A new brand design is only the first step!
Now that you've re-branded, or created a new brand and website from scratch, it's time to tell people about it! It's an exciting step in your business' journey, and you want your excitement to be contagious. It takes more than just a few tweets and a Facebook post!
Set a firm launch date & create hype
There are several reasons you should set a firm launch date and commit to it: firstly, this helps with preparation and workflow for your business and designer to get everything into place with plenty of warning, and secondly, it provides you with some accountability too.
If you're on a solo venture with a small business, it can be incredibly easy to put things off and off until while you procrastinate around one of the most important moments in your business journey. If you hold yourself to a solid date and time, and tell people about it, you'll be less likely to shy away from it when it gets closer.
Here are some tactics you can use to create hype for your potential customers in the lead up to your launch date:
- Get a countdown
If you're launching a new website, your designer will be able to set up a 'holding page' for you that has a count down until launch day. You can also post on social media daily that there's "2 weeks to go!" or "3 days left to wait!". This will create a buzz of excitement for what's about to happen.
- Start a campaign
Depending on your budget, you can set up a targeted campaign on social media or print that tells people about your launch and why they should pay attention to your new brand. This is usually really successful with the use of 'launch discounts', freebies or competitions!
- Giveaways and competitions
Are you able to give away a product or service for free to someone? This is the best way for small businesses to build their email lists and follower bases (depending on which action you ask people to do in order to enter). It usually costs less than buying an expensive prize for a competition, and it gets your product/new brand exposure!
- Sneak peaks and teasers
Create even more excitement around your launch by throwing subtle hints and teasers out to your audience. A behind-the-scenes photo, or a cryptic riddle usually goes down a treat!
- Blog about it
If your launch is something of a surprise, you may not want to explicitly publish articles about the details just yet, but you can still do something that is relevant to your brand! For example, if you're launching a new Vegan Cafe brand, you could write a blog post about different healthy lifestyles and their benefits.
- Create a hashtag
Make up a hashtag that is relevant and unique to your new brand, and start using it on all your pre-launch materials. Use it on every social media post about the launch, and encourage people you know to start talking about it too. This can help you track engagements and interest, as well as create your own brand album on Instagram (if you're using it!).
- Send out press releases
Start building a press list NOW of local and industry niche media contacts. During pre-launch, send out a press release about your new brand and how it's going to affect your business, and how people can benefit from getting in touch with you. Don't forget to talk about your USP!
- Tell everyone you know
Tell everyone about your new brand and get them on board to tweet about it and generally spread the word! Give them a couple of business cards each just in case!
Have a soft launch with friends, family & close contacts
A soft launch is essentially a smaller, low-key, more personal launch for your new brand that happens slightly before the hard launch (your actual launch date!). This can be in the form of simply telling people you know more details about the brand and what to expect on launch day, or it could be a mini-event in which you get everyone together and have a more personal celebration!
On the actual launch day you'll probably be super busy, so having a soft launch is a great way to fit in some actual celebrating before you forget!
Be prepared on launch day
The day before launch day, double and triple check that everything is on target to go out at your set time (whether it's 9am, 12pm or 4pm!). Your website should be ready to go (with just the click of a button required to take the holding/countdown page down), and your brand design should be looking pristine.
Reminders should be sent out the day before and an hour before your launch, whether it's via social media or email newsletter. Any competition announcements or sale items should be ready to go on your website too. If you're expecting high amounts of traffic, you should check several weeks beforehand with your website hosting provider that they can handle this and that they'll be on hand on the day to help with any crashes or support errors.
If you're well prepared, the day will be a breeze. Enjoy it and make sure everything's ready in plenty of time. Get up early on the day to check everything for the fourth time, and be poised and ready for action throughout the day should any issues arise.
Holding a launch event will be a very different experience than just doing an online launch. I'll be writing more on this another time.
Keep up the momentum!
After the day's excitement, post-launch can sometimes feel a bit....bleh. You may have experienced peak sales, traffic or enquiries on launch day, and a few days later, it's fallen flat again.
To avoid this, you need to keep the momentum up as much as you can. Excitement will naturally die down after a while, but your aim is not to disappear from your audience's lives straight away.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid the post-launch flop:
- Keep special offers & discounts live for a week or so
Doing it for just one day creates a sense of urgency, but things can tail off pretty quickly after that. Even if you don't offer the same level of discount as you did on actual launch day, it can be a good idea to keep something in reserve for the next week to keep the buzz up.
- Send out post-launch emails, and maybe a survey
You probably gained some emails on launch day, so send them an introduction email the next day to tell them about yourself and your business. Tell them what your plans are for the next month, and where they can find great content or information about your brand. Sending out a post-launch survey is a great way to find out more about your audience - keep it short (5 questions or less), asking them to 'introduce themselves'.
- Give people who were involved in the launch a little extra
Anyone who converted into a customer on launch day is awesome. They're the early adopters and the people you want to stay in touch with. Send them a thank you note, or a personal email. Invite them to an exclusive Facebook group, or give them a freebie (a free download or something small), or even a discount code for their next purchase. Let them know how much you appreciated their support during your launch!
- Plan your next campaign
The buzz will inevitably die down, and that's okay. Get planning your next awesome PR/Marketing campaign for your amazing new brand! The possibilities are endless.