The new year is upon us and it is safe to assume that most of us were looking forward to it. Are you read for making your resolutions happen?
If you are one of many people who are planning on launching a new project at the beginning of the year, here is your checklist.
Assuming you already have an idea of what you want to launch, here are some fundamental steps to making your new digital project live:
1. Select a Name
Coming up with a good project name is getting harder and harder. As a rule, I am trying to find a name that:
- Is available as a .com domain
- Can be registered as a username in major social media networks.
And both are tougher every year. Yet, both of these are crucial for online branding.
On top of that, you want your new brand name to:
- Be short and easy to remember as well as type in
- Can be easily associated with its core niche / topic
I use a variety of tools when trying to find my perfect brand name, including:
- Google Images to find visual associations with my target industry
- Urban Dictionary to avoid any nasty connotations
- Just about any domain finder to come up with catchy domain names
- Knowem to determine which social media networks have my brand name available
Take your time. Don’t try to rush or force it. Remember your brand name will define your future marketing.
2. Set up Your Website
If you already have a website and plan to use it to market your upcoming project, you can skip this step, of course. Yet, more often than not I recommend launching a mini site for every project because it is easier to rank it for a variety of brand-driven search queries (i.e. those that contain the project name).
A separate site is highly recommended for these types of projects:
- A book
- An educational course
- A niche affiliate site (if you plan to monetize your site)
However, the following projects are usually fine to be hosted within your current site:
- A new community (i.e. an ambassadorship program)
- A newsletter
Setting up a new site is not tough at all these days. You can handle that yourself and there’s no huge investment involved, so I’d definitely give it a try. It is always easy to merge your new properties down the road if you realize a separate site is redundant.
3. Plan Your SEO and Content Strategy
Search engine optimization takes time to drive results, so the best time to plan your SEO strategy is prior to the launch. Consider hiring trusted SEO services because handling SEO in-house may be too overwhelming.
This is when you need to start creating your core content as well.
You cannot launch an empty website. You need at least some pages before you can show it to the world. At the very least make sure your new website has the following pages:
- A well-designed home page explaining what your project is about
- Your About-us page for curious visitors to read your story and get to know your better
- A contact-us page to give your new site users an opportunity to get in touch
- A couple of non-promotional articles putting your project in a meaningful concept
In a nutshell, you need to give your site visitors some content to read and some pages to browse around if you feel like. It is a good idea to use semantic analysis to research which context your project needs.
Text Optimizer helps you identify which underlying topics your target search query is associated with, so you can create context that addresses your audience’s search intent:
While text content lays the foundation. This is where you should start creating your videos as well! As Maxwell Hertan of Megaphone Marketing put it,
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg told Buzzfeed News, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video’. Well, here we are – take a look at your newsfeed. Mostly video? We thought so.
If you’re still not creating and sharing videos on the reg, this is your year!
Today’s technology makes video creation easy and affordable. You can turn your text or images into videos and use them on your site as well as social media channels.
Here are some useful guides from Paper.li blog:
- Five Steps to an Effective Content Strategy (And Tools to Start Implementing It!)
- 5 Tools to Develop Your Unique Blogging Style
Finally, read this guide to learn what Paper.li can do to help you develop a better content strategy!
4. Plan Your Customers’ Journeys
As I have just mentioned, you want your first visitors to be able to do something on the site. So from the very start, you need to define which actions you want your site users to perform. Some examples include:
- Sharing your pages on social media
- Subscribing to your list (it could be a waiting list or your newsletter depending on how close you are to actually launching your product)
- Requesting a demo
- Following you on social media
- Getting in touch with you (these include press requests, for example)
- Buying your product
- Joining your (free) trial
Our SEO KPIs may vary but at the end of the day what we all really need conversions.
You don’t have to wait till your product is ready to be sold but you do need to plan several customers’ journeys prior to launching your website. You don’t want to lose or waste any single click you earn when launching.
Finteza is an easy tool to create and track those conversion funnels. Simply add actions you want to be performed on the site.
As you are planning your buyers’ journeys throughout the site, consider your customer support strategy. Who is going to help your site users to convert? Will there be a well trained customer support person to turn a lost user into a happy customer? Customer support is crucial for just about any business. Here are a few options:
- Create a FAQ page that eliminates questions
- Consider Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
5. Set up Your Social Media Channels
Ideally, you have registered your accounts when looking for your brand name. But having usernames registered is not enough. You need to add your details and some initial content to avoid launching with empty profiles.
To help you out, here is a quick cheatsheet for you to follow:
|Platform to create the profile||Can you enable a custom URL?||Can you add links to your site and other social media profiles?|
|Custom by default||You can add one link in the “URL” field as well as more in the bio|
(You can select it only once)
(In “Other accounts” section of “Edit profile”)
|Custom by default||Yes|
(+Links to Twitter, FB)
(+ Another link to Twitter)
|Custom by default||You can add one link in the “URL” field|
|Slideshare||Custom by default||Yes|
(+Links to Twitter, FB, Linkedin)
(if you qualify)
(You can add links to a variety of platforms as well as your own sites)
|Tumblr||Custom by default||Yes|
(+Links to Twitter, FB)
|Medium||Custom by default||Yes|
(+ Links to Twitter)
|About.me||Custom by default||Yes|
(Good way to link to your multiple accounts from one place)
Further reading from Paper.li: How to Build Your Brand by Being Everywhere
6. Announce Your Project Everywhere
Finally, this is the most exciting step. It is time to announce your new project everywhere! This is where you can use all your available channels and connections. Here are a few ideas:
- Send an email blast to your subscribers
- Post on your old and new social media channels. You can handle this step effectively using a social media manager like Agorapulse
- Set up a Twitter party (i.e. one-time Twitter chat). You can host one using this Twitter chat app.
- Add a new link to your email signature. This is quite easy to do using a free online email signature generator.
- Reach out to close friends and employees asking for help to spread your message.
- Set up ad campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. This is where you can use broad targeting. At this point you are using ads to collect data. You will be able to target better and re-target when you have some engagement data collected.
Sit down and create a list of all the channels you own and use all of them.
Launching a new digital project is overwhelming. There are too many micro tasks to handle which steals from the excitement of the actual launch. I hope the above steps will help you take care of the basics and enjoy launching a new venture.
Image from Pixabay