After months of planning, it’s finally time to launch your new website! This is an exciting moment and you can’t wait for the flood of enquiries, subscribers, and customers that are sure to come. The big day arrives and…crickets.
Here’s the thing. Marketing takes time and if you don’t start the process of promoting your website in advance, your launch party’s gonna be a real downer.
Here’s my 5-step pre-launch website marketing strategy. I recommend starting 12 weeks before you launch.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk (*).
Step One | Create a Lead Magnet
The easiest people to reach are the people on your email list. And the best way to entice people to join your list is to offer them value in return.
Start brainstorming ideas. What valuable and engaging resource can you offer your subscribers? Here are some ways you can format your resource:
Offering a free resource will dramatically increase your conversions. 50% of the people who view my subscription form sign up because of the Homepage Blueprint I offer as incentive.
Step Two | Write a Welcome Sequence
Don’t stop at delivering your lead magnet. Write a quick 1-5 email welcome sequence to introduce yourself and tell subscribers about what you do and how you can help them. Let them know what to expect when you launch. Providing value and connection is a surefire way to cultivate loyal fans who will buy and/or promote your product or service in the future.
I recommend using ConvertKit* for automated email marketing. It takes the hassle out of delivering lead magnets and writing email sequences. It’s been a massive time-saver for me.
Step Three | Build a Landing Page
Squarespace makes it super easy to throw up a landing page while your website is under construction. You can also set up a rudimentary landing page with ConvertKit*.
Your landing page should let people know that you’ll be launching soon and have a strong call to action featuring your lead magnet. The sole purpose of this page is to get people subscribed to your list.
If you already have branding in place for your new website, your landing page should match your branding. If not, just make it look as attractive as possible and add your branding in when it’s ready.
Step Four | Build a Social Media Funnel
You may not have a website yet but you can still promote your business, show off your work, and connect with potential clients and customers on social media. And it can also help you drive traffic to your landing page so you can start building that email list.
First, you want to decide which social media platform(s) you want to invest your time in. Don’t try to be active on all of them. That way lies the path to frustration and burnout. Just focus on one or two that align with your business. I’ve created this handy guide to help you figure out which social platform is the best fit for you.
Regardless of which platform(s) you choose, the first thing you want to do is add a call to action in your bio. Tell people who you are and what you do. Then lead them back to your landing page to sign up for your email list by advertising your lead magnet.
Step Five | Expand Your Social Reach
Once you have your social media profile(s) set up with a call to action to visit your landing page, it’s time to start building your following. The larger your social reach before launch day, the faster you’ll be able to build traffic after launch day.
Here are some super quick platform-specific tips to get you started:
Use an Instagram scheduler and plan your posts in advance. This is crucial. You want your grid to have a cohesive aesthetic, which will make people more likely to follow you. Research has shown that posting once a day will result in higher engagement.
You’re allowed to add 30 hashtags to a post, so use all of them! The more hashtags you use, the more exposure your post gets. Add your hashtags after the caption or in a separate comment after you publish. (Tailwind* allows you to do this automatically.) Focus on hashtags that have 10k to 600k posts.
Write thoughtful captions. Instagram isn’t just about images anymore. Your captions can be up to 2,200 characters long and are just as important as the picture you post. Use your captions to engage your audience, ask questions, and be vulnerable.
Use Instagram stories. 500 million people watch stories on Instagram every day. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity if you don’t use them. While your grid should be polished and professional, stories are the place to post raw behind-the-scenes stuff in addition to your usual promotional posts. You can add up to 10 hashtags to stories and hide them so they don’t clutter things up. (There are two ways to hide hashtags. Here are tutorials for each method: one + two.)
Cultivate genuine connections. Find your ideal clients and leave thoughtful comments on their posts. Use the like button generously. Reply to people’s stories in a private message. Form real relationships. This is how you build brand awareness.
Set up your Pinterest boards and add board covers. Link the board covers back to your landing page. Be sure to add LOTS of relevant keywords and hashtags to your profile, board descriptions, and the pin descriptions for your board covers. Check out my comprehensive guide to Pinterest keywords and hashtags for more details.
Sign up for Tailwind* and start scheduling pins. Pinning other people’s content can help build your following and reach so that your own content is more widely shared when you launch. Focus on using keywords and hashtags in the pin description. Don’t pin more than 50 times a day. I schedule about 25 pins per day.
Create 1-3 pins to advertise your lead magnet. You may not have any blog content to share yet but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to pin. Create 1-3 pins showing off your lead magnet and link them back to your landing page. This will help you build your email list.
Ask to join some group boards. Search for relevant group boards to join so you can share your lead magnet pins with a broader audience.
Join Tailwind Communities. The basic Tailwind for Pinterest plan comes with 5 tribe memberships and 30 community shares a month. Join a few communities relevant to your industry and share your lead magnet pin to get some extra exposure.
For more detail on how to perfect your Pinterest strategy, read my guide >> How to Increase Your Website Traffic with Pinterest
Join Facebook groups and start engaging. There are so many great Facebook groups out there for entrepreneurs. Join a few and start forming genuine connections. Don’t promote yourself. (Self-promotion is usually against group guidelines anyway.) Just add a link to your landing page in your profile and make sure it’s public. That way if someone wants to learn more about you, it’s easy for them to find your work and sign up for your email list.
Use Facebook ads. Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm makes it difficult for regular posts to your business page to be seen. That means that if you want to increase your visibility on Facebook outside of groups, ads are the way to go.
Ask your friends and family to share. Don’t underestimate the power of your personal network. If you have friends and family rooting for your success, tell them about your business and ask them to spread the word on Facebook, other social platforms, and their friends IRL.
Tweet up to five times a day. Engagement peeks when you use two hashtags per post.
Schedule your tweets for optimal times. See my list of social media automation tools and choose a scheduler that works with your budget.
Start conversations and engage with people. Most brand engagement on Twitter happens in the replies. Respond to tweets, spark dialogue, and build relationships.
I’ll be honest, when I launched my website, I didn’t follow a lot of my own advice. I was so bogged down with design work that I didn’t have time to implement a lot of these strategies. (That’s a great reason to hire a web designer instead of doing it yourself–you’ll have more time to work on promotion and marketing!) I set up a landing page but didn’t link it up to my email provider until two weeks before launching and I didn’t have a lead magnet. I didn’t start my Pinterest marketing plan until the day I launched. And my efforts on Instagram were halfhearted at best.
But guess what? Even with the extremely limited effort I put into promoting my website, I booked my first discovery call within 36 hours of launching. This is powerful stuff and it doesn’t take a big effort to see big results. Imagine what I could have achieved if I had more time to implement the whole plan?
What’s your pre-launch plan? Will you implement some of the strategies I’ve outlined here?