Product launch strategies can feel quite daunting if you haven’t done a structured campaign before. You might have a great idea, but bringing it to life and getting it in front of the right audience can be a complex process. In this article, I’ll be walking you four stages that can help you build momentum and muscle for launching, whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or just starting out.
Now when you hear the phrase “product launch strategies” that maybe sound a bit ominous. So let me unpack it.
First, when I say “product”, I mean something you build and sell, be it a physical product, a digital product, a course, a class, a service or a program.
And second, for anyone who’s seen those big hyper launches, that’s not what I’m going to be talking about here. So fear not, you can start with a tiny soft little launch and build your product launch muscles one step at a time.PREFER TO LISTEN?
Certainly, there are many product launch strategies, that is different levels of intricacy, different models and a variety of formats for launching a new product, programme or service.
Today, we going to go through four stages from idea to offer and gain some momentum from some initial seeding and internal promotion. No matter how big your circle of influence is right now, we all have networks, contacts and social media followers, right?
If you consider the whole six degrees of separation – the idea that all people are just six or fewer social connections away from each other – then you can appreciate that people know people. A chain of “friend of a friend” can connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
Launching a new product can be an exciting, yet challenging experience. You might have a great idea, but bringing it to life and getting it in front of the right audience can be a complex process. You’re going to need a product launch strategy.
If you’re followed me for a while, you’ll know I’m not a fan of big hyper launches. I did a podcast episode and blog article around this time last year on Busting Myths about Successful Program Launches. I much prefer a rolling enrolment approach, perhaps because I come from the consulting background where consistent flow of leads and clients on demand is more the mode of operation.
As I share in that article, for my iSuccess programmes, I’ve always tended to do soft launches and enrolling a small group at any given time. For instance, the Leveraged Business Accelerator – because it isn’t a curriculum-based programme. It’s a structured process for strategic review, planning and coaching for each client, from where we create a customised 90-day action plan. Because of this format, I open up spots when I know I can give my coaching clients the time needed between other commitments.
And that’s a product launch strategy that’s worked really well for me personally because it avoids the big peaks of work to run hefty campaigns that enroll high numbers of clients at once. It means I maintain a more consistent work-life balance, which has always been my goal.
So in this episode I’ll be walking you through four types of launch and talking about general good practice, my experiences of launching, supporting launches and being a participant in a launch. Then in part 2, we’ll go through ten critical steps that will help you create a solid foundation for your product launch success.
Let’s dive in …
Four Stages that Build Your Launch Muscles
In his Product Launch Formula, Jeff Walker talks about four types of launches that you can build, from small to large launches, which progressively validate the product you want to take to market.
I really like this approach, because it not only fits with the steps you need to take to ensure your product launches successfully, but it means any of us can get a new product into the marketplace even if you don’t have a big list or a tonne of people rallying round for you.
Taking an iterative approach to product launches helps you validate the idea and build momentum. That’s a great place to be first if you’re looking to launch big at some point.
Many of the big players will always seed an idea and validate it first, modify it or pivot based on that experience before going large. A successful small or soft launch is what gives you the confidence to invest time and resource into the bigger successful product launches you may have seen around the digital arena.
So the four launch stages you can build to, or types of launches as Jeff Walker presents it, are: the seed launch, the internal launch, the joint venture launch and the evergreen launch.
I’ll describe each of these briefly here first, which will illustrate how anyone can easily get going and go about this quite gently. And then we’ll dive into what I believe are the crucial ten steps to creating, promoting and launching in the broader sense.
The Seed Launch
The first type of launch is the Seed Launch. The purpose of a Seed Launch is to test your product idea with a small group of people before you invest a lot of time and money in developing the product.
Before embarking on any hefty product launch strategies, you’ll want to offer your product idea to a small group of people to validate its viability to your target audience. This is the Seed Launch stage. You offer it to a warm market at a low price in exchange for feedback and testimonials.
Once you’ve validated your product idea through a Seed Launch, the next step is to create a more developed version of the product and do an internal launch.
The Internal Launch
An internal launch – or soft launch as I describe it, and is more my style – is to launch your product to your internal email list. During an Internal Launch, you’ll create a buzz around your product and offer it at a special introductory price for a limited time to your email subscribers.
(Note, I didn’t say discounted price – I never use that term, and if you want to know why, reach out to me and I’ll share my point of view.)
I rarely go beyond doing an internal launch. Anything more just isn’t what I want to do in my business. You may understand why when I go through the other two stages in a moment!
