After years of development and beta-testing, your company’s SaaS platform is now only a few months away from public launch. There is much work to be done for the grand opening in order to make sure that initial customers’ impressions are good ones. From basic site functionality to marketing strategies, there are a plethora of ways your product launch plan can be mucked up. In this article we will go over some of the most glaring ways this can happen.
It is important to realize that many things will change after gaining feedback from real paying customers. While there is a tendency to want everything perfect, treating the launch phase as a patient learning process will yield valuable long-term lessons.
Here’s how you can completely ruin your product launch marketing plan
1. Be a HOARDER
Confuse your users with a cluttered site. Information about what exactly your product is and does should be difficult to find. Don’t employ a scroll as your home page that follows a logical progression, then provides an opportunity to sign up. Don’t provide an introductory guided tutorial.
Sign up barriers as well should be kept to a maximum. If you can sign them up with just an email give, don’t give them that option. If more information is vital, don’t help them out by auto-filling that data from user history. The goal is to give the customer the longest path to signing up with the most excuses to quit. Have users create their profiles in their entirety before allowing them to access the product. The options to upgrade to premium versions or to share the app should be difficult to find.
Last but not least, you want to be very vague about what your business model is. Whether it’s a freemium account or a trial version, your customer should have to read the fine print to know this upfront. Place as many surprise fees or credit card requests into the registration process as possible.
2. Disconnect Product from Marketing
A newly hired marketing team at launch may not know all the ins and outs of the platform itself or all details of the new product launch plan – as such it is best to ensure that they are prepared in advance and on the same page as the product development team.
You want an inexperienced team to waste marketing time and money advertising to the wrong demographic. You also want to advertise faulty information that will lead would-be customers to disappointment (aforementioned surprise fees, lacking promised features).
3. Set High Initial Price Point
One of the main concerns is setting the initial pricing points. Obsess over this. The truth is that your prices will fluctuate and making your optimal return is not as important initially as onboarding an initial cohort of customers and learning to develop your product; even if this tactic leads to a group of customers that grandfather in a very sweet deal. Grandfathered customers can be gently weaned later into an updated deal, but the initial feedback they provide is invaluable.
Don’t use this onboarding phase to learn what paying customers actually want and are willing to pay for – just be guided what a beta tester finds satisfactory. All arms of the company should not be alert and adaptive to be making tweaks to the system or even be ready to possibly switch the entire business model of the product.
You spent a significant amount of time and money on marketing and getting people to your site. If they arrive, spend a couple confused minutes, then leave, you have essentially burned that investment. A guiding principle in all facets of the site is to keep things simple and lucid.
Establishing your new product launch plan is a turbulent time for any SaaS product. It can be difficult to gain traction in the market, but being prepared and technically sound can help establish a solid initial onboarding, and then by simply paying attention, the further direction of the company can be established.