We see it often here at Digital Noir. You have an idea. You think it’s a strong, totally unique proposition. In fact, it’s just the best thing since sliced bread. You invest time and money building a product, and when it launches you expect to see an immediate take up, and therefore a return on your investment, right?
Wrong. You wouldn’t launch a new TV show, or food product, or cosmetics line, or pretty much anything, without spreading the word about it first. Build a buzz around the product and then when you’re ready to launch, bam, you already have a follower base ready and waiting to spend money with you.
So, how do you go about this? There are probably a multitude of ways to spread the word about any product, but I am going to focus on social media as a means to building a follower base prior to launch, a group of potential early adopters if you like. I’m going to assume you have social channels already set up (if not, why not?!).
Show you have something of value to share
Invest a significant amount of time developing and curating content that will be of value to your target audience. 99% of the time, your product alone will not be enough. You will need to convince people that you’re speaking their language before you can go in with the hard sell. Creating your own original content through a blog gives you complete control over the message, it’s YOUR digital real estate, no-one else’s! If you don’t have the time to keep churning out your own stuff, find articles from experts in your field, and share their content. Just make sure you’re giving out quality information that will be of value to the audience you are trying to attract.
Unless you are lucky, and already have a tribe of people just ready and waiting to believe your every word, you will need to convince people that this product that you are saying is super-awesome and worth investing in, IS actually both of those things. Some people have already been through the process of building up their fan base and hold a certain level of ‘influence’ over what those people see and share on social media. Get in touch with some influencers in your field. Ask them to try your product for free, and if they like it, tell a few people. If they love it, tell a few thousand! Use their experience – their influence – to your advantage.
Post, engage, repeat…
Start conversations around your product. The more you can engage with your audience the better. Engage with other people in your online community: commenting on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, twitter…whichever channels are most relevant to you. Make sure your engagement is real, human engagement. Be genuine. People get turned off pretty much immediately if they even suspect that they are being spammed. Don’t run the risk of losing any credibility so early in the game.
You will either be investing time or money and maybe both. If you can’t afford a social media ad campaign, or a designer to put together eye-catching creative, you might be better choosing to plough precious hours into creating your buzz yourself. It’s not going to happen overnight. Your buzz will be the result of consistent work, hours per day for months even, but when you’re ready for launch, you should have a bunch of people eagerly anticipating your next move.