Creating hype is a staple of marketing, and it always has been. From releasing details about a coming product to movie trailers and now the newer method of social media being used to build anticipation, it is something everyone with a product to sell should utilize.
You see people using it to great effect these days. Music artists release songs on their Twitter for upcoming albums. Teaser trailers hit blogs and YouTube. Contests or series are announced weeks before their launch. But one trend that is still new is that of impressive coming-soon pages actually reaching viral status.
How does something as simple as a coming-soon page, which offers virtually no content and is an essential fill-in for the real deal, reach viral status? By managing to engage visitors despite this fact.
Before we see how they do this, we need to know a bit more about what a launch page actually is.
What Is a ‘Coming Soon’ Page?
A coming-soon page is any page that has been put in the place of a properly launched website. In the old days this was nothing but a simple page with “Under Construction” written over a clip-art picture of something like a safety cone. It was frustrating to see and spoke of a disorganized company that was unprepared for a proper launch.
Now, they have become much more sophisticated. Rather than just saying that the site will be there soon, they interact. They offer you a way to sign up for more details, leak information through social media that can be accessed through the launch page itself and offer a teasing look at what is to come.
You can think of it also as an invitation to a new beta service. The interest this can generate can be extreme. For example, author J.K. Rowling managed to create a near frenzy when she created Pottermore, which ran on a launch page inviting people to sign up for the first wave of invites. There were people signing up months in advance.
Why Not Just Work on the Project?
This is a point brought up again and again when talking about coming-soon pages. People want to know why you shouldn’t just wait for the launch of the page and skip the teaser. That is a fair point when talking about the launch pages of yesterday, when it was nothing but an under-construction sign.
But things have changed enough that, as we saw with the Pottermore example, having a teaser is a fantastic way to drive interest and create genuine hype in a product, service or site.
Sacha Greif, a brilliant blogger for Smashing Magazine, wrote a rather brilliant piece on why and how to establish a successful launch page.
When Do ‘Coming Soon’ Pages Go Viral?
The question now becomes when a launch page actually manages to reach viral status. This has been happening a lot lately, where people flock to and share coming-soon pages through social media without any clue as to where the actual site will go.
One of the biggest reasons for this is because the person who is launching the site is well known. For example, Lady Gaga recently created a social networking platform for her fans, and the launch page became one of the most shared links on the web.
Another good example is Milk Inc., the brainchild of Digg founder Kevin Rose. Because Digg is one of the top websites around, and he is well known for some brilliant projects and developments, his almost completely bare page is still going through the roof in popularity.
Another way is by creating a story to follow, which holds you off. Or they might have a video or some kind of mysterious slogan – anything that holds attention and will make people wonder what is coming next.
How Do I Create a Successful ‘Coming Soon’ Page?
What it seems to come down to, according to Greif, is four elements: memorability, virality, desirability and data collection-ability. But, really, it all starts with creating something that people will want to see more of and show to their friends.
This is where your own personal process will really come in to play. Whether you decide to go the mysterious approach and not tell anyone what you are up to, or you let the little details out early to build hype, it is all in the presentation.
What are your ideas for a coming-soon page? Has your own been seeing success? Let us know in the comments and send a link along!