Launch Management: It’s Going to be a Wild Ride!

For the past couple of months, we’ve been talking about my favorite part of online business.

No other part of this industry gets me more excited. Nothing else brings in quite as much revenue. And of course, no other part robs me of as much sleep.

I’m talking about product launches.

We’ve discussed how to complete your first successful launch. We talked about the things that so-called “gurus” don’t tell you about launches. We went over the main purpose of launches and how they fit into your overarching business strategy.

Now we’re going to talk about launch management. Please note that the phrase “launch management” is a bit of an oxymoron. They’re so busy, action-packed, and often unpredictable that it’s all we can do to hold on. But, if you feel like your launch is wild enough that it’s tough to manage, then I guarantee you’re on the right track.

By the way, if you want to hear this in podcast form, simply follow this link.

The Pre-Launch Checklist

Since the rest of this post entails how to manage your launches, I thought I’d take a minute to go over your Pre-Launch Checklist, to make sure we’re on the same page once we’re off the ground.

Launch management assumes:

  • You have created a product. This product doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be viable. It takes a real problem or point of pain that your target market experiences, and brings the solution. You know it will sell, not because it’s innovative, but because similar products have sold well in your market before.
  • You set up a membership area and sales page. The most accessible tools for this are ClickFunnels and GrooveFunnels. You want to make sure that everything works, and that your funnel is airtight.
  • You have your up-sell and down-sell ready. You don’t have a million different offers to bombard the customer with, but one tasteful upgrade, and one upgrade-lite if they choose to decline the upgrade.
  • You have joint venture partners (JVPs). You don’t need to have an army of celebrities endorsing your product, but 2-3 other entrepreneurs with decent-sized audiences. You should also think about how you will reciprocate the free hype they give you.

If you have all that taken care of, then it’s time to focus on how to actually manage this thing!

By the way, launches constitute the third part of my signature method for making money in online business. I call it the “M.I.L.K. It” method, which stands for Market, Idea, Launch, and Ka-Ching. If you’ve never read up on it before, then follow this link to discover more.

Launch Management 101

Here are a few ways you can corral the bucking bronco that is your next product launch:

  1. Clear your calendar.

For your launch to work, you have to be available. This may sound obvious to some, but you’d be surprised how many people think that launches are all about pressing “go,” walking away, and watching the money roll in. That’s incorrect.

You must make yourself available during all the key times of your launch. You also need to make sure that the other aspects of your business don’t fall by the wayside during the launch. We usually run our launches for 3-5 days, which means there’s a week’s worth of work to account for.

I basically plan that for four days, I’m not going to get much sleep. My other tasks have all been taken care of beforehand. I’m ready hours and hours pre-launch to double-check absolutely everything. Check the sales page, the email setup, and check in with your JVPs. You want smooth sailing from the moment your cart goes live.

  1. Step into two roles, and two roles alone.

The second your launch begins, your day job ends. The tasks you perform and things you pay attention to are going to change, dramatically. There are only two hats you should wear during the entire process: Customer Success Specialist, and Performance Analyst.

First, customer success. In a launch of any size, things will go wrong. Customers will have questions to ask you before purchasing, even if the answers are right in front of them. Something will break. Someone will need help navigating a technical difficulty. 

The bigger your launch, the more these will occur. That’s okay because, for the next four days, you’re a Customer Success Specialist. Do everything you can to help everyone that reaches out to you.

A customer who had a problem, that was later resolved by you, will be more loyal to your brand than someone who had no trouble at all.

Second, Performance Analyst. With whatever platform you use, you can track your traffic along with a host of other metrics. Decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs), and obsess over them. You want to know how many people visit your sales page, what percentage of them make a purchase, and how well your up-sell and down-sell perform. You also want to have an idea of what tweaks you’ll make if the numbers aren’t where you want them to be.

  1. Expect disaster.

Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

As alluded to before, something terrible is going to go wrong on your launch, especially if you’re not prepared for it. A JVP will back out at the last minute. Your sales page will go down. Transactions will stop processing. Something you overlooked will make a few customers angry with you.

We mitigate disaster three ways:

  • We enter with the mindset that disaster is coming. This way, we aren’t surprised when it comes. If you aren’t expecting it, then you’ll panic when it comes, which isn’t productive. If you do expect it, you’ll be intensely relieved if it doesn’t come.
  • We communicate. We carry the assumption that communication hasn’t effectively taken place and do our best to over-communicate on every detail. This means keeping your JVPs in the loop through automatic emails and manual follow-ups. It means talking with everyone in your business about their role and the plans of action in various circumstances. It means over-communicating everything about the product and its delivery to your customers.
  • We use checklists. Long before the launch starts, we sit down and ask ourselves about everything that needs to be checked before we go live. We talk through every disaster that could happen, and develop a plan to prevent it or mitigate its effects.

I know that seems like a lot because it is. Launches are complicated, beautiful, terrifying, and fun. Just remember all that going into it, and you’ll do fine.

For more secrets the so-called “gurus” won’t tell you about making money online, check out my podcast:

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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