Even the best MVP out there doesn’t guarantee success. Journalists get tons of press releases about new apps that promise to “change the world”, so expect them to be very selective. I noticed that startups often forget about proper planning for market launch. I wanted to share my experience as a PR specialist, startup owner, and IT project manager to tell you how to organize an outstanding kickoff.
As a founder, you’ve got one clear objective — to make the best product possible. So do I. The development process is often time-consuming and everyone tends to focus on their deadlines.
You might see the value of your finished product , but… that “value” isn’t so obvious to your stakeholders, and especially for your customers.
In my current job — at Sunscrapers — we believe that agile management isn’t only about the product itself but about the success of the entire project. As a software development agency, it’s our job to deliver a quality piece of software, but also create a market launch process to build a buzz around that product.
The story matters
The biggest mistake you can make is telling other people about the application you’re developing. The world doesn’t need yet another new app. There’s no need to announce that you’re about to offer a new service. Instead, you should be telling people that you solved their problem and point out the values of your product.
Before you start writing a press release, define your mission and unique selling points (USP). This is a critical part of the process. It’s also the part you can’t fake, so don’t oversell your product and just tell the truth.“We make the world better place” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Modern customers are smart and can tell marketing-talk from real value easily.
In fact, they’re not going to continue reading if your content doesn’t offer them any value.
You need to define these two things at least 2 months before the market launch. Otherwise, you risk that your communication isn’t consistent and you lose too much time on that task later on. Needless to say, this is the time you should be using to collaborate with journalists and launch other promotion activities.
Timing is a key-factor
When you go public, timing is extremely important. The media, the customers, and your stakeholders will follow your actions. For example, if you declare a specific date of premiere and fail to deliver your product on time, people will think that you’re not a trustworthy person and your reputation will prevent business growth.
Bearing that in mind, we help our clients not only with the product development bit but also with business strategy. We create a personalized roadmap with a well-defined media plan.
After determining your mission and USPs, you’re ready to start preparing a successful market launch plan.
The next step is defining your audience. It helps to find and choose the best communication channels for spreading the word about your product. Many people think that you just need to grow your Facebook page and send a press release to all editorial offices you can find. But there’s a smarter way to plan your launch.
Start with Media Research. Choosing the right channel to communicate with your customers makes or breaks your promotion. Your audience might be using Instagram more than Facebook or read specific blogs. If you don’t know that, you risk spending money on channels that are completely useless to you.
Now that you know your mission, audience, channels and key media, you’re ready to create your own story in the form of a press release. An ideal press release shows all the features of your product without explicitly stating what they are. Your words are heart-to-heart and have way more value than anything created by a public relations agency.
Assume the perspective of the client, not owner. What would i want to read as a potential customer of my company? With that question in mind, try to present as many use cases of your product as you can to help your target audience understand the product and its benefits.
Note: Remember that the readers of a specific medium are not your audience. These people are the target of the blog, newspaper, or magazine. For example, the readers of business newspapers have completely different preferences than travel lovers.During the writing process, try to use their language and deliver information they need first. It’s a good idea to create a few draft versions of your press release to send it to different types of media.
What’s the best day for market launch?
After you finish the writing process, you need to plan your product launch. What’s the best day for your kick-off? Our practice and research clearly says that the best day to launch a product is Tuesday.
You can seriously hurt your promotion by emailing journalists your press release on Sunday. Sunday is the only free day writers have, so don’t count on them checking their inbox on that day.
What about Monday? The truth is that the first day of the week is a busy one and you don’t want to risk your press release getting lost between emails from the previous week.
Tuesday is just perfect. It gives you three more days to follow up journalist’s questions and that’s the main reason why it kills other days. If you decide to launch your product on Wednesday, there’s simply enough time to spread the message before the weekend rolls in.
These tips are relevant to your strategy for reaching out to the media. You need to support this plan with a broader plan for your product launch scheme where you consider other aspects such as customer service, marketing, and technical support. Don’t forget your stakeholders in the process.
Before you kick off your product, start thinking about the next product release. Many startups make a big mistake when they try to pack all functionalities already at the beginning instead of testing the app’s core functions. Doing that, they end up with a product users don’t understand and have nothing to add in the future (because you now need to fix all stuff you screwed up).
You can read more about creating a product launch checklist on our blog.
If you’re looking for more insights about launching a software product, keep an eye on our blog — during the next couple of weeks, I will publish a series of articles exploring Public Relations for digital products.
Stay tuned and let me know what you think in comments to help the entire community benefit from smart PR tactics.