F Xproductlaunchprep (1)


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F Xproductlaunchprep (1)

  1. 1. Getting Ready for Product Launch – Keys to Building Anticipation and Momentum Prior To Launch 1. Preparing for the Pre-Launch Strategies and Ideas The first steps to developing your product launch are the components of the pre-launch phase. Without these, a launch may be veritably unnoticeable; not to mention unprofitable. To be sure you have a successful product launch it is necessary to cover the details of the pre-launch first. Once the plan is laid out, put it all in place and then you are ready to proceed. Do NOT plan a launch without considering and completing the key elements of pre-launch. Choose the best strategies for pre-launch to match your product, your situation and your goals. What is the aim of the launch? Are you building on an existing product line or is this an initial offering of a new product? What are your objectives? To establish and break into a new market, or to expand your reach in a market in which you already have customers? By leveraging these ideas you can create customers where you had none and expand an existing customer base… Whether you are still planning your product or already have a product created, learning to think in terms of these objectives and strategies can increase short term cash flow, improve market position and develop into long term success. • Get input from existing customers on what they most want or need from you: A. Hold a contest for the best idea/request/problem/need (i.e. “what do you most want to know about X?” B. Solicit requests from current customers via email or on your blog C. Choose a specific area of your business and ask customers what their biggest challenge in that area is. • Review products in the market that are similar to what you are considering and find the holes or gaps A. Is there a written manual that covers information better taught by audio or video? Software applications – are you introducing a new software application that solve a problem you encountered yourself? If so, videos make software
  2. 2. demonstrations and tutorials MUCH easier to learn. Consider not only using videos as your product but how to use them to demonstrate your product in your pre launch and later. Create mini versions of the tutorials to allow customers to test drive your system. Note: this is not the same as a free trial; instead you can use a portion of your introductory video for the product and simply allow access to a small section of it. In this way you are able to introduce the solution and the ease of delivery of your specific application all at the same time. • Prepare your market/customers for your new product A. As you develop the product, talk about it in your emails and on your blog… build anticipation. Do this by addressing the problem that your product will solve without revealing the specifics of the “how” while telling all about the “what” (benefits) B. Talk about what the perfect XYZ product might look like, ask what your customers think it would look like C. Have dialogues with others in your field/profession about the upcoming product, and share highlights of those dialogues with your readers and customers. • Get creative with your pre-launch activities A. Record an interview where you discuss the problems your product addresses, providing useful and relevant information for the listener as well as pointing out the benefits of your product (solution to the problem), solicit them with offers of a free copy of the product in return for their feedback, an interview, or a testimonial should they feel it is warranted. B, Develop potential joint venture partners by offering to send a free copy of your product to others in your market area in exchange for their feedback/review and/or potential joint promotion. C. Post a notice on your website inviting potential partners and associates to complete a form for consideration as a partner. (Here you can request info such as # of customers they currently have etc to “pre-qualify” them as partners). • Prepare a special contest for a free New Product Give Away and give away a select number of free copies to your customers A. Consider making it a contest where the contestants must describe their problem or situation telling you why they should be considered as the most worthy candidate for a free copy of the product. B. Give your customers the chance to “cash in” by becoming affiliates to this product with a special at launch only incentive where they can earn more than
  3. 3. the usual amount of commission within the first X hours/days of the launch. • Set a Pre Determined Number of Copies to be sold at a Special Launch Price before the Price Goes Up. A. Set a limited number of sales for the new product before the launch and let people know that the product will be taken off the market when that many copies are sold. (Then follow up later with a “second chance” offer at a higher price for those who “missed out” the first time, but wait a period of time before the “second chance” offer is presented. (You can even preset this time period in the initial offer) • Offer a “beta test” for a small number of customers to try out and use the new product in exchange for their feedback within the pre-launch period. A. Convert their feedback to testimonials for your launch page (get permission first!) B. Strictly limit the number of beta testers you will accept and stick to it. C. Use a follow up mailing or announcement to your customers