Marketers love launching things. Products, campaigns, books—you name it. A launch is a great excuse for a party.But while we’re distracted with the high-profile activities, we neglect the many small launches happening all around us. Every time a customer signs up with us, they are launching their own experience. The faster we can guide a new customer to success, the greater the chance that they’ll be long-term, happy and successful customers. And it starts with a good customer launch plan.
Launch Velocity Matters
When someone signs up as your customer, they make a decision based on their own needs and purposes. Do whatever you can to help them meet those needs before they forget why they became a customer.
Early success feeds the positive confirmation bias.
When we make a decision, we look for evidence to support that decision. We want to confirm it, so we remember or notice those things that reinforce our decision.
The first interactions customers have with your business are a valuable (and time-sensitive) opportunity to make them feel happy about that decision. This affects all of your interactions: transactional emails, confirmation messages, everything.
Customers who find success early will probably remain with you, renewing over time.
Reduce the Barriers to Getting Started
Eliminate any initial barriers, focusing on the first transactional interactions with customers.
If you’ve ever bought a product from Apple, you may remember the experience you had opening the box. The packaging itself is unique, sending a message that you are going to experience something special.
Your first customer interactions are like opening that box. Make them something special. The customer journey doesn’t end at the point of the sale – it’s just getting started.
The first act of nurturing value can be as simple as crafting each step of the setup with care.
The Email Confirmation
When someone subscribes to your business, you probably send an email confirmation. (This is part of the anti-spam laws in the United States.)
The email opt-in is a tiny hurdle.
Have you taken a good look at your opt-in confirmation email? What kind of tone does it set for the relationship? Where do you send someone when they click the link?
If you offer an online service, how hard is it for the customer to log in the first time? Slack simplifies the login by offering a Magic Link via email when you join a group. Check out the tone and style of this communication. Walk through the customer setup process on your own, looking for every opportunity to create the right impression and guide the user to the next step.
A Welcome Email
Your customer launch plan could be as simple as a well-constructed welcome email. You probably already have one. Question is, can you make it function even better?
For example, what happens if someone signs up for your service or a free trial and then forgets about it? (I’ve done this myself.) The welcome email should contain everything the new customer needs, including a reminder as to what the solution is and why they might want to use it.
When I signed up for the Haiku Deck service for creating online presentations, I wasn’t actually working on a presentation at the time. Months later, I needed to use the service. After searching through my email, I found a welcome letter that refreshed my memory and got me started, including:
- How to log on (and how to reset a forgotten password)
- Links to getting started materials and tutorials
- A link to frequently asked questions
The friendly, information-rich email reminded me why I had signed up for the service.
The Free Trial
For many businesses, the customer launch happens during a free trial period, making it even more critical that you get people up and going successfully. Remember that during the free trial, the prospective customer isn’t only testing the solution—they’re testing the experience of being your customer.
Want more marketing strategies for the free trial? Listen to a chapter on free trial strategies from my Subscription Marketing audiobook.
About the Author: Anne Janzer is author of the books Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn and The Writers Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear. Find her at anneJanzer.com, or on Twitter @AnneJanzer.