When you look at all of the possibilities for your business over the next year, it can seem daunting while at the same time, exciting. There are so many opportunities; so many ideas; so many ways you can grow your business. Some would say endless ways.
One question I get a lot is, “Should I even do a launch for my new product/course/service?”
Today’s online marketing standards have been shifting, and there has been great emphasis on launching. Particularly BIG launches for high-end products.
This concept isn’t necessarily a new one, but the idea of making a big splash when you open your cart, is definitely the advice you can find everywhere. And while there are so many merits to doing one big launch, I’m want you to know that there are other ways to sell your product/course/service.
The quick answer to should you launch, is YES.
But how you launch is completely up to you.
The idea behind doing a big to-do or launch around a new offering, is to get as many eyeballs as possible on what you’re selling. Essentially spreading the widest net possible with hopes of converting high number of customers during the open cart time frame.
This is usually done for higher-priced products because you need a smaller conversion rate to meet your forecast. While you’re targeting potential eyeballs, when you go big with a set amount of open-cart time, your aim is to find people everywhere… not necessarily where you are.
The big launches you’ve seen tend to follow (loosely or not) Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula – three videos releases (or super helpful content) with a Facebook box below each video for social proof, reach and sharing. The other component to these launches is that they usually leverage their relationships through with an affiliate component (splitting the profits with another person who promotes the product for them).
Obviously I’ve over-simplified the idea of a big launch, but the key here is more eyeballs.
You need to create and execute a very specific and planned out launch plan – with ample ramp up time to get all of the pieces in place and the players on board. There is also an investment on your part – creating videos takes time (and sometimes money if done well), setting up the various affiliate programs and events, and so on.
Which is why BIG launches tend to make the most sense for higher-priced products – I’d say over $1000.
Can You Do a Big Launch If You’re Still “Small?”
One of the biggest barriers I see clients run into when considering a big launch, is that they aren’t quite big enough yet to have established a large community on their list or make connections with some of the bigger affiliates out there. Which leaves them wondering if a big launch is even worth their effort.
Here’s the thing – if your goal for your launch is to get as many eyeballs on your product and learn who you are, then a big launch is the way to go… regardless if you don’t have the audience size yet.
You may not be able to or want to go with the affiliate component, but that’s just one piece of the BIG launch puzzle.
When you look at the overall goal for your product, take into consideration the amount of effort and sales window you want for your product. If you are able to put in a lot of effort and elbow grease to create super shareable content and you have a long ramp-up period before you want to sell your product and you want a specific open/close cart and you want to gain exposure… then a BIG launch is agood solution for you.
The last thing I want you to seriously consider before jumping in and doing a big launch is how successful your product has already been in the marketplace. This point seems like an afterthought, but it’s critical – BIG launches are not advised for new or beta-testing products.
Both Danny Iny and Christie Mims reminded us that big launches should only be done with a proven product/course/service. Even though you may be tempted to follow this marketing trend, resist until you’ve successfully sold your product a few times – or you could be wasting valuable time and leave a lasting bad impression in the marketplace.
What Other Options are There?
So big launches are the ones we’re most familiar seeing in the marketplace. They are done by the people we follow and admire – and we see how successful they are at them. But there are so many other ways to launch and still earn income.
Open Cart Launch
After BIG launches, an open cart launch is the one you’re probably most familiar with – especially if you follow other online marketers online. The open cart launch is all about selling a product/course/service directly to their audience, without opening it up much farther. Some people have started (re)calling this “hand selling.”
Essentially, you are providing a product to your audience that they have expressed they need – on a “one-by-one” basis. These work best when you already have fans – you don’t need a list of 10,000 to make this approach successful, but you do need an engaged list or tribe.
This type of launch is usually sold through an email auto-responder series to people who already like you. It can be an evergreen or on-demand product, or it can be live, but the cart is open for a specific amount of time after you’ve primed your raving fans about it and why they should purchase it.
The ramp up is a lot shorter than a big launch, you tend to have a lot more control of the moving pieces, and this type of launch can create more of a funnel of sales for you, ongoing. I’ve seen these types of launches be successful for low and high-end products, just depending on how engaged your audience is and how amazing your offer is.
Remember – this approach doesn’t open up your offer to more eyeballs, just the eyeballs who already like you. Which makes the sales approach a bit easier, tends to create a higher conversion rate, but also limits your available customers.
The definition of a long-tail launch is focusing on creating a product that consistently makes money over time. Not doing a one-time open/close cart, but really creating consistent buzz around the solutions your product is providing.
There have been so many successful long-tail launches, that you probably hadn’t even realized were structured that way. Two that immediately come to mind are Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week and Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA. So those are books, but also consider: Corbett Barr’s “Start a Blog that Matters,” Danny Iny’s “Write Like Freddy” just to name a few more. And we can’t forget the biggest proponent of this approach, everything Seth Godin does.
When they first launched their product, they may have done some blitzing and promotion to get the word out, brought on affiliate partners to help them get more eyeballs, but their focus now, is on selling the product without continuing to relaunch it. They want to sell it, ongoing – not just during a set time frame.
Some people refer to these types of products as evergreen or on-demand – they are always available to purchase (not a live course), which is one component. But at the core of this approach is selling as they continue to grow their following and exposure. It’s not a one-time money infusion for them, but a few sales here and there – which increase as they grow their own brand and reputation.
The Soft Launch
Launching something softly sounds like an oxymoron – launching is all about being loud and big, right? But there is a way to soft-launch something – in fact, I’ve been successful with this method a few times myself.
Essentially, the soft launch is about testing your product or idea before you put all of your eggs in one basket. I don’t mean that you aren’t committed to the products success, but instead, you go after a very focused and targeted audience with higher conversion rates.
Soft launching does not mean you don’t sell. Quite the opposite. It just means that you don’t go through the various hoops that other types of launches have, until you know you have a winning product.
This option is great if you have a very niche product to sell; you want to get something out there quickly; have a targeted email list; and you are open to making changes to your program to make it work.
I want to be very clear here though about soft launches – as my fellow introverts may be seeing this option and jumping up and down, while ignoring everything else. A soft launch isn’t about putting something up for sell and never saying or doing anything about it. (That’s the play and pray method, which is not effective at all).
You still have to get the word out there, create a sales page, talk up the product, provide value leading to sell, and more. It’s just that you do it on a smaller or softer scale – not jumping up and down everywhere, but tapping people’s shoulders about it.
Obviously there are many more launch methods and approaches – you can even create your own by combining/subtracting various components.
Key Things to Remember:
- YES – you should launch and you have to do some kind of launch when you introduce a new product/course/service
- The type and scope of launch is completely up to you, but should match your end goal and your audience size
- The play and pray method, doesn’t work… regardless