Getting ready for a new product launch?
You’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to your guide to the perfect new product launch.
Product and Market Research For a New Product Launch
Every great product starts with a great idea. So congratulations! If you’re here, you likely already have yours.
But before you jump into launching your product, take the time to do your research and understand your product’s place in the market.
I’ll warn you, this isn’t the glamorous part of the process – it involves hours of research and calculations, but it’s where every successful launch begins.
First, focus on the product itself. How does it differ from what’s on the market today? What’s innovative about it? Describe your product and what service is being marketed.
List out all the features that make it unique, and save that list for later.
Then, take it a step further and dive into the market as a whole. Take a look at the major players and how the industry has shifted over the years. Note any price changes, game-changing innovations, and where you think your product will fit. You should also note strengths and weaknesses among competing products.
And of course, take a good look at the competition. Here, you want to focus on any major strengths or weaknesses you can find in their product.
Say, for example, you’re introducing something relatively common like a new mascara. You can see the industry is filled with waterproof, smudge-proof, and volume enhancing products.
So you know you need a new angle, starting with the problem that your product solves that others don’t, or don’t solve well enough.
Maybe your brush makes it almost impossible to get the too-common goop effect. Maybe it’s something else entirely. The point is, there’s a reason you created this product.
What value does it add that puts it head and shoulders above the competition?
Know Who You’re Reaching and the Problem You’re Solving or a New Product Launch
Once you understand your product’s position in the market, focus on your audience.
A clear understanding of your target audience will not only help you build the best product possible, but how to market a product in a way that appeals directly to prospective buyers.
The specifics of the audience you’re trying to reach will inform your messaging, your creative work, your marketing channels, your timing, and everything you need in order to market your product.
Part of getting to know your audience is knowing their pain points. What bugs them? What stresses them out? What keeps them up at night? And, most importantly, with this knowledge, you can tell them exactly how your product helps solve or ease their irritation and stress.
Launching an ad campaign focused on the technical specs and what it does best may be tempting to you as the product’s creator, but your audience would rather know how your products fit into their lives and solve their problems.
Take a look at the photo below to understand the difference in positioning:
The audience for the original iPod didn’t really care that the device can hold a bunch of stuff in an abstract number of gigabytes. The iPod was successful because Apple knew that people cared about easy access to their entire music library – on-the-go.
Knowing the benefit your product brings will help you craft two things:
- Product Positioning: a statement defining the product in its market and against competitors over time
- Consumer Promise: a statement summarizing the benefit of the product or service to the consumer.
Now that you know the type of messaging you need to focus on, you can begin to form your marketing launch strategy.
How to Launch a Product: Set Success Metrics
While your new product needs to fulfill a purpose for your audience, it’s important that it meets your goals as well.
And no, “sell a bunch” and “make money” aren’t the kind of goals I’m talking about. To accurately measure the success of your product over time, you need to set concrete numbers to keep tabs on.
Your success metrics should look something like this:
- Quarterly and first year goals
- Consecutive goals
- Product solvency
- Measures of success/failure
- Requirements for success
The exact numbers and measurements you set will depend on your industry, market, and product. Just remember, the more specific you are, the more accurate and useful your data will be.
How to Market a Product: Kick Off the New Product Launch with Pre-Orders
Now that you’ve conducted your research and set yourself up for success, it’s time to start building the architecture for your product launch. This starts with the pre-order.
Head on over to Amazon, and you might find that half the books in your recommended reading are available only for pre-order.
While pre-orders might be frustrating if you’re a buyer looking for a product immediately, they do accomplish a few things:
- a) alert you to a new product, and
- b) build excitement about the release.
Allowing people to pre-order lets you connect with the customers most eager to try your product, and helps you gauge the excitement surrounding the new release.
Best case scenario, you rack up a few thousand dollars before your product even debuts to the masses.
Now, in some cases, a pre-order just isn’t possible. Maybe you haven’t determined your pricing or are still putting the finishing touches on the product.
Whatever the case may be, it’s still possible to capitalise on early enthusiasts by offering them access to sign up for updates. That way, they’ll be the first to know when the product is available for purchase.
In order to make sure you’re set up for a successful pre-order phase, don’t forget to:
- Launch a stunning website with information about the upcoming products release. If you’re not ready for a full website, make sure you at least have a landing page that lets people pre-order or sign up.
- Create buzz for your product on social media with complete profiles and a content calendar
- Prep your eCommerce platform, whether that’s Amazon, Shopify or something else.
- Launch a Google Ads campaign and paid social media ads.
- Conduct influencer outreach to generate pre-launch hype in your vertical
Get Influencers on Board
Having a little back up never hurts, especially when it comes to product releases.
If you can get an influential blogger or spokesperson to review, write, or even include a mention of your new product, you’ll essentially gain access to their big, local fan base.
It’s a great way to tap into the power of influencer marketing as well. After all, 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions, and 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.
