So you have a big, messy, beautiful idea for a product. It's been brewing for awhile… and you know people want it. Actually, you know people NEED it. It's time to put on your big-girl pants, get your shit together, and LAUNCH this puppy into existence.
There are a thousand different routes you could take. Each one is exciting, dripping with potential, and a total shot in the dark. The Launch is a daunting enough process, and honestly, you don't even know where to begin, right? Well, little chicken nugget, lemme tell you.
It all starts with a pre-launch strategy.
Let’s get real: I believe that every launch is going to be a thousand percent unique. Big, messy, beautiful ideas - ESPECIALLY with big, messy, beautiful creators - deserve unique strategies that aren't just the same cookie cutter bullshit that every course in the world is trying to sell you on.
The good news is, there's a difference between launch and pre-launch. A KEY difference. While pre-launch DOES vary case by case, it's usually pretty safe to go with a cookie-cutter that’s been as rigorously tested as this puppy. Why? Because the ultimate goal for every pre-launch is the same: Get your ducks in a line, get your eggs in a basket, and get your posse on board with how fabulous this product is gonna be!
Step one? Read this cover to cover (err, uh, top to bottom).
Once you're done, head over and download the 60 Day Pre-Launch Blueprint. It walks you through this WHOLE process start to finish, in order, with virtually NO room for error. Download it here:
Ok. Let’s get a few things clear. During these 60 days, your business focus should be on prepping your posse. I've broken it down into THREE specific goals that you want to keep in mind throughout the whole launch. If you find yourself doing something that ISN'T in alignment with these three goals, think again.
GOAL 1: Letting people know how awesome you are.
This ain't a side hustle or expensive hobby anymore, and it’s time everyone knows it. Put more skin in the game than you did before. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing, plug your personal Facebook page, and expand your connections as far as they go. Ask for support to legitimize yourself. In pre-launch mode, there is no time for bullshitting around and acting like you’re ANYTHING less than the best in the world at what you do. Take some pride in being a big beautiful mess, queen.
GOAL 2: Creating content that represents your product.
Remember when I said we have no more time for bullshit? I mean you need to have ZERO tolerance. Pre-launch is like your life is falling apart for the next 60 days. It's bullshit enough without you adding to it. You’re going to be producing consistent and amazing content for the next 60 days, but if it’s all over the place, no one is going to know what to expect from you come launch time. You’re NOT going to attract your ideal customer without consistent and related content. Every piece of content you publish over the next 60 days should complement the product or service you’re launching. It is the beginning of your funnel.
GOAL 3: Sticking to the original plan.
I totally feel this on a personal level - it happened to me constantly in my first year of business. In the middle of your launch (or pre-launch) you realize there’s something cutting edge and sexy that you could be doing that wasn’t in your plan. You want to do it, right? I don’t care. You don’t get to do it. Amateurs get sidetracked, professionals get excited. You are NO LONGER AN AMATEUR, and therefore do not get to act like one. Stay excited about your current strategy and choose to stay consistent. If the idea is still sexy after THIS launch (it's usually not), prepare yourself adequately to take that route as you move on and RE-launch.
Keep these three points in mind as you move forward with your pre-launch - everything you do should exude this professionalism as you rebrand from floundering side-hustle to flourishing biz.
Over the next 60 days, you should be producing 16 pieces of quality content.
The more in-depth pieces, the HIGHEST QUALITY stuff you release, should be on your primary platform. That might be your mommy-blog, your podcast, or your YouTube channel. The additional 8 pieces will be on a secondary visual platform... Think Facebook Live, Youtube (for those who don’t usually do Youtube), Instagram, Periscope, or your other favorite visual platform. Live video is a hit right now, but it's not necessary. Just make it visual so we can amp up the trust factor.
In addition to the content itself, you’re also going to be producing freebies/content upgrades for each and everything you publish. I’m talking your primary AND secondary content. If you want to extend and do a 90 day pre-launch, then you’ll only need content upgrades on your primary platform.
Otherwise, put a content upgrade on EVERYTHING you release. Even though it's not fun.
If that seems confusing, let’s break it down with some sexy bullet points.
You will produce 8 pieces of content on your primary platform. If you’re a blogger, it’s your blog. If you’re a Youtuber, it’s your channel, etc. One piece a week (two a week would be even better!) should appear on the same day every week for the next 60 days. It should be directly related to the product or service you are launching. Your overall goal is to keep your content consistent and focused.
For those 8 pieces of content on your primary platform, you absolutely need eight high-value content upgrades. Not just mediocre PDF summaries; I mean drool-worthy content upgrades. Blueprints, swipe copy, video training, something that's worth just as much, if not more, than the post itself. Give them a taste of how awesome your content really is.
You’re also going to do 8 pieces of highly visual, community-building content on a SECONDARY platform. Live video is a great tool to act as your secondary platform because it’s SUPER community building and engaging - more so than a blog or podcast because of the visual element. You can create NEW pieces of content for this, or you can use it as a complement to your primary content. Your goal is to connect with your audience on a more personal level.
Put The Social Back in Social Media
I’ve always had a unique opinion on social media, and this is one of my favorite tricks of the trade that I’ve learned over YEARS of using it a hundred different w
Think of social media (specifically Twitter and Instagram) as a huge, vast, endless party. (Like, a total nightmare for introverts). There’s literally millions of people at this party and you know almost NO ONE there. It already kinda sucks.
So, you’re coming into this massive party, and as a business, you’re already at a major disadvantage because you have a product that you want to sell. Honestly, the whole reason you came to the party is because you want to sell your product to everyone there! It’s hard to hide that from the other party-goers. So, they already kinda don't like you. Your motives aren't pure. Things aren't looking up for you. Sorry.
