Yay! You made it here. The fact that you are here, I know you and your team have worked hard on turning your dream into reality. But “Build it, and they will come,”, doesn’t really work these days. You have the time and resources to stand on top of rooftops and tell the whole world about your dream.
To do this, you need a product launch plan, and it all starts with planning for one.
Product launch is a complex process. We fine tuned it here for you, but it took us four to five years to come up with this process. You must understand that for some businesses this process might be different, which doesn’t mean they are wrong, but if you follow the steps we covered in this guide, you’ll be able to launch your product successfully and without any delay. At the same time, you’ll be making sure your product works, your marketing is on point and you’ll be prepared and have all the necessary information when the crunch time comes.
This guide will take you through the different parts of the process chain that you need to fill in to be able to successfully release a product out there into the world.
Chapter I: Pre-launch
In this chapter, I’ll walk you through all the steps you need to take before the product goes live. This is the phase where you set strong foundations and take necessary steps to ensure your launch goes smoothly.
This is the phase where you also need to think about your future affiliates, people who will promote your product on their sites, so I’ll be talking a lot about that as well.
JV Page and Product Launch Calendar
For those of you who scratched your head now and wondered “What’s a JV page?”, let me explain. JV page is a place where you put the information about your product so that people who might want to promote it to their audience can do so. It’s a centralized place your affiliates visit to get the promotional material which will they later use to promote your campaigns.
1) Post launch date and details on a product launch calendar
The first thing we usually do is reach out to different product launch calendars where we post all the information about the launch. This is important so the people who want to promote your product on their websites, potential affiliates, find out about the launch on time. The biggest product launch calendar and the one we’re using is MunchEye. However, there are others worth considering, like JVNotifyPro.com and JVNewsWatch.com.
2) Create a JV Video
Video content is an important part of strategically planned conversations. Recent statistics show that video content is not only effective but also in high demand from the audience - 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers.
It’s not absolutely necessary to take this step and create a video, but keeping in mind the information I just gave you, It’s highly beneficial.
I became quite an expert at video creation since I’m doing it almost once every day. There are many different ways to do it - your only limitation is your creativity. For example, I typically stand in front of the camera and talk about the product - what it is, what purpose it serves, how can it help the customer (always keep in mind the question - “What’s in it for them?”), why should people recommend it and how can they benefit from doing so.
I choose this more open way to do it to connect with the audience on a more personal level, but if you’re not that comfortable with this kind of public speaking, it’s surely not the only way to do it. There are plenty of other options to showcase your product without having to stand in front of a camera. A simple 5 - 7 minutes walk-through in PowerPoint presentation will do the job. Since the amount and kind of information you need to give out in this video is not huge, it can be easily condensed into few minutes. Keeping in mind the short attention span of today’s average internet user, this will also make sure that they stay focused and process the whole video without losing interest.
This video is all about building trust and gaining credibility. If you fail to do this, you won’t be able to convince people that your product deserves attention and that they should tell their customers about it. Aim for honesty, it’s the only proven way to gain someone’s trust and make sure customers don’t end up disappointed after they buy your product.
3) Create a JV Page
Now that you have your JV video ready, you can start with setting up your JV page.To successfully create one, you’ll have to put few different things to work together. Don’t worry - I’ll walk you through each step of the process.
The whole operation of JV page creation starts in WordPress or any HTML page builder. We are creating ours in InstaSuite.. If you’re not tech savvy, I recommend you to try it out - it makes the whole process super simple and it’s fully customizable. Take a look at this example of our beautiful JV page created in InstaSuite.
Here are few things you need to include on your JV page:
Product description and demo
This one is obvious, but yes, you need to include a product description and a demo, and to answer some important questions like - What does the product actually do? Why should the customers get it? What is the USP?
To answer these questions correctly, you need to know your product well. Get really close to it. Work with your product team when they’re testing it, understand what problem they’re trying to solve and ask tons of questions. When you understand the vision, you’ll be able to answer these questions better, and better you answer them, higher your chances of people recognizing the value of the product are. In other words, they’ll understand exactly why they should promote your product.
Sales Page Preview (Positioning)
Your affiliates will care about the positioning of your product on the sales page. Clear, good positioning is achieved by polishing your product description and emphasizing only the most valuable features of the new product using a simple message.
It sounds pretty simple, however, it’s one of the toughest things to accomplish. It’s easy to go overboard with this since you’ll feel a strong urge to speak about your awesome product and its individual features. Don’t forget that, at this stage of your launch process, you still don’t have someone’s full attention. It’s crucial that your message sounds convincing, simple and unique. Focus only on the highest-level value of your product.
