Launch a Product (Successfully) in 7 Essential Steps

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    Home / Product / Launch a Product (Successfully) in 7 Essential Steps

    It doesn’t take a business expert to know that one way or another, you can launch a product.

    The question is, however, whether you can do it successfully.

    There are several methods and tactics to build buzz, and a handful of books that talk about how to devise the perfect launch plan.

    There are the essentials, and there is the Steve Jobs level. But today, we are talking essentials. So let's get down to:

    • What a product launch is,
    • Why a successful new product launch matters,
    • A great example of a product launch done right,
    • Stages of product launch and how to come up with a product launch plan
    • Quick product launch tips to shape your go-to-market strategy

    Don't have the time? Here's the TL;DR:


    • A product launch introduces a new product to potential customers. It needs a clear strategy, a defined target audience, and a well-defined product concept and position statement.
    • Successful launches are important because they establish the product in the market, attract initial customers, and gather feedback to improve the product.
    • Dropbox is a good example of a successful launch. It used a viral video and referral bonuses to quickly drive anticipation and attract a large number of users.
    • Launching a product involves three stages: Pre-launch (setting strategy and preparing materials), Launch (activating marketing and engaging customers), and Post-launch (expanding market reach and refining the product).
    • Effective launch tips include thorough planning, strong marketing, stellar user onboarding, and continuous improvement based on customer feedback.

    What is a Product Launch?

    A product launch is the process of introducing a new product to its potential target audience. To make this process a success, it is a good practice to come up with a go-to-market strategy, decide on a target customer base, and, most importantly, set a very clear product concept.

    Now, not all product launches go the exact same way for every new product, but there are 3 set stages:

    how to launch a product launch stages


    Pre-launch is the launch stage in which all the preparation and planning take place.

    Some may say otherwise, but if you ask me, this is when success is granted or not according to the groundwork you set.

    Some important steps here — as we will address later on as well — are setting the go-to-market strategy, wrapping up the product development, creating the promotional content to build hype, and ticking off all the preparations in your product launch checklist.

    Once everything is set to roll, it's time to...


    Launch is the moment of truth and, thus, the most stressful stage of the product launch stages.

    A product launch event is due, and thankfully, it can be in many forms, from an in-person event to a live stream. The whole point of the launch day is to deliver the experience of your product and value proposition to the target market.

    As this launch event takes place, it is time to put everything in theory into action on the launch day and forward.

    Make sure your go-to-market strategy takes flight and not one piece of promotional content goes to waste because we've still got work to do... ⬇️


    It's not time to wipe your brow and take a rest just yet.

    Post-launch is the stage where you grip the market segment you want to sneak into for your life. That happens when you start to gather feedback and double down on product marketing and testing—even making new product development changes if necessary.

    One thing you cannot underestimate here is the importance of customer support. It might have been a successful launch, but it's still a new product. You cannot leave your new customers to their own devices.

    If you're in for a more proactive solution, your 14-day free trial on UserGuiding is right here 👈

    But why do we care?

    Why a Successful Product Launch Matters?

    A successful launch enables a successful product.

    A successful product means a successful business, and that, more often than not, means good revenue. And that, folks, is the quick answer.

    Need a bit more detail? Let me lay it down in 3 main reasons:

    1- Solidifying Market Presence

    A successful product launch is successful because it does the first thing it needs to do: introduce your product to the market.

    This then ensures that your new product gains the visibility and attention needed to stand out in a competitive landscape. So, we can say that this initial introduction is crucial because it is the market interaction that lays the foundation for your product’s future in the market.

    2- Driving Initial Adoption and Sales

    A product launch isn't just you calling dibs on your place in the market; it's also creating momentum.

    And that momentum is, not so surprisingly, key to attracting early adopters and securing initial sales. Who would have thought, huh? Now, these early adopters are, of course, vital.

    They not only provide the first revenue stream but also help promote your product through word-of-mouth, expanding your reach.

    So, a successful launch also means a successful marketing campaign, and vice versa.

    3- Validating Market Fit

    A successful launch is, you guessed it, also a super cool real-life test of how good your product actually is.

    Your product launch data is the best candidate for providing critical insights into how well your product meets the needs of your target audience. With that feedback, you can refine your product and strategy, ensuring that your offerings continue to align with customer expectations and market trends.

    That's using a successful launch to make your product even more successful, in a nutshell.

