Product Launch Examples

There’s so little time left until your product gets into your customers’ hands.

The final mile of a product launch process can be stressful.

We get it!

To soothe your worries a bit, we gathered some examples of successful product launches from reputable brands so you can get inspired.

In this blog post, we’ll cover things like:

  • Social media, marketing campaigns, and marketing strategies
  • Product launch plans and product launch strategies
  • Product marketing strategies

And more.

Let’s get started!

What is a Product Launch?

A product launch is the process of bringing a new product or service to market through a series of systematic efforts across multiple departments within an organization.

 In actuality, a product launch doesn’t start nor end on the launch date.

Specifically, launching a product requires pre-launch and post-launch planning as well.

Therefore, your product launch strategy should also focus on adjacent processes that might not necessarily seem related to the launch itself but will surely contribute to its success. 

Such processes include:

  • Thorough market research
  • Target market analysis
  • A data-driven marketing plan 
  • Brand awareness campaigns
  • Product lifecycle management 
  • Identifying launch-relevant metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) 
  • Product development

And a lot more!

The steps you need to take for a successful launch are actually very well structured into three phases, which you can read about further in this blog post.

What are the 3 Product Launch Stages?

Simply put, the three product launch stages are:

  1. The pre-launch stage: Market research, establishing goals and KPIs, competitive analysis, marketing strategies, etc.
  2. The launch stage: The launch event.
  3. The post-launch stage: Implementing feedback, customer retention, customer loyalty, etc.

Now let’s see what each of these stages entails specifically, based on our product launch checklist.

Stage #1: Pre-launch

This is the first step to establishing a productive workflow and ensuring your team will not miss the launch date.

During this stage, you will do a lot of research and planning.

You would have to:

  • Conduct a competitive analysis 
  • Research the market and look at similar products to see how your product stacks up against competitors
  • Make a SWOT analysis and identify your product's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • Create a buyer persona and define the ideal customer in terms of demographic and psychographic factors
  • Build a customer support strategy (especially if you’re a SaaS company)
Product launch checklist template

Based on your research, you’ll then have to create a strategy for your new product launch.

This step requires you to also put your marketing team in gear and help them create campaigns that build anticipation and let your audience know what’s about to happen and when.

You can create webinars, join podcasts, and release bits of information that can create a buzz among your audience.

Just be careful not to release too much too quickly. 

For example, you could create a webinar to explain to your potential customers what your value proposition is. 

Tell them in broad lines how your product will improve their lives and when they can buy it.

Now let’s get to the when.

Stage #2: Launch

After all that work comes the launch day. 

What now?

Implement your strategies developed during the pre-launch stage. 

Product launch checklist template

Fire up your digital marketing engines. 

Send product launch emails.

Go live on your brand’s social media account and make a Q&A.

Tell everyone that your great product is about to be up for grabs.

Then, you can do a soft launch before the official product launch event. As we’ve mentioned above, this basically means to release your product or service to a restricted audience first. 

By doing so, you’ll be able to collect data on how your target audience interacts with your product launch campaign and make tweaks accordingly. 

This way, you’ll have sort of a focus group to test your launch on.

But what happens after the launch?

Stage #3: Post-launch

Even though your sales team seems to carry the heavy load after the launch, it’s not exactly like that.

At least it shouldn’t be!

Product launch checklist template

The post-launch phase entails multiple efforts, such as:

  • Collecting and addressing customer feedback and pain points
  • Setting up a referral marketing program with enticing rewards and incentives
  • Creating case studies and writing success stories about people who improved their lives/business with your product
  • Reaching out to influencers and/or bloggers to reach a wider audience
  • Developing new features based on user/customer feedback
  • Leveraging the power of content marketing

There’s still a lot to be done.

This might look overwhelming at first glance, but it sure isn’t.

Have a look at the following 7 examples of successful launches to get inspired and keep worries at bay.

7 Successful Product Launch Examples to Inspire You

Below, we’ll discuss how Robinhood, Dropbox, Apple, Airbnb, PayPal, Yac, and Uber managed to successfully launch their products.

We’ll have a look at what they did and how they did it to help you integrate some of their proven tactics into your strategy and marketing efforts.

Let’s see what creates hype, how effective referral programs can be, and more!

First, let’s have a look at how a startup company had close to one million users on the waitlist.

