Developing a plan to launch your product is just as important as developing the product itself. Even the greatest products won’t sell themselves, they require a noteworthy event to create buzz online and drive interest in your event.
Just because in-person events aren’t currently the go-to option, doesn’t mean your options are limited.
Hosting online product launch events can be a more interactive and successful way to present your product to the world. It allows anyone with an internet connection to attend your event, and streamlines the data analysis to help your sales team.
Our guide will take you through the right steps to properly plan, execute, and follow up with your product launch events to ensure they’re a hit!
What is a Product Launch Event?
A product launch event is an event that debuts a new product on the market. These events create hype for the upcoming product, and typically feature high production to impress the audience.
Inviting loyal customers, investors, bloggers, social media influencers, and the media to your event will push others to spread the word before, during, and after the product launch to your key demographics online.
The ultimate product launch can bring an explosion of interest in the market in the form of blogs, product reviews, product pre-orders, qualified leads, and interest from investors.
Essentially, a successful product launch event can take your product from obscurity to ubiquity.
How to Create and Organize Successful Product Launch Events Online
Step #1) Choose a Product Launch Event Platform That’s Right for Your Product
Traditionally, the first step in hosting a product launch was finding a venue. However, interest in virtual events has exploded in the past year, and many companies are seeing the benefits of hosting events online.
By hosting online, you’re broadening your product launch’s reach, allowing people from anywhere in the world to attend your event. And that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
With a robust virtual event platform like SpotMe, you can create a fully customizable, branded product launch for thousands of attendees, while also collecting tons of useful data that will benefit your sales and marketing team after your event.
Want to streamline sales and marketing? Read: Sales and Marketing Alignment: How to Bring Them Together in Your Virtual Event Strategy.
Step #2) Make It a Virtual Experience to Remember
To make your launch memorable, consider choosing a theme that will tie everything together. For example, Nike hosted an NBA-themed shoe launch to celebrate the tip-off of the NBA season.
Partner with the right guests and online influencers for your audience. Find people with a substantial following online and invite them to participate in your event through a mutually-beneficial partnership. Research their social media pages to see what events they’ve recently attended and what they share online. Incorporate what interests them into your presentation so they will share your event with their thousands, or millions of fans.
Add enough twists and turns to keep attendees engaged. Remember Steve Jobs always ended his Apple launches by saying “One more thing…” and then introduced the most exciting product at the end to wow the audience.
Step #3) Keep It Interactive and Entertaining
A product launch must be interactive and entertaining to retain your audience. Because your audience is online, you’ll need different methods to understand how they’re engaging with an event.
Rely on a robust virtual event platform that has interactivity options that will keep your audience engaged in many ways, such as sending them to smaller designated breakout rooms, polling the audience, or giving away free products to attendees who post online using your launch’s hashtag.
Here are some examples to keep your audience engaged:
- Conduct a poll every 20 minutes to gauge the audience’s feedback and interest.
- Send your audience away into separate breakout rooms to play games, like a scavenger hunt.
- Get them to discuss a specific topic for five minutes, and then bring them back to the full presentation.
Remember, the more you engage with your audience, the more interested they will be, and the more you will benefit from their attendance.
Step #4) Strategically Schedule Your Product Launch Event
Your company doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it exists in the real world with real competition. Be mindful when scheduling your product launch to make sure it won’t be overshadowed by a larger event. For example, if your company is presenting new tech products, don’t host a product launch close to when Google or Apple are launching their products.
It’s recommended to host a product launch event two weeks before your product is released to create anticipation and buzz around your product.
By launching your product before it’s released, you can hype up your product more and encourage the audience to pre-order before it runs out.
Another benefit is collecting leads from your interested audience, so your marketing team can start a drip campaign for prospective buyers.
Step #5) Be Extra Active Online (Not Just During the Product Launch Event)
Since your event is online, make sure to get in front of your audience and actively engage with them on social media and other online spaces.
Consider running a social media contest to encourage people to use your event hashtag. Or run a referral contest, giving away a free event ticket to people who can refer the most contacts.
Create highly shareable promotional content, like YouTube videos that can be embedded into emails, social media posts, blogs, etc.
These are just a few ideas. For more helpful tips, read our 19 Social Media Tips for Event Promotion.
Step #6) Don’t Forget to Follow-Up!
Just because your product launch is over doesn’t mean you’re finished promoting your product. Far from it!
Post-event engagement requires its own strategy to nurture relationships with the leads and audience members who participated in your event.
One of the most effective strategies is starting a drip campaign, so your leads can receive automatic emails related to the event in which they participated.
Also, be sure to send a “thank you” email to all who participated, and send a “sorry we missed you” email to those who registered, but didn’t participate.
Gather helpful information from attendees by surveying them, asking what they did and didn’t enjoy. Use this information to improve your next event.
Consider setting up a post-event page with highlights from your launch and accolades your launch received. Include this in your emails sent to leads.
10 Powerful Product Launch Event Ideas To Be Inspired By
Now that you know how to transition a launch online, let’s look at some stellar product launch events to get your creative juices flowing.
#1) Google First Virtual Launch Night In
Google announced its latest product announcements at its first virtual-only product launch, Google Launch Night In.
Out of consideration for COVID-19 lockdowns, Google pivoted toward hosting an online-only live stream event on its YouTube page.
Google revealed the arrival of the new flagship series phone, the Pixel 5, as well as new Chromecasts and Nest Audio smart speakers with a pre-recorded, high-production quality video.
One advantage of broadcasting a pre-recorded video is you can edit mistakes or glitches that happen with your products, removing any chance of embarrassment when presenting a new product in front of a live audience. This is a tactic many tech companies use, which offers a seamless, high production quality event, free from technical difficulties.
