Conceiving new products and then developing them into commercially viable products can be time-consuming and complex. First of all, many needed steps in new-product planning do receive proper attention by firms. However, the buildup to the product launch also needs planning through a product launch timeline. That’s why careers in product management are so appealing. Most of all, thanks to Convertkit for the content that follows about the product launch timeline.
As Dani Stewart notes for Convertkit (a firm specializing in E-mail marketing for professional bloggers):
“Every good [new] product deserves a great product launch timeline. Because of the work you’ve put into creating your beautiful, world-changing product, you need to the recognition due. Enter the product launch timeline. Especially relevant: learn about your customers, write persuasive content, beta test, and choose the best promotion channels. It’s important to put a product launch timeline into place so you don’t miss a thing. Therefore, to help start your product launch timeline, here are steps to help gain momentum and have a successful launch.”
The steps for a superior product launch timeline are highlighted here and in the infographic below.
Product Launch Timeline: Months Out
- 4 months to launch — “Get advice: Start talking about your product to your mentors, people in the real world, and potential customers. Get that elevator pitch ready. Customer development: Your product should be a reflection of your customers. To find out if what you want to create is something your customers need, you first have to know your customers. Implement the 10-Person Rule and create avatars. Messaging and positioning: Once you have the information using the 10 Person Rule, it’s time to come up with messaging. How will you position your product? Think about Who it’s for? What does it do? Why it’s better than similar products?”
- 3 months to launch — “Create a launch plan: Work backward from your goal launch date and think about every step and marketing activity needed for a successful launch. Create launch content: Think about all the collateral you will need to sell you product. Start drafting demo decks, product screenshots, sales materials, the landing page, Web site updates, E-mails, etc. Choose specific social media channels. Prep your team: If you have a team, teach them your positioning/message. Make sure they are ready to sell. Go-to-market strategy: Compile all this information in one place for easy access. This can include pricing recommendations, market research, competitive analysis, and any other information you might need. Find promoters/affiliates: You most likely can’t launch on your own. Find influencers in your industry who might be interested in helping you. Take time to make a list of influencers to contact.”
- 2 Months to launch — “Beta: Write and send an E-mail to potential affiliates and send them your product to test and review. Make it easy on them to review by including swipe copy for their blogs and social media. This beta step is very important. Because you want influencers to help you evaluate your product before public release and give you feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Start building anticipation: You can’t just release in one day. Without notice, no one will know what you’re talking about and they won’t care. Hence, here are some examples of building anticipation. Most of all: Create a landing page about the product with a ‘stay in touch’ opt-in form. Put a banner on your site hyping the product that links to your product landing page. Talk to your social media followers and ask them questions to make sure you’re on track. Finalize launch content: Take all customer information you’ve been gathering and make sure launch content is still on par. Ask a friend/hire a professional to look over it and edit to make sure it launch worthy. Gather reviews from your beta testers: Add beta reviews to your landing page and seed throughout social media. These reviews will add to your social clout and brand authority and trust.”
- 1 month to launch — “Announce your launch: It’s time to start announcing your product to the public! Post about your launch on your blog. Have your opt-in form link to your landing page. Start your E-mail sequence to your opt-in list. In addition, set up your opt-in form for your blog main page.”
Product Launch Timeline: Weeks Out
- 3 weeks to launch — “Check in with affiliates: Make sure your promoters have everything needed to spread news about your product. Start seeding social media: And Post teaser videos and images on social channels, blog posts, etc.”
- 2 weeks to launch — “Set up shopping cart. Research paid traffic: Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc. if interested. Create sales funnel: For people who click to opt-in and for after they’ve purchased. Create thank you page: For people who purchase.”
- 1 week to launch — “Set up your product in your storefront. Check all your links! Before launch, do a final check to ensure that everything works. Therefore, see if buttons are functioning, forms are working, copy and creative looks good, etc.”
- Week of launch — “Keep sharing on social media and through your E-mail list. Make your launch an event: Everything is more exciting when you take the time to promote it well. Hence, here are ideas how to make your launch extra exciting. Host a webinar. Hit the podcast circuit. Host a TwitterChat. In addition, release a new (longer-than-a-teaser) promo.”
Product Launch Timeline: Post-Launch
- After launch — “Pop the champagne! As a result of your efforts, you did it! Launching a product is no easy feat. It’s easy to jump from prep-work to post-work, but it’s important to celebrate every little victory you can. So take a little time to reveal in your success. Follow up for testimonials: Consequently, about a month after launch, send an E-mail asking new customers what they thought about your product. Take your feedback and make your product better: Because everything your customers tell you is important. Therefore, listen to them and take data from your launch to re-work your product for your next launch.”