Want to know How to Growth hack your Product Launch Marketing Plan? Here are the 10- steps to a product launch plan that works.
One of the biggest marketing challenges that entrepreneurs face is launching their product.
As digital marketing and automation are cornerstones of a solid strategy, the main advice would be to start there.
However, with so many opportunities and platforms, it's often difficult to know where to start.
I've seen more than a few products fall in their tracks, because of the lack of a coherent launch strategy.
What's more, at times, the enthusiasm and possibility of a viral launch campaign might harm the actual level headed analysis.
What should you do?
In my experience, the best way to ensure a stable launch with the opportunity for growth is through a growth-based product launch marketing plan.
This type of plan takes the core principles of the hacking mindset and applies them to a product launch.
I'm talking about ...
... ways to establish your product growth.
Going one step further, the GROWTH mindset, allows us to think about the future, while actively working on tasks TODAY.
The product launch plan will follow the three simple rules of growth.
Prompt Implementation of marketing solutions allows us to stay on the cutting edge of digital trends.
Honest Tracking allows us to make prompt decisions on what works and what doesn't work, thus focusing our efforts on the items that matter.
Continuous Optimization lets us tweak the implemented solutions in a matter that both works best in terms of results, but that's also customized for our particular use and our target markets and audience.
A basic product launch marketing plan focused on the growth hacking mindset looks something like this.
Across these five steps, we'll be looking to answer the main questions for the business.
We will also be making sure to outline the processes and methodologies that we'll use to help us achieve our goals.
This particular guide will help you build out YOUR OWN growth hacking product launch plan in less than a day.
All you need to do is follow through with the steps, understand their importance, and answer the specific questions on the list WITH YOUR BUSINESS in mind.
ALWAYS REMEMBER that implementation is HALF the battle, so while the plan needs to be coherent, you should also make sure that it's implemented correctly once it's done.
Of course, if you have any questions about growth hacking, our Exclusive Facebook Group for Bad*ss Marketers and Founders (Facebook Group) might be the right spot for you.
Make sure to opt-in, if you think you are the right fit.
Now, without further ado, let's discuss the 5 main steps to create your growth hacking marketing plan for successful product launching.
The first and most important step in ANY marketing plan is to understand the people.
Who will buy your product?
You need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers.
The way to do that is through intuition and research.
For Business to Customer products and brands (B2C) the process is arguably simpler and easier.
In the Business to Business (B2B) it takes a bit more work and sweat.
However, in both cases, you are looking for three main pieces of information.
Of course, as you are reading the BAMF blog, you also know that WE GET TACTICAL. So let's check out how you can find this information with a few examples.
The easiest way to do prospect research is to start with your space and check out similar products.
Let's say that you are building out a new kitchen product brand.
You already know that your prospects will have some interest in cooking, but you need to better understand the WHAT, the WHY and WHAT ELSE they like.
Here's an example of how I would do quick and efficient audience research for a new business.
Let's say the product you have is a kitchen knife.
To properly evaluate WHAT my audience cares about, when it comes to kitchen knives and WHY they would buy them, I would first visit YouTube and search for relevant AUTHORITY videos on the topic.
Make sure to look for videos FROM audience members, rather than media or other businesses.
In our example, searching for "Knife Reviews" most of the content is from companies.
However, there's still a video that might help deliver insights on what the audience finds important.
Scrolling down further, we can find just the right thing.
Ultimately, you would want to find videos from INFLUENCERS in the space, as chances are these will have more authentic comments and will potentially feature audience members that are closer to the buyer's persona we are trying to build.
Usually, the comments section is where you find the GOLD.
From a single read through of the comments, we can note a few things about audience memebers.
Another way to quickly find audience insights for your buyer's persona (especially great for a B2C brand or product) is through Amazon reviews.
I would usually search for a product and enter the array of reviews on the most popular products in the category trying to find the insights that I need.
Now, this isn't as scientific, and usually, you would seek far better quantities of data to define your audience, but in most cases, the audience insight research will come down to learning directly from the audience and there are only a handful of places where you can find similar information.
