This guide assumes you’ve done all your homework in terms of market research. You’ve developed and tested the idea, built the prototype, gone through beta testing, and now you’re ready to launch your new baby into the world. Your strategy can make or break your success, so it’s critical to go into everything with a plan.
You’ll need to first define your sales objectives – and the more research you do in this stage, the more successful you can be. You’ll also want to schedule a launch date, so you can develop the appropriate timeline for everything in your product launch checklist. With it, you can also start to allocate the launch responsibilities to others on your team, to avoid overloading a single person with too many tasks. Whatever the deadline is, it’s critical to your success to stick to it. Once you announce it to the public, if you have to delay it, you’re doing damage to your reputation. If you can’t come through on the first promise you make, why should your potential customers believe you’d come through on anything else? Once you commit to that fixed date, you must launch, no matter what.
Design and Optimize Your Landing Page
Whenever you’re launching a new product, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to learn more about, and then purchase, whatever it is you’re selling. Creating a landing page is the way to do it. Your landing page should include everything about the product or service you’re selling, and the link to buy it in one place.
Then, through all your marketing efforts – social medial, email marketing, TV advertising, and so on, you lead everyone to that page – and nowhere else. It may seem like it makes sense to send everyone to your homepage, but the truth is, that leaves people having to dig around the website for the information they’re looking for. And the truth is, most people aren’t going to take the time to do that. Some will, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re making people work for it.
Develop Your Email Marketing Strategy
The money is in your list – so if you’re not focusing on building it up, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach. Your email list deserves the best possible content – whether it’s news roundups, informative and entertaining blog posts, or videos. You should deliver this content consistently, about once a week or so, in advance of your product’s launch date. This way, when you’re ready to launch, you have an entire community of people who are familiar with your emails, and invested in your brand.
Once you’ve built that list, it’s imperative that you not abuse the power during the prelaunch phase. I get it, you’re excited about it, and you want to sell, sell, sell. But your subscribers don’t want to be sold to – so sending too many salesy emails will turn them off, and get you kicked out of their inbox. It’ll pay you a lot more in the end to keep the emails helpful and subtlety related to making sales than to blast them and piss them off.
It’s okay to mention the launch in your series of emails and keep your content related to it, so long as it remains of the same high quality you were sending out before the launch. Tease what you’re launching in the email – keeping it limited to just a few sentences at the end of the email. Include a link to your landing page, so they can find out more information if they want to.
Build Up the Hype with Your Blog
Blogs allow you to appeal to your audience on a human level – where your audience expects (and is okay with) getting a bit personal. You can connect with them on a deeper level – while also encouraging them to sign up for your email list.
For instance, let’s say you’re launching a service with streaming workout videos to make it easy for people to workout at home – with a limited budget and equipment. Then, your website, email, and social media channels would take about getting healthy, and how much happier this will make you… while also discussing the advantages of using your system compared to the hundreds of alternatives out there.
On your blog, you could could about why you’re launching the service. Whether it’s because you struggled with being overweight your whole life, or because you just couldn’t stand the idea of fitting going to the gym into your regular routine of other errands… all that matters is you link to your landing page somewhere in the blog post, so that those who want to find out more, can do so with ease.
Build Community with Social Media
Before you can isolate the social media strategy you can use around your launch, you should take a look at all the content you’re creating for your blog, your email marketing campaign, and your landing page. Is there anything from there you can pull to promote across all your social channels?
When you use what you already have, it makes it easier to think about the kinds and the volume of unique content you’ll create just for your social platforms. You can create polls, memes, quote cards, and more, specifically for use across social media.
To keep yourself organized, create an editorial calendar. This will let you see what kind of content you need to create, and where you intend to distribute it. Some content will be shared on all of your platforms, while others will only be for email, only for social, and only for the blog.
At first, it’ll seem chaotic, but once it starts coming together – you’ll be able to make it work and rock it out.
