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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 7 Step Guide To Launching a New Product - <b>Product Launch</b> <b>...</b>

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Is your business growth flat lining? Are you finding it difficult to attract new customers ? Do you want to grow your product line without adding overheads ?

If yes, then perhaps you should consider launching a new digital product that once created costs little to maintain. The key is to put your finger on a pain point that your competitors are not properly addressing. There has to be urgency. Your prospects must feel a real urgency in their desire to make this pain go away. When you find it, exploit that opportunity by putting your expertise to work to provide the solution.

Here is an 8-step guide to launching a new product that should work in any vertical…

#1. Strategy – Play to your strengths

To give yourself the best chance of success, play to your strengths. Use your own special skills and expertise to help your community overcome an urgent problem. By narrowing your niche and focusing on a very specific group you will boost your ROI and become known as the authority in that vertical. You only have to look at the medical or legal profession to see the truth in this. You don’t just go and see a lawyer, you go to specialist… a divorce lawyer or a family lawyer or a commercial lawyer. They all have specific areas of expertise. The more sophisticated the market, the more micro niches it has already and the more will be created in the future.

If your expertise could be applied to several niches, create a digital product specifically tailored to each one. This will prove more lucrative than creating one more general product that does not address the challenge in each niche so effectively. Then build out a product launch marketing strategy in each one in turn.

SWOT-analysis

So figure out a strategy to boost business growth by either…

a)     Focusing on your existing vertical and launching new products that you can cross promote to your existing customers

b)     Selecting a new niche where you can apply your knowledge and expertise by reinventing the solution to an old problem

By choosing option a) you are making the best use of your most valuable existing asset… You client list. By continuing to make them new offers, your best customers are more likely to stay with you. The most effective way of putting your finger on a viable new digital product is to get out from behind your desk and speak to your customer base face to face. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Pretty soon you will see a trend developing.

Option b) will take longer. It will require you to sift through a number of different niches before you decide on the one most likely to produce the highest ROI. Then you will want to verify this before committing yourself to doing a product launch.

Selling new content to existing customers will certainly be easier but, in either scenario, you want to be sure that you are appealing to a deep emotional need in your prospects. And you will want to show how your your new product will help them fill that need quickly and easily. Call it your value proposition if you like  but in step #2, you’ll want to test that proposition to make sure that the argument for them buying your product is airtight.

Product Launch Strength

#2. Market Research – Where Pain Meets Urgency

Before you waste time and energy building your new product, you want to construct a dialogue between you and your ideal client that breaks down the argument that you would use to explain why they should buy and examines the questions and objections that they may raise in response…

- What is the problem/challenge that your prospect faces?
- Is it a real problem?
- Why do they have that problem?
- What would life be like for him/her if that problem went away?
- What current behaviours are causing that problem?
- Is the product real?
- Can you provide layer upon layer of proof to support your offer?
- Name 20 objections that your ideal client may raise and provide the answers to them
- Now, is your argument still airtight?
- What competition is there in your micro-niche and how much money do they make?
- How is your offer different from theirs and is that difference really in demand?
- What collective noun or phrase does your target market use to describe themselves – Trust & Estates Attorney or Family Lawyer for instance
- What specialised language do your prospects use to describe the problems you want to help them solve?

You’ll want to do your fundamental research on the web but don’t stop there. Pick up the phone and speak to your customers and/or prospects and listen carefully to what they have to say. Take a look round the social media platforms that they hang out on and note the questions that they are asking and the concerns that they are expressing. This part of your research, will give you some valuable insights but before you take the plunge, get some hard  data to work from. Before developing your publication, you’ll need to create a more comprehensive look at your prospects, which you can get from:

Landing Page: Put up a landing page armed with a powerful lead magnet and invest in some PPC ads. You’ll find out pretty quickly what’s working and what’s not and it may not be what you thought. Split test your ads and fine tune your data. This may cost you a few hundred bucks but it’s a small price to pay to find out what really gets the click

Webinars: Now you’ve started to build a list of subscribers, put them into an auto responder sequence aimed at getting them to register for a webinar. If you don’t feel confident to handle a 60 minute session alone, invite a respected expert to join you to discuss the subject that has resonate best in your PPC ads. This is a great opportunity to do some online training and build rapport with your audience. Plus you can record the event, transcribe the mp3 and use it as a bonus later

Online surveys: Invite attendees to do a quick survey – use surveymonkey.com – in return for some incentive that they would really appreciate. Multiple choice questions work great because they are quick to answer but the kicker is to ask respondents to leave a comment in a text box below. This is where you will find the gold.

