1. It’s OK to Over-Communicate
Keep your audience informed and set their expectations prior to launch with a well-developed, robust marketing and communications plan containing multiple touch points. As your subscribers receive regular information before, during and after the launch, you help them increase their familiarity and excitement about your new product. Consider offering a preview of the new eEdition the week before publication, and be sure to include a link to the new version in the existing edition. A campaign could also be developed for insertion in the current eEdition counting down to launch and highlighting a new feature every day.
2. Customer Support is Customer Love
Even with a spectacular marketing and communications plan, your audience is going to have questions. They’ll require robust support to answer them. An FAQ document on such topics as usage, known issues and platform support is mandatory. Most users will also want to be shown how to use your new eEdition. The first choice for support today is explanatory videos. The quality of the video is less important than the quality of the information. Depending on your comfort level creating video, you could develop animations and storylines, but a simple screen with voice-over can also be effective. Keep your videos brief. Allocate five minutes maximum for a full overview and less than two minutes for topics such as how to navigate sections, clip articles, share stories and print the crossword puzzle.
3. Real Person Customer Support is Required
While videos make for excellent front-line support, there will also be times when a subscriber will want to speak with a live person. Make sure your customer support team is educated in more than the fundamentals about your new product by holding a customer service training prior to launch. Remind them that some subscribers will be averse to change no matter what the merits. These sensitive souls will have to be loved through the transition. Define and document your escalation process for dealing with issues that are not easily resolved, then keep and share a spreadsheet with known issues and feedback. Impress upon your support team the importance of keeping this spreadsheet up-to-date and searchable.
4. Launch Big
Additionally, make sure your marketing strategy includes a plan that makes a big deal out of the launch. This is your moment in the spotlight so get out of your comfort zone and think like the technology product manager you are. Consider a technology event like a webinar and use digital outlets such as email and social media to promote it. Avoid launching on a weekend or Monday morning as support can be inconsistent at those times, although Monday or Tuesday afternoon can work well when traffic is sometimes lowest but attention highest. Be sure to self-promote with a full page insert in the existing eEdition the day before and messaging in your daily emails about the features and benefits of your new product.
5. No. You’re Never Done Evolving
Finally, be willing to keep evolving. Once you receive feedback from your readership, you may want to make some additional modifications. Announce these changes with a “We’ve heard you” email outlining how their feedback has impacted the eEdition.
These best practices are hard-won insights from launching hundreds of major U.S. publications’ eEditions and employing any or all of these practices will assist you in a successful launch. Best practices, optimizations and insights are all part of the value that Olive Software delivers with our ePublishing technologies to help you maximize your eEdition. Olive is dedicated to supporting you in these transitions.
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