Quora and Reddit are also two sites where you'll be able to dive deeper into the emotional and logical mindset of your audience.
When it comes to broader demographics research, I mostly try to find existing surveys and market research.
I do so by searching for key phrases with quotation marks on Google.
The use of quotation marks on Google allows you to seek an EXACT match of the keyword you want to find.
So in the above example "percent of homeowners" + kitchen knives will give me articles and content that includes the phrase in quotations in relation to the term that I also want to find.
Now this isn't the quickest method and it does take time, but the more you look and the more related phrases you find the more information and insights you will be able to collect about your audience.
Usually, it's best to collect ALL of the insights in a "Research Sheet" either in Word or in Google Docs, where you will be able to reference the data and information you have found when you need it.
The above example fits both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) businesses. However, in the B2B space it can be more difficult.
For B2B businesses, you would want to employ similar tactics. Usually, in the B2B space, it's harder to find this type of information, due to the lower number of targeted individuals.
You can further dive into LinkedIn Groups and check out posts related to the specific industry that you want to target.
Once you have the right insights in place, you can use a tool like Hubspot's Make my persona to have everything arranged in a neat and easy to reference manner.
I've mentioned this tool before, but if you aren't familiar, here's how to use it.
All you have to do is visit the homepage of the tool.
Then simply click the "Build My Persona" button.
Follow through the steps and fill out the needed information.
At the end, you'll have a nice Buyer's Persona that you can easily reference when building out marketing campaigns, strategies, plans and even when making big company decisions as a whole.
The next step in your growth plan, should be to define the product.
Usually, to do that you need to do three things.
All three items help you understand your product and how to market it better.
The SWOT Analysis - Shows where you are right now with your product. It helps you define the challenges and opportunities that your business faces today.
The Elevator's Pitch will help engulf the broader vision of the product and streamline your perspective on what you want your product to become.
The USP explains the competitive edge that your product currently has compared to other products in the space.
While it's arguable, usually the USP is the one key defining factor about your product that can make or break your business.
To be able to define your USP, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customer.
Think about what your BUYER'S PERSONA would consider to be important.
Does your product offer a great experience?
Which portions of the customer experience OF your product are better than the competitors?
Is there a unique feature of your business that makes it stand out?
In what way is this feature helpful to the buyer's persona?
Think about a feature that would entice your customers and that would make them say THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT AND NEED.
Once you have a sales pitch that hits the nail on the head and DIFFERENTIATES your product from your competitors in a single sentece, you have your sales pitch.
Think about Mad Men. It's toasted.
It doesn't have to be as unique, it has to be unique enough to get the attention of your audience.
The USP is about differentiating yourself from your competitors in a beneficial way and in a single sentence or at most, paragraph. (the shorter, the better)
A lot of people start with the marketing BEFORE they've thought about the development process of the product.
Regardless of whether you are running a SaaS B2B business or a new consumer brand, chances are you will want to continue developing it in the future.
Some business owners are so enticed by the opportunity for growth and the vision for how to market their product that they forget that the marketing and product roadmaps should go hand in hand.
That's why, to build your growth plan, you should also have a clear state of development and roadmap of how your product and brand will develop in the short-term future.
Usually, a high-level GANTT chart should be good enough to help keep your growth/marketing and product processes in sync.
A GANTT chart is a clear and concise project roadmap that allows you to represent the visual flow of the stages related to the completion of that project in a way that's rather simple and intuitive to understand.
To create such a chart, you can use either a simple sheets software, such as Google Docs, or a project management tool that has a Gantt-like feature.
For the purpose of this example, I've decided to use the Gantt-oriented tool called Instagannt.
Now, almost every Gantt tool out there has similar features, so it should be easy to follow through.
First, start by picking out the key iterations that define your product roadmap.
Put them in the higher-level heading, in this case, called section.
Then simply start adding the different high-level tasks related to each section.
Arrange the tasks by the timing required to complete each task and the followthrough nature of each particular task.
Finally arrange the dates related to the sections so that you are certain that the time allocated would be the time requried to complete them.
