Launching a new product can feel stressful and overwhelming. You have a lot going on: you're trying to figure out who your customers are, what they need when they need it, and how much they're willing to pay for it.
It's not easy, but if you take the proper steps and prepare in advance, you'll be able to launch confidently and make your product successful.
Without further ado, let us walk you through the ultimate product launch checklist — your comprehensive 7-step guide to ensure your launch is a success.
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What is a Product Launch Checklist?
A new product launch checklist is a list of steps you need to follow to prepare for your new product launch. It’s essentially a step-by-step guide that will help you organize your strategy and plan for success.
Statistics show that only 40% of products make it to the market after launch. Be sure your product launch makes it by organizing everything you need before it. According to Harvard Business School, lack of preparation is one of the most common concerns faced by businesses when launching their product.
A good checklist will help you by providing a clear outline of what needs to be done to ensure that every aspect of your product launch goes smoothly and successfully.
How to Launch a Product: The 7-Step Product Launch Checklist
Creating your product and launching it to the public can be overwhelming and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow this checklist on how to launch a product, you’ll be more prepared and less stressed about the process.
You’ll also be better prepared to quickly recover from any mistakes you make during the launch process and keep your customers happy in the meantime.
Step #1: Conduct Market Research to Define Your Audience
Before you even start thinking about what you want to create or offer, you must know who you are selling to.
Who is your target audience? What are their pain points? What do they need, and how can your product or service help them solve those problems?
You’ll want to conduct market research to understand your audience and what they want.
This will help inform your subsequent decisions as you prepare for your launch. The market research also helps minimize risk because you will have a clearer picture of your potential customers and their needs.
Here are several types of research you can do to collect data about your target audience.
- Examine your customer base
- Conduct research on industry trends
- Spy on your competitors and analyze who their target audience is
- Develop customer personas
- Identify consumers who will not act on your messaging
- Use Google Analytics
Step #2: Create Your Positioning Statement
The next step in planning a product launch is to choose your offering— define the problem you’re setting out to solve, create a product design, and construct your positioning statement.
You might think this is obvious, but it’s essential to ask yourself why your product exists in the first place.
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What are you selling and who is your target market?
- What is it that people want but don’t know they want?
- Why are you the person who can help them get it?
Define a clear, concrete product or service description. Once you have a clear picture of what makes your product unique (and why someone should buy it), write down everything that comes to mind— your product name, package design, product taglines, etc.
This is an exercise in brainstorming, so don't worry about whether or not everything makes sense; just get it all down on paper!
Once this process is complete, pick out the top 3-5 ideas that resonate with you most and work on fleshing them out more thoroughly.
These will become part of your positioning statement.
Step #3: Develop Your Launch Goals
Now that you've identified your target audience, you need to develop a social media plan to help you reach them.
- When it comes to developing a social media plan, you need to define your goals for the following:
- The number of followers and fans on each platform by the end of the campaign.
- How many people are engaged with your content at least once per week.
How many times each piece of content is shared or liked on Facebook and Twitter by the end of the campaign?
You can’t just launch and hope that people will show up. You have to work hard to generate hype around your product to see success with it genuinely.
The more challenging aspect will be getting people interested enough in what you're selling to decide to take time out of their busy day to click through Facebook and read about it.
This can lead them to share your product with others, who may also find it interesting. Hopefully, it makes both parties happy campers when all's said and done.
You can give away product samples and offer discounts in exchange for social media likes or shares. Once you get enough likes and shares, you can post a more significant discount on your website.
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Step #4: Set the Launch Date
Time your launch to maximize exposure. Like a good movie trailer, you want to schedule your product launch at the right time of year.
There are three main considerations:
- Peak season vs. off-peak season: If it's peak season when you launch, you may get more eyes on your product and have higher sales overall. On the other hand, if it's an off-peak season, people might be more willing to spend money on new products (especially if they're gift purchases).
- Consider how people use social media in different parts of the world and at different times during the day. For example, some countries don't use social media much during work hours (and might prefer email instead). In contrast, other countries use social media throughout the day—but only during their personal time (and therefore not during work hours). The important thing is that you find out which social media platforms are most popular amongst your target audience so that when does best for them!
- The best product launches occur when you simultaneously hit several events. For example, if you are launching on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consider connecting with bloggers and influencers who cover those events for your launch. Or better yet, send a gift to each of them!
Step #5: Gather Testimonials
It's not enough to tell people that your product or service is fantastic. It would be best if you showed them. You do this by collecting testimonials before the launch day.