 Product Launch Speed To Market

#3. Create Your Product – Speed to Market

Once you have a handle on your target audience’s most pressing needs, it’s time to build out your offer. Start by writing your sales letter or the script for your sales video and work backwards from there by chunking down into sections then parts to each section before listing the content for each part.

The first version of your new digital product, the one you  will launch, will be ‘lite’… meaning that until you have got it out there in the wild and you have satisfactorily proved to yourself that people are buying in commercial numbers, it’s not worth investing more time and money than absolutely necessary. You have to be sure of your ROI first.

Having a beautiful product may give you an ego boost but if it doesn’t sell in sufficient volume, you will have not done yourself any favors.

And remember that when Steve Jobs took the helm at Apple for the second time, he took 80% of the engineering budget and invested in the marketing of their products. When you have created a the minimum commercially viable product, the real work begins with the marketing…

Product launch Word Cloud

#4. Marketing Strategy – Engage With Your Audience

If you’ve been smart you have continued to grow your subscriber lists and segment it using your webinar series to give you a list of hot responsive prospects for your new product launch. Now is the time to build out your product launch strategy but you still have to nail these 8 points…

- Asset Mining - This is an essential part of gathering all the possible things you can use for bonuses or to bundle into your offer. Remember those webinar recordings? And those transcripts? How else can you re-purpose the information contained within them? Can you add a list of sources or resources? A quick start action guide? worksheets? Do you have some digital reports gathering dust on your hard drive? Look in all the dark corners and decide how you can put all these assets to work. Remember you’ll need to have a few ‘unannounced bonuses’ bonuses on hand to boost excitement in the run up to your launch or even just to say thanks to your new customers or for no reason at all, except you felt like it. Oh yes… and what about testimonials? Big name satisfied clients? Achievements? Public recognition?

- Overwhelming Offer - Your offer is not just about your product and the bundle of assets that you decided to put with it because they support and strengthen the value you deliver. Your offer is about risk reversal. It’s about your guarantee. It’s about price. It’s about how people will pay. It’s about making sure that the necessary SSL certificates and other confidence building logos are positioned near the ‘Buy now’ button. You want to weave all these elements into a compelling offer. One that makes the prospect ask himself how he can afford NOT to buy

- Launch Story - We are hard wired to listen to stories. People will remember a well written story far longer than they will a list of dry features. This is your chance to reach your people on an emotional level. To appeal to their sense of self. To put your finger on the pain points. To show them what their lives would be like if suddenly they just went away. It’s about how you discovered the solution. How you tested and refined. How somewhat reluctantly you were pushed into making it publicly available by your friends. It’s a 3 act play with a beginning, a middle and an end. It’ll set you apart and let people engage with you.

- Launch Architecture - Now you have the three main building blocks to hand and you have a grip on how your ideal client would most prefer to consume what you have to offer, it’s time to architect your product launch. Will your pre-launch events be 3 LIVE webinars? Or carefully scripted video presentations? Or do you have the opportunity to weave a live event into the whole plan? Maybe it would be better just to do the whole thing using social media? You want to set out your launch in a way that makes life easy for your prospects. Your wishes are strictly secondary

- Context - No product launch ever happens in a vacuum. You cannot just assume that your market will understand how important your launch is to them. You want to put the whole thing in to context first. There are 3 main drivers. Financial trends, technological trends and sociological trends. Your launch has to capture the zeitgeist. It has to be put in context so your community will understand the threats they are facing and the impact that they may have on their business or life generally.

