Product Launch 101: Guide with Templates, Checklists & More

Launching a new product is a big deal and a great challenge, whether you're a big enterprise or small business. 

It’s a multi-dimensional process that consists of various launch activities, all of which feed into its success.

In the following chapters, we’re going to cover all the essential activities for any new product launch.

More specifically, we’ll talk about:

  • Product launch marketing plans
  • Product launch templates
  • Product launch emails
  • Product launch metrics

Plus, many more aspects to help you effectively debut your new product to the market.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

What is a Product Launch?

A product launch is an organized effort to successfully introduce a new product to the market.

With only 40% of developed products making it to market, it’s essential for businesses to establish a go-to-market strategy in order for the launch process to be as smooth as possible.

Even though a product team might be more than capable of creating great products, there needs to be some marketing magic included, too.

Product marketing is vastly different and also super important for successful product positioning; which is how a product differentiates itself and determines which market niche to fill, as the following image explains.

product marketing definition

Image Source: Entrepreneur

This can be identified by conducting market research, examining buyer personas, and inviting customer feedback from your target audience.

It’s generally advised for product development and marketing teams to answer a few questions before even proceeding to the pre-launch stage, which can be very costly.

You should be asking questions like:

  • What does a successful product launch look like?
  • What are the advantages of launching a product online?
  • How do you measure the success of a product launch?
  • What needs to be considered when launching a product?
  • How much does a new product launch cost?

Ask them very early in the launch process to avoid stumbles later on. 

In the coming chapters, we’ll help you get a better understanding of the different aspects of a product launch to help you achieve your goals.

Let’s get started.

Chapter 1: Product Launch Marketing Plan

Planning a successful product launch can be a complicated procedure.

There are many things to take into consideration so laying out a marketing plan is essential.

This will help you organize the activities required to gain as much initial traction as possible and get the market learning about your new product.

The plan can include ways by which you’ll acquire new customers, such as:

  • Social media content
  • Blog content
  • Paid advertising
  • Email campaigns
  • Webinars
  • Referral marketing
  • Digital PR

As well as any other tactic, each of which should have its own detailed strategy.

For example, when it comes to social media content, which social networks will you use? What type of content will you create? Will you use user-generated content (UGC), influencer marketing, and giveaways?

All these are things the digital and content marketing team behind a product should think about.

Another thing to include in your marketing plan is the percentage of traffic you plan to receive from each source; organic and paid traffic is the most prominent type you need to track.

Author’s Note: When you plan and manage your marketing channels, it’s important to define your goals and track your progress.

It’s also worth noting that separate marketing activities can be created for each stage of the product launch, namely the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch stages.

Product Launch Marketing Plan scheme example

There are many more things that a complete product launch marketing plan should include, but in a nutshell, you need to organize your promotional activities across every step of the way; these are what will help you attract potential customers. 

Moving onto the next chapter.

Chapter 2: Product Launch Plan Templates

Every product management team should have a template for the product launch plan and keep track of all necessary data.

This applies to all stages of a product’s lifecycle, from its creation all the way up to the launch date and through to post-launch activities.

By documenting everything in a Google Doc, Google Sheet, or a project management tool, you’re able to organize each and every activity that’ll take place, as well as its progress.

This increases the chances of your product launch being successful because you can monitor things like:

  • Which tactics are working for you and which aren’t
  • What your next moves will be
  • Which objectives you’ve reached and which you’re working towards
  • Your marketing campaign stats
  • Which new features should be added
  • Which team members are working on what elements

Plus pretty much everything that revolves around the product launch roadmap. 

Here’s what an example of a product launch plan template looks like:

Product Launch Plan template example

As you can see, it includes:

  1.  The name of the product
  2. The launch stage - pre-launch, launch, post-launch
  3. Which marketing activities are taking place
  4. The objectives and whether they’ve been met - for example, 1,000 signups at the pre-launch stage
  5. How many people are working on the project
  6. Whether new product features should be added

That way, there are more chances of your launch day being successful and delivering a great product to your customers

To give you an idea of how the template can help you organize your actions and next moves, you can download it yourself and adjust it as you wish by visiting the product launch plan template page.

Overall, all key data around a product release should be monitored for optimized results.

Let’s continue.

Chapter 3: Product Launch Strategy

While we’ve covered what an ideal marketing plan should look like, it’s even more important to have an overall product launch strategy.

This strategy will include all aspects of your product launch, from the marketing plan and the pre-launch campaigns to the financials and future projections.

Generally speaking, strategic thinking can play a key role in launching a new product successfully.

What do we mean by that?

You need to take into account things like how you’ll position yourself in the market, how your competitors are launching their products, where the market is moving to, as well as the value of your stakeholders.

All of the above, plus many more, can be integrated into your strategy and will play a crucial role in effectively delivering your product.