Company #1: Robinhood

Robinhood, a commission-free stock-trading app, managed to get almost one million users before the app launch!

So, it’s safe to say that this startup is a success story when it comes to product launches combined with referral marketing tactics.

But how did they do it?

What was their go-to-market strategy?

Robinhood product launch example

In the image above you can see Robinhood’s pre-launch home page. A super simple design with a powerful hook.

$0 commission trading? That’s their unique selling point—what makes them stand out from the competition.

Then, the signup process was so simple. Users only needed to input their email addresses to gain early access to the app.

And once they did sign up, they were incentivized to invite others to join the platform.

What did they get in return for referring their friends?

A shorter wait time until they got to try the app. More specifically, each time a user referred a friend, they would get a higher position in the waiting queue, thus earlier access.

product launch example

Key takeaway points: 

  1. Create a waitlist before the launch.
  2. Offer pre-orders.
  3. Make the signup process as easy as possible.
  4. Use gamification to engage users.
  5. Create a referral program.

Let’s see the next example.

Company #2: Dropbox

Dropbox is another great example of how a product can be launched successfully through referral marketing.

The file hosting service company managed to go from 100k registered users in 2008 to 33.9 million users in 2017.

Can you believe it?

And it's all thanks to a well-crafted referral program.

Namely, Dropbox rewarded its users for any referral with free space on the platform.

That's genius!

Dropbox product launch example

Not only did they have a strong referral incentive system in place, but they've integrated it into the onboarding process as the last step, as you can see in the image above.

This way, the customers got familiarized with the rewards program right from the get-go.

And that’s not all!

The invitee would also receive a bonus of 500 MB upon accepting their friend’s invitation.

That’s a two-side reward program that worked.

In fact, it worked so well that Dropbox registered a 3900% user growth in 15 months.

Amazing, right?

Key takeaway points: 

  1. Create a referral program that rewards both the user who’s sending the invitation and the one that accepts it.
  2. Make the referral program a step of your onboarding process.
  3. Get customers familiarized with the referral program as soon as possible.

Ok, but the last two examples are SaaS companies leveraging referral marketing

I have a product to sell. 

What then?

Let’s see how Apple—the master of storytelling—launches products.

Company #3: Apple

Apple is one of the best companies out there when it comes to mastering storytelling, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing, and building hype for upcoming product launches.

And it does so with a relatively small advertising budget (compared to its competitors).

They are not just selling tech, but rather experiences and lifestyle through technology. 

During their product launches, Apple employees won’t talk much about technical details and features. 

Instead, they’ll tell you how their new product will fit into your life and how it’s going to help you improve it.

And prior to launching a product, they make sure to be super secretive about it. This creates opportunities for building anticipation around the launch. The media is starting to speculate and write about launch-related rumors. 

The result?

Hype! 

All of that creates buzz around the new product even before people know exactly what they’ll be buying. 

Let’s take the AirPods Pro launch as an example of a pre-launch hyped product.

During the pre-launch phase, Apple placed unbranded posters with models, without any text in different store locations around the world.

Then, after the launch, the posters were replaced with photographs of models wearing AirPods Pro.

Apple product launch example

Image Source: Apple

Key takeaway points: 

  1. Create a buzz and build anticipation before the launch.
  2. Try to sell an experience rather than a product or service.
  3. Don’t give away too much too quickly.

Moving on to the next successful company that nailed their product launch.

Company #4: PayPal

PayPal managed to gain its first 100 million users through referral programs, achieve a 10% daily growth, and reach viral growth.

Let’s see how.

PayPayl product launch example

This is how the PayPal home page used to look like in the year 2000. 

One of the first elements we see advertised on this page is the referral program: "Get $5 for signing up, plus $5 for each friend you refer".

The company turned to referral marketing because advertising was getting too expensive—and, as it turned out, less effective than their reward-based marketing.

And it was that decision that made PayPal viral.

In detail, the company started their referral marketing program by offering a $20 bonus upon a user’s signup and another $20 for referring a friend. Then, as the user base grew, the rewards’ value dropped.

Of course, this was only sustainable for a short period of time. The business spent around $70 million on its signup rewards and referral bonuses.

That was just enough to make PayPal viral.

