First: Make sure it works before you launch

What we saw
What we should have seen

You can put in all the love and effort and creative beauty into an online magazine, organise the best possible publicity on Australia’s most-read design blog – but it all comes to naught if you don’t check that it’s working first.

This is a situation I came across recently when a new mag was launched via The Design Files.

I’m an avid reader of The Design Files (along with 20,000 other people) and it is very supportive of the Australian creative community, regularly featuring new projects and businesses. Due to the targeted nature of the readership, being featured on the Blog would be a huge (and free) marketing opportunity for a venture, tapping right into a perfect target market.

So this temporary fail of a new magazine launch (not being “live” when the blog story went live) was also a great reminder that your marketing work doesn’t stop at the creative side. The best way not to WASTE money or an opportunity (as all zero budget marketers must know) is check all the details – and get it right the first time.

I felt bad for them, I really did. It was up later in the day – but not a 7am which is when The Design Files sends their email EVERY weekday. Always.

In this case,  I can’t help wondering how many more people they would have reached if they’d just made sure their mag was live/published a few hours earlier? I’m sure they will always wonder the same thing.

So here’s a checklist for any new launch / campaign/ initiative – these are all things that will trip you up (I’ve speaking from painful experience) so it’s worth checking them every time.

CHECK THESE BEFORE YOU LAUNCH

– Emails and web addresses – type them in, even if you think you know them, and make sure they’re live or go where you expect them to. Oh, and make sure they’re actually ON there.

– Call any phone numbers – again, just in case. One misplaced digit is all it takes.

– Test – if it’s anything technical, try and break it. If it’s online, click on links and go to every page. It’s boring but essential.

– Get it sub-edited – If you can afford a professional, invest in one – they are so worth it. (One that I use for a particular client ALWAYS finds something, even when I’m sure it’s perfect!) If you dont have the budget, then ask a friend or colleague removed from the project that’s good at grammar and spelling. Just have SOMEONE “sanity check” it. If there’s no-one, re-read EVERYTHING carefully. Don’t rely on spell check.

–  Call to action – even if it’s not an advertisement, you always want people to DO something. That’s the whole point of marketing. So is it clear what you want them to do, and how they should do it? For example: In the case of an online magazine, you want someone to READ but, more important initially, you want them to SUBSCRIBE.

– Is everyone informed? – Do all the people that this project impact on know that it’s happening? For example, if you’re running a promotion, do the people who answer the phones know all about it?

– Are all your marketing asset in sync? – If you’re running a new offer, is it on your website, your Facebook page, your email signature.

– Have a  promotional calendar with everything on it – so you make sure you don’t forget what is happening when. Check it regularly, to ensure a roll out is occurring in the right order, like a site being live before the PR program kicks off.

Do you have anything else on your “launch checklist”?

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