Imagine that you have already built a scalable and appealing product to attract relevant users, beat your target audience’s challenges, and scale up your business. Now you will have to come up with a solid software product launch plan to bring a solution to your end-users.
This plan includes everything from a marketing strategy and metrics to product positioning and business goals. To make your product launch as smooth as possible, we have come up with 10 key steps you will need for a flawless release.
- Conduct Audience Research
- Conduct Competitor Analysis
- Build a Product Positioning Strategy
- Set Milestones to Track Progress
- Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan
- Train Your Support Team
- Have Your Sales and Marketing Synchronized
- Analyze Your Launch Results
Conduct Audience Research
Before launching a software product, it’s vital to conduct research and understand your audience, their needs and motivators. You should focus on your buyer persona and understand what challenges they face and how your product can solve them.
Here are some crucial steps to take before launching your cutting-edge software product:
- Define your target audience and their pain points
- Define challenges your product can solve
- Create a unique value proposition for your software product to stand out from the competition
- Build a strong marketing strategy to get your solution noticed by users
- Ensure your users understand the value your product adds (e.g. provide a free trial or demo)
- Keep testing your product with the first users to ensure it works smoothly
- Plan your post-launch strategy to retain your customers
Conduct Competitor Analysis
Competitor research will help you spot your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses, along with key strategies for getting customers to use their software. Thus, you will find your competitive advantage and figure out how to make your product appealing to customers.
Your competitor analysis for a release plan will include:
Interact with your rivals’ products from the user’s point of view to spot the benefits they offer.
From impeccable customer service and a strong marketing strategy to excellent usability and flawless security, these strengths will help you learn what your audience requires from you and enhance your product according to their needs.
Knowing your competitors’ weak points will help you make them one of your advantages. Imagine that you have a marketplace where users can sell unique products.
If your rivals allow users to attach a limited number of product pictures, offer your audience to showcase their items in a 360-degree view, so buyers can see every detail. You can also spot weaknesses like low-touch customer service, poor product performance, or content your users don’t want to consume.
Pricing structures of your rivals will let you pick a convenient option for you and your audience. Find out if they offer a monthly subscription or a one-off payment. Do they keep their prices lower to gain more users, or do they raise prices to attract more high-quality customers?
A well-developed onboarding experience should introduce users to a product and provide them with vital information to get started.
Do your rivals use welcome messages and product tours?
Do they have a one-time setup?
Can users learn how to use a product in an interactive way?
Use this data to ensure your customers get a satisfying onboarding experience and keep them engaged.
You can also use the following approaches to conduct a competitor analysis:
A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) will help you evaluate the most significant aspects of your competitors’ businesses. Internal factors like Strengths and Weaknesses will let you define your rivals’ resources and processes (funding, equipment, target audiences, software systems). Such external factors as Opportunities and Threats will enable you to analyze your competitors’ tech advancements, the latest trends, and relationships with customers and partners.
Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
This approach is a great tool for your competitor analysis as it allows you to analyze the following forces: competition in your industry, power of suppliers, the threat of alternative products, new entrants’ potential, and power of users. These key forces shape every industry so it will be easier for you to analyze your rivals, come up with your unique competitive advantage, and build a solid product launch plan.
With this matrix, you will use your software products’ graphical representations to define what should be sold, kept, or invested in more. Imagine your products or investments as dogs, stars, cash cows, and question marks.
Dogs reflect products with no potential and a low market share. Your question marks are products that consume lots of resources and grow fast but don’t generate revenue because of a low market share. It’s crucial to analyze these products or investments to prevent them from transforming into dogs. Stars generate revenue and require a lot of money due to a high-growth market. When it declines, stars have a chance to become cash cows. A cash cow generates more money and consumes fewer resources. You should take advantage of cash cows for as long as possible.
