Introduction:

From product strategy and positioning to user stories and feature definition, a product launch is the culmination of the efforts of a diverse team all working in unison under the supervision of a product or project manager.

Successful product launches are the result of carefully planned coordination between the multiple teams involved in product development and marketing, and ultimately this intersection relies on a clearly defined process for launch preparation.

There's a lot that leads up to a product launch; product planning, market research, strategy, goal setting, user feedback and then finally, the actual launch plan, and beyond.

We've done our best to create a checklist that will help you succeed in your product launch, but there will almost certainly be details that you wish to change or add to suit your own specific needs. Thankfully, that's very simple to do; just check out our introduction to checklist template editing.

In any case, this checklist will almost certainly make your life a lot easier.

Let's begin!

Product:

Create brand style guide

A solid style guide is at the core of every brand, capturing a mission statement, key brand values, and overarching vision in a visual design format. It dictates how other people will view and understand your brand, and tells everyone (from employees to affiliates) how those values should be communicated.

First up, create a mood board that highlights the vision for your brand style. A mood board will give you a starting point from which to build and flesh out the rest of the style guide.

99designs has a great guide for some best practice tips to consider whilst you're building your mood board, check it out here.

  • 1
    Create a brand mood board

Include inspiration, successful ads or marketing content you've used in the past, and examples of what other brands are doing that you like; once you've pulled together a mood board, go on to define the core elements of your style guide:

  • 1
    Logo
  • 2
    Color palette
  • 3
    Typography
  • 4
    Media and imagery
  • 5
    Brand voice (vocabulary)

Once you have these elements outlined, you can align them with goals and needs specific to your business.

Be sure to communicate why certain brand style decisions were made as much as possible, and organize everything into a brief .pdf or similar format. Finally, upload that file to the form field below.

Review product roadmap

A well-structured roadmap serves as the core strategic guideline for the life cycle of the product and communicates to both employees and stakeholders the long-term vision for the product.

If any changes to the strategy need to be made, the product roadmap serves as a centralized channel where anyone invested can get up-to-date information about the bigger picture (and how they fit into that).

Of course, the product roadmap will extend beyond the engineering teams, though they may need specialized attention or even completely separately designed roadmaps. 

Whatever the case, make sure that a long-term roadmap is drafted and has been communicated to all relevant parties, both internal and external.

  • 1
    Product roadmap finalized
  • 2
    Product roadmap communicated to all relevant parties within the company
  • 3
    Product roadmap communicated to all relevant parties outside of the company

Audience:

Note customer profile

When defining your audience, you should be trying to understand and build an image of your ideal customer. 

Consider demographics, psychographics, niches, job titles, pain points, and needs whilst building your profile. You may be serving multiple different profiles; ideally, these profiles will be actual people, be them existing customers, hot prospects, or previous customers you're looking to re-capture.

Note the features of your ideal customer profile with the form fields below:

Ideal Customer

Build sample list of real customers

Building living, breathing profiles allows you to do one crucial thing that imagined profiles do not allow: talk to them. You can ask them real questions about the product, launch plan, roadmap, and get real, valuable feedback.

Using the previous task as a guide, build a list of 10 to 100 of real, high-quality customers that fit your ideal profile.

Build media list

Start with the question: who will help amplify this, and why? Using knowledge about your ideal customer, consider what kinds of influencers are relevant in their media spheres.

These are the people and publications who you will be targeting for promotional leverage - and you want them in your CRM database, tagged and ready.

Basically, it makes the most sense to target publications that your ideal customer would be likely to read or people whose opinions they are likely to respect. So, do your research and build a list of 10 to 100 influencers to add to your CRM database.

  • 1
    Make a list of 10 to 100 influencers (people or publications)
  • 2
    Record details of their primary served niche
  • 3
    Record details of their primary medium
  • 4
    Update CRM
  • 5
    Make sure each influencer is tagged as either "person" or "publication"
  • 6
    Order the list by most qualified influencers (based on ideal customer)

Market strategy:

Create mission statement document

A mission statement document will help to orient the fundamental message behind the communications systems active at launch.