To find popular bloggers and influencers, you can use a software like Onalytica, designed specifically to target and match brands with appropriate influencers.
Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way with the help of a tool like BuzzSumo. Plug a related keyword or topic into the site, and the results will return the most popular content related to the subject.
From there, click on “view sharers” to see who has shared that content the most. If you find that they often share content on the subject – and most importantly, get a lot of engagement on each post – it’s likely someone you should consider reaching out to.
Or simply conduct a Google search looking for reviews of products related to yours.
Anyone who’s written a review on a similar product may be a well-qualified to write one on yours as well.
It’s worth keeping in mind that micro-influencers (personalities with 1,000 or fewer followers) are more likely to actually review your product in an authentic way, and typically have 60% higher than the Kardashians and macro-influencers of the world.
Create a Dedicated Landing Page For Your New Product Launch (And Use it Well)
No new product launch is complete without its own landing page.
This is the Emerald City at the end of your yellow Brick Road: all touchpoints lead here. Your ads, emails, social profiles, etc.
Naturally, you need to make sure that once consumers get there, it’s impressive and enticing enough to make them stick around (and convert).
Usually, you want to build up your landing page before your product officially launches. It serves as a tool to introduce your product to the masses, and hopefully, get an initial customer base started.
Take a look at this example from Tapster.
It’s clean and simple, with a clear headline (and even an added incentive to sign up for early access).
Or, take a page out of Harry’s book. The razor company launched back in 2014 with a strategy and landing page that quickly skyrocketed the brand from nobody’s to the somebody’s of men’s razors.
They used a two-part landing page experience. The first was used as a splash page for users to enter their email addresses.
Once entered, users unlocked the second page: a personalized landing page where customers could refer friends through social media buttons. By sharing, users were entered into drawings for prizes. The more friends who signed up, the bigger the prize.
Pretty genius, right? Not only did they get the initial user excited about the product, but they created a way to make them want to recommend the product to friends.
Everything about the pages, from the headline to the prized and even the share tracker, was designed to draw customers in and want to play the game.
Not only did this tactic look good, it worked extremely effectively: Harry’s was able to gather nearly 100,000 email addresses in one week.
Lesson learned? The best way to spread the word is to get users to do it for you. Think of a strategy that encourages referrals, and always make your page easy to share by including social sharing icons.
Use Social Media to Tease Your New Product Launch
Social media is an awesome channel for promoting new products.
It allows you to speak directly to the audience you care about most and have a little fun with it in the process.
In fact, it’s ideal for pre-launch buzz-building.
Do that by dropping hints about product teasers, exclusive previews, and sneak peeks. Ask your audience to add the conversation by guessing what they think the product is or even give feedback on color or size options, etc.
It’s also great to feature new products in your profile cover photos and link to the landing page in your bio. As it gets closer to launch, consider including countdown timers to help build anticipation.
Samsung did a great job of this with Galaxy Unpacked campaign this year. Using social media, they simply featured images hyping the live-stream release event:
In order to execute a successful strategy, it’s important to start your planning early (even months in advance). Plan the content you intend to share, write your posts, and get them ready to go in a social software like MeetEdgar.
Create a Product Video For Your New Product Launch
I think we can all agree video’s pretty big right now, so big it accounts for roughly 80% of all internet traffic.
So why not use it to your advantage?
Videos for products don’t have to be hard-sell commercials. Think of them as little bites of your product, explaining and displaying how your product will benefit your audience.
Like a movie trailer, it should be used to highlight key benefits and build anticipation for the product release.
This is the route I took before the official release of “Social Media Marketing: The Movie” to help build some buzz:
Once you have your video crafted, distribute to all your social channels. Optimize it for YouTube, and even consider using it as a YouTube ad.
How to Market a Product: Launch an Email Campaign
No new product launch is complete without an email campaign to promote it.
Whether you’re a brand new startup or an established company getting ready to announce a new product, emails are a cornerstone of how to market a product.
The tone of the email and how you structure it will have a lot to do with the overall voice and brand identity your company already has or is trying to create.
If you’re Apple, your launch emails will be super sleek, with minimal text and strong visuals.
If you’re Harry’s razor company, your emails will focus more on conversational, clever text, playful imagery, and key benefits.
Whichever kind of company you are, your emails should accomplish a few things regardless of your brand personality:
- Come in a launch series, usually of at least 3
- Promote the unique features of your product
- No clutter – use scarce images and text, just enough to support your message
- Include a strong CTA leading to the product landing page
- Use a creative, concise subject line
- Include the release date
Run Social Ads For Your New Product Launch
Social ads may be your best bet when it comes to advertising your new product.
Why? Because platforms like Facebook and its sister company Instagram feature advanced targeting options to get your ad in front of the most qualified buyers.
Facebook and Google offer advanced algorithms and targeting abilities to serve your ads as specifically as possible to your target market and set them for a traffic or conversion goal. This will help send as many people as possible to your landing page in the early days of your pre-launch.