Include these elements on your sales page preview, to ensure a good positioning:
- A Tagline
- Clear definition of the problem it solves
- List of product's key features
- A value proposition (to show the customers your product will better solve their problems than competitors)
- A positioning statement
Launch date, price points on the funnel and JV prize money
Make sure you clearly defined when the launch will be, mention the price points on the funnel and what kind of prize money you’re giving away - if you intend to give it. You don’t have to do this but it works as a great incentive for people to promote your product. It’s basically an addition to the commissions they would be receiving anyway.
Most affiliates who will choose to promote you are busy people - just like you. They need some help to understand what your product does, and then explain it to their customers. Make their life simpler. Create copy-paste email swipes (and bullet point lists) that will help your affiliates to confidently recommend your product to their customers. Here’s a sample of one of our emails:
4) Get beta users onboard
Have a group of beta users test your product before you release it to the public. Interview them during and after the testing process and collect their testimonials and reviews. By doing this, you’ll get to know how your product is helping others and use gathered information and knowledge not only to inspire others to take action but also to make improvements to the product if necessary.
You’ll probably want to go back to your sales page and change your messaging a bit since you’ll discover a thing or two about the product you weren’t aware of.
5) JV List for communication
6) Create a JV Google Doc file.
It’s generally a good practice to have all your company documents in one centralized place, located in the cloud, and it’s no different for JV documents.
Creating a centralized document for your JV page allows multiple people to look at the information so that they can pick out the bonuses that they want, they can access some additional information that doesn't exist on the JV page, and they can basically stay updated. This is a really good method to make sure that affiliates stay engaged because you're not just restricting them to one JV page that you have.
Pre-Launch Marketing and Advertising Tips
Pre-launch phase is time to think about the marketing - make plans and launch advertising campaigns. The better your plan is, the higher the ROI from your marketing efforts will be. Here are some useful tips and things to think about when making a marketing plan for your product launch.
7) Set goals.Set clear goals. Be ambitious when it comes to this. It can be challenging to project realistic goals when you have a new product without benchmarks, but you can ask a question like: “How many minimum and maximum customers should we get? What kind of revenue would be awesome?”
For example, if you project that your campaign can generate 6000 leads, and it ends up generating 5500, your projections were somewhat on-point and you can use this number as a benchmark for your upcoming campaigns. If the number of generated leads exceeds the projected number, it means you underestimated the potential of your campaign and next time you should aim for higher numbers. And if the numbers are quite lower than projected, it means you should question your tactics and find out which ones didn’t work.
8) Create some content to get your audience ready.
If your company and the new product you’re launching doesn’t have the authority in the market yet, it would be wise to create some content before the launch to prime your audience. By writing about relevant and related topics, you’ll increase your chances of being seen as an industry expert and gain some credibility. Keep in mind the search engine optimization when creating content, the point is to get indexed by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
9) Post about the launch in community groups.
We have different groups on Skype and Facebook where we regularly engage with our affiliates. We use these groups to post about the launch as well. This is a great way to inform your affiliates about the product you’re launching, including the information about the launch date, about commissions and prize money. These groups offer you a chance to attract new affiliates, convince them to promote the product and show them what’s in it for them. Community groups are great for running a smooth communication with your audience.
10) Place retargeting pixels on JV page.
By placing retargeting pixels on your JV page, you can target potential affiliates that have already visited your site and know about your brand. This is a smart way to spend your marketing budget since the people who already interacted with your brand are more likely to be interested in your product. By doing this, you’ll be reminding your potential affiliates about the product launch all around the web as they visit other sites in the display networks you are running retargeting ads on.
11) Create banners for JV ad campaigns.For retargeting campaigns, and any other ad campaigns you intend to run for your product launch, you’ll need to create banners - images or multimedia objects that are displayed in your ad. There are many ways you can create these banners. You can hire a designer or you or someone from your team can do it easily with simple tools like Canva or Youzign.
When creating a banner, keep in mind to follow best practices for maximum results. For example:
- Use the most effective standard banner sizes recommended by Google Adsense:
728 x 90px - Leaderboard
300 x 600px - Half Page
300 x 250px - Medium Rectangle
336 x 280px - Large Rectangle
- Place your ads smartly. Always purchase space on websites where your ads will be placed above the fold and close to the main content of a page, for higher conversions.
- Keep the content of your banner simple and to the point. Again, you have only a few seconds to capture visitors attention and show the value.
12) Create a pre-launch page.
