Welcome back for part 2 of getting you from idea to successful product launch and today we’ll be creating the actual product launch strategy. You will learn ten essential steps, and how to implement them.
If you haven’t gone through part 1 – you can you listen on the podcast, or read the blog article – it makes sense to go through that first. Because I cover four types of product launches, which you can use as stages that grow your launch muscles: seed launches, internal launches, joint venture launches and evergreen launches.
Whichever product launch strategy you choose, there’s a process I want to share that will give you the very best opportunity for a successful product launch in terms of getting great engagement with the offer, sign ups and sales.
And I like to break that process into ten steps so you can work on each one to line everything up without skipping any critical pieces of the formula.
That’s not because it’s super complicated and requires a huge list of things to get done, but it’s a bit more work required than 3 or 5 steps might imply. Giving you ten steps helps breaks it down into manageable tasks you can set time aside to get done.
If you want the 10-step guide from this podcast/article, I’ll be sharing the link towards the end of this episode that’s going to help you take action and move through the steps.
So let’s get started with your first step.
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Step #1 – Identify Your Target Audience
Right from the outset of your idea of the product you want to create and launch, the first step is to identify your target audience. I bet you think well yes of course, and I’ve done all that, but hold on a second…
Let me explain why identifying your target audience is crucial for product launch success. Firstly, knowing your target audience helps you create a product that meets their specific needs and preferences. And you’ll really need to dig deep on this for a successful product launch.
Second, identifying your target audience helps you to tailor your marketing efforts to reach them more effectively. By understanding the pain points, desires, and buying habits of your ideal customer, you can design a product that solves their problems and appeals to their interests.
In practical terms, this means creating messaging that speaks to their values and motivations, using the channels and platforms they frequent, and creating content that addresses their pain points.
Ultimately, for all these reasons, identifying your target audience and ideal customer is going to save you a bunch of wasted effort, and increase the likelihood of success.
By targeting a specific audience, you can save time and money on marketing efforts that are not relevant to them. This means avoiding advertising channels and strategies that don’t resonate with your ideal customer, and instead focusing on those that are more likely to generate conversions.
Ok, so what needs to happen for you to identify your target audience in an effective way so that your product launch strategy can succeed? Well, there are four tasks that are really worthwhile spending time on. It’s the solid foundations you need.
Research your audience: gather information about potential customers, such as demographics, psychographics, and behaviours.
Define your ideal customer: create a profile of your ideal customer based on your research.
Use customer feedback: ask existing customers what they like about your products and what they wish you would offer.
Conduct market research: analyse market trends, identify gaps in the market that your product could fill, and ensure that your product is positioned effectively in that marketplace.
Launching a product without knowing your target audience is a recipe for failure. By identifying your target ideal customer and creating a product that meets their specific needs, you increase the likelihood of success.
Getting super specific and meeting your audience at the stage of problem awareness they’re at is going to generate more revenue for your business each time you launch and promote the offer.
How you can go about identifying your ideal customer isn’t a hop, skip and a jump. You’ll want to invest a fair amount of time in these important foundation tasks, which brings us to the second step in our product launch strategy, and that’s to validate your product idea is a go-er.
Step #2 – Validate Your Product’s Value Proposition
Before you can build out your product offer, you need to research who is your best fit customer for the particular product you are launching, and what’s your unique selling point as a value proposition.
First, Gather Key Information
Aligning with your ideal target audience involves gathering information about your potential customers, such as their demographics (that is for example, their age, gender, income level), and psychographics (that is values, attitudes, beliefs, preferences), and behaviours (such as shopping habits, social media use).
Second, Define Your Ideal Customer
Based on your research, create a profile of your ideal customer. This should include a description of their needs, pain points, and desires, as well as their buying habits and preferences. By defining your ideal customer, you’ll be much more likely to achieve a successful product launch. When you have a better understanding of who you should be targeting with your product and marketing efforts, your messaging will really resonate strongly with the right people.
Third, Use Customer Feedback
If you already have an existing customer base, use their feedback to refine your target audience’s needs and preferences. Ask your customers what they like about your products and what they wish you would offer. Use this feedback to make your product more appealing to your target market.
