Marketing Insights

The Pros and Cons of Invite Only Marketing

Invite-only marketing can be an excellent way to build excitement and buzz while refining product offerings.

With the launch of a new product or company, initial marketing should make a big bang and generate buzz. One way to do that is with invite-only marketing, which limits the initial number of  users and creates an exclusive launch. Many hugely successful companies, including Facebook, Gmail, and Pinterest, have taken this approach: the invite-only launch. 

There are some great advantages to invite-only marketing, from a more dedicated user base and feedback to creating the air of a high-quality, sought-after product. But, there are also potential pitfalls. Here we’ll share the pros and cons of invite-only marketing to help you determine the best path for your product or company. 

Pros of Invite-Only Marketing

For many companies, the pros of invite-only marketing outweigh the cons. You are able to scale progressively and offer exceptional products and service to the select customers invited. This often includes celebrities, influencers and market leaders, further increasing interest around the product.

Create Buzz

The biggest pro of invite-only marketing is the buzz. Scarcity creates demand. Consumers who might otherwise not be interested in a product become interested out of curiosity and the buzz created by initial users. 

Get Feedback

Product users in the beta stage of development are more engaged and invested in products. They are willing to give appropriate feedback and assist in further development. This feedback helps to further refine the development for a useful product or service tailored for the target market. 

Invite-only marketing is an effective means of curating an engaged user base invested in successful product development. 

Scalability for Your Team

With an invite-only marketing launch, your team is able to respond to individual feedback and requests, offering exceptional customer service. Users will expect any product or service that receives high-level endorsements to be faultless from launch. With an invite-only launch you are able to work out any bugs or issues early on and provide exceptional service from the beginning. 

Remove Spam Users

Initial users will help determine further product development. Spam users, including fake accounts or users who sign up but don’t use the product can easily be filtered out at this stage. Invite-only marketing ensures an engaged and dedicated user base from launch through stages of expanded offerings. 

Create Connectivity

In the case of social networks or apps that involve interconnected users and networks, an invite-only launch facilitates building those network connections between pre-existing groups of friends, family, or common interest groups. 

Invite-only marketing also encourages users who would otherwise be disinterested to stay for a longer trial run if they receive an invitation from a friend or family member. Personal connection encourages product loyalty. 

Cons of Invite-Only Marketing

While there are many pros to invite-only marketing, it is not without its potential pitfalls. From limited users to poor initial feedback, invite-only marketing can sometimes spell disaster. Here are the cons of invite-only marketing for a product launch: 

Limited Users

While fewer users can create an exclusive product perception, it can also be too limited. Too few users can limit reach and stall growth momentum. Instead of limiting users, some argue it is better to let algorithms deal with spam users and let in as many users as possible from the beginning. 

(Potential) Negative Buzz 

With limited users, if the initial feedback is negative, that negative buzz can stop a product before a full launch has even happened. Invited users may not accept invitations and current users may be hesitant to invite friends. 

While many companies get around this by filling the site with their own content, and calling in favors from friends and colleagues, if invite-marketing isn’t done well from the beginning it can do serious harm to public product perception.  

Less Sharing

A thousand users will, generally, generate far less feedback than a million users. Likewise, if consumers are excited about the offering but unable to share it, enthusiasm can be curtailed. Invite-only marketing requires a delicate balance between exclusivity, and the promise of opening quickly to more users. You don’t want to destroy enthusiasm with too much restriction. 

More Work

From a programming perspective, invite-only marketing often means more work. It will require creating a user management system that specifies who can – or cannot – signup. The additional time and resources to create invite-only marketing are not worth the effort for all companies. 

Summary

Invite-only marketing can be an excellent way to build excitement and buzz while refining product offerings. Multiple launches allow you to gather feedback, test, and adjust your product until it is ready for public offering. 

Ultimately, building an exceptional product is the foundation of long-term success after any type of launch. Whether or not you choose invite-only marketing, after the initial buzz the product will have to stand on its own merit. 

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