9 Steps for Your Product Launch

One of the best business books I’ve read in the past 2 years was “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“.

In it, the author chronicles how Jobs prepared to release the Ipod and Iphone (and eventually the Ipad).  Essentially, how he did “offline” product launches.

Thanks to his product launches, Mac geeks were lining up by the hundreds (thousands?) outside of Mac stores to be the first to get these new gadgets.

And the good news for us is that we can achieve the same effect online with systematic product launches (while using Steve Jobs’s gadgets – yay expensive computers!).

So I’ve given you the 9 steps to a perfect product launch. You’ll want to print this out.

It’s a pretty sweet summary that will help you set up your first product launch – or make your next one more successful.

Step #1 – Set the Date

For a big launch with “big name” affiliates, you need to pick a date 6 months in advance, if not more. The schedule for the 2nd half of the year has already been set in stone among the guys I know, including January.

Plus, you’ll need at least 3-6 months of time scheduled for relationship building with potential affiliates, where you go and help them first before asking for any help in return.

I highly recommend you create a list of EVERYONE you could possibly think of who might have a readership that is interested in your product.

Go through the list each day and contact 5-10 people, offering to help them, thanking them for any value you’ve received through their products and emails, being an affiliate for them if it is a good fit, connecting them to other people who could benefit from knowing them, etc.

In other words, be an amazing person and value adder.

Build friendships. Put the work in, get to know them, and if you truly believe your product can help their readers, bring it up at a suitable time and ask the potential affiliate if there is anything you can do to improve your product to help their readers.

Step #2- Recruit Affiliates

You have to recruit affiliates and have them commit to that date. This where the magic happens.

You could have the greatest launch sequence in the world, but if you don’t have affiliates, you won’t make a lot of sales.

On the other hand, even a mediocre launch will do a lot of sales with the right affiliate support. That said, I’m not endorsing anyone ever does a mediocre launch.

Just stating facts.

Your biggest “selling efforts” have to be in your affiliate recruitment. This makes or breaks a launch.

Step #3- Your Product Launch Needs a Unique Hook

While someone’s product might be great and effective, if it’s no different than all the other solutions on the market, it will be tough to get affiliates to promote it.

For example, in the fitness world, a lot of people have good, effective products that provide short workouts and good nutrition advice.

Again, the product works. But it’s no different than the 10,000 other products on the market.

So a unique hook, a unique problem solving method, a unique angle must be delivered in order to get affiliate interest.

A great example of this is my friend John Romaniello’s “Final Phase Fat Loss” program.

John’s solution went deeper than just tough workouts for fat loss, and instead focused on the unique problem of stubborn fat deposits that can be beaten by workouts specifically designed to increase or decrease hormones that affect those stubborn fat deposits.

That’s different.

That allows him to stand out and recruit affiliates and that’s why he had a record-breaking launch back in 2010.

You may even need to spend time here on step 3 before you even set your date and start your affiliate recruitment, although with the help of affiliates, you may be able to refine your unique angle over time.

But no matter what, you can’t continue on until you’ve tackled this stage.

Now that you have the date, the affiliates, and the angle, we can get into the nuts and bolts of running a launch.

Step #4-  3-Day Pre-Launch With Awesome Content

You’ll need to develop an amazing free givewaway for your pre-launch opt-in page. This giveaway will be tied in to your unique hook for the product.

There are plenty of proven pre-launch opt-in pages that work, and you can find those on the internet.

Essentially you’ll need some nice graphics on the left hand side, a great headline convincing the visitor that you have the solution to their problem, and a nice looking, functional opt-in box on the right hand side.

Again, squeeze pages like this are readily available online.

I recommend signing up for Ryan Deiss’s email newsletters. He’s a top internet marketer and has programs that will help you build better squeeze pages.

Step #5- Co-ordinate and Resell Affiliates on Promoting Your Pre-Launch

About 8-12 weeks out from your pre-launch, you’ll need to confirm the date and re-sell your affiliates on participating in this pre-launch phase.

These days, many launches also include bonus prizes given to affiliates for sending specific amounts of visitors during the pre-launch.

Again, I can’t emphasize enough how important affiliate recruitment is for a product launch. If you don’t have affiliate support, you really don’t have much of a launch (unless you are doing an internal launch to your own massive customer list).

Step #6 – Deliver Great Pre-Launch Content

Once a prospect has opted-in to your pre-launch list, you’ll spend the next 10 days giving them great content, showing how your system solves their biggest problem.

You’ll dedicate one message to the origin story of your solution, another message to what makes your solution different, and a third message to showing social proof.

Next up, you’ll send a fourth message to a blog contest (where you invite readers to tell you why they want your solution – and you give out 5, 10, 20, or even 30 copies to the best answers).

Finally, a message showing your new prospects everything that they are going to get when the product launches.

Step #7- Re-sell Your Affiliates on Mailing During the Launch

These days, launch prizes include group trips for the top 10 affiliates, plus cash bonuses for the top 5 spots, and additional bonus cash prizes for hitting certain sales goals (i.e. 500 sales = $1000 bonus cash).

Essentially, you gotta go big or go home.

Now, now, don’t let me scare you off. If you’re new to building a website business, you’ll obviously have a proportionately smaller launch with smaller affiliates who don’t expect these big time prizes. I’m just showing you what’s on going on at some levels.

In the Internet Marketing world, I’ve heard of top launch prizes such as BMW’s, motorcycles, and many other crazy prizes. Plus, Ipads are given away to affiliates like candy, but again, that is all proportional to the rewards received by the person/company doing the launch.

However, and these are my last words on the launch prizes…you have to shift your mindset from “I’m going to make a ton of money on the launch” to “I’m really just using the launch to buy a customer list”.

And then you’ll build your business based on selling back-end products to your new customer list.