who missed the beta test for a special “existing customers only” 24 hour special deep discount on the launch price. D. If you don’t have existing customers, consider using this strategy with a potential JV partner who does have customers. This will build loyalty for him and exposure for you at the same time. Then revert to the regular launch price for everyone else after the pre-launch special. E. To leverage the special offer discount sales, set a fixed number of copies to be sold at the discount price and extend the time limit to a week or a few days longer than only 24 hours. • Create a media event, press release or other attention grabbing scenario to create attention and buzz around the new product launch. A. Think of creative ways to present the product concept – either in new and parallel markets or in markets which do not readily seem to fit but which create amusement, fun or entertainment. B. Be willing to think outside the box, but be careful not to cross the line into “offensive” or “off color” the idea here is to be fun and have fun while at the same time exposing what you have that solves a problem. C. Line up partners, business associates and others to join in the fun of your event while giving them exposure as well. • Consider how reframe your product for different specific targeted markets. How does your solution apply in other areas outside your current market focus? A. Research online to see who is discussing the problem you are solving. For
  4. 4. example, is this a problem that affects businesses? What types of businesses are most likely to need your solution? Are there other types of businesses which could benefit from your solution if it were couched in the language of that business? To help get your mind thinking in this way, just consider the famous “chicken Soup for the Soul” book series… talk about drilling down into specific niches! If you are unfamiliar with this series, simple “google” the title and take a look at the multitudes of titles it has created. Using this strategy, you have the opportunity to continuously expand, refine and re-launch your product. 2. Putting the Pieces Together The Steps, The Tools Putting Together the Plan Now that you have considered some of the ideas that are possible, it’s time to pick your own map and lay it out. • Prepare a time line that allows you to complete the steps in the process as you have outlined them. • Put all the Pieces in Place (sites/pages/payment/ordering/tracking/autoresponders/emails/partner links/pages • Beta Test System • Improve where needed • Conduct Pre Launch Interviews/events etc. • Upload Interviews/Audio testimonials etc. to all promotion and Special Offer pages • Announce through lists, partners, forums, blogs, press releases etc. • LAUNCH! Give yourself some extra room in the schedule if this is your first launch process. Start with the end in mind, and work your way backwards through the steps it will take you to get there: Regardless of your target for each phase of your pre-;launch, be certain that your initial offer of engagement in the process provides added value and benefit; in other words, provide a compelling reason/benefit for their participation just as you would expect any good sales copy to do. This is no different, even if you are only asking for beta testers. An incentive beyond “this will make you money” is important when approaching potential partners. How will this partnering help the potential partners’ customers? How will it improve their business relationships? How will it provide them with a way to provide real value for their customers? Too often potential partners are approached purely from the point of view of what’s in it for the one approaching and a pipe dream of “we’ll make money together” as the offer. Don’t confuse the natural result of the partnering with the benefit that you specifically bring to the table. If you can’t find one to offer, then re think the proposal. If your
  5. 5. product or service doesn’t make the lives of the potential partners and their customers better, then why would they be interested? Order your plan to continue to build momentum as you go. First you lay out your steps, and then you implement them. It’s fairly simple once you break it down. 3. Pre-Launch Steps Whether you are making your offer for beta testing to a list or to an online community of potential customers, move through whatever process you have chosen to expose your product and get feedback and testimonials. Complete all the steps within the process of the special pre-launch or at launch offer including sales pages, order links and processing and list capture as well as testing all the components several times to make certain all the links, confirmation emails and payment processes are functioning correctly. The fact is, without all of these parts working, you have no business and no sales and no product offer so do not overlook this step. Perhaps the “statistic” that so many people attempting to make money online fail can be chalked up to this one area more than any other. If your site and your sales path systems are not functional you CANNOT sell anything. Even large corporate sites have gotten this wrong on occasion, so don’t feel bad, but don’t let it happen to you. The best way to avoid any of these issues is to have people go through the system and tell you how it went for them and the beta tester or product feedback provider step in pre-launch is the best way to accomplish this. You want to hear from people who don’t know