Last year, a client of mine asked my advice for a successful website launch. I came up with a list and shared it in a blog post titled, How to Launch Anything & Make it Rain. It’s full of universal marketing tips that can be applied to whatever you want to announce in a big way: online shop, blog, product line or book.
Since then, I’ve successfully launched three types of products: The Luminaries Club (a membership program), Your Best Year 2015 (a book) and the Movers & Makers Summit (a live event). I learned so much from those projects, I found myself compiling another “how to launch anything” post that you’re sure to love. So without further ado …
Here are five steps to make it happen already in 2015:
1. Start before you think you’re ready.
The single biggest threat to our goals is setting vague, distant deadlines for their completion. When I wrote my first “If I Knew I Could Not Fail, I Would …” list last year, I didn’t plan to do any of the items on the list anytime soon! In fact, I only wrote the post to demonstrate how fun the blog topic was:
I’m anxious to share, but this is something that I think about all the time. If I knew I could not fail, I would…
- Focus all of my efforts on group coaching
- Lead live, in-person workshops for groups of 100+
- Host a women’s retreat for 20 creatives
- Start a podcast
One of my previous clients commented that I should do all those things, even if I might fail at one or two. It knocked me off my seat; I couldn’t believe how right she was.
I didn’t feel ready yet, but I accepted the challenge. I got right to work on, not one of my big goals, but all four of them! I launched a group coaching program, The Summer Shift and worked with a handful amazing clients. I’m hosting a women’s retreat, The Movers & Makers Summit for 20 creatives next month in Charleston, SC. After looking into it further, I didn’t want a podcast, but I host live end-month chats in its place. Finally, the in-person conference for 100+ is already in the works for early 2016.
I never would’ve gone for those things last year if I hadn’t shared my list and listened to the feedback it received, but I’m so glad I did! I now consider the “If I Knew I Could Not Fail” list a necessary exercise (+ challenge) to be completed every year.
2. Create a marketing plan & stick with it.
Brace yourself: Sometimes you’ll release your glorious, passionate creation into the world and nobody will even notice its there. When this happens, the majority of creatives will ditch the new creation out of sheer disappointment.
Don’t be one of them! It’s not only your job to create the product, it’s also your job to help it find success. For every new project you release, launch it with a 3-6 month marketing plan. As any good marketer will tell you, the release date is the beginning of the campaign. Here’s how I usually run my launches:
- 3 months before: Announce product and release date
- 6 weeks before: Regular mentions and reminders of release date
- 7-day launch period: Everything’s about the product, all the time
- 3 months after: Regular mentions and reminders of product
People need time to consider the offer, but don’t let them forget about it! Make several notes that span six months surrounding the product’s launch in your calendar to gently remind your customers that your new creation exists.
If you’ve never done this before, it may seem “salesy”, but it’s actually a very natural part of the process. When you work on a big project launch, you become pretty obsessed with it. You’ll be able to go on about it all day, and there’s no better people to discuss it with than the very people who want to bring home the finished product!
3. You have to ask for the YES!
For me, the after-promotion comes very naturally too, but this is where most people drop the ball. Again, don’t be one of them! After a project launch, we think the sales we got are the people who wanted to say “yes” and the rest of the people rejected it, so that’s that. Right? Wrong! Very, very wrong!
Before I continue, I want to credit the concept behind the following graphics to Derek Halpern of the blog Social Triggers. I learned this lesson from him, and I know you’ll be able to put it to good use.
When we create a product and list it online, we see the customer’s next action as a very black-and-white move. They buy or they don’t. They will or they won’t. They’re always either a YES or a NO.
But that’s not how you shop! These days, impulse buys and door-to-door sales pitches are becoming a thing of the past because of … the internet. You have all day to compare prices, choose your best options and read reviews. If you’re still unsure about the purchase, you can jump on Facebook and ask your friends what they buy to receive instantaneous feedback.
Black-and-white yes or no’s are a thing of the past.
The above graphic shows how we typically perceive our customers will receive our offer. After you launch, you figure, if they said yes – great they have the product now; If they said no – oh well, maybe next time.
Raving fans are the people who love and follow your work and are eager to buy. The customers at the “YES” line already know and trust you, and you can pretty much expect they’re ready to buy when you make the offer. The customers well below the “YES” line are not interested, and you’re most likely expecting them to say no before you even make the offer.
This is where your customers ACTUALLY stand:
ALL of the people standing between “ready to buy” and “not interested” are MAYBES. And when you don’t follow-up on your offer or follow-through with your marketing calendar, you leave their business on the table.[Tweet “You’ve been leaving business on the table! #mindblown How to Make it Happen Already in 2015”]
4. Meet your deadlines, no matter what.
Publicly announce your deadlines at least one month before the project’s release so that everyone will know when to expect it. And then, meet that deadline no matter what.
The hardest project I have ever launched was The Luminaries Club. I desperately wanted to push the deadline back, but I had been talking about it’s arrival for months, and I was determined to make it happen even though there were several technical issues (the day before deadline, the check-out button still wasn’t working). The launch date was October 1, 2014, and I solved the last issue and wrapped production the night before at 11:56 PM. I lost my marbles in the process, but I got it done.
5. It’s meant to be hard.
I love Mossa workouts; they’re so incredibly challenging. Right when I reach a personal breaking point, the instructor says …
It’s meant to be hard.
It’s always exactly what I need to hear in order to keep going. When we meet a point of resistance, it’s often in our nature to say: I can’t do this; it’s too much for me, even though we know that challenge creates change. However, the majority of us are eager to surrender back to the safety of our comfort zones when the going gets tough.
