I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a product launch expert. I’ve read a lot on the topic, but action – which breeds experience – is far more important than knowledge. Since I make most of my income with affiliate marketing and promoting other peoples products, launches aren’t something that I’ve dedicated a lot of time to.
At the end of 2010, that all changed. I spent months working on Cloud Living HQ, which I released for only 72 hours (it’s available again as of today), and managed to make a five-figure sum in a single day. In my state of shock, I convinced myself “You might not think you know about product launches, but you must be doing something right.”
This post is going to cover what I think the things I did right actually are, and the key factors I believe enabled me to make this income.
I would like to preface this post with a little disclaimer about the “make money online” niche. It should come as no surprise when I say that it’s generally easier to make money in this industry than any other online. After all, people are more willing to spend money if they think they’ll make it. However, because the niche is so saturated, it’s far harder to make a name for yourself than any other, so I believe these two factors outweigh each other.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to some business shall we. Oh, and Happy New Year everyone. I’ve genuinely missed you.
About two years ago I came across the idea of extending your product launch not just to the day that you actually show it to the world, but to an entire week. I didn’t want to do Monday to Monday like most people, and instead decided to launch my product over the course of 5 days, with Monday, Wednesday and Friday being the days I promoted and sold the product.
With my MWF formula, the job of Monday and Wednesday are to build up hype and anticipation for your launch, with Friday being the day that your product actually goes on sale. It’s very important that you spike the interests and emotions of your audience on Monday and Wednesday, to supercharge the desire people will have towards buying your product on the Friday.
For me, the days went as followed:
For a short time while writing about personal development, I was very interested in reading about the “pickup community” online. One thing they say to guys who are worried about being rejected by girls is to “simply give her a chance to give you a chance.” In other words, don’t look at a girl as a prize, but instead look at your interaction with her as an opportunity for her to see real you.
I say this because the same concept can be applied to marketing: give your audience a chance, to give you a chance. I would not implement the MWF process, in all honesty, if it didn’t work so well. I would much rather just promote a product for one day, and then have my launch over with, so I don’t annoy my audience. However, I simply can’t deny that the MWF formula helped massively to boost sales of my product, thanks to the anticipation it built.
With some simple scarcity tactics, you can dramatically increase the conversion rates you experience during your product launch. When launching Cloud Living HQ, I utilised scarcity in a number of ways. First of all, I only allowed people to buy the product for 72 hours. I did this not only for the scarcity factor (you must buy it now, because it’s your only option) but because the product requires a lot of time investment from me (I help people one on one). I didn’t want to have more questions to answer than I could handle.
Though it may seem like a 72-hour launch would have limited the number of sales I would receive, I believe the scarcity aspect actually increased sales immensely. I also used scarcity in the pricing of the product, by mentioning that it would shortly be increasing. If you’re going to do this, it’s important to stick to your word. The price is now $10 more (at $47) than it was last month.
The reason I am increasing the price is because as time goes on, the course gets more and more valuable, due to the product additions and community discussions which are taking place. Finally, I also had a bonus in place, where the people who purchased Cloud Living HQ on the first day would have the chance to win one of four domains, which I each value at $1,000. This is not direct scarcity, but they know if they come back to the page tomorrow, they’ll miss out on that opportunity.
I know a surprisingly high number of people who don’t actually practice any form of testing on their payment process before launching a product. In most cases, this is because they don’t think they’ll get many (if any) sales, and if there are any problems, it will be reported to them directly by unhappy attempted customers.
This is probably the worst mindset you can have when it comes to product launches. If you’ve used a certain payment processor and system in the past, I can understand why you would be confident that it will work without testing. However, the risk you face, based on not going through five minutes of testing, just really isn’t worth it. I push my process to the limit while keeping in mind the idea that I will get 10,000 customers on the first day.
Of course, I really don’t expect that to happen, but the mindset persuades me to take my sales page copy, conversion opportunities and payment process very seriously.
As I said in a blog post here not long ago, a task will take the amount of time you allocate to it. Meaning, if you give yourself all day to do something, that’s exactly how long it will take. While product launches are often tedious and require a huge amount of work, they don’t actually take as long to pull off as many people would expect.
I put together 90% of Cloud Living HQ just two weeks before showing it to the world. Although I worked all hours of those final 14 days, it’s really not that much considering the amount of money the launch actually made me. The reason 90% of my work took two weeks is because that is the exact deadline I gave myself to get everything done.
I could have put in a few more hours each day, but I did not want to exhaust myself and dread the daily grind. Instead, I looked at what needed to be done, picked a section, and then finished it before stopping for the day. If you don’t give yourself a timeframe in which to complete the creation of your product and all of the marketing aspects a launch entails, then the whole process will take far longer than it needs to.
Trust me on this one, and don’t make things more difficult than they need to be.
There is absolutely no point in launching a product if you don’t have an audience, or at least attempt to build one. You could create the best eBook, membership site or conference program in the world, but it isn’t worth anything if there’s nobody who’s going to hear about it or experience it. I could have done a better job with conversions on Cloud Living HQ, but I also could have done a much worse job.
However, the only thing that brought in the sales was the work I did to build an audience who trust what I have to say, and know I genuinely want to help them. The conversion rate potential of my landing page was a very small factor compared to the following that I have luckily managed to attain.
I’m a huge fan of blogging as a way to build your audience, since I enjoy writing and I can sit for hours, typing away, with relative ease. I certainly don’t get stressed when I’m writing. If you don’t like blogging, you could look into getting JV (Joint Venture) partners who already have an audience, or look to recruit affiliates in other manners. Meaning that you could just be one of the product creators on Clickbank that everyone else promotes.
The benefit of a blog is that the audience is very highly tuned into your offerings, and know what to expect from you. Some will buy your products just based on the idea that they want to thank you for all of the articles you have written. A few Cloud Living HQ customers told me that they didn’t care about the product, but just wanted to give something back because of the value that my articles had given them.
Do not underestimate the importance of having an audience whatsoever. In my experience it’s the most crucial part of having any success with product launches.
By this I mean, if you have the time to include something in your product which is invaluable (you) then that can be hugely useful for increasing your conversion rates. If you can offer a form of free coaching or support system that comes with your product, you may get people purchasing your offerings for that reason alone.
I offer free, personal support with this process to anyone who purchases Cloud Living. Without being egotistical, I believe this is worth far, far more than the $47 the course currently costs. I also managed to bring in three friends on board to offer support as well, which only adds more value to my product.
Dealing with every customer personally will not be for everyone. Some people like to just keep pushing products out there. I, however, enjoy creating a very limited number of products, but making them the best they can be.
Though this list is far from exhaustive in terms of covering every stage of a product launch, I thought it would be a good idea to create a checklist of some of the most important questions you need to be asked before launching your product. This will help you in planning all aspects of your launch before you actually get started. Another crucial tip which will greatly decrease the amount of time your product launch takes to put together.
These are just some of the questions you need to answer before you start the product creation process. I’m going to give my personal opinion on each, which will hopefully help you answer them yourself when the time comes.
Of course, my way of doing things is only one option that you may choose to follow. Other people take other routes, so don’t let this restrict you into only doing certain things. I want the recommendations in this post to be viewed as simply that; recommendations. Not rules.
The last point I want to make to you all is slightly tongue-in cheek. Make sure you have absolutely no other plans on the day of your launch. No matter how much you test and perfect the process, something is bound to come up which you didn’t expect. Be prepared to act in case something does go wrong.
Finally: Enjoy the process. It can be a very fulfilling and exciting experience, if you allow it to be. It’s good to be back.