Launching your first digital product can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking for entrepreneurs and businesses. One crucial stage that often goes overlooked is the pre-launch campaign. It offers a unique opportunity to build anticipation, engage with potential customers, and gather valuable feedback to refine your offering.
In order to make sure your next product is successful, better nail all the preliminary and preparatory steps that'll ensure execution sticks to the plan. The research of operational excellence is actually time well spent. Pre-launches are the ideal moment for startups and solopreneurs to measure your product's traction, ensure PMF, talk to your customers, and make sure you're on the road to success.
In this article, we will delve into the essential mistakes to avoid as a first-time founder. Stimpack is the first product growth platform designed to help you gain early traction and launch fast.
Importance of starting with a solid prelaunch campaign Early-Stage Startup Goals
As a newly created startup during the post-pandemic era, you might want to make sure you can:
- Launch a product, with no-to-low external funding: this is called the bootstrapping method. VC funding can still be an option, not exceeding 1% of the cases. (cf ....)
- Prove traction and growth via unit economics and growth indicators.
- Set up the foundations of a sustainable business venture.
If you feel concerned by those goals, we recommend you invest time and effort into:
- Nailing your product pre-launch campaign.
- Make sure your GTM strategy is effective enough to leverage growth and successfully convert.
Advantages of Pre-launching
Pre-launching a product or service can provide several advantages for businesses. Pre-launching can help build a solid customer base before the product hits the market. Additionally, gathering feedback and insights from your potential customers is invaluable. Making the most of your pre-launch campaign will help you confidently go to market.
Through various pre-launch strategies such as alpha/beta testing or offering early access to a select group of individuals, you can get a precise feedback on your product's features, usability, and overall satisfaction. Final step: making improvements or adjustments before the official launch, and finally ensuring that the final product is well-received by the market.
First-time founder pre-launch mistakes
We have compiled our list of avoidable errors during pre-launch campaigns. It goes without saying that improving it overall could bring invaluable savings and optimization to your GTM approach.
Amongst the most dangerous first-time founder errors:
- Lack of primary market research or poorly defined target audience or ICP.
- Not talking to your users/customers or ignoring their feedback.
- Developing a product without proper validation.
- No real PMF (product-market fit).
- No real business moat.
- Inadequate financial planning & unit economics, overestimating market demand.
- Underestimating competition🤷♀️, or insufficient marketing and promotion efforts.
- Failure to build a strong team.
- Product's MVP under-delivers.
- Mismanagement of resources, mainly your cash runway.
- Not making bold moves/pivots when necessary.
Sure, many errors can be averted, saving time and ressources. However, beware that, as a founder, you may need to experiment and create your own experience and lessons.
In order to maximize your available resources - the most precious being time - you have to make sure both your pre-launch campaign and your go-to-market strategy are rock-solid. Make sure your operational & financial execution provides you with good startup foundations from the very beginning of your journey.
Thomas Edison - the father of invention - said once:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Solution 1/2: Think your pre-launch campaign ahead
Creating anticipation and excitement about your digital product before its launch is an effective way to generate interest and build a loyal customer base.
Offer exclusive previews, beta testing opportunities, or limited-time discounts to entice potential customers and build a sense of urgency. This helps you generate early adopters and creates a positive brand image and credibility.
Thinking about affiliates and referrals is also a powerful way to generate long lasting organic growth.
In essence, a well-conceived pre-launch campaign helps you:
- Build anticipation and engage with your audience: the more your audience engages, the more you create a sense of trust and loyalty/belonging.
- Create awareness & visibility: the primary goal of a prelaunch campaign is to make consumers aware of the upcoming product or service. By strategically promoting the features, benefits, and unique selling points of your product, the campaign aims to grab attention and pique curiosity.
- Gather leads: A prelaunch campaign provides an opportunity to gather valuable leads by encouraging people to sign up for updates, newsletters, or exclusive offers. This helps in building a contact list for future marketing efforts.
- Test marketing strategies: Conducting a prelaunch campaign enables businesses to test different marketing strategies, messaging, and creative approaches. This helps in refining the marketing plan before the official launch and improves the chances of success.
- Secure early adopters: A prelaunch campaign aims to attract early adopters who are eager to try out new products or services before others. These early adopters can provide valuable feedback, word-of-mouth promotion, and help in building initial credibility.
A couple of strategies can help you reach each of these goals:
Interested? Create your first digital product and pre-launch campaign using Stimpack:
Solution 2/2: build a solid GTM Launch Plan
Let's got to the point: the secret of a successful GTM launch plan is about thorough market research, comprehensive marketing channel selection, efficiently and creatively managing your budgets and timing. Additionally, make sure you track your campaign's performance, and constantly iterate on your plan.
Your GTM plan's goal is to maximize your launch impact. The more impactful it is, the more market share you'll earn. Finally, the goal is to make your business is the most competitive, right?
In order to achieve that, here are a couple of tasks you'll have to plan & conduct:
- Conduct thorough market research to identify the target audience (ICP via persona).
- Define clear and achievable goals and objectives for the product launch. You can use OKRs if you're familiar with them.
- Create a detailed timeline, including key milestones and action steps leading up to the launch.
- Identify and utilize appropriate marketing channels, such as social media, email campaigns, and influencer partnerships. Don't forget to allocate and optimize the budget for some promotional activities.
- Establish metrics and tracking mechanisms to measure the success of the launch.
- Build a strong relationship with key stakeholders, including sales teams and partners, to ensure seamless execution.
- Continually analyze and adjust the launch plan based on market feedback and performance metrics.
An example of the marketing part of a GTM plan using Asana:
Stimpack: the Leading Digital Product Growth platform
Launching your first digital product may seem daunting! With a battle-tested prelaunch and go-to-market strategy template, you will position yourself for success.
In order to make sure you nail your next pre-launch campaign, you need to be amongst the first to gain a competitive edge by using Stimpack, the all-in-one pre-launch & GTM platform Saas conceived for product builders.
We would love to have you with us.
Always looking forward to hearing from our fellow Stimpackers.
Saïd – Founder @StimpackPeople illustrations by Storyset