This matrix is perfect to compare your rivals’ performance and identify any gaps. You will get a chance to cooperate with your users more efficiently, understand who your competition is, and highlight many business opportunities. You can create a simple matrix with the strengths and weaknesses of your rivals or opt for a more powerful chart to identify your competitors’ website traffic, product performance, UX, onboarding experience, and unique features.
Set SMART Goals
If you want your software product launch to become a huge success, you should define what “success” means to you. Clear and ambitious goals will help you and your team clarify the way to operate and enhance your product. These goals can include:
- Establishing product awareness
- Driving more sign-ups
- Boosting customer satisfaction
- Reducing customer churn rate
- Increasing revenue
Your goals should be:
Set crystal clear goals so that you and your team can concentrate efforts towards your key business objectives. To make it easier, you can answer the following questions:
What do I want to achieve by launching this software product?
Why are these goals essential to my business success?
Who is involved in achieving these goals?
Which resources are required to achieve my goals?
Tracking your progress is crucial to stay motivated and achieve your big goals. Try to measure your objectives by answering the following questions:
How much time do I need to complete the crucial stages of the project?
How many resources do I need to achieve my goals?
What indicators can I use to measure my progress?
It’s good when your goals are challenging but they have to stay achievable within a certain timeframe. Try to ask yourself:
Do I have enough resources to achieve my goals?
Which factors are beyond my control?
Your SMART goals should align with your strategic business objectives to help you make progress every day. Think about these questions:
Do my launch goals align with the strategic business objectives?
Why is the result vital to my business?
Is this the right time to work on these objectives?
Every goal requires realistic timing, so it’s crucial to set a deadline to work towards your objectives more effectively. Consider the following questions:
When do I want to achieve these goals?
What deadlines do I need to meet?
When can I see the first results?
Then, you will need to set product launch KPIs for each goal and figure out how much resources and effort you can invest. Now all you have to do is outline what tasks you have to accomplish or delegate to achieve your ambitious goals.
Build Product Positioning Strategy
Whether you are going to launch your first or twentieth software product, positioning is vital to show the most significant aspects of your solution with the help of simple messages. At launch, you will have users’ busy attention for just a few minutes, so you have to convey compelling messages to impress them.
You will have to show users your product’s value proposition, a list of core features, and explain how this software product can solve your audience’s problems. Your message should be crystal clear so that your customers can understand what they will get after using your solution.
Your product positioning strategy should include:
Define your mission to understand how your software product can benefit your users and solve their pain points. With a clear and achievable mission, it will be easier to hit the market with a relevant and profitable product.
Your audience’s pain points
Describe your user persona in detail and identify what pain points they face and how your software product can solve these issues. It will help you to make your product more relevant and appealing to your audience.
A strong brand identity sets your business apart from hundreds of other companies selling the same software product and makes your customers think about your brand when they see its logo or hear its name. From your brand design and messaging to values and unique positioning, these elements are essential to define your brand.
If you understand your own market category, you will be able to learn more about both your users and rivals to make your software product stand out. It will also help you leverage your paid campaigns, sales efforts, and marketing strategies.
Decide how success will be measures
With relevant metrics, you will be able to measure launch success and use this data to set benchmarks for upcoming launches. The product launch KPIs can vary based on your industry, but some metrics are suitable for the majority of solutions. You can choose such metrics as:
- The number of registrations and downloads to see if users are interested in your solution
- Churn rate to figure out why people stop using your software product
- User retention to understand how often people return to your solution
- Market share to compare your product’s performance to your rivals’ products
- Customer feedback to spot features that require improvement
Set Milestones To Track Progress
To launch a new software product timely, you will need to define milestones and set deadlines for your team. These milestones will help you draw attention to important events and dates, spotlight your main goals, and mark significant stages in your software product launch.
