There are a lot of product launch checklists out there, which might explain why success is so variable. I found this one to have some good particular insight into planning the launch, and there's a lot of good graphics and detail on their original site.
Who's this for?
This checklist is for marketers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and/or developers looking to launch their product or service.
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Step #1: Build Your Audience
Before you launch any new product you NEED an audience.
An audience doesn’t automatically mean your product will fly off the shelves. But it gives you HUGE momentum. Not only will your loyal fans bring in a handful of early sales, but they’ll spread the word about your product: Now, your audience doesn’t have to be huge. Even a few hundred people will do. But you do need to have a group of people to actually launch to. Otherwise, you’re just announcing your product to the world and hoping that people notice. Which very rarely happens.
Step #2: Define Your Product’s USP
“What makes my product unique?” Your product doesn’t have to be groundbreaking for this step to work. Your USP can also be that your product serves a specific audience. For example, Convertkit’s USP is that their email marketing software is designed for creators.
Step #3: Plan Where You’re Going to Launch
Now that your new product is available, how are you going to let people know? Even if you have an audience, you still want to tap into as many platforms as you possibly can. Sometimes, if your product gets enough of a buzz, it can go viral and start to spread on its own. To be clear: I don’t recommend making “go viral” part of your product launch checklist. It’s more of a bonus thing that happens when you do everything else right.
- Outreach to bloggers in your niche
- PR and media coverage
- Webinars and live streams
- A compelling press release
- Social media platforms
- Online communities like Product Hunt and Reddit
- Influencers and partners
Step #4: Build Anticipation
Most people announce and launch their product on the same day. And it’s a HUGE mistake. Almost every successful product launch builds up anticipation BEFORE the actual launch date.
Step #5: Launch Your Product
Why would the actual launch be part of a product launch checklist? There’s a big difference between your launch plan and an actual launch. Specifically, you want to have all of this in place before you hit the “launch” button. Then, during your launch, monitor, re-check, and tweak this stuff on a regular basis.
- A landing page that works on multiple devices and browsers
- A tested checkout process
- A thank you page that welcomes news customers
- An email followup sequence that confirms the purchase
- Documentation for support staff to help them answer common questions (more on that in the next step)
Step #6: Field Questions and Comments
This is a step that most other product launch checklists skip.
(That’s probably because most of the content out there about launches are written by people that have never launched a product in their life. But that’s another story 🙂)
In my experience, 10% of people are loyal fans that will instantly buy whatever you put out there. Another 10% just aren’t interested no matter what. And 80% of your potential customers initially fall into the “People that aren’t sure” camp. Which means that answering questions and concerns during your launch is SUPER important.
Step #7: End Your Launch
Every launch campaign needs a start and end date. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop selling your product on the last day. But you do need to set a date in advance for the campaign to end. That way, you can shift gears and focus on product development. Or start another launch.
Step #8: Evaluate Your Launch
Whether your launch was a massive success, a disappointing failure, or something in between, take a few minutes to document how it went. That way, you can setup your next launch to do even better.
- What was the #1 concern people had? Was it pricing, “how do you compare to X”, or something else?
- Were there any technical issues that we can prevent next time?
- What part of our marketing resonated the most with our buyer persona (aka target audience)?
- What platform seemed to bring in the most traffic and sales?
- What’s the #1 thing we can do to make our next product release a success?