Optimizing the Online Product Launch (for Creative Business Owners)

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Increase the effectiveness of your online product launch by taking a systematized, scientific approach to understanding and optimizing your business’ web presence and online marketing efforts.

Set Your Goals & KPIs

Consider your specific goals (e.g. revenue, leads, sales from a specific channel) and choose one or two specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each primary goal. Choose straightforward KPIs that can be accurately tracked by your Analytics system, and plan to check in on these KPIs regularly as you progress with digital marketing efforts.

Here’s a simple example of some well defined digital goals & KPIs:

GOALKPIsNORM
Increase Sales from MobileConversion Rate,

Revenue / User

2%

$5.75

Improve Website EngagementAvg. Session Duration2:30
Reduce Load Time on ShopTime to Interactive7.3 sec
GOALKPIsNORM
Increase Sales from MobileConversion Rate,

Revenue / User

2%

$5.75

Improve Website EngagementAvg. Session Duration2:30
Reduce Load Time on ShopTime to Interactive7.3 sec

Upgrade Your Analytics Systems

Digital Analytics systems must evolve to suit your business’ growing needs, so “set it and forget it” is not a good approach here. Your product launch is the perfect time to dust off your Analytics tools and take a closer look at what you are, or are not, tracking. Check especially on your KPI data sources.

  • Can you accurately track the sources of your website traffic? Do the traffic sources make sense? Are there any mysteries?
  • Can you track purchases / revenue back to corresponding traffic sources, landing pages, etc? Is it clear which channels and content have historically been most effective?
  • Have you enabled enhanced Analytics features? Demographic tracking, Attribution, Cross-Domain Tracking will help you better understand and market to your ideal customer.
  • Have you implemented pixels (e.g. Facebook, Google Ads, Pinterest)? This will enable you to build Audience lists for future advertising efforts.

While it may be tempting to skirt by with the default Analytics tool for your CMS (e.g. WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify) you will be best served long-term by implementing Google Analytics, as well.

Google Analytics is a free, industry-standard Analytics system that is easy to install and manage, and provides a wealth of advanced features for future online business growth and digital sophistication. Follow our Google Analytics installation tutorial to be sure you are making the most of this valuable tool.

In the pursuit of long-term consistency and efficiency, consider creating a Cross-Channel Dashboard to visualize key KPIs in one concise, accessible, recurring report. Your team will save hours picking data from disparate sources, while increasing report reliability and long-term accuracy.

Google Search Console provides insights into the search queries driving your organic traffic, and valuable tools for monitoring search impressions and clicks, your appearance in rich snippets, and the health of your site tags and structured data.

High-revenue ecommerce brands may benefit from the advanced capabilities of a Heatmap tracking tool (e.g. Hotjar, Mouseflow, Lucky Orange, Smartlook).

Optimize Your Sales Channels

With your product launch quickly approaching, you’ll soon be directing hard-earned traffic (real live people) to your website. Like an in-person shopping experience, customers will form opinions about your business and brand from the moment they “step foot in the door,” so it’s important to put your best foot forward.

  • Does your website load quickly, even on mobile? Google considers a Speed Index Time under 4.3 seconds to be “fast” and above 5.8 seconds to be “slow”. Test your own load speeds using Google’s PageSpeed Insights as a starting point, and read our page speed optimization guide for more. WordPress users can easily improve their site speed with plugins such as WP Rocket and Optimole.
  • Is your website easily navigable? Do you have clear calls-to-action visible on your homepage? Can users find the most popular products within 1-2 clicks of arriving on your website? Can they easily contact you?
  • Are your pages tagged with metadata, schema markup, and other structured data? This will increase search rankings, improve the look of links shared on social, and enable automation in pushing products your Shops on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Here’s our full list of recommended page tags; run a comprehensive SEMrush Audit for details, issues, and opportunities.
  • Have you updated non-product website content lately? It is crucial to develop robust, useful website content — and an ongoing habit for making content updates. The usefulness and freshness of your website is considered by search engines as a primary ranking factor, and this content (e.g. blogs, resources, news, product highlights, partner interviews) will help you add richness and personality to your social channels and email blasts.
  • Is your website accessible? Accessibility and inclusiveness is important at every scale, so make sure your website can be understood and enjoyed by everyone. Scan your site using Accessibe, an easy-to-use automated web accessibility tool.
  • Have you informed website users of the use of cookies and ad pixels? There are legal requirements for disclosing your use of cookies and ad pixels to your online shoppers. You can view the SMQ content policy for an example, though your exact policy needs will differ based on your analytics tools, ad pixels, marketing channels, and more. Here’s a great place to start.

