In today’s eCommerce landscape, it can be hard to decide what sales strategy works best. Do you want to drive traffic to your own website...
As the old saying goes – “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. This 100% applies to new product launches. In other words, if you fail to plan your product launch, you’ll likely end up firefighting. Not ideal when you want to focus all your time and resources to make sure your lovely new products get all the attention they deserve.
Granted, this will be a loose plan as things may take longer than expected, or simply won’t go to plan. But having a foundation to work from with the different stages clearly outlined will mean nothing will get missed. To add to that, having an overview of which tasks will sit with different team members will put you in an even stronger position.
Learn about your customers
A successful product launch will be dependent on you having a clear definition of your ideal customer profile. You need to know everything about the customers your product will be aimed at in order to effectively market and sell it to them. Of course, things like location, demographics, and interests will be key in B2C. For B2B, you may focus on specific personas, industries, or company size.
What’s key is to identify the pain points your product will address. What problems will your product solve for your target audience and what will they gain from owning your product? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll find it much easier to position your product in an appealing way.
Write a positioning statement
You can start working on your product positioning statement now that you’ve identified your ICP (ideal customer profile). This will be an overview of who your product is for, and its Unique Selling Points (USPs). You also need to highlight why your product stands out from the crowd i.e., what differentiates you from your competition? The key elements of your positioning statement should include answers to the following:
- What will your product be called, and which category will it belong to?
- Key stats i.e., what’s the size of your target audience, what segments are most likely to purchase it?
- Key messaging to include what your product does, and the pain points your product addresses i.e., why is it different from the rest?
- How is this product different from similar ones on the market?
Important to note that, as your launch strategy develops, your positioning statement may also develop and change.
Pitching your positioning statement to stakeholders
Now you’ve nailed your product positioning, you need to get buy-in from other stakeholders within the business. This will likely range from top-level to lower level. For instance, employees, and managers, right up to executives, shareholders, and board members.
This will be a great opportunity for you to get feedback and take advice from your peers. Ask for any improvements in relation to the product itself, as well as the launch plan and positioning statement you’ve put together. Overall, this will enable you to formulate the best way to launch your new product.
Plan your go-to-market strategy
This is when you need to finalize your pricing, packaging, and distribution methods. Then, you can move on to the fun bit – shouting from the rooftops about your amazing new product! This is where your digital marketing strategy is going to be pivotal as you want to spread the word far and wide.
Consider where and how you’re going to reach your target audience. Ask yourself where they usually shop or spend most of their time. For instance, if you’re targeting a younger B2C audience, social media is going to be a key avenue. For B2B, you might want to consider some paid advertisements in trade publications.
Setting goals for the launch
You can’t measure the success of your product launch unless you set clear goals of what you want to achieve. Different product launches will have different objectives. For example, you may want to drive brand awareness. Or you may want to encourage your customers to buy more or upgrade. Overall, the number of units you want to sell and your target revenues will be the key things to consider.
Your goals need to be specific so you can keep them front-of-mind when focusing on your launch initiatives. Important to note – you should always try to follow the SMART goals framework. In other words, make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Create promotional content
You should tailor your promotional content to the goals you want to achieve from your product launch and make your marketing plan work for you. If you’re looking to build awareness, paid advertisements will be something you’ll want to consider. If you’re looking to encourage customers to buy more, you’ll want to have a solid email marketing plan in place.
You want to create hype around your product, so think of all the different resources you’ll need to do that. Think:
- Blog posts with keywords
- Demo videos to show the value of your product
- Scripts for your sales team
- A dedicated landing page for your new products
- A press release to create a buzz
- Social media campaigns
The types of sales channels you’re selling on will also dictate how you write your product descriptions. For instance, if you’re selling on multiple sales channels such as marketplaces or social media, you’ll need tailored content to meet the specific requirements of each channel. The same will also apply to your digital assets.
Launching your product
Once you’ve got your launch date set, there’ll be a whole host of information you’ll need to provide to all relevant teams. Communication needs to be clear and consistent, and it’s helpful to have a central repository for all your product launch materials and assets.
Doing a soft launch is a great way of testing your products’ popularity. For example, you could consider launching it internally, or to customers who are subscribed to your loyalty program. This will enable you to identify any technical problems and iron out any glitches before you go public. Overall, you need to make the whole experience as seamless and straightforward as possible.
If you’re planning on selling across multiple sales channels, you’ll also need to give yourself enough time to check over the different content to make sure it meets all the specific criteria. In other words, you can give your new products the best possible chance of getting listed above your competitors.
Moreover, you need to ensure you have a solid SEO strategy in place to get your products in front of the right people at the right time. Ensure your product pages and digital assets are optimized with the right target keywords to get the best possible results.
Analyzing your results
Once you’ve successfully launched your product, it’ll be time to reflect on how the launch went. Refer back to the initial goals you’d set and compare the results you’ve generated. Look at your web analytics to determine the number of web visits you’ve had and identify how many units you’ve sold. From there, you can work out your conversion rate.
The key things you should be asking yourself are:
- Did I sell as many products as I’d hoped?
- How did my target audience engage with the product?
- Is there anything I could have done differently?
Essentially, one of the most important things you can do post-launch is to identify any areas of improvement that you can apply to your next product launch.
Additional considerations for online product launches
Here are a few additional considerations when launching a new product online that will help you take your eCommerce product launch strategy to the next level.
Tell your brand story and the story of the product: Drill down on how your product is going to make your customers’ lives better. Firstly, you need to be clear on how the product is going to solve their problems or address their pain points. Secondly, you can help them make a stronger connection with your product by telling its’ story. Not just the features and benefits, but the “why” of the product, its vision, and the values it represents.
Make use of UGC and reviews: User Generated Content is a super powerful way of further enabling your customers to build a relationship with your brand and product. Social proof offers your customers that extra layer of assurance they need when buying online. It’ll help you drive conversions, and it’s also considered an important ranking factor, so it’s definitely a win!
Social media and email campaigns: Both social media and email are super powerful tools that will help you drive the hype around your new product launch. It’s a great way of getting your new and existing customers excited about the launch ahead of time. You could also offer these audiences a pre-order option. As a result, you’ll have orders lined up before the product has even gone live, and you can give your customers a sense of VIP treatment.
Creating the perfect online product launch plan!
New product launches are time-consuming and costly, so getting it right will be pivotal in your overall eCommerce success. Leverage the tools and technologies in your business to streamline processes. Having an online product launch checklist will help keep you focused. It’ll also be a useful tool for other team members working on the launch so everyone can work collaboratively.
Lots of tools out there to help you streamline the process. Important to have a checklist in place, realistic timeframes, and a budget that enables you to meet all your objectives. What is important when launching a new product is flexibility. Timeframes will likely change, and there may be unforeseen obstacles you’ll have to overcome. Therefore, you need to be realistic with the timeframes you set, and ensure you have an ample budget that will enable you to meet your objectives. All in all, you want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible when you take your lovely new products to market!