Product Launch Plan: How to Create a Successful Campaign
Launching a brand new product is definitely exciting, but unless you follow a specific process, you may end up in a mess. You definitely don’t want to go through that because product launches don’t come cheap. Also, it is an investment that you make in the initial stages, so your goal must be to reap its benefits in the shortest time period. You can do that only when you have the right strategy and the right product launch plan. Now that can be quite tricky, and therefore, we’ve listed down some useful tips on how to build a product launch plan that works.
1. Get a hold over your Product
To sell any product effectively, you should already be using the product, as this gives you a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. You could also consider spending some time with the Product Manager. By doing that, you get a complete knowledge of the product, straight from the master who has seen it evolve through the various stages. So spend at least a couple of hours with the Product Manager, as the product was developed under his guidance. So it’s quite evident that he would know more about the product than anyone else.
On the other hand, if you are the Product Manager, then you need to think from an average user’s perspective. So don’t get too technical and think of ways in which you can deliver precisely what your customer wants. You can do this by researching the market and determining customer expectations.
2. Crack the Code
E-commerce is the most competitive industry, with alternatives readily available for every product or service. So, it is critical that you give the buyer a reason to buy from you and not someone else. You can do this by promising to deliver something that solves their problem. Now, this is precisely what a value proposition does, and you must have one that sends out the right message, in clear and crisp words. This is extremely important for you, as you are in the process of carving a niche for yourself, and that requires earning the trust of your target audience.
To craft and outstanding value proposition, you need to describe the solution and its value. You can do this in a simple manner like, for example, Unbounce, a Canadian software company does. It goes by “Build, publish and A/B test landing pages without IT.”
What’s impressive about this value proposition is that it directly addresses prospective clients and tells them what they can deliver. It’s a pretty straightforward, no-fluff approach which works great despite its simplicity.
So, here’s what you need to consider to craft an exceptional value proposition.
- Don’t mistake value proposition with the features of your product. The two are worlds apart, as value proposition simply focuses on what problem your product is solving.
- You also need to clearly mention the roadmap of your product.
- Your value proposition also needs to mention how you intend to solve a particular problem in a unique manner, which benefits the prospect. In the case of Unbounce, this is done exceptionally well, by adding the words “…without IT”.
- Keep it short and simple and nail the problem.
You can do this by listing the features of your product, as against that of your competitors. Then find your strengths and nail down that one innovative feature, which feeds the emotional needs of the buyer. Finally, make it a point to design the media kit for the product launch, around it.
3. Know your Target Audience
Before you actually start working on the product launch plan itself, you need to know who your target audience is. This entirely depends on what you are selling, and who needs it the most.
By narrowing down your target audience, you can easily connect with them by addressing their individual needs, and by targeting the places where they are actively available. For example, the easiest way to connect with millennials is through Instagram, while the baby boomers and Gen Z are still glued to their Facebook Accounts.
How to Find the right Target Audience
- Analyze your existing clientele. If you don’t have one, analyze your competitor’s clientele.
- Figure out who needs the product or service, which you are about to launch. You can narrow down your target audience by classifying them into a particular subset. You may want to sell in a specific geographical region, or to a specific group of professionals.
- List out the demographics of your target audience, as this greatly helps narrow down your Ad and Social Media campaigns. To do this, jot down the age group, gender, lifestyle, and other relevant details of your target audience.
- You could also narrow down your target audience by hobbies, interests, personality, and other qualitative info.
4. Identify the Buyer’s Pain Points
Before you start selling a product, you need to figure out the pain-points of the buyer. If you are selling a product to a diverse group, then you could address the concerns of the majority.
For example, if you are selling something to those who travel more often, then you could list down the problems that the travelers commonly face. You can do this by going through the reviews on Amazon or eBay or any other online marketplace. You could also run a survey and send it to those who own a particular product to identify the troubles that they are facing.
So, if reviews are complaining about a bulky portable photo printer that comes without a rechargeable energy source, then make a note of it. Later, cross-check it and match it with the features of the product that you are selling. If you are selling portable cameras that come with rechargeable batteries, then you’ve just solved a problem.
5. Don’t forget to Beta Test and perfect your message
Beta testing involves assessing the level of customer satisfaction, which an average customer derives from your product. The feedback that you receive from beta testers confirms whether or not, your product is market-ready.
You can then study the response of the beta testers and rework on the message that you wish to give out.
How to run a Beta Test
- Identify the problem which you want the beta test to solve.
- Be sure of how you intend to collect feedback and how it would help you solve a problem.
- Figure out who would be your ideal beta tester.
- Collect useful feedback in a manner which is easy to review.
- Evaluate the feedback and list your findings very briefly.
