Developing a new product is no mean feat. It takes time, effort, money, and a lot of perseverance. However, after all this hard work, many businesses relegate their product launch to the eleventh hour.
Unfortunately, treating your product launch as an afterthought gives your product little chance of success. All the hard work you have put into developing your product will count for nothing. It is therefore imperative that you develop a product launch strategy that will give your product a fair chance to compete.
Why do you need to plan a product launch?
Developing a product and not having a product launch is akin to lighting your lamp and putting it under a bed. Having a product launch lets you shine a light on your product and introduce it in its full glory. A product launch is a way to introduce your product to the market and create excitement around your product.
Other than making an introduction, a product launch is a great way to build anticipation and awareness for your product. The buzz you generate before you launch will massively improve the reception of your product by the time you launch.
It will also help generate sustained sales long after the launch. Product launches are also a good way of getting feedback from early users of your product and using it to improve your product. Here we have listed the step-by-step procedures that can help you get started with your product launch strategy.
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A step-by-step guide on how to launch a product
Now that you understand the importance of a product launch, the next step is to come up with a product launch plan that will introduce your product to the market. By taking some help from the Appcues SaaS launch guide, here we have created a 9-step guide on how to launch your product with success.
Step 1: Set your product launch goals
What do you want to achieve with your product launch? This question should guide you on how to go about your product launch. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to define your objectives include pre-launch sign-ups, launch day sign-ups, website traffic, page views, downloads, social media engagement rate, and the number of paying customers, among others.
Once you’re clear on your goal, make sure it is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Above all, temper expectations and be realistic.
Step 2: All hands-on deck
A successful product launch is a team sport. The product launch manager, who is usually the lead, should communicate the goals, timelines, deliverables, and dependencies to the team. Of special interest is the sales team.
They will be the ones talking directly to the customers and bringing in the sales. You want to equip them with all the tools necessary for success. Educate them on the product, its ins and out. Key knowledge that you should equip them in includes:
- Product information (size, price, features, etc.).
- Technical knowledge of the product.
- Objections to your product and how to overcome them.
- Product storytelling.
- Message for each customer persona.
- Competitor products and how they stack against yours.
Summarize this information in a one-pager having your value proposition, the problem your product solves, how it holds up against your competition, etc. Next, ensure your customer support team is up to date in your marketing messaging.
They will handle complaints that are likely to come up in the future. Lastly, make sure you acquaint each person involved with the vision and become an evangelist of the product.
Step 3: Create a timeline
Once you’ve set your goals and everyone is on board, it is time to create a product launch timeline. A timeline presents a visual overview of the product launch from start to finish. The timeline should include all the key deliverables for each team and deadlines for when they should be delivered.
It keeps things organized, gets work done, and holds everyone accountable. In case of any derailment, the timeline will come in handy to keep things moving and stick to the vision.
Step 4: Establish your messaging
When creating your product messaging, it may tempt you to start with the features and benefits your product provides. While these are important, they should not be where you start. Instead, focus on how your product will improve users’ experience.
To do this, understand the core value of your product. This is the total of the benefits your product provides. Once you’re clear on this, create your buyer personas (target audience) and develop a message that will resonate with them while espousing your core value.
This message should be concise, comprehensible, and easy to connect with. Share this message with your sales and marketing teams and have them use it while communicating with customers across the board.
Step 5: Build a product launch landing page
Create excitement around the launching of your product by having a landing page. The landing page will be a dedicated URL that creates a buzz around your product. To create a stellar landing page, make sure your value proposition is clear. It will be your lifeline, especially when you’re launching a new product. Clearly articulate why customers should take notice of it.
Build anticipation by having a countdown timer if your product is about to launch soon. To up the ante further, use exciting copywriting and appealing imagery to build further anticipation.
Include an email opt-in form on your landing page to collect emails for marketing leads. Also include a calls-to-action (CTAs) for example, as people scroll down to learn about your product, provide a way to join a waitlist.
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Step 6: Publish a product launch blog post
Leading up to the product launch, write blog posts about your new product and what problems it will solve. This content will prime your audience, get them invested, and hopefully turn them into customers when you launch.
Consider also publishing content on the launch day or immediately after. The CEO or product lead should write this post and articulate the company vision, what you intend to solve, and how your new product will solve this problem. Ensure you include a CTA in all your blog posts.
Step 7: Create an onboarding process
Develop an onboarding process for customers. It could be an email, in-app message, product walkthrough, video, tooltip, or even a phone call. It all depends on how well it fits with your product.
This is essential if you want to keep your new customers and increase their lifetime value for your business. The two best points to onboard customers are right after they sign up and when they see their first success with your product. Make sure your onboarding process is concise, seamless, and thoughtful.
Step 8: Launch on Product Hunt
To generate buzz about your product and have early adopters, hop on, and list it on Product Hunt. Product Hunt is a platform where you list new products and have its community users review the products and vote on them.
It is free, and you will get valuable feedback on how good your product is. To make the most of Product Hunt when you publish:
- Have an alpha test outside the Product Hunt community before listing. This way, you can catch any major bugs before listing.
- Have a FAQ prepared that addresses every technical bit of your product.
- Have free trials or freemium models to make sure as many users as possible test your product. Nobody wants to pay to test a new product. Later, you can introduce a paid plan.
- Have a Product Hunt page on your website that you can use to welcome Product Hunt users and deliver a custom offer.
- On launch, dedicate that day to Product Hunt only. It is critical that you respond in real-time to comments, reviews, and questions.
Step 9: Send announcement emails
If you already have a mailing list, use it for your product launch. Start by segmenting your list by existing customers, content sign-ups, blog subscribers, free trial customers, etc. Segment them further based on interest and tailor your email and subject lines accordingly for each segment.
Have a series of emails, rather than one, to announce your product launch. Start your email series two weeks before launch. The first email should be a teaser talking about what is coming up without spilling the tea.
A week before launch, announce it telling your audience what is coming up and when. On launch day, email about your product launch and share your socials for customers to spread the word.
One week after launch, follow up with an in case you missed it (ICYMI) email. Send this email to the section of your audience that has not made a purchase or an upgrade yet.
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As you develop your product, start preparing for your product launch. It is never too early. You may put in all the hard work to create a great product. But if you don’t work harder to launch it, it will be a non-starter. To avoid this, be sure to follow this guide to get started on your product launch.
This article is written by Cosmas Mwirigi. Cosmas alias Cosii-Riggz is a technology enthusiast and SAAS writer who helps clients understand products by explaining services for businesses. He has been featured on websites such as PV Magazine and Bitcoin Kenya. During his free time, he likes traveling to new places and exploring what's new on the internet. You can follow him on LinkedIn.