The launch of your business or product is an exciting time. This presents a unique opportunity where a successful campaign can set you up for the future, but there is always a risk associated with a launch.
Your marketing efforts for new goods and services all start from the launch. So, as the first phase of your marketing strategy, it needs to make a splash and captivate the attention of your target audience. Realistically, a lot of launch campaigns fail. So then, let’s look at how you can use your launch to propel yourself ahead of your competitors.
To ensure that your launch is a success, it’s crucial to create an air-tight project launch marketing plan. Whether you’re a small business or a well-established brand, outlining your objectives at the start will support a strong launch that generates revenue, traffic and a lot of leads.
How to create your project launch marketing plan
As a result of digital media, launching a product or service to a global audience has never been easier. Unfortunately, on the other hand, that means the competition has never been as high. So, to produce a successful launch, you need a solid plan.
What is a launch plan?
A launch plan is an overview of your marketing strategy before you launch. It’s crucial to have a launch plan to ensure that you remain focused on your specific marketing objectives. A well-thought-out plan also offers long-term benefit in that you can use it afterwards to reflect on your campaign performance.
Why is creating a marketing plan for a product launch important?
As mentioned above, you should never skip creating a marketing plan for your product launch. A plan allows you to understand if your strategy will be effective, analyse your competition and explore what resources you’ll need.
Research indicates that you can’t afford to skip a launch plan. Those who outline their goals at the start report a significantly higher amount of successful campaigns, with 81 per cent of these businesses achieving the goals they outlined in their plans.
How do you write a launch strategy?
Your strategy, or plan, is a documented summary of activities, ideas and processes that you’ll use to bring your product or service to the market. Whilst all plans are different, you should be considering the following elements:
Scope out the playing field
Knowing what your competitors offer is one thing, but understanding their marketing plans is another battle. There is an element of timing involved in executing a successful launch plan, which is underpinned by the movements of your opposition.
First-movers are the marketers who like to get their product or service to market before anyone else. Most likely, you’ll be offering something that already has competition, which means consumers will already have some level of familiarity with what you’re offering.
Consider reaching out to customers to gather feedback that you can use to inform your marketing efforts. Find out if the current market is eager for the benefits and features that you’re offering. In turn, this will lead to an increase in sales.
Keep everyone involved
Every member of your team involved in your launch campaign needs to be working towards a shared goal. This, once again, highlights the importance of setting clear objectives from the start.
Moreover, take the opportunity to find out what your individual goals are. For example, your sales team might be hoping to see a particular increase in revenue within a certain amount of time. Conversely, your product designers might have set the goal that no defects exist by the time of launch. You can use the opinions of your team members to influence your strategy.
Is your positioning clear and your message consistent?
You will have to conduct extensive market research to ensure that your product or service has a solid place in the market. Find out what your competitors are offering and what’s working well for them.
Additionally, you need to know about your own business. How much will you charge? How will your product or service work alongside existing applications? Define your target audience as soon as possible and start working on what makes your brand different from the rest.
Once you’ve identified your target market, align your brand voice with one consistent tone and ensure your message resonates with consumers. Use this tone to influence all of your external communications.
Are you outlining specific goals?
Try to focus on as few specified goals as possible. In doing so, you’re streamlining your marketing efforts and it will be much easier to define whether the campaign was a success or not.
This could be anything to do with business: sales, clients, demonstrating product superiority or even eliminating product defects. Launching without a clear idea of what you want will only lead to further difficulties in the long term.
What are the types of product launch?
Once you’ve figured out some of the fundamental aspects of your plan, it’s time to decide what type of product launch suits you best. Whilst there are many specific types, here are some of the three most common structures:
The ‘go big or go home’ type of product launch, this is a good option if you intend for your new product to reach the largest possible audience. Overall, this type of launch requires the most planning because you have to generate the highest amount of buzz among consumers.
Generally, a full-scale launch is suited to businesses that are offering a brand new product or service, or a new feature that is groundbreaking enough to deserve huge publicity. Your product will need to be free of defects and every aspect of your plan mapped out to the finest detail.
This type of launch offers the opportunity for you to do a trial run. You can soft launch to a smaller group of users and gather their feedback to identify any wrinkles that may need to be ironed out.
Furthermore, this allows you to get your team prepared. The development and customer service teams should be ready to support your limited group of users with any problems that arise.
If your business offers a software product, it’s going to undergo consecutive updates and bug fixes over time. However, sometimes, such a big feature is added that it deserves its own launch. This feature could appeal to a different audience or upsell your existing users.
Considering the potential benefits, you need to create a buzz surrounding the update. Try to excite your current users through teasers and give them a release date. Show people how your new feature will support or enhance your software.