Leverage Your Marketing Channels

You’ve no doubt dedicated countless hours in the pursuit of building your online marketing channels: social media, email lists, organic traffic, backlinks, partnerships and more. Use your product launch as an opportunity to leverage and optimize all of your marketing channels, and to gauge their effectiveness as sales drivers.

Every business has their own voice, and their own approach to marketing efforts; your images, promotional copy, and marketing style are uniquely yours, and must remain true to your brand. Whatever your brand voice, there are myriad digital strategies and tactics that will serve to improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

  • Write Down Your Plan — Writing down your launch plan is essential for maximizing cross-channel success. Create a calendar outlining you efforts across channels, and clearly define the inputs and due dates needed to keep on track. Use a project management tool like teamgantt.com for tracking progress. Use this link for a free month of teamgantt.com’s advanced subscription (or save by using their free forever plan).
  • Always Experiment — Digital marketing and ecommerce sales are inherently highly trackable, so any experiments across digital marketing and sales channels can be thoroughly assessed and improved. Learn to approach your digital strategy as a scientist — making observations, completing experiments, learning, and iterating. Learn more about using the Scientific Method in Digital Strategy.
  • Prioritize Engagement — Encourage customer engagement online whenever possible. Think creatively about the best ways to encourage interaction from your customers on each channel. Ask for feedback, do a poll, run a contest, run a live Q&A, request reviews. It’s not always easy to be engaging, but it’s necessary.
  • Think Cross-Channel — Now that you’ve implemented proper product page tagging, pushing your products to a Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest shop may be easier than you think. Save time and boost your reach by automating cross-channel shop updates.
  • Track Your Links — Use UTM Tracking on links in email blasts, social posts, and paid ads to improve traffic-source accuracy & categorize “Direct” traffic.
  • Diversify Your Online Efforts — Consider the ebb and flow of social networks over the last decade, or the unexpected shift from in-person to online shopping during the 2020 pandemic; as customer preferences shift, social networks rise and fall, Google ranking factors evolve, and regulations loom on certain digital giants, you will be well-served to take multi-pronged, cross-channel approach to your online business efforts — this will help you to ride the waves and better weather the storms of the future digital landscape.
  • Provide Real Value — Not only will your customers appreciate useful, engaging content — Google’s ranking factors are constantly shifting towards prioritizing truly engaging content; plus, your content will gain much more organic boost (from social sharing and backlinks) if you provide real value.
  • Embrace Advertising — Digital Advertising is accessible (and trackable) at any level, from DIY social promotions to robust, expertly optimized cross-channel campaigns at scale. Digital ads are essential for reaching new customers — people outside of your current reach. Ads will serve to amplify digital efforts on your other channels, putting more eyes on your content and products.
    While DIY ad efforts can prove effective for some, hiring an experienced ad manager will save you time, and increase the effectiveness of your ad spend overall. Digital Ad experts use experimentation and optimization to minimize wasted spend, highlight top performing ads and audiences, and improve key metrics (e.g. cost of customer acquisition) through optimization over time.
  • Refresh Your Accounts & Listings — Take a moment to refresh the About sections of your social profiles and local business listings. Be sure that each listing accurately reflects your brand and online or in-person shopping details. Consider automating your local listing management using either SEMrush or Bright Local for increased efficiency.

Track Your Digital Efforts

Keep a watchful eye on your Analytics systems, and your primary KPIs. Schedule time each month for a deep-dive strategy session, but check your KPIs at least weekly. Increase future efficiency and access to data by feeding all relevant data (from disparate sources, like Analytics, Social, and Ad Networks) to into one tailored, prioritized view. This can be accomplished via saved reports in Google Analytics, or using Google Data Studio for more robust, cross-channel Dashboards. For a boost in Google Data Studio ease and functionality, try using Supermetrics to populate data from abundant disparate sources.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Your digital data have a lot to tell you. Consider the success of your KPIs, and analyze these key metrics across traffic sources, demographics, engagement, devices, and other factors.

Ask yourself questions such as…

  • Which content drove the most traffic, or highest engagement?
  • Which ad copy and images had the best ROI?
  • Which social posts, on which channels, drove the most engagement overall?
  • When are shoppers most active?

Make a conscious effort to use the insights you glean in this activity to guide your business decision-making and inform future strategy and resource allocation. Use your best historic digital efforts as a template for future success. You know what works, so replicate it, and expand upon it.

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