Hi, I’m Kerrie. I’m an online marketing expert subscription box coach and lover of all things coffee and dogs. I launched my first subscription box business, The Dapper Dog Box, in 2016. Now, I am teaching aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs how to create, launch and scale subscription box businesses. Stay tuned for an online course and resource library to help you launch and grow with ease.
Did you know the success of your subscription box launch solely depends on your pre launch months? I’m SO EXCITED to share this post with you. I want you to have a super successful product launch and the secret to that is doing the work during your pre launch.
Last week I shared my subscription box story. Looking back to those few months before I launched the business, there are so many things I would do differently now. The good news is, I am sharing my secrets that worked for me!
What is a Pre Launch
A prelaunch is the process of marketing your box before you launch in order to gauge interest, collect email signups, and build buzz around your upcoming launch. Most prelaunches are hosted on email signup landing pages. If you choose to use the Cratejoy platform, they offer a pre launch page as well.
We will focus on the strategies you can do during your pre launch to build a social media following, generate buzz and excitement about your business online and collect email addresses.
- Landing Page (boost list building)
- Connect with influencers
- Plan giveaways
- Create loyalty with discounts
- Get social
This should be one of the very first things you set up during pre launch. Once you have narrowed down on your product and niche, it’s time to set up a landing page. A landing page is a single website page where you provide a call to action (sign up, add your email, enter our giveaway) in exchange for an email address.
I reccomend using Cratejoy for your subscription box platform. That’s what. I used for The Dapper Dog Box. They are a comany created to host subscription box businesses, so everything is pretty easy on their platform.
In cratejoy they have a Pre Launch page that you can set up while building your website. Its enough space to add an image, a call to action, a few lines of text. They connect with Mailchimp so you can embed an opt in so you can start collecting email addresses.
This page is as simple as it gets. There are other better and more sophisticated places to host a landing page. If you are just starting out and scratching your head with frustration already, go with the cratejoy page. START SIMPLE.
Other landing page websites you can use for this are Mailchimp and Launchrock.
Design & Copy For Your Landing Page
Designing websites and landing pages is one of my favorite topics. During the dapper dog box, I created and designed every website we had for the business. I spent hours mapping out the design, where images and CTA’s would be placed. It was something I learned how to do by getting in there and doing it. However I see endless website mistakes from subscription box businesses, so I want to give you pointers on how to create a landing page with high conversions so you get lots of email addresses.
Your landing page should resonate with your ideal customer and your offer/call to action should be so good that they cannot wait to give you their email address. What you should include:
- A beautiful photo with your product
- A Logo thats clear
- A Main statement about your product (Bigger and bold font)
- A secondary statement about your product ( smaller font, focus on key selling points)
- A Call to action (something super enticing)
- An email opt in- name and email. Make sure the button is a bright color
Above is an example of a perfect landing page layout I created as an example. It has all the ingredients of a successful landing page. It has a straightforward layout, beautiful central image that shows off the product, catchy tagline, concise copy, and clear CTA. We’ve also included user-friendly social media buttons to capture leads on multiple platforms.
Another landing page layout and copy I created for you! I always find it helpful to see examples to help get my own creative juices flowing. The important things here is that you want to use your juiciest and savvy copy, best image and an incentive that gets someone to give an email. Don’t just say Take 10% off first box, or ” sign up for our newsletter,” no-one cares and no-one will sign up. make it SPICY for them with an irresistible offer, something your ideal customer would NOT say no to.
Connect With Influencers
An influencer is anyone who would appeal to your customer and has a certain level of followers and engagement. They do not have to have 10,000 followers or be the kardashians.
Why you want influencers and what they can do for you.
- They can take candid and beautiful product images that appeal to your ideal customer and can be used for your website and social media without having to hire a photographer for fancy images.
- They will generate buzz for you on social media and help get your product in front of your ideal customer.
- They can direct interested potential customers to your landing page, where you can collect their email address …. which you will then market to.
