Your business is working on something. It could be huge and it’s an idea that’s sent a ripple of excitement through everyone who’s heard about it. It feels like nothing could go wrong, however, great ideas don’t always translate into great product launches, without thorough research/planning.
It seems cruel, but the world of business isn’t necessarily a meritocracy, and so building an incredible launch plan to go with your incredible product is an absolute necessity.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young events company hoping to break through the big players or an activity centre planning your next great day out for customers, the fact remains the same; great launches create great revenue, provided your product is good.
In this guide, we’re going to provide you with incredible tips for launching your new product, seen through the lens of one of our customers, who implemented our online booking system.
1. Know what other products are in your space
No product is created in a vacuum, and despite how original your idea may appear, there will always be competition surrounding the idea. As such, you need to spend time investigating what other companies have done and are doing in the space. If you’re a company that takes bookings, you’ll understand that many of your competitors are now taking bookings online, meaning that this is the way that the market is shaping, and you should most likely keep up with the trend.
Your job as you launch a product is to know what other companies are doing, what they’ve got right and what you think you can improve. How will your product disrupt the space? For the activity centre that approached us for an online booking platform, they’d noticed that competitors in their area hadn’t utilised an online booking platform yet, giving them an important edge, and a USP over their competitors who have yet to catch up with the online booking trend!
2. Really get to know your product
For many businesses, the job of marketing doesn’t sit in the hands of those who devise the products and services that are being sold, which means that it’s vital for the marketing team to know the product inside out!
If that’s the case, you need to get to know your new product intimately before you draw up any plan. Join in on development calls; get to know why the product was designed and what problems/market gaps they’re trying to fill and ask as many questions as you can, to really extend your knowledge on it.
For example, our customer who recently launched their booking system with us, really got to know the system, taking weeks to familiarise themselves with the advantages and uses of their booking system. This became extremely useful during their product launch as they knew what to tell their audience and how to say it. This then resulted in a successful product launch.
3. Prepare your staff
Customers ask questions, so having your staff fully trained and understand what your product is, and its distinct advantages are of vital importance. If you don’t do it pre-launch, confusion will only spread through your staff and on to your customers. If you’re launching a new product, it doesn’t give off a good impression if the staff don’t know all the necessary information they need to.
If your staff have full knowledge of the product, they would be able to answer any questions customers have once the product has been launched. In terms of someone launching a booking system, it would allow staff to know where to point customers when they book, and be able to lead them through the process if they are having problems doing so.
4. Involve yourself in testing
The testing phase for your launch is crucial because it’s going to reveal an awful lot not just about your product, but your audience. Involving yourself in this process, either anonymously or in an official capacity will teach you huge amounts about usability, your messaging and virtually every aspect of what you’re attempting to launch. Plus it’s important to ensure that your product is fully functioning – you don’t want to launch something that isn’t complete to a satisfactory level.
From there, you can not only change what has to be changed but truly understand a product’s purpose and appeal outside of your perspective.
5. Develop your branding early, but don’t become too attached
When launching a new product or service, you can run ahead with the branding from an early stage. The name and messaging of your product will help guide its development, and it’s what customers will interact with long before they get to use your latest and greatest.
However, remember that these things should never be set in stone prior to launch. Everything can be improved, and if the market shifts underfoot as you prepare to launch, you need to be ready to change. Therefore this also adds that it’s important to be prepared to allow change.
6. Don’t expect people to find your product by accident
“If you build it, they will come” might have worked in Field of Dreams, but when you’re launching your product, that’s not how it works. Any product launch should come backed by a unified announcement and promotion strategy which combines effective copy, targeted marketing across social media and email, plus press releases sent to the relevant places.
For example, take our activity centre launching their online booking service. Customers would have little notion of its existence if it weren’t for the information they sent out to them from staff. The best way for the business to do this would be through an email campaign as a formal announcement/update.
Email marketing campaigns are easy to set up with an online booking system too. BookingLive integrates with Mailchimp to automatically send custom emails to your mailing list. For example, you could have a list of all existing customers and send them a personal message about your upcoming product. This direct communication will make existing customers feel valued and more likely to try out the new product.
