If you ask 100 marketers, 99 of them will likely admit that the most difficult part of creating a new site is attracting an audience. Most sites undergo what I’d like to refer to as the “traffic doldrums”, where site owners must scavenge or pay for every initial view that they receive.
After all, you’re the new kid on the block; Google has yet to index your pages, and few if any people, even know of your existence. This is by far the most tedious time-frame of an online marketer’s career.
What if there was a better way?
What if there was a method that allowed you to drive massive traffic to your site, essentially cutting through all of the bull crap “waiting time” and making money from day one?
Yes, there is in fact a strategy that I (and many others) use to build an audience (and an email list) before a website is even launches. Keep reading, and I’ll show you how to do it as well…
Why Have a Pre-Launch Plan?
It allows you to create a buzz around a specific site before it even exists so that when your site does go live, you will be able to hit the ground running, instead of waiting months (or even years) for the traffic to come pouring in.
This also allows you to make use of every piece of content that you create. Most site owners will toil away for hours at a time creating incredible content for their site, but have yet to generate a large enough audience to make the hours spent actually worth it. They are essentially creating content for no one.
In most cases, by the time a large enough audience is built, the older posts are buried deep in the archives collecting dust. Sure, there are methods to bring older posts back to life, but it takes additional effort on your part.
Instead, having a pre-launch plan in place allows you to fully exploit every piece of content that you’ve ever created.
Build Initial Hype
Film studios begin promotion for movies as far as a year or more in advance in order to build anticipation by turning the release date into a highly awaited event that people can look forward to.
In 1999, I went to the midnight release of Star Wars: Episode I (don’t judge me). What I saw was astounding. Mobs of people were lined up around the block, waiting to gain entrance into the theater. Countless others were tailgating in the parking lot in their zany outfits.
At one point I heard a loud scream. When I turned to look where the scream originated, I saw two massive hordes, dressed in their Star Wars garb, tightly clenching their plastic light sabers, charging one another. A full scale battle followed that encompassed the entire theatre parking lot. It was absolute anarchy. The film went on to gross almost $65 million its opening weekend.
None of this would have been possible if Lucasfilm hadn’t created such an intense hype around the release of their film starting back a full 2 years prior. They had amassed a nerdherd (a herd of nerds) of which the likes have never been seen before.
They used teasers, trailers, and had actors appear on every late night show. The anticipation was palpable.
This is the same approach you need to take with your soon to be launched sites. Here are the basic steps that will help you on your way.
Step #1 Create a Pre-Launch / Coming Soon Page
Just because your site has yet to launch doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of web traffic.
For this step you will need to create a single page that simply includes a brief synopsis of what viewers can look forward to. In order to keep it short and straight to the point, utilize what is known as an “elevator pitch”.
An elevator pitch is a brief statement that quickly summarizes what you’re all about. If it takes longer than a few seconds to read, then it’s entirely too long. After all, no one is going to take the time to read about something that doesn’t even exist yet. They will however respond if you present a persuasive pitch in a few sentences, max.
For your elevator pitch, feel free to use text or even a short video.
Below your elevator pitch you should provide a sign up area in order to collect emails. Collecting emails is crucial to the launch process as it will allow you to notify your audience exactly when your site goes live and also provide an outlet to further market your product / services later on.
Although it’s not absolutely necessary, if you happen to have something of value to offer in exchange for email sign ups, then you may see a higher conversion rate.
The page itself can be fairly basic, similar to a regular squeeze page.
Step #2 Take to Social Media
If you’ve been following this blog for longer than a week, you have probably realized that I am a strong proponent of social media marketing.
I believe it’s a powerful tool that allows marketers to continuously reach out to their audience in order to keep them engaged while simultaneously building further viewership.
The goal is to launch your fan page and provide continuous posts (pictures, infographics, videos, links to other content) in order to gain trust and visibility.
Here is a post that I created that will help you begin a stellar Facebook Marketing Campaign.
Also, check out this post if you’d like to learn tips that will allow you to gain a larger fan base on a shoe string budget.
Step#3 Relationship Building
A large part of internet marketing is relationship building with site owners that are already established. With the help of an influencer, you can essentially propel a site from complete anonymity to a fully fledged authority virtually overnight.
For this step you’ll want to create an excel spreadsheet of 100+ influencers within your niche, their contact information, and links to all of their social media accounts (I’ll explain why you’ll want to create such a large list shortly).
A massive mistake that many marketers make when starting out is to immediately contact influencers and ask them for favors, which almost always ends with a resounding no.
Why would they take the time out of their busy schedule to help you out? After all, they don’t even know you yet.
Instead, begin by interacting with them and their audience in blog posts and through social media. Ask questions or provide insight. This way, you’ll at least be on their radar for when you actually do contact them.
Step #4 Guest Blogging
By this time you’ll have gotten to know your key influencers and their audience. Hopefully, they will also have gotten to know you as well.
You should have a solid grasp of what kinds of posts their audience most responds to. If not, you can always use Buzzsumo to find their most engaging blog posts to date.
Armed with this information, you’ll be able to come up with compelling ideas for potential guest blog posts; enough so that the key influencers will be willing to allow you access to their audience by providing a guest blog post.
Approach the influencer with your idea. If they agree, then link to your “Coming Soon” page. This could potentially build your list to massive proportions before you even launch.
The reason why you’ll want to have so many influencers in your list (from step #3), is because no matter how much you interact with people, a large majority of influencers will disregard your request for a blog post, which is fine.
At least with a massive list, you’ll have plenty of more options to choose from.
Step #5 The Last Few Weeks
If you’ve properly followed the steps up to now, you’ve likely created a sizeable list and a decent following on social media. Now is the time for the hype machine to go into full gear.
Starting at least 2 weeks prior to your launch date, you’ll want to periodically send out social media posts an emails counting down the days.
It is absolutely essential to provide massive value in every email and not simply just a message proclaiming that your site is launching shortly. Often times a person’s inbox can become cluttered forcing them to flat out miss your emails. That is why you’ll want to begin several weeks out and send one email every 2-3 days.
This way you can ensure that every subscriber has the opportunity to view your countdown emails. If all goes well, when you finally launch your site, you will have already begun attracting traffic from day 1, completely avoiding the initial “traffic doldrums” that most sites begin with.
If you found this post useful or have a suggestion for something that you’d like to learn about in the future, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.