You’ve been planning your launch for weeks now.
You’ve got the best idea and the product is ready to go.
The grind is finally over – now it’s time to finally launch.
You’re so close, but so far away.
Luckily it’s not that complicated.
Find below the 7 steps for a successful product launch:
1. Test before your launch
Testing a product and the sales process is essential to verify that it’s ready for a launch. Keep in mind though, that perfect is the enemy of good. Launch early and launch often is a great way to get a better idea of what your customers really want.
Testing beforehand the product and communication concepts with focus groups is another great way to understand how your customers may react to not only your offering but your entire sales process. If they can’t figure out how to buy what you’re selling – they won’t!
2. Research your market, audience & competition
Defining your buyer’s persona is essential for your launch. Marketers are notorious for not doing their due diligence in defining a suitable audience which often leads to a faulty launch. Building your buyers’ persona helps you to understand the attributes of your potential customers, the way they consume media, their pain points, etc. They are often identified during focus group studies and initial market research and are essential to know to define your message.
Understanding your competition and how they are positioning their business and products can help your team differentiate your product or service offering to stand out more clearly. Without a USP (unique selling proposition), your brand will struggle to establish relevance and customer engagement. To defeat this, understand how your competitors are delivering on what they promise, their price points, how the offering is being marketed and overall customer satisfaction. (Price, quality, performance, reliability, awareness). Their weakness may be your strength.
General market research will help your team set goals, identify opportunities and create effective messaging to have the largest impact.
3. Soft-launch: TELL EVERYONE
Share your product with important influencers in your industry. They can be customers, prospects or bloggers with a large online presence and following. Encourage them to use your product or service and write a review article or posts. They can also provide feedback to help better your offering.
Create hype around your product or service by having a “coming soon” snippets of information and providing free information for customers to get excited about what you’re about to launch. Make it easy for them to learn more by providing free trials, downloads, product videos and demos.
Make sure people know about your launch. Tell your followers, send an email campaign, share information on social networks, get creative!
4. Establish metrics and plan tracking & optimization
Don’t be afraid to scratch the product if it isn’t performing. Remember “sunk costs”, just because you’ve already invested resources into a product doesn’t mean you should continue to try to sell it.
Tracking and optimizing campaigns should be a focus for marketers because many campaigns are won or lost with consumer data. Using web traffic analytics, CTR, goal conversions and other sales and marketing metrics allows easy analytics to allow a change of the course of action if it has been ineffective.
5. Get Feedback & Optimize Accordingly
Use the feedback from the soft-launch as well as the metrics and analytics from the campaigns to optimize the product offering and marketing strategy. Ignore the elements which do not drive business. A large number of Facebook likes does not ensure sales so reach out to those influencers driving the traffic and see how they can further promote your offering in an effective way. These partners can have a financial stake if an affiliate program is offered and the success of the launch will make you allies.
6. Prepare your team
As you get closer to the product release, you will need to adjust to new processes. Give your team the information and resources they need to familiarize themselves with the new product, customer support protocols and campaign. Provide any necessary training to the customer relations, sales and social media teams. Each brand and product line will have its own unique messaging strategy. The articulation and positioning of the product ensures consumer recognition and builds brand equity.
7. Be realistic and remember your core business
Don’t expect a “big bang” release unless your product or services is revolutionary. Unless a huge launch event has been planned ahead of time, the official launch date only signifies the day the offering is available. Therefore, keep the release rolling, give reporters time to write, allow influencers to review and continue to produce fresh news around the user of the product as well as create customer stories and testimonials.
Though all of the craziness of launching a new product or services, don’t forget the core business. Find a balance between giving a new offing the attention it requires to come to life, while sustaining your established enterprise.