How To Pre-launch Your Subscription E-commerce Business and Make it a Runaway Success

Hrishikesh Jobanputra
written by

Hrishikesh Jobanputra

Hrishikesh Jobanputra is a marketing strategist, copywriter, and co-founder at 39shops.com. He helps small business owners boost revenue with razor-sharp marketing strategies and conversion copywriting.
He can be reached at his twitter handle @hrishikeshj

posted on

October 26, 2020

How To Pre-launch Your Subscription E-commerce  Business and Make it a Runaway Success

A wise man once said - well beginning is half done.

When it comes to your subscription box business, a pre-launch can be synonymous with a well-beginning. 

You might have heard of the word ‘pre-launch’ on social media. And you might be wonder how it can be executed to get the best results. 

That’s precisely what you are going to discover in this article. 
 
First, let’s try to understand the concept of pre-launch. 

As the name suggests, pre-launch is ‘launch before the launch’.

The core idea behind a pre-launch is to let your market know about your subscription box much ahead of time. It means you can build customers first without investing a ton of money in inventory, marketing, or advertising. 

A pre-launch is a smart way to validate your subscription box idea before you go too far. 

Pre-launch enables you to build a cohort of the first set of customers who will buy your subscription box before it is launched. So before you invest a ton of money on product sourcing, logistics, and marketing, there is already a group of people eager to take out their wallets.

Here is why a pre-launch is absolutely essential:

  1. You can test the waters before going too far. You can gauge the market response and adjust your product, pricing, and promotional strategy accordingly. 
  2. You will reduce the risk and hold off buying inventory if there aren’t many takers.

Planning Your Pre-launch 

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” - Benjamin Franklin 

It is a well-known fact that every minute you invest in planning will save six minutes in execution. Pre-launch requires meticulous planning. 

Here are a few things you need to plan for your subscription box pre-launch:

  1. You want to put together a sample subscription box and high quality photography so people get to know what they will be getting. 
  2. It is important to keep some numbers in perspective such as how many people you would like to have on your waiting list. And how many of them would actually convert into buyers? The number could be anywhere between 25 subscribers to 100 subscribers. For instance, if you plan to get 25 paid subscribers from your pre-launch, you will need 250 people in your email list assuming a 10% conversion rate. 
  3. You need to decide on your pre-launch timeline. Generally, it is recommended that your pre-launch timeline is anywhere between 30 to 45 days. Anything less than 30 days and you won’t be able to build enough buzz. For anything more than 45 days, people would lose interest. 
  4. You also need to make another important decision on selling or capturing emails. Are you going to pre-sell your subscription box and collect money OR are you going to simply get people into a waiting list first. 

For the purpose of this article, we are going to stick to the pre-launch strategy where you collect the email address and get people inside the waiting list. 

This brings us to three core components of your pre-launch. 

The Three Core Components of Your Pre-launch

The three core components of your pre-launch are going to be:

  1. The landing page - The landing page will be used to collect email addresses of people interested in your subscription box. 
  2. The media - The media you will use to get people to your landing page. 
  3. Your email list - You’ll use the email list to send regular updates and make an announcement when your subscription box goes on sale. 

The Media

The biggest mistake people make in marketing is that they spread themselves too thin in too many media channels. 

Result? None of it is effective. 

You need to pick just one media to reach out to your market. Remember, the goal of your pre-launch is to get the first few customers. And focusing your energies on a single media channel will be sufficient to achieve the numbers. 

Here are a few popular media channels you can choose from:
 

  1. Google Ads: Even though expensive, Google ads can allow you to quickly reach your target audience and build the initial group of customers. 
  2. Facebook Ads: Thanks to its extreme targeting abilities, Facebook Ads have become a favorite of modern marketers who want to launch marketing campaigns on a budget. 
  3. Instagram: Building an engaged audience on Instagram is a proven way to pre-launch your subscription box especially in the fashion, apparel, and novelty niches. 
  4. Facebook Group: It is a well-known fact that Facebook groups are hotbeds of extremely targeted markets. You can create your own Facebook group and ask people to join your group to build an engaged audience. 
  5. LinkedIn: If you are launching a subscription box in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the undisputed leader in this space. 
  6. YouTube: After the raving success of DollarShaveClub, it’s no secret that YouTube is on in the top league when it comes to pre-launching your subscription box. 

Here is the bottomline. 

Pick one media that you think is most relevant to your subscription box and focus on it. Learn about it. Experiment with various approaches and see which one is effective. 

There are no shortcuts here.

The Pre-launch Landing Page

The pre-launch landing page is nothing but a stripped-down version of your home page. 

It essentially communicates your value proposition and spark interest so the visitors get inside the waiting lists. 

Here are the core components of a landing page:
 

  • The headline: The job of the headline is to get attention and build interest. 
  • The sub-headline: You can use the sub-headline to expand your value proposition and communicate your uniqueness. 
  • Visual: A picture is worth a thousand words. One of the most powerful ways to entice people is to have a strong visual demonstrating the value of your subscription box. 
  • Launch date: Display the date when your subscription box will be available. 
  • How it works: The how it works lets the prospect know how easy it is to subscribe and receive the box.
  • Countdown timer: A countdown timer can build a stronger pull and build a sense of urgency.  
  • Call to Action(CTA): This is where people enter their email address to get inside the waiting list. 

That being said, not every pre-launch landing page has all these components. You can use the components depending on your needs and preferences. 

Let’s take a look at a couple of pre-launch landing page examples:
 

1. Home Chef

Home Chef clearly communicates the problem it is solving in the main banner supported by a clear call to action. 

This brings it to the third component of your pre-launch email list. 

The Email List

Email marketing can help you keep in touch with people in your waiting list. You want to keep them engaged with relevant and interesting emails. You can build anticipation by revealing one or two aspects of your subscription box. 

You also want to let them know when your subscription service goes live. 

Here is a great example of an announcement email from Beard Brand:

 

Hrishikesh Jobanputra
written by

Hrishikesh Jobanputra

Hrishikesh Jobanputra is a marketing strategist, copywriter, and co-founder at 39shops.com. He helps small business owners boost revenue with razor-sharp marketing strategies and conversion copywriting.
He can be reached at his twitter handle @hrishikeshj

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