Tech giant Apple is the master of product launches. The first iPad sold 300,000+ WiFi-only units on launch day. The iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units within 3 days. The iPhone 3G sold over a million units on its launch weekend.
Despite being a luxury brand, Apple products still sell extremely well.
The reason? Aside from their premium features and user-friendly interfaces, Apple has also mastered the art of the product launch. They have a way of getting people so excited that hundreds would line up outside their stores days ahead of their release.
It may sound all exciting: the money and success that will come as a result of your product launch. But like any other business endeavor, a product launch takes time and careful planning.
A launch plan will be your guide as you prepare for months before the target release date of your product.
That said, having a launch plan template is a must. The product launch plan template is a roadmap typically managed by the product marketing team to coordinate with other teams as you prepare for the launch.
Your product launch plan acts as the blueprint that represents the bigger plans and goals for the launch, without necessarily being too detailed. It makes your teammates and other stakeholders aware of the entire process of the launch.
When using a template, you can assign the roles of each team member, from the product design team to other departments like marketing, sales, and management.
The planning phase is also an important period to evaluate the marketplace/competition, do SWOT analysis, determine ROI, as well as measure success and communications planning.
An integral part of planning a launch is understanding your target audience. This is highly important because the language, channels, and information you use to communicate with and appeal to one demographic may be different and not as effective with another.
Clearly defining your target audience gives you direction and consistency in your marketing and messaging. It also helps your company to authentically connect with your customers.
According to David Kley of Web Design and Company, “Understand the target audience and how to reach them effectively, both with the ad and mentally. Get in the mind of your target audience and understand where the best place to reach them is and how they will interpret your ad. Then cater your marketing plan accordingly.”
It would also help to establish a “persona” for which your brand is intended. Personas are generally based on user research which understands the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target audience. This way, you can learn the likes and dislikes of your target audience.
The research should show which domains the target personas frequently visit. If they are seen frequenting social media, that’s where you may want to focus.
According to Grant Cardone, a renowned sales trainer and real estate mogul, obscurity kills businesses.
This means that you need to be present on all social media to make sure your company’s name is known. Creating an awareness in your potential customer will eventually lead them to buying your product.
Despite competing with tech giants like Apple and Samsung, smaller companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi still achieved great success and billions of revenue. Their secret? Working with influencers and brand ambassadors.
Employing credible brand ambassadors will help give your brand a boost on social media, spread positive messages and influence consumer sales. The most effective are those who are able to provide customer service and act as spokespeople for your brand.
Also, make pre-orders possible. Pre-order gives your product the look of luxury while also giving you a rough statistic of sales and your fans.
Kristopher Jones of LSEO.com says, “You want to create a buzz around your product before its launch. One of the best ways to do this is to offer discounts for preorders, free first-time uses, and beta participation rewards that entice users to buy upon launch. This is awesome product promotion, too. No one expects a product to be perfect in beta, so test, gather feedback and refine! “
The first 90 days after your product launch is a key timeframe for customer retention. That is why planning the onboarding process before your product launch is a crucial step.
It does not apply to all products, especially if your product is consumable like, say, food items. But if your product involves using certain services by your company, it is highly important to streamline the onboarding process. This means envisioning the customer experience as they use your product on the first day, first week, and the first month after the launch.
If you can’t onboard your first users properly, you’ll get a lot of negative reception and this will hurt your brand.
Ask yourself questions while creating your onboarding plan. Things like:
- “How does the customer buy our product?”
- “How does the customer receive the product?”
- “How will the customer know how to use the product?”
- “How will it be installed?”
- “How will the customer get help if they need help?”
This way, you can determine whether or not to invest in a customer service hotline, include user manuals with the document or on your website, create walk-through videos.
If customers enjoy the process, they are likely to stay with you and recommend your company and products to others.
As a pro-tip, it would also be helpful to planning the next version of your product.
According to Ahmad Kareh of Twistlab Marketing, “Taking a long time to perfect your product before going to market could be the reason it fails. Release it, and start planning the next model. Keep your eyes wide open for consumer feedback. If you make a mistake, own it and make it right. This way, you're not only gaining the customers' loyalty, but you're positioning yourself as an ethical innovator who takes the customers' feedback to heart."
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