How to Launch a Product in 7 Steps [/w Free In-Depth Checklist]

If you planned a party but forgot to invite guests over, you know what would happen?

It goes without saying…you'd be the only one at your event.

Now, that's not an experience anyone wants to have considering the time and effort put into organizing it.

Anyway, that's a good illustration of what happens when you create a product but fail to launch it effectively.

You'd have a fantastic product just lying around without anyone using it. 

“How do I launch my product after creating it?” is probably the next question you would ask.

That's what we discuss in this guide. 

We'll look at:

  • How you can launch a product
  • Important tips to follow

In addition to that, we’ve also included our free launch checklist.

Without further ado, let's begin.

How to Launch a Product in 7 Simple Steps

A product launch is a step-by-step plan made by a business to introduce a new product into the market.

There are just so many benefits of launching a product.

For starters, customers get to see what the product is all about.

It spreads the word about your product so people are hyped up about it.

Simply put, a product launch has such an integral role in deciding how successful the product will be when it hits the market.

You see, 63% of testimonials in a survey have said they like being offered new products.

So, how will they know about yours if you don't offer it to them by launching it?

That said, let's show you different steps to launching a new product—which are all part of the product launch strategy.

Step #1: Conduct market research and learn about your target audience

Market research is the foundation of a successful product launch

It involves evaluating the possibility of how profitable a product will be when it hits the market. 

With market research, you get to understand consumer needs and behaviors and what’s trending at the moment. 

This is important because you need to be certain that the people you’re creating a product for have a need for it, or that your competitors don’t have an exact replica of your product.

To help you understand more clearly, there are two key things here: researching the market and defining your target audience.

Both sound pretty straightforward, but let’s go one step further. 

Researching the market involves analyzing the competition and product validation.

What do they mean?

Well, competitor analysis is just as the name suggests—it’s evaluating your competition’s product. 

To do that, you have to ask certain questions. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the product? What position does the product hold in the market?

The answer to these questions can help you understand what the demand is for your product so you can come up with strategies to rank higher than your competitors

How do you get answers?

First, understand that consumer behavior is split into three: needs, wants, and fears.

Your audience buys products either because they need them, want to have them to look good, or because they’re afraid of losing out on an opportunity. 

Secondly, the product is also separated into features, benefits, and experience.  

People buy products after: 

  • They've seen what it can offer them (features)
  • They understand what’s in it for them (benefits)
  • They have got some experience with the business

Essentially, analyzing your competitor’s product will help you figure out how they’ve been able to use their product to help your audience walk through their fears and meet their needs.

Why?

So you replicate and improve on that for your product. 

How about product validation?

It’s an important part of market research and it involves getting people to try out your idea to get customer feedback on how viable the product would be.

Think of it as clinical trials, but in this case, for your product. 

You won’t have to spend so much on developing the product as you will know what to focus on to ensure that your product is successful.

As regards defining your target audience, it involves defining demographics and typical buyer personas of your product so you can know their pain points and how your product fits in. 

Demographics talks about your audience’s data—both social and economic. It involves details like their age, level of education, gender, income, and geographical location.

Step #2: Prepare your positioning statement

Do I have to write a statement?

I’m no Maya Angelou…

Well, you don’t have to be a word wizard to prepare a positioning statement.

When it comes to product marketing, this statement is basically a detailed brief that gives people a good idea of what your product stands for

The positioning statement includes information that you’ve been able to collate from your market research.

A vital question it helps to answer is how your product meets the needs of consumers in ways that the competition doesn’t.

 Here’s a great template you can use for the statement:

This (product) is designed for (target customer) who (has this need or wants an opportunity). Our (product) is a (category of the product) that (mention features or benefits). Compared to (alternative), our product is (distinguishing feature).

Essentially, the positioning statement needs to answer questions such as:

  • Who is the product designed for?
  • What does it do?
  • How is it different from the competition?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What’s their persona?
  • What are you gonna name the product? 

While it may seem trivial, a positioning statement is a crucial part of your launch.

It goes beyond what a great product you have; it involves you deliberating on which image to use and what slogan you would use.

However, it should not be confused with branding. 

Branding refers to how the product and your business would be perceived by the market while positioning is about identifying what the market needs.

