You’ve got a great idea. You’ve developed your product with a great team and now you need to get that product to market and in the hands of consumers. So how do you successfully launch a product?
Make Your Product Launch Strategic and Comprehensive.
For a small business that may only have one product or a handful of products, the success of a product launch could mean the success or failure of your business.
It’s important to remember that your product launch is not a single event in which your product is introduced and the customers immediately start clamoring to purchase it. A product launch is a process that begins months before you actually introduce your product to market and can take months to complete.
Here are the aspects of a product launch you need to consider in the months before your launch actually takes place.
Appeal to Your Target Market.
Before you launch any product, make sure your product has a market. This starts with market research. Market research can be as formalized as hiring an agency to conduct focus groups on your product, or you can start your own market research by researching consumer trend analyses and industry publications. Start your search in your local library or online. Asking a few representatives of your target market, even if they are just friends, family and personal acquaintances, can also provide valuable feedback on whether your product is a hit or miss.
As part of your research on your target market, find out where your customers get their information. Are they on social media? Do they read blogs? Which ones? What websites do they visit? What newspapers do they read? Do they read them online or in print? What do they watch on TV? Where do they shop? All this will be important to planning your communications and marketing strategy for your product launch.
Time Your Product Launch Correctly.
Few business mistakes are more embarrassing than investing your resources into launching an otherwise marketable product, only to have it plunge lifelessly into the market because you didn’t time your launch correctly. You don’t want to introduce innovative snow-resistant running shoes in the middle of summer or announce, immediately after finals, that you’ve created an app to helps students study.
Before you pick a date to unleash your product on the world, take a look at everything else that is going on politically, economically, entertainment-wise and on the calendar, to make sure your product launch isn’t sunk in a barrage of competing activities. Also, take into account opportunities to capitalize on other events in the market in order to leverage your product.
Is there an upcoming technology trade show where you can gain some visibility for your new computer product? Is bikini season just around the corner? If so, this may be a good time to launch your weight loss shake. Is it a bad time of year for fleas? Then it’s the perfect time to start selling your flea control product.
A well-timed product launch can give your product the momentum it needs to have a strong start in the market. Creating and sustaining momentum is vital to small business success.
Just make sure not to rush into launching your product. It is better to wait then to introduce a product that isn’t ready (and start off your business with terrible reviews) or to have a sloppy launch because you try to hook your product launch onto an event or activity for which you are not prepared.
Give yourself time. If you miss one opportunity, wait for the next one. Your long-term stability will thank you.
Set Product Launch Goals.
Setting goals helps you measure the success of your launch. You’ll appreciate this during the evaluation phase as it gives you the opportunity to improve your tactics for next time. Goals should be quantitative, such as selling 10,000 units of your product in the first two months.
Additionally, having clear concrete goals will guide you during the rest of your product launch and help you to tweak the process as you go so you stay on track. Just make sure that your goals are realistic.
Create Messaging Documents.
During your product launch, you will do a lot of communicating. However, if you are doing it right, you will be communicating about only a handful of points, which will be repeated over and over. This is known as consistent messaging and it’s an important component that will convince your audience to give your product a try. It will also help them remember you and your product. The key is to be brief and keep your message customer-focused.
To do this, find out what problem your customers are facing. You should know the answer to this from your market research. Then, take a look at your product and make a list of how your product solves this problem. If you have designed a product that appeals to your target market, as you should have, this will be quite simple.
For example, say your target market is pet owners and their problems are
- They need a way to get pet hair off their carpets, floors and furniture.
- They can’t afford to spend a ton of money to do this.
Through market research you discover this information about your audience and you also discover that
- Most vacuum cleaners on the market only remove pet hair from the carpet.
- These vacuums are very expensive.
Therefore, you have designed and patented a product that effectively removes pet hair from all hardwood floors, tile and linoleum, not just carpet. Your product also has attachments that allow one to vacuum furniture, as well. To top it off, you are providing it at a cost much lower than the other vacuum cleaners on the market.
So, in this case, your message would be that your vacuum cleaner effectively cleans pet hair off all surfaces and furniture and does so at a fraction of the cost of currently available vacuum cleaners.
That is it. That is all you have to say. This is short, simple and tells the customer exactly how your product will solve their problems.
Now that you have your message, use it to draft your product launch press release, email blasts, social media information and any other promotional or advertising tactic you decide to use. A freelance writer is a good investment to make at this juncture of your product launch planning.
If you have a great idea and don’t know how to develop or launch your product, let us know!