Why the Launch Isn't the End of the Project

September 2018
 minute read
web design sketches in notebook with pen

Your website is finished! You’re ready to launch! That’s the end of the road for your redesign project, right? Well, maybe not. Regardless of whether you’re an in-house designer or a freelancer, there are some major benefits to guiding your client through the launch process.

If you still need some guidance yourself, don’t sweat it. This article will cover all of your launch needs, including:

  • Scarcity Is Your Friend
  • Getting Good Feedback
  • Make It Official
  • A Designer’s Work Is Never Done
toy rocket ship on pavement
Planning a soft launch for your site is a great way to get a test run in before launch day.

Creating Scarcity is Effective Marketing

Soft Launches Are More Important Than They Seem

Imagine for a moment that you’ve been invited to a brand new restaurant, but when you arrive, there’s hardly anyone there. This is exactly what happened to John Moore Williams. At first, he was confused by the low attendance. Then somebody mentioned that it was the restaurant’s soft launch, and only friends and family were being admitted that night. Ohhhh.

What kind of affect does this have on the few who have been chose to participate? They’re pretty pumped. It makes them feel special. Being singled out to experience something that not many people have the opportunity to is a flattering experience, and that’s something that you can take advantage of.

picking out clothes from a clothes rack
Scarcity is a great way to get more people interested in your product-- in this case, your site.

Creating Scarcity is a Great Marketing Move

This is why soft launches, beta versions, and other exclusive “sneak peaks” at a project are so effective. It turns an experience that usually wouldn’t be something to get that excited about-- going to a restaurant, visiting a webpage-- into an exclusive event that people are thrilled to attend. This helps you for a number of reasons:

  1. Those who were given access feel special, prioritized, elite
  2. ...which makes them want to tell other people about this awesome experience…
  3. Receiving this information gives outsiders somewhat more access, but not enough. It basically just whets their appetite even more

It’s a great way to complement your existing marketing strategy to help your project gain popularity organically. And the best part is that you can create scarcity for virtually anything, if you think about it. What makes your site stand out? Is the information new, uncommonly interesting, or even just particularly high-quality? Whatever your angle is, play it up!

answering questionnaire for user feedback
User feedback is important at every step in the redesign process.

Getting Feedback

You’ve Gotta Be a Go-Getter

So, you’ve had your soft launch, and now you’re just sitting around waiting for the real deal, right? Not quite. This is a great time to start soliciting feedback that will help you fine-tune your design or interactive components of your site.

Much like the soft launch, this generates some amount of scarcity. You’re letting just a few lucky people have access to the site, which may drum up some excitement if your site’s particularly impressive and your testers feel inclined to share.

Plus, you’ve got the added bonus of actually receiving feedback about your designs. Remember that the site you’re launching is designed to be an interface that visitors can use to somehow access the company. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what those visitors want, need, and expect never hurts.

pointing at silhouettes
It’s important to take some time and choose the right reviewers for your site.

Be Selective

Not all feedback is created equal. It’s as simple as that. It’s okay to be a little bit ambitious when looking for people to give feedback. Find people within your field who are influencers to some extent, and loop them into your network.

It’s important to establish some connection to the people you’re hoping will help you promote your site because otherwise you won’t get very far. Most influencers won’t respond to a cold call, email, or Tweet. Approaching them through a network allows you to provide context for your request and establish a relationship, both of which will help you harness more of tester’s time and attention.

rocket launch
There’s still work to do, but with a little launch day will be smooth and stress-free effort

3...2...1… Launch!

Your Basic Launch To-Do List

Launch day will be crazy. And exciting. But also crazy. This is especially true from a tech perspective. If you’re at all responsible for managing the behind-the-scenes part of the launch, you might want to bookmark this list for when the big day arrives:

  • Send announcement emails to current users and leads
  • Post on all of your social media platforms
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Dribble
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Etc.
  • Post on aggregator sites covering site launches like yours to reach a broader audience
  • Publish a substantial piece of content relating to the launch on your blog
  • Publish similar longform content on any 3rd party platforms you or your client might be interested in using
  • Medium
  • Etc.
  • Publish a post on Product Hunt

You can also make use of many of these platforms if you aren’t on the tech side of things. Remember, get your site out there on as many platforms as possible!

looking through binoculars
On launch day, be sure to keep an eye on your site’s reception.

Things to Pay Attention To

As if you didn’t have enough to think about concerning your launch, here are a few more things to consider. First of all, site crashes can happen. It might be a bug in the code, it might be heavy traffic to your site (yay!), or it might be something else. Have a plan in place to deal with a crash, just in case that situation arises.

Also be sure to monitor how your site is doing. Google Analytics is a great start for this-- it provides you with ton of quantitative data-- but it can’t tell you everything. Keep an eye on other platforms as well. Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback alike. It may be tough to hear criticism of your design when you’re so thrilled just to finally see it go live, but in the end, it’s always worth it. Feedback helps you understand how visitors respond to your design, and like I said earlier, visitors are the reason you’re designing the site in the first place.

There’s Still More to Do

Assess Your Success

Do you remember way, way, way back in step one of the design process when you defined your goals for the project? After the launch day excitement has died down a little bit, it’s a great time to revisit those goals. Leave your feelings and opinions at home that day, and really just dig into the metrics you had wanted to improve. How did the relaunch affect them? Numbers don’t lie.

As you’re looking at your goals against your outcomes, keep in mind that partial success is possible, and it is still success. You may not have gotten everything perfectly perfect, but that’s okay!

Don’t Be Afraid to Iterate!

After all of the work you’ve put in so far, the word “iterate” probably makes you cringe, but it really shouldn’t. Your new design becomes your baseline. All that’s left is the fine-tuning. Run some AB tests on different versions of your site, pre-tune and post-tune, to see what performs better. It’s generally good practice to test first and publish second, that way you don’t inadvertently take a step backwards. Yikes.

writing on dry erase board
The design process is continuous-- don’t be afraid to make updates to your design based on data and feedback!

It’s been a long road to get to your website’s launch, but you’ve finally made it! Congratulations! Keep analyzing, iterating, and being awesome, and we’re sure that your design will be a success.


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