The ultimate guide to Thunderclap for product launches

Thunderclap is a powerful tool for many different products and events. It allows you send out a synchronized social media blast to create buzz around a product launch or event. This helps your message rise above the general noise on social media and get attention to your product. The key element is trust. Your audience has to trust you a lot to commit to a pre-planned social media update.

If you’re new to Thunderclap, here’s a quick video that explains how it works:

Some products seem to be easier to promote with Thunderclap than others, such as:

  • A book launch that is free for a limited period of time
  • Promoting awareness of a social cause (GreenPeace)
  • Launching a TV show with a free trial (Tim Ferriss TV)

In this post we’ll go over how to promote a Thunderclap campaign and review some case studies from some successful launches.

The ultimate guide to Thunderclap for product launches Click To Tweet

Getting started

Choosing a message

message

The most important part of your Thunderclap campaign is choosing a message. With only 117 characters to work with, you need to be concise. The message should be easily understood and cover both what you want to achieve and how their support will make it happen.

Setting a deadline

You should give yourself at least 2 weeks to run your Thunderclap campaign, but many entrepreneurs would advise starting the campaign even earlier than that. You should also be preparing well in advance of the start of your Thunderclap campaign by enlisting close contacts to help you promote.

Setting a support goal

The supporter goal is a somewhat misleading element of Thunderclap. It is very similar to the funding goals seen in crowdfunding campaigns, but setting a higher goal does not seem to benefit the user. A higher goal also makes it difficult to get momentum. If people see that you have reached the goal already, they are more likely to support. So setting the goal as low as possible is to your benefit. If you want to set a lower supporter goal, you need to pay more. The cheapest option is 100 supporters, which is fairly easy to achieve for anyone with some brand strength.

How to promote

Before the campaign

Target influencers in advance and find ways to add value to what they are doing first.  You can start working on this up to 6 months before you launch your campaign. Find ways to help influencers with guest content, promoting their products, writing a review or whatever will help them the most. This will give you a strong foundation to ask for support when you start promoting your campaign.

Related: 17 Influencers share their number #1 networking secret!

Start with your personal circle

You would be surprised how much influence you can drum up just around your personal circle. Getting some early adopters in will help make your campaign more attractive to the general audience.

Early momentum is critical. An easy place to start is directly and personally reaching out to friends and connections to ask them for their support. They are the most likely to help you out and give that initial boost to your campaign.

Understand the platform you’re promoting on

You should do the majority of your promotion where you have an audience. Be that a blog, social media or an email list.

Consider where you want your product to be seen and the advantages and disadvantages of the platform you use.

For example, Facebook shares may get more traction than a tweet or Tumblr post. Tweets quickly disappear in the feed and even with a huge audience, the message can get buried quickly. With Facebook, the Thunderclap message sticks around longer and can jump back up in the feed if it gets likes and comments.

But with Facebook you will also need more brand equity to be effective. People are less likely to share something on Facebook than Twitter, so you need to have a great product to get their support.

Embedding the campaign on your website is a good place if you have consistent traffic. You can customize the style of your Thunderclap to match the branding of the rest of your site.

2_whitehouse

How to maintain momentum

Small but consistent action is important to keep up the momentum of the campaign. You just don’t want to sound like a broken record by repeatedly sending the same call to action to support. A few ways to keep your message fresh and get new support are:

  • Updates on hitting milestones
  • Announcing you’re close to a tipping point
  • Thanking and announcing when celebrities or influences support the campaign
  • Any current events or news tied to your campaign

Use Thunderclap as a part of a larger campaign

A Thunderclap campaign is most effective as 1 branch of a larger campaign to promote a product. Here are a few examples from other entrepreneurs.

Alan Vanotai from CrewFire is using Thunderclap with traditional email marketing, Product Hunt and press releases to launch his new product. Since Alan has a B2B product, he is hoping that Thunderclap will support his other campaigns by building familiarity.

“That whole idea of needing to see a marketing message a few times before actually tuning in to it… we want to hit people with a surround-sound message from as many angles as possible and Thunderclap could be just 1 more impression we drive.”

Thunderclap case studies

Let’s examine the strategies and results of a few different campaigns and see what the key takeaways from each campaign were.

Taylor Pearson – The End of Jobs book launch

Taylor-Pearson

Taylor Person used Thunderclap to promote his book The End of Jobs. His advice for a successful campaign was “start early.” He created the Thunderclap only a week before the book came out and had a few challenges as a result.

Taylor got early support by personally reaching out to 60 of his friends and connections and asking for support. This got him most of the way to his goal and helped get enough momentum to reach it.

Plan your links carefully

One problem Taylor had was with the link on the Thunderclap. Since he was promoting a book on Amazon, he didn’t have the link to the product page available until the product came out.

He considered sending the traffic to a landing page about the book. But since the attention span of his traffic was short, he thought he would miss out on some downloads with the extra steps.

So he had the link go to a page on his site about the book, and redirected the link once his page was up. The redirect unfortunately did not work perfectly, and he lost a lot of traffic and all of his data.

Taylor also commented on each person’s Facebook post thanking them. This was to express true gratitude, but was also useful because the comment would cause the Tunderclap to rise back to the top of the newsfeed.

Taylor found that the Thunderclap and launch went well because he was offering a free product. It’s easier to get support with a free product, and people are more willing to make a few clicks to download the book.

Key takeaway: Start building trust with key influencers early, and thank everyone that participates in your Thunderclap.