Make sure to leave out some time for testing preparation and bugs, if you expect there to be any. Usually, it's best to be a bit more lenient on the time, as things can always go a bit wrong with the higher-level plan.
Congratulations, you now have your first GANTT product launch roadmap.
Another key step in making your growth marketing plan is to build out your sales or marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel serves the purpose of identifying the key marketing approach that a business has.
It communicates the key important points along the customer's journey and establishes the tactics used to capture and nurture the leads.
The reason why it's good to have the funnel set in place PRIOR to your product launch is that it will allow you to have the right foundation for business growth.
A marketing funnel usually has three core elements.
Relatively self-explanatory, the lead generation approach relates to your awareness tactics. It's the approach via which you introduce your product to your prospect and start gathering leads.
The Lead Nurturing phase is the steps you take to educate your prospects about your product, brand and business. The purpose of this phase is to warm up your leads and help drive them closer to a purchasing decision.
The Decision/Action point is the moment you start driving your leads to make their purchasing decision.
Usually, to build out a funnel you will have to analyze which type of funnel will fit best to your business efforts.
Now, let's take a look at two examples, so that you can better understand the importance of funnels.
Going on with our previous examples of a B2C business selling kitchen knives.
You will most probably want to do an Ad (say on Social Media) to introduce people to your brand.
This is your brand awareness stage.
What happens when people click on the ad?
They are lead to a landing page, which gives more information about your brand and products.
This is your lead nutruting phase.
The landing page probably also has a Call to Action button, right?
This CTA button is your Action/Decision phase.
Now, if you want to upsell more products, you will be building additional funnels, which fit a broader marketing funnel related to your brand or business.
It's similar with B2B businesses.
Say you have a SaaS business.
You run an ad for people to sign up to a free trial. (Lead gen)
During the free trial, you educate them on why your product is great and give them resources on how to best use your product. (Lead nurture)
Then, nearing the end of the free trial you start to push them to make a purchasing decision. (Action/Decision phase)
Defining ALL of the sales/marketing tactics your business uses under a single FUNNEL helps founders and marketers communicate better and establish the key points and bottlenecks where the company might be able to improve the fastest with least efforts.
This in turn, allows your business to have a coherent marketing structure, where you're not missing out on SALES due to technical or otherwise bottlenecks and pressure points.
Now, I know the above might have not been THE MOST helpful when it comes to funnel building.
I'm even planning to write up a whole guide on the process, so make sure to sign up to our newsletter for that.
But, in the meantime, let's check out the most popular funnels today that you can start using in your business.
AARRR (for B2B SaaS businesses)
AARRR is one of the most popular funnels for B2B SaaS businesses today.
IT has 5 phases.
AIDA (for B2C Businesses)
AIDA is one of the first marketing funnels that became popular due to its simplicity and versions of it are still going strong and helping businesses improve their marketing efforts.
Of course, make sure to stay tuned to our blog for more on funnels and using funnels to improve your business.
However, for now, you should make sure to have something basic in place that will help establish your marketing efforts for your product launch.
Now, once you have some sort of foundation and a way to think about your audience, product, business, and marketing, it's time to think about your budgeting and resources.
Think about the resources that you have and can use for the potential promotion of your product in its launch phase.
Now, most of the time, budgeting comes as the last step of a product launch marketing plan.
However, you need to think about the general boundaries, affordability and existing resources at your disposal, to help make the "Tactics" decision phase easier.
Do you have the money to throw out and purchase a huge billboard in the middle of time square, if it would be the right tactic for your business?
Would you rely on proven methodologies or want to try out new and exciting marketing opportunities even if they pose a higher risk?
Do you already know someone in PR circles that can bump you a shoulder during this bootstrapped time?
Maybe you know a LinkedIn influencer that will be able to announce your product on their feed?
Make sure to list down ALL of the potential budgeting and resources notes that will affect your product launch prior to starting to think about the tactics.
You can do that in a simple Google Docs file by brainstorming all of the resources and budgeting notes that you might have related to your product launch marketing plan.
Whenever I mention GOALS, you should know that I"m talking about S.M.A.R.T. goals. This stands true for a product marketing plan as well.
