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Apple fans are fiercely loyal to the brand; likewise, Tesla owners, Trader Joe’s shoppers, and Star Trek fans. Some have worked hard to create a community around their brand, while it sprung up naturally for others.
Either way, business founders understand the value of community. By generating engagement before you launch, you’ll understand your potential customers’ needs, create vocal brand advocates, and set up a good foundation for your new product.
There’s no single way to build a loyal community. However, if you use these 7 tips, you’ll grow and nurture your community before you ship a single new product.
New products attract customers when they solve a problem or help them achieve a goal in their lives. And customers are people, not metrics. Getting a clear picture of your prospective customers before you launch your product is essential. Ideally, you’ve already done this as part of your product development, but if you haven’t, take some time to do it now.
Find smart ways to engage potential customers before you sell to them.
For instance, you can:
All of this contact and research helps you find out the words people use to describe their situation and their ideal solution. Incorporate this language into all of your content.
When you understand your prospective customers’ needs and emotions, you’ll be able to craft messages that truly connect with them.
A coming soon page can get you traction for your brand and the product before it’s even launched. It also gives you somewhere to link to, giving your domain some much-needed SEO fuel before your website is live.
You can use a landing page tool to create a dynamic and creative coming soon page as a meeting place for your community. People will know where to go once your product is available and you can use it to build excitement leading up to your launch.
Be sure to include the following information on your coming soon page:
An email opt-in form is one of the most important parts of a coming soon page. With an email optin form, you can create solid relationships with potential customers through regular, direct communication—all before your website is even live.
Ask any entrepreneur or business owner, and they’ll tell you that email marketing is the one thing that can make a significant difference to their bottom line. With the number of email users forecast to reach 4.4 billion by the end of this year, you can bet your prospective customers who use email and would love to engage with you.
Gathering email addresses on your coming soon page is just the beginning—you’ve got to send emails to people. Don’t be afraid to send more than one email to subscribers or different kinds of emails to them while you’re in pre-launch. You want to keep people updated on your progress, keep your brand top-of-mind with them, and build your relationships.
So keep sending your update emails before your launch, but sprinkle in the odd email with:
Here are a couple of examples of different emails you can send, like a product update and order opportunity (Lively):
Don’t forget to personalize the emails you send. When you personalize the messages, it’s easier to build connections with people, making it easier to turn subscribers into paying customers when you launch. Plus, people are more likely to pay attention to personalized emails. One study found that personalized email messages get approximately 26% more opens. Over time, these shoppers will return to you more often and have a higher CLTV.
Blog content is essential to building a robust and loyal community. New products or businesses can benefit from having a comprehensive blog that spreads brand awareness, demonstrates your knowledge of the industry, and speaks directly to your target audience.
Blogging increases your trustworthiness because your audience will read your story and learn more about your journey to creating the product. They’ll see that you know how to speak directly to them and are knowledgeable about the industry. Plus, it’ll improve your SEO when you publish fresh content regularly.
Create a content calendar to plan out your topics and publication schedule and stay on target with your product launch timeline. You’ll already know what topics and subjects your audience will want to read because of your earlier research. Use that information and language to create the right message for your readers and earn their trust.
Once you’ve planned out your pre-launch blog, it’s time to branch out into guest posting. Writing guest posts on relevant sites and blogs helps earn your site or product pages early traffic and generates brand awareness. With so many new products launching daily, it can be hard to be heard through the noise.
Guest posting helps do that by getting your brand name in front of relevant communities and audiences.
Leo Widrich, co-founder of the social media app Buffer, used guest posting to get 100,000 customers in nine months for their brand new product.
Widrich wrote 150 posts for various sites to spread awareness of Buffer, build a relationship with editors, create a portfolio he could use to secure future guest posting opportunities, and establish the Buffer blog as an authoritative voice. You can do the same for your product pre-launch.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from the editor. Some will respond with a yes or no, while others will only respond if they’re interested. Keep sending out guest post pitches until you start to get them accepted. And don’t stop sending them out! Guest posting can help sustain brand awareness even after your launch.
Your pre-launch social media accounts can help your brand communicate with your community and those following you. It provides an efficient and easy way to educate the public in a friendly tone and correct any misconceptions before they spiral out of control. Plus, you can collect more insights about your prospective customers, your audience, and the industry around you.
Here’s how nail polish brand Holo Taco interacts with their Instagram followers for the launch of a new product.
Be sure to frequently monitor your social accounts so you can reply, like, and comment on messages efficiently. Even though you’re in pre-launch, getting a like or response from your brand can increase trust and loyalty because users can get to know the people behind the brand. This study found that two-thirds of people will spend more time interacting with brands to which they’re loyal, so you’ll want to nurture that at all times.
Even responding to criticisms can be an excellent opportunity to nurture loyalty because it gives you another chance to change their minds. They could’ve just ignored you and not said anything. Instead, they took the time to reach out to you. The fact that you’ve taken the time to respond can be enough to soften their perspective. Those watching the interaction will see how you handled it, which shows how much you care about the community.
Referral programs are excellent ways to get your community to promote your soon-to-be-launched product to their network. Referrals are 4X easier to sell to later on because of the trust people have with the person referring your product to them. Further, 82% of American consumers ask for a product recommendation from friends and family before buying, so a referral program can prime these future customers today.
LoyaltyLion can help you set up a referral program where early adopters who refer others earn loyalty points that can be redeemed for rewards.
Smart brands turn up the loyalty by offering referred customers exclusive rewards through the same program to ensure they stick with you in the long-term. LIVELY used this tactic to increase order values of program members by 21% and customer lifetime value by 39%.
Creating a community before you launch your products is an effective way to grow your business. Instead of appearing out of nowhere, people are already familiar with you and the product, and have been sharing your content and talking about you with their own communities. And the more that people invest in your product pre-launch, the more they value it, and the more loyal they become.
A healthy and engaged community helps you understand your potential customers, generate brand awareness, and creates vocal brand advocates, all before you fulfill your first order. To be truly impactful to your customers, you need to go beyond selling to them and provide value and support to those who stick by you.