Startup Resources: 5 Essential Steps for Pre-Launch Marketing

By Ceillie Clark-Keane.

Ceillie runs content at Unstack, a no-code CMS and marketing platform built to help startup founders launch and scale their businesses.

According to the Marketing Research Association, just 40% of developed products go to marketing. Out of those products, only 60% will generate revenue. Those are some steep odds; but it doesn’t mean you should close up shop on your startup. It means you need to start focusing on your launch strategy as soon as possible.

In fact, you need to start thinking about your pre-launch marketing as soon as possible.

Here, I’m going to share five essential steps for your pre-launch marketing strategy:

  1. Build a high-quality website
  2. Define your branding
  3. Start creating content
  4. Generate links and mentions
  5. Grow your community

But first, let’s talk about why a pre-launch marketing strategy is important for your business.

Why do you need a pre-launch marketing strategy?

It’s simple: You need a pre-launch marketing strategy in order to ensure you have a successful launch. 

This pre-work sets you up with the foundation you need—a recognizable brand, an online presence, and connections in your industry. These are all key for ensuring that your launch doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

This pre-launch marketing also gives you the opportunity to decide who is responsible for doing what. At startups, we all wear a lot of hats, and with so much going on, it’s too easy to forget about a deadline or even a whole deliverable. By outlining a pre-launch marketing strategy, you can document who is responsible and what the deadline is.

There are lots of different variables in your go-to-market strategy, but deadlines and date change frequently. In fact, 45% of product launches are pushed out at least one month. Putting together a solid pre-launch marketing strategy makes sure that a delay doesn’t prevent business’s growth—you’ll start accruing SEO value, brand awareness, social followers, and more right away. Here’s how. 

  1. Build a high-quality website

This list isn’t exactly in order of importance, but this is at the top for a reason: Your business absolutely needs a great website pre-launch (for a few reasons).

Significantly, 75% of people judge a company’s credibility based on its website. 

Pre-Launch Marketing

That means you need a good website in order to just get most people to consider your business legitimate, let alone convert. 

So what makes a good website? Here are a few key things:

  • Appealing design
  • Clear, consistent messaging
  • Company contact information
  • Strong SEO 

Having a high-quality website with content and SEO will help with growing your presence online to help users learn about your company, too. Ranking on the SERP can help build brand awareness, and providing authoritative, educational content can build trust with your audience—but more on this soon. 

  1. Define your branding

When most people think of product launches, they focus on making sure that their audience has every opportunity to engage with their brand. This is an important part. But it’s also crucial to give your audience every opportunity to remember and recognize your brand, too. That’s why this second step for pre-launch marketing is to spend time defining your branding.

According to HubSpot, a brand is a combination of features that make one company identifiable. Some of these features include: 

  • A name
  • A tagline
  • A logo or symbol
  • A common design standard
  • A brand voice

For your design standards, be sure to settle on brand colors. If you’re not a designer or don’t have the funds, don’t worry. There are lots of free, automated tools, like Colormind, that offer help with defining color palettes. Once you have your brand colors, stick to them everywhere. On your website, in your logo, and on any social profiles. This consistency is key. In fact, sticking to a signature color scheme can increase your brand recognititon by 80%.


Pre-Launch Marketing

  1. Start creating content

According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the main reasons product launches fail is that products requiring education for prospective customers fail to deliver it. 

Avoid making that fatal error now by getting started on content creation before you launch your product. Your pre-launch content strategy should include information about your product, an explanation of how your product helps users, and, if you have them, case studies from your early or beta users. 

Take a look at this pre-launch content example from Launchable:

Pre-Launch Marketing

The “How it works” section includes informational content about the product, “Case studies” include how the product has helped early adopters, and the “Blog” includes product updates. Even better, “White paper” uses content to grow their email address. 

That’s an excellent use of content for pre-launch marketing—and it’ll continue to serve the business in the launch and beyond. 

  1. Generate links and mentions

Creating your own content is great for growing your list and establishing your brand, but it probably won’t attract many users to your website yet. That’s why you need to do some outreach in your pre-launch marketing to establish your brand—and your website’s—authority. 

One great way to do this is with focusing on your CEO. At this point, your startup’s CEO should be the spokesperson for your company. CEO of Hint Kara Goldin points to three key reasons why:

  1. Your best customers will buy into the company mission.
  2. CEOs often represent your target customers.
  3. Your CEO can reach new audiences.

With a CEO as your spokesperson, you’re connecting your brand to an individual who saw a need for a product or service and worked to make that a possibility. Pre-launch, you’ll want to stay focused and take opportunities to establish the CEO as an expert in your space. For example, if your product is a marketing automation tool, your CEO might seek out opportunities to weigh in on marketing, marketing processes, and strategies for busy marketing teams.

Help A Reporter Out is a great way to find opportunities in one place, but keep an eye out on social, too. Building backlinks to your website and mentions for your social profiles is good for growing your community—and more on that next. 

  1. Grow your community

Your product launch is not the time to test out your social media presence.

So before your launch, you need to make sure you have your social profiles set up and start attracting followers, both potential customers and people in your industry. 

There are a few different benefits to doing so. 54% of users regularly research new brands or products on social media.  Having a social profile that has content, engagement, and followers before your launch means that when these users go to research your brand, they’ll see that you are connected and established. This will help confirm for your users that your brand is trustworthy.

Another key benefit to growing your social media following pre-launch is that you build your community of engaged followers who will care about your launch. This will help make your launch successful. Sprout Social recommends creating buzz before your launch on social media with intriguing “Coming Soon” or teaser posts.

Pre-Launch Marketing

The company also suggests using video content for product previews or run a giveaway leading up to the launch to encourage more social sharing and engagement. 

Make your launch a success with pre-launch marketing

You put a lot of effort into developing a product, creating it, ensuring that it provides value. It’s worth taking these extra steps to ensure that your launch is a success. So take some time to develop a pre-launch strategy—and to really knock it out of the park don’t forget to follow through post-launch, too.  

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