How to Plan You Product Launch Systematically

Launching a new product can be a daunting task, but with this article as your guide, you’ll go from 0 to a fully fleshed-out product launch designed to generate new leads and sales. This article is packed full of resources to help you nail down your overarching story, plan your launch sequence, and create all your launch deliverables.

How to Plan You Product Launch Systematically
How to Plan You Product Launch Systematically

What You’ll Learn:

  • Take advantage of narrative frameworks to help you craft a story that resonates with your customers
  • Plan out your product launch timeline and customer journey so you know exactly how your customers will navigate through your launch sequence
  • Create all the deliverables you need to orchestrate a successful product launch

Table of contents

Understand the Purpose of a Product Launch
What is a Product Launch, Really?
Know This Before You Launch Your Product
Planning Your Launch
Get Organized
Nail Down Your Story
Decide Which Channels You’ll Leverage
Determine Your Launch Sequence
Building Your Launch Deliverables
Build Your Sales Page and/or Product Page
Build Your Lead Magnets
Build Your Blog Posts
Build Your Social Posts
Build Your Affiliate, Influencer, and/or Partnership Content
Build Your Email Content
Build Your Paid Ads
Build Your Landing Pages
Launch Your Product and Track Your Results
Set Your Plan in Motion
Have an Onboarding Plan
What’s Next?

Understand the Purpose of a Product Launch

What is a Product Launch, Really?

Want to know the single-most-important piece of information you need to keep in mind anytime you are launching a new product? Well, here it is:

At its core, the goal of a product launch isn’t necessarily to make sales but to develop a long-lasting relationship with the customer.

Typically, a product launch breaks down into 5 phases: Product Development, Planning, Pre-Launch (where your build out your launch content), Launch, and Review.

But just going through those 5 phases is not enough to have a successful launch. Running a successful launch requires 3 key attributes:

It should be awareness driven

While it is true that money keeps the lights on, launching a product with only money on your mind is a great way to get mediocre results. Your only goal should not be to make as much money as you can at the launch. Your main focus should instead be on increasing exposure and awareness of your brand, while also driving sales.

It should be customer-centric

Similar to point 1, all of the content you create for your launch needs to be centered around your customer. You shouldn’t be focusing on how great your product is—you should be focusing on how your product will help make your customer great. Remember: your product isn’t the hero, your customer is (we’ll talk more about this later).

It should be pre-planned and organized

The ONLY way a product launch goes off without a hitch is if you plan. Luckily, that’s what this article is designed to help you do!

If you focus on these 3 attributes, your product launch will inevitably lead to more sales, more customers and a much stronger bottom line for your business in the long run.

Let’s get started.

Know This Before You Launch Your Product

We won’t dive too deep into the first phase of the launch, product development, but there are a few things you’ll need to know for sure before you jump into the planning stage.

#1: Do you have a valid product?

Before launching, you should have already created and tested out your product. There’s nothing worse than building out a fully functioning, multi-channel launch and then finding out mid-launch that your product doesn’t actually work.

Likewise, you should also know for sure that your product has a viable market, and you know who that market is.

#2: Can your business support sudden growth?

Hopefully, launching a new product will lead to a surge in leads and customers, so you need to make sure you have the proper back end support to serve those customers.

Now, we’re not saying you need to pre-emptively scale, but it is something you should keep in the back of your mind. Our advice is to think about this question: “If my business gets to ___, what will I have to change to accommodate it?”

#3: Is your marketing up to scratch?

This might be a bit redundant but running a product launch requires a fair amount of marketing expertise. If you’re in the DigitalMarketer community, we are fairly certain you’ve got what it takes.

These article are designed to help you understand the core frameworks that inform your whole marketing process. Without that foundation, you risk running a launch that feels disjointed or unattached to your core offer/customers’ wants and needs.

#4 Can you seek help if you need it?

It’s unrealistic to expect one person to know exactly how to do every single aspect of a product launch, so ask yourself; “do I have people I can lean on to help me in areas I am lacking?” Do you have a team that has the bandwidth?

