The product launch is one of the most important moment in a startup’s life. It’s the decisive moment where all your efforts come to fruition—the ultimate test of your planning and skills. However, many entrepreneurs fail to understand that launching a product is more than simply announcing its existence.
That lack of effort leads to tepid reception, dooming what should have been a fantastic offering. Fortunately, there is much you can do to ensure that your products have a fighting chance. Here are 5 ways you can create your own product launch formula to make sure your product launch goes smoothly:
1. Consider Your Timing and Positioning
When you launch your product has a direct impact on its success. Many startups have fallen apart because their product launched against a poorly educated market, or because their customers were not in the right mindset. For your product launch to succeed, getting your timing down is absolutely essential.
There are many elements that come into play with timing and positioning. Timing comes into play when considering the support you have from investors, as well as the ability to actually sell your product to a receptive market. Positioning is thinking about how consumers view your product, and whether or not your market campaigns have properly set their expectations about your offering.
2. Focus Development on the Consumer
One of the biggest reasons for product launch failure is a product that does not actually appeal to the intended consumer. Development was done intelligently, but not wisely, in that it appeals to the creator. That can lead to a great product on paper, but not one the target market will actually purchase.
Every inch of product development done at your startup must focus wholly on the consumer. Put your personal needs and wants aside. You are not the one buying the product – your target market is. If you’ve done your homework, the value of your offering will be easily recognized by potential customers, either through its visual design, the brand, or your marketing campaign.
3. Know Your Target Market
Moving in ignorance is the worst thing you can do as an entrepreneur. You might have great ideas, but if you do not know who you are selling to and how you will do that, your plans will be inherently lost. That lack of focus will ensure the failure of your product launch.
You need to do the legwork and research your target market. Learn everything you can about them, from their purchasing power and patterns to their preferred colors. Additionally, you need to learn about the competition and examine how they position themselves. No detail is too small. The more information you have, the more successful your product launch will be.
4. Have a Marketing Plan
Just because you have a product does not mean people will buy it. That is largely due to information dissemination. If they do not know what benefits your offering brings, they won’t buy it.
You need to educate your audience, especially as a startup with an unknown brand. People do not know what to expect from you or your products, so you need to tell them. The pressure is on your marketing team and their plans. Make sure their plans encourage engagement and focus on the target market. Highlight the problem your product solves, and your product launch will successful.
5. Test Your Product
Your product launch will fail if the star of the show does not live up to the hype. Getting people interested in your product is only the beginning. They need to be satisfied with their purchase, which means developing the best product you can within the time frame you set.
The only way you can achieve that goal is through thorough testing. Testing your offering internally is only one aspect of vetting your product. You also need to send it into the real world and see how customers react to and use what you sold. That testing can give you key feedback and information you can use to ensure that the product is ready for the big leagues.
Product launches are a make-or-break moment for startups and can lead to overwhelming success or failure. If you cannot make it work, at best you will have a much harder road ahead of you. At worst, the startup will essentially collapse. Put your best foot forward, keep these tips in mind, and you will be rewarded.
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About the Author:
John D. Smiddy
John has helped market and scale over 200 companies in various industries over the past 10 years. He is the Founder and Managing Partner of LeadPlan Marketing, the host of “The Marketing Fundamentals Podcast” and the creator of the “5 Pillars of Sales Conversions” formula used at LeadPlan.