The product launch timeline is probably the make-or-breaks moment for your business and, as such, usually very stressful.
It is likely that it’s going to be an extremely fast paced environment full of a ton of distractions, snotty Nelly and angry investors. But, if you take the extra time to carefully plan, you can prevent the most usual pitfalls and challenges many SaaS businesses deal with during the launch process. Planning for product launches can be time consuming and very tedious, but the benefits are well worth it.
One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into is not having a product launch timeline.
A product launch timeline is basically a guideline outlining when your new product should be available for sale. If you do not have a timeline in place, then you are like the dog that didn’t bark – it will just keep barking. If you don’t have a product launch timeline, then there is no way to measure how long it will take to get your application, or your marketing campaign, out on the market. This means there is no way to know how much profit potential your new product or campaign has.
One way to avoid this pitfall is to create a product launch timeline before your press release or marketing campaign goes live.
In addition to creating a product launch timeline, you should also prepare for pre-press releases, a press release, your website launch and maintenance. These are all critical elements of your launch. The sooner you can get them in place, the sooner you can start profiting from the increased revenue that comes with a successful product launch. Product launches typically last six months to a year. Planning for product launches is not something you should be doing by yourself.
It takes time for people to get buy-in.
They may not want to invest in your product when you are launching just days after they heard about it. Make sure to include in your marketing materials information about your previous product launches, any press releases and any blog posts that have to do with your business. It is also a good idea to write about the challenges or opportunities that you faced in overcoming such obstacles. You can share stories about failures and triumphs in your business. When people are ready to buy-in, you will be able to increase your sales, bring in more customers and get more repeat business.
If you plan to work with a marketing channel, such as an affiliate program, consider how you will handle customer support.
If you have a toll free number where customers can call for support questions, that number should be on your product launch timeline. Ideally, the date of your launch will coincide with the launch date of your customer support center and customers can call right then and there with any question they might have. Remember to take note of what your customer support system offers today as well as what it offered in the past, so you can make adjustments to improve your customer support process.
There are some platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, which have very specific rules about posting about a product before it is officially launched.
In particular, Facebook’s guidelines state that businesses must “notify their followers” six months in advance of the planned launch date. Similarly, Google does have a few rules of etiquette regarding social media during the pre-release phase. In fact, Google will suspend you from using their apps, if you are found to be in violation of their rules. In order to ensure a smooth launch, make sure you follow all of their guidelines, and remember to put out your announcements on social media as much as possible before the official pre Launch Day date.
The final part of planning your launch is to set up your customer support system.
When you think about what your goals for the launch are, write these goals down on paper and schedule a meeting with your support team, preferably at least one month before the pre-launching event. During this meeting, your support team will need to figure out who your target audience is, what type of products you are trying to promote, how you are going to reach them, and what kind of advertising techniques you plan to use to reach these customers. If you plan to use social media to promote your product launch day, let your support staff know ahead of time.
Your launch team will do their best to work within your established launch timeline.
This means that you need to make sure that you remain on track with all of your plans. The sooner you set up your goals, the earlier you can test and tweak your messaging to hit your goals as accurately as possible. Remember that all of your goals are based on what you want to accomplish with your product launch, so make sure you stay on course.