Launching a new product is a complex and incredibly stressful endeavor. In the whirlwind of sending press releases and preparing product demos, you might forget about something important. This is where a checklist comes in handy.
A special product launch checklist is a document that includes all the tasks you need to complete to make sure that your launch is successful. Also, checking the items off on your list is bound to be super satisfying.
Read on to find out what a killer product launch checklist for startup founders needs to include for a successful launch.
- What you need to know about the product launch checklist
- Product launch checklist – our 20 steps to success
- A product launch timeline brings you closer to success
What you need to know about the product launch checklist
A product launch checklist is, in essence, a list of events and tasks that you need to complete before launching your product.
Since product launches tend to be incredibly complex and multidimensional, it's essential that you plan yours thoughtfully and execute swiftly. While the product launch is the responsibility of the product manager and product teams, many other teams are involved in it - from sales to PR and marketing. All of them are critical stakeholders in launching a product.
Why is a product launch so demanding?
When you introduce a product to the market, you're looking to create a buzz around it. By developing a checklist for launching a product, you will ensure that all the tasks are taken care of, and nothing can potentially put the success of your new product in danger.
Product launch checklist – our 20 steps to success
1. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your product
How does your product differ from others available on the market? Why should customers choose your product over alternatives?
Identifying the unique selling proposition of your product is essential before releasing it to the public. You need to know how to talk about your product and establish a coherent messaging style to make an impact.
2. Prepare a media plan
Releasing a product to the public without a media plan is like stepping into unknown territory without a map.
Don't forget that a product launch happens only once in a product's lifetime.
That's why you need to make sure that you squeeze all the opportunities brought by this occasion to the fullest.
3. Identify your target audience
When it comes to PR, you can't go anywhere without knowing who your target audience is. After all, you're trying to attract and engage a specific group of people. These people have particular needs and requirements.
That's why identifying your target audience is a critical step to launching a brand-new product. Don't invest in targeting general audiences. Be specific and address your niche.
4. Divide roles and responsibilities in your team
A product launch is an incredibly busy time for the entire product team. Make sure that every team member knows exactly what their responsibilities are and what they should be doing during the launch. It's better to establish this before the launch happens instead of adding this on top of the many tasks you need to juggle when it's happening.
5. Write a killer press release
Step into the shoes of a journalist. You see hundreds of press releases every month. How do you pick one release over the other? Which press releases catch journalists' attention and engage them enough to reach out to you?
Writing a press release that does all of that is an art in itself. But getting in touch with journalists and writers is essential if you want your product launch to be covered by the media and create a buzz around your brand.
Make sure that your press release has an enticing title and includes all the elements that journalists need to cover your product: the what, who, where, when, and why.
6. Monitor the media
You need to know who is writing about your product and what they're saying. The best way to do that is by implementing a media monitoring application that scans the internet for brand mentions or other keywords you set for it. Including this simple step in your product launch is a smart move. That way, tracking the success of your product launch will be easier. You'll know what is actually happening in real-time.
7. Pick the right day to launch your product
As we mentioned before, you're launching a product only once. That's why you need to make sure that it launches with a bang.
When to get in touch with the media? The best day of the week to pitch to journalists is Tuesday. Tuesday is perfect because Monday is too busy – it's when people are flocking to offices (or home offices) and trying to make sense of their mailboxes. On Tuesday, you can be sure that journalists have already dealt with everything they were going through the previous week and cleared their inbox. At the same time, Tuesday gives you a total of three days to follow up on questions they might have.
8. Timing matters a lot when contacting the media
What is the best time to reach out to journalists? When it comes to picking the hour, consider whether your business operates in different time zones and where the journalists you're targeting are located. Also, it's a good idea to consider the habits of your audience here.
9. Contact important journalists
Getting in touch with journalists directly is a great opportunity to confirm your launch date. They're the people responsible for spreading the news in your sector and potentially creating content about your product. Answer their questions and provide them with all the information they need to help them cover your product. Consider creating and distributing a media kit to make the journalist's job even easier.
10. Get all the stakeholders on board
Everyone involved in the project needs to be clear about your launch date before it happens. Why is it important? Because every team member will have to reserve some time to create a buzz around your brand. Ask your team and executives to share the news with their networks on social media. Prepare them with message examples to make it faster.
11. Offer special bonuses and treats to early adopters
Launching a product like an MVP requires a lot of work and adaptation before it starts delivering full value. You need to gather feedback from the early adopters to make sure that the product you’re building finds a solid market fit.
How to attract new people to a product they don't know? Offer exciting freebies or promotions that will be part of your launch event.
Encourage people to join in and leave their valuable feedback in exchange for something that adds value to their lives.
12. Create sales and promotional materials
Develop a landing page for your product and prepare content to be shared online. Equipment your sales team with one-pagers and PDF materials about your product so they can easily reach out to potential customers. Make sure that people on your team review the materials carefully before publishing them – you don't want to make promises that your product can't keep.
13. Double-check everything
Just like in a software development lifecycle, testing is a critical part of your process. Test your product at least a few days before launch. If you fail to do it early enough, some bugs might be discovered too late to be addressed, and your product will deliver a poor experience. If you change any variable in the product, make sure to check it twice.
14. Take care of the customer support
This is a critical step in every product launch strategy.
You need to know whether your customer support team can handle a sudden surge of requests coming from customers.
Are there enough people on board who can answer their questions? What if your customers come from different time zones? Make sure to have all of this in place before releasing your product to the public.
15. Set a goal for your market launch
When releasing a product, have an objective in mind. For example, you can consider the number of users that you want to engage with or other sales metrics. Measuring your success will help you to learn what works best and what doesn't work at all for your target customers, market niche, and product.
16. Release your product internally
An internal pre-launch is one of the smartest things you can do before letting your product see the light. If you identify a technical glitch, you will have more than enough time to get rid of it before the official launch.
17. Spread the word about your product
Ask everyone you know to share the news and share your new product with their networks. Make use of social media for this purpose to increase your target reach even before launch.
18. Put an embargo on your press release
Journalists need to know when they can start publishing content about your products and sharing news on their platform. A poorly coordinated media launch might have some pretty bad consequences for your brand and relationship with the media.
19. Offer personalized support
Customer service helps you learn about the real first reactions of your customers. You also need to make a great impression on them.
A CEO who introduces a user to a product is an amazing experience that many people in your niche would enjoy.
20. Plan for the future
Finally, it's not enough to think only about the product launch event but also consider the future. Develop a plan where you outline all the communications happening after the launch. For example, if you're planning to start a newsletter, you need to know what kind of content to share with your audiences - and you better do it before anyone subscribes!
A product launch timeline brings you closer to success
By developing a product launch timeline, you will give your team the clarity it needs about all the different steps involved in the launch and how they all work together on a linear timeline.
By seeing them one after the other and checking boxes in your checklist, you will find launching a new product much less stressful. You'll feel in control. That's why a product launch checklist is one of the smartest documents that support your startup as it releases its product to the public.
Launching a new product is a complicated and stressful time. So, it's essential that you use all the tools at your disposal to make your (and your team's) life easier during this process. A product launch checklist is exactly what you need.
If you're looking for some more advice on how to release a successful product or MVP, keep an eye on this blog. We have ample experience in developing new digital products from scratch and share our experience to help founders make a splash and drive innovation in their industries. And if you’re searching for a technology partner to develop your product - reach out to us!