Leverage SMS and Email for a Product Launch

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Overview

When planning a new product launch, it’s important to raise awareness and stir excitement before the release date. One of the tools in a Klaviyo marketer's tool box is the ability to combine email and SMS messages to drive interest and engagement for the product in advance of the launch. In this article, we go over creating the content, choosing your audience, and making a product launch campaign schedule.

Benefits of Using SMS and Email

Email and SMS each have their own benefits. Email is a requirement for any marketer, allowing you to reach a large portion of your audience, which is critical for a product launch. Email is also better for frequent messaging, as people are more receptive to receiving multiple emails than texts.

On the other hand, text messages are, on average, read within a minute and a half compared to three hours for email. They often see higher engagement, as those who sign up to receive SMS marketing tend to be more enthusiastic about your brand. However, sending too many texts in a short period of time or about one topic can be annoying to these subscribers.

By using SMS and email marketing together, you can reap the benefits of both. In addition, it allows you to use multiple channels to engage your customer base.

Before You Launch a Product

Before you even begin your product launch, you need to gauge interest. You can do so by leveraging social media (e.g., through polls and surveys) or via quizzes on your site. It’s important to find out what pain points your product addresses and/or the features/design aspects your customers most desire.

You also may want to perform a beta test with a select group. These customers can provide testimonials that you can use to persuade others to purchase and generate excitement before the product launch. You can use this testing period to gather feedback as well, which can help you make tweaks to the product itself and/or the language you use to market it. We’ll discuss some techniques you can use pre-launch in further detail below.

Creating Compelling Content

Knowing what your customers want and how the beta group feels about the product gives you insight into what to highlight in your marketing efforts. Some questions to think about when creating content are:

  • What pain points does the product address?
  • What are the main features and how do they provide value to customers?
  • How easy is the product to use or learn?
  • What are the main selling points (e.g., is the product durable, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, etc.)?
  • Why is this product better than similar ones on the market?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can use them to build a compelling and consistent narrative in your emails and text messages.

Picking Your Audience

For a successful product launch, you don’t only need to know what to say but who to say it to. You don’t want to send your entire list every message — this may overwhelm them. Instead, message your full list for only the biggest news; then, send certain groups more detailed messaging.

Common segments you may want to create for this include:

  • Engaged
  • SMS subscribers
  • VIPs

If you send daily, you can define your engaged segment as the following.

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Your SMS Subscriber segment should capture everyone who signed up to receive text message marketing from your business, but leave out anyone who has since unsubscribed. To create such a segment, follow the steps in Create a Segment of SMS Subscribers. While your campaigns won’t send to anyone who is unsubscribed, this segment will tell you exactly how many people will receive your SMS campaigns.

When it comes to your VIP segment, you can choose to define VIPs how you would like. Typically, a VIP is someone purchases more frequently or spends much more than your average customer within a given timeframe. An example of the latter is shown below.

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These segments will help you get started with sending product launch campaigns. After the first few sends, however, you should further segment by who did (or did not) open your previous product launch campaigns or by who already purchased.

Launching a Product

A product launch can be broken into three stages:

  • Pre-launch
  • Launch
  • Post-launch

The sections below discuss what types of messages to send, who to send to, as well as when to use SMS versus email. While this article only discusses using email and SMS messages, leveraging social media, print ads, and other marketing channels is also extremely important for a product launch, so bear this in mind.

Pre-Launch

In many cases, this is the longest stage of a product launch. The goal is to create awareness and anticipation for your product so that people are ready to buy as soon as it’s released.

The first message is a general announcement for the product, which should be sent to all of your subscribers. You can send this message via SMS and email. Simply send a short text to your SMS subscribers, and the email to your main Newsletter list while excluding the SMS Subscriber segment. The announcement, an example of which is shown below, explains what the product is as well as what pain points it solves and/or values it adds for your audience.

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You can also send teasers. If you choose to use both SMS and email, it is a best practice to send the SMS first, highlighting the most exciting features or including a short quote in your message. Receiving texts from a business is more personal than emails, so you want to make sure you give SMS subscribers the most value possible.

When you send the follow-up email, do not provide all of the same information that you did in the SMS. Instead, use the email to explain the story behind the product, share testimonials, and give a sneak peek into the core features/value it provides.

If you have a VIP program, consider giving them early access and/or allowing them to pre-order the product. This can also be an organic way for you to spread the word, as VIPs may naturally share how much they like the product with others in your customer base. Ask them to review the product or share what they like about it on social.

The table below lists ideas for pre-launch messages along with the channel(s) and list/segment to send to.

Type of Message Channel Audience
Announcement SMS and email All
Teaser 1 SMS SMS subscribers
Teaser 2 Email Engaged
VIP Early Access 1 SMS VIPs who consented to SMS
VIP Early Access 2 Email VIPs
VIP Reviews Email VIP early access purchasers
VIP Last Chance for Early Access Email  VIPs who didn’t purchase but opened the first email

Launch

The day you launch your product, you’ll want to announce it to a large portion of your customer base.

If you plan to release it at midnight, you can send out an announcement at that time. Do not send this via SMS, since this will actively ping the recipient’s phone and may wake them up. It is also better to only send the email to active recipients (engaged and any VIPs who didn’t enroll in early access) so as to not bother those who are less engaged.

For any release, you should also send out an announcement during daytime hours -- even if you sent one at midnight. Similar to the first announcement, we recommend using both SMS and email and sending to your entire list. This time, though, exclude anyone who has already purchased.

Type of Message Channel Audience
Midnight Announcement Email Engaged and VIPs who didn’t purchase
Product Launch SMS and email All

A launch message should highlight the most important parts of the products, such as the value it provides, core features, etc. For an example, check out the email below.

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Post-Launch

After the launch date, continue to reach out to subscribers who haven’t purchased. You can send messages to encourage stragglers to purchase or adopt. Post-launch celebration and last chance messages can act as a reminder or provide a sense of urgency to help convert subscribers to buyers. For purchasers, you could follow up by asking for reviews.

Limit the use of SMS messages in the post-launch period, as you don’t want to text about a single topic too often — particularly if the later texts don’t provide new value. However, you could send SMS subscribers who haven’t purchased some kind of offer after the release.

Type of Message Channel Audience
Post-Launch Celebration Email Engaged who didn’t purchase
Post-Launch Reminder/Offer Email and/or SMS All who didn’t purchase
Post-Launch Last Chance Email Engaged and VIPs who didn’t purchase
Purchasers’ Review Email All who purchased except for VIPs who reviewed

Create a Product Launch Calendar

You can create a product launch schedule leading up to and after the release date to visualize all of this information. Based on the examples above, a potential product launch calendar may look like the one below.

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Other Ideas for a Product Launch

If you would like, you can become more targeted with your product launch marketing efforts. For example, you can create a segment of those who purchased during your previous product launches. Similarly, you can message those who purchased a complementary product, as they may be interested in the new product you are launching.

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When it comes to your communication channels, you could try A/B testing the timing of your SMS, if SMS and email if they are going out on the same day. For instance, when trying to provide extra value to you SMS subscribers, see if a text message performs better if sent two hours earlier or at the same time as your email.

Additional Resources

Learn more about running a VIP program.
Read this Guide to Advanced Segmentation.

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