The scope of this document should include a product vision, product functionality, and the core value proposition, communicated as clearly and directly as possible.

Once the document has been drafted, upload it to the form field below.

Create announcement plan document

You need to decide how the launch will be announced, both internally and externally.

What's the launch date? What channels will be utilized? Where will potential customers be able to get the most up-to-date news and information about the product, post-launch? Fill in the form field declaring the launch date and upload your announcement plan document.

Microsoft has a great template you can use to build your announcement plan; check it out here.

You should also make sure everything has been clearly communicated to everyone involved, both internal and external. Just check off both items below and continue on to the next task.

  • 1
    Launch date has been communicated to all relevant parties
  • 2
    Announcement plan has been communicated to all relevant parties

Prepare advertising for launch campaign

Content for launch will not all be organic. There should be some triggers set up for paid content, as well as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) defined as well as a plan for how these will affect paid content and marketing spends.

  • 1
    Prepare new product advertising content
  • 2
    Set up channel triggers for paid content
  • 3
    Define KPIs
  • 4
    Prepare strategy for how KPIs will affect paid content and marketing spends
  • 5
    Check PPC spends
  • 6
    Adjust bids for new keywords

Create sales enablement content

Make sure that sales collateral and any existing documentation is all ready for launch as well, and mark each task as completed in the sub-checklist below.

  • 1
    Create sales collateral for new product
  • 2
    Update existing sales material to incorporate new product information

Train sales team

Sales reps need to be adequately prepared for launch, and that includes any necessary training for how to use the new product as well as making sure the sales team has undergone rigorous enablement training.

  • 1
    New product training completed
  • 2
    Sales team familiar with all product features
  • 3
    Sales enablement training completed

Assess product price plan

Making sure the price plan is designed, approved and in place for launch is a critically important step. Is your pricing competitive? Does it reflect the value your product is offering? Have you considered what pricing options will be available for customers? All of these are questions you should be asking well ahead of launch. 

Assess the following:

  • 1
    Price plan for new product
  • 2
    Price plan presentation (customer presentation)

It may be the case that this product requires a new pricing model to be developed. If this is the case, indicate with the drop-down form field below.

Develop product price plan

Understanding the best practices for developing your price plan is one of the most important parts of the product launch process.

Use the following sub-checklist to make sure your price plan is optimized for launch: 

  • 1
    Understand your buyer persona
  • 2
    Communicate your product's value through your price plan
  • 3
    Factor in all costs
  • 4
    Listen to customer feedback
  • 5
    Upgrades and subscription tiers have been taken into account

Once complete, upload the finished document to the form field below.

Product support:

Finalize product documentation

Documentation covering all of the features, guides, release notes and answers to common questions will provide invaluable to both your support team and new customer base upon release, so it's important you prepare resources to inform people about your product as early as possible.

Check each task off in the sub-checklist below before moving on to the next task; you will need to have this documentation prepared before endeavoring to train your customer support/success teams.

  • 1
    Product release notes are ready to publish
  • 2
    Help and troubleshooting guides are ready to publish
  • 3
    FAQs are organized and ready to publish
  • 4
    Technical data sheets are ready to publish

Train customer support teams

After preparing all relevant documentation, customer support teams need to be brought up-to-scratch with new product information so they can do their job properly.

As well as training, make sure they have access to all of the documentation prepared in the previous step. Ultimately, this information will be useful to the end user, so it may be worth setting up a knowledge base for both internal and customer usage. This great piece from Salesforce details how you might approach setting one up from scratch.

Whether you opt to prepare a web-based knowledge base or simply choose to send out the resources by email, make sure the following sub-tasks are checked off:

  • 1
    Support teams are trained on new product functionality
  • 2
    Support teams have access to new product documentation
  • 3
    Support teams are familiar with all new product documentation

Content:

Prepare partner/affiliate content

You need to update your affiliate programs with new material to accommodate the new product launch. Everything that your affiliates would typically need to perform their responsibilities will need to be checked and content updated as needed.

