No matter how long you’ve been in the business, getting the jitters before a product launch will always be part of the journey. After all, you’re unveiling something you’ve poured all your creativity and hard work into, with the hopes of captivating both your loyal and potential consumers.
This is why planning the big day can be pretty beneficial, not just for your peace of mind but for the overall success of your launch. Whether it’s an entirely new collection or a limited edition piece, there are things you can do to foolproof your product launch and make sure it’s a hit among your shoppers. And we’ll discuss what exactly these things are in this cheat sheet, made especially for print-on-demand business owners.
The Preparation Stage
Let’s start with the preparation stage. Think of this as the warm-up phase of your whole product launch journey. This is where you must equip yourself with the necessary information, tools, and strategies you’ll need for your campaign.
Here are some of the things you should be doing during this stage:
Defining Your Target Audience
If you’re launching a product or collection with styles or functions a bit different from your current offerings, you can’t simply use the data you have on your current market segment. For instance, if you used to sell personalized wallets and now adding eco-friendly tote bags to your catalog, it may be helpful to redefine your target audience and create new consumer personas or avatars.
While the nuances may be easy to overlook, accurately determining your specific target market segment would be an excellent foundation for your new product’s launch and other marketing campaigns.
Going back to the tote bag example, if your brand’s current audience is composed of fashion-savvy Gen Zs, you can now narrow it down to stylish Gen Zs who are also environmentally conscious.
Conducting Market Research
Once you have identified your new target audiences, you must get to know them more. And there’s no better way to do that than conducting market research. Check out the trends they’ve been following, study their social media habits, and know the people and pages they follow–put yourself in their shoes. Just like what the first step of design thinking says, empathize. Doing market research has to be beyond knowing the specifics, such as your target audience’s demographic information (e.g., gender, age, location, occupation, etc.).
You must dig deep into their interests, motivations, values, and even social media scrolling habits to ensure that your launch’s marketing messages won’t fall flat and will genuinely resonate with them. You can do this by interacting with them on forums like Reddit, conducting focused group discussions (FGDs), or disseminating survey forms with quantitative and open-ended qualitative questions.
Developing Your Marketing Strategy
Once you know your target audience better, it’s time to develop your marketing blueprint. Go back to your customer avatars and add all the relevant info you’ve acquired from your market research. From this, start looking for pain points you can solve with your new product or interests that you can leverage.
Crafting Your Marketing Message
Once you’ve found your marketing strategy, it’s time to craft your message. This could be a one-liner that would inspire all content and bind the product launch campaign. You can also use this message as a copy of your published materials. For instance, in the tote bag example, your message could be “sustainability doesn’t have to sacrifice style.”
Defining Your Product Launch’s Theme
After crafting your message, it’s much easier to determine your product launch’s theme. You can start by identifying the colors aligned with your message’s vibe, look for design inspos, and create a mood board. The theme will be the foundation of the designs for your pub mats and other marketing gimmicks.
Finalizing Your Advertising Channels and Formats
That’s right! As early as the preparation stage, you should be able to identify what type of content you’ll be producing and which channels you’ll be using. Will you mainly advertise on Instagram through a series of posts and stories? Or will you be creating short-form videos on TikTok and collaborating with influencers? Finalizing these in your plans ahead of time will help you streamline the creation process and determine the budget you’ll need for your product launch.
This is where the game begins. Your pre-launch marketing efforts will help you test the waters while already informing your shoppers that you’ve got something in store for them. This lets you gauge the interest of your target customers and assess your current marketing plan, which you can still alter or improve for the later stages.
Building Buzz and Anticipation
Building buzz is what the pre-launch marketing stage is all about. This could be as simple as an IG post with your launch date or a cryptic tweet implying that something is cooking. The more creative you are, the more people will get curious and talk about your post and brand. You can even create a branded hashtag specific to your product launch, which you can use for all related posts in the future.
Creating a Landing Page
While your loyal followers get excited about your launch and spread the anticipation to potential new customers, you can start creating and publishing a landing page if you have a website. This landing page could contain a countdown to reveal the product on the big day. Having a separate landing page for your new product will help you better highlight its features and make the offer more enticing to your customers. Furthermore, it would let you track the KPIs of your marketing efforts specific to the launch more quickly, as you can use its link in your social media posts.
Scheduling Your Social Media Posts
Another thing you could be doing during this stage is scheduling your social media posts and making sure they don’t kill the momentum. This is especially helpful if you’re doing a countdown for the day of your product launch. Try to pick a specific time slot and days in the week when you’d publish your content. This way, your followers would make it a habit to check your page or watch out for your posts during those periods.
