How much noise should you make before you launch your product? Some pundits believe 'none' is the best answer because nefarious bandits may steal your idea. Other entrepreneurs think it is never too soon to start letting people know how your product will change the world. If you agree with the latter, several sound and relatively economical approaches exist to generate buzz while you are preparing for a full product launch.
Use Your Beta to Go Viral
If you have a product in beta, you have potential customers who, if they like the product, will help with viral marketing and testimonials. Beta users make great early evangelists because they received early access and had a hand in helping fine-tune the product for public release. Treat them right, and be sure to give them the proper tools to spread the word (think social media and invites).
Use Your Blog to Tease the Masses
Start blogging about your soon-to-be released product. Include some teasers—either screenshots or videos—to build an audience of potential customers. Promoting new posts through social media channels is a good way to get your message out and build an initial base of followers. Done right, introducing intrigue by creating discussion around your product can lead to a lot of traction on launch day.
Prepare for Launch
Locate the influencers in your industry or target market and give them advance information that is embargoed until product launch. They can post their opinions immediately upon product introduction. An e-mail 'drip campaign' is a good way to communicate on a regular basis at timed intervals with people with whom you’ve established a relationship, giving them a bit more information each time. You can also create a 'launching soon' page using a service like LaunchRock to retain interested users and get them to spread the word virally.
Creating buzz prior to a product launch can lead to a big win when you go public. Just be sure your pre-launch strategy is well-timed and, most importantly, that your product can actually deliver!
Speaking of buzz...see how Grasshopper generated some serious buzz with the Chocolate Covered Grasshopper Rebranding Campaign!