Once you’ve run a successful initial campaign, consider running a remarketing ad campaign to keep users engaged once they’ve visited, before and after your product launch date and send them back to your site as you post new information.
However, these aren’t the only platforms at your disposal. Twitter has similar capabilities for targeting sponsored tweets, and LinkedIn can be extremely effective for B2B products and services.
Host an Event Surrounding Your New Product Launch
It’s customary to hold release parties, right?
Of course. When it comes to the launch date, a simple “it’s here!” email won’t cut it. You need to make people take notice by hosting a real, live event.
After all, if you want people to be excited about your product, you need to show that you’re excited about it too.
That doesn’t mean you have to host giant, Apple-esque party with ball gowns and red carpets. It does mean doing something outside the norm to let people know something big is happening.
Rent a venue, hire a band, and invite key influencers in your industry. Take plenty of pictures and videos to send out via social media and post to your Instagram Story.
Or, get creative like Netflix did with the 2016 release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”
To celebrate (and advertise), they set up their own versions of the iconic Luke’s Diner throughout different cities. Each location featured custom cups with a Snap code that features a custom Geofilter when scanned.
To be fair, not all companies have the time and resources to get that detailed, and that’s okay. But all companies can use this example for a little inspiration.
Think about it: what’s one of the most recognizable features of your new product, and how can you use it to get people engaged?
Don’t Lose Sight of the Details
As fun as the creative and buzz-building may be, the success of each new product launch lies in the nitty-gritty details.
You need a clear distribution strategy ready to go. Which channels will you be using? Is your website eCommerce ready, or are you distributing through a larger retailer like Amazon?
Beyond that, you should be able to show a plan of what percent share of distribution will be contributed by each channel (I recommend using a pie chart to show this as accurately as possible).
Even smaller details like packaging come into play here. You may not think it, but everything about your product’s look, including packaging has an impact on how your audience perceives your product – not to mention the effect fancy packaging has on your overall costs.
Generally, you want everything about the look of your product to be in line with your brand. Again, think of Apple: all of its products are sleek, minimal, and modern and come packaged in a clean, white box, immediately recognizable as an Apple product.
You want your products to mimic that level of iconic, recognizable appearance.
Get Your New Product Launch Ready on Amazon
If you’re planning to distribute through Amazon (and if you’re selling a physical product, you absolutely should), you have some work to do.
If you’re new to the network, you’ll first need to decide if you’re going to sell as a vendor or a seller. For help getting started, check out my complete guide here.
Get to work optimizing your listing and making sure it’s as competitive as possible.
Luckily, you have plenty of tools at your disposal to help you keep tabs on the competition and figure out where your product fits into the niche.
And when it comes to optimization, you’ll need to rely on keyword research to make sure your product titles, descriptions, images, and features are able to found by your audience and Amazon’s algorithm.
Want more info on how to properly optimize? I’ve got you covered here.
Make a BIG Deal About Your New Product on Launch Day
Launch day should feel a little like Christmas morning. It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, and if you’ve launched your pre-release strategy right, your customers have too.
Your launch day needs to be a big deal, with all the magic, ornaments, celebration, and bells and whistles of the most amazing Christmas morning your inner child can imagine.
You should plan for a special blog post, a special email, and special social posts that all go live in tandem with your product. You need a new landing page unveiling the live product and new social and Google Ads that point to it.
Find guest posting opportunities with business owners you know who may be open to it, and use the post to highlight your product and provide links back to it.
On top of that, you’ll want to craft a new press release to push to the masses, and consider using sites like HARO (help a reporter out) to find journalists looking to promote stories like yours.
Don’t Lose Momentum Post-Launch
The work doesn’t end once you’ve reached the launch day.
Most launches aren’t measurable as a success or failure until a year later. Results take time, and to continue to get them, you have to continue to nurture your launch strategy.
It makes sense: you don’t want your product to just be the latest flashy gadget that dies out after a day or two. Post- launch and through the full life of your product, you need to remain active on social media.
Now that people know and even own your product, fill your page with how-to’s, tips and helper posts and videos. Ask your audience for questions and feedback about the product, and engage with them.
Continue to run ads on social sites and Google Ads to lead prospects back to your product page, and look for new opportunities to partner with influencers as you continue to promote your product.
Try sending your product to 30 bloggers for the first 3 months after release to keep reviews and promotions coming in steadily.
You also need to bake retention into your strategy. Now that you have a few customers, you need a way to keep them. Consider hosting product webinars, Q&As, and share case studies and user reviews to increase the longevity of your product.
Wrapping Up How to Launch a Product
The bottom line is this: a successful product launch requires planning, and lots of it.
Each individual aspect must fit into a larger strategy, and as you consider how to market a product, you need to develop cohesive messaging designed to create buzz and build anticipation.
Obviously, this doesn’t come together overnight. Product releases (and pre-releases) are planned months in advance. The most successful ones even have backup plans in case any element comes up short. Get started with these steps to plan for your future success.