Pre-Launch: Find Your Future Product Advocates

prelaunch marketing product buzz

When launching a new product or website, I have two objectives:

  1. Create a snowball effect
  2. Own mindshare around 1 key theme (a trend, meme, or concept)

I like to start by connecting unstructured data and people. In the early days of marketing a new product (pre-launch) you need to undertake a customer development or product validation exercise with the goal of proving that the benefit of your offering is one of sufficient value that someone will pay for it, or it wins a share of their ongoing attention.

Although cliche, the best startups are those solving a specific pain point.

And now, thanks to the social web, it’s easier than ever to identify potential customers. Google and Facebook offers us the opportunity to find the persons with the pain point you are solving for and to put your message directly in front of them. If they are interested, they will click through and check you out. If there is true value offered, they will join your waitlist or offer their email address.

As product launchers we should be actively searching across social platforms as well to identify these persons already openly talking about these pain points – Twitter is perfect for this.

Once you identify these fragmented conversations (often negative product reviews or enraged tweets) you can create a place to send them where you have created common language around the solution you are proposing. By owning or structuring the conversation around the issues and your solution, you help turn negative into the positive and hopefully walk away with advocates: “I hate XX CRM, but just learned about a new CRM called YY…”

The Power of The Collective is Empowering the Individual. As the expression goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” When people are aware of others who share their same beliefs (or frustrations), they feel a greater sense of personal empowerment. Universally people are much more likely to publicly talk about their own opinions when those opinions are openly supported by others.

Common Language Creates Importance.
It may seem obvious, but it is difficult to build a trend when the language people use lacks consistency.  At a basic level, if you can get a group to agree on common language and keywords, Google is much more likely to begin to associate that content together and thus guide people naturally to related content. These agreed upon keywords are necessary to establish authority, and authority is good for building validation.

Cross Linking Lends to Deeper Dives. This is the same principle bloggers use to increase page views. By having lots of cross linking between people and ideas you promote deeper dives into content. Wikipedia is the master of this where one Wikipedia entry often contains links to 20 or 30 other entries. Remember, when you are cross linking and connecting people and ideas the goal is not to push your own product. Instead, just be an interested party looking to advance the general cause.


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