As a startup founder, we know that there are dozens of launches you have had and will have to endure. There’s the investment round launch, the Product Hunt launch, the possible crowdfunding campaign launch and many more – but the most important launch as a founder, is the brand launch, that first time you unveil your startup to the world.
With the goal of making the big launch a grand slam, it’s crucial to plan ahead and get your ducks in a row. With our extensive research, we bring you fine-tuned tips we hope you will take into consideration before your big launch.
Have a Killer Product
We’ve said this before and you even know it yourself, but it’s worth repeating (a million times) – your success lies in your product. If you want to have a successful product launch, don’t push it and don’t launch before you are more than ready. Whether you and your team have spent weeks, months or even years working to get the product to this point, if it is not truly ready, you could do yourself more harm than good by launching prematurely.#founders - for a successful product launch, be sure not to launch prematurely Click To Tweet
What does launching prematurely actually mean? It means not knowing what pain point you’re alleviating for your potential customers, not having a competitive interface, not understanding your competition or knowing what makes you different and not tweaking your product and eliminating bugs. Do yourself and your product a favor – launch when you’re not only ready, but more than ready.
Build Just Enough Suspense
Only after you know that your product is ready, is it time to get your potential customers hyped up. Get them excited that you’re about to enter the market and disrupt their way of thinking for the better.
Since each product is unique, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, however there are a few universal tricks you can do to get your brand name out there: For one, seek out social media influencers and subtly build a relationship with them. Get them excited about your launch so that when the time is right, they share the news and create a buzz. You can also put out teasers on your website and other external facing channels, as well as collect leads to share the big launch news with. A great way to build hype is to start a countdown till your big launch, a sure way to keep your followers engaged and excited.
Remember, when building suspense, be sure not to drag it out too long. People are excited about your launch, but they won’t follow your countdown if your end-date is too far away. Plan your pre-launch for just enough time to get people truly excited but not too long that they become disinterested.
As you plan to release your product, write down the short and long term goals that you want to achieve. You should have short term goals that are action driven, and long term goals that are ambitious enough to be driving forces, but not too challenging that they cannot be met. It is helpful to create a road map for the best and worst case scenarios – what would you do if your launch went according to plan and what would you do if it didn’t and you had to shift your product completely?
It’s also extremely important that you have the infrastructure to handle the demand you may soon experience. A common error startups often make is focusing too much on the product and completely forgetting about post-launch needs, such as customer support and manpower to uphold demand, guide new users and be there to answer their questions.
Do you plan on launching a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to validate your product? You’ll need to allocate resources to that. Do you plan on getting press coverage and building yourself up as a leader in the industry? You’ll need a face (and that face will be busy) so prepare your team and your schedules in advance.
Create your Messaging and Positioning
As you build your goals and prep your infrastructure, it’s important to build your messaging and positioning. This is the narrative that will guide your brand through its launch and hopefully lead it towards the path of success. Your message needs to be simple, persuasive and clear about your product – what it does, what it solves and who it brings value to. Use this to establish your product’s position in the marketplace. Be sure to share this internally so that everyone on the team is on the same page and do not be afraid to change your positioning and messaging as your grow.
Make sure to have marketing material, content, press release, email campaigns – the works! Don’t rush to get these things ready in the last minute. Plan ahead and prepare all your launch assets in advance so you have enough time to tweak, review and revise your final output.
When the launch arrives, all you can do is hope. Hope your hard work pays off and hope that the market takes to your product, which if you took our advice and did your research, they most likely will!