E-commerce

17 Steps To Take Before You Launch A Product Or Service – Forbes Now

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Have an idea for a new product or service? It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, envisioning all the sales, recognition and success that will stem from your offering. But like any other business initiative, a product launch takes time and careful planning – rushing to market without having your ducks in a row is a recipe for disaster.
To help you properly prepare for your launch, 18 members of Forbes Agency Council each provide one important step you should take prior to releasing a new product or service.
Have a new product or service to launch? Check that you’re truly prepared first.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Understand your target audience. This is critical because the language, channels and information you use to communicate with and appeal to one demographic may not be as effective with another. Clearly defining your target audience gives you direction in your marketing, facilitates more consistency in your messaging and allows you to authentically connect with your customers.   – Megan ShroyApproach Marketing
2. Know How To Reach Your Audience
Understand the target audience and how to reach them effectively, both with the ad and mentally. Get in the mind of your target audience and understand where the best place to reach them is and how they will interpret your ad. Then cater your marketing plan accordingly.   – David KleyWeb Design and Company
3. Know The Problem You’re Solving
Having a deep understanding of the challenge it’s solving and who it is for is crucial. It’s surprising how often this is not thoroughly thought through. Always stay focused on your “who” and “why.” Test it with your personas, talk to them about it, and know it is something that will fulfill an unmet need first.   – Debbie WilliamsSPROUT Content
4. Understand The Buying Journey
The buying process forms the foundation of all marketing and sales activities. You need to have an intimate understanding the buyer’s pain points, where they get their information and who influences the purchase. Specific events may even trigger a purchase. Customers have different expectations on how they will engage with you depending on where they are in the buying process.   – Lisa AlloccaRed Javelin Communications 
5. Secure Your Online Identity
In today’s world, we have seen numerous cybersquatters try to take advantage of clients who did not secure their domain name, trademark, social media accounts, etc. It is critical to secure all these before launching anywhere. Oftentimes your domain name and other critical marketing vehicles can be held for a very expensive price – and having to get attorneys involved is never cheap!   – Duree RossDurée & Company
6. Validate Your Product
Make a sale and earn your first dollar as validation to build the product or service – even before it’s built. If people won’t buy the product or service based on a pitch, they probably won’t buy the product or service when it exists. An easy way to do this is to develop a landing page. Run ads. See if anyone clicks the “Buy Now” button. If so, you’ve got validation.   – Brett FarmiloeMarkitors
7. Know Your Competition And Be Different
We see many “Me Too” brands popping up that want to ride the trend wave and cash in on others fast-growing successes. Instead of following this knee-jerk reaction, look to what makes you different. Figure out your brand differentiators and in some cases recalibrate to fill the void, not follow the trend. With every great brand idea there was a first to market; aim to be the leader and innovate.   – Taja DockendorfPulp and Wire
8. Make Sure It Hasn’t Been Done Before
Seems like an elemental principle in theory but I am always surprised to see people seeking our help to pursue a “great idea” that has been done before. Research the market for products and services that may be similar to what you’re offering. Sometimes your idea may be better, but if it’s been done before, we typically discourage our clients from reinventing the wheel.   – Ricardo CasasFahrenheit Marketing
9. Create A Free Trial Or Demo
Creating a free trial or product demo is a critical stage for any product or service because you want to get as much feedback as possible before the official launch. You also want users to experience it themselves to see how your product or service works. Understanding if your product or service can deliver its expectations in the marketplace can determine its success or failure.   – Solomon ThimothyOneIMS
10. Lay Out A Comprehensive Strategic Plan
Every brand should engage in a deliberate and thorough strategic planning process before launching any product or service. This includes multiple things such as evaluation of the marketplace/competition, SWOT, determining ROI, how to measure success and communications planning.   – Brian SullivanSullivan Branding
11. Get Everyone On The Same Page
The entire company should be unified across all channels, whether it’s go-to-market, marketing, launch messaging or customer support. Ensuring customers have the best experience possible with your company and its product or solution is critical for long-term success.   – Cathy AtkinsMetis Communications
12. Create Brand Voice Guidelines
After you have established a strong brand, you must create guidelines for the brand’s voice and tone. Don’t enter the market without knowing who you are and how you want to interact with the world. Consistency is key for a brand, so you want to set every employee on the team up for success when it comes to broadcasting messages on behalf of the brand.   – Chapin HermanHerman-Scheer
13. Offer Early Use Incentives
You want to create a buzz around your product before its launch. One of the best ways to do this is to offer discounts for preorders, free first-time uses, and beta participation rewards that entice users to buy upon launch. This is awesome product promotion, too. No one expects a product to be perfect in beta, so test, gather feedback and refine!   – Kristopher JonesLSEO.com
14. Keep Testing It
Launching a new product or service isn’t easy. The one thing every brand should do beforehand is test it; test it until it breaks and then test it some more. Collecting feedback and insight will help you get closer to delivering the experience you intended. And of course, you’ve also got to get all of your marketing materials together, too! That includes landing pages, social media accounts, etc.   – Chi ZhaoHokku PR
15. Know What You Don’t Know
In my experience, many who launch products are good at something but not all things. Before you launch, understand your limitations and either hire or more commonly outsource the skills you need, both immediately and when things start to take off. Rapid success can lead to failure if you haven’t thought through this first. You don’t want to be solving problems you don’t understand on the fly.   – Kelli MasilunConcentric
16. Know Your Story
Understand your story so well that you can tell it to anyone: media, new customers, brands you can co-market with, and more. If you can’t clearly say who you are, what you do, why you do it and what inspired you, you will lose anyone who could help you build it. Great PR people are great translators and storytellers. Use them to ensure your story is being told clearly across every digital channel.   – Nicole RodriguesNRPR Group, LLC
17. Start Planning The Next Version
Taking a long time to perfect your product before going to market could be the reason it fails. Release it, and start planning the next model. Keep your eyes wide open for consumer feedback. If you make a mistake, own it and make it right. This way, you’re not only gaining the customers’ loyalty, but you’re positioning yourself as an ethical innovator who takes the customers’ feedback to heart.   – Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing

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