After nearly a decade of launching products across dozens of startups, I've had my fair share of painful flops. I've poured sweat and tears into projects that failed to see the light of day. Talk about demoralizing.

However, when a launch lands successfully - driving that long-awaited hockey stick growth curve - few professional experiences compare to the rush.

Over the years and launches, I've refined a rigorous launch marketing playbook that stacks the odds for an explosive debut. It's worked wonders for me, founders I advise, and dozens of clients of my agency.

Now I'm excited to pay forward lessons learned the hard way so you can bypass years of headaches. Consider this post an indispensable guide to launching like a seasoned pro. From pre-launch priming to sustaining post-debut momentum, I'll cover actionable strategies to make the biggest splash possible.

Product Launch Checklist


  • [ ] Finalize target customer profiles
  • [ ] Validate demand through landing pages and surveys
  • [ ] Develop positioning statements and messaging
  • [ ] Assemble affiliate/influencer partnerships
  • [ ] Create and test onboarding flows
  • [ ] Schedule teaser content calendar
  • [ ] Build email nurture sequences
  • [ ] Brief industry analysts and press
  • [ ] Confirm launch partners are ready

Launch Week

  • [ ] Send launch emails to entire list
  • [ ] Flip switch to go live for public signups
  • [ ] Activate partners to promote launch
  • [ ] Unleash social media blitz across channels
  • [ ] Run paid ads pointing to launches
  • [ ] Distribute press release to outlets
  • [ ] Monitor platforms for engagement

Post Launch

  • [ ] Continue email nurture sequences
  • [ ] Send personalized onboarding messages
  • [ ] Run retention ad campaigns
  • [ ] Announce customer wins publicly
  • [ ] Follow up aggressively with press
  • [ ] Exhibit at relevant industry events
  • [ ] Survey customers for feedback
  • [ ] Analyze results across channels
  • [ ] Refine positioning statements

Set Yourself Up for Success

Clearly write out your target customer profile and value proposition and review regularly to stay consistent
Create a spreadsheet to track demand validation efforts and key metrics like conversion rates
Research relevant influencers and journalists and create a relationship-building plan for outreach

Before diving into launch logistics, lay the proper groundwork to amplify your efforts:

Perfect Your Positioning

Clearly convey who your product is for, the pressing problems it addresses, and why it's markedly better than alternatives. This positioning will drive your messaging and help attract your ideal customers.

Positioning Template DataDab

Validate Demand

Don't expect people to show up just because you built something. Rigorously test demand beforehand through landing page validations, waitlists, interviews, surveys, ads, and any other means to confirm you're solving a burning issue for a well-defined audience.

Secure Launch Partners

Onboard affiliates, influencers, press contacts, industry experts, investors, and anyone else positioned to amplify your launch. Give them early previews and free access in exchange for public endorsements around launch time.

Create a Trigger-Based Email Onboarding for SaaS
Source: Encharge

Automate Your Onboarding

Nothing fizzles launch momentum faster than dropping the ball on activating and onboarding new signups. Build automated onboarding flows and educational content to continually engage and delight new users.

Onboarding 101: A Guide to B2B SaaS Customer Onboarding

Pre-Launch Timeline & Milestones

Days OutMilestoneDeliverableOwner
90 DaysLaunch feature set finalizedv1.0 feature scope & development timelineProduct Team
75 DaysLaunch positioning & messaging workshopBrand messaging framework & guideMarketing & Product
60 DaysAnalyst & press briefingNDA analyst paper, press FAQs, media talking pointsPR Lead
45 DaysLaunch sales enablement & readinessObjection handling doc, call scripts, 1-sheeter launch collateralSales Enablement
30 DaysLaunch website & demand gen campaigns liveUpdated branding, positioning, calls-to-action across site & campaignsDemand Gen Manager
15 DaysSocial & PR launch outreachEmbargoed press briefings, influencer seeds, product seeds/unboxingsPR Lead
5 DaysCustomer & partner launch commsEmail, phone, field events invitation commsCustomer Marketing Manager
0 DaysLAUNCH!Go-live emails, web updates, advertisingDemand Gen Manager

Pre-Launch Promotion

Create an editorial calendar to schedule teaser content drops leading up to launch
Draft pre-launch survey questions and identify beta testers to send surveys to
Build a countdown email sequence in your email service provider leading up to launch

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is launch momentum. Start drumming up interest long before launch day:

Brief Influencers and Analysts

Give key industry influencers and analysts a heads-up about your upcoming launch. Equip them with early previews and specifics around features and target customers so they understand your unique value proposition.

