Welcome to The Digital Brew, a podcast about making your business more awesome online.
Your hosts are Angela (a copywriter) and Stew (a web designer). Pour yourself a cuppa and let’s get started with today’s episode…
In this episode, we talk about launching a new brand of the first time.
Oh, by the way… happy new year!
What better way to launch a new year than to launch a new brand (or relaunch an existing one). New year, new brand! Lame… sorry.
As you may know, we only recently launched TDB at the end of last year. We’ve kept a close record of all the tasks we did and the processes we followed in getting all our marketing and processes set up and we’ve been sharing it with you over the last few months.
This is the last episode in that series, and this one covers the actual launch period. As in, all those final things we did to get the brand out there in the world, go public, and actually launch it so we could start signing up our first clients.
This’ll be useful for you if you’re planning a brand launch, but you could also adapt this process for smaller launches like… new products or services. The same principles apply.
Let’s get into what we did…
Our pre-launch campaign is basically the time between when we announced that we had a new thing coming, through to when we made the website live. During this period, we did a bunch of things…
We set up a coming soon page on the website with a signup form so that people could join our “wait list” to get notified about new details as soon as they became available.
We created “info packs”, which were two designed pdfs that described our not-yet-live services. We emailed these out to anyone who enquired early on (before going live) so we had something to show them – and maybe even sell them on.
We also developed a referral partner info pack because we have a few existing contacts that refer work to us. We wanted to be able to reward them, create a system for it, and set some expectations. (The expectations were NOT that we would get referrals – nothing like that. But simply talking about % referral fees, what they apply to, and when they get paid.)
We also wrote blogs for our individual, personal brand websites announcing that The Digital Brew was coming soon. You can see Angela’s here and Stew’s here.
Since we’d set up social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) for The Digital Brew, we used the pre-launch period to start populating these pages with content – a few posts each week. If you use Instagram, you’ll know that a blank feed is a big no-no so we filled our first 9 posts up with a giant graphic announcing that TDB was coming soon. You can scroll back in our Instagram feed and take a look, if you like.
Plus, we had our own existing social media pages and followings (small, but reasonably engaged!). We used these to share the new brand’s pages with our existing audiences so that people could follow along there if they were interested.
Bringing it back to emails, I (Angela) already had an existing email list of a bit over 100 people. Small but again, reasonably engaged. I invited them to sign up to the waitlist and get emails about TDB. I didn’t want to email my existing list about TDB because it’s not what they’d signed up for, so it had to be separate lists with a fresh opt-in. Although I do keep both brands within the same Active Campaign account.
All up, we had around 3 weeks of social media posts and warm up emails to the waitlist. These were geared at sharing a little info about what’s coming (pretty much a sneak peek but not a full reveal).
And of course, we had to plan our first lot of podcast episodes (about 10?). We recorded the first 3, ready for launch. This involved coming up with a podcast name (haha yeah, we kinda went the easy route there) graphics, descriptions, intro/outro, music (by Stew!), and the format for each episode.
Finally, we chose a launch date. We did this a few days into pre-launch because we weren’t 100% sure when we’d be ready until then. We went with a Tuesday 3 weeks after kicking off pre-launch. Thish worked well because it gave us just enough time to wrap things up, but not so much time that it would drag on, we’d lose interest, our audience would forget aobut it, or we’d procrastinate (which is very tempting when you’re doing something that stretches/scares you). Once we had a launch date, we kept mentioning it in most emails and social media posts so that people would remember when we’d be live.
On the Tuesday morning, we ran final testing of the website and made it live! If you want to know all the steps involved in launching a website, check out episode 7. We allowed a few hours for testing to make sure that things were set up properly and running smoothly before we promoted it online.
That afternoon, we shared the link out on social media, as well as sending emails to our lists.
And that was it! We were officially live!
So, let’s talk a bi about the results we got from this process.
We had a decent amount of traffic and lots of great feedback – especially about the branding and the website. It’s not like we have a huge list or following… so we’re really happy with the amount of exposure and interest we got on launch day (and the days following).
Plus, we had a few enquiries about packages and pricing before we even launched, thanks to the pre-launch campaign and info packs.
Something that surprised us is we had less interest from our target audience than we expected, and more interest from small boutique marketing companies that wanted a web design company they could partner with or refer their clients to. So, that was cool.
We soon booked in our first project and we have another project (or two) potentially lined up for once that’s finished.
We didn’t get a project signed immediately during pre-launch or the first week or so of launch, but that’s okay. We already had a pretty full plate, went on holidays, Christmas was coming up, etc.
In hindsight, late October probably isn’t the best time of year to launch if you’re relying on a lot of B2B sales (thankfully we weren’t).
Overall, we’re super happy with the traction we gained, considering our existing audience was/is quite small. And also considering we’re upfront about our pricing and packages – the people who DO enquire are serious. If we didn’t have that up, we’d probably have got more enquiries, but there would’ve been a lot more time wasting.
We were able to build enough momentum to get things rolling and it will continue from there.
Okay, so let’s wrap this baby up!
If you’re launching a new brand or product, or relaunching something, definitely consider doing a pre-launch campaign. Spend a few weeks talking about what’s to come and building excitement.
Think about how you can engage people before your thing is released to the public and create a slick info-pack or sales document.
Also, think about how you can engage your top influencers and best customers to become referral partners. It feels so good to create a system for this since it’ll probably happen organically anyway.
Oh, and don’t forget to use your existing platforms and channels to promote what you’re doing next. This is pretty straightforward if you have personal brands like we do, but don’t overdo it if your brands don’t work well together. Give your new product/brand a brief mention, show them where they can find out more, and then resume regular programming.
Another thing – plan your launch so that the timing works best for your audience. Choose to launch at a time that makes sense for your product or service. If you’re in B2B, don’t do it right before a holiday period! Unless you want a soft launch like we did.
And that’s it!
We’ll catch you in the next episode, which is all about sales tips and tactics.
Thanks for tuning in to The Digital Brew with Ange and Stew. Make sure you head over to thedigitalbrew.com for more episodes, detailed show notes, resources, and our newsletter. And if you feel like this episode has helped make your business more awesome, pop us a review. We’ll catch you next time!