Product launches are key to your start-up's success both from a development perspective but also from a marketing and sales perspective. We've all seen how Apple does product launches where everything is a secret until the big event and then a master unveiling takes place. This has been very successful for them as they are able to draw a large crowd and create buzz.
However, this is the exception and only a handful of companies can pull it off not to mention the fact that a lot of time and effort goes into these launches that is just not possible in the land of start-ups. For this post, I want to look at how you can quickly launch a product and by quick I mean pulling everything together in a matter of a few weeks, not months.
When launching a product, marketing tends to get brought in later in the process so you will need to take a list of features that have been developed and figure out how to position the product to be successful in the market. Working with developers to create a compelling value proposition is not always an easy task but creating a product brief with them can give you the information you need to build better messaging.
The next key step is to select an event for your launch so that everything can be pulled together at the same time and make an impact. I'm going to use "event" in the broadest sense as it could be something as grand as what Apple does, to a tradeshow or an online launch, to a news release.
Without an event, you risk not getting everything completed and releasing the product and marketing elements in stages which will lose the impact you are after. In its simplest form, the launch event can just be a date where all the elements come together and are made public.
Whatever event you choose, here is a list of tactics that are required for any successful product launch:
- Sales tools including educational white papers about the topic, product overviews both high-level and technical, and case studies.
- Product demos that capture how the product works. This can be done live, as a video, or animated using screen shots.
- Media and analyst outreach will help educate key advocates about the new product and result in coverage which helps to raise awareness.
- Web content that is SEO friendly will give everyone a place to find more information about the product. Remember to use video and graphics to make your site more interesting.
- Social media can be used to spread the word about the new product and also to collect feedback on it once the product is launched.
There is no doubt that you can do a lot more in each of these areas and use other tactics to launch your product and, depending on time and resources, you may not get to everything on this list. But, you need to provide some substance to your launch and the process above has served me well and can be used as a good baseline for your start-up. Tell me about your launches in the comments below.