Like a tree falling in the woods, if you launch a product without spreading the word — will anyone use it? Will anyone even want it?
Probably not. Whether you’re launching something huge, something small, or you’re updating a current offering, you’ll want to start your preparation well in advance of the launch date. This includes nailing down your positioning and messaging, sharing that with key teams and stakeholders, listing out all the launch activities, creating assets and content, prepping everyone involved in the launch, and so on.
Because there are so many moving parts in this process, bringing your product to market can be intimidating and tricky. To help you, here’s a step-by-step checklist for a successful product launch.
1. Learn about your customer.
Whether you call it “market research,” or “customer development” it’s key to learn about what drives your customer. Identifying their goals, motivations, and pain points could lead you to developing and marketing a valuable solution.
You don’t need to perform years of intense research to learn about your customer. In fact, we suggest just talking to 12 to 15 current or prospective customers.
When speaking to them, pay extra attention when they start sentences with “I wish a product did this function…” or “Why can’t products do this?” When they give these statements, respond with questions that go deeper, like “Can you get more specific about that?” If they don’t bring up any pain points, ask them a few specific questions that will encourage them to give deeper answers.
These conversations will give you a solid idea of what their biggest pain points are and how you can market a solution to them. Once you learn these key details about your customers, you can develop a buyer persona that your team can focus on serving.
2. Write a positioning statement.
Write out a statement that can clearly and concisely answer these three questions:
- Who is the product for?
- What does the product do?
- Why is it different from other products out there?
If you’d like to go even deeper, create a statement that answers the following questions:
- What is your target audience?
- What segment of the target audience is most likely to buy the product?
- What brand name will you give your product or service?
- What product or service category does your product lie in?
- How is it different from competitors in the same category?
- What evidence or proof do you have to prove that your product is different?
Still need more guidance on how to write a positioning statement? Check out this template.
3. Pitch your positioning to stakeholders.
Once you’ve established your position statement, present it to stakeholders in your company so they are all on the same page.
If your employees have a hard time buying into the product, your customers might as well. If your team loves it, that might be a great sign that the product launch will go well.
4. Plan your go-to-market strategy.
This is the strategy that you will use to launch and promote your product. While some businesses prefer to build a funnel strategy, others prefer the flywheel approach.
Regardless of which method you choose, this process contains many moving parts. To create an organized strategy for launching your product, it can be helpful to use a template, like this one.
As you create the strategy, also start considering which type of content you’ll use to attract a prospective customer’s attention during the awareness, consideration, and purchase decision stage. You’ll need to produce this content in the next step.
5. Create promotional content.
After planning out your go-to-market strategy, start producing content that will support and align with those promotional efforts. This can include blog posts related to your product or industry, demos and tutorials, and landing pages.
Our go-to-market template will also help you determine which content you should create for each phase of your prospective customer’s buyer’s journey.
6. Prepare your team.
Be sure that your company and key stakeholders are ready for you to launch and begin marketing the product. Communicate with the company through internal presentations, Slack, or email to keep your company in-the-know of your launch plan.
7. Launch the product
Once you’ve completed all the above steps, you can launch the product. After you launch, track how the go-to-market strategy is performing. Be prepared to pivot or adjust aspects of your plan if they aren’t going smoothly.
If you’re looking for templates to coordinate your team efforts and align your company around your new product’s messaging, download our free product marketing kit below.