7. Give away freebies
Who doesn’t love a freebie? Whether it’s an accessory for the product or smaller sized sample, hand out something for free to celebrate the launch. The benefit of this is that more people will become aware of your brand and you can also gain valuable data in the process.
Ask for customers' email addresses in exchange for the freebie. This way you can send follow up messages asking for feedback as well as promoting other products at special rates.
8. Have an introductory offer
Price is a major factor when it comes to deciding whether to purchase a product or leave it on the shelf. Everyone loves to feel like they’re getting a good deal and an introductory offer could be the nudge people need to turn into your next customer.
Offer your new product at a lower price for a limited time after launch to create a sense of exclusivity. The time limit will encourage people to make the purchase quickly. Of course, the offer still needs to be in line with your financial strategy, so don’t cut the price to a level that you can’t afford. But it’s worth sacrificing a larger profit margin for a few weeks whilst you generate a higher volume of sales.
9. Set an ambitious goal
No matter how small the product, service or idea you’re attempting to launch, you need to be setting yourself ambitious goals. From your launch and into the months and years following, your goals for the product should be high.
By using a best-case scenario model, you’ll be aware of just how effective your launch has been. It also makes you and your staff want to aim high to meet goals. If you’re expecting 400 new customers but end up with 150? Something hasn’t gone to plan in the product launch.
10. Launch with an event
New product launches are a great way to attract one-time customers back to your company and a brilliant way to get customers off the fence and buy from your company. However, they’re going to need a little encouragement outside of the sheer ‘newness’ factor of it all. That’s why we always recommend launching with an event. To ensure that your event is a success you will have to put out all the relevant advertising, which will bring in your current customers, and add new customers.
With BookingLive, you can easily set discounts and sales, which, along with a marketing push can drive sales through your business, as well as familiarise customers with the platform. This is something to consider when launching an event as you could give them a discount code to book with once the product has been launched.
11. Pick the right channels to advertise through
Today, the market for all products is extremely diffuse, with customers using a huge variety of media platforms to discover products and services. Along with that have come more complicated, but more targeted advertising platforms.
When you’re launching, you must spend the time to evaluate and understand each platform before you begin your advertising. But one platform not to be missed is social media. More than half of the world uses social media and the average daily time spent on social is 2 hours 27 minutes. Build a buzz around your new product in the lead up to the launch. You could run competitions and giveaways, answer FAQs on Instagram live, or create a TikTok that highlights the features and benefits of the product. This is your chance to get creative and engage your audience, which will make them more likely to make a purchase.
If you use an online booking system to sell your product or service, you can include the booking link in your social media profile. This will make it easier for users to navigate through your products and services, and book and pay for them all in one go!
Returning to our activities centre booking platform launch, they found that Facebook was an extremely fruitful marketing platform. They published articles and adverts pointing out the new booking method to their followers.
12. Keep up the engagement post-launch
Once you have launched your new product, you need to keep the momentum going. Remain active across your marketing channels and sprinkle in posts about your new product amongst others.
It’s also a good idea to have a hero image about your new product range on your homepage, so it’s one of the first things users see when they visit your site. For people to buy your product, they have to be aware of it after all!
13. Monitor performance and strategy
There can be a lot of pressure on having a successful product launch. It can take months, sometimes years to develop, test and market a product so expectations are often high on launch day. A lot of the time things will go to plan and sales will come pouring in, but it’s not guaranteed.
If things don’t go as you hoped, don’t panic! It can be easy to rush into changing strategy but this could do more harm than good. Get together as a team and look at the figures, are there certain marketing channels that are outperforming others? Is there anything else you could do to drive hype around your product? Influencers have thousands of followers that trust their opinions, so it may be worth reaching out to individuals to promote your product.
Launch an online booking system with BookingLive
An online booking system can help your business grow, and is the perfect assistant for product launches and beyond. If you sell products, services, activities and experiences, BookingLive can help. Our comprehensive booking and scheduling solution will save your business time and money, as it automates admin and streamlines your operations. If you’re looking to launch an online booking system within your business then get in contact with us today, or sign up for our free demo.