In exchange for free product plenty of micro influencers will be happy to do a few posts on social media and provide lifestyle images for you. Getting a collection of candid images that you can use for your marketing and social media is very important. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build up buzz and start getting in front of your ideal customers.
Plan out the types of images you want and give them examples, tell them you want X, Y or Z types of images and be clear. Below is an overview of what types of influencer images you can get and how they can come together.
Send them your best looking products, think to yourself, would this product look good in a photo, if you say no, then leave that product out. Think bright colors and fantastic packaging for this setup. Be clear with what types of images you want. Take screenshots of images you like and send those to the influencer.
Here are some examples of influencer images I received for The Dapper Dog Box. A few things I kept in mind.
- Who is my customer and what breed of dogs do they have?
- What style of products would this customer like to see in a pic?
- What style and creativity can I have the influencer put into the photos so I can use them for holiday campaigns, email campaigns, social media, website, product images, etc.
How to Find Influencers:
Identify your ideal customer. Head over to Instagram, Tags section and start doing hashtag research. If you’re launching a dog subscription box, then start looking for hashtags that relate to that niche. For example, look at the hashtag #dogsubscriptionbox and you’ll see hundreds and thousands of posts from people posting photos with their boxes. You could potentially find a few people from this group to contact and see if they want to promote your new box. You could also look at #dogmom #dogmomlife if your customer is a dog mom.
Keep your eyes out for beautiful images of HUMANS and products. Look for accounts that have high engagement, good images and creative captions. Follower count isn’t always the most important but engagement is. You can then reach out and ask if they are interested in being a brand ambassador.
Below is a sample copy of what I used to get my first ambassadors. Keep your initial email super short and sweet. iIf they are interested then provide specifics to what youre looking for. Be clear on your timeline of when you want a post and images done.
My Name is Kerrie and I am the owner of _______ Box. I am launching a new amazing subscription box for (Topic) and I am looking for a few people to help me create some buzz and interest before I launch. In exchange for product would you be willing to: Post 2 Posts on instagram and 5 story posts ( In this timeframe) Take a few candid images of the product. I do have specifics in mind, happy to share with you if you’re interested. I can send you some products this week if you are interested. Kindly send me your name, address. Thank you so much. I am putting my heart and soul into this business and I appreciate you being part of the early stages 🙂
Name and Business
How to choose influencers
One mistake I see people making when looking for influencers is they focus too much on follower count. It’s good to take a holistic approach to this, look at the big picture. Engagement and quality of images is the number 1 and 2 things to focus on when choosing influencers at this stage.
Look at the engagement in their posts
Are they responding to comments? If they aren’t replying to comments do not choose that influencer. Instagram is all about connection and good accounts that will help sell YOU, they need to be connected to their followers.
Creativity in Captions
You want someone who is creative and can write catchy captions that engage. Do their captions start conversations in the comments?
You will hear me talk about engagement a lot because its vital to succeed on instagram.
Follower count is not always the only thing to look for. Someone can have 10,000 followers but have zero comments and engagement, that is a red flag and they likely bought their followers.
Are their images high quality? Images SELL, so make sure they are able to take quality pics with a camera, not a phone. Look for creativity and quality.
Working with influencers during your prelaunch can be extremely beneficial and I highly recommend it!
There are a lot of ways giveaways can work so well for you during your pre launch. You can do a giveaway contest on your landing page to get emails, you can also do giveaways on instagram and platforms like GLEAM and DOJOMOJO but I would keep things simple and use your landing page for this.
One Giveaway On The Landing Page
One giveaway should be the big one where the prize you offer is pretty epic enough that your ideal customer can not resist giving you their email for a chance to win this prize. For example you could giveaway 3 six month subscriptions to your box or a 1 lifetime subscription.