The whole team needs to be aware of these dates as they make progress on your product release. Consider including such milestones as:
- Launching a beta version for a limited number of users
- Significant industry events like trade shows, webinars, workshops, and conferences
- Briefing industry analysts to conduct research, come up with a promotional plan, and build a strong PR strategy
- Lead reporting
- Product testing
- Release date
Don’t overload your roadmap with lots of milestones as they can lose value. Keep in mind that milestones highlight major events and deadlines so they should grab your team’s attention right away.
Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan
Besides a cutting-edge software solution and a strong product launch plan, you will require a relevant marketing strategy to make your audience notice your efforts.
It’s crucial to reach your prospects, show them how your product can solve their problems, and provide users with insightful content to keep them engaged.
A well-developed marketing strategy for a product launch will include:
- SEO and ASO strategies to generate traffic and outrank your rivals in search engine results. With a strong online presence, it will be more convenient to use your positive impact to keep users loyal.
- Content marketing will help you nourish your users with valuable and insightful information about your software product. Niche-specific blog posts, effective press releases, and captivating product tutorials will make people use your solution more often.
- Social media marketing to communicate with influencers, target a wider audience, and establish a brand identity to get noticed. You will be able to tell a brand story people will remember and interact with users to build trust and credibility.
- UI/UX design is pivotal to make your product appealing to your customers and provide a flawless user experience. Product design companies speak to end-users through stunning visuals and decent product identity.
- Paid advertising to show your software solution to the proper audience and convey appropriate messages to users. A solid advertising strategy aligned with your goals will make your product memorable and profitable.
- PR to find the relevant communication channels and build a memorable brand image for your product. With influencer marketing, strong partnerships, and eye-catching press releases, your product won’t go unnoticed.
Train Support Team
It goes without saying that users love excellent customer support but some companies still overlook the importance of keeping clients satisfied and informed.
According to the research, 50% of customers would find an alternative brand after a single poor experience. Great customer support will help you increase customer lifetime value, ensure users interact with your software product to the fullest, and boost ROI.
Don’t forget to check if your customer support team is ready to handle users’ questions and knows how to work with your software product properly. Complete all technical documentation, including FAQ pages, end-user guides, instructions for product usage, and technical datasheets.
Have Sales and Marketing Synchronized
Sales and marketing alignment is essential to make your business stand out. If you bring users by the means of marketing, a sales team is still vital to work with customer feedback, shorten your sales cycle, close deals, and create proposals for your customers.
While your marketing team is concentrated on driving traffic, attracting leads, and promoting your product on various channels, your sales team should guide your prospects through the sales funnel and close deals. That’s why it’s crucial to train your sales rockstars to perform better and deliver profitable results.
To make sure your team can deliver powerful sales messages, enrich your training with various levels of assessment. You can use a video explainer to showcase the core features of your software product and add a few quiz questions to evaluate your team members’ results.
Video coaching will make your team more confident and focused. Your employees will get numerous assignments (e.g. “Deal with a prospect who didn’t like a demo version of our software product”). Then, they will have to record their video responses and send them for review. Make sure your team has enough time for practice before they communicate with end-users.
Analyze Launch Results
When your solution is released, there is still a lot to be done. Now you have to evaluate your results and decide if your product launch plan was successful enough to get your software solution noticed by relevant users. Don’t forget to analyze customer feedback to enhance your software product according to their needs.
Now you can compare your product launch goals to real data.
Did you manage to establish product awareness and get more sign-ups?
Did you boost customer satisfaction and reduce your churn rate?
It’s also vital to highlight what didn’t go so well to make your upcoming launches more effective.
Post-launch is a great period to concentrate on retention and bring some ideas on how to keep your loyal users engaged. Now you can continue to build long-term relationships with your users, nurture them with valuable content, and introduce new features to keep them engaged.
Get Ready to Skyrocket Your Business With a Flawless Product!
Now when you are aware of the key steps required to build a strong software product launch plan, you are all set to hit the market with a cutting-edge solution! LITSLINK is always happy to identify your audience’s needs and analyze the market demand with our product design services to make your business thrive.