And finally, Conduct Deeper Market Research
Focused market research will help you to validate your product-market fit and give you some key language for your sales copy and messaging.
Market research doesn’t have to be intense or long-winded, it just needs to be structured yet exploratory. What this means is looking at your competitors, analysing market trends, and identifying gaps in the market that your product could fill.
But importantly, talking to your target market helps you identify the best problem language that will speak to the issues your ideal customer is experiencing and make them feel heard and understood.
By conducting a few interviews, you can test assumptions and your working theory. This way, you won’t have any surprises down the road when you launch and hopefully you won’t hear ‘crickets’– the sound of no-one engaging or buying.
Armed with market research, you’ll be better equipped to make sure your product is truly meeting people’s needs and is positioned effectively in the marketplace at the appropriate price point.
Part of this involves defining your value proposition and USP – that is, your unique selling proposition, which positions your offer as relevant and compelling to your ideal customers and highlights the value in relation to your pricing.
Analyse competitor products: research similar products in the market and identify what makes your product unique and desirable.
Use surveys: send surveys to your email list or social media followers to gather feedback on your product idea.
Refine your product idea and pricing based on feedback: use the feedback gathered from your Seed Launch or surveys to refine and improve your product.
This is a great time to conduct a Seed Launch, where you offer your product to a small group of people at a low ‘pilot’ or introductory price, in exchange for feedback and testimonials. When people say yes and part with money, you will know that your product has legs.
Step #3 – Develop and Test Your Product
Often, you can pre-sell your product even before you’ve fully built it! Here’s the process:
- Create a minimum viable product: develop a prototype or minimum viable product to test with your small pilot group of people.
- Create product features and benefits: define the features and benefits of your product and how they solve your target audience’s pain points.
- Determine pricing strategy: decide on a pricing strategy that reflects the value of your product and aligns with your target audience’s budget.
- Develop branding and packaging: create branding and packaging that reflects your product’s unique value proposition and appeals to your target audience.
This is a really useful step when you are first seeding or piloting a new product.
For a successful product launch, initially, you’re looking to create only a minimum viable version of your product that you will refine and build out over time. Rapid prototyping is a really important way to test in three key ways.
First, you’re testing that people want what you’re offering, including the format and price point you’re offering it.
Second, you’re testing that people have a great experience of your product.
And third, you’re testing that people get the benefit or result you promise your product delivers.
Of course, this process will hopefully also generate some great feedback and testimonials you can feed into future marketing and launches.
Creating a prototype of some kind is another important piece of foundation work. You don’t want to spend time, energy and money to launch a product that flops. That can be super demotivating, obviously.
And it’s not that your product is a bad idea it’s only that you don’t yet have the angles right.
What you’re working towards is knowing that not only does the product appeal to your ideal target customers, it also that it delivers on the promise of your sales narrative.
By creating a “minimum viable” product, you can test the product idea fast and then build on for a fuller launch down the line.
Step #4 – Build Your Email List
If you don’t have much of an email list, you can use a piece of your product as a magnet to check it appeals to your target market. The right audience will opt-in and engage with your follow up emails or with you directly.
- Create a lead magnet: offer a free resource or incentive to encourage people to sign up for your email list.
- Optimise your website: ensure that your website is optimised to capture leads and that the sign-up process is simple and streamlined.
- Use social media: promote your lead magnet and email list on social media platforms to expand your reach.
- Partner with other businesses: collaborate with other businesses in your industry to expand your email list through joint promotions and partnerships.
Even if you already have an email list and you’re planning to do an internal launch, doing the prototyping in two phases using the lead magnet approach can help you build out a campaign for yourself later on and for bigger JV launches.
And of course, if your market research suggests your product is likely to be popular and your current clients are keen, you can do both simultaneously, which leads us on the step 5.
Step #5 – Create Your Marketing Campaign
You know the phrase: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Well, that’s how it is with a product launch strategy. Creating a marketing campaign to promote your product is an important part of any launch.
Big or small, it helps to map out the structure and flow. You want to think about this as a journey and design it from your potential customer’s perspective. What’s the thing they most need help with based on the stage of awareness they have? What do they need next? And then what …and so forth.
