One of the most common questions I get asked is how do I successfully pre-launch my box?
Let me take you back 5 years to when we were just getting our ideas ready for our box. We had no idea what we were doing whatsoever! We were 3 friends on our early 20s that thought it would be an easy business to set up and make money from.
Very quickly we discovered just how much work was actually involved in it, and that was just getting the website made and sourcing products! Let alone actually getting it all setup and making sales.
So we were getting our pre-launch plan together, and we were so confused. Should we pre-launch now, we aren’t supposed to launch for another 3 months, won’t the leads be cold? How do we even get leads? What will we email them? How will we get traffic?
If you’re in this phase right now it can be overwhelming, so I decided to make this post to make it easier for you and point you in the right direction to get your pre-launch and box launch off to the best possible start.
These are some of the things we SHOULD have done looking back, to make our launch more successful.
Let’s dive in!
Part I: Landing page
The first thing you will need is a website or landing page where you can send people to learn about the product you’re going to launch. Below are a few key things your landing page should have.
One note before I dive into the details, if I could some up the perfect landing page in a few words it would be this; your landing page needs to be as good as what your website will be when it’s done. It’s designed to sell the product just as your final site will, but in this case you don’t take money but you take contact information.
Now for each element. For a great landing page you need:
- Good high-res imagery of a typical (or mock-up) box
You need to make your imagery of your box look appealing and high quality here, often people have a landing page with no imagery and just an email capture form. People need to see and get an idea of what they might be getting in a box of they sign up, and if they like what they see they will give you their email, if they don’t like it or can’t see, then they are less likely to join your pre-launch list.
- Splash Image
A splash image is placed at the top of the page with a description of your box in as few words as possible, think ‘a monthly box of fitness essentials with a twist’ not a long essay about all the different features, something that someone can understand in 1-2 seconds exactly what you do and who it’s for. You can play around with this but it’s important to get this right so the right people know your box will help them when they land on your site. Your high-res imagery will also be in this image to make your box look amazing.
- How it works (or will work)
Give people some information on how your subscription will work, is it monthly? Is it different every month or the same products? How much will the price range be? How many products per box? Can I cancel anytime, or do I need to commit?
Don’t assume people know the answers, but again keep it brief.
- Benefits and why should they buy
In this section you can go into a little more detail about benefits, be careful not to talk too much about features, and focus more on what the box will do for them. Will it save them time, make their lives more convenient, introduce them to new products and experiences? Most subscription boxes save time and deliver cool things customers might not think of getting themselves. You sell an experience not a box of stuff. Make sure you hit that note.
- Collect emails + SMS
Of course, all of these things are designed to build desire for your product and get them to actually want to buy it, but they can’t yet! So we need to take this opportunity to tell them about our launch plans and how they can keep in touch. Give your launch date if you can, or if not say coming this autumn or spring or a general time frame.
And now its time to get their contact information. Everyone knows collecting emails is a good idea, what I see less of is people getting phone numbers. Now email is great because you can continue to email people over and over for years as long as they stay on your list and they might buy at some stage in the future. You can’t send people SMS messages over and over again as that would drive people crazy.
What you CAN use SMS for is on your launch day or week you can send them 1/2 messages telling them about your launch when you go live and that will give you an influx of traffic on your actual launch day. The thing with email is that while it’s great, a typical email might only have an open rate of 10-30% depending on the size of the list, whereas SMS will have 90%+ open rates.
This will give you a much bigger jump hopefully on your launch day and get you the subscribers you are hoping for when D-Day comes. Especially if you pair this strategy with a strong offer. Which brings us to…
- The pre-launch offer
One of the most important components of success in this industry both before and after your launch will be your ability to create unbelievable offers. Offers are what drive people to take action NOW rather than later. In pre-launch, the offer will be the thing that will entice them to take that step and hand over their email or phone number.
So think of what you could offer to someone that would make them want to jump at the chance to give you their email, maybe a free gift in the first box? Exclusive founding members discount? Exclusive meeting with the founders on launch night? Over Zoom of course! Get creative and think of what you could offer to get as many signups as possible.
You can also combine this with a competition where one entrant will win maybe a 3-month sub, so people can get both the offer as well as the chance to win. Won’t you get freebie hunters? Possibly but usually it’s only a small proportion of people that ONLY want the freebie and would NEVER sign up. The majority of people if they are interested enough to take a look at your site and give you their email, they probably have some level of interest in your box.
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Part II: Traffic
When you’re in pre-launch its tempting to think you want to pay for some traffic to help boost things along. I’m going to drop a bit of a bombshell here, unless you have a big budget behind you, and you already know your expected email to customer conversion rate you shouldn’t be paying for traffic.
