Some startups are so focused on perfecting and selling their existing product or service that they forget to look toward the future and launch a new offering. However, by preparing well and timing a launch properly, you can successfully roll out a new product that will deliver great returns for your company.
Establishing a launch date, building strategies to market your new offering, and then launching on time are crucial elements for every business owner. Here we’ve listed conditions you need to meet and best practices you should follow to have a successful product launch. These checkpoints can help entrepreneurs identify the right time to debut a new product.
The Product is Ready to Satisfy the Customers’ Needs
Launching a new product when the market is ready for the features and benefits you’re offering can attract more customers. If you’ve done enough research to find out how your product can solve your customers' problems and satisfy their needs, then you can calculate the time when you'll have the best odds of success for your launch date.
Have a Well-Equipped Team to Support Demand
Business owners should have a well-equipped team in place to support post-launch product sales. Also, make sure you’ve got the necessary business infrastructure to support an increase in sales, such as a distribution system or supply chain, payment system, customer service and tech support program. Provide your team members with the time and resources to meet customers’ needs.
Check Market Demand
Early launchers can easily attract eager buyers. If you’re not the first one to have the idea, launch your product when its demand begins to grow. If your business is seasonal or there is a particular time when your target audience will want to use the product, launch it during that period.
The success of your pilot product can often lead you to determine the right time to launch a new offering. It’s important to get reviews to find out things to improve before and after the product launch.
Create Product Hype
Use different marketing strategies and promotional techniques to introduce the product's benefits to targeted customers. Employ such strategies as emails, events and social media to build customers’ interest around your product. If you have created enough hype in the market, you’re ready to launch your new product.
Successfully Test the Product
Test your product thoroughly before launch to provide an error-free customer experience. Testing can help you verify that your product is ready for launch. “No one expects a product to be perfect in beta, so test, gather feedback and refine,” said Kristopher Jones of LSEO.com.
Have a Plan for Gathering Feedback
Product development is a never-ending process. Therefore, be prepared to handle questions, concerns and other feedback from your audience before and after the product launch. Look for ways to incorporate feedback to enhance your product as soon as possible.
Build a Strong Online Presence
Create your website or social media page and establish a strong online presence to interact with your potential customers. Add a video demonstration to your website or YouTube channel. Your online presence will help you build the credibility of your brand before the launch.
Have a Comprehensive Strategic Plan
Every brand should have a strategic plan in place before launching any product or service. You’ll need to evaluate the marketplace and the competition, perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and determine how to measure success.
Best Practices for New Product Launches
Once you get the timing of your product launch right, you can follow these best practices to increase the chances of new product success:
1. Set the Right Price – Make sure you perform thorough research to ensure that consumers will be willing to pay the price you are asking.
2. Create Attractive Packaging and User-Friendly UI – Both the packaging of a product and UI (user interface) of the software and website are equally important to attract customers.
3. Use a Memorable Product Name – While your product’s name needs to be unique, don’t make it so cumbersome that people can’t pronounce or remember it.
4. Plan How to Reach Your Audience – Understand the different available marketing channels and select those where you can find your target audience to promote your product. Plan how to reach your target customers effectively, and start marketing your product before its launch.
5. Define Your Target Audience – Take the time to investigate product-market fit and your customers’ demographics. Make sure you fulfill your customers’ needs with your offering. Clearly defining your target audience will help you select the language, channels and information you use to communicate with them.
6. Know Your Competition – Be aware of your competitors' marketing strategies and range of products so you can evaluate what makes you different. Give your customers a reason to buy your product over the competition. Make your audience understand how your product can fulfill their needs uniquely.
7. Analyze Customer Feedback – Collecting feedback and insights will help you deliver the right experience to your target audience. Understanding whether your product or service can deliver customers' expectations in the marketplace can help you determine its success or failure.
8. Have a Flexible Marketing Strategy – Deploying a flexible marketing strategy will enable you to reach the highest number of consumers. Connect with PR firms and media outlets that can cover your pre-launch story.
9. Be Prepared for What Happens After the Launch – You must prepare your team for the increase in sales and complexity of work that you project will happen post-launch. If you want to make the most of market opportunities when there's demand in the marketplace, you have to be ready to deliver. Expect glitches, customer service issues and other unpredictable demands on your attention.
10. Establish Measurable Goals – Set attainable goals so your staff can experience small wins that build motivation, and regularly measure how well your service meets those goals.
11. Provide a Free Trial or Demo – Providing a free trial or product demo helps you get feedback before the official launch.
12. Offer Early Use Incentives – One of the best ways to create buzz around your product is to offer discounts for pre-orders or for first-time users.