  

  1. Make a demo video

Create a demo of your product so that your customers can better understand it. This can be released during the first week of your official launch for example. Check out these examples from Mint.com, Spotify and Crazyegg for some inspiration! You can also make a video of a pitch to better communicate your idea and concept and if you’re interested in joining Lisbon Challenge even more so 😉

  1. List your startup

Getting backlinks to your website is super important but you need them to be relevant as well. List your business in startup directories such as CrunchBase, Beta List, Angel List,Venture Beat and F6S. You can get a lot of people to sign up for your product just by listing it in these websites.  

  1. Define a process for customer care

First you need to get all your contacts in the same place, you can either have it in a spreadsheet or have a CRM tool. Define a process for when you launch, know how you’re going to talk to your customers, who’s going to answer and ask for feedback every single time.  

  1. Get your email marketing up and running

Create a newsletter with the content you’ve created using Mailchimp for example and send it regularly to your customers. Let people know what you’ve been up to with your latest blog posts or articles in the press. Set a purpose for this newsletter and take Evernote as an example (they email their recent users with 5 tips of how to use Evernote in separate emails, this gets their attention and increases open rates). Also, don’t forget to ask for feedback whenever you can and adapt your product if necessary according to the different insights.

  1. Get busy networking  

It’s funny how you always think of online marketing to get you thousands of users but it’s a common misconception to think that it’s all it takes. You can’t really ignore what goes on in the real world and not take advantage of networking for instance. At Lisbon Challenge you get a chance to network with key players within the startup scene. It’s a huge advantage to get insights from people like Michael Seibel from YCombinator who was here for the previous edition, Carlos Espinal from Seedcamp or Cliff Reeves from Microsoft Ventures. Talk to as many people as you can and get as much feedback as possible. Get out of the building and make it happen.  

Launching a startup is not an easy job, that’s for sure, but it’s a huge help if you have a good plan and stick to it. Set the date for the product launch, go for the sprint and remember that “if you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late” Reid Hoffman

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