The nights were long. You missed many social events. Your family was starved of your sight.
But now, your product has been born. It is beautiful as it is majestic. Like a mother, the endurance of developing it over the last more than 9 months and the sharp and enormous pain of birthing it is now replaced by the joy of touching, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing it. You are over the moon.
Hey wait a moment, this product was not just meant for you, it is for the entire world. How are you going to welcome it into this world? How are you going to tell the world that it is finally here?
This is why you need a product launch plan.
Before Jesus was born, the Angel Gabriel announced his coming and when he was born, there were many signs including the star that led the wise men to bring gifts to the newborn and her mother. Although this is a truly heavenly process, it represents true planning for a great event that was the birth of the Messiah.
In the same way, you can replicate this and prepare for the launching of your product in a way in which it prepares the users of the product to accept it and enables you to maximize your marketing.
To successfully launch, you have to learn your customers’ needs, set up your online presence, write persuasive and exciting content, test the product and choose promotion channels that will work best for the kind of product you are launching.
There are four major steps involved in a successful launch. These are
1. The Pre-Pre-Launch stage.
2. The Pre-Launch stage.
3. The Launch stage.
4. The After-Launch stage.
The purpose of this phase is to prepare the product and create a launch plan. It happens probably 4 months in advance, lesser or more, depending on the product. In this stage, certain activities are carried out including;
Immediately you have the idea and name for the product roll into motion by;
a. Creating a logo for the product
b. Get elevator pitch ready, this is a one or two sentences of what your product will solve. For example, “I am the founder at Financial Matters where we have created the FM app, which is a pocket accountant that helps you save and invest your money ……blah blah”
c. Sound boarding; start talking about the product to your mentors and people in the real world who could be your potential customers and get to hear their views. Use your elevator pitch when you meet these influencers.
This essentially refers to knowing your customer and what he really wants. You do not want your product to be a mismatch to the needs of your customers, therefore you must find out if what you are creating is something your customers need. Start by knowing who your potential customers will be by testing with at least 10 to 50 real people and create avatars of what your customer looks like.
Messaging and positioning:
How will you position your product and what will your message be like;
1. Who is it for? For example, Financial Matters (FM) app is targeted at people intending to organize their finances in order to identify saving and investing opportunities. These include entrepreneurs and employees.
2. What does it do? For example, FM app helps you to budget, track expenses and incomes as well as manage investments and report on their finances for credit and tax purposes.
3. Why it’s better than similar products? For example, the FM app is optimized to link into your bank and investment houses making it easier for you to record your transactions.
3 Months to launch:
Create a launch plan:
Work backward from your goal launch date and think about every step and marketing activity you need to take to make sure your launch is successful.
Pick your channels:
Channels refer to the media that you will use to let your customers know about your products. Channel examples include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked in, TV and Radio
Not every marketing and advertising channel will work for your launch, nor does it need to and it’s not about what channels work best for you, it’s about what channels your customers hang out on the most, pick two or three of those, and focus your efforts there.
Create an Online Presence:
We are in the digital era, hence online presence is a must.
Start by setting up a coming soon page to start collecting emails and start planting a seed in potential customers minds that there is a new product coming.
A coming soon page will help you
Build your list of the people interested in the product.
Start interacting with these people before the product is even created.
Mail these people interested in the product and survey them, some of the survey points include
• What would you want in such a product, and how often, what are you using now.?
• Share the production process if possible?
• Share in the creation process of things such as logo through a competition to make it fun.
Prep your team:
If you have a team, teach them your positioning/message, the aim is to make sure they are ready to sell.
Go-to-market strategy: Compile all this information in one place for easy access.
A holistic document of all launch activities, planning, and goals. This can include
• Pricing recommendations,
• market research,
• competitive analysis, and any other relevant information you might need.
Build the Branding
• Including the website
• The blog
• Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Create launch content:
Think about all the collateral you will need to sell your product and start drafting copies of your; Demo decks, Blog posts, Social media posts, YouTube videos, Animations, Product screenshots, Sales materials, Landing page, Website updates, Emails, Facebook ads, Google ads, the images to start selling the product, Sales page, Swipe copy, Homepage takeover for opt-in forms, Videos to release thereafter etc.
• Get people talking about the product in terms of Benefits and uses.
• Press release on TV and radio, you can use online services to help you with mainstream media positioning.