Pound that into your head…tattoo it on your arms…do whatever it takes to understand that message.

Step #8 – Launch

Finally, the big day is here. Your prospects are eager for your solution, your affiliates are happy to promote, and all that pent up enthusiasm leads to a big sales day.

Day 1 should be your biggest sales day, and many launches add a fast action bonus as extra-extra-incentive for people who buy on day one.

Some launches are also announcing another extra bonus on day two
in order to get more people to take action. Whether this leads to more overall sales, we don’t know, but it is unlikely to hurt.

Finally, on Day 3
, you have to push the urgency of the deadline. This will make day three your second biggest sales day – or in some cases, your biggest sales day of the entire launch.

And of course, always be helping your affiliates and re-selling them on mailing on day 1, day 2, and even mailing twice on day 3 to emphasize the deadline.

By the way, almost all product launches are based around a reduced price for the product launch – almost always at 50% off or more. And when that deadline hits, the price doubles.

Also, make sure you are fully prepared for the massive amounts of customer service that you’ll have to deal with during a launch.

Remember that at least 10% – if not 30% – of people will have some type of download problem.

And when you’re dealing with 1000, 10000, or 20000 orders in 3 days, soon you’re starting to talk about real numbers. So make sure you have the logistics planned out, and make sure you’ve tested your order system a dozen times.

Then again, no matter how much you test, SOMETHING will go wrong…but don’t get too stressed…just fix it the best you can. You’ll have time to sleep after the launch.

Step #9 – Strategically Plan to Increase Affiliate Commissions AFTER the Launch

If you are using the Clickbank affiliate system, your new prospects will be affiliate-tagged for up to 60 days. That means if you can sell another product (perhaps a DVD version of your product or some other enhancement to your system), then your affiliates will make more money in commissions without ever having to do any more work.

They will thank you big time for this…and be more than happy to help you with your product launches in the future.

So let me leave you with 3 uncommon facts about Product Launches

#1 – The “REAL” purpose of the launch is to build a customer list…not only to make money on the launch.

#2 – Another “REAL” purpose of your launch is to do such a great job at making your affiliates commissions that they are happy to help you with all of your launches in the future. NEVER, EVER short-change your affiliates. That is website business suicide.

#3 – Never forget  – The biggest sale of an effective launch is getting affiliates to commit to promoting you.

That should keep you busy for a while,

Craig Ballantyne

“Good ideas are common. What’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.” – Ashleigh Brilliant

  • Dan

    Thanks for this list Craig, there’s some great advice here. I’ve started compiling a list of potential affiliates in my niche, so that’s a start.

    I have a question though. I’m following your $100k in 12 months plan and I plan to price my online course at $19.95 + upsell and then raise the price to $49.95 + upsell in the future. This is my main product and I don’t have many ideas for products to sell on the back end, so I’m thinking I’ve picked the wrong niche. Is my website doomed from the start if I can’t come up with a back end product to sell?

  • Awesome step by step launch plan. Just as good as “How to make 100k in 12 months” blog post. Thank you CB.

  • Wow! I have a folder in my email called, “Business Builders”, in which I put links to posts like this in there so I can refer to it anytime. This is great Craig – thank you! I do have a question. Have you or anyone you know used Optimize Press (optimizepress.com) or anything similar to launch their products and squeeze pages? I sometimes think of the entire process (clickbank set-up, squeeze page, up-sell page, download page, thank-you page, etc) and know that it will take work and effort, which I don’t mind. But the battle I’m facing is if I should put in the time to set this up using software like this, saving a good bit of money, or “suck it up” and pay someone to get it all set up for me. If you or anyone has some feedback, I would love to hear it! Thanks

    • intind

      I recommend paying someone to do it for you. They might end up using optimize press, but I guarantee you that learning optimize press is not in your 5%.

  • Peter

    Dan, There are many types of products you can create for up sell. Having a been a fitness product developer for over 10 years I thought would give you some ideas below :

    1)Create a hard copy version of your ebook e.g. create a fitness DVD of your fitness ebook
    2)Create a monthly version of your products e.g. a new workout each month.
    3)Sell one on one coaching with you.
    4)Sell access to a member’s area.
    5)Sell monthly webinars

    Etc!

    There really are so many way you up sell someone. I hope these samples maybe gives you some ideas on what you can do too.

    Good luck

    Peter

  • Great post! As a beginner, though, I do have one question. How do you begin connecting to affiliates? As an undergrad, I don’t have the money to invest in joining a networking group (though I know later that will be a critical part to success). So where is an inexpensive place to start building those vital networks? Thanks!

    • intind

      To find affiliates, you go online and see who is selling products similar to yours. Then contact that person and build a relationship with them. Also, doing a launch and getting building up affiliate support will attract other affiliates to you. Be remarkable. That’s the best way to get attention.

  • Thanks for the reply Craig – great advice. I tried to reply to it, but it wouldn’t let me for some reason. Thanks again!

  • Dan

    Peter,
    Thanks for the reply. I’ve actually thought about some of the ideas you mentioned, mainly a monthly version/update and a membership area. My main product will be aimed mostly to consumers, but in my niche I think the up sells mentioned above would work best aimed at professionals who want to take the trade to the next level.

    Again, thanks for the tips,
    Dan

  • Craig, I found this post really beneficial. I’m working on a launch right now, with a high profile couple in the fitness niche. The product is mine but with the partnership I was concerned that I wasn’t going to make much during the actual launch. Now I see that is not really an issue, providing the list generated is mine. Thank you.

    A question a little unrelated to this post, but what do you and others recommend for Helpdesk software?

  • I am going to have to sit down and follow these steps to get my product launched. I have been putting it off for some time, it is no that I button down the hatches and get to work.

    Bryan