One of the most exhilirating times in your business is when you launch a new product. It means that your business is growing, evolving, and you're taking the next valiant steps into uncharted territory.
Pat on the back for you, your hard work is about to pay off, and this is a great time to be alive!
But because of the mounting excitement, the pressure of deadlines and perhaps financial obligations; all too often it can be tempting to launch a new product before you're completely ready.
You might think you have all the necessary requirements in place, but premature launch-ulation, as I think it should be known, is one of the worst things you can do if you want your product lift-off to go with a bang!
Before launching your product, there are a few critical elements that must be in place which, if overlooked, will undoubtedly lead to missed opportunity and potential chaos.
So, to make sure you don't get to the party too early, here are ten essential steps for a successful product launch.
Step One: Test.
Your product should have been through rigorous testing before you launch, the scale of which depends on your product and market. A product such as an app can be in the testing stages for months to get adequate user feedback and recommendations. You need to use a broad cross section of testers to make sure that you have catered for all usability levels and demographics.
The danger of launching before the testing phase is that you put yourself at risk of tarnishing your reputation if your product contains simple errors that could (and should) have been picked up beforehand.
Oh, and duh, you also risk releasing a product that doesn't work! Although I'll give you credit that you've already thought of this; it's still worth mentioning!
While it can be tempting to launch before testing, this is the most vital stage of a successful launch so please, hold your horses until this has been done thoroughly!
Step Two: Be prepared.
While this might seem like an obvious point to mention, it's again common to overlook the preparation required. When you launch a new product, if it's the success that you hope it will be there will be extra pressure on your current resources, including staff. Make sure that you have a worst-case scenario in place (which is really the best-case for your profit margin), and that you have people you can call on to get the job done if the product goes gangbusters as you hope it does.
If you're unprepared and demand is too much for you to handle, make sure you have a backup plan which includes keeping everyone up to date via social media or via a press release.
You will need to have adequate procedures in place surrounding administration, manufacturing and supply. If you leave all this to the last minute, you'll always be chasing your tail so make sure you prepare thoroughly for your impending growth.
Step Three: Adjust your buyer persona and marketing strategy.
Your new product is likely to target a whole new customer, and for this reason, you need to start again with your buyer persona. Your marketing campaign will be aimed entirely on this persona, so if you use the existing data that you have, it's likely that you will miss the mark and try to communicate with the wrong audience. Focus your new campaign on the benefits of your new product and the problem it will solve for your new audience. You will need to develop your key messages at this stage to make sure that you remain relevant and consistent.
Step Four: Motivate your existing workforce.
This is of significance because there will be implications for your current staff who have proven their loyalty to you up until this point. Their workload will increase, they must adopt new procedures, and the comfort and security that they might once have felt will no longer exist. It's vital that you discuss any potential changes directly with new staff members and always keep the lines of communication open. Your existing workforce holds valuable IP to your company and will help you weather the storm through this next momentous growth phase. It's imperative that you explain to them your WHY, so they're left in no uncertain terms of the bigger picture of where this change will lead.
Your existing workforce is also the ideal group of people to test out your new messaging as they're the closest to your company.
Step Five: Pay attention to your existing products.
It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of adding a new arm to your business but don't let that take your attention away from your existing products. It is those which have got you this far, and it's vital that you have enough attention and focus on them to ensure that things continue to run in the manner which your existing patrons have become accustomed to. In time, you might find that your new product can replace your old way of doing things but in the meantime, it's vital that you run the two side by side until the new product is established.
Step Six: Set milestones.
OK. So YOU know that your goal is for world domination and to bust through all the competition in the market, but unfortunately, that's very unlikely to happen immediately after your product launch. Anyone who’s anyone knows that the way to reach world domination is to set smaller milestones for your new product and learn how to be patient. Rats!!
What is realistic to achieve in the first day, week, month and twelve months after your launch? Those milestones can be financial or marketing related or anything else that you see fit, but a good business plan to keep you on track, and to make adjustments when you aren't; is essential.
If you're more about the products than the nitty gritty details, make sure you engage with a freelance business adviser who can create a strategic plan of activities to keep you on track and to ensure that you're doing everything you need to bust that market!
Step Seven: Generate your lead magnets.
Especially if your product is new and inventive, it's vital that you have a way of capturing the details of any potential interest so you can correspond with them further down the track. Your landing page and social media content should all point to, at the very least, a lead magnet which will encourage people to give you their email addresses. This can be an eBook, a special offer voucher, or a competition entry, but it's important that you bring those people who aren't ready to buy right now into your funnel so you can keep them up to date and encourage them to purchase later.
Step Eight: Build anticipation.
Before your launch, it's good practice to create anticipation within the market so that people can start to get excited. Arrange press releases, a social media campaign and targeted marketing for the big launch of your product. You can start to create the fanfare as soon as you know that your product will launch, the more hype your product gets, the more attention it will draw which becomes contagious. Watch the publicity spread like wildfire and contribute directly to your initial sales results!
You might not have your own in-house PR firm to create the buzz you need, but fret not; a freelance PR specialist will have the contacts and know-how to make this exciting campaign the success story that will be told for years to come!
Step Nine: Launch.
The launch of your product should be an on or offline event with the proper channels aware, present and correct. Everything should be in place by now to ‘cut the ribbon' on your new product and reveal it to your little corner of the world.
Step Ten: Act on feedback.
Believe it or not, the launch event itself isn't the last step of your product launch; once the fizz has died down from the celebratory bubbles, it's then time to put the all-important final step into practice; to act on feedback.
Feedback on your product, messaging and the way your product was received by the public requires active input from all key stakeholders. Any recommendations need to be put into place quickly and efficiently to guarantee your maximum success moving forward.
A product launch is an exciting time, but it can also be incredibly daunting. Your brand already has its roots cemented in your niche so the implications of not launching your new branch properly, can be dire.
But take your time, engage with relevant professionals where necessary, and go for gold…you’ve got this! Post a project today!