When you’re launching a new product that no one has ever heard about, the last thing you want is to send people directly to a sales page. It makes sense to do so when the product is already live, but if it isn’t, you need to build up anticipation. You need to get people interested, you know, hype things up. This is why you need to create a pre-launch page. It’s a page where people would be directed to before the product actually goes live.
13) Create a video for a pre-launch page.
Include a video on this page. Videos are the most exciting type of content and easily provoke engagement. Besides that, it’s the best way to demonstrate the product to the audience. You can also spice up the video with some marketing tricks and mention a free giveaway or offer them more information if they sign up.
14) Prepare something to give away if people sign up.
You need to prepare something to give away after signup. Think of it as an incentive. It could be in the form of a discount when the product goes live, or a piece of relevant, educational content, like an ebook or a guide. It can even be another video, a training for example, that people can go through before the product goes live. Anything that makes sense and builds up anticipation.
15) Invite people to a webinar 1 hour before launch.
If you have the opportunity, you can even do a webinar. If you decide to do a webinar, you’ll need to create a pre-launch page to invite people to it. It would be a similar page as when you built a webinar or a JV signup page.
If you’re doing a webinar, you can integrate an SMS service, like Mobile-X, so when people sign up, they can leave a phone number and be automatically get text reminders when the webinar starts. People are forgetful and tend to sign up for all kinds of things, but this small step can remind them of your webinar and increase your webinar attendance rate.
Again, you don’t have to do this, but it’s a missed opportunity for lead generation.
16) Pre-launch email sequence
Another thing we do is that we create an email sequence. You can either do it yourself, if you enjoy writing, or hire a copywriter to do it for you. The end goal is to create an email that excites the reader about your product, gives away some free knowledge and information and sends them directly to the pre-launch page. When creating a sequence, keep in mind that although it’s 2017, email marketing still has the highest ROI (around 122%) from all marketing channels out there. Do it right and you’ll definitely see the results.
17) Pre-launch case study and insight video
When I said earlier you need to build up some hype and demonstrate the product, I thought about a pre-launch case study and an insight video. If you have the material, create a case study based on topics relevant to your niche or product launch. Anything that proves the value of your intended method or product, and shows something can be done because you did it already. Since they signed up to view this additional content, as they go away, offer them a discount when the product goes live.
Tips: Include a countdown timer on your pre-launch phase - it adds up the excitement. Also, include Facebook comments for adding some credibility. People will more likely opt-in when they see other people commenting on the offer. People instantly categorize something as attention worthy when they see it's been talked about. If you add this feature, you'll most likely to see your opt-in rates shooting up through the door.
After the product is released to the public, you’ll have a lot of work for your support desk, as the customers will be contacting you constantly with big or small issues. Here’s some friendly advice to make sure you’re ready when the time comes.
18) Clear out support desk before launch.
Clear out all the previous tickets so you can be ready to promptly answer when the product goes live. You need to avoid the situations where old issues get mixed up with the new ones. Trust me, if you do this, you’ll be able to offer focused support.
19) Add product to the drop-down list and create MACROS.
When setting up a support desk, make sure that the product is in the downloads, in the dropdown list so that people could actually log a ticket against it. If you’re expecting an issue to be repeated over time, for example, someone forgetting their password, you can create a macro. This way you can reply them quickly instead of making them wait for hours until they hear back from you and avoid typing in a new content on the same topic over and over again.
20) Create free bonuses to stop refunds.
It’s generally hard to deal with unsatisfied customers, but there’s one great way to put back a smile on their face (and reduce your refunds). If they’re upset, offer them some bonus while they wait for their issue to be resolved.
21) Convert frequent issues into FAQs.
Create a list of frequently asked questions and answer them on your website so your customers might find a solution to their problem before reaching out to support. You can combine the data provided in beta testing and assumptions of what could be the possible frequent issues to create these questions. This will take a lot of work that could’ve been avoided from your support staff shoulders and free their time to deal with bigger issues.
22) Provide around the clock support.
Are you choosing a specific time to reach out to customer support when you’re having technical or any other annoying issue with the software? Of course not, you expect it to be resolved right away, as it happens. Provide the same experience for your customers and have a 24/7 support. This is also crucial when dealing with the customers in different time zones.
23) Train your support staffWhen it comes to picking your support staff, one of the most important things to look for is that they’re knowledgeable about the product. They HAVE to know perfectly how to use the software, otherwise, they won’t be able to help the customers. There’s nothing worse from a customer’s point of view than running into a support staff member who’s not capable of dealing with their issue. Make sure your support staff has gone through the training, even set up a test for them to make sure they know all and everything about the software.
24) Set up all the necessary integrations on time.