- Launch Ignition - Start with a teaser campaign that will build curiosity and encourage people to google for more information about you and what you are talking about. Then throw a stone in the pool by publishing you ‘context piece’ and pushing it out in all the places where your target market hangs out. This should stimulate even more searches and you will hear the hum of conversation beginning to build. You are now ready for pre-launch

- Pre-Launch - You don’t have to have a big list to go into pre-launch but you do need a responsive one. One that opens your emails and clicks on your links. Now is time you will find yourself writing a lot of copy. That is a skill you want to hone if you want your product launch to be a success. The first email you send out is the most important. It has to grab people’s attention and compel them to take action. To click the link to go to your first pre-launch event.

- Product Launch - Your pre-launch might only last 4 days. It might take 10. It depends on the type of product launch you are doing. But they all culminate in the day you open your shopping cart. The day your launch begins. That could last for a whole week and there’s a process that you need to follow to maximise sales and boost your ROI in the process. Now is not the time to go through it in detail suffice it to say that there is a right way and a wrong way to to make this happen

Product Launch Sequence

#5. Fulfilment – Over Deliver With Pure Quality

You want to be sure that you over deliver on your promises when it comes to fulfilment. The people who have bought from you have to be literally bowled over by the quality of the product that you have delivered to them. That way buyers remorse never raises its ugly head.

But you must also make it easy for your new customers to bond with their purchase so having a strategy that deals with every step between when the ‘buy now’ button is pushed to the moment that they gain access to their ‘shiny new toy’ is essential. You want to keep them informed about what happens next. You want an email sequence to tell them exactly what will happen in which order and how long it will take. You want to tell them when each step has been taken. You want to keep them fully informed and reassured that they have done the right thing.

That’s why it pays to have a super professional fulfilment house on board – disc.com – if you decide to deliver part of your product in a box through the mail or special courier. But also deliver your product digitally as well so that people can get instant access to it. If you take my advice, you will be able to allow different levels of access depending on the payment method your client chose.

Product Launch Goals

#6. Stick Strategy – Make it Easy For Your New Client To Bond With Their New Purchase

This is another key step to keeping your new customers on board. The number one element to this is the quality of your product. Number two is to reassure buyers that they have made  a good decision and then make it as easy as possible for them to get the results they want. Putting the modules to your course that give quick and easy results up front is one way. Offering a quick start guide is another that will help people consume your product and bond with it too.

Then you should also consider carefully match the delivery of unannounced bonuses to guarantee expiry and payment renewal periods so that they fall just after those dates. This will reduce the drop out rate especially if you are promoting a membership site paid for by monthly subscription for instance.

#7. Product Launch – Position Yourself as The Trusted Authority

Once you have put together steps #1 through #6 and have a clear road map to follow, you’re ready to launch your product. But remember, ‘no plan survives first contact with the enemy’ so be prepared to be flexible and adapt to situations as they develop. You want to constantly monitor feedback during your launch so that you can pick up possible new objections and answer them in your next pre-launch event. Most importantly, you want to engage with your audience. Acknowledge their comments. Show you are listening. Act on their concerns. Thank them for their ideas. Building your launch conversation does not require you to respond to every single comment on your launch blog, but you must be seen to be ‘present’.

Keep it real. If you don’t know the answer to a question, find it. Being a know-all is unattractive. Being self-deprecating, open and honest with your people and they will sense they are dealing with the genuine article, not some snake oil salesman.

Most of all you want to layer proof elements during your pre-launch sequence to build your credibility, your authority and let your audience convince themselves that you are the real deal. Third party testimonials for you as a person from well known colleagues or authority figures in your market are a lot more powerful than singing your own praises.

Positioning yourself as the trusted authority is powerful. You become the default adviser that everyone turns to in times of trouble. You are the guide that everyone follows. People lead busy lives. There are many demands on their time. If they are sure that you will deliver or better still over deliver, that you are reliable and that you can be trusted, they will be prepared to pay more for that piece of mind.

This is one sure way of boosting your ROI. You can charge top dollar and have your customers thank you for the privilege of buying from you. That’s the power of product launch marketing

Building a Fan Base


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