The following is a guest article by Christine Slocumb, President of Clarity Quest Marketing.
Eventually, we’ll get back to big, in-person brand launches with headline bands and great user group parties. In the meantime, you probably can’t wait out the pandemic before introducing a new company or product. You may be asking, “Now what?”
Clarity Quest has been virtually launching health tech companies for years. Here are some answers.
Create a Detailed Launch Plan
Virtual launches need just as much planning as in-person events. Your team should create a detailed plan covering campaigns and events pre-launch, day of launch, and at least one-quarter post-launch. Remember to include other departments, such as sales and human resources, in planning activities that cross departmental boundaries.
Start Content Generation Early
You would not believe the number of lead calls we get from companies that want to launch a product or service in less than two months. Detailed launch content will take at least six months to develop. If you plan to incorporate video (and you should), add another two months.
A baseline launch library includes talking points, website updates, personalized email messages to all subscribers, blog posts, executive briefs, case studies, and collateral.
Create the Best Website You Can Afford
Your site is the foundation upon which your entire marketing house sits, so don’t shortchange it. Make sure all the content you develop for the launch is on the site. Unless you are a large organization with excellent SEO rankings, we advise against conference microsites because it dilutes your search engine metrics. Instead, create a section on your main website or a subdomain.
Let’s say you’ve developed a substantial social media footprint before the launch. In that case, you can quickly distribute teaser content leading up to the launch and loop in followers for the actual launch event. If you need to build your online audiences, consider using paid social promotion of content such as LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content.
Clean and Segment your Email Lists
Personalized email communication was far more effective than bulk pre-and post-conference sends even before COVID-19. Ensure your contacts are valid using an inexpensive service like NeverBounce and segment your lists by buyer profiles, industries, and titles if you have a marketing automation system. That way, you can send specific, pertinent messages regarding the launch.
While pandemic-era gifting isn’t as easy as handing out fun tchotchkes at your booth, there are still some great options. For premium gifting to super users and prospects, we like the gifting platform Alyce because recipients can enter the address to which they want their product sent.
For the more philanthropically-inclined, there are many corporate gifting platforms available that allow your customers to donate to their favorite charity. 85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a charity they like.
Subaru’s Share the LoveⓇ event is a prime example of how corporate giving programs can build brand loyalty. Given the healthcare industry’s challenges, there are many worthy causes, from research non-profits to community health centers that accept and desperately need donations.
Don’t try to adapt your in-person launch template. Virtual audiences have different behaviors. Read Colin Hung’s excellent post, “Virtual Events Don’t Have to Suck.”
While remote launches will never replace the excitement of in-person events, companies need to develop a virtual process given the uncertain cloud under which we’re all living. Get started today because we’re likely living in a hybrid launch world for the new few years, if not longer.
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