It happens even to the best companies: a stellar idea and a creative campaign fall flat, and that product launch — the one you spent months planning — fails.
Failure comes in two (not so delicious) flavors: massive social media backlash or absolute crickets.
If it’s the former — unless you buy into the “any press is good press” ideology — it’s best to listen to your customers, communicate clearly and do better next time. If it’s the latter, keep reading.
When your product launch hasn’t gained any attention or traction in the market, don’t fret, there is a path to recovery.
Diagnosis and Solve
Let’s address the elephant in the room: you don’t know why your product launch failed. So let’s explore some common missteps:
- Targeting the wrong audience: This is definitely one of the most common reasons product launches fail. Have you made detailed buyer personas and journeys? Do you know exactly what types of customers are interested in your products? Did you validate these personas with internal and customer feedback? Have you kept them updated to avoid going stale? Start by surveying and interviewing your real customers to help you find lookalikes that would benefit from your new product or service.
- Not satisfying a real customer need: On that note, if your product doesn’t solve a real problem, nobody will need it or want it. Beyond surveying and interviewing customers, speaking with experts in your niche will help you identify what problems, if any, your product or service solves — that should be the core of your message. People don’t buy things, they buy solutions.
- Technical or functionality problems or poor execution: Sometimes, the issue is caused by a technical problem or rushed timing. If you watch Grace and Frankie on Netflix (*SPOILER ALERT*) you’ve seen Brianna make this mistake by rolling out an anti-aging cream before it was ready. Take your time to get it right — no one is going to pay attention to an inferior offering.
- Not screaming loud enough: We don’t mean literally! What we mean is setting yourself up for success from a content and SEO perspective. Paid advertising is valuable to get the word out, but content and SEO are what will connect you with customers who are looking for a solution like yours at that moment. It’s the key to building lasting success.
Why You Need an SEO Strategy for a Product Launch
Want to know a dirty little marketing secret?
PR has been affecting SEO for a long, long time and vice versa.
The days of overloading content with bloated keywords and nearly-nonsensical copy in hopes that Google will notice are well behind us. After years of debate and reviewing the data, the truth came to us via the content marketing revolution and it’s fairly obvious: People engage positively with relevant original content online, boosting your brand’s reputation and creating favorable, organic natural backlinks that search engines love.
PR is no longer an isolated department, but an integral part to successful SEO strategy. Relevant, engaging content that addresses your target audience’s pain points is the key to getting attention for your new product.
How to Write Content that Engages Your Readers and Search Engines
Engage your readers. Hook them from the start. Keep them coming back for more.
You’ve probably heard this advice a thousand times when it comes to creating content. But how can you do that, when all you can think to write about is yet another piece on why your business is better than the one down the street?
Create captivating content isn’t always about standing out from the crowd. It’s about provoking emotions, creating “hooks” that will keep your post or article in readers’ minds long after they finish reading. And the best way to create an emotional response is by telling a story.
Forget the Brain — Target the Heart
Try to remember a television commercial, any commercial. Okay, now what are you thinking of? If it’s an ad for a car, are you thinking about the manufacturer’s lease offer, or the startling images of a family walking away unscathed from a horrific accident? If it’s an ad for coffee, can you identify the origin of the beans, or do you just remember the emotional images of a soldier returning home from war?
There’s a reason advertisers try to tap into our emotions by telling stories: According to leading neuroscientists, more than 90 percent of all thoughts, emotions and learning originate from the subconscious, and storytelling targets that exact part of the brain. Since only ten percent of the human brain is directed toward rational thought, a message that targets only that portion of the brain is bound to be less effective than one that targets both the head and the heart.
Author Roger Dooley, in his book, “Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Customers,” also recommends using stories as a major element of your web content as a means to get into your customers’ hearts and heads. Tell stories about your company and products, share beta-testers testimonials and reviews and look beyond the boring brochures and datasheets to give customers a reason to care about your company. Real stories, from actual people, carry far more weight than anything else you might say. After all, why else would online reviews be so important and influence more than 90 percent of all purchase decisions?
Trust, Credibility and Loyalty
Telling stories not only makes your content more compelling, it also helps establish your business’s credibility. In short, what are you more likely to believe: The marketing brochure that touts all of the wonderful features of a product, or an actual user who has experience with the product? When impartial sources share stories that support your claims, it gives your business credibility.
Are you well connected on social media with your fellow industry leaders? If not, get to know them. One of the best ways you can launch a new PR/SEO strategy is by guest blogging or contributing content to other related sites. What does this mean? Fresh, new content for them and link authority for you. It’s a win win!
And when you have credibility, you’re more likely to gain the trust of your readers, customers and potential customers. If your followers trust you, they will keep coming back to you and will tell others about their experiences. And if things go wrong, when you already have the trust of your followers, you have a better chance of earning their forgiveness.
Finding a Story to Tell
The best place to find stories is with your customers and beta testers. Contact everyone who has bought from you and ask for feedback, positive or negative. Ask them to share how you affected their lives. Choose the best stories to highlight in blog posts, and use excerpts as testimonials (with permission, of course) on your site.
In the meantime, tell your own story. Ask your employees to tell theirs. Establish a brand narrative, one that taps into your customers’ hearts and minds. Your content, and your business, will be more memorable, and people will keep coming back for more.
Get expert help
Great content garners attention and motivates action. Every piece of content should encourage users to engage with your brand and new product. Digital Current understands the online habits and emotional buying triggers of your target audience. Let us get the visibility your product launch deserves.