Successful product launches don’t just happen. They require planning and preparation to target the right audience with a viable product using the most effective messaging. From creating a product that has a potential market to crafting compelling messaging, read on for points to consider before you launch.
Create a Salable Product
The first consideration ahead of a successful product launch is offering a good product with the potential to gain traction with customers. As you’re in development, you should be conducting market research to learn more about your space and potential customers. Challenging assumptions and being open to feedback – both positive and critical – will help you improve your product and make it more marketable.
Instead of maintaining secrecy ahead of a big launch, consider a soft launch or pre-release to gather feedback specific to your product. Critiques at earlier stages of your process can serve as an asset if you’re open to the information and improve your product accordingly.
Starting small not only gives you valuable feedback for improving your product before it hits the larger market, but it also provides the opportunity to build a community of supporters who will advocate for your product. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and a soft launch can help you build that following ahead of your big launch day.
Another advantage of starting small with a soft launch or pre-release is that you can work on building up your reputation and visibility in the industry. You can look for opportunities to speak at events, network, publish articles or blogs, and otherwise gain attention. You can also create or optimize a blog, website, and social media presence to cultivate an online following and build search engine optimization (SEO), which can help you improve traction when you do launch your product to the public. If you create a product landing page on your website, you will have a spot to direct social media traffic to and you can place an email list signup there, which can build an audience ready for your product launch announcement.
Set Your Timeline
Planning is crucial for a good launch. Draft your schedule with plenty of time to prepare for your soft launch (if you choose to do one), marketing efforts, sales training, and then the actual launch.
When you plan the actual date of your launch, you might choose to have your launch coincide with a certain time of year or a trade show or event that could give you a wider platform to present your new product. Even if you don’t, make sure you are aware of other events and trends occurring in your market and how that might impact the traction your product launch could get.
Craft Your Positioning and Marketing
New products ideally fill a unique gap. The market research you (hopefully) conducted when you were developing your product will help you shape your product messaging. Your marketing content should primarily address what the product does for the customer, rather than list detailed technical specifications.
Analyze all of your content and messaging about your product from the perspective of a potential customer asking, “What’s in it for me?” Clearly define the customer need and how your product fills that need.
Optimal product messaging will be clear and succinct and explain how the product solves a problem or otherwise improves the potential customer’s life. Craft your messaging with a hook (something catchy), a brief explanation of the product and what it does for the customer, and then a clear call to action that drives the audience to your product landing page where they can make a purchase.
A multimedia marketing approach is typically a good choice, but avoid using channels that don’t make sense for your product, company, or audience. Select specific channels rather than using a scattered approach and hoping something works. Find out where your audience is (remember that market research from earlier) and target your potential customer base accordingly. A few channels you might consider using include the following:
- Website – have a good landing page that everything else points to
- Emails – curate a list using a pre-release or soft-launch strategy, which is especially helpful if this is your company’s first product
- Press release and media kit – have materials available for press coverage (read more here)
- Social media – use the social platforms that make the most sense for reaching your target audience; consider Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others
- Video – use video to highlight what your product does or even feature customer testimonials; post on your website or YouTube channel
- Blog – write your own blog on your website or pitch guest blog posts to established blogs in your field to gain publicity
- Webinar or live launch event – build excitement by gathering an audience either virtually or in-person on the day of your launch
Develop Follow-up and Retention Strategies
After you launch your product, don’t stop improving and marketing. You should consider your follow-up strategy for both retaining customers and figuring out why customers looked at your product but didn’t make a purchase.
To gain feedback from customers, you could install a chat tool on your website to communicate directly, or you could build in a simple survey for when customers leave your website. You can gain valuable insight into how to improve your product or marketing by simply asking your audience what they think.
Some potential customers might be interested but not make a purchase immediately. If you have set up an email signup option, you can use a drip campaign to keep your product in front of customers and possibly convert to a sale in the future.
Additionally, consider retention strategies for the customers who did purchase your product. Reduce the barriers for product use as much as possible. Depending on what your product is, this could be tooltips in an app, written instructions for assembly, or a video tutorial that showcases step-by-step how-to information or highlights product features. The lower the barrier for ease-of-use, the more likely your product is to be used, enjoyed, and either re-purchased or talked about with the customer’s friends and family.
You might never feel that you’re 100% ready to launch, but, at some point, you have to push your product out to the public. If you’ve done your preparation, you’ll have set yourself up as much as you can for success.
The information presented here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, an interest, directly or indirectly, in any company. Investing in both early-stage and later-stage companies carries a high degree of risk. A loss of an investor’s entire investment is possible, and no profit may be realized. Investors should be aware that these types of investments are illiquid and should anticipate holding until an exit occurs.