How would you like to turn your next product launch into an event your customers are not only genuinely excited for… they’re also eager to buy from you?
You’ve probably seen how great Apple and Marvel are at building excitement for their next launch, but did you know you can use the same ideas to get your audience super-stoked too?
(Yes, even if you don’t have a Marvel or Apple sized budget.)
I’ve spent the past 20+ years refining my proven process for launching products and in this article, I want to give you a quick overview of my product launch process so you can see how it can help you make more sales.
This approach can be used to promote any kind of business – product or service, online or offline. Plenty of service-based businesses and traditional “brick and mortar” shops have used this process with lots of success.
So here are the main four steps behind my product launch process…
Product Launch Process: Step 1 – Pre-Prelaunch
The Pre-Prelaunch is the heart and soul of the product launch process – where you start building anticipation and buzz around your launch.
In Hollywood, this is when the “sneak peek” trailers are released and actors appear on talk shows. They’re building a sense of excitement for the product (in this case, a movie) so the crowds flock to movie theaters on release day.
While you might not be promoting a blockbuster, your product launch should follow the same process. You’ll warm up your audience, letting them know something awesome is coming by giving them a “sneak peek” at what you have planned.
The Pre-Prelaunch is a great time to get feedback from your audience about your offer, so don’t be afraid to ask them what they’d love to see in your product, or what questions they have.
Not only is it OK to do this… it actually gets you MORE engagement. Now your audience feels like they’re part of something. They get to help shape it. Not only is your launch likely to be much more successful, but because your customers helped create it… they’ll get better results too.
When asking your customers for questions and feedback, don’t overthink it. I’ve found a quick email asking “what TWO questions do you have about….” to be the most effective route.
Once you’ve got them wanting to hear more, it’s time for the next step.
Product Launch Process: Step 2 – Prelaunch (The Sideways Sales Letter)
Once you’ve completed the Pre-Prelaunch part of the product launch process, the next step, as you might have guessed, is the “Prelaunch”.
Prelaunch is the time in the product launch process when you want to focus on showing your audience the transformation your offer will provide, establishing your credibility, and delivering value to your customers.
The best way to do all that? With something I created called the Sideways Sales Letter.
In its most basic form, the Sideways Sales Letter is a series of three pieces of Prelaunch Content. And even though it’s called a “sales letter”, it can be any kind of content – blog posts, videos, emails, podcast episodes, or even Livestreams. Choose whichever kind of content fits best for you and your audience.
The job of this Prelaunch Content is NOT to immediately get them to buy your product. It’s to take your prospect on a journey where you’ll reveal the opportunity, transformation, and experience they’ll get when they do. At the same time – your content itself should be valuable whether or not they actually make a purchase.
Typically the three pieces of content are released one at a time, over 6-10 days. Like waiting for the next exciting episode to hit Netflix, this “staggered” approach helps create even more buzz around your offer.
Let’s have a look at each piece of content in turn:
(Note: if you want a deeper look at my full process, including scripts, in-depth case studies, templates, and action planners that guide you through the product launch process every step of the way, click here to find out more about Product Launch Formula and register for my FREE Launch Workshop)
PLC 1 – The Opportunity
The first Prelaunch Content is where you’ll reveal the opportunity that lies before your audience.
Whether you’re selling private jets or pizzas, you’re giving them pleasure, or taking away their pain. So… what’s the opportunity you’re offering?
To get along better with their spouse and kids?
To be able to stand on stage and deliver a flawless presentation?
To finally learn how to play blues guitar?
In your first piece of Prelaunch Content, talk about the problem they’re experiencing, the solution you discovered, and HOW you discovered it.
Tie your story to your customer’s pain points, desires, frustrations, and dreams as you go. Not only will this keep them engaged all the way through, but it’ll softly sell the idea that this transformation is possible for them too…
All they have to do is follow a process. YOUR process.
PLC 2 – The Transformation
The second piece of Prelaunch Content is a great place to highlight the transformation.
Instead of sharing your journey, bring the focus back to them.
How will it look and feel when they take this step and start this journey? Don’t just TELL them… SHOW them what the transformation will feel like for them by using case studies, testimonials, or success stories to bring it to life.
To help your customers experience this even more, choose one aspect of your program and dive deep into it, walking them through it. Don’t worry about “giving away the farm” – this is just one small aspect of whatever you’re offering. The point is to get them invested in your Prelaunch Content, doing the exercises, and engaging with the product launch process.
PLC 3 – The Ownership Experience
For the last piece of Prelaunch Content, share the ownership experience – what would it feel like to own the mastery… i.e., the product you’re about to offer them?
You’ve shared your story and shown them the opportunity that lies before them. You’ve delivered valuable content to help them get started and shared stories of how other people just like them have taken the leap and changed their lives.
Now’s the time to sow the seeds that an offer is coming. So don’t be afraid to let them know you can help them even more… and what that will look like.
After your three pieces of Prelaunch Content, your audience will be perfectly primed to receive your offer. By delivering value, you’ll establish your authority. By sharing case studies and testimonials, you’ll tap into the power of social proof.
In the next step, we’re going to use another powerful mental trigger – scarcity…
Product Launch Process Step 3 – Open Cart
You’ve used your Pre-Prelaunch to create a sense of anticipation and buzz within your audience…
Your Sideways Sales Letter has sold them on you, the opportunity, and the transformation. They’re ready to make the change, and they want YOU to be the one to help them.
Open Cart is the part of the product launch process where we release the tension and open the doors so they can buy into your offer… but only for a limited number of days (usually 5-7).
It’s time to start making sales!
That doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the “show up and serve” pedal. Continue delivering value, encouraging your customers, and enrolling them in your vision.
Help. Engage. Serve.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to tap into scarcity and urgency by reminding them why they need this NOW. It’s not “sleazy” or “slimy” to remind them this offer is only open for 5 days… or that next time it will be more expensive… or that this bonus vanishes tonight – you’re being honest. So have some good reasons for them to buy now, rather than wait until next time.
Email your list every day during Open Cart. Your first email can be a simple, “The doors are open!” email, with the rest reminding them of the opportunity, transformation, and experience that awaits them (and why they should buy now!).
The only exception is the last day of Open Cart – the day when you’ll probably make the majority of your sales…
Product Launch Process Step 4 – Cart Close
The last day of Open Cart is always one of the most exciting. Typically, folks who follow my product launch process will make HALF their sales on the last day of Open Cart (also called Close Cart).
Close Cart is the time to tap into those mental triggers of scarcity and urgency. So email at least three times on the final day of Open Cart. They’ve seen what’s possible for them… and today is their last chance to join and start changing their life.
The first email of Close Cart can be a simple reminder that the deadline is tonight. The second email (usually sent around midday) can be a longer, story-based email, reminding them of why they want your offer, and how they’re likely to feel if they miss out. The third email can be a short and sweet “Hey! This closes in a few hours. It’s now or never!” email.
I also recommend sending one more “LAST CHANCE” email about an hour before the deadline (but only if you REALLY want to maximize your sales 🙂 )
And that’s it! A very, very, VERY high-level overview of the process behind my Product Launch Formula – the approach thousands of my students have used to generate over a BILLION dollars in sales.
If you’d like a deeper dive into the entire process, click here to find out more about Product Launch Formula and sign up for my next FREE Launch Masterclass where I breakdown my process even more!