Updated: Apr 8
Here's what we did and how you can use the same strategy for your own new brand or product launch.
THE GAME PLAN
Similar products gave confidence of product-market fit. Our goal was to keep production costs lean and validate the product through a large pre-order.
We cut the launch into 3 main stages:
1) Build Hype
2) Allow Early VIP access for Pre-order 1
3) Launch Pre-orders 2 & 3
STAGE 1 - Build Hype
No one knew anything about the brand, so we shot a ton of very compelling content then ran Facebook and Instagram ads to a locked-up website that collected names, emails, and SMS.
The follow-up: We set up a Klaviyo flow that thanked them, told them they were now a part of the VIP access, and educated them on why they need the product/how it will benefit them. We then told them to stay tuned and embedded a CTA link. The link took them to their Google Calendar and set up a Google Calendar notification bell. This custom notification for product drop was for VIP ONLY. (More hype!)
STAGE 2 - Allow Early VIP Access for Pre-Order 1
All subscribers who signed up to VIP got notified first with the most compelling offer, which was 50% OFF of what the retail price would be soon for non-VIPers. It worked well and didn't need to be over complicated. "Only 100 units sold at this price then it's gone, only available to VIP."
This was a higher-ticket item, so the savings were significant. We also made sure to highlight that they would be the very first people EVER to own this all-new product. Price wasn't the only thing here that made people take action. It's human nature to want to 'be the first'. Adding that exclusivity layer of being the first works really well.
STAGE 3 - Launch Pre-Order 2 and Pre-Order 3
For the Pre-Order 1 Buyers: We then hit anyone who bought in pre-order 1 again with another email but changed the messaging a little. This time it was to encourage them to "buy for friends and family."
For the Pre-Order 1 Non-Buyers: People who didn't buy during Pre-Order 1 but had signed up on the lander prior to launch got hit with an email telling them that Pre-order 1 was sold out, and sold out FAST. So, we encouraged them to make sure they didn't miss Pre-Order 2 and displayed the new offer: scarcity.
1) Took the best-performing ad from our lead generation campaign and made 20 variations of that ad.
2) Launched purchase conversion ads with messaging that explained Pre-Order 1 SOLD OUT, so don't miss Pre-Order 2, and included what the new offer and quantities available were.
3) Did the same thing for Pre-order 3 that we did for Pre-order 2. In sequence, each Pre-Order offered less and less savings as we slowly increased the price to reflect non-pre-sale for non-VIPers pricing. Always remember that staying true to what you're advertising is key! Lying in your pre-order campaigns about pricing and quantities to customers and potential customers is never, ever a good idea.
DON'T FORGET TO KEEP THE EXCITEMENT UP - ONE EMAIL OR SMS ISN'T ENOUGH!
Within the 45 pre-order days, we sent out a plethora of email and SMS content as our email subscriber list grew. The content was was always educational, value-adding, excitement/hype-growing, and was in effort to continue to stoke the subscriber's fire about when the pre-order would be live for them to purchase. Keep the pumped! We also took any FAQs that came up from customers or subscribers and added them into campaigns to address common questions/concerns. Keep poppin' up in their inbox and stay fresh in their minds!
To mitigate any customer issues on pre-orders, make sure you are very clear on what the offer is on the PDP or lander. The subscriber should know exactly what they'll be getting and when they will get it. Oh, and ALWAYS make sure your team has their ducks in a row on the manufacturing end to make sure you cam live up to fulfilling all of the orders if your pre-order launch ends up being wild success.
WHAT WE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER
We had around 25 returns on the $219k. These were all people asking for returns because they were gifting this product and we didn't have a Christmas arrival time guarantee. Looking back, we would have wanted to time it better to guarantee delivery by Christmas.
THE COLE'S NOTES OF THIS POST
Pre-orders can be a brilliant way for new brands or brands looking to launch a new product if cash flow is an issue. You just need to be sure product quality is great and your production can handle it.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
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