Today I’m going to talk a bit about a new project that I’m embarking on with my wife. It’s called the Star Jar and its a product for parents who want to acknowledge good behavior and create good habits with their kids.
The product is an acrylic jar that sits on your kitchen counter and when your child does something good you praise them and give them a star. When the jar is full, they get a “reward”. The reward can be a little toy or maybe going out to do something special, the point is to make it something your kid really wants.
It’s a great way to focus the whole family on rewarding instead of punishing. And the kids love it! They get really excited about building up their stars and getting a reward when it’s full.
The product is my wife’s brainchild, I’m just the marketing guy peppering her with comments from the sidelines (I’m also trying to help a bit along the way of course).
So today, I wanted to just talk a bit about pre-launch for WooCommerce stores because it’s something we’re going through right now and I think it would make an interesting case study.
Pre-Launch E-Commerce Marketing Tasks
When you’re launching a new e-commerce store pre-launch is a really important phase that can set the tone for how your store will go in it’s first few weeks.
The first thing you should do is decide your priorities.
This is something only you will be able to decide. You can’t have your web developer do it and your ads guy can’t decide it for you. You are the business owner and therefore it’s your responsibility to set the priorities.
For Star Jar, we knew that social proof would be a huge factor for us.
In our case, parents need to trust that the product works and it helps to see that it has worked for other parents. This can help squash any fears or concerns before they buy it for their little one.
We determined early on that the product is something that needs a bit of a time investment on behalf of the parent, so that might be a big objection too.
Often parents have worked through a half a dozen other methods with their kids like chore charts, sticker charts, lolly rewards, bribery and they might have even given up hope by the time they see us.
That means to invest their time (and their child’s time) into another system they need to have a decent level of confidence that it would work and social proof goes a LONG way to giving them that confidence.
Task: Build Up Social Proof
We’re doing a few things to build up social proof.
- Giving out free prototype star jars to some of our friends with children in the right age group
- Collecting testimonials
- Looking at talking to big Facebook group owners to show them the product and perhaps promote it when we launch
- Running a giveaway competition prior to launch (more on this later)
- Taking videos of the jars in action with the kids
- Posting images of the jars on social media and starting conversations around what they’re about and what they can be used for
- Participating in follower loops to build up our social following on platforms like Instagram which are popular with parents
Doing these activities early on and building up that library of social proof and evidence that you are a real company that sells a real product that helps real people I think is super important. You can’t start it early enough.
As with many things in business, consistency is key when building up your social proof.
Task: Build Up Our Email List
In my other businesses, I’ve seen first hand how powerful having a solid email marketing list can be.
In the pre-launch phase if you can collect a good number of email addresses of interested people you’ll be ahead of the game.
For Star Jar, we want to genuinely connect with as many parents as possible so that we have a good base of interested parents for when we launch.
Mostly this is being acted on by having a pre-launch landing page which explains what the product is all about and why they should sign up for the pre-launch list.
We already have an account with Drip (our email marketing tool) so we basically set up a new account with that and put up a landing page using WordPress and Elementor. Later on, we’ll use the same install to host our WooCommerce store.
When you are trying to get someone onto a pre-launch list you need to do two things:
- Explain what it is you are selling and why they need it
- Give an incentive to get them to sign up for the pre-launch list
The first step there helps visitors to the landing page self qualify for the product. They are the ones that make the determination if they’re a good fit for it or not.
The second step just gives them that little nudge to get them on the list.
Task: Run A Pre-Launch Competition
Competitions are a great way to get people interested and help spread the word virally.
We are planning to run a competition for Star Jar to give away some free jars to parents.
A lot of people say to do an Instagram competition where people tag and hashtag and follow, etc.
But given our main goal of building up our email list of parents, we’re going to approach it a little bit differently.
The benefit of doing it this way is:
- We host the competition, no further tools needed
- Entrants need to enter their email address to enter and it automatically gets sent to our email marketing tool Drip.
- Entrants can earn extra points by sharing on social media, following us, sending it to friends, etc. This is important for viral spread.
On our competition page we’ll follow the same rules as the pre-launch landing page:
- Explain what it is we are selling and why they need it
- Give an incentive to get them to enter the competition
For the first point, we plan to explain what it is in a nice succinct way (important because many entrants will be on mobile devices!) to get them interested.
And for the latter, beyond just the chance to win a Star Jar, we’ll also give all entrants a 10-20% discount on a Star Jar when it launches.
Task: Pre-Launch Paid Ads
We are quite lucky in that Star Jar is a very visual product and it’s easy to advertise for due to having a very focused niche of parents with children at a certain age bracket.
This makes it a good fit for Facebook and Instagram Ads. The great thing about these ad networks is the awesome targeting features.
We can literally scope our ads to Australia (where we are primarily focusing on initially) and to parents of children between certain ages.
This means the ad network takes the burden of finding the right people to put our message in front of.
Our strategy so far on this has been to spend $5-10 a day on boosting posts. But, we aren’t just clicking “Boost” on the post, we are building the ads in the Facebook Business Ads Manager which gives more control over targeting.
So far this has been working well and the engagement on the ads and ad relevancy is quite high. Traffic is converting at around 20-25%.
On our site, we are tracking visitors with the Facebook pixel by using the PixelYourSite plugin. And we also have Google Analytics set up with a goal for pre-launch email conversions.
This means we have total visibility over what traffic is converting well for the list.
The Pre-Launch Journey Continues!
It’s early days and we’ve only been running the paid ad campaign for a short time, but we’re approaching 100 pre-launch sign-ups.
Our aim is to have between 500-1000 people on our list, then launch the competition with those people to send it into overdrive.
As I mentioned once already above, over my years in business and marketing I’ve found that more than anything, consistency is key.
Consistently pushing your pre-launch message out, making contact with potential customers, gauging interest, and genuinely getting out there and talking with people should be your main mission in the pre-launch period for your store.
If you are in the process of launching a store as well, best of luck to you!