The truth of the matter is that launching is hard… and I know because I’m in the middle of the biggest launch of my almost decade in online business!
If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that registration is now open for the Expand Online Summit for Artists and that I would love for you to attend. Just click this link!
In my 5 phases of an online product framework, launch is the final stage. It’s what we’re working towards and it’s a massive milestone in your online ventures.
Without launching, we’re just throwing spaghetti at the virtual online wall and hoping someone is going to follow the strands to our product or program. And that’s not a well thought out strategy at all. But rest assured, launching doesn’t have to be big or scary. So breathe, you’ve got this.
Remember also that you’re not going to start launching before you’re ready to start launching. Your product is going to 100% be ready for people to check out and purchase.
Now, let’s list off the launch methods that I recommend in order of general ease.
- Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula – 3 Video Series
- Virtual Summit
The easiest launch is just a simple email launch. The idea behind this launch is that you have the permission to send emails to several hundred past and potential customers and you build a series of emails to encourage them to look at your product sales page and purchase what you’re buying.
This is actually my preferred method of launching when I work with clients who are truly expanding online — taking something they’ve been doing offline and morphing it into a product they can deliver online. Go back to episode 110 to see this model in action. The reason this does so well for this type of online expansion is because you already have a strong relationship with the email subscribers and they are overwhelmingly interested in what you do and offer.
With an email launch, you’ll want to have at least 3 emails in the “automation” “series” or “funnel” since people are busy and they might miss one or more of the emails. I also strongly encourage my clients to make sure their email system is smart and removes purchasers from the rest of the emails after they purchase. The last thing I want to see if selling to the already sold.
OK, so if emails alone aren’t going to do it for you, then the next launch method I suggest is a webinar launch. A webinar, or sometimes called a masterclass, is where instead of inviting people to go directly to the information page for your product or service, you invite them to sign up to attend a live online presentation. In this presentation it’s fundamental to provide significant value and develop a need within your attendees to close the loop by purchasing your offer. There aren’t any rules as far as format or length of the webinar, but I recommend providing a lot of high level value and practicing your pitch before you get there.
I also believe that launching with a webinar means that you invest in the right tools — like proper webinar software, provide everyone who registers the ability to watch a replay of the webinar for a short replay window and create a sense of urgency with purchase bonuses.
A webinar style launch works really well when you are going beyond or deeper than what you’ve offered in your business to this point. You’ll want to use the webinar launch to help people understand what it is that you’re doing, why it matters and the benefit to them. Draw upon what you already know about your students or clients and help them see themselves being successful when they adopt the principles of whatever it is that you’re pitching.
Next up, the challenge. This one is super fun because it creates a huge amount of engagement and excitement. And the results that are achieved by participating are nearly unparalleled. With a challenge, you’ll want to make sure that community is a big part of the strategy. Peers are a great motivator and so is leading by example.
The most common type of challenge that I see doing well right now is one that is run inside a Facebook Group. Challenges can be as short as 3 days and most run 5 – 10 days. The shorter the challenge, the greater the ability for people to finish but the less invested they are in the process and the results.
With a challenge, the idea is that you walk participants through activities that are going to help them tackle whatever it is that you teach or coach them on. They will get tiny wins which will help them see how valuable your teaching and coaching will be to help them get the desired result.
Maybe you are a mixed media artist, and you’re going to teach a course on creating found object art. The challenge would then be to build a stockpile of potential items to use in art — so on each day of the challenge, you give a prompt or visualization and your participants collect the objects that they will ultimately use in your course. If they don’t decide to buy your course, then they still have won, because they now have found objects to start exploring with. And if they do decide to join the course, you’ve got them well on their way to creating something completely new.
With a challenge, and a webinar actually, and the other launches that I’m going to get into, it’s most common to do a bit of promotion and invite people outside your immediate network to participate. This is how online reach and exposure grow. I’m not talking about paid advertising, I’m talking more about strategic online marketing. Using tools like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to attract people to your webinar or challenge from outside your immediate sphere. And always encouraging participants to invite their friends, family and peers. That’s how these become bigger and more beneficial to your business.
The next launch strategy is the Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula.
The PLF method is to have usually 3 pre-recorded videos that release over the course of a week and then the ability to purchase becomes available after the release of the videos. The videos are getting people energized and ready to buy when your cart is actually open. They are different from webinars in that they are shorter (usually 15 – 20 minutes) and feel more professional. You’re using them to build authority, trust, community and anticipation to state a few reasons for them. And they are chock full of free actionable content, much like a challenge is.
A PLF style launch works really well when you have a launch team… something that I haven’t talked about yet but will talk about as soon as I cover the virtual summit launch.
This is what I’m doing… I’m hosting a virtual summit to grow my authority, email list, podcast listenership and ultimately to launch my new group program, the Expand Online Incubator. I’ll have more to say about the Incubator on the podcast in two weeks.
So, what is a virtual summit and why is this the launch method that I chose. Well, to start a virtual summit is a collection of interviews and masterclasses with experts in their own right. They are all available for free consumption for a limited time — my sessions are available for 48 hours each. The Expand Online Summit consists of 23 sessions and sessions are released each morning for 5 days.
The unique thing about the summit versus the other models is that it’s a marketing benefit to not just the host and their business, but also for every single one of the expert speakers. So, in this model, the summit attendees are members of each of our audiences. That’s 23 different people’s audiences — and when done right, there is minimal overlap between the speakers’ audiences — which makes for this to be one of the largest organic growth models.
I chose the summit for this exact reason — I didn’t have a strong following in the creative and artists space and this is where I want to be. So I reached out to experts in this space and invited them to be experts on the summit. And that’s how I’ll have an audience to launch the incubator to.
For most of my clients, starting your launch with your established customer base and strategic partners is a much easier road to follow. Summits take at least 90 days to pull together and when you launch warm, that can be done in a few weeks or a month.
Now, that launch team that I mentioned a couple of minutes ago. A launch team is a curated group of friends and associates who can stand behind your authority and give social proof to your product or service. These are people who are willing to vouch for you and encourage people to sign up for your webinar or challenge or PLF style launch.
Your launch team doesn’t need to be compensated in any way, but I do love to see launch teams that have prizes and referral rewards. These don’t even have to be big, they just need to mean something.
So, there we have it, an overview of launching and if you haven’t signed up for the summit yet, what are you waiting for? Click Here Now!
Next week, I’ll be back with episode 118 in which I’ll be talking about sales pages and checkout pages.
Next week, we’re going to talk about Instagram and Facebook and how they play into gaining awareness of your business expanding online!