Everyone knows that you never launch a product blindly… Right? — but it’s amazing how many entrepreneurs launch their products without developing a strategic plan. Mostly you´ve been caught in the excitement of launching a new idea that you rush the product launch to outshine a competitor or to synchronize with a holiday. This could potentially mean disaster and may lead to an ineffective promotion.

Your utmost desire when launching a product is to draw customers’ attention and leave a lasting impression that makes them keep coming back for more.  The only way to achieve this is by creating an effective support team and developing a strategic marketing plan.

Here are my 5 tips that can help you.

1. Define your audience

Before launching, ask yourself this question – ‘’ who will use/buy my product?’’ The metrics to consider include demographic information, what types of media content they read/list to, the reason they need your product, who and what influences their buying decision and any other information that will be relevant to your product. When you understand these metrics, your marketing plan should focus on the people who fall into those categories because they are most likely to buy your product. For example, it will be unfruitful marketing Beats by Dre headphones to people within the age range of 65 – 80 because the product is designed to appeal to the younger generation. Sometimes the audience can also determine the mode of outreach; it is easier & faster to reach the younger generation through social media while the older people will prefer to watch the news on TV (CNN, Fox News) or read the newspaper.

2. Create a marketing plan and start early

Failing to plan means planning to fail. Nobody waits for product completion before planning for its launch. Since you have already established your audience, schedule your outreach campaign to start 6-8 weeks before the official launch date. Develop content for social media sites and blogs that your audience reads regularly; create a buzz on social media platforms – for example, ‘‘coming soon’’ tweets of your product creates an aura that builds interest even before its launch. Lastly, make the product or service available to key influencers or bloggers who have a large online presence or access to authority sites. Encourage them to use your product and then write review articles or posts about it.

3. Understand your market & competitors

Understanding your competitors helps to identify the differentiating factor of their product over yours and serves as a guide to devise improvements that will give you a competitive edge over them. It is easier for your product to have a deep connection with customers if it satisfies their needs on various levels, including quality, functionality, and price. For instance, Skype has no advertisement or marketing campaign but its users multiply in millions yearly; if you understand your target market, the product will sell itself.

4. Product testing

The first appearance of every product is unlikely to be its final version; I would recommend testing absolutely everything before getting the finished product. Entrepreneur.com (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242664) reports that Gary Erickson, owner and co-chief visionary of Clif Bar & Company, tested recipes for months before he settled on the first flavours for his energy bars. Testing your product helps to verify that your product and audience are ready for the launch.

5. Keep the discussion going

Congratulations, you have finally launched your product but that’s not the end. Leverage on the momentum you gained before the launch to boost your content marketing for few weeks or months after the product launch. Soon, the feedback will start rolling in from customers; you can spin this into testimonials or case studies to keep the conversation going. This keeps the product in the mind of customers and also attracts more people especially if the feedback is positive.

Tell me…. How are you preparing for your next launch?