You’ve build awesome relationships. You’ve chosen the perfect product topic. You’ve created a digital product that would make your mama proud.
“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work when you create a blog, so why would it work when you create a digital product? If you want to sell more than a handful of copies, you need to plan a product launch to get the word out about how awesome your product is.
Step Five: Plan a Digital Product Launch to Promote Your New Product
The best product launches combine the following pieces:
- Promotion to your networks
- Extended network “favors”
- Affiliate promotions
But before we talk about those things, however, we have to talk about what is perhaps the most important part of your product launch: timing.
Timing Your Product Launch
Someone once told me that if you have a good product, you can launch it any day of the year and be successful. While I do think this is true, if your timing is crap, you aren’t going to maximize your success. If I launch a digital product on Christmas, I might sell 100 copies and deem it a success, but if I had launched another day with the same product, I might have sold 1000 copies…so how successful was I, really?
It isn’t just about avoiding holidays, though.
First, I recommend doing some research to see which day your community is most active. Your list is a great way to do this kind of research. Split test your next few emails by sending to different groups on different days to see if one day has a higher open rate than others. Remember to test weekends as well. Although product launches are typically during the work week, some communities are just online more over the weekend.
Timing your product launch well also means that you don’t start selling your product the day it is done. Yes that new car smell might be enticing, but if you set yourself up for success first, you’ll sell more units!
Something else to consider: People respond well when there’s a sense of urgency. So, make sure you build this into the timing of your product launch. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Make it available early, for a limited time, to a certain group of people, like your email subscribers.
- Make it available at a lower price point during your “launch” period.
- Combine it with other products or offers for a limited time.
Promotion to Your Networks
During the creation phase of your product, you should start “hinting” to your community that you have something coming. People love to be in-the-know, so this is a great way to generate sign-ups for your mailing list. Be a little secretive, but release enough details that you’re giving people a juicy tidbit to whet their appetite.
At this point, you should also begin planning how you’re going to promote the full product to your community. This includes:
- Writing and scheduling tweets, Facebook updates, and shares on other social networks for launch day.
- Writing and scheduling email blasts to go out to your network.
- Writing and scheduling a blog post about the product.
Don’t wait for the night before to do these things. Get them written and scheduled so the day of your launch you can focus instead on customer support.
Extended Network “Favors”
Hopefully, you’ve already been working to build relationships with others in you niche and in related niches. Now’s the time to call in some favors. Two to four weeks before your launch day, it’s time to start working with your online friends to get ready for launch day. Here are a few things you can ask for:
- Guest Posts: Ask your friends if you can publish a guest post with them about the topic of your product. Link to the product at the end of the guest post, in your bio or as allowed by the other blogger.
- Social Shares: Ask your friends to tweet about or otherwise share the link to your new product or the blog post about the launch. Make it easy by creating a few pre-written tweets they can use.
- Emails: Ask your friends to mention your new product in their email newsletter or even send a dedicated email to their list.
- Bonus Items: Ask your friends to provide a “bonus” item (like a short guide or video) that can be given away during your product launch to help entice people to make a purchase.
- Testimonials: Ask your friends to write a short testimonial about you or (if they’ve seen it) your product.
Remember, to have a friend, you have to be a friend…and beyond that, be careful not to use people. If your primary reason for building a relationship with someone is so they can help you, you’re doing it wrong!
When asking for favors to go with your product launch, be respectful of others’ time and always make it as easy as possible for people to help you.
Two to four weeks before your product launch is also when you can start working on your affiliate program. You can invite your friends to be part of this, and you can also reach out to your broader community to invite them to take part.
You need a program to manage your affiliates so they get paid and can easily share your content. Here are some of the top affiliate management programs out there for digital product sales:
- Commission Junction
- Has Offers
Another great option is to work with an affiliate management consultant. This person works on your behalf to increase your affiliate sales, but they take a percentage of the cut. Affiliate managers usually have a specific program they like to use, and they’ll set it up for you from start to finish. Make sure you’re on board with whatever service they’re using though, as the monthly fee or percentage of sale you’ll pay varies from company to company.
For more on affiliate programs, I really like this post: The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Affiliate Program.
Guess What? No Product Launch is Perfect!
No matter how well you plan and how many connections you have, no product launch is without your problems. So, be ready to provide support, and get ready to take notes on what to do differently next time!
See Other Posts in This Series:
- Step One: Building Relationships
- Step Two: Choosing the Perfect Product
- Step Three: Creating Your Product
- Step Four: Planning Your Launch (this post)
- Step Five: Customers Service
Image credit (altered): Bigstock