This post was contributed by Adrienne Barnes from Demio.
Clayton Christensen is famous for quoting the product launch failure rate at 95%, while George Castellion and Stephen K. Markham say the average launch failure rate is actually around 40%. The discrepancies depend on when you consider a product launch to be in motion. Is an idea the beginning of a product launch? Or is it further down the product lifecycle?
Regardless of when you believe the product launch begins, everyone can agree that product launches are difficult to execute.
We want to help you avoid being a statistic on your next product launch. With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to your next launch’s secret weapon: webinars.
Webinars are one of the most powerful tools to have in your arsenal for product launches. They allow you to speak one-to-many, and during a product launch, that saves time, keeps messaging consistent, and allows product marketers to educate other departments and teams. There are three phases to launching a product: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. In this piece, you’ll learn how you can use webinars at each phase to have an amazing overall product launch.
Pre-launch: How webinars can help you before you launch
Before you launch your product into the world, you’ll want to make sure that you’re well prepared with audience insights, like pain points, commonly asked questions, and the words they use to discuss their questions and struggles.
Your pre-launch strategy should provide answers to these questions:
- What pain points are you solving with this campaign/product?
- What is different about your product than what is currently on the market?
- Who needs this product/campaign?
So, how do you get accurate answers to these questions?
Host a webinar
Webinars are one of the most efficient and effective tools to gather audience insights. By hosting a webinar, you can learn if your audience cares about a certain topic or subject, if they have a need or pain point that needs to be solved, what their questions are about a given topic, and the words they use to discuss their pain points and issues.
Phone calls can be intimidating to people, but a 1:1 conversation is a great way to learn more about your audience. This step is likely to be a friends/family ask or an ask to your network. The book The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick is a great resource to learn how to ask the right questions quickly in order to get the most actionable information out of your interviews.
A survey works if you need yes or no answers. It is a great way to gather a lot of answers in a short time. Ask yes or no questions, or use questions with a 1–10 scale for the most accurate answers. Surveys can work via email or on your registration page. For example, a short survey after signing up for a waitlist — such as “Thanks for signing up! How did you hear about us?” or “Thanks for being so patient. Why do you need [your product] today?” — can give you great insight into your audience’s needs and desires.
Social media provides a plethora of opportunities to learn exactly what your audience is saying and about a specific topic or pain point. Searching through social media platforms can provide incredible information about questions, struggles, or needed solutions that can help shape the development and launch of your product.
Build an audience before you need one
Consider yourself a professional friend-maker. Your job (on top of building your company) is to make as many friends as possible. This will help you build your audience well before you launch your product.
An established audience will help share your product on social media and upvote on Product Hunt. Moreover, these are the people that are ready to buy first.
Start by growing your email list and social media presence. Use your webinar registrations, interviews, and landing page with product announcements/updates to grow your email list.
But you need to do more than collect email addresses if you expect a huge response on launch day. The best way to build an audience via email is to spend time sending regular emails. The content you choose to send can vary; maybe it’s industry updates and news, or your thoughts on a specific topic, or teaching how to do something related to your product or industry.
You could also update your audience on the progress of your product — where it is in development, what bugs you are working out, what struggles you are thinking through, etc. Bringing the audience along on the launch journey with you is a great way to establish trust, build anticipation, and increase interest.
Educate your teams and departments
Not everyone in your company is a product marketing expert with in-depth, detailed knowledge of the product, which means you will have to invest some time in educating people inside your organization before you launch.
Webinars allow you to create specific educational content for each department depending on their needs, requirements, and responsibilities. Create this internal event much like an external webinar.
1. Create a live internal webinar event
Create a webinar registration page for everyone to sign up, send invites to each department member, and let them know the content will be tailored to meet their needs. Market this webinar like you would a webinar to customers.
2. Host the internal webinar
For each department or team’s webinar, show the content that is most applicable to them. During the webinar, share any documents, deliverables, or sales decks the team will need. If you’re presenting to the customer success team, give them the information that will help them succeed when tickets begin to come. If you’re presenting to sales, share with them the assets, decks, and information they need to be the most successful.
3. Record and share the internal webinar
To make the content easily accessible and useful for the various teams, record the webinar and share it once it’s complete. Using automations with Demio and ActiveCampaign, for example, you can email those who were not able to attend and send them a link to view the webinar at their convenience.