• Generate some press interest that can help you catch the attention of bloggers and media.
Create selling assets
Create Bonuses to incentivize people to buy more of the product especially during the 1st week
Create other free products that can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems. These products should have some relationship with the product being sold.
Start collecting testimonials in advance for the product
Find people that can use the product and give them to test it so that you may collect Feedbacks and Endorsements
Plan the one time offer (OTO) to Incentive people to buy them such as 25% early bird discount or week 1 and 2, Coupons for gifting loved ones and offers such as Buy one get one free
Finalize launch content:
Take all the customer information you’ve been gathering and make sure your launch content is still on par. Ask a friend/hire a professional to look over it and edit to make sure it is launch worthy.
Gather reviews from your beta testers: Add beta reviews to your landing page and seed throughout social media. These reviews will add to your social clout and brand authority and trust.
Find promoters/affiliates: You most likely can’t launch on your own. Find influencers in your industry who might be interested in helping you out. Take some time during this month to make a list of these influencers to contact and send your product to for beta.
2 Months to launch:
This is the stage where you start to reach out to the market.
Online and Email marketing kicks in at this stage to build anticipation and avoid surprising the market with a release one day because the market won’t know what you are talking about and they won’t care.
Build anticipation by:
1. Create a landing page about the product with a “stays in touch” opt-in form.
2. Put a banner on your site hyping the product that links to your product landing page
3. Talk to your social media followers: Ask them questions to make sure you’re still on track
Write and send an email to potential affiliates and influencers and send them your product to test and review. Make it extra easy on them to review your product by including swipe copy for their blogs and social media. These influencers will help you evaluate your product before you release it publicly and can give you valuable feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
If you don’t already own a list, use a squeeze page to collect emails. Offer freebies like eBooks and gifts to encourage people to leave their emails.
Send coming soon emails and survey your audience, avoid selling the product at this time and you may just make announcement and request for a favor to fill a short survey. In the emails, state the advantages of the product and explain how it helps the customer.
Don’t be boring and you may use videos and keep the audience engaged via creative stories.
1 month to launch:
Announce your launch: It’s time to start announcing your product to the public!
Post about your launch on your blog. Have your opt-in form link to your landing page.
Start your email sequence to your opt-in list.
The emails should have different daily valuable content that reinforces the Six mental triggers in Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. Some of the triggers can be
Authority, answer questions such as; how long have you been doing this and whom have you worked with and what results did you achieve.
Scarcity, list the benefits but state that the product is not yet available, for the marketing assets such as bonuses and one time offers, limit them to first 14 days or 100 customers as you deem fit.
Reciprocity, start adding value even before the launch to ensure that your customers will have a reason to buy the product.
Set up your opt-in form for your blog main page.
3 weeks to launch:
Check in with affiliates: Make sure your promoters have everything they need to spread the news about your product.
Start seeding social media: Post teaser videos and images on social channels, blog posts, etc.
2 weeks to launch:
Set up the shopping cart
Research paid traffic: Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc. if interested.
Create sales funnel: For people who click to opt-in and for after they’ve purchased.
Create thank you page: For people who purchased.
1 week to launch:
Set up your product in your storefront.
Check all your links! Before you launch, do a final check to ensure that everything works– buttons are functioning, forms are working, copy and creative looks good, etc.
Keep sharing on social media and through your email list.
Make your launch an event: Everything is more exciting when you take the time to promote it well. Here are a couple of ideas of how to make your launch extra exciting:
Host a webinar and discuss the product and how it solves your customers need.
Hit the podcast circuit and talk about the benefits of the product.
Host a Twitter Chat using hashtags.
Release a new (longer-than-a-teaser) promo
Pop the champagne!
You did it! Launching a product is no easy feat. In the craziness of a launch, it’s easy to jump from prep-work to post-work, but it’s so important to celebrate every little victory you can as a business owner. So take a little time to revel in your success.
Follow up for testimonials:
About a month after your launch, send out an email asking your new customers what they thought about your product.
Take your feedback and make your product better:
Everything your customers tell you is important. Make sure to listen to them and take that data from your launch to re-work your product for your next launch.
The success of a product launch can only be gauged from how profitable becomes in the in the market place. Launching is one of the most important marketing activities that build the momentum required for your product to be successful, therefore do not rush in this step but take time to do it properly.