Master Your Product Launch: Essential Checklist for a Flawless Debut

A person marking checkboxes on a virtual checklist with their finger against a blue background.

Managing all the tasks that come with a product launch can be daunting. Having a good checklist can make a world of difference. This checklist covers everything you need to do to have a successful launch, from product design to launch day.

Designing & Creating Your Product

  • Run a “Needs” Survey: Ask your audience what they need. Ensure your product solves a hot problem that your audience desperately wants a solution for.
  • Think About Product Positioning: Your product should be the first of its kind, the best of its kind, or have a unique twist. Avoid producing products that are similar to others on the market.
  • Create a Content Outline: Outline your product before creating it to identify any gaps.
  • Produce the First Draft: Complete the first draft quickly. Focus on speed over quality in this round—don’t be a perfectionist.
  • Get Reviews: Have at least one “newbie” and one “expert” review the product.
  • Consider Hiring a Proofreader: Use services like eLance or oDesk. Proofreading is relatively inexpensive and can prevent grammar or spelling mistakes that hurt your brand.
  • Incorporate Feedback and Finalize: Create the final version without getting stuck on perfectionism.
  • Test Compatibility: Ensure your product works on all devices, including iPad, iPhone, and Android.
  • Name Your Product: Brainstorm names throughout the process. Finalize the name towards the end unless you find one that sticks early on.
  • Create Bonuses: Each bonus should address a need not covered in the core product. Avoid random bonuses.
  • Design Packaging: For physical products, this is crucial. Even digital products should have rendered covers.

Getting Ready for Your Launch

  • Review Customer Service Emails: Identify common questions and create an FAQ page to mitigate customer service emails.
  • Notify Fulfillment Center: Inform them to start producing more product and be ready for short notice.
  • Discuss Account Limits with Merchant: Inform them of the expected volume. Consider opening a second merchant account as a backup.
  • Familiarize with VPS Controls: Know how to upgrade your hosting plan instantly if you get a flood of traffic.
  • Setup Website Monitoring: Use a tool to get text alerts if the site goes down during the launch.
  • Design Banner Ads for Affiliates: Create 3-4 sets of banners in common sizes.
  • Setup Affiliate Portal: Include banners, emails, tools, and clear instructions on account setup and affiliate link generation.
  • Setup Upsell Products: Strong upsells can significantly boost profits. One-click upsells are preferable.
  • Run Test Purchases: Ensure all systems are working. Have friends test from different systems.

Starting the Pre-Launch Buzz

  • Drop Non-Obvious Hints: Start 2-3 months before the launch. Mention exciting things subtly in emails and blog posts to loyal fans.
  • Tease Product More Obviously: Six weeks before the launch, start writing emails that sell the problem and mention the product more prominently.
  • Announce on Social Media: By 4-6 weeks before the launch, make it clear that something big is coming.
  • Write Dedicated Emails/Posts: At 1 month out, write emails or blog posts focused on the problem your product solves.
  • Start a Launch Sub-List: Send a lot of emails for the launch without burning out your main list.
  • Ask Industry Friends for Tease Posts: Have close friends in the industry make tease posts on their blogs or social media.

Writing Your Launch Emails

  • Plan All Emails: Use physical index cards to visualize the sequence before writing.
  • Follow AIDA Formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Catch their attention, sell the problem, create desire, and prompt action.
  • Get in the Right Emotional State: Align your emotional state with the message you want to convey.
  • Spend Time on Subject Lines: Write 5-10 subject lines per email and choose the best one.
  • Attention-Catching First Sentence: Ensure the first sentence grabs attention. It often appears next to the subject line in the inbox.
  • Excite Early, Sell Later: Early emails should excite, later emails should drive clicks to the sales pages.
  • Test All Links: Ensure all links work before sending any email.

Creating Your Squeeze Pages

  • Benefit-Driven Headline: The headline is crucial. Be direct and clear about what they’ll get.
  • Design Matters: Copy successful layouts from your industry.
  • Include Endorsements: If visitors come from someone else’s list, include their picture alongside yours.
  • Proof Elements: Use testimonials, case studies, or statistics. Place them below the fold if the page is short.
  • Split Test: Split test your squeeze page to optimize performance.

Writing Your Salesletter Copy

  • One Core Idea: Build your sales copy around a single strong idea.
  • Identify the “Forehead Slap” Problem: Find the core emotional problem that keeps your audience up at night.
  • Incorporate Big Idea and Problem in Headline: The headline should reflect the main problem and the solution.
  • Write Multiple Headlines: Write at least 20 different headlines before choosing one.
  • Back Up Promises with Proof: Make promises you can prove. It’s better to promise less and deliver more.
  • Sell the Problem: Spend time explaining the problem to get the audience emotionally invested.
  • Break Up Testimonials: Place testimonials strategically around the page.
  • Use Multimedia: Video testimonials and images are compelling.
  • Prove Yourself: Present your qualifications and personal experience with the problem.
  • Professional Graphics: Have a designer create a professional cover for your product.
  • Get Feedback: Ask peers to identify confusing, boring, or unbelievable areas in your salesletter.

Recruiting Affiliates

  • Announce on Your Blog and List: Start with your own audience.
  • Personal Outreach: Call industry contacts and message board acquaintances.
  • Check Blog Comments: Reach out to commenters who have their own blogs or websites.
  • Personalize Outreach: Show that you’ve read their content and understand their audience.
  • Reach Out to Kindle Authors: They often have their own audience and are interested in extra income.
  • Consider a 2-Tiered Program: Allow existing affiliates to recruit new ones.
  • Hire for Cold Outreach: Use services like eLance or oDesk for outreach.

The Week of the Launch

  • Announce the Product: Reveal your product no later than 7 days before the launch.
  • Stress Urgency or Scarcity: Emphasize the limited time to buy.
  • Ask to Save the Date: Encourage people to mark their calendars.
  • Frequent Emails: Email every 2 days with content leading back to the launch.
  • Day Before Reminder: Send an email reminding people of the launch tomorrow.
  • Release Day Excitement: Send an enthusiastic email on launch day emphasizing urgency.
  • Stay in Touch with Affiliates: Resolve any issues promptly, especially for top affiliates.
  • Post-Launch Reminder: Send an “offer is almost over” email the day after the launch.

Post-Launch Follow-Up

  • Transition Non-Buyers: Move those who opted in but didn’t buy into your main list.
  • Send Content to Buyers: Build your relationship with buyers before selling anything else.
  • Remind Buyers to Use the Product: Send links to bonuses and reminders to consume the product.
  • Thank Affiliates: Send a thank you email or a small gift to top affiliates.

With this detailed blueprint, you’ll be fully prepared to execute a winning launch strategy. From initial planning through post-launch engagement, this checklist covers all the bases for a wildly successful product launch.

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