Anatomy of a Launch (and all the mistakes we’ve made so you don’t have to make them, too!)
There’s a lot of hype in our online industry about launching. I think it sometimes puts so much fear in business owners because we feel like it “should” look a certain way. The anatomy of a launch can look a little different depending on what it is that you’re launching. However, even though the launches may look different, it can really be quite similar when it gets down to the nitty gritty.
First of all, there is a lot of “momentum building” that you have to do in order for people to get super excited about something that you’re offering—whether it’s a paid program or something free! For example, launching a podcast is completely free to the consumer. Or maybe you’re launching a new blog or new website that’s free to your audience. All in all, you want them to take an action. So, launching your product vs. launching your platform are not actually polar opposites. Let’s break it down into a couple different pieces to help you get your launch up and running!
Before you pick a date to launch your new product, you have to step back and think of what your goals are for this launch. Launching takes a lot of energy if you let it and without a plan, it can become a major beast to tackle. Spending a little intentional time to figure out what a “successful” launch will be for you is imperative. Here are some questions I’d ask before prepping a launch:
- Who is this product for?
- How many people do I want to sell this product to? (If you’re launching a website or something that doesn’t have a direct product tied to it, what’s the action you want the audience to take?)
- What does good/better/best look like for you? (How many $, # of people, or other measurements do you want to see for it to be considered good?) This one is SO IMPORTANT because if you don’t set it, you are constantly in flux. Or you get 50 people into your program but you have no clue if that’s good at all. Set the number ahead of time.
Put the focus on your person — how does the product impact you?
This is all about thinking about how your product, service, website, etc. is going to affect your client. Instead of talking about everything that’s amazing about it—no one actually cares about all the specs!—tell them about how it impacts them.
For example, we’re about to launch a podcast later in April. This was something that I really took a lot of time to think about. What is the impact that I want the platform to have on my audience? What does this look like for you? What I wanted was to help people differentiate themselves, in the form of a podcast—like a “webinar on the go”.
Build a Sales Page Outline
I talk about this one a lot with my mastermind business friends—and they often chuckle at me! I always create a sales page before my launch. Here’s why: A sales page is a compilation of all the promises you’re making to your ideal client. It’s where everything lives. Basically, it’s a comprehensive document of what your product or program is all about.
By having this fantastic tool, you have a clear target to work towards. Everything from copy to social media posts can come from this sales page!
I often talk about my friend Courtney Johnston of The Rule Breakers Club and refer to her Rainbow of Sales template. What you’re going to find are a few different steps. Here’s how I describe it:
- Where is your dream client right now? Where is she? What’s her mental or physical state? What is she frustrated about that relates to your product?
- Where does your dream client want to be? It’s probably going to be a little bit different from where she is currently. Show her that there is a very distinct difference between step 1 and 2.
- Then, show her the transformation. What’s possible for her? By using your product or platform, what is going to change for her? Showing your dream client that this is all possible is the job of the sales page!
Courtney talks a lot more about all of this in the Rainbow of Sales. (Which you can find here.) You’re going to find so much more clarity just by articulating who this is for, what your client is experiencing, where she wants to be—and figuring out the transformation.
Then, you can detail the actual features. After that, you’ll want to outline the benefits. For example, are you going to lose 5lbs? Are you going to be super confident to walk into your, let’s say, reunion in 5 weeks? A lot of these things are going to be a little bit more emotionally based or even relating to a specific number.
You’re going to want to play around with this yourself and see what your impact is going to be.
Cheerleaders // Partners // Affiliates
When you have an affiliate or a partner, that means that someone is getting a reward for something they’re helping you with in your business. However, with cheerleaders, it’s different. These are typically people who just want to cheer you on for free! Just because they’re good people, they have an audience that’s similar to yours or maybe you’ve done something nice for them in the past and they want to pay you back for that. Cheerleaders are just kind hearted people who have a platform and are willing to share it with you so that you can share your product. The crux of it? They believe that your product will help their audience.
Whether you’re looking for a cheerleader model (where no money is exchanged) or a partner/affiliate model (where money is exchanged), it’s an opportunity for you to share your message.
When I launched the Creative Empire podcast, as well as when we first launched our website, we used a cheerleader model. We didn’t send them anything or pay anything but they were people who wanted to cheer us on, see us exceed and were willing to post about us on social media! It was a great opportunity for us to receive people’s good will and also in turn I’ve paid those people back with gestures as well.