Your goals should always be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
That's the rule.
Now, I also understand that without ANY data it would be difficult to have an idea of what is attainable.
That's why almost every time I have to help out a founder with their product launch plan, I suggest the following -- create percent-growth-per-period based goals.
For example, you might want to put a goal of having a 5% Month on Month (MoM) growth on a specific KPI and 15% MoM on another.
For ads, email marketing, or other, you might want to create your KPI goals, based on certain market averages.
A quick google search reveals that the average CPC for Facebook, across all industries is $1.72
Now, you can go as granular and in-depth in your research as you'd like.
However, the ultimate purpose of your GOALS is to define ONE thing.
WHAT would you consider IMPORTANT for your product launch stages.
Do you want to get the MOST value out of your ads?
Or maybe you want to have the biggest BRAND awareness impact.
Ultimately, the goals serve to help define the vision of what you as a business owner want to achieve from your product launch marketing plan.
While S.M.A.R.T. goals related to your KPIs help you in your day-to-day operations, you also need to take into account the broader implications of your marketing efforts.
For that, you will also need to set a 5-year goal.
How do you envision your business in 5 years time?
This should be a seemingly unattainable goal and answer the question what happens if everything goes right.
My business will be the Uber of Data Sheets.
This is a great example of a 5-year goal.
It serves the purpose of driving all efforts together to achieve the bigger vision of the company.
Once you have all the preparation and steps set in place, it's time to think about your Tactics.
The meat of your product launch plan, it's also the most difficult step on the list.
Coming up with the right combination of tactics can lead you on a path that is as simple as creating a small launch campaign and as complex as planning out multiple simultaneous campaigns across several months.
While things might be different depending on the business case, usually a growth hacking product launch plan will have at least one tactic across several marketing methods.
For earned media, you would usually want to do a combination of PR and viral marketing.
Thinks outside of the box.
PR isn't as simple as creating a Press Release.
If you want COVERAGE of your product, you need to consider what the PRESS in your industry is INTERESTED in covering.
All of these questions should lead you closer to a great PR push.
You might even want to consider talking to journalists in the space, give them an early version of your product for them to try out and even ask for their advice on your product roadmap and how it would affect the customer.
Too many people THINK about how to GET THE ATTENTION of the journalists.
But consider that journalists ARE people and professionals who respect their jobs and value the work that they do in the industry.
So instead of doing what EVERYONE else does and push for a generic press release, instead WORK with journalists themselves and try to BOTH show them your vision, but also hear and respect their input.
That way you will be able to build out your Press Release on the backbone of honest and authentic feedback that your product has already received, instead of your own opinion on your product.
Also, make sure you don't forget about influencers and microinfluencers.
If it doesn't cost much, you can send out your product or give influencers an early run of your product and you might receive free coverage without having to pay for a post or an ad.
When it comes to paid media, my biggest advice would be to NEVER diversity your advertising spaces MORE than you need to do.
In addition, always consider PAID media in combination with your OWNED media channels.
If Facebook is the platform where your audience resides and spends most of their time and you already plan to do an Owned media push on the platform, why spend your time advertising on YouTube?
The same goes for Instagram or other similar platforms.
At the end of the day you would want to have coherence between your Paid Media and Owned Media channels to a point where your paid media dollars help out with the growth of your owned media channels as well.
One growth tactic that's often referenced for Facebook posts, for example, is to boost your owned media post at the same time as you are running an ad.
This will ensure that you get double the exposure of your brand at a particular time and also allow you to compare the end results of both campaigns in a more straightforward manner.
Now, when it comes to the selection of the specific tactics for paid media, here are a few things to consider.
Don't forget that paid media is almost always a top-of-funnel effort.
SO, it's best, if your paid media campaign works in cohesion with your existing funnel rather than trying to achieve a bottom-of-funnel goal right from the start.
When it comes to woned media you should primarily consider your funnel.
The tactics for owned media should be closely correlated with your continous long-term growth.
Consistency across multiple digital spaces is proven to lead to great long-term results.