Giveaways on Instagram
Think of something that your ideal customer wants or needs, think of a pain point they have and then find a product that saves the pain point and give it away. I did these types of giveaways many times during my Dapper Dog Box pre launch stage. I would go to Homegoods, Petco or boutique petshops and buy something really nice, then host a giveaway! You get IG followers and build more awareness to your new brand.
Discount To Email Subscribers
As your hosting giveaways and generating buzz, you can start marketing your service with sneak peeks and a big discount to your first email list. As a way to get the highest amount of subscribers when you’re launching, offering a loyalty/VIP discount is something that works really well.
It’s important to make your customers feel excited about your service but also reward them for giving your business a chance when its brand new and lacks credibility. Even though you know how amazing your service is when no-one has heard of you, you are starting at the bottom and feel happy and appreciative that people are giving you a chance.
Below is an example of the email I sent to my email subscribers when we launched. I offered a 20% off for the first week. For anyone who signed up for my newsletter, I also gave them a 10% off discount for life. The lifetime discount was extremely effective in my launch strategy. Roughly half the signups I got the first week used that 10% for life discount.
Also this is a friendly reminder- BEING READY IS A LIE. Starting and launching a business is beyond scary.
Look at my email below, this was my official product launch email the day we opened the cart for customers. It makes me cringe! The copy is bad, the font is worse but guess what, I showed heart and personality on social media, in my emails and in my photos and your customers pick up on that. Noone cares if your fonts are bad, just get started! They care how you show up for them and how you treat them as a customer.
So get started and get moving, you will learn how to make graphics, and build converting email flows and how to take flatlays, give yourself a break and allow things to come together.
I also made a huge effort to make my business friendly, welcoming and made sure from day 1, anyone who signed up for the service was part of a family. Good customer service will keep customers coming back, getting someone to hand over their credit card details when you are launching isn’t easy, but make your business about them.
Social media channels are the easiest way to not get in front of potential customers, but it’s an easy way to start building up your pre launch buzz before you launch your business. For channels, go where your customer is, period. Instagram is the easiest channel to use for pre launch, but facebook and pinterest are also super effective.
You might be thinking, if my business hasn’t launched, what content do I post? You can start posting a few different types of content, for example I launched a dog subscription business.
When I was starting out, I started posting pictures of cute dogs with teaser posts that we were launching a dog subscription box soon and for followers to stay tuned for giveaways and
launches. I made it fun for people to follow the account before I had anything to sell. Not the prettiest feed back then but here is a glimpse of my initial first few posts for The Dapper Dog Box Instagram. I grew this from 0 – 42,000 followers in less than 2 years, eventually building out over 30% of my customer base from this one channel.
Here are some of my first posts on instagram. Again, I had no idea what I was doing, but I showed up everyday and knew I would figure out how to build an audience of engaged and loyal followers which would turn into customers. I played around with captions and hashtags trying to find my ideal customer. I didn’t have any professional product images at this stage, so I got creative and created my own. I also built connection by using images and stories of my beloved black lab Asha, who was the inspiration behind my company. Using personal stories evokes emotion and that build connection and trust with people. Always remember, people buy from brands and people not from businesses. So don’t be shy to share images of YOU, tell your story of why you started your business and why.
Dont be afraid to get personal during your pre launch. People love to hear personal stories of YOU, and how it got you to the place of launching an exciting new product.
Get amazing product photos AND Spread buzz about your business using influencers.
Be social. Get your social channels up and running and get active. Hop on IG live and introduce yourself, tell stories about your product and upcoming service. Tell people why they should care.
Do giveaways to grow your email list. Email list building is so important so keep at this. Add your giveaway link to your instagram bio and remind your followers to add their email everyday.
Reward your first customers. Loyalty is everything so make your offer attractive. Don’t worry about margins or giving too much away, get those first customers to sign up if that means, 10-20% off go for it! You have time to get full paying customers.
Have fun and show your personality. This is just the beginning in terms of learning and growth and you’re about to embark on a wild ride.
Are you interested in starting your own subscription box?
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