Soft Launch vs Hard Launch: What’s the Difference?

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Launching your startup is an important and exciting endeavor! Learning how you can leverage a soft launch vs a hard launch will help you tremendously and we’ll explain the difference here. A hard launch and a soft launch are two different approaches to introducing your startup’s new product/service to the market. They differ in terms of timing, scope, goals, marketing, and how you’re collecting feedback.

Let’s break down a soft launch vs a hard launch below so you can determine your best strategy.

Soft Launch


A soft launch, also known as a quiet launch or beta launch, is a preliminary release of a product or service to a limited audience. It happens before the official hard launch.


A soft launch targets a smaller, select group of customers. This could be a specific geographic area, a segment of the target market or a closed group of beta testers. You’ll generally be contacting people individually, hand-picking your first users by doing things that don’t scale and getting your first 100 users.


The main goal of a soft launch is to test the product or service in a real-world environment and gather feedback from early adopters. It helps identify any issues or improvements needed before the wider launch.


Marketing efforts during a soft launch are more controlled and targeted towards your target audience. The emphasis is on getting feedback and fine-tuning the product based on user experiences. This can create a distinct advantage for your startup when you’re learning from your feedback and making adjustments from it.


Feedback from the limited group of users is collected, and adjustments are made to improve the product or service before the official hard launch. This helps ensure a smoother and more successful launch.

Essentially, a soft launch is a testing phase that precedes a hard launch. It helps your startup to validate your product, gather feedback, and make needed improvements before exposing your product to a larger audience during a hard launch.

You can use feedback tools like Google Forms, Hotjar, Typeform, and many more.

Hard Launch


A hard launch is a full-scale, public launch of a product or service. It is characterized by a specific launch date that is widely promoted and announced to the target audience.


During a hard launch, the product or service is made available to a broad audience, often on a national or international scale. Marketing efforts are focused on reaching a large number of potential customers.


The primary goal of a hard launch is to create a significant impact and generate immediate attention and sales. It aims to create a buzz and capture a large market share right from the start. You can gain a huge amount of momentum from the hard launch to vault your startup forward, if done right.


Marketing campaigns for a hard launch are often elaborate and aggressive, involving various channels such as advertising, social media, PR, events, and more. The focus is on building excitement and driving sales quickly.


Feedback from customers is collected after the launch, and you make any necessary adjustments based on your customers’ reactions and the market’s response.


The choice between a soft and hard launch depends on the startup’s goals, the readiness of the product, and the need for early feedback and refinement. If you already did intensive idea validation by talking to users and gathering feedback, and then revised your product or service from it, then you may benefit more from a hard launch than a soft launch.

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