Thus, when it comes to your product launch, you should primarily have the preparation to be able to start putting resources into the growth of your owned media channels.
Would Search Engine Optimization and content efforts help establish my business in the industry?
Which Social Media channel fits best with the habits of my buyer's persona?
How can I best reuse my owned media efforts to serve multiple revenue purposes?
These are all questions that will help you plan out your owned media efforts in relation to your product launch.
Now when it comes to the "Growth" mindset, there are a few more things that you should note within your product launch plan.
First on the list is the idea of prompt implementation and quick analysis and iteration based on your results.
Most people would consider this to be part of the specific tactic.
For example, if you are running Facebook Ads, it's almost a given that the first two weeks would be left for pinning down the exact targeting metrics to improve the results from your ad.
However, in 2020, I would consider this to be a part of the WHOLE of your product launch plan.
Build out your launch plan with review, iterations and optimizations in mind.
Pin down specific points and plan out your tactics in a way that would allow you to quickly analyze the results from your funnel conversions, establish points of improvement and iterate on the tactics in an improved way from the get-go.
You certainly wouldn't want to spend five months running an ad campaign and introducing different PR brand awareness tactics only to realize that you have a conversion bottleneck somewhere down the funnel.
Same goes for your product pipelines.
It's great to suddenly have enormous growth. However, if your business is not at the point that it's able to scale quickly, you should hold down your marketing efforts, even if they work, to ensure that your current customer base is satisfied.
Second, and a huge part of the growth paradigm shift, is the idea of automation.
Once you have everything set in place, it's time to think about the different opportunitities for automation that your plan presents you with.
Byu now, on paper, you should have planned out your tactics, points of iterations and the product launch marketing roadmap that will lead you to success.
It's time to start thinking HOW you can make this plan lean and which portions of it you can automate.
Now, to do this, you have to take into account two main factors.
The first is the quality of automation.
There are a lot of automation tactics that will definitely save you a pretty penny and allow you to allocate resources somewhere else. However, at times those tactics can lead to worse quality of your product, marketing and content.
A great example of this is an automated calendar on Social Media.
Yes, it's great to prepare your content calendar weeks in advance and automate it, but consider that by doing this, you wouldn't be able to address the timely events in your industry.
And as most of us are aware, social media is all about the timing of different events and being in sync with what is happening in the world around you.
Now that doesn't mean that you SHOULDN'T automate your social media calendar.
Quite the opposite. Just make sure that your automation systems still allow for a good end quality of the efforts that you want to automate.
The second part of automation that you should consider is the long-term cost.
A lot of automation requires the use of third-party tools. More often than not these third-party tools are subscription-based and scalable.
And while this is good for a starting business, as it allows you to start growing on the more affordable end of things, you shouldn't forget that these costs can quickly pile up.
And as a startup, you certainly wouldn't want to be spending thousands per month, just to have a bunch of features that you aren't ultimately using.
That's why when automating, try to use affordable alternatives and ALWAYS think about how the tool would fit within your broader marketing stack.
I would recommend checking out Zapier. It's an amazing all-in-one automation tool that will help you streamline a lot of your marketing efforts.
Last, but not least, hit the LAUNCH button.
Don't overthink everything and start doing.
The number one efficiency killer is the obvious overthinking pattern that can present itself in the planning stages.
So while having a proper plan IS A MUST, the plan shouldn't take you ages to complete.
Hopefully, with my tips, walkthrough and advice, you will be able to go through your planning more easily and with a ton more confidence.
But ultimately, don't be afraid to start implementing and putting your plans into action.
You know, some of the most effective viral marketing campaigns weren't thought through at all.
Have you ever watched a "Will it Blend?" video on YouTube?
The viral marketing sensation that put Blendtec on the map, as the story goes, was a simple decision of the marketing director that just thought it would be fun to shoot the actions that his owner was already doing - testing the strengths of their blenders by chopping down household objects that weren't meant to be put in a blender.
So plan out, be inspired, but also be bold.
And make sure to share your favorite product launch marketing advice for growth, either yours or just a general quote, down in the comments section.
I would love to hear your thoughts.