Product launches are sexy. They're full of cool strategies and targeted tactics that get everyone on your list hyped up to buy your product. All glitz, glamor, and of course, sales… right? Maybe not.
I'm not knocking product launches. A well-orchestrated launch can make you (and affiliates) a phenomenal amount of money in a short time. They can bring lots of interest to you and your brand. I also have a lot of respect for Jeff Walker, the original reluctant guru, who started the whole product launch sensation.
But It Ain't All Roses
There are a lot of exciting things to plan with a launch (like where you're going to go out to eat when the money comes rolling in). But it's also a lot of hard work.
I just got a product up and going and it was really, really tough. And I didn't even factor affiliates into the equation. In launch lingo, this was an “internal launch” — just to my list for my niche site. It's also built to be evergreen, meaning that it will keep going in an autoresponder sequence. So it's not like one of the huge “internet marketing” launches. Regardless, it was tough. Here's a rough little flow chart I drew up to help myself keep track of the big points:
You have to have a product. “Um, Kristen, that's obvious” — I can hear you saying it now. But people gloss over this when they talk about launching the product. You have to have one! Now some things, like coaching programs or seed launches don't really require a product totally up front. You can develop along the way. But if you're doing a standard ebook or training product in your niche, you have to have the product done!
You can go with the bare bones, but I like my products to look a little more polished. Recording an audio track, cleaning it up, and formatting a nice-looking pdf file – all of that takes time. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect, but it will take some time to get the polish you want. Don't leave this until the last minute.
The Dreaded Letter
Yes, you have to write a sales letter. If you can hire a copywriter well, your troubles may be over. Of course, you still need to be sure your copywriter is worth his (or her) salt…
But bullets, headline, actual body copy, graphics, formatting… yeah, all of that has to be done. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. Your sales letter won't be, either.
Your launch copy can really help you with your sales letter because you'll probably tell a similar story in both, but don't make the mistake of thinking that you need no sales letter because you're doing a launch. You still need it. Doing one of those fancy video sales letters? You should still have written copy, and you still need to storyboard your video sales pitch.
Load it Up!
If you have a tech team you can probably forget some of this and let them worry about it. But if you're bootstrapping it you have to do this for yourself.
You need to get your product uploaded properly — so your customer can download it. Don't forget that you have to upload any launch bonuses and product bonuses, too.
This could be as easy as loading something onto your server. But you may have to configure it to be a secure download via your shopping cart… and all of that can end up taking a lot longer than you initially planned.
Shopping Cart Mayhem
Again, maybe you have a tech team to take care of this… but I don't (yet). This can be fairly straightforward or fairly complex, depending on your cart and what you need it to do.
Your shopping cart may require even more hoops… plan on taking the time that's needed to get that product up there and get them right.
Sales Letter… Again
Now it's time to get that sales letter uploaded and linking to the order page correctly. Did you do everything right? Did you forget anything? Have you got the graphics for that magic order button that's going to magnetize your prospect?
This is where you make sure everything is in order and you test. Test, test, test, test! Be sure there are no glitches in your ordering funnel.
Make sure all links from your letter to your order page works. Make sure your order page buttons go to your payment processor correctly. Make sure your download links work. Make sure the order confirmation emails are dispatching. Make sure your customer gets signed up for your buyer's list when they buy. Test, test, test!
Email / Launch
Of course, after all of that you still have to get the product launch off the ground. And I'm not even going to go into all of that. You need to write the launch copy, integrate your bonuses, execute your launch timing, etc.
Oh, and if you have affiliates and JV's on board, you've got to coordinate everything with them, too. Go back to your cart, sales page, and order page and make sure they're getting credit for their leads.
Even if you, like me, are planning on using a responder sequence to sell, you need to be sure that you get your emails loaded into it and timed properly so people are getting what they're supposed to get when they're supposed to get it…
The upside of all of this work is that you get to sit back and watch your well-oiled machine run when you're done. You watch the money come rolling in, grin, and pretend that you're a product launch ace who worked magic with a few emails and a shiny product.
But the truth is, you've got to grease those gears first, and it may get a little messy. Do yourself a favor and make a checklist the first time you do it… then refine that checklist the second. By the third successful launch maybe you can just hand that checklist off to your tech guys and be the hotshot you've been playing all along 😉