Do you have an idea for a new product for your small business? Like any other business initiative, launching a new product requires time and planning. Rushing to market without a clear plan is a recipe for disaster. In this post, we’ll outline a few steps small businesses can take for a successful product launch.
1. Learn about your customer.
Before launching a new product, it’s important to understand what drives your target customers. Taking time to understand their goals, motivations, and pain points can help you develop and market a solution that will be valuable to them.
We recommend interviewing 12 to 15 current or prospective customers as part of this research. Keep most of your questions focused on specific details related to goals and challenges, but provide the interviewees with opportunities to elaborate with some open-ended questions, which may uncover unexpected insights.
2. Write a product-positioning statement.
Next, you should take time to develop a product-positioning statement that answers the following questions clearly and concisely:
- Who is this product for?
- What does this product do?
- Why is this product different from other products available on the market?
You can go even deeper by answering these questions as well:
- What segment of your audience is most likely to purchase this product?
- What product category does your product fit within?
- What evidence do you have that your product is different than competitor products?
3. Set a goal for the launch.
Before you start a launch plan, you should define the goal for your launch. Your goal should follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework, meaning it should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. As an example, your S.M.A.R.T. goal could be to increase the online sales of your new product by 50% over the 12 months following its launch.
This goal will help provide a measurable road map that can guide all product launch activities.
4. Plan your go-to-market strategy.
A go-to-market strategy outlines a detailed plan to promote your product. Each activity included in the plan should be focused on achieving your S.M.A.R.T. goal. Because a go-to-market strategy often includes many moving parts, it may be helpful to use a plan template, such as this template provided by HubSpot.
5. Create promotional content.
As you develop your go-to-market strategy, you should also take time to consider what types of content will best promote your product and influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions. Once your strategy is finalized, you can begin creating this content to support your promotional efforts. Content may include blog posts related to your product, product demos, tutorial videos, or targeted landing pages.
6. Prepare your team.
Keep your team members and stakeholders in the loop throughout the planning process. Clearly identify all roles and responsibilities in advance to make your launch a success.
7. Once you launch, measure against your goals.
After launching your product, track the performance of your go-to-market strategy as well as the goal that you set before launch. Be prepared to adjust parts of your plan or go-to-market strategy if they are not driving the expected results.