- Create a launch plan: develop a launch plan that sets out what pages, emails and content needs to be developed.
What you’re creating is essentially a successful product launch plan that outlines the specific content and engagement you want your target audience to go through, which ultimately leads them to your offer.
- Use scarcity and urgency: create a sense of scarcity and urgency by offering limited-time promotions or special bonus deals.
You can also explore opportunities to get your product offer in front of other people’s audiences by getting partners involved and having them send people through your marketing campaign. They may wish to add in their own bonuses to incentivise people to sign up. And of course, you will want to offer them a reward, either a commission on sales or prizes or both.
- Consider influencer marketing: partner with influencers in your industry to promote your pre-launch content and generate more buzz.
- Consider affiliate marketing: partner with affiliates to promote your product in exchange for a commission on sales.
And that takes us to step number 6.
Step #6 – Prepare Your Promotional Launch Content
Your promotional launch content or ‘PLC’ are the breadcrumb trail you set out you’re your target customers. Each piece is a great opportunity to challenge some of the thinking AND showcases your authority as an expert.
Oftentimes, our messaging is misaligned with where someone is in the customer awareness journey. We don’t realise. For example, you won’t be successful trying to sell water to people who don’t yet see they have a dehydration problem – they’re walking around with a headache and are only symptom aware not problem aware.
This means they mis-diagnose the cause of their problem and think that a pain pill is the solution. But if they drank some water, the headache can go away on its own. And of course, if they kept themselves properly hydrated, they would avoid that kind of headache in the future!
A successful product launch strategy will take a person through an education of what they need to know, understand and believe to see that your product is what they need. But at the outset they’re likely looking for something else. Their world view is that if you have a headache, you take a paracetamol or Tylenol.
I like to think of PLC as TLC for your launch participants – you want to take tender loving care of them, and share it in the form of a story that starts with where they’re currently at (with the headache) and takes them where they’ll get a solution (drink more water not pop a pill).
Joining up the PLC pieces over an email sequence and hosting a webinar will help shorten the customer journey from hearing about you to buying from you. If you can blend in stories or case studies, so much the better – they really help people get to know, like and trust you.
Here are some tips for organising and creating your PLC pieces.
Develop a content calendar: plan out your pre-launch content to ensure that it aligns with your launch date and product messaging.
Create teaser content: generate buzz for your product by creating teaser content that highlights the benefits of your product and the problems it solves.
Use multiple content formats: create a mix of content formats, such as videos, blog posts, social media posts, emails to reach your target audience on multiple platforms.
For your social posts, take some time to find engaging images and intriguing headlines that will draw people’s attention.
Create an outline first for the overall sequence of emails to get clear on the purpose of each one in the series. These are the glue that joins all the content together, and leads people to the appropriate call to action at each stage of the product launch strategy and marketing campaign.
Once you know your lead magnet converts and your product delivers great results, you can add more pieces into your product launch strategy.
Step #7 – Launch Your Product
Launching means kicking off your product launch strategy by running the marketing campaign you build in steps 5 and 6.
For a low intensity launch that runs over a few days – so for a seed launch or internal launch, your product launch strategy is a simple campaign, perhaps one lead magnet, a few emails and your sales page.
- Decide on your launch date: based on the steps above and intensity of your marketing campaign, work out how long it will take you to get launch ready and set a date to go live.
- Ramp up your launch: you can increase the success of a launch by building out a campaign with more than one lead magnet.
For a high intensity launch involving partners, you will want to have more content pieces, more emails, and will want to blend in a ‘conversion’ event like a webinar or workshop or bootcamp. It will likely run over 2-3 weeks.
- Use paid advertising: once you know your marketing campaign works, you can invest in targeted advertising to reach more of your target audience and generate more sales.
It’s best to launch your product using the simple campaign to a warm market first before embarking on a full blown multi-faceted campaign and having others promote it. If the offer doesn’t land well, you’ll have egg on your face!
Once you know there’s a good product-market fit, you can really ramp up the success of a launch by building out a campaign with lots more moving parts This is a great way to give a whole lot of value so people can see the quality and usefulness of your material.