How to launch the world’s greatest marketing plan
Do you want the world’s greatest launch? Of course you do, which means you’ll need an equally brilliant plan.
Your marketing plan is the backbone of all of the activities leading up to your launch day. Beyond that, it serves as a benchmark that you’ll come back to when analysing your campaign data.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at what it takes to craft the perfect launch plan.
How is a launch campaign structured?
As we explore the areas of a launch campaign, it might seem like there’s a lot. Truthfully, pulling off a great launch does require significant time and effort. However, once your product goes live, a strong plan and structure will seem like one of the best investments you’ve ever made.
The general structure of a launch campaign includes the following:
- Determine your research and launch goals
- Clarify your positioning in the market
- Sell to stakeholders
- Develop your launch strategy
- Set a date and review your goals
- Begin pre-launch marketing to build anticipation
- Launch and start collecting data
How to set your product launch goals
Your specific launch objectives could be anything, but they must be measurable and time-bound. More importantly, they need to be understood by everyone involved in bringing your launch to fruition. Essentially, the fewer goals, the better.
As an example, increasing sales is not an excellent goal because it doesn’t make it clear what the target is. However, increasing revenue by 15 per cent over three months is great because it provides a metric, a quantity and a timeframe in which to achieve that goal.
Before you set out your launch goals, consider the objectives of the product or service. What is it trying to accomplish? Additionally, your product goals should support your overall business strategy. Once these sets of objectives are working together, formulating your launch goals should be much more straightforward.
After you’ve come up with a few different launch goals that are underlined by metrics and timeframes, you should try to reduce them to the smallest set possible. The more you refine your goals, the more likely it is you’ll be able to understand whether you’ve achieved them or not.
What does a successful product launch look like?
Successful product launches come in many shapes and sizes. However, the most impressive launches all share the following elements:
Campaign success hinges on solid planning from the start. No matter how surprising or bold it is to the general public, you must know what you’re aiming for and how you’ll measure it. To make sure your advertising campaign goes smoothly and achieves the targets you want, invest your time wisely to carefully sculpt your strategy.
Sizing up the competition
Your product or service must do something better than your competitors. Otherwise, there would be no point in marketing it. You know what makes it special, so highlight those qualities to your target audience.
Conversely, the competition must be lacking something if there’s a gap in the market for you. This presents an opportunity for you to capitalise on their shortcomings through your marketing channels. When consumers start to see where your product excels against the rest, you’ll start building a significant buzz.
Putting design at the centre
Successful launch campaigns don’t all have exuberant colours or breathtaking artwork. You don’t need to be the most outlandish in your design. In fact, the essential part of your content marketing should be conveying a consistent message as to what your business is all about.
Every piece of your content that is consumed by people will directly influence how they perceive your products or services. This is not limited to your campaign – it also involves your product packaging. So, to uphold high standards and maintain a great reputation, ensure that all of your design is streamlined and error-free at launch.
Doing your due diligence on competitors isn’t only to understand what they’re doing differently. Just as importantly, you have to know if they’re planning to launch a new product or service in the same timeframe as you intend to.
If you’re unaware and happen to schedule your launch at the same time as a competitor’s product, you’ll only hurt your chances of hitting those crucial launch goals. Therefore, the importance of conducting extensive market research before you set a launch date cannot be underestimated.
Most importantly, campaign success is different from business to business. There’s no guarantee it’ll work out how you want it to. However, by carefully planning out your objectives, seeking input from other members of your team and refining them to be specific, you’re giving yourself the best chance of success.
How do you promote a campaign?
With the influx of digital marketing techniques that are at your disposal, picking the right way to promote your product launch campaign can be daunting. Whether you prefer Google ads or Instagram stories, let’s look at some ways to get the word out about your exciting new product.
A blog provides a great platform to educate your target audience, provide useful information about your product or service and, most importantly, why people need it.
If blogging isn’t your thing, that’s fine. You might consider reaching out via guest posts on reputable websites related to the product. The benefit of doing so is that you’ll be advertising your product to an already established audience of people who likely have an interest in that specific area.
You may not have a blog, or if you do, it can be difficult to find the time to manage it. So, if you don’t feel comfortable managing a blog yourself, you could always bring in an experienced agency to do it for you.
Traditionally, we have always bought products and services recommended by the people we trust, like friends and family. Well, over the last few years, a new member of that trusted circle has emerged – the influencer.
A review, or paid ads, from an established influencer can win the trust of your target audience, many of whom may have never heard of your business before.
