Competition for customers has become quite intense nowadays with both B2B and B2C CAC up by roughly 60% compared to 5 years ago. Every company is spending big $$ and time to acquire and retain customers. Regular product updates and well planned product launches can improve acquisition (by reducing cost of acquisition) and retention by engaging customers at regular intervals. That being said, how should one prepare a product for launch?
Before launch - planning phase
A successful launch strategy starts well before the launch day and there are a lot of ways to engage customers well before the launch as follows:
1. Align internal stakeholders
Share the roadmap with customer-facing teams internally (sales, customer excellence / support, marketing etc.) so they can prepare for customer interactions.
This is also a great opportunity for training customer-facing teams on how to use the product with demos and tutorials.
2. Let your community know about the launch
It is crucial that you let your community know about the launch well before-hand. You can share mockups and plans with your community to gauge feedback and interest for the new product / feature.
Casa helps you build a community and you can use Casa's platform to communicate with your customers before, during and after launch. You can link to your Casa community on your website or embed it in a certain section of your website.
3. Share the roadmap with your customers
It's important to keep your customers in the loop by sharing your roadmap which must include upcoming features. You can also gauge interest for upcoming features by asking customers for their feedback.You can also use the Casa platform to share the roadmap with your customers.
4. Create launch videos
Launch videos created by the product team (product managers, product marketers, UX designers and engineers) can be great for highlighting the story for a master feature or product release. Always create launch videos prior to any major feature release as they can be great for driving engagement.
5. Plan the launch channels
Where will you be communicating the launch? It is a good idea to plan all the launch channels well in advance and typical channels include (but are not limited to):
1. Include a "What's New" section on your website
A "What's New" section can significantly increase customer engagement, which goes a long way in increasing retention. A What's New section includes any feature improvements, new product releases, and bug improvements. What's New section also has tags that classify the release as either a feature, a new product or a bug improvement. What's New can also include blogs.
2. Share release notes for the product
Release notes are a great way to succinctly explain what the product or feature does, and can be used by product teams to drive adoption for the new feature / product. This is a great way to keep customers engaged. It is also important to monitor these release notes from time to time to determine their engagement.
Post Launch - analyze
1. Measure and track your launch performance
What metrics did you expect to see prior to the launch and did those metrics get reached? Why or why not?
This is also known as quantitative analysis. Use this quantitative analysis to drive insights back into the product. You can also infer qualitative analysis by surveying users.
2. Create a plan of action
Figure out how to convert the quantitative and qualitative analysis into a structured plan of action. This may include but is not limited to:
- your website / app,
- social channels like Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp,
- popular online platforms like Product Hunt, BetaList, IndieHackers, and AppSumo,
- online Slack and Discord channels
- Prioritization of features that address the above issues into the roadmap
- Communication with the users that their needs are being addressed (along with any feature voting as required)
To conclude, it is absolutely crucial to prepare your product for launch with a planning phase prior to the launch which includes both internal (aligning your team around objectives) and external communication (getting customers on the same page). A good product launch can significantly impact your top line and increase sales so it's crucial you invest in a launch strategy.