    Now, successful launch this, successful launch that, I bet you're wondering what a successful launch actually looks like. Let's take a look at:

    Successful Product Launch Example That Gets It: Dropbox - the Product Marketing Genius

    If you've been in software for a while, you would have heard of the Dropbox story.

    It was the then-MIT student Drew Houston's idea that led to the creation of the beta version of Dropbox and the viral demo video that allegedly brought in 70,000 new users overnight.

    how to launch a product dropbox

    During the launch, Dropbox used these users to its advantage to gather feedback, but it didn't stop there. They also offered extra storage to those doing referrals for the viral new tool to double the numbers.

    And that is a perfect launch example showing how creating a buzz for an already good idea can elevate the marketing plan and the full-scale launch.

    Now, that's cool and all, and kudos to Dropbox for sure, but you can't quite depend on promotional content to go viral and give you a chance to put your marketing strategy to use.

    You have to get ready and stay ready with a dedicated marketing strategy, a strong brand positioning laid out, and a clear value proposition to complement it all.

    How, you ask? Let's take a look at:

    Product Launch Template: How to Launch a Product in 3 Stages & 6 Steps

    We've got the notion of product launch and how it works established with examples.

    It is time to make it work for you.

    Now, not all launches operate the same way.

    Knowing just how much mishap a launch involves naturally, I will not act like there is only one way of launching a product. What we have here is a blueprint for a launch that goes relatively well without much straying from the marketing plan.

    But it is up to you to customize it to your own needs when necessary. And believe me, it will be necessary.

    But hey, let's take a look first:

    Pre-Launch Stage: Setting the Stage

    As we've discussed up above, the pre-launch stage is when we do the planning and, basically, the exact point where we set the stage.

    So let's set it, starting with:

    Step 1: Conceptualization and Market Research

    This is your square one.

    It is the point at which you get your brilliant idea and gauge the market to see if it is viable to pursue.

    Let's illustrate this with an example and say you have an idea for extra exclusive toilets.

    It just randomly comes to you as you fight for your life in a public bathroom, telling yourself you'll never go to the bathroom outside of your home.

    You then check the market to see if there are any similar ideas and whether you have a place in there, slowly setting your target market and piecing together your go-to-market plan.

    You now have a product concept that fits the market that somehow didn't think of extra clean toilets you can subscribe to. Now it's time to...

    Step 2: Product Development and Testing

    You've got a cool idea, and you're sure it works.

    But how will you know for sure without actually having the product out and getting people to use it?

    This next stage is where that happens.

    The main goals here are developing your product and obtaining at least a beta version for product testing.

    You don't need a full-scale launch-ready product just yet, but make sure your beta version is where you figure out most of the rough edges.

    For our hypothetical subs-based toilet business, this would mean setting up test toilets and a super basic app to accompany them. Then, conduct some product testing. You don't want anyone having an accident while trying to open the door to the stall.

    Make sure these potential bugs are resolved and you have a ready-to-launch product by the end of the pre-launch stage.

    Step 3: Marketing and Partnership Strategy

    Now that you have a functioning product — shoutout to your product development team— it is time to build hype like there is no tomorrow.

    But before that, you have to be fully settled on a product position statement, aka how you place yourself in the market and with what value, which should be a breeze if you've done your market research well.

    Then, you can start product marketing around that value prop.

    At this stage, you need your marketing team — probably just you and a friend at this point — working on the social proof building, email list and email campaigns, social media posts, partnerships, basically anything to give your product that pre-launch push.

    If you're the one launching my hypothetical exclusive toilet product, this would look like pairing up with malls to install your stalls, getting influencers on board for social proof, and even content marketing as early as now.

    Once your product and its marketing strategy are all ready, it is time to move onto the launch stage 👇

    Launch Stage: Execution and Engagement

    The launch stage is the moment your product shines.

    This is when your secret is finally out —in a good way, of course.

    Once it is out, you have the responsibility to make it as good as possible. We can break it down into 3 mini steps:

    Step 1: Launch Preparation

    The end of the pre-launch stage and the start of the launch stage naturally have some blurred lines.

    And this very first step into the launch stage is all about prepping the product for the spotlight. All the influencers you talked to and all the marketing material you've gathered now can come in handy.

    Ideally, a soft launch can ease the make-or-break condition that looms over the launch, so this step can also work as a mini launch you use to see how effective your marketing channels are and whether your product gets any bad reviews right off the bat.

    If you have a smooth soft launch, you can double down on the launch and its marketing strategy more ready than ever.

