The recent Product Launch Formula 2.0 promotion, which followed on the heals of Frank Kern’s big Mass Control launch (I purchased that one) has got me taking a lot of notes about event style product launches. I have a couple products in the works and would like to take advantage of these strategies and tactics to make the most impact with my products and begin building a business around them.
I’ll be posting on the topic of product launches as I get further into studying and planning my own. To start off, I wrote this product launch ‘big picture’ article to define the essential elements of a product launch and the related objectives that a marketer should achieve during a successful launch.
DISCLAIMER: I am not the ultimate Product Launch Guru. That title (in my opinion) belongs to Jeff Walker, author of the Product Launch Formula training course and guys like Frank Kern, John Reese, and Mike Filsaime. My biggest launch to date had 1 JV partner and sold about $3500 in total (it was a limited release product, but I had no list of my own and no track record outside of a small forum community.) This is a work in progress by a student of the process.
With the background and disclaimers out of the way, let’s take a look at the big picture and learn about the phases of a product launch, some of the strategies and tactics at play during these phases, and the overall objectives of the product launch process. I fully expect that I am missing some things, have poorly defined others, and might even be embarrassingly mistaken about a few. So, if you would like to correct, clarify, or enlighten me on this topic, please leave a comment below. (Hey, you can leave a comment if you just want to say hello!)
So, here’s the good stuff:
3 Phases for Launching a Product
Pre-Launch – This is the time where you are planning your launch schedule, starting to create promotional materials and also when you actively recruit JV partners and affiliates. This phase will very likely involve a mini launch of its own that is directed exclusively at potential affiliates and JV partners. When you come out of the pre-launch phase you will have a list of JV partners and affiliates ready to promote your launch and the core planning for the launch sequence and some or all of the promotional content that will be used in the launch. You should also have a JV blog and a launch blog up and ready to go.
Active Launch – The active launch begins with the first communication you make to your potential customers. Very often it is a free video or report that offers some really amazing content related to your product and designed to build buzz (usually, the product to be launched isn’t even mentioned at this point. There might be a passing reference to the fact that the information shared was discovered ‘while I was working on a cool new project’ – but that is it!)
The JV’s and affiliates start driving people to the new content which is designed to get people to opt-in to a launch mailing list. To see this process in action, check out THIS PRODUCT LAUNCH.
As the launch progresses, these new list members will be asked to join at least one ‘early notice’ sub-list and might possibly be offered a free tele-seminar/webinar the day before the product is available. That tele-seminar/webinar will be focused on describing exactly what is included in the course, how customers will benefit, what the special early purchase bonuses will be and other topics designed to prime them for purchasing.
Communication During the Active Product Launch
The active launch phase includes two separate lines of communication – one aimed at the potential customers and one aimed at the JV’s and affiliates. The customers will get a sequence of emails and content that, at various stages, is designed to catch their interest, create a personal bond between you and the them, describe the product, offer social proof and establish the value of the product, and finally coach them on exactly what they should do on launch day to make their purchase.
Throughout the launch sequence, every one of the 6 psychological triggers that influence people’s decision making process will be touched on – repeatedly.
The whole active launch phase concludes when the product ‘goes live.’
Post Launch – The product is usually promoted actively for no more than 7 days. In fact, for really big product launches, it is common to sell-out in 24-48 hours or less.
It is hard to keep people interested once the ‘new’ has worn off and affiliates and JV’s usually move on to fresher projects to promote. Immediately after the go live date, you start a post launch process to keep momentum up among the JV’s and affiliates. There will be a series of follow-up communications with the potential customers to announce ‘news’ about the launch and push those on the verge of purchasing to order.
The post launch period is also a time to re-enforce the purchasing decision that new customers have made and start encouraging them to use the product and establish new habits based on it. There will also be more bonding with affiliates, customers, and the non-buyers on your new list.
Most marketers will also start doing some targeted affiliate promotion and/or cross-selling to their new list to generate more income. They might also run some special sales and, if they are smart, they will also start planting the seeds for their next launch.
These three phases will be clearly marked out on your product launch calendar and serve as the foundation for planning the timing of all of the specific tasks and tactics to be used during the launch.
5 Critical Launch Goals
Generate Traffic – You need to get people coming to your product website. But, in a product launch you don’t go after the traffic yourself. You go after partners with established mailing lists and let them drive the potential customers to you. In exchange you will give them a 50% cut of every sale. This commission buys you a small army of promoters who will blanket the marketplace for you while you focus on the other elements of the launch.
Establish Authority – If the people coming to your site don’t already believe you are an authority, selling a product or service to them will become significantly more difficult. But, if they have already experienced and benefited from your expertise through the great free content you give away and you have the endorsement of other people they respect (your JV Partners and affiliates), you won’t have to sell them as much as show them where to pay.
Build Buzz – Critical to success on opening day is getting people in your target market talking about and anticipating the release of your product. Your JV partners and affiliates will not only build excitement through their lists, they will also be participating in forum discussions and writing blog posts, creating videos, writing special reports, and using social media tools that talk about the benefits of your upcoming product.
Build a List – A list of interested potential customers is golden. It is only bested by a list of actual customers (who you will sell other products, services, and upgrades to later.) Launches help you build a business and each successive launch adds to the results of the ones that came before.
Recruit Affiliates – When your product is finally launched, your affiliates are going to be out there multiplying the effect off all of your promotional efforts. Finding affiliates with large mailing lists and good relationships with their lists will have an exponential effect on your sales (and many of their members will ultimately end up on your lists as well.)
Oh, I Almost Forgot. Make A Bunch Of Money Fast! –
There are many specific tactics and techniques that fit into this basic framework. They all get organized into precise sequences designed to move people through the buying decision before the product is available and then build up pressure to buy quickly once the product goes live.
Jeff Walker refers to a launch as a ‘sideways salespage.’ Instead of a visitor getting one big sales page and reading through each part, the content is fed to the people on the launch list one section at a time. So, all of the same sales copy concepts remain in effect.
In future articles I will be looking at the 6 psychological triggers that get utilized during a product launch along with some examples of how they can be implemented in your product launches.
I will also start to map out some of the strategies and sequences I develop as I launch my own products.