Step #3: Present the statement to the stakeholders

Once you’re done with the positioning statement, the next step you want to take is to present it to the stakeholders

The statement sets you apart from similar products in the market and is able to do a great job of convincing investors why they should be investing in your product. 

Now, you should also include your product development and marketing team.

Everyone on your team needs to buy into the idea. 

Why?

Well, if your team is having a hard time understanding the purpose of your product, your customers might do too. 

If you have people who’ve got experience, don’t hesitate to ask for their feedback. 

Step #4: Design the product launch timeline

One thing you need to know about product launches is that they’re dependent on time in a way. 

They’re tools that can help you stay on schedule if you want a successful launch. 

They act as a representation of the different stages of the product launch including the launch date, strategy development, product development, and testing. 

There should be time set aside to follow up on each step as the absence of one can alter the success of a launch.

Timelines provide a framework for your launch so that you can be focused and not deviate from your plans. 

Why is designing a product launch timeline important?

Well, it helps you monitor the progress you’ve made so far and facilitates effective planning for your marketing campaign.  

A timeline breaks down your launch into different phases and that makes it easier for you to manage the new product launch process.

Another benefit of designing a product launch timeline is that you can oversee communication with all the departments or members involved without allowing one to affect the other.   

So, what should it include?

It can consist of the different activities to be done in the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch stages.

Step #5: Design a pre-launch campaign

The pre-launch campaign is basically what you do before officially launching your product.

You could call it an appetizer but for your product or service. You know, get people hyped up for what’s to come.  

A pre-launch campaign can increase awareness of your product if it’s done right. 

It answers a very important question: how do you want people to perceive your product before it arrives?

Designing a pre-launch provides you with three major opportunities.

First, you get to present your idea to your audience to get a feel of what they think of it.

Secondly, you’re able to get early adopters who can tell you what the interest of the market is. 

Why would people want to adopt or pre-order your product before it’s officially released?

That depends on the offer you give to them which can include anything from discounts to extended product features. 

Thirdly, you get feedback which is very important if you aim to deliver a killer product for your consumers. 

Let’s let you in on a little secret… 

…technically, it’s not a secret

If you can pull off a successful pre-launch campaign, there’s a very high chance that the actual launch would be a hit.

The reason is simple: pre-launch leverages a marketing tactic known as the fear of missing out (FOMO). 

 It makes potential customers in your niche feel like they’re missing out on something big. 

And considering no one likes to have regrets, that moves them to take action. 

What should you do in the pre-launch?

  • Find your main message
  • Find what your audience needs
  • Build hype around your product
  • Ready your team 
  • Outline goals and metrics

Essentially, everything needed to have customer support backing you all the way.

We’ve also got some pre-launch templates you can use to get started. 

Step #6: Develop your marketing strategy

Have you been thinking about how you will launch and promote your product?

If yes, you’ve started developing a marketing strategy

A go-to-market strategy is a plan of how you want to advertise your product and it includes deciding on which platform to use and how you intend to execute your strategy. 

You can consider using any of the strategies highlighted below:

  • Content marketing: It involves putting out content such as blogs, podcasts, guides, videos, landing pages, press releases, and emails to generate interest for your product. 
  • Influencer marketing: Here, you get to collaborate with social media users with a good follower count and respect in their online community to talk about the incoming product. 
  • Event launch: It could be a physical event, in-store event, online launch, or joint promotional event with another business.
  • Pay-per-click: This form of advertising involves you paying advertising agencies every time someone clicks on your ad link. 
  • Social media marketing: It has to do with you running ads on social media platforms where the majority of your consumers are. 

Having a product launch plan will increase the chances of your product being successful and brand awareness.

Furthermore, you get more leads, minimize the chances of failure, and get more investors to come on board. 

What should be in your marketing plan?

Research and roadmap, rollout and reporting, and response and retention.

Step #7: Launch and measure success 

The final step is to do what you’ve been planning for the launch

We know you’re having cold feet but how would you know if the product is going to be the next big thing if you don’t launch?

We also need to let you know that launching isn’t the actual final step. 

You need to measure your success and how it’s performing.  

To measure success, you need to keep track of certain key performance indicators(KPIs) or launch metrics

An important metric to track is your conversion rate. 