    Step 2: Launch Event and Activation

    It is time for the actual launch, and you need a solid game plan here. You need to launch a big while ensuring widespread coverage.

    Make use of your resources wisely and use the right marketing channels to launch the product.

    First, you absolutely need a big event, be it in-person or virtual—or ideally both. Put the in-person launch on YouTube Live and market it well across social media channels that matter to you.

    For example, my exclusive toilet idea can go viral on Instagram and Twitter like wildfire if the marketing material is right. Emphasis on the wildfire: You need your product to be on all channels of your target audience.

    But while marketing runs smoothly, you cannot overlook other operations, like...

    Step 3: Community Engagement and Support

    The marketing we're doing at this stage can NOT be one-sided; there will be queries and feedback to handle.

    Your social media team and customer support team come into play together here. Your potential customers need answers, and they need them immediately.

    If you manage to answer them on time and show not only that it's a cool product but also that it's backed up with good customer support, your chances of success go over and beyond.

    If your spread-like-wildfire strategy did indeed work, you will likely also receive bug reports and feature requests.

    This means that your marketing and support teams, as well as your product team, will have to engage in intense work from the launch date forward.

    Now, if you think you've checked all the boxes on your product launch checklist, you're utterly wrong.

    Let's now get to the part most overlook:

    Post-Launch Stage: Growth and Optimization

    The post-launch stage can easily be separated from most product launch strategies since it doesn't affect the launch itself.

    Unless, of course, you want your product to be successful going forward as well.

    A successful launch never equates to a successful product if the launch is all you've prepared for.

    What you need is the big picture.

    And in the big picture, a successful launch is just the first step to a successful product. Now is the time to guarantee that your first step is followed by a few more until you gain momentum.

    Starting with:

    Step 1: Feedback Collection and Analysis

    🌟 Now remember: to think of the post-launch, you need to be assuming that your launch stage was successful.

    And if it was successful, you've probably (systematically) collected a ton of qualitative feedback from a ton of distribution channels.

    With that feedback at hand, you have to move and you have to move fast. Your new customers are already skeptical, being the first few to use your product, and naturally, their wish is your command.

    Now, I am not saying to adopt any and every feature request.

    First, you need to revisit your initial launch goals and compare your projected performance to your actual performance.

    Take your wins, and learn from the areas that need improvement.

    That is the primary use of the feedback you received. But if feedback is persistent, that sure has to make it to your high-level meetings and new action plans.

    Step 2: Continuous Marketing and Iteration

    While you're dealing with all that, marketing campaigns can't just stop.

    👉 Now that you know your strengths and weaknesses, it is time to play on the strong points in your marketing.

    Have your marketing team send out social media posts to advertise these strengths as you work toward filling up the holes with your product team. There is also merit in keeping the product testing going, especially in these very first months of the post-launch stage, since it's a continuous moment of contact.

    The whole point of this step is to make sure you begin iterative development based on user feedback and so be able to enhance product features and usability.

    Step 3: Expansion and Scaling

    You've planned, launched, collected feedback, and made your next moves accordingly.

    Now is the time to decide your next moves on a wider scale.

    Was the market fit right?

    Was your product's performance satisfactory?

    Did people like the exclusive toilets, or do they still want to go to public toilets?

    According to the answers to these questions, a new business model, a new market segment, a new communication plan, or even a new product is possible.

    If all is well and you're on the right track, develop strategies for scaling operations and marketing to support growth.

    Now you've checked off everything on your product launch checklist!

    But hey, you can always put in some more nuance to it. I gathered some product launch tips that might come in handy in the grand scheme of things.

    Let's take a look ⬇️

    Product Launch Tips for a Better First Chapter of Your Product Story

    1- Get People On Board

    Before Saverin got involved, Facebook was just a frat game for boys.

    how to launch a product facebook example

    Now that I see this scene, they were pretty chill at first

    Okay, well, that is a bit harsh.

    Maybe Zuckerberg did have it in him to go solo. but another case of this is —if you remember our example above — Drew Houston, who was told he needed a partner if he was to get investment from Y Combinator.

    He got Arash Ferdowsi, who was a mere stranger at the time, and made partner after a few hours of talking (also leading him to drop out of MIT the next day)

    how to launch a product the dropbox example

    Just two buddies who met randomly and founded a multi-billion dollar company

    Now, absolutely don't do that; you can't possibly end up as lucky as Houston.