Resources to run Beta Tests
Beta List lets you gather feedback for your brand new product, and get a clue of what people think about it. You can find region-wise beta testers or choose them based on a specific industry, and all of that for free. However, this entire process could take 4 to 8 weeks, but you can speed things up by choosing its paid service.
Beta Bound is a powerful platform that has over 100,000 beta users, ready to provide you feedback. Centercode, its parent company has been in the business of beta testing for over a decade and has extended support to well-known companies like Logitech, Amazon, Alpine, and several others.
Killer start-ups is another popular beta testing platform, which has been around since 2007 and boasts of 6 million page views each year. Since its inception, this beta testing platform has reviewed over 88,000 businesses, which includes some popular names such as Uber and Tinder.
6. Stand out from the rest
Most Digital Marketers tend to “follow the trend” when it comes to launching a product. However, the ones who really make it big are those who dare to take the road less traveled.
So, no matter how successful your competitor has been with his product launch campaign, you must refrain from cashing in on others’ ideas. You need to come up with something that’s more innovative and makes your brand stand out from the rest.
7. Write a Killer Press Release
Your press release is the first piece of info, which you roll out to formally announce the launch of your product. So it should be designed to draw the attention of the target audience. However, it must first pique the interest of the News Editor, by delivering something newsworthy and exciting. Every Editorial receives hundreds of press releases, and unless you grab the attention of the News Editor, they may not bother to publish it.
You need to start off with an enticing headline that is both irresistible and newsworthy. Once you do that, make it a point to keep the reader hooked until the end.
You can do this by following the below-listed steps:
- Start with a headline that generates curiosity and is relevant.
- Pack the most critical newsworthy information in the first paragraph. This should include your product’s USP and the core message that you wish to give out.
- Insert at least a couple of quotes from newsworthy investors or associates. Try including someone who has been in the news earlier, so that you can cite their background and leverage from it.
- Conclude with boilerplate, which is that piece of content which you use to give people an idea about your company, and its footprint.
8. Get the Market ready
Once you have done the groundwork, then it’s time to set the wheels in motion. You can do this with a sound pre-launch campaign. The days when people created a stellar product and then waited for it to prove its worth in the market are long gone. Instead, what you now need to focus on is creating a demand even before its launch.
For example, Amazon starts marketing the Christmas and New Year sales, way before the actual date of the purchase. By doing this, it gives the prospective buyers enough time to get ready for the big deal. You may not be as big as Amazon, but you need to find ways to run pre-launch campaigns that create demand for your product.
Tips for creating a pre-launch campaign
- Offer pre-launch booking discounts.
- Declare an early-bird discount offer.
- Offer more value at the same price, for purchases made during the pre-launch phase.
- Focus on the buyer and what the buyer can expect from the product, in terms of value and savings.
- Get Influencers and Opinion Leaders to talk about your product.
- Don’t miss out on the opportunity to cash-in on pre-launch bookings.
- Give your buyers something to flaunt.
9. Launch in style
Would you like to go where everyone else does? A place where you are not exclusively invited? Now that’s precisely how it works with everyone else. So, create a list of those you wish to invite and shoot them an email or regular mail. Send them an invite to the product launch and also clearly mention that the event is exclusive and only open to invitees. By doing this, you are building an instant connection with the prospective buyer, and that increases the chances of attendance.
To make the product launch event a lot more exciting, rope in some well-known Speakers and Storytellers to increase audience engagement. You must also go that extra mile to make your audience feel special with customized objects such as nameplates. While you do that, make it a point that this should focus on the prospective buyer and identify him or her, individually. So don’t just put your logo onto something and hand it over to them, because that’s solely focussed on you, not them.
10. Plan your Post-Launch Strategy
Before you launch a product, you need to have a sound post-launch plan in place, as that ensures smooth flow of events until you actually crack a sale.
You need to plan this beforehand and also allocate the work to the right professionals, even before you have the entire list of attendees. So, if you plan to run an e-mail campaign, then make sure to have the content ready beforehand. Likewise, if you plan to have telemarketers contacting them, then have the team, sales scripts and everything else in place.
This is critical for the success of your product launch plan because you need to strike at the right time. So you need to take action and follow-up with your prospective buyers, within 3 days from the product launch.
We have listed down some of the most intricate steps involved in planning a product launch. So the entire journey begins with knowing your product, target audience, and finally concludes with the post-launch plan. If you follow these steps and also deliver a high-quality product or service, you considerably increase the chances of achieving your business goals.
Some useful post-launch strategies
- You must stay connected with the attendees through social media, and interact with them.
- Send out newsletters that deliver value to earn the trust of your prospective customers.
- You can also publish whitepapers to prove your expertise and authority, in a particular industry and share it with your prospects.
- Roll out customer stories as your prospective customers would find it easier to connect with another customer.
- Run a referral program, and offer discounts to those who refer.
- Ask for reviews and ratings.