Think About Your Advertising Plan
You’ve got countless advertising options – from television, radio, newspaper, magazines, trade publications, and outdoor billboards – to online marketing and outreach. Depending on the nature of your product or service and your budget, more traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio may not be necessary, or could be out of reach entirely.
Know where you want to advertise, and why. Allocate a portion of your advertising budget to each channel. Be ready to make adjustments to the budget and allocations after the campaign starts, if you see something that’s under performing.
Design and Print Promotional Literature
If you don’t have the right promotional literature in place to support your product launch, you’ll struggle to capitalize on interest people are showing in it. If you don’t have anything to give them when you talk to them in person, they’re less likely to remember you. Or worse, they’ll remember they were interested, but didn’t have the chance to get more information, and can’t remember your company name.
At the least, have a brochure or a business card ready to give to anyone you connect with in person – especially if you’ll be at any kind of networking event or trade show where you’re connecting with people face-to-face.
Research Trade Shows and Conferences
There are a lot of trade Shows and conferences hosted all over the world, in every industry and niche. No matter who you’re trying to reach, there’s a tradeshow you can get a booth for, or a conference you can sponsor. If your budget doesn’t allow you to do anything more than attend, make sure you’re not in violation of the rules by promoting your own products or services without being an official sponsor.
A tradeshow can be a great place to launch a product, but because most companies know this, you should be prepared to face a lot of competition. CES, for instance, is a tradeshow where a lot of new products are announced and demonstrated… but there’s hefty competition.
If you want to find events where you can expect to find your target market, simply google terms like “[niche tradeshows]” or “[niche conferences]”. It can give you a good place to start. But, for extra research, check out the Events in America trade show directory and All Conferences directory.
If you choose to sponsor an event, you’ll want to look into promotional items you can give to the attendees, in additional to the promotional literature you’ll want to include to support your product launch. It’s a good way to connect with potential influencers, so you may also want to consider giving away free product or service credit, or maybe even some advanced copies of the product, so they generate some buzz about your product or service ahead of the official launch date.
You should use PR alongside your advertising and marketing efforts for your launch. Work to establish a PR campaign before the launch, so you can build trust in your prospects’ minds. Use a press kit to connect with bloggers and journalists who may be interested in picking up your story. They’re more likely to cover you if you include more than just information about the new product or service itself – but also product images, videos, company information including bios, and more.
Your Product Launch Schedule
Pre-Launch: During this stage, you should make sure all ads and press releases are written, approved, and ready to go. If you’re doing any kind of direct mailing, or sending samples to influencers, those also need to be approved and ready to go. At this point, you’re gauging interest in the buying public, so you can make sure you’re ready to meet demand when the product or service launches.
Product Launch: At this point, you’re introducing your new product to the world. The point of your event is to go beyond exposure and getting your message to as many people as possible. You want to share the news with those who are most likely to be interested in buying your product. You can tell a room of toddlers all about a new toy that’s coming out, and sure, they may go home and tell their parents, but they aren’t the ones with the buying power – so they’re not the ones you’re selling to. Connect with and get the word out to the parents. You want to hold a product launch event, which you can do at your own office, a local meeting space/restaurant, or a trade show, conference, or other networking event/seminar.
Post-Launch: The launch is just the beginning. You didn’t reach all your potential customers at the launch, and new customers will be coming a long for a while – for years to come, we hope. Share news and testimonials about your product to keep the momentum going. Keep getting the word out in industry publications and at trade shows, through bloggers and journalists, whatever it takes. Plan several releases of more information over the course of the next year, so people get reminded of your product or service.
Stick to the Plan
Things happen, and plans change, but for a successful product launch, you should stick as closely as possible to the original plan. This helps save you money and keeps your time use efficient. Changes can compromise the timeline and thus delay the launch, with a slew of ramifications. Pay close attention to any modifications, and act in anticipation of things that could hinder progress.