When I worked on my first launch, well before the word “launch” was a thing, we basically threw everything up on the wall and watched to see what stuck and what… didn’t. Every launch since then, I’ve been tweaking, learning, watching, doing.
And it became clear that there were very specific steps or phases that every successful launch goes through.
Want to know the secret? Well, here you go:
The 6 P’s of Launching
Too often, people plan backwards and start with how much money they need to earn quickly instead of starting at the beginning – the product/service that you are creating. Which never leads to a successful launch.
Instead, you need to start with the product itself. Maybe you already have an idea in mind or are on the other end of the spectrum, and have a lot of ideas but aren’t sure which one to choose. Neither approach is ideal or leads to success.
Your product isn’t about your idea – it’s about what will provide the most value to your customer. The number one solution that you can deliver to them, to get them the transformation or solution they are seeking.
Choosing your product, along with how you are going to deliver it (course/eBook/membership site, etc.), pricing, timeline, and so on – is the most important step of the entire launch process. Get this “P” wrong or even slightly off, and you won’t be able to even get close to the potential of your launch.
Since this is the most important step, I’ll be walking you through exactly what you need to do to get your product solid, so you can stop analysis paralysis and create the best product for your audience (for free!) – sign-up to the FREE Launch Plan Bootcamp now.
I saw an article the other day saying to just put your stuff out there: don’t worry about planning your launch, just do it and watch it succeed. I thought someone was punking me – seriously.
Planning out your launch, even if it’s not a three+ month in-depth plan, is excruciatingly important. I’ve tested it with my own products (several times, I’m stubborn that way), and planning out my launch has consistently increased my results by 40% or more.
Creating a very specific plan that is structured enough that you know what needs to happen, but with flexibility so you can change directions as needed, is critical. You don’t need to spend your whole life planning, nor should your plan get in the way of you actually launching, but a plan is critical.
In other words, I’ve yet to work on a six-figure (heck, even a five-figure) launch that didn’t have a solid plan. It’s that important.
But your launch plan isn’t just about writing down a list of what you’re going to do. It’s a strategic tool that like your product, needs to be done in a certain way. There are several components in a successful launch plan (which I’ll be sharing with you soon) – but at a minimum, planning out your launch, every single time, is important.
Now that you have all of your planning done, you are officially in the pre-launch phase of your launch. Just like its name, it is everything that you are doing before people can hit “buy” for your product or service.
This is when your plan comes to life and you need to start “selling.” I put selling in quotes because there’s so much more than selling going on here (and also because selling has a lot of negative connotations for many small business owners).
During this phase of your launch, you start reinforcing your subject matter expertise, reasons why your buyer needs the solution you are selling, how it will benefit them, and what to expect in the upcoming weeks until they can buy what you’re selling. It’s when you are delivering your content marketing, raising your profile and gearing up your social media, among many other things.
Pre-launch is the working phase of your launch – when you’re delivering and doing, more than thinking and planning. Nathan Barry shared during a masterclass last week that during this phase, you should to do everything you can here so that people are already sold on you during this step – just waiting for your “buy button” to go live.
The key here is that you have consistent messaging, are leveraging different channels and resources, and are delivering the transformation for your clients, over and over again.
Alas, the Purchase phase is when your cart opens – in other words, when someone can pay you money for your product/service. There’s finally a “buy now” button and people can use it.
When your cart opens, the tone of your launch should change from pre-launch activities into purchase activities. This is typically a short time interval for your launch, even if your product will be evergreen.
It’s when selling shifts into overcoming objections, reminders of the transformation, reminders that your product is available for a limited amount of time, and more. You’re still selling, but the way in which you’re getting your message across changes from the pre-launch stage.
It’s also the phase where you tend to have the most technical glitches occur. Payment buttons not working properly. Affiliate links being wonky. Auto-responders not working. And so on.
But the highlight of this phase is seeing in actual numbers how your launch is going. It’s your first opportunity to get money from your buyers and hear from them what they think is working and what’s not.
This is the most roller-coaster phase of your entire launch. Your emotions tend to be all over the place – you are refreshing a million times to see how many more buyers have come in the door and getting up and down with each result.
5. Product Delivery
Now that you have buyers, you have to be able to deliver on the promise you sold them. Sometimes the Product Delivery phase is easier, depending on the type of product you’ve chosen. Regardless of the ease, this is where you will win over forever customers or lose them.
From a delivery perspective, sending along an eBook takes less effort, forethought and planning when compared to delivering an eight-week course. But either way, the product you deliver will leave a lasting impression on your buyer. It can easily be the difference between creating a customer for life.
For example, if you have super slick promotional materials during the earlier phases of your launch and are delivering an eBook, but the book is a simplified pdf created from Google Docs… you will probably be letting several buyers down. Similarly if that eBook has a ton of errors in it, you will leave an unprofessional taste in their mouth.
On the other hand, if your eBook looks great, is easy to read and access and is error free, there aren’t any friction points for your customer to overcome. Leaving them with a positive impression and experience – making them more likely to talk about your product and purchase from you again.
This step isn’t just about the look and feel – it’s about delivering on the promise or transformation that you’ve sold to your buyer. This is the content of your product or service.
If you’ve told them you will help them find their passion, they sure as heck better have their passion down pact at the end of your course. If you’ve promised them that they will know how to write a sales page, their first sales page better be written at the end of your eBook. You get the drift here.
This is where you separate yourself from other shwarmy online sellers because you are actually delivering on your promise. Don’t forget how critical this step is – especially since you’ve already earned their money.
6. Post-Launch Debrief
I absolutely love the last step in the launch process – even more so, since everyone seems to forget to do this and it is ripe with amazing lessons for your next launch. The Post-Launch Debrief phase is all about taking a look back at your launch and learning from it. Even if it went amazingly well – it’s important to reflect here.
During the Debrief, you look in-depth at the numbers: not just sales, but reach, actions taken, metrics, and so on. You also review your communications, questions asked along the way by potential customers, technical breakdowns, and more.
Essentially, you are evaluating what activities you did that resulted in the biggest bang for your buck (or in business terms, the biggest ROI). In a recent podcast, Shannon Whitehead shared that in one of her launches she wrote 25 guest posts in 25 days – did that effort pay off enough to try that approach again? Having hard metrics behind your activities will help you determine that.
Maybe one affiliate brought in the majority of partnerships (which is usually the case) – is it worth giving them a bigger cut? Or perhaps having them be your only affiliate? And so on.
The Debrief can be a painful part of your launch. It’s poking holes, or as I like to say, lasers through your launch, your decisions, your actions, and your results. The Debrief is especially important (and tough), if you didn’t meet your launch expectations.
But knowing exactly what went wrong and where it went off-track, will help you ensure that it doesn’t happen again. So your next launch is extremely successful.
The 6 P’s should be the backbone of every launch you do going forward. It will help you stay focused, stay on track and working on the right activities at the right time.
And for those of you who feel overwhelmed with launching, this structure provides you with an easy way to do things one-step at a time – kicking your firmly into action.