How to Use Lean Marketing Before Your Product is Launched
People often ask me what pre-launch marketing consists of and if it’s even possible at all. Yes, it is and you should use it! Gabriel Weinberg, the Founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, advises startups to spend 50% of your time on product development and 50% on marketing before the big launch.
The reason for reaching out to potential customers as soon as possible is to start building an audience and use their input for product development. Many startups fail because there is not enough demand for their product. This could have been avoided if the founders reached out sooner. Perhaps then they could have changed the product features when there was still time and money.
I’ll give an example of pre-launch marketing actions you could do before you have a product to sell. Let’s say you’re building a marketplace for selling pictures in the form of an app, focussing on Asia. You know of similar platforms in Europe and America, but not in Asia as far as you know.
You decide to focus on travel enthusiasts at first, because they take a lot of pictures while travelling. You want to reach out to them as soon as possible to find out if they already know about and use the existing platforms, if they would like to sell their pictures at all, and what features they would like in the marketplace app.
Several ways to reach out to these wanderers, build a loyal audience and get valuable feedback are:
- Offering a sneak-peak of your platforms to followers on social media;
- Create interesting content on your website to build an audience;
- Award early subscribers of an email list with a discount; and
- Guest blogging on photography blogs.
While you’re doing this you will get information about where your target audience is hanging out and what the best ways of reaching them are. Maybe you thought blogging would be big for getting your name and product out there, but the response is meagre. Or you thought SEO wasn’t going to cut it, but surprisingly you identified some keywords with high volume and low competition to really drive traffic to your website.
These are valuable insights for when you do have a product to sell; you’ll already know what marketing channels work and give you impressive growth rates from day one. That is why Mint.com already had more than 20,000 people on their waiting list when they launched their personal financial product.
So now you know. There are many different things you could do, depending on your product and target audience, to grow a list of potential customers prior to launch and get their input about important product features. This should help make investors happy with a growing following and prevent the launch of a product that there’s no demand for.
Let us know how implementing data-driven marketing during product development worked out for you at info[at]theleanmarketingcollective[.]com.