Having a full PLC driven campaign will increase how many new people you get on your list in any given launch, especially if you’re using Joint Venture partners and having their subscribers become your subscribers too.
Step #8 – Follow Up with Customers
Following up with customers who buy your product, program or service means ensuring they are properly onboarded and have a great experience getting started.
- Provide exceptional customer service: prioritise customer service and respond promptly to inquiries and issues.
- Gather customer feedback: collect feedback from customers asking key questions around their entire end-to-end experience from initial contact to buyer.
- Upsell and cross-sell: offer additional products or services that complement your initial product to increase customer lifetime value.
- Create a loyalty program: incentivise repeat purchases and reward customer loyalty with a loyalty program.
Step #9 – Analyse Your Results
Evaluating your success is important
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Identify and track key metrics: analyse the success of your launch by reviewing the core KPIs of opt-in rates, engagement with your emails (opens, clicks) and conversion rates into sales.
Analyse customer feedback: gather feedback from customers to identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth.
Identify successes and failures: evaluate the success of each aspect of your launch and identify what worked well and what needs improvement.
Use data to inform future launches: use the data gathered from your launch to inform future product launches and marketing strategies.
Step #10 – Refine Your Product & Marketing Strategy
Refine the product, and marketing messaging and campaign based on feedback, experience and conversions. Your launches should do better each time, in theory.
However, bear in mind that the risk landscape and market environment that you’re launching into is not static. So, it pays to test assumptions every run and pivot at the earliest opportunity, even if it’s mid launch!
- Use customer feedback: use customer feedback to refine and improve your product.
- Experiment with marketing tactics: test new marketing tactics and strategies to see what works best for your target audience.
- Stay up-to-date with market trends: stay informed on market trends and changes that may impact your product and marketing strategy.
- Stay connected with your target audience: continue to engage with your target audience through email marketing, social media, and other channels to maintain relationships and gather feedback.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND FIRST NEXT STEP
Launching a new product can be a challenging and daunting process, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Overall, creating, promoting, and launching a new product takes a lot of effort and planning, but following these ten steps can help ensure that your launch is successful and sets your business up for long-term growth and success.
By way of a quick recap on the ten steps, I’ve created a checklist with all ten steps and sub-tasks that you can use to work through the process. To get it, just hop over to my Academy free stuff page, and you’ll find it and many other goodies to help with strategic marketing for business growth.
Identifying your target audience is a crucial foundation to launching a successful product. By doing your research, defining your ideal customer, using customer feedback, and conducting market research, and defining your unique value proposition for selling your product. Those who skip these critical foundation steps, will struggle to create a product that meets the needs of your target audience and is positioned effectively in the market.
Bonus step – Repeat the Process!
- Launch new products: continue to develop and launch new products that meet the needs and desires of your target audience.
- Use what you learned: apply what you learned from your previous launch to improve future launches and grow your business.
- Stay adaptable: be willing to adapt to changes in the market and adjust your strategies accordingly.
- Stay passionate: remain passionate about your business and products to inspire others and maintain momentum.
By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can create a solid plan and increase your chances of a successful product launch.
Remember to stay focused, stay organised, and stay connected with your target audience throughout the process.
It’s important to remember that not every launch will be a massive success, but that’s okay. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow, and to make your next launch even better. So don’t be discouraged if your first launch doesn’t go as planned – use what you learned to make your next launch even stronger.
So, that’s it for today but I want to urge you to take action – take the first step. The initial thing you might need help with when it comes to launching a new product is likely identifying your target audience. It can be challenging to determine who your product is for, how to articulate its value to them as buyers, and how to reach them effectively.
Conducting market research, analysing customer data, and developing buyer personas can all help in this process. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your target audience in order to create a product and marketing strategy that resonates with them and drives sales.
Once you’re through the first three steps, you’ll feel a whole lot clearer on your product offer and how it fits your ideal target audience. From there, building out the messaging and campaign structure will flow much more freely.
Finally, remember, and you all know this for sure: building a successful business takes time and effort, but with hard work and determination, you can achieve your goals and create something truly amazing.
Good luck, and happy launching!