But here’s the thing about social media… I totally understand that the only reason you’re at this party is because you want to sell your products or services. But you have to put yourself in the position of everyone else at the party. They're at this big vast party trying to have a good time, so… they don’t want to hear your pitch. They don’t like that you run around the party handing out fliers and begging for buyers. You’re totally killing everyone’s mood. You're the annoying drunk girl and people are over it before it even began.
Just like a real party, you’re embarrassing yourself if all you do is try to sell without socializing first.
Just like you do with your email list, you have to warm up your audience on social media. You have to offer them value, but you also have to come across as an actual human and not just a sales robot, or else you'll eventually get tuned out.
When you’re about to post on social media, ESPECIALLY Twitter and Instagram (Facebook is a different ballgame), ask yourself if the people at the party are even ready to hear your pitch. Have you been personable enough? Have you made an effort to actually CONNECT with other people at the party, or are you just yelling sales pitches into the void?
Here’s my official, BULLET POINTED, action-oriented advice for Twitter and Instagram:
You should schedule some of your social media ahead of time. Twitter should have anywhere from 14-30 tweets per week. About 10%-15% of scheduled tweets can be promotional. “Promotional” includes blog posts and content upgrades - because even though they’re valuable, they’re still annoying to bring up at a party.
Instagram should not exceed 2 posts per day, due to the current algorithm. Of the 14 per week, I wouldn’t exceed 5 promotions.
Over the next 60 days, you should be posting on social media at least twice a day on every single platform. While it’s okay to schedule these ahead of time, it’s far more important that you CONNECT with others at the party on a personal level, especially for your first launch. Use Twitter and Instagram as networking tools in the beginning, and only embrace them as SEO generators later in the game.
Become a Slave to Your Email List
I’ve worked with so many people who have decent sized email lists, but don’t reach out regularly to remind their list why they signed up in the first place. This is how you let money walk out the front door.
There’s not much to elaborate on here, let’s just give you the rundown:
There should be a funnel following all of your content upgrades. It should familiarize your new subscribers with you and your content over the course of the first week. I suggest a simple, 3-email, all value no-sale funnel.
You should also personally reach out to your list once a week (exclude anyone in the middle of your 3-email sequence from your weekly broadcasts). These should not be sales emails - provide value and try to engage your list as much as possible during pre-launch.
Anyone who signs up during pre-launch should be specially segmented, as they are proven to be interested in your specific product (thanks to your content creation plan). While they are not as warm as your original list, they are slightly more targeted.
During pre-launch you should not have ANY active sales funnels - your primary focus should be on PREPARING your list to purchase your new product. Do not distract them with other shit.
Gaining Viral Traction
This is the tricky part, where most people either get too hung up or they completely drop the ball. If this is your first launch, and you’ve chosen to go solo, I don’t suggest doing more than one of these for pre-launch. There’s a lot of different ways that you can increase publicity and create a “buzz” around your launch and your new product, and combinations often produce the best results, but can be major distractions, so I don't really think you should do it unless you hire an awesome project manager to help you strategize. Ahem.
Often, your publicity stunt overlaps more with your launch than with your pre-launch, but it’s worth addressing these as a teaser into some of our best launching strategies. In a Virtual Assistant Link Launch, we implement several of these at a time to maximize exposure and profit.
However, they are a bit more advanced, and definitely more time consuming than the basic content marketing strategies we’ve addressed so far. Tread carefully when you think about adding these to your pre-launch strategy, as they can prove to be MAJOR technical distractions, as well as financial commitments:
Viral giveaways are pretty self explanatory. Although seemingly simple, they require some technical experience, a larger financial commitment, and some already warm leads. When designing your giveaway package, realize that offering a free spot to your course is great, but for most online creators just starting out, it’s not going to get enough traction to get you the viral push you need. Keep your giveaway package HIGH value (over $1,000) and extremely niche-oriented to your product or service… And for the love of God, understand that giving away an iPhone is NOT going to get you any qualified leads.
Joint venture webinars are a staple to relationship based marketing. Webinar strategy has been, and remains, one of the most popular launch strategies around, and joint ventures are a quick and easy way to double the size of your audience by collaborating with someone else in the field.
A huge guest post opportunity is, of course, going to be killer publicity for you pre-launch. Guest post opportunities are a great marketing strategy in the first place - but getting into some big names is going to get you the viral traction we’re looking for in your first big launch. Landing an opportunity posting your article on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed Homepage, Cosmopolitan, or another huge leader in your industry is more the vibe we’re going for than a simple collaboration, though both are highly valuable.
Pinterest ad campaigns are under utilized and extremely successful. Creating several pinnable images on your post and paying for targeted Pinterest ads is a sure way to increase traffic on your blog posts and build your list before a launch, especially if a pin manages to go viral.
Facebook ad campaigns are a beast almost impossible to tackle alone. Because of their extremely sophisticated systems, it gives you a unique opportunity to target people already on your email list, target different ads depending on the segmentation of your list, and run specific ads based on who has viewed your products.
<< PIN THE CRAP OUTTA THAT!!! :-)
Alright, I get it. The pre-launch process seems like a LOT. It’s a big, daily commitment. You have to engage. You have to be present and available. You have to focus on tech, on content creation, on sales, on Twitter parties, and on marketing all at the same time.
It’s a lot for a lone business owner without a team of support, but we got a free 60 Day Pre-Launch Blueprint so that you at least have an idea of what your pre-launch is going to be looking like. You like that infographic up there? You'll LOVE this. Snag it here.
Of course, you don’t have to face your launch (or pre-launch) alone. I would LOVE to hold your hand through your first big launch. Check out how you can work with me here.
Rock your biz, my friends. Remember: keep your ideas big and messy & keep your launch lean and clean.