When you’re launching a product, you’ll probably need to do few different integrations. Make sure the platforms like Zaxaa, PayKickStart and JVZoo are all set up correctly and tested, so the product is successfully delivered to the buyer. Never forget to test any integrations you set up.
The sales process needs to go smoothly at all times. If it’s not, it can negatively impact the buyer’s decision and make them give up on the purchase altogether. As I’ve mentioned earlier, today’s buyer is impatient, has a short attention span and is a bit spoiled, thanks to this time of instant gratification we live in.
You want to start communicating with your customers as soon as they buy the product. To do so, you need to have a list of their emails and create a follow-up series. InstaSuite has a built-in list builder and autoresponder, but you can also integrate an autoresponder of your choice, like GetResponse, Active Campaign, Interspire, MailChimp etc.
Most of you with little or no technical background cringe when hearing the word: “Integrations”. And I understand you, as the process of integrating few different things and trying to make them work together is usually painful. You can make this whole process simpler by using an all-in-one marketing platform like InstaSuite. InstaSuite has a built-in funnel and page builder, membership builder, email autoresponder, affiliate network and support desk, and for all the other tools that you need, we made the integrations process so simple that anyone can do it.
Chapter II: Launch
Now that you’ve done the big part and set the foundations for a successful product launch, there are few things left to close the process. This is the shortest phase - it’ll take you few days or a week to complete the final steps.
25) Create the main sales page.
When the launch starts, you need to have the main sales page ready and looking fantastic! If your budget allows you, I strongly recommend working with a designer and copywriter on this, to make sure the page looks as nice as possible. If not, you can go through some course and create it yourself.
There’s one more way to do this easily and with little investment. You can use InstaSuite and create beautiful pages yourself, without having to work with a designer, because it’s that simple. For some parts like covers and animated design elements, you can use Canva or Youzign, but you can accomplish the rest without anyone’s help. Take a look at this awesome sales page we created in InstaSuite:
If you are using HTML pages, get a designer to convert PSD to HTML. If you decide to use a platform like InstaSuite, you don’t need this step.
The important thing to consider here is that going with a platform like InstaSuite will save you three to four hundreds of dollars each time you launch a new product.
26) Create a sales video.
For sales and marketing purposes, create a demo video of the product itself. Talk about what it does, how it works, give a detailed walkthrough. There’s one good technique to doing this - storytelling. People love to hear stories. Don’t be sharp and dull. Change the tone of your voice, share your point of view and talk to the audience. Make sure to keep them interested and engaged during the whole video.
Often I see people making a walkthrough video by going through each and every step of the platform like they’re doing a training session. This is not a great approach when you’re trying to sell a product. Stories sell. They’ll eventually learn how to use the product after they purchase it. Right now you need to show them the value they’re getting from it. The purpose.I strongly recommend writing down a script and creating audio for it, and hand it over to a video editor so he or she can turn that into nice sales video. Alternatively, as I suggested for other videos as well, you can make PPT slides and present them while talking.
27) Prepare public bonuses.
If people are on your sales page, they’re probably one step away from making a purchase decision. It will help if you ethically bribe them with some bonuses. If you make public bonuses for the main offer, it will also help you convince more people to promote that product for you. People love bonuses, upgrades and free stuff, and react positively to these kinds of offers. You can even make bonus offer for a limited time, to create an urgency.
Again I have to mention that affiliates are busy! You can set up a bonus page for them if they don’t have time. It’s in your interest to make this effort. Don’t forget to put the link to bonus page on the JV page, so everyone can see it.
28) Make bonus downloads available in members area
As for the bonus itself, make sure it’s available for download in the members area. The last thing you want is to end up with your customers complaining they didn’t receive the bonus they were promised and expecting. Make sure the bonuses are delivered on time to maintain a good reputation and saving yourself from dealing with unsatisfied customers. Have a PDF with the links to all the bonus downloads ready, in case the customers can’t see them on the site. Deliver this document to your affiliates so they can easily pass it to the customer in this case.
29) Create a welcome video for your members.
Once you actually sell the product, you’ll be having members on your site. It would be a nice gesture to create sort of a welcome video for them. In this video, you can say something like: "Hey, congratulations on getting access to this product. Now within this dashboard here's what you're going to see." It’s highly beneficial to provide them with some basic instructions when they join the platform because they might end up confused or overwhelmed with the options.
If you have a separate bonus page for affiliates, you can make an effort to create a short and sweet video for that as well.
30) Create single review access.
