So you’ve had the big idea. What’s next? We’ve decided to create a Product Launch Checklist & Guide, with real life examples and all the tools needed to ensure you launch like a pro.
Every startup founder has made the mistake of launching to an empty room. We at Maître have. Let’s make sure that never happens again.
Remember, DO NOT LAUNCH TO CRICKETS! Launch like a pro.
This Product Launch Checklist should help you…
Let’s guide you through all the key components to launching successfully and efficiently.
Analyse Competition & Market size (what can you do better?)
This is the point where you dream big and have a look at the high-level numbers.
You should also look at weaknesses and strengths of your competitors, with a view to developing your USP.
- Great for sussing out niche market sizes
- Create a facebook page for your product, go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create
- Once in this, select on the add ‘type’ options (doesn’t matter which one) – you will now find yourself in the facebook audience section.
- Using parameters such as location, age, gender, ‘detailed targeting’. You can see the audience size on the right hand side gauge
Here is one we created for female cat lovers in the UK, aged 35 +
1,800,000 potential market size
Using google adwords keyword tool
- Great for established markets and services.
- Create AdWords account https://adwords.google.com/
- Set up a dummy campaign by following the set-up steps (don’t worry about creating the campaign. Just pause the campaign at the end).
- Once your in adwords you’ll see a menu along the top left of the site
- Click tools and select keyword planner
- On the next page you will get choices for how you would like to start your research. Select ‘Search for new keyword using phrase, website or category’
- Enter your product phrase in the top box or enter your competitor’s URL in the box title ‘Your landing page’’
On this example I placed a catnip (Cat ‘crack’ for those that don’t know) seller website in there http://www.petsmart.com/cat/catnip-grass/cat-36-catid-200200
150,000 keyword searches a month
This is only high level numbers and not all of the keywords will be super relevant but it’s still good to see. If you only had a few hundred searches it might make you think about how you market your product.
- Great for B2B research
To create a dummy campaign:
- Create an ad with dummy data (e.g use another companies URL if you don’t have website yet)
- Enter your parameters
Here we used marketing and advertising professionals in the UK
346,000 LinkedIn members
- Research your competitors – what can you do better? e.g. website customer service, better product or website.
Customer development, who are they?
Interviewing your customers will both serve as a test to see if the problem you solve is actually a problem whilst it will also act as an opportunity to gain marketing content, noting the language they use to describe their issues.
- The most essential point to remember in this section is DO NOT PITCH your product to the target market. Use the occasion to discover where the pains are in their day to day scenario that you hope to solve.
- E.g ask questions like…
“What’s the hardest thing about being a cat owner?”
“What’s the hardest part about finding good quality catnip?”
- The first question will lead to a broader discussion about the big problems facing cat owners. If your pain is mentioned within that, you know you’re onto a winner.
- The second question will probably get the answer you’re looking for except it won’t show the level of importance or if the pain problem is big enough for them to do something about it.
The guys over at Customer dev labs suggest using the free template they have created, I would suggest checking it out.
I have also created a list of 5 questions for the fictional catnip website we’ve been speaking about:
- What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing as a fan of keeping your cat happy?
- When was the last time you tried to make your cat happy?
- When you last bought an item that would make your cat happy?
- Why is not making your cat happy a problem?
- How did you discover the last item or thing you did to make your cat happy?
Questions 3 – 5 can help you determine some of the language and effective marketing channels for your product.
Build a profile of your perfect customer,
Be specific, you can even have a name. For example…
Paul, aged 38, owns two cats. Picks up a morning coffee from Cafe Nero on the way to work. Spends his breaks being distracted by cat videos on Facebook
Pin this to your wall! This person is your God, your everything.
Define your positioning and messaging
It’s good to think about why you’re in the market in the first place. Why is your company going to make a difference to the lives of your target customer?
I wouldn’t spend too long on this, it’s only so you can come together with your team (Or on your own) and make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding why you’ve decided to start this in the first place.
Here are a few good questions to ask yourself and the team:
- What is your USP?
- Why would someone purchase what you’ve got?
- What is your customer service ethos?
- How would you describe your brand? E.g. friendly, efficient, exclusive
Build a landing page / Minimum Viable Product
You need a place for people to buy your product, right?
We’re not going to teach you how to build a landing page here but here is a list of great tools for doing so:
- Landing page builder – http://unbounce.com/
- All sorts of websites and services – http://themeforest.net/
- Service business type template – http://www.launch27.com/
For the lazy ones – I have also listed a few places to find people to build these tools for you:
Create a relevant social account
I think it’s fair to say that every business these days needs some kind of presence on social media, whether it’s a service, product or tech business.
The main thing to be aware of though is that not every social channel is right for your business and whilst the business is still young it’s probably best to be really good on one channel only.
This makes it easier to manage and means that you also have a higher chance of dominating that medium.
Instagram is by the far the best community for converting sales if your product is sexy or you can find a way to engage with good quality images. I suppose there’s no reason a plumber couldn’t post some quality copper pipe images
- Use a tool like Instagress to build your followers. Hint: Follow your competitors followers
- Remember to follow, follow and follow! If you follow 20 people and 5 of them follow back, then you unfollow the 15 who haven’t followed you. Suddenly your follower count is 5. All for free.
- A good guide we came across was this one.
Twitter is still an essential community to target.
- We would suggest using a tool like Tweepie, which carries out actions such auto commenting on keywords and user following and unfollowing.
- You still need to engage with that community and for that I would suggest keeping current with the keyword trends on Twitter so you can get maximum exposure with your tweets.
E.g For the catnip business idea we’re going to launch…
Tweet: I hear Pink Floyd love Catnip
- Other communities social communities
Pre-Launch Marketing Activities
As many as you can think of. Write them down. We would suggest building an ICE table. ICE stands for impact, confidence and ease.
Here is one we created for our activities:
- Total up the scores and that should help you suss out where to strike first.
- Some great pre-launch activities include competitions such as the recent one we created
Throughout this whole process, there should be a keen eye spent on capturing information i.e email, phone number. Otherwise, the activities don’t maintain momentum as you have no way to build leads.
Marketing activities can include things such as press outreach, PR stunts. The key is to estimate the impact and measure the return. This way you can hone in on the activities which provided the most value.
We created a post with some inspirational product launch strategies. Check it out for some ideas.
Define Launch Goals / Set Date
- Based on the activities listed in the last section work out a realistic conversion rate.
- Set the date based on how long you think it will take to carry out the activities!
Create a viral waiting list teaser
Right – This is our only self-plug but we definitely don’t see a reason why every new launch in the world shouldn’t encourage people to share through rewarding them in some way. Especially as it’s a no-code solution that even my Nan could use!
It’s cheap as well: $49 (£33). In Fact here is a cheeky little discount link that will make it $15 (£7) ‘one-million’. Now there really isn’t an excuse to not have a viral waiting list…
Before the days of no-code viral waiting lists (Maitre). Harry’s the mail grooming brand managed to generate 100,000 email addresses with it’s launch campaign! All through aid of a viral waiting list, where leads were rewarded for promoting their product.
Launch day Blitz (Don’t sleep in)
You only get one opportunity so let’s make it big.
- Time all of your competition dates to coincide with launch day, this way on the day you can blitz your social media quality content.
- Engage with your fans to build the biggest hype!
Watch the $$$ come in!
Although having a product launch checklist is not the only piece in the puzzle, I think it’s fair to assume that just the planning and setting of targets alone gives you a clear road-map to success.