#2) Apple Event Pre Recorded, But Still Presented on Stage
Apple is probably the most renowned brand when it comes to product launches. Think of Steve Jobs’ famous reveals for the iPhone or iPod.
Apple had already changed its June Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC20) to be an online-only event. So when it came to the official product launch in October, Apple was confident the event would be a success.
The Apple Event debuted the new iPhone 12, HomePod mini smart speaker, and wireless chargers in a pre-recorded, hour-long segment live streamed on its website and YouTube.
During part of the live stream, CEO Tim Cook presented on stage at the Steve Jobs Theater, in front of an empty audience. Even though this segment was pre-recorded, it still gave the live stream the excitement and feeling of their traditional product launches, paying homage to Apple’s theatrical product launches of the past.
#3) PS5 Reveal, Pre-Order, and Launch
Sony revealed the most anticipated product of 2020, the PS5, online through its website and partners YouTube and Twitch on June 11.
This hour-long presentation was watched by over 7 million people. Of those 7 million, a staggering 4 million watched the entire presentation!
Later in August, Sony encouraged existing PlayStation customers to enter their contact information and PlayStation ID on their website for a chance to receive a limited invite-only chance to pre-order a PS5. The exclusivity of receiving a pre-order email gathered more buzz online, while anxious fans waited until the official launch day.
By November, Sony was ready for the official product launch. To curb loyal fans from camping out in front of stores, Sony decided to launch an exclusively online-only, first-day product launch. It partnered with stores worldwide to ensure that no PS5s were sold in stores on the day of the online-only launch.
As of today, the PS5 is still sold out.
#4) Volkswagen Virtual Auto Show
Volkswagen faced a challenge other car companies dealt with: adapting its auto show to a virtual event or cancel.
Luckily, the creative minds at Volkswagen developed an interactive, 3D virtual event that allowed users to click around and explore the display space.
Another benefit of hosting the virtual event? Users could easily swap out and try new colors on every car model, something that wasn’t possible at traditional auto shows.
#5) Nike MyPLAYER and NBA 2K20 Launch Creative Partnership
Nike worked with the makers of NBA 2K20 for a first-of-its-kind gaming and sneaker partnership to celebrate the NBA season tip-off in October.
NBA 2K20 players had the opportunity to complete minigames for a chance to win up to 10 pairs of limited edition Nike shoes. Throughout the season NBA 2K20 and Nike announced when new minigames were available to compete in the game.
Fans were encouraged to like the video game’s Facebook profile and enter their email to get notifications about upcoming challenges in the game, which is a great lead collection tactic.
While it might be difficult to incorporate your product into the launch of a new video game, you can still learn from Nike’s timing — working with the hype surrounding the NBA season to promote its product.
Consider launching your event before the start of an important season that is relevant to your audience.
#6) Ford F-150 Reveal Features A Famous Host
With most auto shows being cancelled in early 2020, Ford Motor Company found a new way to introduce its F-150, America’s best-selling vehicle.
Ford decided to recruit actor and spokesman Denis Leary to host a pre-recorded product reveal that was live streamed on its Facebook and YouTube channels. The 40-minute show gathered an impressive 1.7 million views.
Take a page out of Ford’s book and find an actor or spokesperson who can host your product launch events. Sometimes an actor can be more engaging than a CEO, so consider this when looking for a host.
#7) Samsung Galaxy Launch with Theatrical Touch
Samsung Unpacked has been Samsung’s official product launch for new electronics. For the 2021 Unpacked, Samsung live streamed the arrival of its new Galaxy S21 and smart earbuds on its website and YouTube. The pre-recorded live stream featured several presenters on stage, with cut-scenes showing each new product.
Like other tech company launches, Samsung enhanced the performance and drama of the presentation by filming on a real stage, evoking a live performance, even though it was pre-recorded.
#8) Moschino Virtual Fashion Launch with Marionette Puppets
The fashion industry has been strongly impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns, as retail stores and fashion shows have been shut down or cancelled.
Many fashion brands are pivoting toward hosting virtual runway shows, either with limited or no audience.
However, Italian luxury fashion house Moschino found a creative way to get buzz for its upcoming fashion line — pre-recording a runway fashion show with Marionette puppets wearing doll-sized copies of the collection.
Take a tip from Moschino: create a virtual launch that will go viral out of the sheer novelty of your approach. Be creative in your presentation choice to stand out from your competition.
#9) Honda Civic Launch on Twitch for Gamers
When it came time to launch America’s top-selling car, the Honda Civic, Honda took a bold move aimed to specifically target its millennial and Gen Z fan base — by launching its new Civic exclusively on its Twitch channel.
Twitch is primarily known as an e-sports and music live stream site popular to users under 35. Because of this, many brands are opting to live stream launches on YouTube and Twitch simultaneously, to reach a broader, and younger fan base.
#10) TULA Skincare Partners with Instagram Influencers
TULA Skincare leveraged the power of social media and influencers to market the arrival of its new primer.
Using targeted social media ads and working with key demographic influencers on Instagram, TULA was able to reach a whopping 75% of its consumers.
Next time you launch a new product, consider what influencers you can partner with online to spread awareness to thousands, or millions, of their followers.
Start Your Product Launch Event Strategy Today!
Now that you have a better understanding of what a virtual product launch event is, you can use our techniques and examples to help you launch your product online.
To ensure greater success for your launch, you’ll want to use a virtual event platform that’s capable of live streaming and offers a fully-branded experience for your attendees.
Consider a platform like SpotMe to host your next product launch event. Sit back and watch the leads and data roll in to fuel your marketing efforts.
Ready to try SpotMe? Reach out today to start your free trial!
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