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Save your sales: the guide to planning a launch sequence

10 min read
Photo by Michael Burrows, Miriam Alonso
While preparing for the new launch, a marketer depends highly on everyone else in the team - photographers, designers, programmers, managers, etc. The production and launch process is usually chaotic, and the cycle of reworks, approvals, and changes seems endless.
Since you can’t change that, you need a way to ensure your safety. When they send you the links, files, photos, approved designs, and all the other info six hours before the supposed launch of the marketing campaign, you have to be ready.
We have already covered several ways of preparing for that sort of situation. Now we’ll dive deeper into two main marketing tools for campaigns: the calendar and the sequence. Let’s review how to use them for your collection launch and make the most of them.

Calendar

Why does it matter?
To overcome the stress of constant changes and delays, you need something solid and pre-made. If it also makes your life easier in other ways, that’s great. And if it’s essential anyways, it’s called a marketing calendar.
We resisted the urge to start with a calendar history. Everybody knows what a calendar is. It doesn’t differ too much for marketing, but it has marketing events and processes marked instead of aunt Rosie’s birthday.
Marketing calendars are used for scheduling your sales, campaigns, launches, etc. It’s beneficial for any business since it allows one to plan and prepare for bigger-picture issues. While smaller and medium-sized brands tend to have one marketing calendar for all activities, we’ll steal the larger brands’ approach. In this article, we’re speaking about planning for a collection launch.
Launch campaign calendar
Planning a new collection launch campaign is not as hard as creating a general marketing calendar. Everything regarding the structure of these campaigns is worked out already, so you can just vary it if you feel it will increase the efficiency.
The number of emails is set: four on average, sometimes up to six. You have teaser, announcement, launch, and follow-up emails. While you always send one announcement and one launch email, teasers and follow-ups can be more than one of each.

The optimal time between the emails is well-known, too - one week. This period is long enough for you not to be intrusive and short enough not to be forgotten about. And the main stages of the campaign are standard.
So, planning a new collection launch comes down to just a few things. What you need to decide on:
  1. Are you going with the standard email types or adding/eliminating something?
  2. How many emails of each type are you going to send?
  3. How much time do you supposedly have until the launch?
  4. Do you spread out the emails evenly or have your own pattern?
Answer these questions, and you’ll clearly understand when to plan the campaign emails. Add them to your marketing calendar or create a new one for this campaign. If your program or app allows it, you can attach the files and links for each step and make your life yet a bit easier.

