My Product Launch Strategy

We have worked out the kinks in the manufacturing process.  Namely, we broke the sewing machine and had to buy a new/better one. I guess that says something about the strength of the fabric we’re using.

Now that I have leashes headed my way for photographing, I am pegging down a launch date: January 23rd, 2014. Only 13 days away.  If you know any dog owners, make sure they grab the 20% pre-launch discount before the 23rd even if they don’t plan to buy. (www.scrunchieleash.com)

#123launch

Launching 1-23-14 #123launch

The Prelaunch Discount

The prelaunch discount was put in place to encourage people to give me their email address so I could inform them when the leash was ready.  I was getting NO signups before the discount, so I created the special discount so people would have the incentive.

I will be setting up a hidden page and sending the link to that page in the email to the prelaunch signups. They will be able to purchase the leash at a discount on that page, but the main page will have the leashes at full price. (Welcome to the club) I’m not locking the page in anyway because I actually WANT people to share the link with their dog-loving friends.  (Your friends are also welcome in the club)

I’m planning to make the discount link functional for 30 days.

Prelaunch Marketing 

I’ve created a facebook and twitter for the scrunchie leash, but I’m new to using social media for business. I’m not seeing the traffic I was hoping to see from it and I’m trying to find ways to expand reach. Any ideas?

Blog Coverage

I’ve contacted a couple blogs about covering the launch, but so far none have responded. :( I am going to continue trying this and HOPEFULLY I get a few to respond. Some people want to know about this leash and I need to find the blog that informs those people.  I’ll keep looking.

Media Coverage

Through reading online about how to conduct product launch marketing, I’ve realized that I did an incredibly poor job and should have really been getting serious about it months ago. I will be hustling to get media materials together to give several media outlets in hopes that they want to do a story on the launch.

Local, National, Personal

I am working in South Carolina and my mom is making the leashes in Iowa. I think we could make a great play on being a local brand in both of these areas. We are both “Handmade in Iowa” and “Based in South Carolina.” I plan to contact newspapers in both areas and ask if they would be interested in doing a piece on scrunchie leash.

Our main sales channel is, however, the internet. So, I would be wrong to ignore major urban markets all across the country. There are some websites like http://www.prnewswire.com/ that allow you to submit press releases in hopes they will be picked up by media outlets. I’m going to make some of these submissions, but my expectations are not high

I think my best option is to talk to people I know personally. Even if they don’t want to buy the leash, everybody probably knows somebody that would love this leash. My goal isn’t to push the product on people who don’t want it, but if they can help me find the person who DOES want it, then it is a win for everybody involved.

SO MUCH WORK TO DO

Lesson Learned: Proper launch work starts months before the launch.

Do you have any tips or ideas? I could really use them! Please leave a comment with your thoughts. :)

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15 thoughts on “My Product Launch Strategy

  1. Partner with your local humane society or shelter, reach out at dog parks, contact dog walking business owners, and don’t be afraid to give some away for free. It’s a new product with no reviews; trade product for honest reviews.

    • I’ve been dragging my feet on partnering with the humane society because I don’t have a very strong vision for what that partnership would be. My thought is to do 5% of profits go to the humane society and my wife and I will walk a dog every time a leash is sold. Does that sound about right?

      Also, I’d be more than happy to trade leashes for reviews!

      • Talk with your humane society, as sometimes you have to go through approval processes to be able to advertise that you’re doing such a thing. 5% sounds great, if it’s built into your price and you can continue doing it (for example, is there a cap per quarter or per year?) The walking a dog is a great idea and adds an emotional attachment to the product sale, again if you can sustain it. Definitely document the walking and maybe feature the dogs in your product blog so the consumer can see the connection.

    • Those are some good points.

      The 5% is built into the price, so I don’t foresee needing to cap it. I’ll probably start marketing it as 5% to “Local Shelters” rather than specifically to the Humane Society. That way I can spread the donations around (if I could be so lucky to have them be sizable) and I can avoid using the Humane Society’s name. Time will tell. My dog walking orientation is scheduled for the end of next week, so I’ll be able to discuss it with them in-person.

  2. I agree with doing giveaways – SUPER important. Best way to do it is through Instagram. Eric is getting a ton of followers for his pedal business by going about it right – being one of the first to comment on similar businesses so everyone sees his name. You’ll need incentives for people to buy. It might also help if you give a percentage of profits to the humane society or something so you can market that as well. Find boutique shops who might be interested in carrying them. Also, put a lot of consideration into price. Will someone spend what you’re asking when they can buy a regular leash for 1/4 the price? Just some thoughts.

    • Agreed on the giveaways.

      What do you think of my humane society proposal above?

      I talked to one boutique shop owner and she’s not interested until she can see that the leashes are selling. I’ll keep trying there and hopefully when I get a few sales, she’ll be more receptive. Still need to talk to the owner of another shop.

      I spent a lot of time deciding on the price.. Being handmade with organic cotton drives up our price, but we are still the same or lower than other stretchy leashes on the market. Most are selling between $27 and $36. If I’m going to sell these in boutique shops and retailers, we need to reserve room to split the profits.

      • I like the humane society proposal – maybe you can research other non-profits that would give you a more appealing partnership?
        True on the price I suppose for profit splitting. Since our dog has the run of the backyard we don’t go for walks often, so it’s hard for me to imagine spending that much on a leash. But maybe if it was something I used daily I would consider it.
        Another idea – videos. I would be much more likely to buy the leash if there were product videos to show the durability of it. The problem with handmade items is that they come with something of a trust issue – especially for something so directly tied to the life/death of a precious family pet. Our dog pulls VERY hard and runs like there’s no tomorrow if he gets loose. So I’m really picky about how he’s attached to me. If you can provide a reassuring product video, it would probably get you more attention AND customers who are more comfortable with the idea of a handmade leash. Check out the Directr for Business app (not sure if it’s available on android?) – they have really great templates that help you make amazing videos for your business, at a very low cost compared to hiring it done.

  3. This doesn’t pertain directly to your product, but it is related to what you’re doing as a young professional with a second career plan or “side hustle” as the blog puts it. Read the article and perhaps you could leave a comment on what you’re doing and how the idea came about. Who knows – it may generate some buzz, and you may get some great advice from a very successful blogger that started when he was 25 as well.

    http://www.moneyunder30.com/side-hustle-why-not-11145

  4. maybe keep the price way up and go “boutique”, like those urban doggie shops that offer massages and homemade dog bisquits. Be the “top of the line” not the bottom. just a thought.

    • I really think the walk-in/”How can I work with you guys?” approach is spot on. But I think the dog walking is a good way to give the customer something meaningful. Plus, it only takes my time. I’ll be there and be able to chat with them on Saturday when I go for dog walking orientation. So I’ll be able to figure out what their needs really are.

      Also, I agree with your top of the line pricing mentality. $28 is out of my comfort zone already! I just don’t want to price it so high that my own friends and family won’t buy it. :)

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