Don’t be one of them! Remember: it’s meant to be hard. If you want to create extraordinary results, you have to first accept and complete the difficult challenges.
I refer to the month that I built The Luminaries Club as “weepy September.” I was prone to sobbing in public. My patience and willpower were completely depleted. My children nicknamed me “Grumplestilskin.” I wanted nothing more than to call the whole thing quits. But then I remembered, it’s meant to be hard.
6. Go for broke.
If you’re not willing to go broke for it, then it’s not good enough yet. My most successful launches have been that passionate: I believed in the product so much that I was willing to invest, promote, sacrifice, invent … to do whatever I needed to do to make it the best that it could be and get it out into the world. You’ve got to deeply believe in it if you want others to do the same.
By the way if you loved this post, you will absolutely love The Luminaries Club. It’s full of business lessons, creative camaraderie, and helpful resources just like this. (See what I did there? Follow-through, my friends.)
Here’s to your success! Until next time and all the best,
Ok starting from scratch new biz new blog without a built up audience that will be launched for new biz. How do I implement this plan to announce product biz launch before i open the door so to speak? Should I stop and make a major refocus and effort to start dedicated blog ASAP with posts about new biz launch and related topics even though I have no audience and this will be a brand new blog. ( This biz is seperate from my wedding photography biz and blog and markeging to my photography clients or potential clients on my photography blog does not fit at this time but may in future. ) Re directing focus on launching the new company biz blog first may delay launch of business a little. But it seems that it may be prudent to take a step back and reorder my launch. Do I Blog first followed within a short period by the launch of the business? The biz will sell a custom design product to client. ( initial sales will likely be one time sales with the product fitting a very specific client need/want at that particular point in life. Business plan is to start narrow, niche based and then developand expand to generate repeat business opportunities with those clients in the future per different life stages (think life stages… married, baby, family, reunions, anniversaries…). Your scenario you had a related blog with developed audience up and running. Any suggestions when starting from ground zero? Any other ways or sources could you sugget to get the word out prior to official biz/online store /product and service launch to work with the plan you sugested in this post? Thanks for researching and sharing this marketing knowledge. So good it made me pause and rethink my biz launch plan.
I think your first step would be to set deadlines with very realistic goals. If I were launching a brand new business, I would skip over the pre-launch mentions and announcements shared in this post and get it online right now. Nobody will see it until you start sharing it anyway.
You don’t need to stop everything and become a full-time blogger for this new business, but if you can create a website that has hints and teasers for what’s coming (pictures of the products, maybe?) plus a date to look for it, that’s a start.
You’re correct that it will be very different from a launch on an established blog, mostly because you’ll be doing a lot of work when nobody’s looking. And what’s considered a “successful” launch will be measured on a much smaller scale. You have to lay that foundation, though. Your most critical job will be to follow-through and persist.
You asked if there are any ways to get the word out beforehand? I think that’s a waste of time. You’re not going to create raving fans for a product they haven’t seen and a business they’ve never heard of yet. You’ll spend the majority of your startup time just showing people what you have to offer.
Starting from ground zero, here’s what I would do:
– Grab the domain + a website and start a blog.
– Create about 6 entries on that blog: announce the business, show your prototype products, etc. Take EXCELLENT PICTURES. Make the last entry the launch date.
– In addition to the typical things (Facebook fan page, Instagram and Pinterest shares), create a board on Pinterest with the new business’ name. Pin directly from your blog so people can click back and learn more.
– Start an Etsy shop in the business’ name and link it back to the blog (if you don’t like Etsy, you don’t have to – but this is what I would do because I see Etsy as just another platform & tool)
– List products
– Start marketing
That’s a whole other post. In fact, I would treat your new venture as more of a “building a new creative business” than launching something. For that I’d refer you the complete series: 31 Days to Build Your Own Creative Business (links to the recap) Good luck!
Thank you for always offering inspiring words.
I’m following your blog this year and combining it with some other exercises to revamp and energize my business.
this hit me today as something i need to do for a couple of my projects. I told my husband a month ago that “if i don’t talk about what I do, nobody else will” and the marketing plan you map out will help me “talk the talk”!
ps – I read that same article by Derek Halpern and agree!!
Keeping warm in Ohio!
YES! Talk about what you do; shout it from the rooftops!
I was having a conversation with a client of mine who’s at a stage where it’s time to put herself out there and start marketing. She has to start talking to her customers, and it reminded me of how we build relationships in-person. It starts off gradually with an introduction and builds from there.
During our discussion, my client said, “I hear the way you talk to people and promote your offers, but I’m not there yet.” And she was right! We can’t talk to people we’ve just introduced ourselves to the same way we hear people speak to friends they’ve known for years.
But every relationship starts somewhere, and that’s how it builds into a loyal and trusted friendship. So, please, take that with you as you begin to tell people what you do! Realize that all introductions are somewhat uncomfortable, but the more you share your message, the more comfortable you’ll become, the more relationships you’ll build, the farther your offerings will reach!
Good luck to you, Noel & send some snow to Virginia!
Thank you for yet another awesome post lisa. This is
my year to launch my shop and i am working through
my plan right now. I am going to stick to it and accept that i will never be “ready” and it wont be perfect but it WILL happen.
Love this post! I’m staying strong with my New Year’s resolution, but needed a mental “pick me up”. Feeling motivated to move forward! Thank you for inspiring!
Thank you so much for this post! I have procrastinated on my book, mostly because of lack of personal deadlines. This has helped me greatly. I’m going to write myself out some deadlines and hold myself to them.