Creating the perfect product can be an expensive business. Whether it is a handmade craft, a web app costing over £50,000, or a pharmaceutical product costing millions, by the time you are ready to go to market it will have already cost you dear in cash and time. So, doesn’t it make sense to put some serious effort into the perfect product launch too? Here’s a step by step guide for doing just that.
1. Know everything about the product
First things first, you need to know your product inside out. This will require some serious time investment if you have a team of people making products (as opposed to creating them yourself), as you’ll need to get to the heart of the problem your team was trying to solve by creating it. Find out what the users recruited for trialling the product have to say about it, and ultimately, ask the right questions so that you become the most knowledgeable person in your business regarding your product. You’ll need this knowledge if you’re going to launch your product properly.
2. Get to know your customer
You will have done extensive customer market research during the product development stage. Next, you need to go back to those potential customers and learn more about how they want and expect to be marketed to. What presses their emotional buttons: what are their ‘pain points’ that the product responds to. What about the product makes them light up.
Focus groups can help you do this, as well as digital data – figuring out where your customers hang out online is a great way to get to know their pain points, as well as useful information for later on in your launch.
3. Get to know the market
Once you’re confident you know your product and the customer it’s intended for, you need to turn your attention to getting to know the market you’re selling it to. That’s because you need to know about the environment your product is entering into, how to best reach your customers within it, and how to navigate a market that’s quite likely to be saturated by competitors employing clever techniques to push their equivalent products. This will mean drawing on the market research your business conducted at the product-development stage, checking it for accuracy time has elapsed.
4. Refine your product narrative
After that, the hard work of finding your productive ‘narrative’ begins. This is a difficult task, but it’s very valuable as it will help to ensure you deliver a strong, persuasive message on launch. Don’t fall into the trap of communicating how great the key features are: that’s the kind of thing that might clinch a sale once your customers are already in the sales funnel, but it won’t engage potential customers at product launch stage. Instead, your product launch narrative should communicate what your product actually does, and what value it brings to the customer. How does it make their life better?
5. Share your work internally
Now’s the time to share your product message with your colleagues or advisers. This might feel like an unpleasant part of the process as it’s likely to be pulled apart, but it’s a crucial stage to check your product messaging is on-brand and doing the product justice. Identify messages that are confusing or fall flat, ask for feedback, and use it to refine your pitch.
6. Find a specialist to review your product launch plans
Once you’ve refined your product narrative, consider finding a specialist consultant who knows your industry inside and out, and have them look over the work you’ve done to this point. Whether they’re an expert in food manufacturing or professionals in life science consulting, their perspective could prove invaluable: perhaps they’ll spot mistakes in the persona research, or might have a new take on the messaging that will best suit your target demographic. Whatever the case, be prepared to let someone pull your product launch plan apart and suggest ways to strengthen it all over again.
7. Try it on a test group
Now, assemble a test group of customers to be the guinea pigs for your product launch. Plan ways to capture their feedback (having defined specific questions for deeper investigation before hand), and use their feedback to tweak your product launch plans.
8. Think about the user journey
You’re almost there, so now it’s time to build assets to fulfil the user journey. Ask yourself: if the product launches as well as you’re hoping for, how will people ultimately become paying customers? Where will they go? Will they buy directly from the website, will they pick up the phone and enquire? Map out the path you expect them to take, and then make sure that all these parts of the sales funnel are build to handle the traffic. You might need to think about creating website assets with further information, free demos, trials, or a means of talking to a sales person if that’s what’s required. Essentially, it’s important to bear in mind that there’s no point in doing all this work in planning the perfect product launch if you haven’t thought about how you’re going to get them to convert once they’re on board with your vision.
9. Identify the right platform for your launch
Finally, the research and planning you did in step three will have given you some idea about where you’re going to launch your product. So, pick a main channel (for example, a blog post in your news section) and then use other channels to support it, such as social media, email or podcasts. This will ensure you’re reaching as many people as possible in the right medium for them.
Have you followed similar steps for product launches in the past? And do you have anything to add?