Develop a helpful user onboarding process
Another important piece of the pre-launch puzzle is to understand how customers are going to onboard using your product and how you can make that process as easy as possible. A streamlined and helpful onboarding process will minimize churn and give customers the chance to make your product an integral part of their process.
Webinars help you onboard customers.
Some customers want a lot of help and guidance when onboarding, while others want to figure things out on their own. With weekly onboarding webinars, you can meet the needs of both segments of your customers.
There are numerous ways to create a weekly webinar cadence to help onboard your customers. You could create a new webinar each week that covers a particular use case, or one that helps a very specific audience segment. You could cover a new feature each week, or a simple Q&A for new and long-standing customers.
How to use webinars to launch your product
For a product launch to go well, there needs to be interest and buzz. People need to share, upvote, demo, or sign up to get the product off the ground. Doing so requires taking a lot of people from “unaware” to “customers” in a short amount of time.
Webinars are great tools for doing just that; according to The Big Book of Webinar Stats, “60% of webinars are designed to move people through the entire customer lifecycle – from unaware prospect to loyal customer.”
How do you use webinars to launch a product?
Create webinar content
Your launch webinar should create interest and intrigue that leaves attendees knowing clearly what your product does and who it’s for, but still wanting to see more. Consider this webinar your product explainer video. In a few minutes, you’ll share with the audience why they need your product, and how exactly they will benefit from it.
The benefit of a webinar over a standalone video is that you can interact with your audience. Audience feedback is always important, but it is especially essential during a launch.
Create a registration page
You’ll need to create a webinar registration page that entices people to sign up for the webinar. To do this, write an incredible hook that tells the reader exactly what they can expect to learn or gain from your webinar.
This registration page from Demio is a great example of a successful webinar landing page. It has an intriguing headline, clear call-to-action, and bullet points explaining exactly what the registrant can expect:
Limit distractions and other links on your webinar registration page, and ask for as little information as necessary. Keep in mind that the only goal for this page is to get people signed up for the webinar.
Promote your webinar
The best way to promote a launch webinar is to get the word out to as many potentially interested people as possible.
Share your webinar registration page in relevant Slack channels, Facebook groups, LinkedIn posts and groups, on your personal and brand social media pages, and send email announcements with the registration link. Promoting via email will allow you to segment your audience and send retargeting emails from paid advertising campaigns.
Host your webinar
When launch day arrives, host your webinar and engage with the audience. You can run polls and see and hear their questions, comments, or praises immediately.
You can also launch your offer from within the webinar — create a custom call-to-action and share with every webinar attendee. Because you have their attention, you don’t have to hope that they’ll remember to register when the event ends.
To make good use of your time and help people who couldn’t make the event, record your webinar and send it to the people who registered, but missed it. An on-demand webinar can run forever. You can choose to keep up the registration page and run the product announcement webinar as an on-demand evergreen event, as a part of onboarding, or as a lead generation tool.
How webinars can help after your launch
Post-launch is all about looking at the data and seeing what worked, what needs to be tweaked, and what crashed and burned. Ask yourself the following questions to gather helpful data around the launch:
- How many signups did you get?
- How much organic traffic was on the site/landing page?
- How many people attended the webinar?
- What was your email open and click-through rate?
- What did your blog post traffic look like?
Gather and organize your answers. This will help you determine what worked and what didn’t. If you had a lot of signups, but a large number of people didn’t attend the event, attempt to understand why. Was your timing bad? Was your audience not available then? Analyze your data and make adjustments where appropriate.
Continue hosting weekly webinars to help your customers use your product and draw interest to new potential customers.
These can be live, automated, or on-demand webinars that serve to grow your audience, build trust with your customers, and build relationships with customers and others in your industry. ActiveCampaign hosts frequent webinars based on customers’ interests and pain points as a way to continue educating and engaging with the audience.
If you’re looking for resources to help you refine your webinars, ActiveCampaign has a plug-and-play webinar template that will help you write better webinar launch emails, a 111-point webinar checklist so you never miss a step, and even a script template to help you craft the perfect message. Download it here.
Webinars can be the workhorse for your product launch campaign — they help with every stage of the launch process and keep you connected to both your product and audience. Demio, a webinar platform for marketers, loves to help founders launch new products and better serve their audiences. Demio integrates with ActiveCampaign seamlessly to provide an amazing experience for you and your audience.