Whether it’s your first product, or your fifth, product launches are an exciting and daunting process. Exciting because you are introducing the world to a unique object, widget, or service that reflects your company’s vision. Nerve wracking because without the right promotion and distribution strategy in place, your product launch could turn out to be a damp squib. What makes the difference between an optimal launch, and a bad one? In one word—marketing. And not just any old kind of marketing, but a well-planned and researched marketing strategy with sufficient build-up and reach. Doing this on a budget makes it even tougher. One tech guru claims that launching a new app or widget, could cost start-ups between $100,000 to $1,500,000 over the course of five years! Here we will discuss how you can launch a new product while keeping your costs at a minimum.
The low-budget product launch
‘Low-budget’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Working with limited funds doesn’t have to result in a second-rate product launch. Instead, it encourages creativity and pushes you to leverage existing, easily available resources.
Don’t wait till the last minute
Don’t wait till the product is ready to be launched to come up with a launch strategy. As the expression goes, ‘haste makes waste’. When you wait till the last minute, you end up rushing and not thinking clearly; this could cause you to spend money unwisely. So, as your product begins to achieve MVP (minimal viable product) status, determine how to position and promote it. All the hard work that you’ve done figuring out your target audience will help you pitch your product to potential customers.
Be a tease
Social media teaser campaigns are a fantastic low-cost way to build up interest in the product launch. An eye-catching teaser merely needs to hint at what’s coming, and communicate that ‘all will be revealed’ at a specific day/time (at the product launch.) These teasers can be videos, infographics, or creatives. What they need to do is to capture the spirit of the product and convey it.
Elves are a great way to get things done in fairytales! But no, we don’t mean actual elves (it made for a good ‘teaser’ though, right?) We’re talking about influencers. Influencers do just what the term implies—they influence public opinion about something, and are a key component of social media PR campaigns. Influencers are ‘force-multipliers’, they can enhance the impact of a good teaser for example. Bloggers who function across multiple platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram), and have managed to attract a fan following, are considered to be influencers. Hiring a handful of influencers with solid metrics won’t cost anywhere near what you would have to pay a PR firm.
Ask for some money
With the advent of crowdfunding, entrepreneurs (and just about anybody with an interesting idea) can approach the world at large for funds. Crowdfunding has, to a great extent, democratised the funding process and eliminates the need to repay the funder. Instead of turning to banks or investors, one can now turn to regular people. What’s more, if they like your idea enough to fund it, you also have yourself some potential buyers as well. Launching a product with limited funds is doable. What you need to do is invest sufficient time, craft a strong product-related campaign message, tap free sources of money, and hire the right people.