Almost every business owner I know has a little seedling of a business idea, ready to nurture and grow, but kept on the backburner whilst they are busy with the standard day-to-day fare in their business. But what if you were to follow up with that plan, or if you have a fully-fledged and realised new product, service or offering and want to get it out into the world? How do you do that? Where do you even begin? The answer is a launch – either a ‘soft’ launch (where you release the product without fanfare to test the water and/or beta-test the product or service), or a full launch with all of the bells and whistles and eco-friendly confetti you can find!
It might sound a little overwhelming, but with some careful planning prior to the event, it is possible to launch a product or service effectively without descending into lack-of-sleep related madness. Here are my top tips for planning your launch:
- Refine your product/service/offering – think carefully about what you are planning on launching. Carry out some market research (if you haven’t already!) and give some trusted peers the chance to test out your offering and give unfiltered, constructive feedback. Is this actually needed? Does it actually work? Who actually wants it? This is the most important step in the planning process, as if you’ve developed something no-one wants, or that doesn’t work, or have no clear idea about the characteristics of your target demographic, you need to rethink your product/service before you invest valuable time, money and effort even thinking about launching it.
- Sort out pricing and consider offers (upsell/cross sell) – once you are happy with your product, you need to think carefully about pricing it. What is the very minimum you would need to sell your product/service for to ensure that it remains financially viable? Once you’ve established this you can ensure that all of your prices – including those with a special offer – are above this minimum price level. You can also think about special offers (early bird discount, member discount, etc.) and about any products or services that you could ‘package up’ with your product or sell alongside your product to generate additional revenue.
- Prepare your lead magnet – one thing that can be incredibly useful at grabbing attention from interested parties at launch time is a ‘freebie’ or low cost item that can be used to drop people into your sales funnel. A free eBook or downloadable PDF guide, or even a webinar or free Facebook challenge – all of these could help encourage interested potential customers to sign up to your mailing list and let them know about your upcoming product launch.
- Plan your launch, from start to finish. Making a daily planner of what is happening where, and when, is a great way of keeping on top of your launch. If you’ve mapped out when you are going live on your social accounts, what posts you are making (and where!), the emails you are sending out and the offers you are making, I can guarantee that you’ll wake up every day during the launch feeling in control of the situation, rather than running around maniacally being busy rather than productive.
- Set a realistic date – in my experience, last minute launches are most likely to result in failure (and stress!). There are obviously exceptions to the rule, but the planning and testing involved in a product or service launch needs time if you want it to run smoothly; setting up and testing email marketing campaigns, writing engaging content and planning engaging challenges and ‘live’ events isn’t something that can be rushed without increasing the risk of errors occurring – something that you don’t want to happen when you are trying to convey your skill and professionalism to your potential customers.
- Set realistic goals and monitor them – it’s easy to set yourself a goal for 50,000 new sign ups and millions of pounds of revenue, but is that realistic? How many people are there out there who fit your target demographic? And how many of those are likely to be interested in investing in your product or service right now? You also need to think about your own capacity – if you are expecting hundreds of new sign ups, do you have the infrastructure in place to support them? It’s so important to be both realistic and practical with your goal setting and planning, and to keep records of what happens (and when!) during your launch.
- Plan a review after the launch – if you’ve got the records of what happened in your launch (who bought, when they bought, who signed up for your lead magnet and the open rate/engagement rate of your email marketing activities, etc.), then it’s important to take the time after the event to objectively review the good, the bad, and the ugly of the launch. Things don’t always go to plan; you might not sell as many products as you wanted, or might not get as many people signing up to your lead magnet as you anticipated. Perhaps your engagement levels across your marketing efforts aren’t as high as you expected? Whatever has happened is still a valuable learning resource, and an opportunity for improvement next time around.
I hope that you’ve found these planning tips helpful! And don’t forget, if you are planning a launch for a new product or service and need some advice or support with the technical aspects of it, please get in touch – we’ve helped dozens of businesses with successful launches, and would be happy to chat through your particular needs.