Why? Because when you say, “This is the best product ever!” It's easy for people to ignore or reject that claim because it's coming from you, the company owner and promoter of said product.
But if the person is saying how great your product is as a voice that others trust, then their opinion carries more weight and credibility than yours (even if they're in cahoots with you).
Here are key people you should ask testimonials from:
- Industry leaders
- Credible people
By offering testimonials from experts, industry leaders, and credible people—especially if those people are already well known in your industry—you immediately add credibility to your product or service. Include these on your website and sales pages prominently so visitors can read them at a glance.
For example: If someone who works at Microsoft reviews one of my products and says how awesome it was for them because it helped increase productivity by 50%, I know my target audience will probably find value in using the same tool too.
Now, when tapping influencers, they have to come across naturally (not forced) so people don't feel like they're being sold something—they should flow out naturally without sounding like an advertisement.
Choose social media influencers who are high-profile experts and represent a specific group of customers who might be interested in buying your new product after reviewing its features and benefits.
Testimonials also help build credibility because third parties (whom we trust) have given us their stamp of approval on our claims about our offerings.
Thus, making it easier for potential buyers/customers to believe what we say about ourselves without question when making purchasing decisions later down the line again.
Think of testimonials as a way to lend credibility and support to your claims. They serve as social proof, offering reassurance that what you’re selling is worth buying.
Once your product makes it big, your testimonials will grow until your product spreads by word of mouth. Research says about 56% of consumers rely on relatives as a source of new product launches.
Step #6: Prepare for Customer Support
Customer support is integral to a successful launch. People will have questions if you've created a product worth talking about. The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed by customer service requests.
Set up chatbots and other automated systems to handle basic inquiries so they can route more complex questions to a human being.
Create a Knowledge Base page with FAQs with every answer your customers could ever need.
Be sure to have customer service options available via multiple channels (phone, email, chat).
Make sure that you have every available channel covered for customer support and general questions about your new product.
Respond quickly and politely if someone writes an angry message on social media; again, your goal is to show people that your brand cares. This is also an opportunity for a bit of marketing because many folks will share messages they find helpful. You may even write up in one of those influential roundups of excellent customer service online.
Step #7: Create Promotional Content
Now that you have your checklist for a successful product launch, it’s time to get down to work!
Promotional content helps create awareness for your product launch and tells a compelling story about your product, brand, and its value proposition. It can include blog posts, tutorials, landing pages, and social media posts.
When selecting promotional mediums, you should always select ones where your target market spends their time online.
The goal is to reach out to your ideal customers and start building relationships now so they will buy from you later on when you launch your product (i.e., on social media).
Promotional content could also be an advertorial on a popular industry news website or newsletter. It could also be a guest post in another person’s newsletter or podcast. It can be an extremely helpful podcast. It can be extremely helpful to build links through these press releases and articles, for better optimization.
The higher quality, more relevant content you publish or promote via social media posts and other sources, the more likely your content will rank on search engines like Google (which can drive traffic to your landing page). Targeted traffic can increase conversions and sales as long as they are relevant.
Why is a Product Launch Checklist Important?
A product launch plan checklist is important for several reasons:
- It helps you remember everything. A product launch checklist is a valuable tool for ensuring that you remember every detail and prepare your team for any possible scenario. If you start your project without a list, it can be easy to forget about something and leave it out of the final version of your product. This is especially true if multiple people are working on the same project, so creating an exhaustive list will help keep everyone on track.
- It prepares you for unforeseen circumstances. Many things happen when launching a new product that may not have been considered during the planning stages—and if they're not accounted for in advance, they can cause delays or even jeopardize the entire project altogether!
- It also allows better collaboration amongst team members who don't work directly together every day. The checklist guides everyone involved in the process through each step of the project, allowing them to work together more efficiently than they would be able to if each person were making their own decisions about how to proceed.
A product launch process checklist ensures that no matter what happens along the way, there will be a plan to deal with it efficiently and effectively before moving forward with any further steps towards releasing your new idea into the world (and making money).
Not only does this help ensure that you don't miss out on any essential items, but it also allows you to keep track of progress throughout the entire project's lifecycle.
Product Launch Checklist: Final Thoughts
Product launches are exciting and can be quite lucrative if you go about them the right way.
If you’re going to launch something new, you want to make sure that it gets the attention it deserves and takes off as soon as possible.
By following this 7-step ultimate product launch checklist, you’ll be guided through developing your product and selling it once it’s released so that you can feel confident and in control every step of the way.
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