Follow this product launch checklist and not miss a thing
Product managers are usually the first people in a company responsible for product launches. They take care of the bigger projects, such as creating a product strategy and positioning, as well as the smaller ones, such as the writing of user stories. They will also manage and coordinate various teams involved in product releases and make sure that it is accomplished.
A product manager also needs to create a list of critical points that need to be fulfilled before the product gets launched. This means creating a product launch checklist that will help determine when the product is ready for release. This article created by our team at TMS provides an exemplary product launch checklist.
This is not an exhaustive product launch checklist. The criteria will inevitably vary from product to product and the company will differ. Nevertheless, it should be a good indicator of what you need before the launch.
Feel free to use this product launch checklist as a template, then add your ideas, which can increase your sales potential exponentially.
The product launch checklist
Step 1: Writing a Positioning Statement
The first and possibly the most important step with product development is knowing your potential customer base. This statement will change and affect your entire development and planning, so take your time to analyze the market and identify your competition as well as your product goals.
A good product positioning statement should aim to answer these three key questions:
- Who will use the product?
- What does it do?
- How and why is it different from the rest?
You can go even deeper and devise a more detailed strategy that will make your branding more unique.
- Exactly what segment of your target audience will likely buy your product?
- What will your brand name be?
- In which category does your product stand?
- How does the product differ from the rest in this category?
Step 2: Your Media Plan
Knowing how to advertise and market your product in the media is an important part of your launch. The product will only be launched once, so devise your media plan meticulously and aim for maximum impact.
You’ll need to know how to communicate your product to the media. It’s important to clearly and concisely convey how your product is different so that the customers know exactly what they’re getting. Define your unique selling points.
Step 3: Build Your Audience
You must also build up your audience to spread the word. Normally, you can’t go “viral” without an audience.
It’s crucial that your audience is prepared for the launch. You can communicate with your potential customers about their needs and wants, and plan your launch based on their feedback.
You need to create some momentum for Day 1, by building the “hype” around your product, to increase your chances of having a good launch.
This vital preparation will ensure some guaranteed sales from the beginning and these satisfied customers will spread the word about your product even further.
Step 4: Amplify
The next step is to amplify your launch, which means reaching out to people who can help you advertise the product.
Ideally, they should be active influencers within the product’s domain. Find out who they are, then create a list of 25-500 potential influencers who can help your launch. To know who should be your influencers, you need to know who will be your customers.
Once the list is complete, contact your influencers and ask whether they would help and provide an incentive for them to be interested in the product?
Step 5: Share Your Messaging
This step can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. You need to get your pitch across, and not everyone will agree with your ideas at the start, including your coworkers, customers, prospects.
Start with people who might be slightly more forgiving and give you some leeway. If these can be persuaded that the plan is decent, you can then contact the executives and pitch them your idea. Ask questions, and gather as much intel as possible, which will serve you well at launch time.
Step 6: Define Your Go-To Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy is a crucial part of the planning. Is it the funnel strategy, or the flywheel strategy?
No matter which one you choose, it must be completely organized and every little detail is taken care of. To prevent a messy launch, you can use a template that will help define your strategy.
This step also takes into consideration what you’ll use to promote your content and get it through the awareness, consideration and purchase decision stages. Planning the content is important, but making it happen is more challenging.
Not all content for launch will be organic. Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and track how your content is successful.
Step 7: Beta Testing
Beta testing should be the next step of the product launch checklist. Create a list of affiliates and send them your product so that they can review it. The importance of feedback at this stage is crucial to help you determine your next goals. Make sure it’s easy for these affiliates to review by including a swipe copy for blogs and social media.
This stage will help you learn more about how the product is received without launching it, which eliminates the risk of a quick, premature launch.
The next step should be an internal product release, which is another testing period where your teams will be able to test the product and give you feedback. If they find some technical bugs or errors, you’ll have ample time to eliminate them before launch.
Step 8: Building Creative Assets
Creating an effective launch product also entails building creative assets that to use during launch to drive customers to your conversion funnel.
Write a captivating launch message; make sure that it’s clear and comprehensible and also remember to compose all the emails and social media posts you’ll need. Plan ahead.
Additional assets include site pages, videos, forms, social posts, and emails that you will use to attract new customers and increase your sales from the start.
Step 9: The Pre-Launch Check
Now you need to make sure everything is set to complete your launch.
- You have a set release date and you have communicated it to everyone involved and everyone that needs to know.
- You have your legal documentation ready – the customer contracts, terms & conditions, regulatory and legal documents are all in place.
- The sales team knows all about the product and its specifications and how it works. They are prepared to conduct demos and they know how to effectively answer all of the questions that might arise during launch.
- The customer support team is also ready for the launch, and they know how to answer the questions about the product.
- Everyone else in the team is ready to handle the launch and answer any PR questions or other queries – the executives, marketing, customer support, development, manufacturing, HR, accounting, compliance and everyone else that might be included in the product launch.
- You have a plan ready for tracking the user behavior and to analyze the key metrics that come from the tracking.
Step 10: The Launch!
The launch day should be suited to the customers’ needs, and it’s better to start the launch in the morning and to soft-start it 10 minutes earlier to make sure everything is in check.
You can make the launch a big occasion, even if it’s not a staged launch. Check-in with the first few customers and ask them personally about how the launch is going for them.
Remember to send a quick thank-you note or a letter to every customer that attends; an automated thank-you message is the least, but still acceptable.
Step 11: After the Launch
Even after the launch is officially over, there is still work to be done, for example:
- Plan for future communications, including creating a broader PR plan and planning everything.
- Follow-up testimonials. Ask the customers what they think about the product after a month or so.
- Collect feedback and constantly improve the product.
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