How about external partners/mentors that can help provide insight and direction if you need it? Of course, they aren’t always necessary but sometimes having a trusted source to lean on can be helpful if you find yourself in a pinch and need some direction.

At this point, you should have a viable product, and the resources (time, money, etc.) needed to jump into phase 2: planning your launch.

Planning Your Launch

Get Organized

Like we mentioned above, if you want your product launch to go off without a hitch, you need some kind of organizational method.
There are a variety of methods for organizing your workflows, and a ton of tools/apps that can help in your organization’s endeavor. Below is a list of tools and methods commonly used, but the key here is to use what works for you. If you’re not sure what something is, google it and see if it might work for you.

Management Frameworks:

  • Scrum Management
  • Kanban Management

Tools/Apps:

  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Skype
  • GoToMeeting
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive

Every team operates a little differently, so find a method that works for you, and stick to it. Make sure the rest of your team uses the same method as well, that way if something goes wrong, everyone knows where to find any resources/products.

ACTION ITEM: Align with your team to come up with a process to help your product team get organized by finding the correct tools for your team.

Nail Down Your Story

Narrative is an immensely important tool to use throughout your Launch. Using the power of narrative makes your marketing message more appealing to your audience. Humans, in general, are pretty bad at remembering names and product features, but they are great at remembering how something made them feel. Let’s explore a couple of frameworks you can use to help dictate your product launch’s overarching narrative.

The 3 Act Structure:

The most common type of storytelling framework used in scriptwriting is the 3-Act Structure. This structure breaks down into the setup, the confrontation, and the resolution. Let’s review those stages…

Act 1: The Setup, introduces the characters, setting, and the central conflict.

Act 2: The Confrontation, builds suspense and reinforces the central conflict, usually with some kind of turning point that escalates the conflict, and makes a final showdown inevitable.

Act 3: The Resolution, is where the final showdown occurs, and the conflict is resolved.

As you may have noticed if you know about the Customer Value Journey, the 3-act structure almost perfectly mirrors the first 4 stages of the Value Journey.

Act 1: Aware, introduces your product to your customer

Act 2: Engage and Subscribe, builds interest and reinforces how your product can bridge the gap between your customers before state, and the desired after state. There is a key turning point in this phase when your customer takes a small step and subscribes to gain more information about your brand/product/service.

Act 3: Convert, is the culmination of your customers’ interests and ends with your customers either deciding to purchase, or not.

Understanding this framework is important to building a cohesive story throughout your Product Launch, and the different steps your customers will take as they navigate through your launch sequence.

The Hero’s Journey

Another story-building tool, the Hero’s Journey is a 12-step framework that is often used in script and story writing. For our marketing purposes, we will look at the first 4 Stages:

Stage 1: Ordinary World, describes the background of a hero’s beginning, which is usually a safe, everyday sort of place.

Stage 2: Call to Adventure, is where the hero receives some call to action that disrupts everyday life and opens up the opportunity for the journey to begin.

Stage 3: Refusal of the Call, is where the hero initially refuses the call to action because of their fears/frustrations/roadblocks.

Stage 4: Meeting the Mentor, is where the hero meets an unexpected mentor that gives them a crucial tool to help them overcome their initial roadblocks and gives them the confidence to set off on their journey.

The Hero’s Journey is the perfect analogy for your customer’s journey.

At the start, they are unaware and living in their ordinary world. Suddenly something happens (this depends on your market) and they realize that they have the opportunity to change their current situation.

At first, they are skeptical, because they see so many roadblocks between their current state, and their desired after state, but suddenly, a mentor (you) comes in and provides them with a crucial tool (your product), that helps them achieve, or get one step closer to, their desired after state.

Now it’s your turn to craft your overarching story.

Think about your customer’s journey: What is their beginning state? What about their desired after state? Now, can you articulate how your product can help them bridge that gap?

What about the 3-Act Structure? What’s the big conflict your customer is dealing with? How are you going to build suspense throughout your product launch to get people honed-in on where they want to go, and what they need to get there (your product!).

