Your startup launch is the first day you will show your “baby” to the world and let the public have a hand at your stuff. A good launch can do great things to your brand & build enough momentum to cut marketing & sales expenditure drastically. Remember the lines on the day before iPhone and Sony PS II launches? You might not get that far for your product (!), but you still could generate a lot of buzz without spending too much if follow these ideas.
6 Months before Launch
Get started on Twitter – know the influencers in your area and connect with them. Post content related to your field and build reputation.
Participate in hackernews and hackernews india discussions and earn karma points.
Get active on forums, Quora on topics related to your product. Answer questions and be a good samaritan.
Set up your blog and post interesting content related to your product. Post the broad issues faced etc. Include media to display the human side of your company – photos of your team, office, videos of fun events, etc. Learn the tips for business blogging.
Get a good brand name and register your site. You could use nameninja to brainstorm on the brand name.
Create a splash page – you could use launchrock – with a signup form
From your small network created in the previous steps, get a few target users to sign up for the alpha/beta.
Goal now: Work on the right product idea that excites your beta customers
3 Months Before Launch
Spend some time to design a smart business card that stands out and use the back of the card with a 3 point pitch about your startup.
Cultivate an relationship with bloggers and media persons in your field. Here are some tips to cultivating the blogger relationships. If you could get bloggers like Robert Scoble to get interested, the idea could spread like wildfire.
Start attending started related events – keep building networks & exchange business cards. Make your brand – YOU- known. Here are some startup related events.
List your startup in Angel List, StartupLi.st, CrunchBase, Listio
Goal now: Build a kick-ass product that people will love
1 Week Before the Launch
Build a great landing page that has a clear call to action – signup/phone number to contact/buy the product etc.
Optimize your site well as new customers might not be too patient for the site to load. Here are 21 tips to speed your site.
Do basic SEO for your site to bring customers through search. Here are some basics.
Test your product well – a lot of times people don’t give a second chance. After internal testing you could use services like 99tests to find out critical bugs and scalability issues.
Setup Google Analytics in your site and monitor your site daily. Track visits, bounce rate, traffic sources, time spent on site etc.
Learn to use social monitoring tools like howsociable to track your brand across the social media.
Write a good press release. A press release is a content that a media could use directly for their story. It is written in third person and talks about your product, team and advantages of your product. Learn to how to write press release and here are tips to write your press release.
Setup your Facebook page. Get your friends and contacts to join it. You might want to use Facebook ads to kickstart the fan building process.
Create viral content – emotive stories, videos and pictures that people could share in social media easily.
Create interesting infographics and slides on content related to your product (stats, benefits, user demographics, comparison to existing products) to post in your blog. You might be able to use the newly launched Visual.ly to create the infographics if you don’t have a create artist.
Tease your twitter followers with tweets that gives them a preview of the product in a fun & entertaining way. Without going overboard, give a bikini –reveal enough to keep it interesting without exposing everything.
Create fun contests (quizzes, social games, etc) for your twitter & facebook fans – throw away a few freebies
Write personally to bloggers – give exclusives for the big ones- give them a compelling story. Bloggers like to write interesting content and make your story a coherent and a powerful one. Request them not to leak the story till your launch day.
Collect a list of all email contacts you and your team knows. Keep these in your CRM or at the least in a single CSV file.
Prepare a video demo of your product and record interviews with the team and your initial customers – post them on your youtube channel. Keep it short and fun.
Create a kick-ass presentation of your product covering the problem, your solution, benefits etc – post them on your blog and send it over to any blogger who shows interest in your product.
Goal now: Choose the right launch date – ideally in the middle of the week without any impending holidays and other major product launches.
Post the howtos, presentation, videos, any testimonial you received from your beta users in your blog. Make your blog the central repository of everything related to your product.
Schedule two dozen tweets (you could use tools like Hootsuite for scheduling) to go every hour – each covering a facet of your product – with an appropriate URL in your site
Start mailing to all your email contacts. Use a tool like mailchimp to send and track the emails.
If you are an internet startup, post your site link in Killerstartups and these 36 other websites.
Submit links in hackernews and hackernews india
Get your team tuned to the social media and be alert to receive feedback. Monitor your site metrics – traffic, load etc.
Respond to email queries as fast as possible.
Goal now: Keep listening & responding to feedback, tracking the results, and be agile in enacting changes
Thank any blogger who has covered your event.
Be active on social media and engage customers who mention your product and collect their feedback. Take their negative feedback without being defensive.
Fix the bugs and work on feature requests if they make sense.
Write tutorials to help your customer use your features better.
Keep looking out for events to demo your product.
Put your domain name in your business cards, email signature, presentations and any other relevant communication.