Start reaching out to influencers early for a @Thunderclapit campaign Click To Tweet

Jesse Lawler – Axon Labs Launch

Jesse-Lawler

Jesse Lawler used Thunderclap to promote the launch of Axon Labs, a high end nootropic brand. He was able to generate a large amount of support up front, but found that the effort was not worth the result for his campaign.

Jesse created a short video to introduce his audience to the Thunderclap, explaining what it is and how it works. He also does a good job of explaining to his audience what he wants them to do. He mentions they should choose to support him on Facebook and explains why. This transparent explanation of Thunderclap is an excellent way to build trust with your audience, especially those that are new to the concept (which is most people).

Jesse continued to tell his story through the campaign updates, posting every few days leading up to the launch.

JL-update

Unfortunately when the launch happened, the Thunderclap did not perform as well as Jesse had hoped. Since the product was in the $100+ range, it was difficult to get the kind of virality that we see in the other case studies. He got a large amount of supporters upfront for it, but the resulting traffic to his site was underwhelming.

With free products, it is easy to get a customer to convert and share during a launch. It works well with the short attention span of the social media platforms that Thunderclap targets. A high end product requires more trust for the audience to share and for visitors to purchase.

Key takeaway: Make sure you launch with something that is easy to give away and share. Even if you are launching a product like this, make sure your Thunderclap has a compelling piece of free content to give away so you can engage your audience.

Use @Thunderclapit to launch with something that is easy to give away and share Click To Tweet

Dan Norris – Content Machine book launch

dan-norris

Dan used Thunderclap to promote his book Content Machine and give it away for free on his launch day.

Dan’s Thunderclap was part of a bigger strategy. He wanted to get people sharing it right on the launch, but he knew not everyone was going to share the Thunderclap straight away. So he used a few different strategies to promote the book and engage his audience.

Dan grew an email list, Facebook group and other social media. The most effective was getting together a group of ambassadors on Facebook who were engaged with the launch and got behind the Thunderclap.

He created a Facebook group several months before he began his campaign to launch Content Machine. The group was for content marketers and Dan provided a weekly challenge based on lessons from his book for the group members to try. This built a relationship over time and members of the group became ambassadors for the book.
Content-machine

Dan had an ambitious goal of having a social reach of 1 million for his book launch. After 12 weeks of challenges, the group saw this as yet another challenge that they could participate in.

Plus, having a goal to get to a social reach of 1m probably motivated people along a little bit.

Most of the strategies he used to launch his first book, The 7 Day Startup were also used to promote Content Machine.

Related: The Complete Guide to Book Marketing (how to launch a book to #1 on Amazon)

Give your product time to go live and before your Thunderclap

The Thunderclap was a huge success but there were some very stressful moments towards the end. Dan wasn’t 100% confident that Amazon was going to have the book published and free when it went out.

He had asked to make sure it was up a few days early but that didn’t happen. This left Dan continuously hitting refresh on his screen a few hours before the Thunderclap went out hoping the book was actually live.

He prepared to cancel 455 tweets which would have been a disaster. In the end, it all worked out and the stress wasn’t worth the hassle.

“I would recommend making 100% sure the thing is live well before any tweets go out.“

The Results:

  • 455 social shares
  • 8,000 free orders on Kindle in the first 3 days and shot straight to number #1 in a bunch of free categories and maintained this ranking when it moved to paid.

Key takeaway: Given both Dan and Taylor’s experience, it’s worth considering having your Thunderclap happen a few days after you your product goes live. This can save you a lot of stress and uncertainty and allow you a small buffer to fix any small issues that may happen.

It’s worth considering having your @Thunderclapit happen a few days after you your product goes live Click To Tweet

Justin McGill – Zero to Scale podcast launch

Justin-McGill

Justin had a simple campaign to promote his Zero to Scale podcast launch. Other than a few email blasts, Thunderclap was the main part of the launch.

Justin started just a few days before the launch and was not sure if he could make it to the goal of 100 supporters in this about of time. So he used the paid features of Thunderclap to ensure that he would get his message blast out whether or not he hit the goal.

Justin found it very easy to promote his campaign, but if he could do it again, would have started at least a month in advance of the launch.

We would have done this by taking all the podcasts we listen to and people in the startup space (since that is who we appeal to) and gotten them to help us spread the word and share with them the goal of our podcast. We also should have directed them to our website where we could have used exit intent and email captures to make sure we capitalized on those early visitors.

The Thunderclap ended up reaching 82,688 people, which lead to 133 clicks to the podcast listing in iTunes.

Key takeaway: Though ideally you would want an early start, Justin’s case shows that it is possible to get some quick traction on a Thunderclap even days before a launch.

It is possible to get some quick traction with @Thunderclapit even days before a launch. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that Thunderclap can be a few powerful tool to promote ideas and products. But the platform is still very new, and as we have seen from the case studies, there are some pitfalls to avoid.

Let’s review the key takeaways:

  • Start promoting your Thunderclap early, at least a month in advance.
  • Trust is the most important factor with your campaign support.
  • Use Thunderclap as part of a larger campaign.
  • Make sure you have time between when your product is actually “live” and when the Thunderclap goes out.
  • Campaigns with free content seem to get better traction and drive more traffic on the Thunderclap platform.
  • Better late than never. Even with only a few days before your launch, it is possible to get a lot of value out of a Thunderclap campaign.

Good luck on your campaign! Please share your Thunderclap story in the comments.

About

Kyle is the founder of Conversion Cake . He is the author of "The College Entrepreneur" A book for students who want to break into entrepreneurship. Follow him @kylethegray

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