Using either the Hero’s Journey or the 3-act framework, write out your story.

ACTION ITEM: Determine the best method for nailing down your narrative to get your message to your audience.

Decide Which Channels You’ll Leverage

Now that you have your story, the next step is to decide which channels you will use throughout your product launch.

We recommend that you utilize both owned channels (Your website, blog, email list), and other channels (social media, paid media, partner channels) during your launch, that way you can cover your bases and reach as many of your customers as possible.

Take a look at what channels you currently have and decide now if you are going to leverage that channel. You might also consider reaching out to any partners or widening your reach with the help of influencers. Just make sure the ones you are using align with your business goals and are connected to your target audience.

ACTION ITEM: Make a list of the best social channels you can leverage to get your product narrative in front of your prospects.

Determine Your Launch Sequence

With a firm grasp on your story and channels, it’s time to devise a plan. Everything you do from this point on will be building off the launch sequence that you create.

When it comes to building your launch sequence, you’re looking to map out the key events that’ll take someone from potential customer to actual sale. How you guide people through this sequence is up to you.

The best way to create your launch sequence is to just start off with simple timelines and build on it from there. Start off with key dates, like in this example from foundr, where they started with the cart open and close dates.

Start off with key dates, like in this example from foundr, where they started with the cart open and close dates.
Start off with key dates, like in this example from foundr, where they started with the cart open and close dates.

After that, fill in the key publish dates for deliverables you intend for your audience to see. This should also extend into pre-launch.

This should also extend into pre-launch.
This should also extend into pre-launch.

Finally, take some time to plan out all the deliverables for your channels, and think through how people will get into your funnel (paid ads, affiliate content, email, etc.…). You’ll want to plan on having relevant opt-in/landing pages for the different stages in your customer story. That way no matter where a customer jumps in, they can be up to speed on your content.

Essentially, this will be a visual representation of your customer’s journey. Here’s an example of foundr’s customer journey.

Example of foundr’s customer journey.
Example of foundr’s customer journey.

With a timeline and a map of your customer’s journey, you are now ready to start the pre-launch phase, where you will build out all your deliverables.

ACTION ITEM: Create your product’s launch sequence.

Building Your Launch Deliverables

Build Your Sales Page and/or Product Page

You should already know what your core offer is, so go ahead and build out a sales page for it. This page is where you will want to funnel all your traffic. It can be a VSL (Video Sales Letter), Short-Form, or Long-Form Sales letter—whatever serves your business best.

Remember that you need to have some kind of a payment process up and ready for your customers to use, so while you are building out your page, double-check that your payment system is ready to go!

If you intend on keeping your product around for a long time, you should also create a dedicated product page on your website. This page will be useful so that people can find your product down the line after your launch ends. It will also be the page you allow Google to index and rank.

Remember that the 2 pages serve different goals, so make sure you customize the pages to their intended use, rather than copy/paste 1 page onto another.

ACTION ITEM: Using your product narrative, storyboard a sales page/product page for your new product launch.

Build Your Lead Magnets

Lead Magnets are so important. They are the first step towards transitioning your customer from a lead into an ideal sales candidate.

Remember that the Lead Magnet should in some way relate to your core offer as well as your customers’ current needs/wants. Your product is the secret weapon, but your Lead Magnet is the shiny object that draws them in.

ACTION ITEM: Create your Lead Magnet for your new product. Make sure it relates to your product.

Build Your Blog Posts

You need to provide some value-in-advance content that will help boost your authority and prime your customers for the big sale. That’s why we recommend you have some kind of blog articles on topics that either reinforce or relate to your core offer.

Not only do they help drive awareness and engagement with your content, but they also offer an opportunity to inform your ad retargeting, so you can better target your engaged leads. You can also tease your product launch in your blog posts.

ACTION ITEM: Create blog content around your product launch. Be sure to do your keyword research and work in your keywords into your blog post to optimize your On-page SEO.