You can also breakdown your product launch strategy into different stages based on the journey your early adopters take from learning about your product to completing their customer lifecycle (CLC); this is similar to how a sales funnel works.

For instance, here are what the stages could be:

  1. Reach - how users first learn about you during the pre-launch stage
  2. Act - the first action someone takes to purchase a product at the launch stage
  3. Convert - techniques to increase your conversions and retain customers at post-launch stages
  4. Engage - tactics to turn users into loyal customers and advocates, also at post-launch

In the following image, the blue curved line shows a customer’s typical journey across the X-axis which represents time, but you can also see each stage of the product launch strategy.

Product Launch Strategy Plan

With the right moves and optimizations, you’ll be able to create a strategy that’ll make your product launch and roadmap successful.

A full product launch strategy contains many more elements, but for now let’s continue to the next chapter.

Chapter 4: Product Launch Checklist

Similar to how the template we shared earlier works, checklists are a great way to keep things organized.

In order to successfully release a new product to consumers, you need to complete lots of steps and face many tasks that can sometimes seem overwhelming.

It doesn’t matter if you’re launching something big, small, or maybe a new version of your current product; it’s of vital importance to start preparations well before the launch date so you’re always one step ahead.

This is where our product launch checklist comes in; it’s a list of action items that need to be completed in order to effectively launch a product.

More importantly, a checklist will ensure you remember to complete all the tasks you need to do, prepare you for unexpected situations, and make responsibilities more manageable

Needless to say that it’ll help all of your team members stay on the same page, too.

Here’s what our checklist looks like:

Product Launch Checklist example download

It consists of 44 tasks divided into the three product launch stages.

It begins with basic actions such as doing competitor analysis, customer research, finding your value proposition, creating a marketing plan, and choosing a launch day, among other things.

Then, it’s time for tasks around the launch stage, like launching your product and implementing your marketing, sales, and customer support plans.

Finally, when the post-launch stage arrives, tasks like measuring the success of your launch and setting up a referral program are essential.

We strongly believe such a checklist will help you stay on top of things so make sure to visit our product launch checklist page in order to download it.

Let’s continue.

Chapter 5: Product Launch Email

Email marketing is often an integral part of a company’s activities, and product launches are no exception.

With over 4 billion email users worldwide, a number which is expected to increase in the following years, sending outreach emails is a great way to spread the word about your product.

Wondering to who you can send those emails?

Here are some examples:

  • Your email list
  • Your investors
  • Your partners
  • Your suppliers
  • Your current customers
  • The media

As well as anyone else in your network who could benefit from learning about your new launch.

Your email list in particular is extremely important; it includes people who have given you their contact information and are already aware of you, making the process of marketing messaging much easier.

Keep in mind that a mailing list could be for a newsletter you’re sending, in which case you can grow it through newsletter referrals, or even a waitlist of people who signed up during your pre-launch campaign.

Your current customers are also important since - whether you’re a SaaS or eCommerce business - you can inform them about your new products and turn them into loyal customers, thus increasing their customer lifetime value (CLV).

Every case should be taken advantage of in order to successfully launch your product.

Product launch emails can really help you raise awareness through the power of word-of-mouth, especially when it comes to contacting media for PR purposes.

Let’s have a closer look at this case.

Chapter 6: Product Launch Press Release

As we briefly covered, contacting journalists for digital PR purposes is a great way to get the word out about a product launch.

By creating and distributing a high-quality press release, you gain a wide range of benefits that contribute to your new product’s success.

For a start, you receive brand mentions from authoritative media outlets which give you credibility and can establish your product idea in people’s minds.

You also build search engine traffic through the backlinks you receive, so a press release on large news sites is not only beneficial for your product but also for search engine optimization (SEO).

Most importantly, through the online audience of media sites, you raise a great deal of awareness and get your product in front of new people who would otherwise not have heard about it.

The best thing about press releases that they’re a cost-effective way of promoting a launch; in most cases they’re actually free, making them a popular choice among many startups looking for some exposure.

In case you don’t know how to craft your own press release, no need to worry.

Feel free to use our very own product launch press release template and distribute it to any media outlets you like.

Moving onto the next chapter.

Chapter 7: Product Launch Metrics

Have you ever heard of the “North Star metric”?

Think of it as the ultimate metric that helps measure a business’s growth, but obviously, there are several metrics that contribute to it.

Similarly, when it comes to launching a new product, there are many metrics - or KPIs - you need to track in order to measure your new product’s success.

Here are some of the most important things to monitor:

  • Leads generated, e.g. pre-launch signups, waiting list subscribers
  • Pre-orders
  • Marketing activity metrics, e.g. cost-per-click (CPC), open rates, click-through rates, and more
  • Website traffic, both organic and paid
  • Brand mentions - mainly the ones derived from the press release you send
  • Product demos booked
  • User retention
  • User feedback 

Plus, many more that you need to be aware of in order to know whether your new product was successful or not.

