Why You Should Always “Soft Launch”
There are essentially two types of launches – “hard launch” and “soft launch”. A soft launch is loosely defined as a launch of your product to a select group of users (also called a beta launch). A hard launch, adversely, is the release of your product to a large group of people (the world).
The act of “soft-launching” is a method for gathering feedback and product acceptance before a full fledged release to the world (hard launch).
Often times it can be easy to get ahead of yourself and jump in to a full fledged hard launch. I mean, you’ve probably spent a lot of money, hard work and effort on your product and are probably pretty excited for everyone to see it. Its only natural that you want to hit the ground running and launch your product to the world with a bang. Maybe you have events setup, huge advertising campaigns ready to go and press releases ready to be sent. But wait! Before you do something your going to regret.
Have you considered all your options?
A Common Misconception
There tends to be a misconception that if you do a soft launch, your going to lose all the buzz and awareness from a hard launch and you’ll never get any traction. That’s just simply not the case. Since a soft launch is a release to a small group of individuals, there is still plenty of opportunity to drive awareness and buzz through a hard launch.
But what are the benefits of a soft launch you ask? Well, lets dive right in!
During a soft launch you have the opportunity to identify bugs and feature improvements. For example, what if you had bugs in your signup process in a hard launch, the damage of this could be disastrous. In a soft launch, such an issue is an easily manageable blip in the life cycle of your product.
Essentially, your using your soft launch user base as a testing community. Simply make sure you have the right tools in place to make it easy for your new users to get feedback. We like Intercom.io.
As your users start to use your product, they’ll often be inclined to make suggestions on how you can improve your product or even features they would like to see. Such feedback is incredibly valuable as you can take this insight and make final adjustments before hard launch – giving you the opportunity to deliver an even better product in your hard launch.
This is the first time your target customers are actually going to get to use your product. Often times you don’t know if your product is even worth launching to the world. Will users even find value in the problem your trying to solve? Should you really spend a quarter of a million dollars marketing a product nobody will even like? Sometimes, you’ll find that users don’t even use all the features you’ve built out and only use one or two features. Such insight can keep you investing in features that users won’t use and focusing on the ones they will.
A Better Hard-Launch
Hopefully, by now you can see the benefits of a soft launch. A soft launch essentially lets you build a better, more stable product before you release it fully to the world with an epic marketing campaign. A better hard launch means a better ROI on the marketing dollars you use.
After your soft launch your customer service should be more skilled in answering questions, your marketing team should have more insight in to your customers and messaging, and your sales team should be honed in on what value your product is providing.
You can think of a soft launch like your “preseason” practice. Preseason helps your team get better, it helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and build a winning product before the actually season starts.
So think twice before you jump in with both feet and hard launch your product before a successful soft launch period.
What are some other benefits of a product soft launch?