It’s a reciprocal process. Also, if you feel like you don’t have an audience yet, cheerleaders are a terrific way to build relationships! I would figure out a way that they would gain something too. So, maybe you’ll send them a thank you gift afterwards or just offer them your service! However, most of the time cheerleaders are really there to just cheer you on! And if they’re good friends of yours, they will be willing to do it.
Making your launch feel like an event can actually be pretty tough in the online space! If you’re not doing a brick and mortar party or an in-person event, it can be a little difficult to make it feel like an actual event because hype is a little bit less contained.
In order to get people excited, you have to prepare something as if it’s a real event. There are so many ways to do this! You can do this in the form of a challenge where people feel super invested. Or it could be in the form of a Facebook or Instagram Live where you’re sharing content and showcasing what you’re doing. It’s really fun to be able to share with your audience something that is special to you and really gives them an inside look at your business.
A few things to think about:
- How can I make this fun?
- How can I get people to tune in?
- How can I make this buzzworthy?
You want to make it feel a little bit exclusive too. Maybe you’ll do a giveaway! (Please note: There are some caveats to Instagram’s giveaways, so look into that first.) In terms of doing an event, there are so many ways of making it exciting. You could even leverage your cheerleaders so they can help you spread the word about that too!
The main thing you want is people interested and participating in your event. If you’re launching a product, for instance, you want people to see that other people are also interested so that they become interested. Get it? Make it buzzworthy!
Something that I find super effective in an online event is to approach the people who have already joined and say to them:
“Hey! Thanks for buying. I’m so excited to have you. We’re going to have a live event to celebrate you. I’m doing a giveaway for people who join me live at the event. We’re also encouraging other people to join in…” And you get the point.
That’s a fun way to get people riled up and excited and get the buzz-factor going!
Live Launch vs. Evergreen Launch
Evergreen just means something that is available all year ‘round. If you’ve never launched the product that you’re about to launch right now, I’d really recommend doing it as a Live Launch. What I mean by that is having an open/close cart where there may be bonuses or discounts for your product—just as a little incentive for people to join in.
That’s definitely a benefit of an open/close cart. What I’ve found is that the first day and the last day are when you make the most sales. The middle of your launch might feel like a desert zone but I promise you, it’s not. In the last few minutes, people will buy. I’ve literally had people buy programs from me in the last 2 minutes of the open cart! I find it completely fascinating. People want to know that their investment is going to be made.
Also, keep in mind that if you say you’re going to close your cart, please close your cart. Don’t let other people through because it tarnishes the commitment of all the people who actually did honour your deadline and said that they were going to make the investment on time. I know that you’re missing out on dollars as soon as you close your cart and people email you wanting to get in, but you need to offer them a different solution—for example, a waitlist. It’s kind of a bummer, but that’s why we want to incentivize people to get in on time.
Typically, this is the way that I like to launch a product or program. Of course, there are some other moving pieces that happen but as you set your deadline for your launch, give yourself a buffer! I don’t want you guys to go nuts over here. Plus, if you’re creating the program and the launch at the same time, it’s good to think of them as two separate projects. Well, really, they are. Even though they’re under the same umbrella, launching is a totally different beast than the actual program or product.
There’s one last piece here about all the components that you have to get ready! But lucky for you, we’ve created a tool to make it a whole lot easier. I’m definitely not a launching expert by any means, but I’ve done enough launches to know that these are the pieces that we always need—and you might want them too! Grab this checklist so that you can see the parts that we typically consider to be necessary collateral. You can have all of these, none of these, you can tweak them or whatever works best for you. We have the kind of copy that you need to write, the things that you need to create, the graphics to design. Sometimes these are things that can slip to the last minute! But with this list, you won’t have to worry about it.
I hope that this is helpful for you guys! I’m really all about launching with ease. Nothing is worse than to be frazzled and stressed out. As much as we can schedule ahead of time, the better.
A few things to remember:
- Set your goals
- Get your gaze on the right people that you’re trying to impact
- Build the sales page outline
- Get some cheerleaders
- Think of this as an event
- Figure out if you want to do this as a Live or an Evergreen product
I can’t wait to hear what you’re going to be launching! Go ahead and grab the Ready for Launch Checklist—and hopefully it’ll help.
Keep an eye out for our launch that’s coming up too. We have a couple things that are happening behind-the-scenes that I’m so excited to share with you! If you see something that we’re doing that you’re excited about, go ahead and try it out for yourself! Or just give us suggestions about what we could improve on because with every single launch, we learn something new.
Ultimately, I hope that you guys have learned something here and can implement it into your next launch!