Research shows that almost 90 per cent of consumers read online reviews before deciding to purchase a product. So, why not take the opportunity to use an influencer who has a significant reach in your specific area to increase brand awareness?
Moreover, influencers can promote giveaways to build a buzz for your product launch which, in turn, will allow you to win over further customers. Running an influencer marketing campaign is symbiotic because they are already experts at captivating their audiences, so you can introduce your product or service to your target audience in a way that feels personalised for them.
Social media marketing
Building your social media presence and keeping potential customers engaged is an essential aspect of a successful launch. If you fail to do so, people may lose interest in your product or service by the time you launch.
Social media platforms also offer a perfect space to drip-feed teasers and countdowns to create a buzz around your launch. Go live, interact with user-generated content and get invested in engagement with your audience to make them genuinely excited about what you offer.
Ensure your campaign is driving users toward a desired action
Your campaign might generate interest from a huge audience and drive a lot of traffic toward your website. Still, unless those people take your desired action, the campaign hasn’t completed its objective.
A desired action simply refers to the goal you set out at the start of your planning phase. This could be weighted towards several aspects of business: sales, prospects, customers, product awareness, or product defect goals.
If you fail to meet your initial objectives, you need to identify the issues that stood in your way. Through careful analysis of what happened, you can begin to understand the problems with your launch and learn about benchmarks for the future.
How long should a launch campaign be?
The total length of your launch campaign will differ depending on every product or service. Some campaigns run for just a few weeks, while most tend to last anywhere from one to three months.
Before deciding on what timeframe will suit you best, some questions you will need to ask yourself are:
What is your product or service?
If you’re launching a business as a whole, you may want to create a longer-lasting campaign. However, if you’re offering a seasonal product or service, or something that will only be available for a limited amount of time, you’ll have to work within those parameters.
Where are you advertising?
It’s important to make sure your message doesn’t become stale for consumers. If you’re creating social media adverts, consider producing a variety to captivate the attention of your audience. On the other hand, if you’re running TV adverts, it makes sense to direct resources into fewer productions.
Who are you advertising to?
The ideal launch campaign will see your target audience engage with the content, recognise it as yours and form a connection with your brand. You don’t want your audience to see those adverts so much that they become bored and lose interest.
Knowing when to bring your launch campaign to a close is another critical factor for success. A combination of the above factors and your marketing budget can help make the decision easier.
Additionally, you should be looking at data to support your decisions. Once your campaign is live and you’ve given it enough time to have reached your target audience, scrutinise the data to see whether it has made an impact.
Due to the varying factors involved in setting a length for your campaign, it’s useful to work alongside a content agency. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so having professionals to ensure high standards is a huge help.
What can you learn about your audience or marketing channels?
Considering your current audience is often the first thing you do when starting on a new product or service.
Understanding your audience is essential to ensure that what you sell and the content you produce consistently resonates with them. Consequently, this boosts conversions and customer loyalty.
To really get to grips with how your customers think about your product or service, monitor social media networks. Known as social listening, this helps you uncover exactly what people are saying about your business and your competitors.
Moreover, social listening will help you to figure out where your target audience is most heavily based and, as a result, where you could direct your marketing efforts.
What type of action do you want your audience to take when interacting with your creative content?
A call to action is usually a feature, such as a button, that directs people to take an action. This can include buying your product, sharing their information, subscribing to your mailing list, or any other feasible action.
During your launch campaign planning, you will have to consider what specific actions you want consumers to take when interacting with your content. Generally, this will be similar to your overall goals.
Usually, your product or service will be designed to address a particular issue for your target audience. Make sure your communications are clear and tailored to those people so that they’ll be more convinced to take action after interacting with your content.
Moreover, think about what you’re going to do after the audience has taken your desired action. Tell them what will happen, how it will benefit them and why it’s the right choice. Even if consumers know you’ve got an amazing product or service, they still need to make the decision to support you. Therefore, it’s important to show customers a plan of action that adds value to them.
What will you do with the campaign data?
Executing a successful marketing campaign doesn’t end as soon as you press the shiny red button. All of the work up to this point is only part of the fun.
Your launch plan outlined all of the initial goals you laid out. Naturally, you will need to analyse the results to truly assess your campaign against those objectives.
Tools like Google Analytics and marketing automation software can offer you the numbers, but it isn’t just about looking at one metric. You should collect as much data as you can from social platforms, your website, email marketing and any other tools you’ve used throughout the campaign.
Once you have your analytics, get together as a marketing team and discuss the good and the bad. Think about what you learned from the launch. Did you delegate tasks appropriately? How could you gather feedback from your target audience? The results you get from these types of questions will inform your future campaigns.