This will include:

  • 1
    New product documentation
  • 2
    Logos and images
  • 3
    Demo videos
  • 4
    Pre-written content
  • 5
    Style guides

Specify and hand off graphic design work for new product

This task will typically be handed-off to your design team via Process Street's "Assign" feature.

Graphic design work could include logos, banner and header images, infographics; basically, anything to support the product launch.

First, you need to specify what graphic design work needs to be done; then, assign this task to be completed by the relevant person. They will then be able to follow your instructions and upload the completed work to the form field.

Prepare and schedule content for launch campaign

A new product launch means a lot of new content to prepare ahead of time so that things pop off smoothly on launch day and beyond.

You should have a process in place for preparing content for publishing; consider running your posts through this blog post pre-publish checklist to make sure you cover all of the common pitfalls.

Whilst you're preparing your content, consider using a peer review editing checklist to get a second opinion and double-down on that quality control.

Use the sub-checklist below to check each item off once you've confirmed each of them is ready for publication. 

  • 1
    Prepare new website content for publication
  • 2
    Prepare new product blog posts
  • 3
    Create gif for Product Hunt
  • 4
    Run blog post pre-publish checklist
  • 5
    Prepare new content launch emails
  • 6
    Prepare webinars for new product
  • 7
    Schedule all new product content

Prepare content for social media campaigns

Alongside content marketing, social media channels call for their own tailor-made solutions for a savvy launch campaign.

Product video demos are one of the best ways to show off new product features and give customers a better understanding of what your product can do for them - check out our guide on how to make a killer product demo here.

You should make sure all content to be posted across social channels is checked and ready to go live; use the sub-checklist in this task to confirm each element is ready to go.

  • 1
    Video demos of the product in use
  • 2
    Screenshots and photos of the product
  • 3
    Product guidelines for press usage
  • 4
    Logos and press media packs

A lot of the time it makes sense to re-purpose existing content for social media campaigns - for example, you may want to grab a screenshot of your software and annotate it.

Whatever the case, you want to make sure that the content you're producing is standardized and fits into your overall brand image. For tips on standardizing your documentation process, look no further.

Infrastructure:

Make sure analytics infrastructure is in place for launch

Before launch, you want to make absolutely sure that infrastructure is in place for recording important analytics data around the various web campaigns you will be running.

Why? So that you can keep a keen eye on what is and isn't working, and course-correct in as little time as possible.

The following sub-tasks will make sure the necessary infrastructure is in place for you to record all of the important data to utilize for later analytics. Check off each item as you go; these are assuming that you are using Google Analytics for your analytics.

  • 1
    Sources tags in place
  • 2
    Source tags firing correctly
  • 3
    Traffic analytics set up
  • 4
    Retargeting set up
  • 5
    Lead tracking installed and set up
  • 6
    Conversion tracking set up (last touch or full funnel attributions)

Make sure billing infrastructure is in place for launch

In line with the previous task, any existing billing infrastructure should be set up or updated to accommodate the new product and its pricing plan.

This includes new billing pages prepared and associated marketing material updated for the new product specification.

  • 1
    New billing pages prepared for product launch
  • 2
    Payment gateways set up
  • 3
    Marketing material prepared and/or updated for new product

Financial infrastructure is something that needs to be tested and working 100% ahead of launch, so perform extensive testing here to ensure everything is set up and all the kinks have been worked out.

Pre-launch:

Finalize the launch blog post

There's a lot of ground to cover when making sure content is good for publication, and for a launch blog post, it's exceptionally important that you get it right.

It just so happens we've got a checklist for that: check out our blog post pre-publish checklist here.

Send pre-release announcements

Leading up to a product launch you want to make sure you're generating as much buzz as possible, and sending out a batch of pre-release announcements ahead of launch day can help to start up the hype machine.

Be sure you're covering all of your channels and mark all of the sub-tasks below as complete; you may even want to edit this task to include your own additional announcement methods.

  • 1
    Email mailing list
  • 2
    Social media platforms
  • 3
    Company website announcement

Set up meetings with media influencers

Take the time to set up some meetings with key media influencers, and provide them with an incentive to report on your new product (exclusive information, recent updates, announcement material, etc.). If possible, try and leverage some customer testimonials, or perhaps invite the influencer to trial the new product so they can testify themselves.

