10 Steps To Effectively Launch Your Digital Product
Once you’ve built a valuable and usable product, it is time to prepare for launch. You don’t want to go into this blindly, and you certainly don’t want to do it wrong. You’ve invested so much money and time into your product, you should take care in prepping before sharing it with the world. We have landed on ten boxes you need to check before launching your digital product.
1. An Intentional Brand
Your brand is a visual representation of your company and its mission, and frankly, it can make or break a first interaction. You wouldn’t show up to the Indianapolis 500 in a tuxedo, and you wouldn’t show up to a wedding in jorts. Similarly, if your company and your audience is casual, keep your brand casual.
If your intent is to sell software to hospitals, create a more buttoned-up brand that conveys the sophistication of the product. Whatever decisions you choose to make, be intentional, consistent, and compelling in the way your company conveys itself.
2. Target Consumers Defined
Before you launch, it is critical to have a hypothesis of who your target consumers will be, as well as who they definitely won’t be. If your audience consists of leadership teams at hospitals, then it is okay to use medical jargon. If your consumer is the patients themselves, then maybe bedside manner is more appropriate.
You should know who you are solving the problem for, and what specific problem you’re solving for them. Having this clearly defined can make backlog planning a lot easier for you and your team: What are your need-to-haves and what are your nice-to-haves?
3. Familiarity With Competition
Understanding your target consumers should reveal their alternatives to your product. And don’t get fooled into believing that you don’t have competitors; even if there isn’t another product claiming to do what you do, you are always up against alternatives (even if that alternative is doing nothing). By knowing what other options your customers are exploring, you can hone in on what makes you different, and use that in step 4.
Once you have defined your target audience and your competitors, you need to position yourself accordingly. Who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it? What is your unique claim in your market that no one else can make? Why should customers choose you? Position yourself to make it clear to customers why you’re the best solution to something they care about.
5. Messaging Options
Once you have established foundational positioning, it is important to define your messaging. This will align your team to the same consistent, relevant, repeatable message you’re putting into the world.
It’s also important to have backup messaging options, in case what you start with doesn’t resonate with consumers. It’s common for a first messaging strategy to fall flat with your audience, for one reason or another. Get ahead of the game by aligning your team to one consistent message, while also stockpiling fallback options.
6. Pricing Strategy
Your path to revenue doesn’t have to be immediate. Maybe you want to start as a free app, or have a free trial period to attract early adopters — that’s fine. However, have a plan in place to eventually generate revenue when your product gains more traction.
Once those consumers are ready to buy or use your digital product, make sure that the process to do so is seamless. If it’s too time-consuming, they will move on to your competitor.
7. High-Level Vision
Don’t worry, you don’t need to have everything figured out, but you should have an idea of what your company is today and where it’s going. Align on a general vision for your product, based on the high level goals you want to accomplish and the value you want to provide to your customers. Do you have features or integrations that would be ideal for the future? Add them to a tentative long term plan, but keep your team focused on a three month roadmap at all times.
8. Several Features Designed and Coded
Before starting a blog, it is smart to have a handful of articles written before your even publish the page; the last thing you want is for life to sneak up on you and fall behind on your progress. Apply this same rule of thumb to your product launch. When setting out to launch your product, store several features in your back pocket so even if there is a problem, those features are still ready to go and your users won’t know a thing.
9. A Contingency Plan
Whether your digital product sinks or swims in the market, you should have a plan in place for best and worse-case scenario. Obviously, if your original launch doesn’t go well, you need to have plan B in place for your messaging and overall marketing strategy. However, you also need a plan in place if your product does amazingly after launch. Do you have support systems in place? Good customer service? What happens if too many users start at once, will servers crash?
10. Just a Well-Designed Product
Simple as that. The industry bar is too high to go to market with something not touched by a designer, and not built with users in mind. Put thought into every aspect of the product so if it fails you know it isn’t the product’s fault, and you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
Each of these steps could (and should) be broken out into it’s own to-do list, but whatever the details are of your product launch one thing remains true: These are the components that make up a successful launch. From an initial brand that establishes credibility to a well-built product that solves real problems and delights users, following the 10 steps to launch your digital product will maximize your investment set you up for success.