Influencer Marketing Platforms: The Top 21 to Consider

Schedule Press Briefings

Line up briefings with press contacts a few weeks before launch. Give them a sneak peek under embargo to prime articles that'll be ready right as you launch.

Leak Teasers

Strategically leak screenshots, teaser videos, beta access giveaways and other snippets to spark speculation and intrigue pre-launch.

Run Pre-Launch Surveys

Survey your existing audience and beta testers to field reactions and quote key insights in your launch messaging.

How to Use a Countdown Timer in Email [+ Inspiring Examples]

Send Countdown Emails

Build anticipation with a drip campaign counting down the days until your big reveal, mixing in teasers about features and partnerships along the way.

Launch Day Tactics

Write copy for launch emails, ads, and press releases well in advance
Confirm partners are ready to activate previously agreed upon launch promotions
Schedule social posts and ads for launch week across marketing channels
Going live with your SaaS: The Launch day

When launch day arrives, blitz potential customers across channels to ensure widespread exposure and drive signups:

Tactic Details
Send Launch Emails Notify your pre-launch list about the official debut. Include value props, peer testimonials, pricing, and calls-to-action to signup.
Activate Partners Mobilize partners to simultaneously announce your launch across their channels, synchronized for maximum impact.
Unleash Social Posts Blanket your owned social channels with launch announcements. Equip employees and investors to reshare across their networks.
Launch Paid Ads Run paid ads across platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and niche sites, targeted heavily around launch messaging and offers.
Distribute Press Release Push a launch press release to newswires and personal press contacts. Follow up aggressively to land coverage.
Go Live Publicly Flip the switch and go live for anyone to discover and sign up organically via search, social shares, referrals, etc.

Post-Launch Follow Up

Immediately send welcome and onboarding emails when a new user signs up
Create personas of ideal users and document their journeys for retention ad targeting
Add relevant industry events and speaking opportunities to your calendar for the quarter
Post-Launch Tips | Product Hunt

Launch day won't last forever. Sustain momentum by diligently following up across channels:

  • Onboard new users - Welcome new signups, educate them on key features/functionality, prompt referrals, solicit product feedback, upsell premium offerings, and engage power users for case studies.
  • Run retention ads - Re-target people who've signed up but not fully activated with ads nudging them to progress through your post purchase/signup flow.
  • Double down on top-performing channels - Determine your most effective launch promotion channels and allocate more resources into those with aggressive follow-up campaigns.
  • Announce customer wins - Flaunt big customer acquisition wins in post-launch announcement emails and press releases.
  • Exhibit at industry events - Take your launch on the road. Exhibit at relevant industry events to drive further exposure and let people experience it firsthand.
The Right SaaS Metrics for Each Stage of Your Company | SaaS Metrics

Review and Iterate

Mark a monthly meeting with stakeholders to review launch analytics and metrics
Prepare a post-launch survey template ready to gather customer feedback
Set aside time quarterly to revisit positioning and update based on learnings

Once the initial launch dust settles:

Quantify Results

Where did you over or underperform expectations? Which channels drove the most conversions? How can you improve for future launches? Analyze key performance data to uncover launch wins and areas for improvement.

Gather Feedback

Solicit qualitative insights through surveys, interviews, and reviews. Identify major product gaps, UX friction points, and feature requests to guide post-launch roadmap priorities.

Update Positioning

Evolve your positioning based on how customers actually use and benefit from your product. Refine target customer profiles, value props, and messaging to maximize relevance going forward.

Launching is exhilarating yet grueling. But meticulous planning and execution pays dividends. Follow this blueprint as your product's definitive guide to a successful debut. With the core tenets dialed in, you can tailor strategies based on budget, resources, and bandwidth.

Now clear your calendar, roll up your sleeves, and get launching! The thousands awaiting your creation won't convert themselves.