Thanks to services like Netflix and Hulu, we can now binge-watch entire television series.
And that’s a good thing, right?
Maybe not for the average person, but it might represent an opportunity for your business.
When I used to work a ‘normal’ job, anticipating time off was half the fun of getting time off. If I knew weeks or months in advance that I was getting a vacation, or even an extra day off from work, I would look forward to it and relish the upcoming ‘freedom’ I would enjoy.
And if I got a day off with no warning, I felt cheated of this very anticipation. The unexpected day off was only half as good as it would have been, if I had known it was coming and could look forward to it.
Not long ago, all television episodes were released once a week. After watching an episode, the viewer had that entire week to process what happened and anticipate seeing the next episode. They would often discuss it with friends and try to guess how the cliffhanger would turn out.
In fact, entire seasons would end with a cliffhanger and the viewers had to wait 3 months to find out what happened. Nowhere was the phenomena greater than the famous, “Who Shot JR?” seasoning episode of the 80’s TV show, Dallas. It made headlines and was even featured on the cover of Time Magazine, one of the most prestigious publications of that era.
But now the anticipation is gone. When a viewer has only to click the remote to find out what happens next, cliffhangers lose their meaning.
Viewers are rushing through a series, watching 3, 4, and sometimes many more episodes at a time. They don’t get the anticipation and appreciation of a good series. They don’t get caught up in the emotions and thrilled by the story line.
Instead they rush through it in just days and feel lousy when it’s over. Characters they just got attached to are now gone. There is a massive void where the series had been, and usually it’s filled with yet another series.
It’s not unlike an addiction to drugs or food or anything else. More of the substance seems like a good thing, but afterwards it leaves a person feeling empty and depressed.
People love anticipation. Think about the first kiss in a relationship. You get to anticipate that kiss for hours and sometimes days or even weeks. It’s a delicious feeling, not knowing exactly when or where that kiss will take place, imagining all the possible scenarios, thinking of how it might feel.
If you can build anticipation into your marketing, your product or both, you’ve got a goldmine.
Of course, simply announcing you will be launching a new product is NOT building anticipation. Everyone does that, and who cares anyway? Prospects who don’t know you certainly don’t care.
The weaker the relationship with a prospect or customer, the harder you’ll have to work to build that anticipation. Your diehard fans, of course, will be an easier audience.
Think of a new TV series that no one has heard of. It takes a lot of savvy marketing to build anticipation for it.
Contrast that with a show that’s been on the air for a year or two and enjoys a loyal audience – for some of them, you only need to tell them the date to be in front of their televisions and they will be there.
Here are 10 ways to build anticipation for your next launch, whether it’s a product, service, website or whatever you might have in the works.
In the points below, we’ll be using a product launch as an example, but these methods can work to launch nearly anything new.
1: Focus on Your Customers, Not on Your Product
Your customers care about their problems and how your product is going to solve those problems and make their life better.
They don’t care about specs and features until you convey to them how this new product will improve their life.
Talk about how the product will affect your customers, how it simplifies things, makes things easier or brings about a desired result (and what that will mean.)
2: Get Help
Ideally, you want to get thought leaders on board with your product early, before it launches. Get these people talking about your product before you even have a demo, so that they’re talking about what it might do.
Apple uses this technique marvelously to get bloggers and journalists talking and even arguing about what they think the next Apple product will mean for customers.
It creates tremendous buzz and gives them a head start when the demos or actual product comes out.
3: Be Radically Different
Creating a product that is just a little bit better than others isn’t going to get you much buzz.
But producing something that is totally, radically different in some way will set you apart into your own product category. You can become a leader in your realm, causing a major shift in thinking and how things are done.
Do something that’s never been done before. Take a stand that’s bold. Be imaginative. Paint a picture that your prospects will walk a mile to live in.
In other words, aspire to be a visionary.
4: Take Preorders
If you’ve already got customers, they are likely to buy anything you release. Give them the opportunity to pre-order and get your product the moment it launches.
These folks can then be some of your very best advertising, as they announce to others that they were able to secure a copy of your product from the first minute it launched.
Alternate strategy: Allow a limited number of people to buy the product ahead of time. This can create buzz, as these customers are already talking about what’s in the product and what it’s doing for them.
5: Tease Your Prospects
To build up more excitement surrounding your campaign, try being mysterious. Don’t give away all your secrets in your first promotional campaign.
You want people to stay curious and follow up to get more information.
6: Pre-promote Your Product at a Special Event
Is there an in-person conference or even an online event where you can talk about your new, upcoming product launch?
This can be a great time to capture people’s interest and score some free publicity, too.
7: Turn the Launch Itself into an Event
You are the speaker and showman for your product, so act like it.
Stage an entire event around your launch, with live online events, social media, partners and anything that makes a big deal out of your product launch.
The more seriously you take your product launch, the more others will pay attention.
8: Use Video
Studies show approximately 64% of customers make a purchase after seeing a branded video.
According to half of polled marketing experts, video has the highest ROI compared to other content marketing strategies.
And according to Insivia.com, 95% of information gets retained when it’s watched in video.
Use video to tease, entice, build enthusiasm, do demonstrations, answer questions and sell.
9: Use Every Marketing Avenue
Think hard: Who do you know? Which social media channels are you on? Who can you contact?
Leave no stone unturned and exhaust every resource to build up excitement, get the word out and increase your exposure.
10: Drag out the Suspense
Remember when we talked about binge watching, and how it’s ruining suspense and cliffhangers?
When you’re launching your own product, YOU control when information is released. Hold back juicy news and details about your product and only hint at what it might be.