While you have many success stories where a product redeems itself after a botched launch, such a scenario is an exception and not a rule. In 9 out of 10 cases, the success of the launch is indicative of how well the product is going to do in the market in the long run. A bad launch can make the investors jumpy and even dissuade some potential customers (after the first mixed reviews start pouring in). Therefore, it’s far better if you do it right from the very start. Now, this is not an easy thing to do, but it’s not impossible either. Here are the top 9 tips for a successful product launch that you should consider.
1. Make a Unique Selling Proposition
The first thing you need to do is find a unique selling proposition. Without it, you won’t be able to generate hype regardless of your resource capacity.
- Your product is coming, and it’s coming soon but why should people care so much about it?
- What kind of difference is it going to make in the market?
- How is it different from anything else already out there (for the launch to matter)?
Remember that a unique selling proposition can be anything:
- A new set of features
- Lower cost
- Unique trial period options
When crafting a USP, the key thing you need to do is focus on it from the perspective of a customer. For a customer, a new set of features might be an additional argument to give your platform consideration. A lower product cost might make your offer more appealing or allow them to (finally) afford this product/product type.
Think about your audience as people who already want your product but need a slight push to get it. This USP should be that push.
2. Multi-Channel Marketing
You must approach this from as many angles as possible. Naturally, you don’t need a marketing guide to remember to promote a product launch on your website or your social media, or via email. At the same time, you shouldn’t limit your activity to these three channels exclusively. Instead, research some of your other options, as well.
For instance, while the role of digital marketing must be prevalent, you don’t want to neglect old-school (analog) marketing either. Printed materials are still quite effective. You see, people need value to get invested. A promotional t-shirt is a free t-shirt. A promotional mug is a free mug. In other words, from the very start, people are clear that they’re getting some value out of this deal.
Second, you need to keep up with the times. In the past, it was widely believed that people’s attention span is not that great and that if you take too long of their time, they’re just going to give up. This was before we knew just how much people spend listening to podcasts. So, why not make a podcast episode (or even be a guest on a podcast episode) to get more space to talk about your product?
Lastly, you should never ignore the importance of influencer marketing. You see, this is more than just a promotion. It’s an active endorsement from someone who already enjoys a certain level of trust from their audience. As such, it’s simply indispensable.
3. Give Out Some for Free
If your product is software, you can offer some free licenses or a free trial period. If it’s a product in a conventional sense of the word, you can give out some of them for free. This will help you get some early reviews and give people a chance to sample your product before committing to purchase it.
There’s a reason why return customers are so profitable. You see, it’s all about trust. With so many fake goods and shady retailers out there, people need to know that what you are offering is genuine. The safest way (for them) is to offer it for free. Now, a great discount can also serve the purpose but it’s not as effective.
This brings us to our next topic – preorders. Managing preorders means managing expectations. The problem is that nothing will tarnish your reputation as hard as a botched product that so many people have preordered. Just think about it – people who preorder things already put their trust in you. They also can’t wait for the product and have no problem paying for it in advance. Nothing can cause disappointment more quickly than having too high expectations.
4. Don’t Stop on the Day of the Launch
Another thing we need to address is the concept of launch itself – what does it entail exactly? Is the launch over at the exact moment when the product hits the shelves? Are you done with the launch the second you make it available? Of course not, that’s just ridiculous. If that were the case, the success of your launch would be evaluated the second it’s official. If you decided to be extra flexible with your definition, you could classify these initial weeks (sometimes even months) as a launch.
Launch day is just one small part of the project and the way you handle the aftermath counts just as much. Keep in mind that your customer service might be working overtime during this period but it plays a crucial role in forming this first impression.
5. Make All the Resources Available
There’s a difference between brand recognition and brand awareness. You see, brand recognition requires people to be able to recognize your brand. Brand awareness, on the other hand, requires them to possess more specific knowledge about you. The problem is that while brand recognition can be adopted passively, developing brand awareness requires an active effort from your audience.
To make the long story short, it’s in your best interest that the audience remembers more than just your brand name.
To make the long story short, you need to ensure that all the resources regarding your upcoming product are easy to find. Make sure that your contact info (email, social media, and even live chat) is listed in a transparent spot and that you’re quick in your response. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to just give up (or shift their focus elsewhere) rather than stay committed.
6. Prepare a Quick Response
Chances are that your product won’t be perfect, however, not all flaws can be discovered early on. A perfect example of this can be seen in the video game industry. You have alpha and beta testing stages, during which a lot of bugs are discovered. However, these testing stages have the participation of hundreds of thousands of people. Once you release the product, it will become available to millions and if there’s a problem, bug, or glitch somewhere, you can bet that it will be discovered. Also, it’s not always easy to figure out how people feel about specific design features.
What you need to do is have a contingency plan (a mechanism) in place to deal with this situation. People don’t expect things to work flawlessly but if you manage to fix the issues right away (offer a refund, replacement, or troubleshoot these problems) your buyers will forgive you for this transgression. Keep in mind that, sometimes, fixing a problem effectively may earn you more favors than releasing a perfect product, to begin with.
7. Plan a Go To Market Strategy
A Go-to-Market Strategy is also called a GTM strategy. It involves determining the how, when and where to reach your customers with your product. It helps you plan exactly how much content you need to generate, what type of campaigns or promotions are necessary, which channels should be used, etc., in order to get the attention of potential customers to your product.
Go to Market Strategy is useful for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it helps you identify the target audience for your product or service and plan accordingly on how best to reach them. You can also use the Go to Market Strategy to determine which channels work best for your particular business and customers, allowing you to focus on these while eliminating those that are not effective. You can use a Go to Market Strategy template to present your Go To Market Strategy to an audience.
An effective Go to Market Strategy can help you create the right content for your target audience, ensuring that you get their attention and successfully engage them with your messages. Overall, having a solid GTM strategy in place is crucial for any business looking to reach new customers and increase sales.
8. Don’t Launch Before You’re Ready
Give yourself more time than you believe you need for the launch. This will give you some maneuvering space in case there’s a delay. Now, previously we talked about fixing the problem. You might not want to hear this but some problems can’t be fixed. It’s like publishing a book, a delay will anger some of your readers but once published, a book is either good or bad.
Keep in mind that, by being extra careful, you can set a date far enough that even delays can be handled. However, it’s also important that you’re aware of Parkinson’s Law, an adage claiming that work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. The best way to overcome it is to set some minor deadlines along the line and be vigilant in monitoring and reporting.
9. Communicate With Everyone
Product launch is a mutual project of your marketers, vendors, manufacturers, customer service, administration, management, and sales. In some industries, it will also envelop your IT and HR teams. In other words, it’s something that both involves and concerns your entire company. So, you need to make sure that the lines of communication are working flawlessly.
Let’s say that there is a delay. In the best-case scenario, you would need the manufacturers to report this, administrators and managers to figure it out, and marketers to break it (gently) to the public. This way, a crisis can be averted and everything put back on track. Things are not easy to coordinate but without the right communication, it’s impossible to accomplish.
Laying a proper foundation for the future success of your enterprise is incredibly important, which is why it’s a task that requires your full and undivided attention. A successful product launch will encourage your target audience, bolster your investors, and bring you to your break-even point a lot sooner. With the above-listed eight tips under your belt, a successful launch is all but guaranteed.
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