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The pre-launch strategy every brand needs: 5 key tips for a winning campaign

10.19.22 / By Emma Alexander

Every launch campaign needs a pre-launch phase to build anticipation and motivate consumers to buy. Learn the 5 keys to a successful pre-launch strategy for any product or service.

Let’s start with a quick exercise.

Think of something you’re very much looking forward to right now. Visiting a friend after a long time? A trip somewhere you’ve never been? Seeing your favorite band live in concert?

Now imagine if you could bottle that feeling of anticipation and infuse it into your next marketing campaign. It’s what every marketer dreams of: A line (literally—or figuratively, if you’re online-only) of excited customers ready to buy whatever it is you’re selling the day it becomes available.

But how would you do it?

When we think about a launch, we often think about a new product coming on the market. But consider creating a launch campaign for your brand no matter what offering you provide.

It could be a new service, an update to your software or an event you’re hosting. Whatever it is, setting a launch date and developing a marketing campaign surrounding it has big benefits for you and your customer.

What some don’t realize, though, is that day one of your launch campaign doesn’t start on launch day. Rather, it should be weeks or even months prior.

The missing link is a pre-launch phase. Your initial definition of “pre-launch phase” might be the internal planning you do to prepare for launch day. But a well-rounded pre-launch strategy goes further; it’s external facing, just for your customers.

Recently, DS+CO executed this for one of our clients, the RBC Heritage, an annual PGA TOUR event in South Carolina. Our pre-launch strategy included a campaign concept, email marketing, social media and paid advertising.

The results were certainly something to celebrate. Within the first seven days of launching, we reached the same ticket sales revenue that took them 49 days to reach the year before.

One of the biggest differences between the previous year and this one was executing a pre-launch strategy that built anticipation—a feeling unlike any other.

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There are five keys to developing your pre-launch strategy that you’ll want to incorporate into your campaign:

  1. Consistency
    While you want to surprise and delight your customers, you also want to be consistent with your overall campaign concept, tone of voice and messaging cadence. Your launch campaign should have a specific feeling that’s relevant to what you’re promoting and your value proposition, so be sure to embrace it across your channels. Remember, it typically takes about seven times for a consumer to see a message before it really sinks in.
  2. Urgency
    Creating a sense of urgency, especially during the pre-launch phase, is what motivates people to take action sooner, resulting in more sales and revenue at the start. For our client, we reinforced last year’s sold-out event in our messaging, along with the fact that some packages had only a limited number of tickets available. Never underestimate the power of FOMO coupled with good copywriting.
  3. Excitement
    This goes back to that feeling of anticipation. The pre-launch strategy puts a lot of weight on making consumers excited. One of the most successful parts of our pre-launch was a three-day countdown leading up to launch day. We used email and social media each day (using that consistent concept every time) to get the conversation going, highlighting what it’s like to attend the event and telling our audience to get ready for the big day.
  4. Exclusivity
    With any launch, consider your most loyal customers and doing something special just for them: a discount, free gift, referral code or early access. Our client wanted to give previous purchasers the chance to buy early with an exclusive pre-sale email that went out two days before the launch. This makes them feel special and reinforces their loyalty in the process. In our book, you can’t go wrong with rewarding past customers.
  5. Purpose
    As you create a campaign strategy, you’ll spend a lot of time thinking through the details: all the channels you need to focus on, timing, budget, lead generation, etc. But don’t forget to tie it back into your brand’s purpose. Why should people care? What are you doing to give back? And how can your audience be part of it? For the RBC Heritage, 100% of proceeds from the tournament go to the Heritage Classic Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for charitable initiatives in South Carolina. So share how and why your organization is doing more than just being a business and bring your audience along for the ride. They want to help, too.

These five keys make for a multifaceted, sophisticated pre-launch strategy that hits all the right spots. And it helps consumers understand your offering, prepares them to buy and includes them in the journey.

Now, what was that thing you were thinking of at the beginning of this blog post? We’d love to get your customers as excited for your launch as you are. The next time you’re sitting down to plan out a launch campaign, give us a call at 585.383.0380 or send us a message.


Emma Alexander

Emma Alexander is DS+CO’s content manager and email strategist.