For a successful startup, you first need a great product. Let’s face it: Evernote, AppSumo, Airbnb, Instagram… all these startups had effective marketing campaigns, but they made it mostly because of their quality, uniqueness, and awesomeness. It makes no point to invest marketing efforts into a mediocre product, so don’t do that, okay?
Let’s assume your product is great and you got that issue out of the way. There are no more improvements to be made at this point. Now, you need an awesome marketing campaign for the launch. We’re here to help you with that today.
How do you promote that product in the most successful way? We’ll explore a strategy that’s becoming a tradition in marketing: blogging.
Step 1: Strategic Positioning of the Brand
This is an obvious step, but we still need to mention it because many business owners forget about it. Before you go any further with your marketing efforts, you need to think about strategic positioning – the value chain that unites all business operations and processes. Your blogging efforts will fit in the strategic positioning of the brand.
This is a critical step because you need to be aiming your guns in the right direction. What’s the category your product or service belongs to? Define that industry and observe the activities of your competition. See how they blog. Can you identify their strategies, goals, and plans?
Remember: your blog has to be very specific and clear. Every single post should answer this question: “who is your customer and why should they buy from you?”
Step 2: Building the Blog and Fitting It into Your Brand’s Web Presence
Why are we suggesting blogging as a marketing strategy for a product launch? Because it helps you develop a web presence. In the age of digital marketing, that’s the most important factor for success: web presence.
You can promote your product through a plain WordPress blog without investing in design, but that’s not the best-case scenario. It’s much wiser to invest in a sophisticated website that includes a blog. This site will perform multiple roles. The main pages will promote your product and its features, and the blog will be a section where your audience will learn how they will benefit from using it and how they can reach its full potential.
In addition to a great website, you’ll also need a dynamic Facebook page, as well as a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media platforms. That’s where you’ll promote the blog posts.
How do you start building a web presence? For starters, build that website, the blog, and social media profiles. We’ll proceed with the details.
Step 3: Set the Stage
You can start blogging only after you set the main triggers: a nice website, good brand logo, and a good team that will take care of this marketing campaign. Let’s be honest: you can maintain a blog all by yourself, but the marketing strategy will require something more. You’ll need to be consistent with the posting schedule, and you’ll need to post high-quality content every single time. You’ll need to analyze the activities of your competition, respond to the comments of the audience, and promote the blog all over the place. When you have a business to maintain, that’s a mission impossible.
The people of your team should be aware of the company’s identity and all features of the product. Train them well. What people do you need in your team?
- Head of marketing
- Social media marketing team
- People who will respond to comments
- People who will promote your blog on forums
You can assign few responsibilities to a single team member. For example, one person can be in charge of the comments and forum posts, or you can tell the writers to respond to the comments on the posts they wrote. However, you need to make sure that the workload is not excessive.
You’ll be the “Decider” on this team. You’ll give directions on the blogging efforts and you’ll check the posts before publishing them. You’ll still have a lot to do, but your job will be much easier when you delegate important tasks like writing, editing, and commenting. If you have no idea how to guide a blogging marketing campaign, it’s wise to add a marketing expert in your team.
Step 4: Schedule Posts
Your blogging strategy won’t be designed to fit in a single week. You’ll need to schedule posts and publish them on the right dates, over a long period of time. Your product will demand a constant promotion, and blogging will be an inseparable part of that promotion.
- Think long-term. What’s the 10-year road map for this product?
- Why do your company and this product exist?
- What are the advantages that make you specific in comparison to the competition? For Chanel, it’s elite. For H&M, it’s mass appeal. What’s the specification that determines your marketing efforts? All brands should have that.
- What’s your audience? What issues, problems, needs, and questions do they have? How can your product solve them?
If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, now is a good time to grab it.
Once you answer all these questions, you’ll have plenty of ideas for blog posts. You won’t write them in a week. Make a precise schedule with at least two posts per week. Plan the topics and assign them to your writers. As you make progress, you’ll be updating the blogging schedule with new posts.
You can start blogging before the launch. That’s the point of this campaign: to prepare your audience for the launch and invite them to make reservations. Recently, we saw the Kickstarter campaign for OmStars – a service that will be something like Netflix for yogis. If you check out the founder’s site, you’ll notice she started blogging about this launch way before the big day.
Plan your schedule in that way. Start preparing your audience and increasing the awareness at least three weeks before the launch. These blog posts should be focused on promoting the features and explaining how your audience will benefit from them. You’ll promote them heavily across all social media. After the launch, you’ll start focusing on the users’ experience. You’ll be telling them how to use your product in the best way possible. Needless to say, you’ll also be writing posts that attract new customers your way.
The important thing is to stay on schedule. People are habitual creatures. If they get used to getting two posts per week, they will expect you to stick to that promise. Posting more often is crucial in marketing. The more content you have, the better results you get in terms of SEO and awareness. We’re not saying you should focus on quantity over quality. Quality is important, but so is quantity.
Step 5: Get the Audience Involved
During the pre-launch stages, you can invite your audience to join the ride. Ask them what they would like to see. Ask for their opinion regarding the design of the website or the product’s packaging. If you’re having doubts about two design, ask them to vote! Blogging gives you a great opportunity to make your future users part of the process.
You can start by asking them what they miss in the industry you’re part of. If, for example, you’re about to launch an eBook on architecture, ask the target audience what they miss seeing in books of this type. Maybe there’s still time to make changes in the product, which would make it more appealing. The feedback matters! It’s even better when you get it before launching the product.
Step 6: Feedback!
Let’s stick to the feedback issue a bit longer. You and your team are not necessarily perfect in criticizing the weak points of the product and marketing campaign. Sometimes, the best thing you could do is let the users tell you what’s great and what you could improve.
Evernote’s marketing team is a good example of people who can listen. After many users of the service complained about their bosses being suspicious of employees using laptops during meetings, the company took that feedback into consideration. They launched cool stickers saying “I’m not being rude. I’m taking notes in Evernote.”
Blogging gives you plenty of chances to get feedback. Whenever you publish a new post or promote the content on social media, ask your audience for feedback. Pay attention to it. Then, use it to improve your product. Needless to say, you’ll share the improvements through a new blog post.
Step 7: Maintain, Maintain, Maintain!
You promoted the product before the launch. You used the blog to make people aware of the big event, and you got people excited about it. Then, you used the blog to put the focus on the audience and explain how they will benefit from this product. You should keep up the good work!
Always focus on the audience and continue producing high-quality content they will benefit from. This will take a great level of discipline and commitment. Don’t just talk about the superiority of your products. Apple, for example, talks about changing the world. Dell is talking about the features of its products. It’s obvious whose marketing campaign drives more audience their way.
As your blog grows, consider featuring different types of content on it. Video stories, for example, can increase conversions. You’ll start featuring testimonials from satisfied users, and you’ll keep spreading the message further. Keep people excited!
Remember: the blog won’t do it on its own. It’s part of a larger marketing strategy that includes social media activity, impeccable customer service, online advertising, and creative marketing campaigns. However, it’s an important part we shouldn’t neglect. When you have a good blog, all other elements will fit in the big picture.