Getting ready for a new product launch?
You came to the right place.
In this article, I am going to teach you how to do the perfect new product launch.
Product and Market Research For a New Product Launch
Every great product starts with a great idea.
For our purposes, I’m assuming you have that already. But before you get ahead of yourself, you need to take the time to do your research and understand your product’s place in your industry.
I’ll warn you, this isn’t the glamorous part of the process – it involves books, Google, and calculators – 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.
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-inducing products.
So you know you need a new angle. You need to find the problem that your product solves that others don’t, or don’t solve well enough.
Maybe it’s application. Maybe the technology of 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 For a New Product Launch
Next, focus on your audience. A clear understanding of who your target audience is will not only help you build the best product possible, but market it in a way that appeals to them directly.
The specifics of the audience you’re trying to reach will inform your language, your creatives, your channels, your timing, etc.
Part of getting to know your audience is knowing their pain points. What bugs them? Stresses them out? Keeps them up at night? And, most importantly, how does your product help solve or ease that irritation or stress?
Remember, this is a benefits game.
Launching an ad campaign focused on the technical specs and what it does best may be tempting to you, but it won’t sit well with your audience.
They want to know how the product affects them. They want to know how it fits into their lives, and solves their problems.
Take a look at the photo below.
Your audience doesn’t really care that your device can hold a bunch of stuff; they care that they’ll have easy access to their entire music library – on-the-go.
Knowing the benefit your product brings will help you craft two things:
- Product Positioning – Statement that distinctly defines the product in its market and against its competition over time
- Consumer Promise – 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.
Set Success Metrics For Your New Product Launch
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” of stuff isn’t the goal 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:
- First year goals
- Additional year goals
- 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 your results will be.
Get Opinion Leaders and Bloggers On Board With Your New Product Launch
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, loyal 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 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.
Once you’ve found the influencers and experts you want to reach out to, start sending them free samples of your product ahead of the launch date and ask for a review and promotion.
Allow Pre-Orders of Your New Product Launch
Head on over to Amazon, and you might find that half the books in your recommended reading are available only for pre-order.
It may not be quite what you were looking for, but it does accomplish a few things: a.) alert you to a new product, and b.) build excitement about the release.
As a brand, you can accomplish the same things, whether you’re selling books or not.
Allowing people to pre-order lets you connect with the customers most eager about your product, and even lets you gauge the excitement surrounding the new release.
And best case scenario, you rack 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 finishing touches on the product.
Whatever the case may be, it’s still possible to capitalize 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.
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.
So naturally, you need to make sure it’s impressive and enticing enough to make customers stick around (and convert).
Usually, you want to put 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 page coded specifically to each user, where they could refer friends through social media buttons. By sharing, users could earn a free prize. 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.
And, seeing as how Harry’s was able to gather nearly 100,000 email addresses in one week, I’d say it worked.
Lesson learned? The best way to spread the word is to get your users to do it for you. Think of a strategy that encourages referrals, and alwasy make your page easy to share by including social sharing icons.
Use Social Media to Tease Your New Product Launch
Social media’s 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. You don’t even have to reveal the product; you just need to build buzz.
Do that by dropping hints, product teasers, exclusive previews, and sneak peaks. 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 when launching their new phone back in 2016. Using Instagram, they featured only a mysterious black box and the caption “get ready for #TheNextGalaxy.” No product pictures, details, nothing.
And the lack of information is exactly what makes it so intriguing. C’mon, who doesn’t want to know what’s in the box?
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 why not use it to your advantage?
Think of them as mini product commercials, explaining and displaying how your product will benefit your audience.
And, 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.
Launch an Email Campaign
No new product launch is complete without an email campaign to promote it.
Whether you’re brand new or an established company announce a new product, emails are some of the best ways to reach an audience.
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 text and highlighting key benefits.
Whichever kind of company you are, your emails should always accomplish a few things:
- 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 feature advanced targeting options to get your ad in front of the most qualified buyers.
Use Facebook and Google to target 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 back to your landing page in the early days of your pre-launch.
Then, consider running a remarketing ad campaign to keep users engaged once they’ve visited, before and after your product launch date.
Similarly, try promoting some of your Tweets on Twitter (these can also be targeted based on demographics and interests).
And, if your audience occupies the B2B space, consider a LinkedIn ad. If it’s more B2C, Instagram might be a better option.
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 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 Forget the Details of Your New Product Launch
It’s not all fun and games and launch strategies when it comes to new products. A lot of your success lies in the details.
For one, you need a clear distribution strategy ready to go. Which channels will you be using? Your website? 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 from the look of the product itself to the packaging it comes in is important – not to mention the effect it could have 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 and packaging are sleek, minimal, and modern.
Each immediately recognizable as an Apple product, and you want your products to mimic that approach.
Get Your New Product Launch Ready on Amazon
If your 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 with that, check out my complete guide here.
Then, you need to go about 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 some good ol’ 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 is a little like Christmas. It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, and if you’ve launched your pre-release strategy right, your customers have too.
And Christmas is a big deal. There’s presents, fancy packaging, and lights and ornaments abound.
Your launch day needs to be a big deal too. You need the bells and whistles to signal the Big Day’s arrived.
Which means you need a special blog post, a special email, and special social posts. You need a new landing page unveiling the live product and a new social and AdWords ads that point to it.
Find guest posting opportunities with anyone 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.
In fact, most launches aren’t declared a success until a year later. Results take time, and to continue to get them, you have to continue to nurture your launch strategy.
Keep 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 in comments.
Continue to run ads on social sites and AdWords to lead prospects back to your product page, and look for new opportunities to partner with influencers.
Try sending your product to 30 bloggers for the next 3 months to see how many reviews and promotions you can get.
And ultimately, turn your strategy to retention. 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.
Concluding Your New Product Launch
The bottom line is this: a successful product launch requires planning, and lots of it.
Each individual aspect must fit into a larger strategy, with 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.
So use what I’ve listed above to guide yours.