Make use of the list of influencers you put together earlier; the Send Email widget below is filled out with a template message, but feel free to edit it to suit your needs.

Just make any changes you deem necessary and input the email addresses into the "To" field below before hitting "Send". This template is more suited to individual influencers, so you may wish to send different email templates in multiple batches.

Notify partners/affiliates

Now is the time to update and enable partners and affiliates with everything they need to promote the launch. Make it extra easy for them to cover your product by including plenty of promo copy and surplus media. If you can, send them a copy of your product to test out and review.

This step gives you an opportunity for valuable early feedback about what is working and what isn't from people who are familiar with your niche.

Letting partners and affiliates know key information ahead of time will also help to build momentum and buzz around the product and cause an organic knock-on effect across their spheres of media influence.

Remember, you can't launch this alone - and adequate communications preparation is key to a successful launch campaign.

  • 1
    Partners/affiliates briefed on key information about product launch
  • 2
    Partners/affiliates provided with media packs or guest content to help support launch

Launch day:

Publish the launch blog post

You've already made all necessary quality control checks by this point, so all you need to do is push the content out to live.

After you make it public, you'll want to share it. Use the sub-checklist below to track how the new post has been promoted.

  • 1
    Facebook
  • 2
    Twitter
  • 3
    LinkedIn
  • 4
    Instagram
  • 5
    Google+
  • 6
    Email mailing list

Post to Product Hunt

Get your product on Product Hunt; it's a great channel for building up traffic and social reach; we used Product Hunt to launch our Business Process Automation Ebook, and it made up over half of our total landing page traffic.

It's straightforward enough to submit your product, but you should consider the following tips to get ahead of other traffic on Product Hunt:

  • 1
    Submit your product just after midnight (PDT) to make sure it's at the top of the queue
  • 2
    Ask people you know with existing, established Product Hunt accounts to post about your product for you (for increased social reputability)
  • 3
    Avoid asking people to upvote your post (this could damage your ranking)

Manage social media responses

Part of a successful launch campaign is keeping on top of social media; quick, quality responses are the formula for optimal social reach. 

Be sure to check all of your channels and respond to messages and mentions on as many channels as possible. Use the sub-tasks below as a guideline, and edit this task to suit your needs.

  • 1
    Facebook
  • 2
    Instagram
  • 3
    LinkedIn
  • 4
    Google+
  • 5
    Twitter

Feedback:

Finalize exposure/branding success survey

Whilst you may have the best analytics system in the world set up ahead of your product launch, this won't tell you how your customers actually feel about your brand or product. This kind of insight can be a key indicator of brand health and will be useful in steering campaign directions alongside analytics data.

The point of this task is to make sure the branding success survey is prepared ahead of time so that it can be distributed and feedback gathered post-launch. The sub-checklist below runs through a list of things you should be trying to gain insight into via your branding success survey. 

  • 1
    Branding awareness
  • 2
    Brand usage
  • 3
    Brand attributes
  • 4
    Purchase intent

Once you've prepared the document, upload it to the form field below.

Finalize user feedback survey

Similarly to the previous task, user feedback surveys will likely not be distributed until after launch (unless you are conducting early access testing), but the point of this task is to make sure the survey is ready and prepared for distribution.

The kinds of insight you will be looking to build into your user feedback survey include:

  • 1
    How the product performed
  • 2
    Customer satisfaction
  • 3
    Insight into new product feature development
  • 4
    Customer loyalty
  • 5
    Customer experience (CX)
  • 6
    Competition
  • 7
    Insight into performance goals

Once you've drafted the document, upload a copy to the form field below.

Gather feedback about product launch process

This checklist was designed as a repeatable process, and one of the key design strengths of a repeatable process is in how that repetition can inform continuous refinement and improvement.

So, gather the team together and discuss what you learned. What worked? What didn't? What would you differently next time?

There is always room for improvement, and you can use this insight to add to or tweak this checklist template as needed.

Sources:

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