    But definitely find a team you can trust and work with, as well as investors who will look beyond your position statement and see your values and vision.

    A good product team will be followed by a good marketing team, a customer support team, and a sales team. And that will mean a formidable team behind your product when launching.

    2- Know Your Audience Well

    Here's an idea to get used to: your users dictate everything.

    And I mean everything: Throughout the entire launch process, every decision, and every product launch strategy for your new product.

    Knowing your target audience of users is your next step—unless you want to take the test without studying.

    How do you study then? With these 3 questions:

    Where can you find your target audience?

    First, determine where your potential customers are most active.

    • Which social media platforms do they frequent?
    • Are they in specific communities?
    • Is your new product stereotypically on a specific platform?

    If you're launching, say, a project management tool, you might want to gauge interest in professional networks like LinkedIn.

    For consumer-oriented products like a photo-editing app, visual platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest might be more relevant.

    Case in point, Atlassian is getting more engagement on LinkedIn than on Instagram for a post that is a better fit for Instagram:

    how to launch a product instagram linkedin

    Wherever it might be, I'll always like a puppy post!

    Knowing where your audience gathers allows you to engage with them directly and effectively.

    What are the likes and dislikes of your audience?

    Next, delve into understanding what your audience prefers and how they behave.

    Surveys, website analytics, and user feedback are your best tools to gather data.

    Are your users looking for cost-effectiveness, or do they prioritize features and functionality?

    This step is about more than just identifying needs—it’s about understanding their purchasing behavior and preferences.

    This will then inform your product development and go-to-market strategy.

    Remember: throughout a launch period, many things can change, including the product itself. The key to success is not to prevent the change but to embrace it as you see a better way to guarantee your success.

    And knowing your audience’s preferences is the way to change and optimize the product.

    Who is the typical buyer?

    Finally, it is time to develop a clear profile of your typical buyer.

    This involves more than demographic information; it requires you to understand their daily challenges, their job roles, and what solutions they seek.

    A good example here is Slack.

    The daily challenge of a Slack user before Slack was needing to keep emailing back and forth — which we all know is tiring and annoying. Slack users are typically knowledge workers and, as we are familiar with, teams in SaaS.

    The solution here is to ease email-primed communication and offer an easier way to collaborate.

    Which Slack did.

    It was only possible because they knew the people they wanted to sell to and the problems they needed to solve with a solid new product.

    Also, check out our Slack UX teardown while you're at it 👇

    So, construct a detailed buyer persona that reflects their goals, needs, and lifestyle.

    This persona will help you tailor your marketing efforts, making your communications more precise and impactful.

    Now, it might not sound like a good practice to set one target audience and one target customer persona and call it a day. Sometimes it actually isn't.

    But all the unique and successful companies you could name do exactly that the first time they enter the market.

    ➡️ Because at the end of the day, if you cannot find one real-life person whose specific problem you want to solve, then you cannot find one real-life person who will purchase your product.

    You might wanna check this out to see how to create a user persona 👈

    3- Plan the Onboarding

    Now, this is not another tip to do product testing or to build anticipation to come up with a last-minute brand differentiator the easy way.

    But it sure is an investment that goes beyond your launch day.

    And since the overall experience and satisfaction of the users that use your product the first day, first week, and the first month after the launch can determine the fate of your product, this is an extremely important investment.

    What I'll say now is a fact you can't escape:

    👉 If you can't onboard your first users properly, you'll start off with a huge pile of negative comments.

    At this point, you know who your users are, you know what problem you are solving, and you know the exact steps a user needs to take to do that. So, push them there!

    Some questions you need to ask yourself while creating your onboarding are:

    What are the common pain points of the users?

    Using the answer to this question will help you know where in the user's journey you must intervene to help them reach their "Aha!" moments.

    After all the user testing and software testing you have done, you should already be aware of the users' pain points and where they might need help.

    If you haven't yet, what are you waiting for?

    What onboarding elements should I use?

    Now you know where you will intervene, ask yourself how you want to intervene.

    There are many onboarding elements that can be used to educate and assist users during their first time with a product:

    It is up to you to decide which element or elements that you want to use in your user onboarding. But my advice is to always keep it interactive and personal.

    After all, 75% of business leaders say personalization plays a crucial role in success.

    What method am I going to choose to create my onboarding?

    When it comes to creating your onboarding, there are 2 main methods to choose from:

    👉 You can go in-house and have your developers create the onboarding for you.

