When you’re about to launch your new product or service it can really go one of two ways. You can start off with a massive bang and get instant momentum and sales or you can start off slow and then fade away from there. I think I know which scenario you would favor.
If you’ve ever wondered about the power of a well-executed product launch, just look at the way Apple introduces its new products. It develops a carefully engineered process that builds momentum over several months… and it ends with crowds lined up outside its stores, salivating over the next iWhatever.
Of course, you and I don’t have the resources and media reach Apple has. But if you know how to leverage the power and interactivity of the Internet, you can create your own massively successful product launch. This isn’t theoretical; over the last 16 years I’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs execute more than $400 million in product launches. After all these years, I’ve literally boiled this down to a formula… and here are the key steps you need to follow.
Step 1: Turn Your Marketing into an Event
The first mistake most people make is they don’t actually plan their launch. Instead, they rely on what I call “Hope Marketing,” where they work really hard to get their product ready and then simply release it. They say, “Here I am world, come and buy my stuff.” This is the old “build it and they will come” method. The only problem is that this almost never works; instead, the world doesn’t notice that you exist, and you slowly fade into oblivion.
So you want to create a well-executed product launch that engineers your success. You do this by publishing some really powerful prelaunch content that creates anticipation and gets people excited to buy from you… before you even release your product. When you do this, you turn your marketing into an event (which makes you instantly stand out from every would-be competitor) and you tap into the amazing power of anticipation.
Step 2: Use a Prelaunch Sequence to Build Anticipation
Your prelaunch sequence is the secret sauce in this recipe. This is a series of free prelaunch content pieces you release over a period of seven to 10 days. You typically want three pieces of prelaunch content—they can be PDF reports or audios or videos. These days, video is so easy and fast to create that it tends to be the medium of choice during prelaunch.
So what goes in your prelaunch content? First, you want to deliver serious value. The higher the quality of the free prelaunch content, the easier it is to make the sale when it comes to launch day.
In general, the first piece of prelaunch content is about “the opportunity.” For instance, if you’re teaching people an easy method to learn to play songs on the guitar, then the opportunity would revolve around how easy it is to master that first set of simple songs. Always focus on the transformation that your product will create for your clients. How will their lives be different (both immediately and in the future) once they buy your product?
Your second piece of prelaunch content should do some serious teaching. Remember to keep giving people the good stuff, because the more you give, the more you will get when it comes time to ask for the sale. Lots of times people will worry that they’re giving away too much free content, but in my experience, that almost never happens.
Your third piece of prelaunch content should continue to teach and also start to deliver some of the “ownership experience”—give your prospects a feel for what it would be like to own your product. Toward the end of this third piece, be sure to let people know you’ve got a special offer coming to them.
Step 3: Leverage the Power of Conversation
Conversations are a lot more interesting than monologues. When you shift your marketing from a lecture or monologue and start engaging your prospects in a conversation, you instantly become more intriguing. And the good news is it’s easy to have those conversations in social media and on your blog. Be sure to answer questions and comments as they come in.
Step 4: Tap into Joint Venture Partners
One of the fastest ways to turbocharge your business is to tap into the power of “other people’s lists”; in other words, find joint venture partners who already have compiled a list of people who would be interested in your product or service.
So if you’re selling a product about yoga, you might find someone who has a list of people interested in a related market, such as massage, and see if they would be interested in promoting your product. They would send an email to the people on their list that directed them to your cool prelaunch content. Then you track the sales you made to those visitors, and you pay your joint venture partner a commission on those sales.
Sales tracking is easy to do with affiliate software such as 1ShoppingCart.com and OfficeAutoPilot.com. These types of promotions can be a real win for everyone involved.
Step 5: Opening and Closing Your Launch
Of course, the whole point of your launch is to make sales. Your prelaunch content leads into the “open cart,” which is when you open your shopping cart up for orders. And when you follow this process, the rush of orders can be breathtaking.
Of course, your work doesn’t end there. During the “open cart,” you keep communicating to your list, and count down to the end of the launch. It’s important to have some type of deadline—you need to give people a reason to act. There’s always a launch special (special offer or special pricing) that goes away at the end of the launch. In general, the special launch offer is available for five to seven days, and it’s not unusual to see half the sales come in during the last 24 hours or so.
Is it all worth it? Well, my goal for my clients is for them to make as many sales in launch week as they would normally make in a full year. Of course, that’s just a goal… sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But after doing literally dozens of these launches, I’m still blown away by the power of this model. The instant rush of sales when you open cart is literally impossible to describe. But once you do it, the biggest thing on your mind is, “When am I going to do my next launch?”