Without them, you can only ever have a vague idea of how well it’s doing.

To sum up, define your North Star metric early on - such as the number of monthly active users - and work towards optimizing it through the right product launch metrics.

Moving forward.

Chapter 8: Product Launch Timeline

If you’re familiar with the SMART rule when it comes to goal setting, then you’ll know that - among others - a goal should be timebound.

The same thing applies to product launches.

Having a specific timeline in mind should help you to organize everything in time and your audience will then know when to expect your new product; announcing a date is a great way of creating buzz around your launch.

Let’s assume you set your launch day exactly three months from today.

This will allow you to plan something like; during the next month you’ll focus on creating a strategy and a marketing plan; you’ll then build your email list and generate leads; the next month you’ll deploy your marketing activities; and so on and so forth.

We recommend that you use a product launch timeline template in order to stay on track. 

Here’s what it could look like:

product launch timeline template example

As you can see, we’ve set a hypothetical launch date of April 5, 2022, and all the actions that need to be taken 90, 60, and 30 days prior to launch, as well as on the launch day.

We’ve entered some essential tasks like creating a marketing plan, building email lists, setting objectives, creating referral programs, and more, but feel free to check out the template and adjust it based on your own needs.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Chapter 9: Product Launch Examples

If you’re planning on organizing your very first product launch, some inspiration will do you good.

There are countless successful product launch examples out there that you can get ideas from, so we strongly recommend having a look at them.

There’s no need to limit yourself to case studies within your industry; you can get great value from a wide variety of examples.

Just to give you an idea, the stocks trading platform Robinhood attracted 1 million users before it even launched.

How did it do it?

It leveraged referral marketing and incentivized users to refer their network as part of the product’s pre-launch campaign. 

Other companies offer discount codes to people who join the waiting list, some partner with influencers, and many invest in eye-catching marketing campaigns.

The options are countless!

To sum up, if you want to get some good ideas, we suggest browsing more product launch examples and seeing which practices you can implement yourself.

Moving on.

Chapter 10: Product Launch Presentation

Being able to present your idea to the public, investors, and also your team is a key step that's often overlooked.

In a complete product launch presentation, you need to showcase your product’s features, its functionality, your marketing plan and overall strategy, the roadmap, and many more things that’ll provide a great overview of your launch.

Without a presentation in hand, people online might have a difficult time grasping what your product is all about and what your launch strategy looks like.

That’s why we strongly recommend putting together such a presentation.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you. 

Over at our product launch presentation page, you can find a template that’ll help you get started.

Author’s Note: Keep in mind that each slide can be broken down into multiple pages if needed.

To sum up, creating a presentation will help you have a clear overview of your product launch and also help your audience understand what it’s all about.

Let’s wrap things up with some final words.

Chapter 11: Product Launch Software

As you’ve already gathered, launching a product requires a great deal of actions, many of which should be done manually.

A great alternative to this is opting for a product launch software which can automate a great part of the process, and save valuable time from founders.

Moreover, such software can play a big role in managing processes, simplifying tasks, as well as receiving detailed reports to analyze valuable feedback and campaigns.

A good product launch software is something that should - ideally - be an integral part of the product launch software, as it provides a great deal of benefits.

Moving forward.

Chapter 12: Social Media Product Launch

The value of social media is something so well known, that we don’t have to go into much detail about.

In a nutshell, they offer access to a wide targeted audience that businesses can utilize to promote their new product, as well as take advantage of detailed metrics to define a campaign’s effectiveness.

However, before you get started, you need to put a few things in place, like:

  • What kind of social media is right for you
  • How to create amazing creatives
  • How to combine social media with other marketing tactics

And many more.

Whatever you choose, what’s definite is that a product launch and social media should be an integral part of your plan

Chapter 13: Product Launch Ideas

Yes, in order to launch a product successfully you need a detailed step-by-step plan that will guide you.

Marketing tactics, finances, and strategies are some of the things you need to take care of, but how can you get inspired?

A good solution is exploring awesome product launch ideas, that will give you inspiration and valuable insights that you can even use yourself.

After all, why not?

With so many ideas out there, having a complete list of them can be a life saver!

Let’s wrap things up with some final words.

Before You Go

There you have it.

Launching a new product is going to be plenty of work and effort, so we hope you gained some valuable insights through our chapters.

You can even visit the page of each one to dive deeper into things and increase the chances of having a successful product launch.

However, as long as you have a great product idea and a solid plan based on our recommendations, there’s nothing to worry about.

What’s more, if you need some help in optimizing your launch and pre-launch campaigns through the power of referral marketing, don’t hesitate to book a free demo and we’ll guide you step-by-step.

Thanks for reading!

Written by:

Nikitas Filosofof

Nikitas is responsible for growth at Viral Loops and also helps customers on 1-on-1 basis to reach success with their referral campaigns. Let's connect on LinkedIn