    If you are looking for a cost-free method and have an extra developer on the side, it is ideal.

    But since you are still trying to develop and maintain a new product, I suggest you take the other method.

    👉 You can also use third-party tools.

    A user onboarding software usually helps you create interactive product tours, checklists, tooltips, and many other elements.

    You might have to pay for the tool, but is it really better to occupy a busy developer?

    Can't decide? Find out which is right for you in 5 minutes ⬇️

    And if you think you're best fit for a third-party tool approach... Meet UserGuiding, where you can:

    • Gamify user onboarding for a memorable user experience with user checklists and interactive guides,
    • Collect feedback in-app and dive into data in the analytics dashboard,
    • Build anticipation and create a buzz for new product launch plans using Product Updates,
    • Offer self-serve support via Resource Centers,

    And do a lot more!

    Here's your free trial 👈

    4- Build a Fanbase

    That’s right. You get to have fans.

    Well, at least your product does. Your loyal buyers are your fanbase, basically, the people who will buy your product right away. We love them.

    It’s a long process to get people to be ready to buy your product the moment it launches, but when you do, these are the people whom you will trust with the word-of-mouth process.

    Imagine dedicated Apple fans. Imagine how many people they converted thanks to internet debates.

    Now remove the name Apple and insert your product.

    👉 Don’t forget: your product equals prestige.

    Make sure your fans feel this way. Invite them to special events, organize giveaways, and beta participation rewards are super cool, for example.

    Basically, just spoil your champions a little. They deserve it.

    5- Right Messaging is Fundamental

    Messaging or positioning is the point where you actually start marketing.

    When working on the right messaging, it is important to find your tone. To do this, you may want to check some facts about your customers and the market.

    Ask yourself:

    • What is my product?
    • Which market am I in?
    • Is my tone compatible with the type of area I am in?
    • Who is my customer and what do they need?
    • Which features of the product would they be interested in?

    To answer these questions and more, what you would want to do is:

    1. Find a tagline for the product
    2. Discover customer pain points
    3. Evaluate product proof points

    👉 A common mistake people tend to make while in this process is trying to highlight every single technical detail about the product.

    Messaging is all about showing customers the kind of problem you are tackling and why it is important to tackle that specific problem.

    It is important that this problem is something that they can relate to.

    So find that relatable problem, and tell people what solves that and how. Not how your product is the best with this and that feature.

    6- Make It Look as Hot as Possible

    Think of all the products that launched into a market with an already huge leader. While the majority of them fail, there are miraculously successful ones.

    👉 A great example: While there are big leaders such as Apple and Samsung in the technology market, smaller companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi have achieved great success and have thousands of billions of market value.

    This success is not only rooted in the look for something new by tech geeks but also in great marketing.

    Just like Apple and Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi are known for working with influencers as brand ambassadors.

    As one might guess, this creates a great “influence” on the customer. This influence is not only efficient for deliverable products but also for service products.

    By having a bigger company or a person use your service and advertise it, you get to show off the product. Not every company can afford such measures, but there's always a social media option.

    According to Grant Cardone, who was named the #1 marketer to watch in 2017 by Forbes Magazine, obscurity kills businesses.

    You need to be present on all social media to make sure your company’s name is known. Worst case scenario, people get sick of the ads and decide to check out your product 🤷‍♀️

    One more thing: Make preorders and early access possible.

    Preordering and/or early access give your product an exclusive vibe while also giving you the chance to refine your market research and gauge interest before the launch date with rough statistics on sales and your fans.

    It's a total win-win.

    Wrapping Up

    And that, folks, is how you launch a product.

    You now know how to get ready before the launch date while you drive anticipation and follow your product launch plan, how to lure in your target market on the launch day while you measure success, and then after you launch the product, how to move forward.

    The real rush starts after you launch the product, though; the launch is just the teaser of your battles and victories to come.

    But do not fret. Whatever your type of product, your end goal, and whether you are a small business or a big one, launch success is a great foundation for driving sales from day one and growing exponentially.

    Good luck in advance 🍀

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is a Product Launch important?

    A product launch is the most important part of a product's journey because it is the first interaction between your product and the market. A bad launch can result in your product biting the dust.

    When should you launch a product?

    According to research, the best day to launch a product is a Tuesday, and the best hour to do it (if you are launching on Product Hunt) is right after midnight.

    Where should you launch a product?

    Product Hunt is the best platform to launch a product, although you should not forget to promote the launch through email and social media.

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