Pay closer attention to this because it’ll save you from a headache in future. You’ll probably have multiple affiliates (during the launch I usually have around 50 different affiliates reaching out to me and wanting to use the software). Instead of giving each of them a free account, you can create a generic account and grant them common access. They’ll be able to use the account to build their own campaigns and demonstrate them in demo videos. Don’t bother with making an individual account for your affiliates, it’s not necessary. Create a single review access, it’s easier and faster.
31) Create an exit popup for visitors who want to leave the site.
If you’re comfortable with using exit pop ups, I highly recommend you do so. It’s basically a window that pops up when the visitor intends to leave the site, triggered by a mouse movement. They can be annoying and are considered to be one of the most hated marketing tricks, but they are highly effective. When they’re properly implemented, they can increase conversion, whether they are sign ups, downloads or sales. It gives the visitor another chance to recognize the value. If nothing else, you can at least collect new leads and continue to market to them in future.
If you’re using InstaSuite to build your pages, you can easily add an exit popup since they built in as a feature. As all the other features, it’s also fully customizable.Set exit pop up three hours after the launch starts. Initially, you’ll get a lot of traffic and you don’t want to collect leads too early. Give it some time and wait for the trickle to start coming in slowly, and collect those leads better.
32) Make sure your website is fast.
To make your site faster, you can implement CDN when hosting your HTML pages. Since this is a bit technical, I recommend consulting with a tech person on your team and make sure you can upload some kind of CDN to make your pages and images load faster. This is important since the visitors tend to leave the site if it’s not loading fast enough. Even a 1-second delay can negatively impact your traffic, conversions, and revenue.
33) Create unique access to the product for yourself.
Finally, you need to create a unique access for yourself. You want to have a secure area where you’ll show how the product actually works through webinars or demo videos.
34) One final check.
This is the time to take one last look at your site and ensure everything works. Here’s a simple list to follow when doing a final check:
- Proofread all of your pages: JV page, main sales page and pre-launch page. Include your whole team in this task - someone might notice a spelling or grammar mistake you overlooked.
- Check if all the videos are embedded correctly and working.
- Make sure images are loading fast and look good.
- Try out all the buttons.
- Fill in all the forms, see if they’re collecting the right data and sending the user to the right place.
- Double-check all the links on your pages.
- Make sure your URLs are named descriptively.
- Check the load speed of your site.
- Double-check the members area and if the offers are getting delivered appropriately.
- Check if all the third-party apps are integrated correctly.
- Make sure all the tickets in the support desk are cleared out.
This is also a perfect time to analyze the reports from your pre-launch advertising campaigns. The results are a great indicator of what to expect when the launch happens. For example, if campaigns were successful and generated a lot of interest, prepare that you’ll be swamped with work over the next few days.
35) Is your sales team ready for the upcoming period?
Distinguish your hottest, qualified leads and direct them to sales page right away. It’s best to reach out to them as soon as possible - the day of the launch or directly after. Work together to coordinate the meetings and regular follow ups. Statistics say that around 44% of sales people give up after a first follow up. Make sure your sales time is not doing the same because the majority of sales require repeated follow ups. Believe it or not, 80% of sales require 5 follow ups. Keep these numbers in mind.
Chapter III: Post-Launch
Congratulations, you've taken the big bold step of sharing your dreams with the public. Hopefully, you’ve done everything right and results show that. However, it’s still not the time to sit back and relax, as there are some crucial things to think about after the launch is over.
36) Nurture your leads.
When your launch takes place, you’ll reach a lot of people. Don’t get your hopes high too early though - most of the people will still need more convincing to start a trial or get a demo since they’re interested but not ready to buy yet. Make sure to move them down the funnel by sending them nurturing emails, offering them free trials, demos, more in-depth knowledge about the product and free personal consultations. Retargeting also works.
37) Create a post-launch video.
By now, you’re probably thinking: “What’s with this guy and the videos?” But seriously, you can create a longer video about the product and all its features and capabilities and save it for post- launch. Even when the launch is over, you’ll have fresh content to share with your audience on different channels like social media or email. This way you’ll nurture your qualified leads and possibly convert them into customers.
38) Rework the JV page
Once the launch is closed, there’s one additional thing that we do. We rewrite the JV page so it can become an evergreen page on our site instead of just being something that always exists as a front page.
To successfully turn a JV page to a page that will be a part of your website, you need to remove the launch date, prizes, and bonuses for the affiliates and condense all the information on one place.
I know this is a lot to digest. Product launch is an intense and stressful process and It takes time, but if you follow all these steps and plan carefully, you’ll be able to do it successfully. Using a platform like InstaSuite can make this process simple, easier to manage and less frustrating overall. We’re offering a $1 trial for 14 days, so you can give it a try yourself.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch - we’re always happy to discuss more and help if we can.