If you have only a single product to release, you can use any method of scheduling you like, from a paper calendar, to a word processing document, to project management software. If you are releasing multiple products, it is a good idea to use a calendar that allows individual schedules to be combined into a master schedule, so that your overall marketing obligations can be seen at a glance.
Start at the end
You need to know what product you will be releasing, as well as when you will release it. You must know exactly how your product matches the market’s needs, and be able to communicate the value of the product to that market. Consider important dates for your industry, such as trade shows, regional holidays, and releases by industry heavyweights, and plan your product launch around them. Depending upon the goal of your launch you will need to ensure that you have both the capability to measure your goal and the infrastructure to serve it.
The pre-launch part of your product launch builds excitement and creates demand for your product. You can use affiliate partners, direct mail, email, teleseminars, videos, webinars, and other means of communication. Each type has a different lead time. An email campaign to existing customers may consist of three emails that go out prior to the launch, one the day of the launch, one after the launch, and one before the offer ends. An affiliate marketer campaign needs to send these emails to the affiliates prior to the distribution dates. Direct mail campaigns require time to print, proof, and if necessary re-print the pieces prior to the mailing dates. Schedule when things must be sent out, as well as when they must be written and reviewed.
Use all available resources
Other buzz-building options include contests, review copies, and beta-tests, all of which need to be added to the schedule. One popular style of contest requires everyone who enters to give a testimonial, which establishes social proof for your product. Allow time to add the testimonials to your sales copy. Leverage the power of your affiliates, the press, existing customers, thought leaders, investors, industry analysts, family, and friends to get the word out.
You can create urgency for your product by having a limited number, by having it available for a limited time, or by releasing it at a deeply discounted price for a limited number of customers or days. Tell people why they must buy your product immediately, and then follow through on that promise. Otherwise, you risk destroying your credibility, and with it all sense of urgency in your customer. The post-launch phase of your product launch begins the moment your product is available for sale, and ends when the window of availability closes. During this time, continue to stress the need to act with urgency.
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