Build Your Social Posts

Your social media accounts are a great way to help build awareness and hype for your product launch, while also building up your brand’s image and authority.

Often times people will do “account takeovers” when they launch a new product, using a variety of different post types that all center around different aspects of your launch story.

You can use customer testimonials to highlight how your product helped them achieve their desired after state. Or, use video posts to highlight behind the scenes aspects of your product development journey. You can also run contests to encourage people to share your posts and reward them with early access to your product.

The opportunities with social media are endless!

ACTION ITEM: Using the social channels you decided on in the planning process, start storyboarding, writing, and developing your social post.

Build Your Affiliate, Influencer, and/or Partnership Content

If you decide to go the route of using influencers, partners, or affiliates to help you out during your launch, we recommend 2 things:

  1. Make sure you are utilizing partners who have a target audience that would benefit from your core offer. There’s no point in trying to acquire leads that aren’t interested in your product.
  2. Make sure you have content for them to promote. This will vary in material depending on what your partnership looks like, but you need to have a plan in place.

ACTION ITEM: Determine if an influencer or partnership fits into your marketing goals. If so, determine which is the best promoter and the appropriate channels for your product.

Build Your Email Content

If you have planned everything out well, you should have generated a significant list of engaged leads you can use in a promotional email campaign. Email is a great resource to utilize in your launch because it has one of the highest ROI’s of all the different marketing deliverables.

You should set up a promotional campaign for your launch, and make sure to have some down-sell offers you can use in a follow-up campaign for people who opt-out or abandon their cart mid purchase.

ACTION ITEM: Storyboard your email marketing campaigns for your upcoming product launch.

You should absolutely utilize paid ads in your product launch. Facebook, Google, Instagram…. You name it!

Using what you already know about where and when your ads generate the most leads, you’ll want to build a variety of highly engaging copy/videos/image ads. Remember that these ads should all center around the story you defined earlier in this article.

Most likely your ads will serve to gain more leads or retarget people who have fallen off the wagon, so make sure the ad copy is tailored to that specific ad’s intention. Maybe it’s an ad promoting a Lead Magnet or driving traffic to.

Build Your Landing Pages

Finally, you’ll need to build out a variety of landing pages to tie everything together, and hopefully convert customers.

You’ll probably want to create some opt-in pages or squeeze pages for things like email lists and lead magnets, as well as thank you pages for those customers that take advantage of the launch and purchase your product.

ACTION ITEM: Incorporate your narrative, copy, and product images into your landing pages. Make sure you ensure congruency across all content and design choices.

Launch Your Product and Track Your Results

Set Your Plan in Motion

At this point, you should have all your deliverables ready, and your customer launch journey laid out. Your final step is to set your plan in motion. We recommend you automate or schedule any of the deliverables that you can, but make sure you are checking that they do in fact, go live.

So, go ahead and schedule out your social posts, blog posts, emails, and anything else! Just remember to stay flexible with your plan.

Also, don’t forget to track your results! The good, the bad, and the ugly should all be taken into account and discussed at the end of the launch. Keep track of what happened, but also note the “Why.” The lessons you learn from this launch will help inform and improve your next launch.

Have an Onboarding Plan

This last step is to make sure you have a plan for all your new customers. It can be tempting to pour your time and energy into the launch, and unintentionally neglect the rest of the customer journey. So, make sure to dedicate some time and effort to decide what happens after you’ve acquired a new customer.

This means having some kind of onboarding process in place. It can come in the form of product demos, indoctrination email series, welcome videos, you name it. The goal is to seamlessly transition your new customer into your community with as few hiccups as possible.

You should also be prepared for a possible uptick in customer service calls. Having a solid onboarding process will help keep reach out to a minimum, but it’s inevitable that someone will forget their login information. Communicating with your customer success team will help your customers, your team and your business as a whole.

ACTION ITEM: Create an onboarding strategy with your team to make sure that you not only excite your prospect but making them a repeat customer!

What’s Next?

Congratulations! You successfully launched your product and gained a ton of new customers in the process.