Teasing Product Features and Benefits
Even before the big reveal, your target customers should at least have an idea of how they can benefit from your new product. To further build up their anticipation, you can start teasing the features and pros of your piece or collection. You can use rhetorical questions in your posts or pub mats that speak directly to your consumers’ pain points or interests and would imply the benefits of your product. You can also start showing glimpses of the item or collection to excite them more. The key here is to be creative with your words and visuals to keep the momentum going.
Foolproofing Your Influencer Strategy
During this stage, you can start partnering up with influencers for your teasers or planning your strategy for the launch day. There are two main types of influencers you can work with depending on your strategy: macro and micro-influencers. Macro influencers have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. They’re perfect for brands targeting more prominent market segments and establishing themselves among their niche’s significant players.
Nonetheless, working with micro-influencers can be just as helpful if you want to keep your influencer strategy within the budget while also reaching your specific target market. These influencers can drive conversion rates up to 20% higher than macro influencers. This is because while they have a smaller following, people trust their recommendations better and are more likely to engage with their content.
The Launch Day
Once your marketing strategy is all set and you have gained enough attention from your target audience, now’s the time to finally share your product with the world!
Unveiling Your Collection (aka The Big Reveal)
You can reveal your new product or collection in different ways. For example, if your brand’s leading social media platform is Instagram, you can host an IG Live to unveil your new items in real-time while actively interacting with your followers. You can also start a story blast with the help of your brand ambassadors or influencers. For this, you can create an IG Story filter that everyone can use to post their pictures while sharing your hashtags and the news about your launch.
As for your online store and landing page, you can change their layouts on the launch day, highlighting the new collection and providing all the relevant information that interested shoppers want.
Running Promotions and Sales
The launch day should feel like a celebration–not just for you but especially for your target customers. To make your new offerings more enticing, offer discounts or run promotions during the launch, extending to the several days after the event. You can send out 10 to 20% off coupons and free shipping vouchers or offer bulk order discounts to shoppers who will be purchasing during the week of your product launch. This will help build a sense of urgency amongst your target consumers and convince them to buy ASAP.
Monitoring and Responding to Customer Feedback
As the orders come in and your customers receive their most awaited parcels, keep tabs on their feedback and suggestions regarding your new product. Be responsive and personally reply to customer reviews (and complaints, if any) so they’ll know they’re not just talking to bots.
Making sure your product launch is a success doesn’t end when your new item starts to sell. Every milestone in your business is a learning opportunity, and this is no exception. Take the time to evaluate your performance and see which learnings you can use for your future endeavors.
Analyzing Launch Success
After processing your orders and responding to customer feedback, go back to your KPIs and analyze the success of the launch. How many new followers and customers did you get after the product launch? Did you reach your target sales for its first week? How many internet users did your ads reach? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself as you assess the performance of your whole product launch strategy.
Refining Marketing and Sales Strategies
While you’ve already unveiled your new product, improving your marketing and sales strategies is not too late. If you want more people to know about your collection, you can tap into more influencers or generate user-generated content (UGC) from those who have already purchased your item. Just be sure to note all the results of your previous marketing and sales strategies when making some tweaks to your new ones.
Maintaining Engagement With Customers
As more customers buy and receive your new product, you can expect more reviews and engagement on your social media posts. Every feedback, whether good or bad, can be valuable to your business, so welcome your customer’s input and continue engaging with them. You can even repost customer reviews or mentions to show that you appreciate their support.
Planning Future Product Updates
Whether upgrading the product you just launched or creating an entirely new collection, you can use everything you’ve learned from the launch to plan your subsequent offerings. Take note of all the customer feedback and compare your KPIs from your past launches. These data should help you come up with more solid marketing strategies and better product features in the near future.
Ready for the Big Day?
Shake off all the jitters and wear your game face on! On top of everything mentioned in this checklist, you should have confidence and trust in your new product, which was once just a vision. With all these tips and a positive attitude, your product launch will succeed!
For more e-commerce and print-on-demand tips and tricks, check out our blog!
FAQs About Product Launches
What is a product launch?
A product launch is the process of introducing a new product to the market. It involves a series of strategic and tactical activities aimed at creating awareness, generating interest, and ultimately driving sales of the product.
How do you launch a product?
To launch a product, you need to create a well-planned strategy that includes defining your target audience, setting clear goals, developing a marketing plan, creating compelling product messaging, building buzz around the launch, ensuring that your product is ready, launching with a coordinated effort, and continuing to promote the product post-launch while listening to customer feedback.
When should you start planning a product launch?
If it’s a print-on-demand product or collection, the timeline for planning a product launch can be a lot shorter than for a traditional clothing brand, since you don’t have to worry about producing physical inventory. However, you should still start planning a few weeks in advance to allow time for designing the product, setting up the print-on-demand process, developing a marketing strategy, building relationships with media and influencers, and building excitement around the launch. The timeline will depend on the complexity of the product designs, the target audience, and the resources available to you.