Any sound entrepreneur knows that if you can get an idea validated and endorsed from real people before you spend time and money on it, you can be sure that you are onto something.
After all, 42% of businesses fail because there is no market need. You may already know how this works. You build a prototype, survey or landing page, reach out or advertise to potential customers and see if they bite.
You’ll not only learn whether your product and service is something the market wants, but also get feedback which you can use to alter your offering.
And since you are involving the potential customers in shaping your product, it’s better suited to their needs. They are already invested and more likely to try and purchase once it is ready.
But this post is about applying the same approach in a way most product creators don’t: emailing bloggers, journalists and social media influencers related to your idea. We can also call it pre-launch influencer outreach.
Why Pre-Launch Outreach?
Apart from validation, feedback and early adoption, influencer outreach can open up your idea to promotional opportunities and benefits.
These include press-coverage, social media mentions and posts on well known blogs at the time of launch. And the best part is you can do all of this without breaking the bank.
In a single stroke, you have not just optimized your idea for potential customers and influencers, but also amplified it’s chances of going viral when you launch. If this is not the best way to ensure a launch with a bang, even on a limited budget, I don’t know what is.
A list of target influencers, a couple well-written email scripts and an email outreach system can allow you to interact with influencers for maximum engagement and impact. Let’s see how it’s done, shall we?
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Pitching Your Idea
Technically at this stage, you’re not pitching your product. In fact, you don’t even have the product to pitch. All you have is some ideas/features you want to gauge demand for, and a desire to help potential customers and influencers.
You need to prepare a simple email for journalists, content marketers and bloggers in the same niche your idea belongs to.
You want to learn what sort of problems they face in an area, what sort of product/features can help solve them. And you want to know if they’d be open to answering a few questions to help create a solution. Let’s look at an example:
Hey Chris, have you been able to scale your blogger outreach campaigns lately with strong and consistent performance?
I am in the process of building an outreach tool to help brands find influencers and automate sending of emails and follow ups, and track the performance of their outreach. It’ll help them secure press coverage, build links and get social media mentions at scale, accelerating business growth.
I have great respect for your work in [Niche Name] and would love some insights from your expertise to help me shape this product. Would you be open to get on a 15 minute call?
If you want to help but can’t do a call, I have a Google form/survey with a few questions, which take only about 3 minutes to fill. Just let me know.
By making your message flattering and personalized you can increase the response rate of your campaign. And the fact that you’re giving them two options to pick from based on their convenience, makes your outreach even better.
Also note that in order to do this right, the above message is not the only one you’ll need. It’s just one part of a sequence of at least 3 emails.
The remaining emails in your series will be follow up emails to be sent to people from whom you don’t get a response. Following up is crucial to any email outreach campaign.
Early Testing & Traction
As a result of survey responses and video chats you manage to secure from the above email, you’ll get valuable feedback to incorporate into your solution.
Then, when you have a prototype or beta version ready, you can reach out to the influencers again to have them get a go at it, and refine on any other finer details. Here’s what you can say in that email:
Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the tool I am working on.
Based on your feedback, I have come up with a first version, with a simple management dashboard to see what’s happening with your campaigns, and what to do next based on this data.
We’re handing out early access to a select group of people. Are you interested in this free beta (no strings, no credit cards).
I’d be happy to walk you through it, or if you’d prefer to play around by yourself, let me know the email address I can use to create an account for you. I hope all is well!
As you can see, with a proper email sequence and system, you can go from validation, to getting early testers and traction.
As a result of doing this exercise, you would have created a product that influencers had helped to create, and therefore a product which they’d be happy to use and promote.
Promotion By Influencers
Now comes the time when you want to launch your product or service for potential customers to use.
And near this time, you want to send out another email to everyone who helped and demonstrated their interest by replying to your previous emails.
In this email, cover the main benefits again, and offer an exclusive discount with additional freebies if possible to make your deal even better for influencers, while encouraging them to write about or mention your product in their content.
Here’s a script to help. You can frame your message around it.
Thank you for your continued help and collaboration on building [Product Name]. We’re ready for launch at [Date]. And I'll be thrilled if you are willing to write about your experience using the product or mention in your upcoming content.
As we did with the beta, I’d be happy to create a free account for you to use the live version before promoting it. In addition, I’d be happy to provide:
- An exclusive license for you with lifetime use
- 5 premium licenses to giveaway to your followers
- Affiliate program with 50% commission
Influencer outreach is not just for marketing after you have launched a product or service.
The earlier you can involve prominent journalists and social media influencers in shaping your business model, the better your odds of getting support and exposure from them.
A targeted email campaign with small and thoughtful asks can go a long way in making sure your business is ready for growth upon launch, without having to spend thousands of additional dollars on promotion.
I hope the steps outlined above and using one of the outreach tools will help you carry out a successful pre-launch influencer outreach campaign, or you can save yourself the time and hassle by contacting one of the experts on my team to take care of this process for you.
Do you have a business idea? Who do you need to reach out for it? What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comments below.