Even staying with the internal launch stage, if you have a successful product launch campaign, you can simply rinse and repeat every so often – sometimes just once a year for a big intake. Then you focus on supporting the people who you’ve just enrolled. This is how I “launch” the Leveraged Business Accelerator program – where two to three times a year I’ll open up spots.
That doesn’t mean you don’t change anything and rest on your laurels so to speak. Even with just keeping to internal launches, I keep changing up the messaging and offer to make sure I’m attracting the right fit people who are my ideal clients to work with.
If things are going well, you may want to expand promoting your new product or programme beyond your direct email list and share it on your social media channels. In this case, you’ll need a bit more than just a sales page. You’ll want to encourage them onto your email list for the next launch, by offering something super useful that’s relevant to the product you’re launching.
So, say you’re launching a new online course about product launches – which I’m not by the way, but product launches is certainly something I’ve coached people through my Leveraged Business Accelerator program. A compelling lead magnet would be something that helps someone take the first step forward. It might be a 10-step guide and take the form of a short ebook, a video training or a 3-day challenge.
Promotional content does not always have to be part of a launch campaign. When I cover the 10 essential steps to successful product launches in the next episode, I’ll be sharing a 10-step checklist. It kind of illustrates the point of how building your list means you have more people to launch too.
The next stage, assuming you’re getting good take up of your offer is to organise things so that other people can promote your product or program too. This is the third stage in our suite of product launch strategies – the Joint Venture Launch – and executed well has a much higher level of reach and impact than any seed or internal launch.
The Joint Venture Launch
A Joint Venture Launch is a collaboration between you and other business owners who have a similar audience to yours. During a Joint Venture Launch, you’ll partner with these other business owners to promote your product to their email lists in exchange for a commission on sales.
Many people use this approach and their JV partners will offer some associated bonus to get their contacts to buy from them rather than others if there are lots of people promoting the same thing. Some only do it with an ‘inner circle’ group of partners, while others set up a sophisticated complex affiliate system with a leader board and all kinds of bonuses to drive competition and higher lead generation and sales.
I very rarely do JV partnerships, mostly because being half and half in the consulting world and the online marketing space, my list of individuals for online programs is relatively small. There are some programs that really complement what I do, where the person specialises in doing a particular thing well. For instance, Jeff Walker with his Product Launch Formula, Danny Iny with his Audience Building and Hybrid Courses, Lisa Bloom with her Selling Through Story program, and Melinda Cohan with her Coaches Console Business System.
My advice if this is new territory for you is to start with people you know and trust, and who know and trust you. Follow their JV protocol and experience the structure and flow for yourself.
Finally, there’s the Evergreen Launch.
The Evergreen Launch
An Evergreen Launch is a type of launch that runs continuously, meaning that your product, course, program or service is always available for purchase.
During an Evergreen Launch, you’ll create a system that allows potential customers to enter your sales funnel and receive automated emails that will ultimately lead them to purchase your product. It’s not really a “launch” at all – it’s more just a rolling campaign.
This can work really well, but it does miss some of the buzz of the scheduled launch strategies. Many of the big players in the launch space will only open doors once a year – which brings a scarcity and urgency to their enrolment campaigns.
So if that’s the broad grand scheme of things, what are the steps to getting going with launching your new product.
Creating & Implementing a Product Launch Strategy
Launching a new product can be a challenging and daunting process, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Overall, creating, promoting, and launching a new product takes a lot of effort and planning, but you can get started easily by taking it one step at a time.
In part 2, I’ll be taking you through ten steps that can help ensure that your launch is successful, whether it’s a seed launch or a bigger venture.
Launches of any kind is simply a campaign run across a particular timeframe and will really set your business up for consistent list building, revenue flow and long-term growth and success.
People who skip the critical foundation steps struggle to create a product that meets the needs of your target audience and is positioned effectively in the market. To launch a new product successfully, you do need to create a solid plan.
It’s important to remember that not every launch will be a massive success, but that’s okay. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow, and to make your next launch even better. So don’t be discouraged if your first launch doesn’t go as planned – use what you learned to make your next launch even stronger.
Remember to stay focused, stay organised, and stay connected with your target audience throughout the process.
In part 2, I’ll be taking you through ten essential steps to successful product launches. And I’ll give you a free checklist you can use for any launch to ensure you go through all the critical tasks needed.
Ciao ciao for now!