Starting a new product is about as exciting as it gets. You are taking a rough sketch that first existed only in someone’s head, and you are transforming it into a function, ready-made tool that customers around the world can buy.
This can be a mammoth task with unseen challenges at every turn. Before successfully creating the product, you might be tempted to ditch it. And the hard work doesn’t end once you have a tested demo in your hands. You then need to successfully launch it into the world.
In order for your product to succeed, you need customers, preferably many. Your product will not find customers or market success without a well thought out plan. You will definitely need to do a lot more than a casual post on social media to introduce a brand new product to the market.
At every stage, you have to assume that you will need to reach your customers, not the other way around. If you wait for potential buyers to find you, you could wind up waiting a long time, and your product failing as a result, in the highly competitive online market. Below are some key considerations for orchestrating your launch. The list is not exhaustive, but it will get you on the right track.
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Prove the product
Nothing is a greater disaster for a product launch than discovering major bugs in the product. Be sure that you have carefully tested and have gone through rigorous quality assurance before the product is in the hands of paying customers. There will likely still be minor bugs even after this, but with an experienced dev team, you can handle those after launch. What you can’t handle are major problems that negatively affect core user functions and turn new customers off from your newly released product.
1. The MVP Approach
One way to reach the goal of a proven product that achieves core functionalities reliably is creating a minimum viable product (MVP), which proves the central concept without any additional features. Devaraju Southworth, CEO, and founder of delivery service, Thirstie, has said that an MVP is his preferred method. While no product will be completely free of bugs, Southworth argues that the MVP will ensure your product’s core functions work as they should.
The MVP allows you to test and eliminate certain core features in a way that is harder to do once you have a fleshed out product on the market. Using the MVP, you can also test your concepts with focus groups providing valuable information about what consumers are looking for and how they will use the product.
Carefully mapping out these different features also helps your development team. If they know everything that is come, they can plan effectively and reduce the turnaround time for changes leading up to the launch.
2. Define the target market
Most people don’t go through the trouble of making a new product just for kicks. Obviously, you want to be able to successfully sell your product to real, live customers. This requires some strategic thinking on your part.
Examining your product carefully, you need to define the age-range, spending habits and personas of your target customers. Once you have this information, you can pick key channels for marketing, seek out influencers, and tailor your sales pipeline.
You’ll want to consider things like who would have a need for your product, how they will use it, and what the best way to reach these people is.
After you have answers to these key questions, you’ll be in a place to successfully market what you are trying to sell. Remember, the customers won’t just come to you in a competitive online market, you need to seek them out. You can’t rely on a boilerplate copy to find a highly specific set of customers.
3. Know when to launch
When you launch your new product is almost as important as how. If you select a good time for launch, you can reduce marketing effort and expenditure while gaining a greater number of customers. If you choose wrong, however, you can sink your product and even your company with it.
Some factors to consider: Don’t launch when other players on the market are releasing new or updated products. You also want to consider avoiding big events like major movie releases. What you are looking for is a time when your target audience is most likely to pay attention to your marketing and have the most availability to evaluate it. For example, Catheryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer, creators of SELF Journal specifically waited till August to launch their product to capitalize on the back-to-school season.
4. Know what goes in the product
People are looking for robust content in any product, and you can’t win customers without it. Have a clear understanding of the kind of content customers would love to see. You have lots of channels to consider for delivering your content including text, video, infographics and more
Before deciding on a method of delivery, consider:
- Which format is easiest to design?
- Which format does your audience use most?
- What is the easiest way for you to deliver and your audience to consume?
- What will have the highest ROI?
5. Use smart marketing
After polishing your offering and zeroing in on your target customers, it’s time to unleash the marketing campaign. You want to keep your marketing nimble, smart and accurate.
These are some of the ways you can market your product.
Influencers: With the growth of internet usage has come to the explosion of social platforms, blogs, videos, and influencers. Selecting the right influencer is a great way to transmit your marketing to thousands of interested customers very quicking. The trick is picking the right one and understanding how to successfully collaborate for maximum results.
Make a killer landing page: Ensure that your website is up and running and is more or less like a landing page for the product you are going to launch. Your website should be a reflection of your company’s core values and the products you sell. If the visuals and text are incomplete or contain errors, your credibility will go way down with consumers. Studies have shown that companies lost potential buyers when the website looks subpar.
Have sufficient information about the product or the features ready and easily accessible for the consumers. Ensure that the customers can easily view introductory offers and giveaways.
E-mail campaigns: E-mail remains a powerful way to reach new customers. Despite the many innovative channels and methods popping up, most people still have and regularly use an email address. Like your website, the email content needs to be crisp, professional, and persuasive.
Social Media Marketing: The rise of social media has produced the huge potential for online marketing. You definitely want to make sure that your company and product are represented on all of the most prominent social platforms. Never just set up pages and walk away. You have to stay engaged and responsive for these efforts to succeed.
Collaborate with third-party consultants: If marketing is not your specialty, there is still hope for your product launch. Many marketing firms can expand your efforts and provide direction and feedback to make your launch a success.
Best of luck with your product launch!