launchA successful launch of a new online brand, product, campaign or service requires a tremendous amount of in-person lobbying and relationship-building, as well as online hype well in advance of the actual launch. Only after I failed miserably to fund an Indiegogo campaign did I realize that getting early commitments determines the ultimate success of a campaign.  Since that high-profile flop I’ve been studying successful launches across all platforms, and I now realize that early commitments are the key to a big start.

For an app launch, consider taking these steps 60-90 days before the product goes to market and just after it launches:

  1. Set the goal. In the case of launching an app, the goal might be to get 50 positive reviews of the app on the first day, get covered by 10 bloggers or journalists, launch in front of 500 people, and advertise with the goal of 1,000,000 impressions all in advance of the campaign.
  2. Recruit friends and family. Find out who in your network could be an ambassador for your brand, and ask those people to find another 3 people to download and review your app on launch day. Reach out to them one month in advance. Get them on board through individual conversations. Once they’re on board, follow up with them before the launch, on launch, and in the days after the launch to make sure the’ve gotten their 3 friends involved.
  3. Announce to your educational network. Attend college reunions and events, and be sure to announce that you’re planning to launch. Collect business cards at these events and add these people to your friends and family mailing list. Write into alumni magazines to update their Class Notes section mentioning what you’re doing.
  4. Engage bloggers and press writers. Find the 20 writers who could cover your work and engage them using all three of these methods: a) engage them on Twitter and on their blogs for 1 month before you want to get in touch; b) get introduced by shared acquaintances; and c) email them with the story basically already written. Include pictures, video, and quotes from customers.
  5. Announce the launch at an event. The bigger the event the better. South By Southwest is great for this, but there are many tech events in cities around the world where you could announce a launch. This takes some time and planning so you may want to start at least 3 months before the launch date. Only announce once the product is already live and has some positive reviews.
  6. Buy ads.  For mobile apps, use Facebook’s direct install service as soon as the app launches. This may not be profitable, but this, along with all the other work you’re doing, will improve your standing in the app store. Only advertise once the product is live.

None of these requires an expensive launch party or formal press releases. The main ingredient is hustle.

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