Soft Launching – After years of hard work, long days and funding red tape, you’re finally ready to plan the launch of your startup and your thoughts turn to how to ‘get the word out‘.
In days gone by, launches required the Mayor, the local paper, a big red ribbon and an oversized pair of scissors.
Bring them together and you were off.
However, in today’s world, the notion of launch-day PR opening the floodgates of attention is long gone. In today’s hyper-competitive, digital world, product launches run over months or even years.
Generally speaking, there are two different methods to launch your startup into the market – the hard launch and the soft launch.
At hard launch, you are ready to tell the world about your product. It has been tested and works well, you may already have a core user base on which to build and your marketing activity is ready to roll.
This is the stage when you are ready to invest significantly in acquiring customers and have resources to carry their interest into your fully functional product or service.
Soft launch, on the other hand, is about building an engaged audience base, using their experience to learn and evolve your product and their influence to build new interest and new customers organically.
This costs less and can be used by smaller business to test products, services, and procedures, without blowing the budget.
We would often recommend soft launching to new companies with products fresh from developers. Here are some of the main reasons why:
Save Your Budget
Staying within budget is a top priority for any business, however, the pressure to make financial resources stretch, is particularly important for startups and entrepreneurs. A soft launch reduces the need to spend big, without affecting the quality of the launch.
Use Minimal Resources
Soft launches don’t require lavish launch parties to be successful. They can be focused on a really targeted media or blogger relations, content campaigns or product demonstrations to a few selected ‘influencer’ targets.
This method can work effectively for startups with minimal disposable resources, who have a product ready to market.
Test Your Market
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is having a big launch, only to realise their product or service isn’t ready for market scrutiny.
This can lead to negative feedback from potential customers as well as criticism in the media. A soft launch allows you to quietly test your startup with selected customers and media, smoothing any bumps or bugs as you go.
Apps and gadgets are a great example of a product that can benefit from a soft launch as it can be an effective way to gain insights to help you improve your product and the way you market it.
Also, a soft launch can help build a pipeline of interest ready for the user acquisition phase.
Train Inexperienced Staff
A soft launch is a great opportunity to give your staff hands-on experience dealing with customer and media inquiries.
Hard launches can often mean interviews, demonstrations and media presentations which can leave unseasoned staff feeling out of their depth. By starting with a soft launch, you are on your way to having confident and positive staff that will put your startup in the best light possible.
While introducing your startup to the world can be just as stressful as it is exciting, launching it the right way can reduce the pressure on your product and your business.
Soft launching allows you to test your startup in the market while resolving any bumps along the way.