The art of soft launching
“The site feels very Web Development and not enough Business Coaching”
“Regarding your specialty description, it is very focused on medical. Is this deliberate?”
“Some pages really remind me of one of those infomercial spammy sites because of the layout”
“Sentence structure on page xxx sounds weird”
WOW… This is just some of the brutally honest, but constructive, feedback coming from the participants who reviewed the 20-80 Solution website during the soft launch. Though it may be a bit of a bruise to the ego, it’s more important to focus on how the website can be improved based on the feedback.
Let’s define the term ‘soft launch’ first for those who don’t understand the term. In general, it is the release of a website to a limited audience (usually to close and trusted audiences, such as family, friends or long term clients) in order to get constructive feedback and information which can be used to help improve it. Soft launches are used by many large corporate organisations, such as Google with Gmail, to gain an actual insight on how their users use the application as well as to ensure risk is mitigated in the event of a failure.
Some of the basic strategies for a soft launch in order to gain the maximum benefits from it are:
- Invite those who are your target audience or at least ask the participants to think from the point of the target audience.
- Ensure the invitees are friendly and are known to give constructive feedback.
- Be specific on what kind of feedback you are expecting from them, otherwise the response will be very vague or too polite.
- Follow up on unclear responses through different medium, such as a phone or in person as details might be lost through emails.
- Do not take negative feedback too personally; if it’s constructive and consistent with other feedback, accept it and make the necessary changes.
- Not all feedback is of the same value. Use your own best judgement and decide what needs to be implemented immediately and what can wait.
- Finally, thank those who participated. Do not forget, they took the time out of their personal schedule for your benefit.
When you have made all the necessary changes to your website, start preparing for the hard launch (stay tuned for the next blog).