Email sequence

Now to the big part. As we mentioned before, there are four main types of emails that you have to use in your collection launch campaign. Each of them has its own purpose and builds on the previous one. They go in a specific order unless you’re putting together something different.
These email types are the consecutive steps of your campaign. If executed correctly, together, they make a great and successful collection launch campaign. Alternatively, even one of the emails can ruin the entire campaign when designed poorly.
We’ll go over each step and highlight everything you need to know to do them right.
1
Teaser email
The great beginning of your campaign, a teaser email serves one purpose: it builds anticipation and makes the audience eager to learn about what’s coming. In this type of email, you don’t exactly reveal anything but the fact that something extraordinary is on the way. When done right, it gets people excited and intrigued - there’s no better way to start a new launch campaign.
People enjoy teaser emails, as they differ from other marketing and promotional emails. They’re fun, engaging, and exciting, unlike most other types. Keep this in mind when creating a teaser email: the more enjoyable you make it, the more people will be waiting for the following emails.
The last - or the only - teaser email should be sent either two weeks before the launch (if followed by an announcement email) or right before the launch (if you go for a teaser-based campaign).
Three things to consider before launching a teaser email:
Quantity and quality. There’s no rule dictating that you must only launch one teaser email; they can work even better if there’s more than one. But you need to decide on that before sending anything because if you plan on sending a few teasers, they have to be cohesive. And you might even want to plan a teaser campaign as a part of your launch campaign in case you have ideas for multiple consecutive teasers.
Goals and objectives. As with any other email type, you need to know exactly what your teasers must achieve. Sure, the ultimate goal is to intrigue the audience and build anticipation. But teasers can and should direct traffic to your website, convince the audience to make a pre-order, promote your social media, etc. Include a strong CTA at the end of the teaser to achieve that goal.
Suspense and fun. Two things that people love about good teaser emails. You need to make your teasers enjoyable and interactive to engage your audience while piquing their interest in whatever they know is coming. Look at this Tom Raffield teaser email: the designer does a great job at both building suspense - our secret project, our big reveal - and providing fun interactive features for the users - the clues.
A fantastic way to engage subscribers - secrecy plus fun interactive elements!
2
Announcement email
You have to bring down the curtain after you’ve built anticipation with your teaser email(s). The big reveal of your brand new collection, an announcement email ends the intrigue. It provides the audience with the answers: what’s coming, when, and how. Now you can give them the details - it’s what they’ve been waiting for.
An announcement email is an excellent way to inform your audience about your new collection and increase your website's traffic. However, you’ll have to balance the hype with something new since it kills the suspense. Pre-orders, events, or sales promises can work wonders here, keeping your customers interested in the matter.
An announcement email is usually sent one week before the collection launch.
Most announcement emails need these ingredients:
Introduction. Start off by indicating who you are and what brings you to your subscriber’s inbox. State your company name or show its logo, and get to the point: the announcement. Ideally, you want to fit all this in the first two sentences. You don’t need your subscribers to click away before they know what’s up.
Proof of relevance. Best served in the form of a rhetorical question (Do you ever wish for?..), proof of relevance lets you show the product’s worth to the audience. You need your subscribers to understand what they’ll be getting out of it, and by adding context, you allow that to happen. Segmentation is crucial here to avoid providing wrong values to the wrong people.
Strong CTA. The announcement is made, and the relevance is known. If you target the right audience and are now interested, it’s time to guide them to action. What they are supposed to do is up to you. Maybe you want them to sign up for a pre-order or go to your website and complete a specific action. The initial purpose of your email dictates the CTA.
Additional details. It’s always better to keep your announcement emails short, but sometimes, you need to provide additional information. You need to focus on the most important details and only place those in your email. And if there’s still more information, consider directing your subscribers to a web page with all the answers. It’s better than cluttering your emails.
It’s worth noting that announcement emails are optional. Some brands don’t use them, putting together an engaging teaser email series and jumping straight into the launch email. If you’re sure you can create a superior teaser campaign, consider it an alternative to the classic teaser-announcement-launch sequence.
This email is short and stylish - Converse slayed it. You will click that CTA.
3
Launch email
Its name implies no confusion: launch emails are sent right when the launch happens. They’re an exclamation - the collection is finally out! These emails are contagious and exciting, so don’t be afraid to let the audience feel your enthusiasm. Encourage them to take a look and purchase the new things much cooler than the old ones.
Launch emails also serve as a reminder. Some of your subscribers may have wanted to be there for the launch but got too busy and forgot. Well, they’re lucky to have you - they’ll be back on track after receiving your launch email!
In no world would we insult you by repeating when to send a launch email twice.
Best practices for your launch emails:
Keep the message. Launch emails are not too different from announcement emails. The same principles apply; to be consistent, you should maintain your key points from the announcement email here. Use it again if you had a point for why your new collection is relevant for a subscriber. The only difference is that now you have what they need.
Benefits over features. Your message is not about the launch itself; it’s about the value it brings to your customer. Make everything about them, not you. Show them how your new collection solves their problems, not how great it is. And tell them what benefits it brings them, not what features it has. Features are about the product, not the client.
Motivation is fruitful. The excitement will only grow stronger if you support the emotional message with something more real. The best candidates are FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and bargain offers. Give them a discount or a bonus for ordering a new item, or create a sense of urgency - and watch your click rate and sales skyrocket.
Burberry’s collection launch email is minimalistic: big catchy images, clean design, clear message and CTAs.
4
Follow-up email
As time passes, people forget about anything. In the modern days, the attention span is so short it might as well not even exist. People can forget something they saw just a couple of seconds ago - especially when it comes to emails. Have you seen email inboxes these days? They’re filled to the brim! More than 100 new emails daily, even excluding spam!
That’s why you send follow-up emails. When the hype is starting to fade away, and the adoption is slowing down, it’s time for a follow-up. Remind the subscribers who haven’t made a purchase yet about the new collection. They might have missed it, so - once again - they’re lucky to have you!
To be honest, follow-up emails are often overlooked. But as you can see, we don’t call them optional, and for a good reason. They are extremely important and efficient, and not sending at least one follow-up is a crime against your own sales and conversion rates.
You can send a follow-up email 3-7 days after the launch.
Some things to keep in mind:
Be brief. Follow-up emails should be short and to the point. Their structure is basic and doesn’t need anything extra. Add the sign-off at the end.
Body works best. To this day, some marketers think forwarding the primary email is the way to go. It works for sales but not for marketing. Just write a new text; it’s not that hard!
Make it count. With follow-up emails, two is always better than none. If your first email didn’t work, there’s a 21% chance that your second email will get a response and a 25% chance that the third one will. We’re not looking for responses here, of course, but this works with conversion all the same.
Forever 21 designed a classic effective follow-up. It reminds the subscribers about the new arrivals, showcases the best items, and even suggests something specifically for the customer.

When all goes wrong

Planning is good, but sometimes it gets a mile harder. Sometimes, everyone else does their best to let you down. What if you need to launch a campaign email right now, but you don’t have photos and images? What do you do then? Let’s see.
Of course, the number one step is cursing the designer, the photographers, and everyone else whose fault this is. That won’t get you anywhere, but at least you’ll feel relieved. And the next thing you should do is improvise.
Sounds bad? It’s not that bad, we promise.
If you put enough creativity into it, you can still launch great emails even without the pictures. It sounds counterintuitive for the fashion industry, but it’s not complete nonsense: it’s been done before. Don’t be afraid to experiment here - it’s not like you have the pictures anyway!
Here are a couple of examples to inspire you:
Here, instead of product pictures, there is an excellent design with a general fashion-ish image that draws the subscriber’s attention.
These guys used no pictures at all - just text with different formatting to highlight the most important parts. And they’re selling shirts!

To wrap it up

You’re now ready to conquer any collection launch on your way. You’re a master of the only method that will help you avoid the stress of production chaos: good planning. The next time a new launch is announced, you’ll know exactly what to do!
And what do I do, exactly?
  1. Decide if you want a teaser-based campaign or a classic teaser-announcement-launch campaign;
  2. Decide how many emails of each type you want to send, if any;
  3. Plan the sequence, keeping a correct timeout between the emails;
  4. Create them in advance, following the tips and guidelines we provided in this and other guides (if you want to, that is);
  5. Be ready for whatever chaos may await you!

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