- by Rory Ramsden
Small businessmenand entrepreneurs create hundreds of products every year and yet very few live up to expectations in terms of sales. Some of these deserve better. Others should never have been put together in the first place. Nonetheless, they should all have one thing in common. That is they are rooted in the hopes and desires of the people in the market segment they were intended for.
This fact is fundamental to any successful product launch and yet people get things back to front. They create a product that they think that their market wants. In fact, they put their expertise to work then tell the market about what they have done rather than asking the market what it wants then bending their skills to fulfill that desire.
This is the first and biggest mistake. If you are on the way to making it, stop. You are wasting your time. You are living in hope rather than basing your efforts on certainty. Steve Jobs never did any market research but that is not an excuse for you to ignore this vital step in the product development cycle. Know your market and know the people in it, then bring your own strengths to bear to deliver what they want.
That’s exactly what Steve did. He based his products on a proven market. He identified hot product niches then asked his engineers to apply their expertise to transform the solution and in so doing he created an entirely new market. One that had never previously existed. Get this right and your product launch strategy should work like gangbusters…
Here are 10 other mistakes people make and how to avoid them
Mistake #1: Too Little Too late – Your product launch starts when you decide you are going to create a new solution to an old problem. Most clients we come across focus on creating the product to the exclusion of the marketing strategy that goes with it. Just know that the former is only 20% of the project you have undertaken. That means you want to identify your product launch manager and get him on board as early as possible so that he can put the launch ignition sequence into action to wake up the people in your niche to the threat that they are facing.
Mistake #2: No Product Launch Ignition Phase – Many marketers try to engineer their product launches by watching what others do in the market place and copying their tactics. The trouble is that they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. A product launch starts months before the pre-launch sequence is initiated. This ignition phase is crucial. You build your authority. You make connections with other entrepreneurs in your market. You create curiosity. And finally you stimulate active interest. Each step is designed to prepare the ground for your product launch and educate your affiliates to communicate with the people on their lists in the right way. Dropping a product launch on a cold market will lead to dismal results so avoid this at all costs.
Mistake #3: Trying To Be All Things To All Men – Instead of tightly targeting their product launch on a very specific challenge frustrating a very particular niche and making a ton of money, we find some potential clients trying to be all things to all men in the mistaken belief that the bigger the market the more money they will make. If they only stopped to look at the medical or the legal professions, they would note that as a market gets more sophisticated it splinters into ever smaller pieces. And the specialists serving those micro niches charge ever higher fees as a result. Armed with a product that appeals to a variety of niches, you want to design one launch for each market and laser focus the language you use and the launch story you tell one each one.
Mistake #4: No Vision and No Marketing Strategy – Small businessmen get so excited by the product they have created that they talk about all its features and how no other in the market has them.They forget to speak about their vision and how what they have created will transform their people’s lives. They talk about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and not about the ‘why’. A product launch marketing strategy is designed to have your people identify with you, to see you as an authority and to like you as a person. To do this successfully, you want to tell your story. People will be entertained and remember your core message much better. This lays the ground for the moment when you finally pivot to talk about your offer.
Mistake #5: Planning Only One Product Launch – Product launch marketing is all about sequences. Each launch is a series of online events woven together by sequences of emails. Your launch strategy should begin with a beta launch and end with an evergreen launch having passed through a small internal launch and then an internal launch to your whole list and finally a big external launch along the way. Each one will make you more money than the last. Each one will optimize your sales funnel. Each one will attract more joint venture partners. So you can see that planning on doing just one launch will mean that you leave a lot of money on the table and certainly will not leverage the momentum that you have created.
Mistake #6: Over Promising and Under Delivering – Delivering a less than impressive product is one of the deadliest mistakes. The credibility that you so assiduously built is shattered. Return rates go through the roof. Your revenue goes though the floor. JV Partners and affiliates refuse to promote for you again. And all those new clients you thought you had just evaporate. Your number one goal wants to be to give new customers such a good experience in dealing with you that they come back to you to buy over and over again.
Mistake #7: Not Following Through –Say your product launch achieves a 5% conversion rate. That means that 95% of your prospects are still just that. They may not have bought from you for a variety of reasons. They may subscribe to the idea that they only buy a new digital product when they are ready for it. Or they may not have had the ready cash at the time. Or the timing was not right for them. Whatever the reason, you want to follow through. You want to keep communicating with them. Give them value. Help them by publishing great articles just like this one that will keep them moving towards their goals. This is why you want to keep marketing to them long after your product launch.
Mistake #8: Driving Your Customers to Your Competition – Your best customers will leave you if you are not in a position to sell them something else. That’s why you should not only plan to do a sequence of product launches but also that you should have a sequence of products too each with its own particular place on the value staircase. If your new client has bought the basic product, you want to be able to offer them the more sophisticated version as their knowledge and skills improve. If they have bought the top of the line product or service, then you should be ready to offer them one to one contact with you for a high monthly fee through membership of your exclusive mastermind group or inner circle. Having a product development strategy is key to your long term success. Each one will appeal to a slightly different type of customer which means that you can promote each one to your house list and give your prospects every opportunity to become clients.
Mistake #9: Not Asking For Feedback – Every time you close your shopping cart, your next step wants to be a quick survey of your new customers. Getting their impressions on your launch strategy, your offer and indeed your product is vital to your continuing drive to optimize your systems. What they say might just confirm previous comments but it might just give you an insight that is new and powerful. Use these to boost the strength of your offer, fine tune your product and improve your copy so that it converts better. Not asking for feedback is tantamount to saying that you either don’t care what your customers think or that you think you know it all already. Whichever it is, it is the start of the slippery slope to oblivion for your business.
Mistake #10: No Stick Strategy – The first negative thought to rear its ugly head after your new client paid his money is buyers remorse. You have to be quick to preempt this. First impressions count. Say Thank you. Deliver immediately. People don’t want to wait for UPS to deliver. They want access now. Keep your new customers informed. Tell them when their product will be dispatched. Tell them when it has been dispatched. Tell them when to expect delivery. Give them immediate access to the digital version. Give them an unannounced bonus and a quick start guide. You want to get them to bond with their new purchase as quickly as possible and the best way to do this is to ensure that they get quick results. This will justify their buying decision and banish any regrets that may be lurking in the back of their minds.
It’s a wrap – That concludes my post on the top 10 launch mistakes and how to avoid them. If you’d like to learn more about how to plan and execute a successful product launch, don’t hesitate to contact me. Even if you have not done a launch before or even if you have and now realize that hiring a launch manager would be a smart thing to do, you may be wondering how much hiring a product launch manager will cost. The quick answer is not as much as you might expect. Our aim is to structure a win-win sort of a deal with clients. We get paid when you get paid. That is we work on a percentage of the ‘pre-return’s gross’ revenue that your product launch makes. Naturally, you have to pay a fee to get on our calendar. We can only take on 2 or 3 clients per year so our time is valuable and we must know what our schedule is well in advance. It would be unfair on our other clients if we didn’t insist on this. Find out more by booking a free consultation with me now