3 critical, non-obvious ingredients for ANY launch

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a girl named Amy nearly botched a launch worth over $100,000.

How did she do this? With a single, solitary email, reading…

“Hey, doors are open! Buy your seat now!”

That’s how most folks launch their products. It’s easy, and it’s wrong. And one time, I tried to launch my 30×500 Product Launch Class that way.

I made a single sale in 24 hours. One single, solitary sale.

Never before had I failed to sell fewer than 30 seats in the very first day. Never.

And so there I was, 24 hours later, with 74 empty seats. At the time, each seat cost $1,450, and there wasn’t even a trickle of sales, there was just one sale, period. I was facing down the very real prospect of losing $107,300 of planned ticket sales.

I was freaking out. Was the market simply tapped? Cue dark teatime of the soul.

Once I stopped pitying myself, I realized: Maybe it’s not the market. Maybe it’s me.

Instead of using the launch process I’d always used, instead of doing it the way I learned over 10+ product launches, I’d gotten cocky. I sent that single email, just on the launch day itself, and then I sat back to await my sales. Like I said: Cocky. And easy. And wrong.

Once I came to grips with the idea that I had caused the problem, I realized I could fix it, too.

So I hit the rewind button

I swiftly took the ticket sales offline, redid the launch the way my own process dictates, and launched again over the next week. The proper way.

That second time, I sold $35,000+ in tickets in a matter of hours.

(Surprisingly, nobody said a word about this whole fumbled, launch-it-again approach. Cuz… nobody noticed.)

The class went on to sell out, completely.

Learn from my mistake… please!

I consider this experience my “A/B test” for my launch strategy and tactics. And lemme tell you, there was no doubt about which test won.

That story is one I tell in every 30×500 semester, and one I repeat especially to students on the verge of launching.

That’s because launching the wrong way — “Hey, look! We’re live!” — is the easiest, simplest, most seductive way to launch. But, of course, it doesn’t work. And a busted launch can lead you to give up. You may believe things like “Maybe the market is saturated,” when, in fact, the only thing that was saturated was your soggy launch, soaking in ego and laziness.

But enough about bad launches. What does a good launch look like?

The 3 critical ingredients for any launch

They’re super simple. Ready?

  1. Slow build-up
  2. Inherent value
  3. Path of logic

SIP! Like champagne! That you break… on a ship… that pours into the ocean… ok, maybe my mnemonic needs work.

Regardless of how wanting is my phraseology, these are the three elements you cannot dispense with if you want to launch successfully.

Why?

Because of how people actually buy things

Because people don’t suddenly see a new thing, then bam! decide to buy it. People simply don’t behave this way, nope. Not in large enough quantities for your launch.

The typical potential customer is full of doubt:

  • They’re unsure if they want what you’re selling.
  • They’re unsure how it would help them.
  • They’re unsure if they should trust you, if you’ll deliver.
  • They’re unsure if the price is reasonable.
  • They’re unsure if they should buy now or wait til later, when the need seems more pressing, or when they remember it again.

And that’s assuming they even read your launch announcement. Assuming they don’t say to themselves, “I’m busy, I’ll come back to that later.” Which is not a safe assumption at all.

Aren’t those just “objections”?

Countering ‘objections’ doesn’t solve this problem. I don’t care however many times copywriters tell you it will, ‘handling’ objections just slaps a bandaid on a broken process.

For these doubts to be objections, the potential customer has to already want to buy… but something is holding them back.

That’s not the case for these fundamental doubts.

How SIP solves this problem

SIP solves the problem by helping your potential customer decide if the product is right for them, if they want it, if it’ll help them, if they trust you, if they should buy it right away… before you ever offer the product for sale.

And if you use it right, it can even help you use (indirect) customer feedback to adjust and improve your launch strategy before your launch falls flat.

Slow Build-Up

What are you more likely to say “Yes” to — “Can you decide this by next week?” or “Can you decide this right this second?”

Most folks hate to be rushed. They don’t like being put on the spot. They like acclimating to major decisions by degrees. That’s because they’re smart.

Think about the last time you decided to buy something based on a cold-call, if you don’t believe me. Even if the cold-call was totally trustworthy, nobody likes a surprise intrusion much less one that demands immediate attention and a decision. We’re busy, we’re thinking about other things, we don’t have the headspace for it, so we put it off… and often we forget.

We all know this is true. So why do we launch in exactly this way?

Slow build-up is about honoring the way people actually want to make decisions, and making it work to your (and your potential customer’s) advantage.

If you do it right, “slow” means over a period of weeks. Yes, weeks!

Inherent Value

Who are you more likely to hire: the nice person you see every week at the user group, who’s given talks there about the subject area you’re hiring for, who’s given you free advice that totally worked… or a stranger who just sent you their résumé?

The known — and trusted — quantity, right? Naturally. We all hate risk and we love feeling safe. And this explains the need for Inherent Value.

So what do you do over those slow build-up weeks? How do you reduce risk and create a sense of safety? What do you build up with?

Valuable content.

You want your launch process to be chockfull of goodies — information, freebies, live consultations, whatever — that are so good, your potential customer is delighted to hear from you.

