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Successfully launching a product or service shouldn’t be too hard, right? After all, there’s really not much to it—simply create something great, toss a few bucks into an ad or two and optimize your site for incoming traffic. Once complete, kick back, relax and watch your wealth climb!
Does any of the above sound too good to be true? Well, much to the surprise of few, there’s a solid reason for it—it sounds too good to be true because it is. Having completed each of the above tasks, most of the time, hopeful startups are left hearing little more than crickets—ouch.
Fortunately, there’s a sizable slice of the product (or service) promotion pie that most startup entrepreneurs fail to address—the pre-launch email marketing list. While content might still be king, the most direct line to incoming money is an email list—before a product launches, build yours.
But wait—without anything of actual value to offer, how can this be done? By clinging closely to each of the below email onboarding strategies, you’ll not only grow your pre-launch email list, but you’ll fill it with a host highly targeted addresses, too:
Guest blog to communicate with large audiences
I know what you’re thinking: isn’t guest blogging dead? Not in the slightest. No, from an SEO perspective, it’s no longer as potent as it once was, but for building both authority and an email marketing list, it’s an awesome tool. How? The trick is to plant landing page links on high-end publications.
Whether within the body of a post or in an author’s bio, link to a well-built landing page or homepage. The logic behind such a move is simple—readers from larger, more established sites learn of your launch, click through to your site and are given the chance to opt into your list.
Who’s doing it well: SellMax
A few months back, a small company like SellMax was featured in a post on the blog of one of the internet’s most influential marketing authorities, Jeff Bullas. To date, on a variety of social channels, the post has been shared nearly 2,000 times—not a bad way to build an email list, eh?
“Pay to play” on both Facebook and Twitter
Needless to say, paid promotion works wonders for brands. While bidding on Google AdWords can quickly eat at a startup’s flimsy digital marketing budget, posts or tweets with a few bucks behind them can get your business’ top-tier content in front of thousands of finitely targeted fans.
What’s to be included in this kind of social content, you ask? Anything that leads back to your site, where an email address can be seamlessly obtained. Seeing as how this is a pre-launch method, offer up a free product demo, limited-time subscription or action-oriented content.
Who’s doing it well: GigTown
Initially, GigTown (a connectivity platform for local, up-and-coming bands) took a grassroots approach to its pre-launch by focusing on its target market in San Diego. From there, localized, launch-oriented social content like this allowed the company to educate and onboard emails, as well.
Build suspense with early users
Startup entrepreneurs are often perfectionists. Still, as hard as it might be to release an unfinished product on sites like BetaList or ProductHunt, the feedback is well worth the teeth-grinding it’s likely to bring about. Furthermore, you’re able to build genuine scarcity.
Scarcity is a powerful influencer of buyer behavior, because we all want what we can’t have. Launch your product early with a limited number of slots for access to beta testing. In order to gain immediate access or qualify for a secondary waiting list, an email address is required.
Who’s doing it well: Baarb
While SellMax and GigTown are beyond the pre-launch phase, Baarb currently finds itself still collecting early-bird email addresses. To do just that, the site offers up an “exclusive invitation” for trendsetters who hand over their email addresses in exchange for private beta testing.
Email marketing is a continual process
Whether of the digital or traditional variety, the marketing of products and services is an ever-present, ongoing process. As such, before your startup “officially” makes its presence known to consumers, engage in some pre-launch email marketing—it will pay big dividends in the future.