Too often people expect their first launch to be a huge success.
If their expectations aren’t met, they’re quick to throw in the towel and move on.
While others won’t bother launching until their product is perfect.
And a third group decides to give up even before getting their product out there.
The problem is people expect too much from their first launch.
They expect customers to whip out their credit card and purchase their product right away. If you’re a startup or this is your first time launching a product or service, people will be reluctant to purchase based on you not having a track record. Couple that with buy time. Buy time as I define it in this post is how long it takes before a customer is ready to buy your product. It depends on price point and how much time it will take to install or use your product.
There are a number of ways to establish credibility for your product or service.
Here are a few of the most popular:
Customer testimonial: having people who have tested out your product or used it for some time provide a brief quote. The quote should accurately describe their experience using the product and how it benefited them.
Customer case study: provide in-depth analysis of a customer’s experience using your product. You want to make sure the experience is replicable. So if they experienced something out of the ordinary, others may question their experience. You also want to show why someone chose to use your product versus everything else in the market, and why they would recommend it to others.
Here’s an example of a case study from a student who participated in my Confident Communicator Course in 2016. You’ll notice how specific it is in terms of the customer’s persona: being a software engineer who is mid-career. The challenges the customer had on their own, resistance they had to our product, how they got over that resistance, how they benefited from the product, and why they’d recommend it to others.
Influencer: you can leverage someone else’s credibility and audience. The key here is to make sure their audience is one that will want your product. Otherwise, it can call into question their credibility and come off as pushy. The best influencers are ones whose use of your product seems natural.
Press: everyone wants to make the cover of front page news, or be featured on a post in TechCrunch. However, this can be a very broad strokes approach, which may build awareness for your product but not lead to any sales. So like influencers, you want to find press whose audience would want your product.
Multiple touch points: often one of the above isn’t enough. It can take up to 7 touch points to get someone to actually purchase your product. Here’s a recent example from someone who purchased my book:
I’ve learned about the book from your guest post on Slidebean’s blog:
I stumbled upon it while searching whether Slidebean has a presenter mode with separate screen (searched: “slidebean presenter screen”). Which it does not have. But, hey, I found your book, so overall I got a really good result from that search query ;)
What ultimately sold me on book’s webpage was praise from Dan Martell. I participate in one of Dan’s entrepreneur-focused programs. If he recommends something it must have a real value, no questions asked :)
Notice how it was first a search, followed by a blog post, and finally an influencer Dan Martell’s praise for the product.
That may work, but it’s important that you understand what is going on in the heads of customers.
Let’s take a simple example: you’re launching your first book. You price it at $25, but during launch week you’ll offer a 20% discount.
There are some customers on the fence. But do you really think that saving $5 is really going to convince them to buy the book now versus later?
If they happen to be bargain shoppers who are always looking for a discount, then the $5 savings could tip them to purchase it immediately instead of waiting another week.
Those who value their time. If someone just doesn’t have the time to read your book right now, a $5 savings isn’t necessarily going to persuade them to purchase your book, because they know they will buy it and it will just sit on their shelf.
What you really want to be doing is attracting customers who are going to purchase and use your product immediately. Why?
Because you need referrals! Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful. In my book, a customer who just pays me for a product and then doesn’t use it is worthless. Sure I’ve made some money, but I don’t continue to make money off of them. The only way I’ll continue to make money off of them is if they continue to buy for me or they tell others to buy from me.
To attract this group, you need to understand what is their acute need.
Have they tried other products? What do they love or hate about them? Why would they choose your product over others?
For example, when I was launching my second self-published book Present! A Techie’s Guide To Public Speaking a lot of people told me they didn’t have time to speak in public.
Some told me they had other priorities like staying heads down or family obligations.
Others worried that their boss’ or colleagues’ would find them to be too self-promotional or unfocused in their work.
And of course, there was the group that was just afraid to speak up for various reasons: not feeling like an expert, being shy or introverted, or fearing an audience’s reaction.
It seemed like no one needed my product right away…
Knowing that people were afraid of public speaking, didn’t have time, and had a series of other objections, I could have just thrown in the towel.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I chose an alternative, to educate people on the importance of public speaking for their careers.
Prior to launching my book, I spent nearly a year educating people. I did talks, I created posts, and I spread the word no matter
People became curious, curiosity led to interest, and eventually, the message was clear: you need to invest the time to speak if you’re going to advance in your career.
Prior to launching, I ran a pre-order campaign on Publishizer, and it became clear that people were eager to purchase my product.
For two reasons:
1. It takes time. You have to invest the time to listen to people’s objections. Then you have to listen to what their goals or dreams are. Since they don’t know there is a disconnect from their objections to their goals and dreams, you have to figure out how your product can bridge the gap.
2. They’re looking for a quick solution. Ads are seen as a quick way to attract people to a product, but are they really convincing people to buy? Think about the last product you saw an ad for, then immediately went out and purchased it and used it, and you’ll have your answer ;)
If your first launch wasn’t a success that’s OK. There is no shame is re-launching a product or doing an iterative launch.
I’ve had some epic failed product launches. I’m not proud of them, but each launch taught me something valuable about how to appeal to customers. Those lessons have kept me moving forward and launching new products like books, courses and software apps.
Whether you’re about to launch or you’ve already launched, think about the following questions:
1. Why aren’t people interested in this product (competition, time, need)?
2. What are they looking to achieve (goals and dreams)?
3. Where is the disconnect between their current behavior and their goals and dreams?
4. How could my product resolve that disconnect?
5. How can I present the disconnect in a way they’ll understand, and it will build up demand for my product?
Did you recently launch a product or you’re getting ready to launch one?
Let me know in the comments below what worked for you or what you’re thinking of doing.
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