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Launching a New Feature? Here’s Your Marketing Checklist
Posted on May 9th 2014
You just got word from the development team about the launch of a brand new feature, and you have at least two weeks (hopefully) to prepare everything you need to spread the word. Before you start writing the press release, take a few minutes to brainstorm about the different outlets you can leverage. Press releases are still crucial, but your potential buyers visit dozens of online and offline resources daily to conduct their research, so don’t stop there.
A successful launch requires that you cover all bases – spanning traditional, online and social channels. Basically, your message needs to be wherever it is that your audience engages. So how do you do it? Here’s a checklist of the basics to help guide your marketing strategy.
Create a Unique Landing Page
If we’re talking about a business-changing feature, or one that has major significance, then it probably deserves its own landing page. Don’t overwhelm readers with too much text, simply write a few short paragraphs or use bullet points to describe: unique value propositions, what differentiates it from similar competitor features and how it will benefit your client base. The text should include a clear header and sub-header, and lots of keywords.
Don’t forget a call-to-action and engaging visuals that give a sneak peak of the feature (screenshots if possible) or a short video that shows the feature in action. Give your visitors easy access to the landing page by featuring the hyperlink on your home page, and make sure to include it in any social posts you use to promote it.
Send Out a Feature Spotlight E-mail
There’s no need to launch a full-blown e-mail campaign, but a few e-mails can’t hurt. Draft an e-mail announcement that will reach your entire database (you never know, potential prospects may convert to leads if they love the feature). Also, include a brief announcement about it in your weekly or monthly newsletter, or create a best practices e-mail on how to fully leverage the new features. Make sure you include a link to the landing page for those who want more info, and include a call-to-action. Also, A/B test the text and images, so you can optimize your feature e-mails going forward.
Write a Great (But Short) Press Release
Write a short press release with all of the details (no more than 500 words) on the feature. It should provide either a description or bullet point list of all the concrete benefits, and who will have access to them. Avoid using too much fluffy language, and let readers know what they’ll actually be getting. Remember to include contact details, such as your website and a personal e-mail. When it’s ready, do some outreach by researching the blogs that are most popular in your industry. Once you have a list, search each one for keywords that resemble your product, and find out which editors you should be contacting; you can then try to find their e-mails by using a tool such as Rapportive. Also, do a quick Google News search to find additional media outlets that recently covered similar topics.
Promote it on All of Your Social Networks
Definitely, definitely don’t launch a new feature without announcing it on social media! Use a platform such as Oktopost to create a long-term social media campaign, and post across multiple networks and profiles. Although your Facebook and Google+ audience should be made aware, focus most of your efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Be careful though, in LinkedIn, avoid posting anything promotional in Groups, and stick to your personal or Company Page status updates. Try to think of creative ways to convey the message about your new product on social media, such as posting a video, images, photos or even hosting a giveaway.
Record a Helpful Video Tutorial
There’s no better way to promote a new feature than actually showing people how it works. Record a short video that’s between 2-4 minutes long which provides a clear explanation. Upload the video to your website or knowledge base, as well as your YouTube channel to maximize its visibility.
Launch a Customer Webinar
If you can’t cram all of the info on your feature into a 2-4 minute video, why not host a webinar? Create an e-mail campaign and landing page to promote it two weeks in advance, and spread the word to all of your clients. The webinar shouldn’t be longer than 20-30 minutes, and make sure to leave enough time for a Q&A session. Your customers will appreciate that you’ve put together an entire event to make sure they get the most of the feature, and thank you for it.
Give Beta Access to Product Evangelists
Chances are you have a few “brand ambassadors” who would love early access to your new feature. Create a beta testing group, and give your biggest fans a sneak peak. This is an excellent way to show your appreciation, help nurture your relationships with them, and as a bonus – get their feedback. If there are any major bugs you need to be aware of, or overall improvements that need to be made to the feature, this is a helpful way to work out the kinks before the public launch. Also, ask your evangelists to help you announce the feature by Tweeting about it or mentioning it in a blog post.
Get On-Going Customer Feedback
Once you officially launch your feature, your two main concerns should be: customer support, followed by customer feedback. Use a service such as Intercom to engage directly with people using the feature, conduct a brief phone survey of a handful of customers, or reach out to top users by e-mail to get their thoughts and opinions.