Marketing your product for the first time presents you with many choices. Depending on your resources, you will have to make some of these decisions. An early indication of market acceptance is crucial to product or brand launches. And that is why companies and brands often release smaller versions before launching a larger product.  Thus, it gathers the feedback and establishes a measurement baseline for product success. Next, it determines whether to do a hard launch or a soft launch. The purpose of this article is to help you understand how these two launches differ from one another.

How Does a Soft Launch Work?

Soft launches resemble a preview or test drive of your app’s performance in the market. A limited number of people will access the app before it goes live. Companies can use it to assess the viability of their products. Also, you can identify their target audiences and establish their KPIs before going to market. Businesses can collect valuable user data by launching a soft launch. Soft launches help you find which pages require more promotion and overall app optimization strategies.

How Does Soft Launching Benefit Your App?

  • Engaging early users with a soft launch is the best method to retain them. A positive user experience in the early stages of a mobile app can drastically reduce acquisition costs by 90%. A new user will cost ten times more than retaining an existing user. 
  • Throughout the product presentation, you can take the user step-by-step through the features. By monitoring user behavior within the app, you can make all necessary changes immediately. As a result, you save costs by making incremental investments over time.
  • Testing your app before going live can help you determine whether it’s ready for users. It will prevent a low retention rate. You can figure out what is wrong and fix it before the release, or you can start over with a new project.
  • Soft launch helps in optimizing the user experience. The soft launch is a good time to get user feedback on using the app experience. Users will list down their favorite features and the ease of accessibility of the app.
  • Access to app usage data is quick and easy. In just a few weeks, you will receive the first results of the soft launch. Depending on these results, you can take the appropriate steps.
  • In addition, you can evaluate whether your app store page requires optimization. A soft launch strategy will enable your app to index keywords. Consequently, you can identify which keywords perform well. Thus, the apps store will recognize the app due to its appropriate keyword choice.
  • You can reach the right audience by segmenting your target audience. Categorize your app users according to their values, starting at the highest value and going down. 

How Can Soft Launch Help Your Business?

With a soft launch, you can release features much more slowly than you would on a full launch. The backing of soft-launched products allows them to be thoroughly analyzed and researched, making them more likely to succeed. This business model is ideal for startups and new businesses, although established brands have also adopted it. New mobile games are typically soft-launched and go through beta testing before being released globally.

In the end, you should not cut expenses on testing simply because your app is soft launching. There is no doubt that a soft launch is helpful, as you get feedback. The early users can help you find and fix bugs. Similarly, releasing a product in a product that has not undergone thorough testing is likely to lose potential customers as well as ruin your reputation. Lastly, a soft launch can help the preparation of a hard launch. Rather than competing, the two models complement each other.

Hard Launch

It is common to refer to grand openings as hard launches. During a hard launch, you release the entire product as planned. Of course, you still have room for modification to add or remove features. An effective hard launch requires more time. It ensures the product completion and testing of the product. You need to fine-tune every detail to avoid any potential problems. The cost involved in the hard launch is expensive. To arrange a successful hard launch of your product, you will have to spend quite a bit on marketing, especially if your business isn’t well known.

Why Is Hard Launching Beneficial?

  1. Marketing. In a hard launch, you will get a lot of attention for your company and app. It’s a big event when done right. The success of an app will earn more reputation points for your organization.
  2. Increased Revenue. Beta-labeled products can cause some people to ignore them even if they sound interesting. Having a full-featured product, along with some clever promotion, will help you attract users quickly and increase your revenue.
  3. Gain a Competitive Edge. Nowadays, it is hard to create unique app ideas. A competitive business niche means there’s always a chance of someone else thinking along the same lines. 
  4. Advertising Becomes Easier. Hard launch enables you to plan more precisely and focus your marketing efforts more effectively. 

When Should You Consider A Hard Launch?

A hard launch may still be the best option in some cases.

  • You have finished a product, thoroughly tested, and you are confident it will be a big hit.
  • It’s not a completely new product, but just a big update.
  • Your marketing strategy is solid, and you have the resources to implement it.
  • As a market leader, your product is trusted and well known in the industry.
  • If you drag out your full launch too long, there’s a chance your competitor could steal your idea.

Overall, a hard launch is a great option for products with high success rates. 

Difference Between Hard and Soft Launch

Soft launches are on the rise. However, there may still be reasons to choose a hard launch. If you have a clearly defined product thoroughly tested, there is no need to choose a soft launch. 

Hard launches are more suitable for companies with a strong brand and adequate budget to implement their marketing strategy. When a company does not have a client base, it often chooses a soft launch. It is easier to launch in a measured way during a soft launch, which is beneficial for companies with a low marketing budget. Consider a soft launch if you are unsure of your marketing strategy and market demand. 

Choosing the right method will depend on several factors, including your resources and product maturity. It’s important to realize that there’s a third option: a soft launch followed by a hard launch — you don’t have to choose between them.

What Do You Need To Do To Soft-Launch An App?

Several factors will influence your soft launch strategies, such as product type, audience, and geographic location. If you plan to release either a full or abridged version, be sure to include the following. It is impossible to have a one-size-fits-all solution. Plan and execute your soft launch based on the following tips.

  • Analyze The Geography

While discussing the differences between a soft launch and a hard launch, we discussed how soft launches are typically limited in scope. The success of an app depends on the user mindset, language, geographic location, and the app launch country.

  • Establish Your KPIs

Before soft launch or hard launch, you should establish clear and measurable goals. By measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), you can evaluate how well your product performs in the market. You cannot determine the success of your soft launch without clear KPIs.

  • Create An Optimized App Store Page

Typically a soft launch will not involve much marketing, so you should pay close attention when building your app store page. Users cannot download your app if they can’t find it. The user can easily recognize the app by its icon and screenshots/videos.

  • Estimate The Lifetime Value

It is the amount of revenue from a customer you can expect to receive over their lifetime. Applications with a high lifetime value have a greater chance of commercialization.

  • Monitor And Fix Bug Reports On Time

App developers choose soft launch as it allows users to test the app before a grand launch. A bug report can help fine-tune your product’s features so that users enjoy using it.

Make Your Decision Now!

When you realize the distinction between soft and hard launches, you can better analyze your campaigns and determine what tactics to use. As you prepare for a big launch, you can gain valuable insight by conducting a soft launch. A soft launch will inform and guide the hard launch, increasing success chances.