✓Don’t limit your pre-launch efforts to a press release emailed to the usual publications. Light a real fire under your launch by prepping potential users and buyers, industry media and other industry influencers using today’s powerful social media tools. Start a whisper campaign on Twitter. Reveal intriguing photos on Facebook. Grab attention through videos posted on YouTube and shared across your networks. Start a LinkedIn group about it!
✓ Launch a new product in real time. With free streaming video services like Livestream and Ustream and the more interactive video Hangouts on Google+, you can run your own product launch show.
Launching at a trade show? Use Livestream or Ustream to broadcast the event to everyone who can’t make it to the show. Save the recording for posting to YouTube, your social networks and your website. Send out a link to the recording via email to your customer list just hours after the event—and be sure to include a contact info form on the landing page.
Launching at your own facility? You can fly the press in and air the launch via Livestream or Ustream—or you can invite the press to participate via webcams in a Google+ Hangout, where your team can show off the new product, they can ask questions, there can be discussion…and people can watch live or check out the recorded version later.
✓ Create incentive to share and talk about your new product
Social networks are all about sharing and discussion—and your new product or service is all about solving problems and/or improving processes. People like to talk about problems and improvements, so kick those discussions off. Google+ and LinkedIn Groups are well-suited to in-depth discussions, Facebook a little less so, and Twitter is a great medium for pointing people toward your discussion—unless it’s the kind of discussion that could be done well in a Twitter chat.
If you’re not familiar with Twitter chats, it’s where a hashtag is chosen for the chat, and everyone participating in the chat simply follows the hashtag and contributes by including the hashtag when in their tweets. It’s a more fleeting, real-time discussion than you’d have on Google+, LinkedIn groups or Facebook, and that can be rewarding in its own right, giving people the sense of an immediate connection. A site like Tweet Chat makes it easy to follow a Twitter chat (as can setting up a hashtag as a stream in Hoot Suite and other Twitter clients), so if you’re going to hold such a chat, make sure you shoot participants a link at the start of the chat, and sprinkle it during the chat, for late comers.
Google+ Hangouts are another real-time discussion option. Get a few of the experts in your company on this particular product or service onto web cams and invite viewers to submit questions during the hangout. The great thing about this is that as one of your team answers a question, another member can jump in and add to it, resulting in deeper answers and a more interesting viewing experience.
✓ Show the features and benefits of your product or service through video
Hardly a new concept, but an effective one nonetheless. Create a separate video for each major benefit or unique selling point. Put them on YouTube, share them on your networks, incorporate them in blog posts—and of course post them on the product pages on your website.
✓ You could film a comprehensive mock demo (and then break it up into shorter videos, each covering a specific point), or you could schedule live video demos where viewers have the opportunity to ask questions during the demo. This is done with software all the time—why not with industrial equipment? Again, Livestream, Ustream and Google+ offer free video streaming, and any of them could be easily adapted to this purpose.
✓ Answer pre-sales questions
Regularly encourage your social networks to ask questions about your products. Post questions that have already been asked and answered. Just make sure you’re monitoring your networks so that you can answer when new questions are asked. There’s nothing worse than a potential customer getting silence in answer to their question.
If you’re monitoring beyond your own networks, you can find questions about your products that users are asking other users—a great opportunity to step in with an answer.
✓ Share spec sheets, tips sheets, product brochures, sales presentations and more to get more mileage out of your materials
How many times does a company spend them money on a piece of collateral only to use it for a narrow purpose and otherwise forget about it? Share those materials across your networks. “We have an updated spec sheet on Product A – download it here.” “Just put up a new presentation about Product B and The Problem It Address on Slideshare. Take a look.”
✓ Create video testimonials from satisfied customers
What better spokesman for your product than a satisfied user? Check up on customers after they’ve been using your product or service, and if they’re enthusiastic about it, ask them if they’d like to be in a video. Tell them it’s no pressure, just a quick interview. Their company gets a plug, your company gets a big plug, everybody goes home happy. You can tape these testimonials in person, at their facility or yours, or at a trade show or industry event, or you can turn to Google+ Hangouts once again. Don’t forget to transcribe the video—you can use quotes in press releases or turn the whole thing into a blog post. And make sure to get these videos onto the product pages on your site! They don’t do any good if no one sees them.
Interested in more tips? U can Call Manager’s Office.