Other metrics you can keep track of include:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Customer acquisition costs (CAC)
  • Customer retention rate
  • Leads generated
  • Engagement rate (ER)
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)

Before you go ahead and launch, we’ve got some tips you will find helpful during the launch. 

Let’s go over them briefly!

5 Important Tips for Launching a New Product

We’ve already explained in detail how you can launch a product from scratch.

So, in this section, we just go over certain things you need to put a pin on during the planning stages. 

As promised, we’ll be brief!

Tip #1: Make sure you know your audience’s pain points

Pain points are challenges your customers are facing. 

So, your product has to be solving their problems or meeting a need. 

That way, they can relate and see why they should be purchasing it.

Remember the product isn’t to make you feel good about the hard work you’ve done but to make them happy

How do you discover your audience’s pain points?

Simple, carry out qualitative research. 

In other words, ask them questions (questionnaire) or do a survey.

Tip #2: Know your product’s UPS (unique selling point): 

A UPS refers to why people should consider buying your product. It can be because of anything such as an edge over competing products. 

Understand why your product should be bought as this would really help your marketing team know what to advertise. 

To know your UPS, find out: 

  • What's special about your product?
  • Noticeable details?
  • Its best feature?

It’s similar to knowing your audience’s pain point. 

Actually, if you’ve discovered that, it’ll be easier to know your product’s unique selling point. 

Tip #3: Test the product well

Just like going on a test ride when getting a new car, you need to test your product to get firsthand experience of its functionality.

Take your product for a spin…

    …you know, figuratively! 

It’s easier to convince people about your product if you’ve seen what it can do for yourself. 

You can boldly say I’ve used it before and this was the result. 

Well, you don’t have to test it yourself. 

You can let your product team or customer experience guys demo it. If possible, let all your team members try it out and give you feedback so you can use it to improve your product.

Tip #4: Make sure there’s market demand

Always remember that the product isn’t just about you, but about your audience who also happens to be the market.

If they don’t see a reason why they need your product, the launch might not go the way you expect.

According to a study by CBInsights, 35% of the time that startups fail is because there is no need in the market.

So, you want to be sure that there’s a demand for your product before you launch. ​​

That’s why market research is a step you don’t want to skip when preparing to introduce a new product. 

It would be so frustrating to devote time and money to a product, thinking your audience would love it, only for you to find out the truth in the end. 

Don’t think, do research!

Tip #5: Don’t underestimate the power of influencers

Find influencers in your industry who you can collaborate with.

There’s a reason why they’re called influencers.

It’s because they have some level of influence over their online community. 

At least 4 in 10 millennials say their favorite influencers understand them better than their friends. 

When you find influencers, let them use your product so they can be motivated to speak about it on their platforms

Our Free Product Launch Checklist

Launching a product involves a lot of work. 

There’s no way to get around that. You have to think about attracting new customers, features to be added to your product, launch message, product design, and a whole lot more. 

There’s so much that you might almost forget what needs to be done.

That’s where a product launch checklist comes in. 

It will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done from the pre-launch stage to the post-launch stage. 

Some of the actions to be covered in the product launch checklist include:

  • SWOT analysis
  • Meeting your goals and objectives
  • Launch strategy
  • Case studies
  • Feedback collection

You don’t have to bother about creating a new one from scratch, we’ve got a free template you can use. 

Let’s answer one vital question before we wrap up!

Should You Delay Your Product Launch?

It’s 48 hours until launch day and the design team hasn’t presented a suitable design for the product; what should your next step of action be? 

Do you delay the launch or go out on a limb?

If you’re having similar thoughts, you’re not alone.

A Gartner survey revealed that 45% of product launches are delayed by at least a month. 

Of that percentage, 20% of them are unable to meet their internal targets. 

In other words, a huge number of product launches fail. 

Let’s get back on track!

While it’s advisable to stick with your predefined product launch, you may need to delay in certain situations. 

You should consider delaying it if:

  • Your product needs more time to be ready
  • If customers are having a hard time with one of your products
  • If there’s some big news that’s not about your product

It’s time to tie this up!

Before You Go

It’s time to start planning your product launch!

We hope our guide was super helpful as there’s a lot of work ahead of you. 

You can always come back to this if you get stuck along the way. 

But, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with the launch, feel free to book a demo with Viral Loops.

We’ll be happy to help out!

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.