Give them things that make them smarter, stronger, better. Yes, for free. Yes, your (pre)launch content has to be useful and interesting, even if the potential customer never buys.

Think of each one as a mini-product in and of itself. And then give it away.

Why? Because this is how you build trust. You show the customer that you understand their pain — and you can help them kill it. You show them you understand them. You show them you can help them. You show them that what you’ve got is good quality.

They learn, over time, that:

  • you get where they’re coming from
  • your emails are worth opening
  • your advice is worth following

Bam!

That’s a kind of trust and collaborative relationship you could never build by “countering objections.”

Path of Logic

Have you ever worked with somebody — a boss, a coach, a friend, a parent — who knew far better than to tell you what to do? Who, instead, wisely and deftly, helped you realize the right choice, and let it be your decision?

Keep them in mind, because that’s what your end goal is.

Our final ingredient is this exact experience. Path of Logic is really the strategy, and the previous two ingredients are tactics you used to implement this strategy.

Your goal is to build a logical path of decision-making, and then lead your potential customer down it.

That path will lead them to conclude on their own that yes, you do solve a problem they have — or it will lead them to conclude that no, you don’t.

Path of Logic is not about getting to yes, it’s about persuading the customer to take the time to consider your product at all.

Most folks can’t even get that much mindshare with their (failed) product launches. It’s like that old joke — “Tell me, what do you think of me?” “I don’t think of you at all.” That’s where most people’s products live: the zone of no-thought. The potential customer has no opinion, which is worse than a negative opinion.

If you can persuade a potential customer to take that time to consider your product long enough decide yes or no, you’re winning.

Putting it all together

And you do that by:

  • Slowly
  • Giving them valuable content
  • Showing them you understand their pain points
  • Demonstrating that you can help them kill the pain points
  • Persuading them to try your [free] advice, freebies, excerpts, tools, whatever
  • Broaching the topic of “If you like this free stuff, you’ll love my paid product”
  • Explaining more about how the product will help them
  • Counting down to when they can buy it
  • And finally, launching your paid product

SGSDPBECA… it’s that easy! (Please. Send help.)

Seriously, though, if you use this process in this way, by the time you actually launch your product, you’ll have plenty of customers trusting you, convinced that they want what you’re about to sell, and ready to buy. All before you slap a Buy Button on it.

It means you can launch in a respectful way, and a useful way, which creates and preserves goodwill… while also making sales.

It also diffuses launch day freakout, somewhat, because you know that it’s not One Day That Changes Everything, but a process that you’ll implement over time, piece by piece.

Want to learn more about how to implement all this?

I practice what I preach ;) And I’ve got something to offer you.

Want to see how this works in practice? Want insight into how you can make SIP work for you?

Learn how SIP works for real people and real products in my Launch Roundtable, on April 7, 2013.

What: A mini-conference
Where: 100% online! attend from your couch!
When: April 7, 2013, 12 pm to 3pm Eastern
Who: Me, Alex (my co-teacher for 30×500), and three of my students, Brennan Dunn, Brandon Savage, and Chris Hartjes. And you?

It just so happened that three of my 30×500 Launch Class students recently launched 3 products, all in the same week. What a great case study, I thought. And what a great opportunity to compare methods, approaches, results, and help folks learn.

And so we decided to put together the Launch Roundtable for you.

Our lineup:

  • Chris Hartjes, from 30×500 Summer 2012, launched his first 30×500-style product, a book
  • Brandon Savage, from 30×500 Summer 2012, launched his second product, a workshop
  • Brennan Dunn, from 30×500 Summer 2011, launched his fourth product, a big ebook/video/workbook package

You’ll learn how each of these launches went, how they were designed, when they were started, and what content was used. And you’ll learn how these guys changed their launch strategies from one product to the next, as they learned and evolved.

(In case you’re wondering, I’ve used the SIP approach to launch software (and so has Brennan). It’s sort of a coincidence that these 3 products are educational products, but SIP works on anything.)

You’ll also get:

  • an insider’s look at exactly how those 3 implemented the SIP approach for their “boring” products, leading to more than $36,000 in sales
  • the emails they sent and blog posts they used, and when
  • revenue breakdowns
  • the opportunity to ask your own questions
  • a recording and transcript to keep forever and ever

You can’t beat it. Tickets cost $179 if you buy by Friday Mar 22, and $199 afterwards.

And thanks to my launch process, there are only 35 seats (out of 100!) left at time of writing :)

Get my next bootstrappy gettin-shit-done essay delivered straight to your inbox. (And be first in line for tickets & discounts.) Drop your name in the box!

Discussion

  1. Brandon

    Process OVER Events

    That’s heard a lot in EVERY aspect of life I can imagine… Businesses (as in product launches), exercise (you just cannot expect to be slim/fit overnight) and even relationships…

    Nothing is just built overnight, and maybe everyone knows it, they have that voice on their heads, it’s just that lazyness and procastination can be much powerful

    Reply
  2. Austin L. Church

    Great stuff here, Amy. Thank you for sharing (and for taking the time to make your writing both informative and entertaining).

    That old joke you mention—“Tell me, what do you think of me?” “I don’t think of you at all.”—is an excerpt from a conversation between Howard Roark and Peter Keating in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead.

    But you probably already knew that. :)

    Reply

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