Key takeaway points: 

  1. A referral marketing strategy can be cheaper and more effective than advertising.
  2. Double-sided signup and referral rewards work.
  3. Make sure your referral program doesn’t hinder your profitability.

Keep reading for another success story.

Company #5: Uber

Uber - the ride-sharing app - managed to become so popular that taxis almost became obsolete.

How did they surpass a phenomenon that has been around since the 17th century?

Their secret resides in their referral marketing strategy.

In detail, Uber ran two separate, double-sided referral programs simultaneously: one for drivers and one for riders.

Specifically, each time a driver or rider would refer a friend, they would both receive bonuses in the form of ride discounts or credit.

Take a look at the screenshot below. 

See how they used “get discounts” instead of “refer a friend”?

This tells users what’s in it for them right from the start.

Uber product launch example

Key takeaway points: 

  1. If you’re offering a two-sided service (i.e. for drivers and riders), create a two-sided reward program.
  2. Make your referral program visible and easy to access on your app/website.

Now let’s switch to another similar case study: Airbnb.

Company #6: Airbnb

Similar to Uber, Airbnb managed to attract its first users and scale with the use of a referral marketing strategy.

In the screenshot below, you can see how Airbnb advertised its referral program on its website.

Airbnb product launch example

How did it work?

After the platform was launched, the Airbnb team members were attracting new customers from Craigslist.

First, they were sending emails manually to homeowners posting rent listings on Craigslist. Then, they wrote a script to automate and scale the process.

As the platform took off, Airbnb started incentivizing users for referring travelers and hosts.

However, to avoid people taking advantage of their rewards and motivating them to keep using the platform, they started offering travel credit.

In detail, each time someone would refer a friend, they would get $25 as travel credit upon the first time the referred individual rented a property on Airbnb. 

Alternatively, a user could get $75 Airbnb credit whenever a referred friend of theirs listed their property on the platform.

Key takeaway points: 

  1. Create a referral program that keeps users on your platform and prevents fraud.
  2. Don’t hesitate to look for customers on other platforms.

And this brings us to our last case study for today.

Company #7: Yac

Yac (a voice messaging tool for remote teams) ran successful pre-launch campaigns with the use of attractive landing pages, referral programs, waitlists, and other tactics.

How did it all happen?

It started with a Tweet that captured the attention of investors.

After getting the necessary funds to support their business, Yac used our platform to create an effective referral marketing program that helped them become viral in the remote work community.

Yac's strategy was to create buzz around the app before the launch.

And for this to happen, they relied on the network effect where each new user was encouraged to recommend Yac to their team and implement the app company-wide.

To make this happen, they leveraged a similar tactic to Robinhood's waitlist as part of their pre-launch strategy.

Therefore, the first places on the waitlist were reserved for the “super users” who would get their teams on board.

But how did they attract new users in the first place?

Let’s have a look at their landing page.

First, they addressed the pain points of their target audience with the header “Take your time back from Zoom & Slack” while also making their value proposition clear.

Yac product launch example

Next, in the subheading, they explain how their product addresses the pain points—through asynchronous collaboration in the form of voice messages. 

So, just by reading the first couple of lines on their website, a customer would know what the product does and how it’s better than other similar products available on the market.

Not only that, but the “Request Access” CTA button placed right underneath the subheading told the website visitor what the next step is.

A short and to-the-point method to capture a visitor’s attention.

After a user signed up and referred a friend, they would also be encouraged to share their unique referral link to multiple social media platforms.

Clever, wouldn't you say so?

You can check out more about Yac’s successful pre-launch and launch campaigns by reading our case study.

Key takeaway points: 

  1. Try to get users excited about your product through referral incentives.
  2. Build a conversion-focused landing page with a clear call-to-action.
  3. Leverage the power of social media.

Now let’s wrap it up, shall we?

Before you Go

We sure hope you feel inspired and ready to take your launch to the next level.

Speaking of inspiration…

We have a plethora of product launch guides, templates, worksheets, and all types of downloadable resources that would just make your pre-launch life much easier.

Interested?

You can start by reading our comprehensive guide on product launches. It features downloadable checklists, templates, and more.

Thank you for reading!

Nik Filos

Nik has launched products in many industries for himself and clients. He's responsible for growth at Viral Loops, and he has worked in marketing since he was 17. Passionate about applying psychology to marketing. Favorite number: 42.