Surely, if I build it they will come…? Unlike Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams, it is incredibly rare that a new product, venue or service will start selling the moment it becomes available unless people know about it. It is truer to say: ‘If I build it and then tell people about it again and again, they will come’.
When strategically planning a launch with our clients, we are almost always asked, ‘When is the best time?’.
So how do you decide?
Understand your customers’ journey to purchase
Start by mapping the steps your customer will take to make a purchase. From understanding the problem your product or service will solve, to who and what influences their purchasing decisions and how they will actually buy your product or service, track every potential touch point. This will help to identify any obstacles or barriers to purchase as well as opportunities to influence buying decisions.
Is there a particular time of year when your new product or service is more likely to be purchased e.g. as budgets renew at the start of the financial year or Christmas?
To make the most of seasonal-specific spending, build in enough time to maximise communication channels. While online and social media content can be published almost instantly, some editorial calendars work up to 3-4 months in advance and, at Christmas, consumer magazines will start organising content in the summer. If you aren’t completely ready, consider staggering your communications launch to avoid missing early opportunities.
Track important calendar dates
Consider upcoming events or diary dates that could boost or hamper your launch.
Relevant awareness days, trade shows and events all serve as strong platforms for launch. Not only do they provide a timely reason for press to cover the news or for your sales team to contact new and existing customers, you can also tap into social media hashtags, feed into articles already scheduled in editorial calendars, and promote news via an event’s communication channels to reach more people.
Conversely, there can be times that aren’t optimum for engagement. For example, coinciding with peak holiday dates or huge news announcements such as The Budget can limit potential reach.
The perfect time to launch may never arise, sometimes it’s just as important to reveal your latest development before it becomes irrelevant or is trumped by competition. Having the most important information ready – what is it, why do you need it and where can you buy it from – may be all you need to start.
Typically it takes between five and seven touchpoints to close a sale; without a long-term strategy you risk making a big splash at launch with activity tailing off, resulting in missed sales. There will always be an opportunity to communicate more information about your new product or service, to keep it front of mind and continue to drive purchase beyond launch.
For help with your next launch strategy, contact Caroline Walker, firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss creating impact, building awareness and driving sales 01732 779 087