Why? Because if people can’t buy it then your ads are going to cost you a lot of money, and none will come back, because people can’t pay you. Now of course you may get a ton of sales from your email/SMS campaign but who knows, you have no idea how many people will buy.
What I would focus on is getting organic traffic over to your landing page. I know this isn’t easy nowadays with FB/IG pretty much killing all organic reach, but there are some ways to still pull it off.
- Facebook Groups
Join some FB groups related to your niche and start to provide value by answering any questions people have and generally being helpful. Then after a couple of weeks you can reach out to the group admin and see if there’s any way you could work together, you could add value to the group in some way in exchange for being allowed to post a link to your pre-launch landing page. DON’T skip all previous steps and start spamming groups with your landing page or you will be out of the group and on your ear in no time.
- Post in forums
Reddit or other forums are another place where can again follow the value first strategy. Find some threads related to your niche where your ideal customers are talking and again build up some goodwill before mentioning your upcoming box and linking to your landing page.
- Social media
Social media is of course where the majority of web traffic congregates. Using your social pages, you can drum up a bit of interest in your launch by doing a competition or giveaway. Have people like, share and tag your giveaway post to get more organic shares and followers, link to your landing page in the posts or make it a requirement to enter that people need to enter their email. People will do a lot for free stuff and these types of posts are powerful when just starting out with your new business. You can of course do consistent posting about your upcoming launch, but the point of all of this is to get emails, because come launch day, 1000 emails + phone numbers is way better than 1000 likes or followers, trust me.
Closer to your launch date if you have a massively engaged and excited list eagerly awaiting your launch then you can of course put aside some budget top run ads maybe 1/2 weeks out. Generally though it’s best to stick to free traffic in the beginning before you know how many people are converting on your website.
When running any business, you have 2 resources, time & money. At the start of your journey, you usually have more time than money, so these tactics take time but are free. Later in your journey like where we are now, we have more money than time, so we pay for traffic and put resources into our growth.
Part III: Lead Nurturing
I mentioned at the start you might be wondering when do you actually begin your pre-launch, should you wait until closer to launch? The answer is NO. As soon as you’re sure you’re going to go ahead with your business, you should make your social pages and your landing page and get to lead collection.
The longer you have, the more leads you can get, the more leads you can get, the more likely it is you will have a successful launch. But what about people going cold? Look, no-one is waiting around their inbox for an email from you, don’t worry about that, of course you can and should keep them updated, but don’t delay your pre-launch ‘til the week before, and then hope it all goes well. Having said that, keep your pre-launch within reason, 6-8 months max.
So in terms of lead nurturing, here’s some good ways to do that.
- Monthly updates
If you’re still 3-6 months out from your launch then it’s a good idea to update your list on your progress towards your launch. Have your boxes arrived? Got some suppliers sorted? Just had a Photo shoot done? Tell them about your story and how excited you are to be bringing this amazing box to them.
Doesn’t need to be a weekly thing even once or twice a month to keep people engaged as much as you can.
- Tell your story
This is also the perfect time to tell them your story and the reasons why you decided to launch this box. Was it a gap you saw that no one else did? Frustrated by the shortcomings of other people trying to serve this niche? Tell them your WHY and get people invested in your journey so they can relate to you and then are more likely to sign up if they are interested in your product and your story.
Now don’t stress too much about this and spend weeks putting together essays on your whole life story. You can keep it brief and either 1) tell short stories in each email you send or 2) just send one email explaining your origin story and why this box is the result of it.
- Weekly updates
4-6 weeks before launch the emails can become a little more frequent as momentum builds towards your launch. Let them in on how to claim the amazing founder discount or enter a competition where the winner is announced on launch day (this will mean people open your emails on launch day), when the winner is announced you can also announce the launch.
- Daily updates
In the final 5-7 days before launch your emails are now going to be much more frequent starting with once a day and possibly even twice a day on launch day, and the day after your launch. Here is where you want to introduce urgency to get people to take action and sign up right away. Could you do a time sensitive extra bonus you never mentioned before? Could the first 10 people get an exclusive extra that money can’t buy (E.G. a call with you or a personalised card etc?)
Think of how you can introduce scarcity and urgency around launch day, and remember those phone numbers you collected a few months back? It’s time to SMS text them and let them know about the amazing time-sensitive goodies available for the first 10/20 subscribers.
All of these tactics will work better the more people you have on your lists, so spend the time to do a proper pre-launch and watch as your box gets the kickstart it needs. Remember your email list will always be there so even if they are not ready to buy now, you can still email them for free pretty much forever as long as they don’t unsubscribe.
Of course now your marketing plan changes from pre-launch to post launch and that’s a matter for another post but follow the ideas in this post and let me know how your pre-launch pans out!
I hope this blog was helpful guys if you have any questions feel free to comment below. 🙂