If you’re new to the world of virtual events, it might be hard to imagine replicating the interactivity and lively atmosphere of an in-person product launch. How will you generate the buzz, intrigue and dialogue usually associated with those impressive, ‘real-life’ events?
The truth is – virtual product launches really can be every bit as exciting and engaging as an in-person event. Potentially even more so. Plus they can open up brand new opportunities too.
Like, for example, the chance to connect with vast new audiences (goodbye travel barriers!), and to bring a real air of innovation to the table.
It’s worth noting too, that thanks to social media and the incredible functionality of virtual event hosting platforms, it’s still possible to make valuable, personal connections during online launches.
In this article, we look at how to show off your new product virtually, and successfully.
Let’s get started.
Note your objectives and audience
As with any marketing activity, it’ll be crucial to dig deep into what your objectives for your product launch are. You’ll also want to determine who exactly you want to attend the launch. Are you aiming to get word of your product out to the media? Or are you looking to expand into a new customer base by letting them sample your new offering? It might be that you’re aiming for a combination of the two.
Likewise, is your main objective to reach new customers? Or to let your dedicated following get an exclusive glimpse of your exciting new product?
Understanding your intended audience and objectives will help you to determine:
The tone of both your event and your marketing activities
The key features and structure of your event
Which platform/format is most appropriate for your event (and which platforms are going to work best for your marketing activities)
Choose your product-launch medium and platform wisely
Next up, it’s time to think about which medium you’re going to use for your virtual product launch, as well as which platform to host it on.
Think carefully about the scale of the launch, considering things like how much time you have to plan it, and how much budget you have for it. This will help you whittle down your options.
Some examples of product launch platforms/mediums to use are:
Large-scale virtual launch with virtual reality elements: using a dedicated virtual reality conferencing platform like Aventri to replicate an in-person event with virtual rooms, avatars and even virtual products.
Medium-scale virtual launch with plenty of interactivity: using a platform like Zoom to host a mixture of talks and demos (live or pre-recorded), Q&A sessions, one-on-one breakout chats, live polling and quizzes.
Small-scale virtual launch via live-streaming: using a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram to livestream a series of demos and talks, with interactivity limited to live comments/chat.
Basic (but still effective) virtual launch via post and email: posting your new product to your intended audience and sending out useful launch information and materials via email.
Don’t forget, whatever medium you go for, you can send your product (or samples) out in the post to select attendees, although it’s not always necessary. You could manage with product demos during the launch, but this’ll depend on the level of interactivity and tangibility you think your product needs.
When deciding which approach to take, it’s crucial to consider exactly how complex or full-scale the launch actually needs to be. It’s not all about budget – some product launches are simply less newsworthy than others, meaning a more basic approach might be most effective (you don’t want the media leaving your launch feeling it’s been a mammoth waste of time).
Once you’ve got a good understanding of the above, you’ll be much better equipped to move onto the next stage of planning.
Choose one or more great partners for your virtual product launch
To give your virtual product launch that extra bit of oomph, it can help to partner up with an influencer or even a celebrity. It can also be fruitful to nurture a partnership with another like-minded brand, giving them a spot to speak at your event to keep things dynamic and interesting. As they’ll then promote your launch to their own audiences, it’ll help you increase reach and make new connections too.
Plan your event’s key ‘moments’: demos, talks & discussions
Now it’s time to start sketching out the core structure of your virtual product launch. Here are some cool elements to consider including:
A live demo of the product with pauses for Q&As
An inspirational talk by a key stakeholder in the product, or a relevant influential figure. (What problems will the product solve? What kind of innovation went into developing it? Who/what inspired the product?)
A live Q&A about the new product, or a Q&A with a relevant influencer
A pre-recorded webinar on a subject relating the product launch
Fun quizzes and games to boost interactivity and engagement
Breakout rooms for individual guests or members of the media to get a chance for a one-on-one interview
Scrub up on your virtual event knowledge
Last but not least, be sure to put plenty of research into what it takes to make a virtual event stand out. Here are two articles to get you started: