Your plans are set up; your members are imported; and the website looks good. Now it's time to launch.
Whether you work with a board of directors or you're the only admin, soft-launching your SilkStart site is a good way to make sure that you're ready for real members to start using your new site.
What is a soft launch?
Soft-launching means the releasing of your new SilkStart membership management tools to a limited audience in advance of a full launch. Basically, it's a chance for some trusted friends or advisors to test your sign-up form, look through the site, and give you their feedback so that you can correct errors, change links, or otherwise improve your setup in advance of launching to all of your members.
When should I soft-launch my SilkStart site?
We recommend you soft-launch your new SilkStart site after you're confident that you have finished setting up, or after you've approved the site via a Pre-Launch checklist.
It's often convenient to soft-launch your site on a Thursday or Friday. Allow your soft-launch group to test the site over the weekend. If their feedback is positive, you can then launch your site on the next Monday or Tuesday.
How do I soft-launch my SilkStart site?
- Identify who you're going to launch the site to. Many organizations use their board, or their other staff; others will use some long-standing member that won't be put off by finding mistakes.
- Decide whether you want these members to make real membership payments, or just to put through test transactions. Talk to your Account Manager if you want to use test transactions.
- If your soft-launch users are NOT already in your member database:
- Simply send them an email containing a link to your sign-up form. You can ask them to click the 'Join' button on the top right corner of your site, or link them to http://your-site.silkstart.com/join.
- If your soft-launch users are already in your member database:
- From the admin panel, search for each member by name, and open their profiles. You will have to do this one member at a time
- Click on 'Send Welcome' to send this member a message that will let them log in and set up their account. This is similar to the launch message that your members will receive when you launch your new site.
- Repeat these steps for all other people you are soft-launching the site to.
- Ask your soft-launch group to test the site thoroughly, and report any issues they encounter back to you. If there are problems reported that you can't resolve, contact your Account Manager for help.
- After the soft-launch, if you feel confident about the outcome, you can proceed to launching your site to all members.