you or who don’t care if you succeed but who want that solution you are offering and are willing to tell you what they think of your solution in exchange for a chance to try it out. Note: If this is your first project, and even if it’s not, make sure you’ve’ dealt with the process of testing the system before you go to launch. You can use your beta test process to complete this process. You want at least several people using different computers, internet connection speeds and locations to test drive the system for you. Test the system in different browser platforms. If your sites and systems only work in one browser or work best in one browser, consider telling your visitors that. Many sites online today are only truly functional in IE however the segments of people browsing in Netscape, AOL, Firefox, Opera, and other browsing platforms continue expanding. Whether you decide to play to the one largest browser population or consider the others make a decision and let visitors know if it may exclude their browser, or if they’d be better off switching to a different browser when using your site. Here is a quote from the w3schools.com site regarding browser statistics at the present time (August 2006:
  6. 6. “Web Statistics and Trends Statistics are important information. What you can read from the statistics below is that Internet Explorer 6 is the most common browser, XP is the most dominating operating system, and most users are using a display with 1024x768 pixels or more, with a color depth of at least 65K colors.” This gives you important and valuable information regarding the viewing public and your web sites. You can find more information at http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp Use the information gathered in the feedback to make any needed improvements to the system. But be warned: you may get feedback that says “this information can be made better by…” In many cases the observations will be useful and will have the potential to improve your product but not in all cases. If one person says they think some aspect of your presentation or product was not “for them” but everyone else raves that it was just what they needed, don’t hold up the show to try to fix it for that one person. Don’t let the feedback process stop you from moving forward in your launch process. Once you are happy with the adjustments (if any) you’ve made after the feedback period is over, it’s time to move in to the “buzz building” portion of the process. Schedule the interviews, announcements and offers to build one on each other. Scheduling live teleseminars, podcasts, or radio interviews, which are then able to be rebroadcast for the visitors who come to your offer page, or uploaded to the sites and pages of your partners. Tie in email announcements from partners and to your own lists, as well as press releases, blog posts announcing the upcoming release will generate momentum in many areas at once. That is your goal. Make sure you have all the details of tracking and how the offer will be presented clearly worked out with your partners. Are they putting up your offer on their site under a “we recommend” link, or are they directing their existing list members to your site through a tracked link sent out in an email? Each approach can work and even a combination of these approaches through out the launch can be used. Additionally, you may attract customers who themselves have customer lists to whom they would like to present your offer. The affiliate promotion option is another version of this “creating new distribution channels out of customers” idea. If you don’t have an affiliate structure for your launch you may want to consider adding one. Some offers for affiliates are made based on an initial purchase of the product and some are made simply as a standard affiliate offer. It’s up to you to determine if you want to solicit affiliates only from your customer base or if you are looking for anyone who would like to promote your products without the requirement of them making a purchase first.
  7. 7. 4. Ready, Aim, Launch! As you can see, there are a lot of considerations and steps in a well laid out and executed product launch. But the simple components that make a product launch successful are not difficult to achieve when you start with an understanding of the process, select the ideas and methods you like the best and lay out a time line and plan of execution. The critical element to a great launch is timing. Sometimes that means you need to slow down and readjust your plan to make certain you have everything where it needs to be. Sometimes that means you need to get control of the fundamentals like the tracking, ordering systems and actual components of the system in rapid succession. It is not uncommon for people to get into high gear and work quite a bit of overtime in those last moments as a launch takes off. Particularly for those who are just starting out. The best way to avoid this is to deal with all the working components of the process as early on as possible. Get the systems and implementation processes out of the way and then focus in and get the real work of developing relationships with the potential partners and customers you are seeking accomplished. Don’t’ get caught in the trap of trying to handle all the logistical details of the system at the last minute because you got out in front of yourself and made all the right connections before you had your own work done of preparing the offer, product and sales path sites etc.