Businesses launch new products and services year-round.
Whether they are inspired by a holiday, a cause, or a simple event in the year (Spring forward with your clock and our deals!), entrepreneurs are motivated to find a way to make their details stand out to those browsing.
But….there is one time of the year on every entrepreneur’s radar.
Those precious two months where people are looking want to learn about your best offers, deal, promotions, and discounts.
That’s right…the holiday season.
That is why September 1st is the (unofficial) kick-off for the launch season!
Now before we keep going, keep in mind this “guide” can be used for ANY point in time of the year. We are purposely focusing on the holiday season because statistically that is when the vast majority of businesses jump on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday bandwagon.
To get the right perspective for this blog, set your mind (and if you are visual – calendar) to September 1st.
Over the next 4-8 weeks, you may begin to see teasers about what’s in store for this holiday season.
From freebies in the form of downloads to informative webinars, entrepreneurs will be competing to get your attention (and some of that holiday cash you have been saving!)
So what’s involved in a successful launch?
Well as there are a multitude of checklist on the internet (and we will link a few below for your convenience), we won’t bore you with a breakdown. We will just do a high level overview to give a general idea and some software suggestions.
The big picture process is relatively the same whether the client is launching a new product, a webinar, a telesummit, or a book (once you get down to the nitty-gritty (official term of course) – it does begin to differ but again, we will provide checklist to help you along.
Quick note: We have used all the products we are suggesting to ensure the best overall experience – we don’t want to set you up with something that is only going to add frustration.
Picking a date
No matter what you are launching, you want to make sure you get it in front of your audience when they are online.
Facebook Insights is a fantastic resource for this.
How to find: Facebook Page -> Insights ->Posts -> When Your Fans Are Online
It doesn’t make any sense to launch on a Saturday if stats show your audience is online Tuesdays between 5pm and 7pm.
Knowing the date is important because EVERYTHING works backwards from this date!
Remember – most launches can take UP TO 8 weeks so if you know want to launch this by November 1st, guess when you are going to want to start – September 1st (see why we call it launch season).
This gives you plenty of time to nurture your audience via an indoctrination campaign, build trust, possibly throw in an upsell or two before you launch your big ticket item by – that’s right – BLACK FRIDAY!!
Hosting a solo webinar or co-hosting may not require as much calendar juggling as hosting a telesummit with multiple speakers. Even if the telesummit is pre-recorded with a daily drip (meaning a new video is released each day), you still have to figure out times to get everyone recorded.
Helpful note – make sure you make those participating complete a guest speaker form BEFORE recording their interview; otherwise, you will be playing a cat and mouse game trying to get bios, images, and etc.
Some participants also prefer if certain questions are asked, this allows them to provide those prompts AND a link to their freebie to add to your landing page (having everything up front makes it SO much easier when building your foundation.)
Jotform and Wufoo are great for collecting all of this information in one place if you do not have a CRM that allows forms with attachments. This way you aren’t fishing through emails trying to find what you need once it’s time to kick things in gear.
Building the foundation
For any type of launch – you need the following pieces (assuming you already have a website):
- Landing Page/Registration Page (for people to opt-in and receive communications). Convertkit, GetResponse, and Kartra do offer landing page options. Next up from that is LeadPages and if you want to run with the big dogs – ClickFunnels.
- Product Page (if you do a soft upsell or want to create a tripwire for your opt-in). Use the same program you selected for the above task.
- Hosting setup (for products: where they are being sold – Amazon, Shopify, website; for telesummits/webinars – where the videos are being hosted (or replays being stored if you are doing a live event) – embedded on an internal page: YouTube, Wistia, Vimeo, fully hosted – GoToWebinar, WebinarJam (EverWebinar or Instant Teleseminar if you plan to make it evergreen), Zoom, GetResponse, etc.
- Product Delivery – if you do an upsell, setting up the shopping cart and product delivery (this could be as easy as WooCommerce for a WordPress site, Gumroad, Simplegood.co or an embedded PayPal button.
- Email Marketing (for the initial welcome, reminders, and your indoctrination/nurturing campaign). MailChimp has changed their interface so automations are no longer free and you can only have one audience unless you purchase a plan.
An affordable alternative is ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, or (if you are willing to spend a little more but not pay for anything else because this is the BEST all-in-one) – Kartra.
We love Keap, Infusionsoft by Keap, and Ontraport and they WILL get the job done but for a small business – they are just not worth the budget strain.
- Affiliate program – this is your bread and butter if you are not doing this alone. Time is money and if you want your guest speakers to care as much as you do, they need to be making something from it!
The suggestions are endless as it strongly depends on the system you are using as your shopping cart for your product.
A quick alternative a lot of people have done is create a bitly link or utm tag for each guest and tracked the traffic that way (if a product is not being sold). Several CRMs have affiliate programs built in so check yours to see if you can create an affiliate link.
At about 3 weeks out, it is time to promote.
This gives you a week to test drive your ads/posts/content to see what is getting attention and then two weeks to push it hard without breaking the bank with an advertising budget.
Yes, you can run ads longer but remember – running an ad for a long time (and not creating a variety of copy and images – but just the same ONE ad) runs the risk of viewer’s fatigue or disregard (if you show the same ad more than three times, it will lose its effectiveness).
Run an ad in a super short window with a small budget and you will risk 0-1 exposures to your target audience (1-2 being optimal during the length of the campaign).
Test, Test, Test Again, and Launch
Make every effort to break what you have built. We are not kidding. Test everything, find the holes, the leaks, that loose floor boards. Push, pull, prod, and blow as hard as you can to make sure it is still standing.
User experience is EVERYTHING and you don’t want a potential lead to find your mistakes.
Once you have done a dry run, it is time to launch.
Whoa! What Hold On! Forget something?
Feeling like this is incomplete or we have forgotten something?
It is and we have! We could write for days about all the intricate details that go into a launch. Instead, the variety of checklist below will help you fill in the blanks; but, starting NOW will put you in the best position for success this launch season.
The purpose of this is to let you know you can’t wake up on Monday and have a full launch done by Friday (well you can but we wouldn’t recommend it for optimal success).
There is A LOT that goes into it and this is why you (and your support staff) need as much time as possible.
Best of luck and let us know how it went!
Checklist for your launches
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