What does it mean to launch?
This is when you put your offering, product or service into the world. It usually involves some sort of hoopla to get people excited about what you’re doing.
When I was trying to plan the launch of Coaching Practice in a Box I made myself crazy. I couldn’t see around having to do an official launch, but every plan I came up with felt awful. I kept revising my plan, circling each time closer to what I really wanted. Then I’d wait a couple days, decide to scratch everything I had planned and start over. Again, I would circle closer to what I really wanted then start the whole process over again.
My coach gently prodded me to make a plan and send her the schedule. I tried, but couldn’t do it.
That important question came up–was I resisting because I was scared or was I resisting because it really wasn’t the right thing to do? Since EVERYONE else did a launch, how could I expect to birth my baby without one?
Basic launch recipe: the essential components
This is what I was looking for as I was floundering around trying to figure out what to do. I’m always looking for the perfect marriage between common sense business principles and following my original and unique vision.
To launch, you need to have:
1. Something to launch
This can be anything from a blog post to a longer program. Anything you want to roll out into the world and let people know about is something that needs to be launched. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll focus on things you’ll be paid for. The basic principles apply regardless of what you’re working on.
2. A way to tell people about it
You need to know who the right people are for your product. Then you need to tell them about it. There are approximately 1 zillion ways to go about this. Decide what method you want to use based on your personality and taste, the flavor of your offering, and the level of support you have in your business.
3. A way to take payment
You need a way to take their cash. This probably means PayPal. I use eJunkie for products. When I’m taking money over the phone or in person I use Square. It also means you need a process. Go through this process yourself a few times to make sure it’s easy and makes sense to the person buying it.
Here is a short list of launch ideas for you to riff on.
Give something away
That could be a taste of what you’re selling. For example, I could have given away one of the meatier chapters in Coaching Practice in a Box to give people a taste of the quality and depth of content. I considered giving away the entire Website, Zero to Done section.
Or it might be something peripherally connected to what you’re selling. For example, I considered doing a free call or email series about getting 3 new clients. I also considered creating a pdf and webinar for the 5 steps to setting up your coaching practice.
People often do a free preview call. They promote the heck out it for a couple of weeks to get as many people signed up for it as possible. Then they do the call and make a short pitch at the end or in follow up emails. Some people pitch the whole time and that’s just annoying. But this isn’t a guide to an annoying launch. It’s a guide to an effective and authentic launch.
Throw a party
This is like a grand opening party that retail stores do. They put up balloons, have entertainment and give stuff away. To do this with an online business, use a live service like Livestream or do a live webinar and gather prizes from people that you can give away. Add a social media component to this to generate more interest and participation. People often get drunk during these live things. It’s a little bit disconcerting to see people in front of a computer screen drinking it up, but if that fits your personality, drink it up baby!
How to decide what approach to take for your launch
Consider your options, stalk your online heroes and peers, then stop it.
Get quiet and soften your awareness. Ask “What wants to happen here?” Consider the soul of your offering and ask it how it wants to be born.
When I did that for Coaching Practice in a Box I saw that it wanted to be personal and spread slowly over time. No party, no fancy hoopla, no free taste. Personal and intimate is the way I roll the best, so this is the path I chose.
I decided to invite people personally to check it out. Then I told the coaches in my coaching clinic. Then I added an affiliate program. That just means that if you refer people to purchase it, you’ll make some cash for sending them over. I initially rejected the idea of an affiliate program because if seemed too internet-markety. But then I realized that it’s a natural support for something that I want to grow primarily based on word of mouth marketing. Then I asked my colleagues and friends to talk about it on social media.
Then I sent one email to my e-letter list and I hit my sales goal within a day.
There are a lot of project management systems available. My favorite is a shared Google Doc. Keep a list of everything that needs to be done with the initials of the person responsible next to each task. Like this:
- Finish sales page SWY
- Create a badge SWY
- Proofread MS
- Format testimonials DCY
It’s extremely low-tech yet effective.
Jonathan Mead at Paid to Exist has a great launch checklist for you to follow. Click here to check it out.