Launching a startup is incredibly exciting. The period from the initial concept to the first product can be both exhilarating and full of challenges. According to a GEM Global Report, over 100 million businesses are launched every year. Of these, over 90% fail. Having an organized and detailed plan is key to a positive launch experience. Here are the top areas to focus on during the process.
- Prepare to spend time on your launch. Launching a start-up cannot be done overnight, or even within a month. A successful launch involves a time-intensive program of testing, data collecting, and company development meetings. Being unprepared can lead to a lot of trial-and- error that could have been eliminated. Unless you have a solid plan, backed by detailed data and information, you will be launching blind. One great example of the power of a great pre-launch plan is provided by Dropbox. Launching a beta-version of their platform as part of their pre-launch strategy enabled them to work out any kinks. The results were amazing: they gained over a million users in just the first 7 months!
- SEO is your secret weapon. It can help customers find your product quickly and easily. Along with the right keywords and a unique brand, SEO is your startup’s best friend. Still, it cannot be relied upon alone. Google’s new algorithm means that SEO has to be more exact and defined in order to put your brand on the map. Note, too, that Neil Patel has stated that SEO can take up to six months to drive traffic.
- While SEO can be time intensive, growth hacking can show immediate results. Neil Patel defines it as “Getting mad creative to get real results.” Although growth hacking is a relatively new term, the premise behind it has been around for a while. When you look at major companies, such as Pinterest and Hotmail, many began with this approach. Pinterest used growth hacking by introducing themselves as an invitation-only platform. This built up anticipation to such a degree that, once Pinterest removed this feature, the rate of sign-ups soared. Within three years they had a user base of 70 million and 500,000 business accounts. Hotmail is another great example. When that company first launched, in 1996, they marketed their email platform through traditional methods with a budget of just $300. The results were mediocre, which led Hotmail to try something else. They began adding a call to action to any emails sent through the platform. This CTA worked extremely well. Within six months they had gone from 20,000 users to over a million, with an average of three million new users signing up daily.
- Customer feedback is your best friend. As a startup, you are most likely very attached to your product. Working on it day and night can make it hard to see areas that need improvement. Customer feedback provides this information. By asking users to participate in your Beta test — and to respond honestly — you can ensure both an optimal customer experience and a product that is ready for the market. This feedback can even help you to develop your marketing strategy and build brand recognition before your product is launched.
- Finally, your messaging is essential for attracting target customers. Dollar Shave Club is a great example of how messaging can work towards customer acquisition. When it launched it shared a low budget video that took just a day to shoot. Because it was funny, it grabbed the attention of people everywhere. Within six hours it had gone viral and the company’s inventory was completely sold out. These days, Dollar Shave Club has a valuation of $615 million and is a leader in razor sales. This illustrates how visual elements, such as video, can be powerful marketing tools. Humans process visuals 600,000 times faster than text, according to Hubspot. Strong visuals are crucial to your messaging.
Launching a startup is a time full of potential and possibility. With the right plan in place, your company will be on the path to success. For more information on developing a launch strategy please contact us here or call us at 415-351-2227.