You’ve been [building a community of like-minded folks who are paying attention to you][reduce-risk]. And now the launch of your new product is in sight. This is when you will start to activate your audience, who will become your first customers and help spread the word.
When launch is in sight (seriously, don’t do this too early otherwise it can backfire) start to talk more about the problems you’re having. Start to drop hints that you’re working on something to solve these problems. This will start to build anticipation and prepare people for the eventual launch.
Approximately 30 days before you launch, start to talk much more concretely about the fact that you are launching something “this month”. How much you share about your specific product at this stage will be up to you and your comfort level.
Make your audience feel special. Tell your email newsletter subscribers that you’ll be launching an early special offer just for them. Tell your broader audience that you’ll be doing that and encourage them to subscribe.
Put together a special offer. It doesn’t need to be complex, probably the simpler the better. It can be simply early access to the product, a discount, or an additional add-on or feature that only they have early access to.
Launch the offer to your email subscribers. New people will hear about your special offer and subscribe, so give new subscribers the special offer as well. Since you’ll be focused on launching, it would be best if you can automate this by including it in a subscription confirmation email.
Launch your product publicly. Push news of your launch through to all of the channels you’ve built.
Now is also the time to use those personal connections you’ve built with industry experts and thought leaders. If you’ve built genuine connections with them and not asked them for something before, they should be happy to share the news of your new product.
Through all of this communication, strike a reasonable balance between selling and authentically producing. However, most people underestimate how directly you can sell at this stage.
For a period of two weeks after your initial launch, continue to talk about the special offer and encourage people to buy. Publish a series of blog posts and email updates that describe features of your product, how you solved a particular problem, and other interesting bits of information.
About two weeks after the initial launch, put together a retrospective about how your launch went, and some things you’ve learned now that your product is in the hands of real customers.
For example, take a look at Michael Fogleman’s Product Launch Recap for his product Primitive for macOS.
Finally, (although you will never be truly finished) about 30 days after your initial launch, roll out at least one notable improvement or feature. This will reinforce the value and longevity of the product, as well as produce a natural excuse for you to talk about it again. Be sure to tell as many people, through all of your channels about it as possible.
I’ve outlined a roadmap for successfully leveraging your existing audience to reduce the risk in bringing your new product to market. Your audience will become your first customers and help you spread the word, but don’t forget why they are paying attention in the first place. Stay authentic to your own voice, and be respectful of their time and attention. You should also continue to provide your normal valuable content in addition to the direct product sales pitch over the course of executing on this roadmap.
If you do all of that, you’ll have a successful product launch and be well on your way to creating a new successful business.