Given the spectacle that many online launches are today – I’m surprised people aren’t handing out free popcorn and balloons for the kids – a lot of people wonder if their launch is going to be sexy enough.
Now when we say “sexy”, here, what we’re specifically referring to is flashy and overt marketing and sales tactics.
It probably doesn’t help that the typical advice handed out to them tells them that launches cannot succeed if they are not big sexy affairs that get people all in a bother. (Well, I guess a big sexy affair should get you in a bother. It’s hardly sexy if it doesn’t.)
But not every business – or every product – lends itself to the Big Sexy Launch Model. Cars, for instance. For whatever reason, it seems completely rational for auto dealers to think that fireworks and balloons somehow get people to make some subconscious realization that the fact that the new Honda minivan is 5% cheaper than usual is just as exciting as a big, sexy affair. “Did you hear the news? It’s the SALE OF THE CENTURY!”
So the car dealership looks like a bunch of clowns because … well, they’ve actually hired a bunch of clowns. They’re spinning those arrow signs on the corner and waving their arms to get you to look at the auto dealer. But nobody drives by thinking “I never knew negotiating a 60-month lease was so exciting!” They do, however, notice the minivans.
The clowns and fireworks have nothing to do with exciting.
They have to do with making you stop for just a second and pay attention when you otherwise would have ignored them. Fireworks are louder than other sounds. So are clown outfits. But people aren’t “getting excited” – they’re just noticing, and that’s what matters.
Noticing is the first step towards a sale. Because fireworks are louder, however, you’ll get a lot of people talking about how fireworks are what make the magic happen.
Not necessarily. If you’re releasing the next installment of a major movie franchise, then maybe. That’s already exciting. Fireworks can help. If you’re launching the follow-up to your bestselling novel, they might help there.
But if you’re trying to create excitement for something that’s not intrinsically exciting in the first place, even if it’s a worthy product, then sending in the clowns isn’t necessarily going to work to your advantage.
But still you hear the words: “your launch should be really, really sexy.” And you wonder if you’re going to measure up.
So how sexy does your launch need to be?
Answer: Noticeably sexier than you usually are.
Noticeably is not “incredibly.” Noticeably is not “amazingly.” Noticeably is not breathtakingly, jaw-droppingly or spectacularly. (I’d like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the fact that spectacular comes from “spectacle.”)
Noticeably means that your list, or your platform, or the people that you see and communicate with on a regular basis – will notice that something’s going on.
So if you’re already running a pretty sexy brand, then noticeably more is going to equal very sexy indeed. But if your brand is not overtly sexy, then noticeably more is just going to equal … noticeable. And that’s enough.
Your launch has to be noticeable enough to attract attention.
Your launch has to be interesting enough to pique interest.
Your launch has to be relevant enough to facilitate desire.
Your launch has to be timely enough to spur action.
Basically, you up your game during your launch window.
Better content and emails than usual. More content and emails than usual. Content that is designed to be shareable. Contact that would be difficult to ignore. You’re creating a sudden and consistent enough movement that catches the eye so people can start with attention and go through the AIDA process.
For some brands, that requires moving Heaven and Earth, because they’re already putting a lot of effort into moving Earth on a regular basis.
For other brands that are not already running fireworks every day of the week, you can accomplish the same catching of the eye with a lot less spectacle.
It’s not about pasting on some fake eyelashes and strutting your “thang.” It’s not about creating a photo shoot that looks like a P.T. Barnum circus meets The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. It’s not about dropping ten grand on a videographer.
It’s just upping your game long enough that those who know you will notice.
You don’t have to run a flashy launch to run a big launch. You have other options. In our case, you’re seeing a lot more content than usual. Quite a few more emails than you’re used to. Neither qualify as overtly “sexy” – but attention is definitely being attained.
So don’t get wrapped up in sexy for sexy’s sake. Get wrapped up in upping your game in a way that’s consistent with your brand and will facilitate attention, interest, desire and action, whatever that means for your audience.
It’s not about strapping on your leather patent boots and going out to cruise the cougar bars.
It’s about getting your husband to notice you look nice today.
This is part two of our launch advice series. Stay tuned for part three.
Tomorrow we’re going to answer the question “How long does my sales page need to be?” Keep an eye on the blog or sign up for The Letter below and we’ll email you when new posts are out.
Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)
Hello, and welcome – I’m Dave from IttyBiz and you are listening to the BIG LAUNCH launch multipliers. This track is called Reclaiming Non-Buyers After Your Launch.
When we first started sending you these launch multipliers, one of the things we told you is that they were designed to recapture your “almost buyers” – the people who considered your product, put some level of thought into buying from you, and then did not buy.
Today we want to make a specific distinction here between people who “did not buy” and people who “did not want to buy”. Your almost buyers, and for the purposes of this multiplier we can call them non-buyers, simply did not go through the stages of completing a transaction with you. Why they did this, you can’t know.
And so to open this module, we’re going to talk about some of the reasons they might not have bought, so you can get a better idea of how to recapture as many sales as you can during your launch.
So, to begin, let’s talk about two different scenarios.
Scenario number one is what we can call sales page abandonment, and scenario number two is shopping cart abandonment. You may be familiar with these terms. In the first case, someone looks at your sales page and never clicks the buy button. In the second case, someone has clicked the Buy button, and they’ve gone through some level of the buying process – maybe they’ve entered their email address or added something to their cart – but they never seal the deal.
No matter what kind business you run, you’re going to have to deal with a pretty healthy level of both sales page and shopping cart abandonment. It happens to everyone, and it happens a lot. But there’s one critical assumption that we’d say the majority of ittybiz owners make about this, and that ends up costing them a lot of money that they could have relatively easy access to.
That assumption, in plain terms, is the belief that a non-buyer is someone who has rejected your product, your brand, or both. The act of non-buying is generally assumed to be some version of the potential customer saying “no” – specifically “no” to YOU.
However! This is very often not the case at all.
This is true in business and in life. Let’s look at a non-business example to flesh things out a little.
If you leave a message on someone’s voice mail and they don’t call you back, it does not mean they heard your plea for a return call and actively said “no”. Maybe they did, though. Maybe they heard your message and said “There’s no way on God’s green earth I’m calling that person back.” That definitely happens some percentage of the time.
But a lot of times – and it’s important to know this – the reason they didn’t call you back doesn’t involve the word “no” at all. Maybe they accidentally deleted your message and can’t retrieve your number. Maybe your message didn’t get saved in voice mail, or they couldn’t hear your number clearly. Maybe they’re in the middle of an incredibly busy time, and they’re waiting for things to settle down before they call you back, and you get lost in the shuffle.
Maybe they need to get more information together before they call you back. Maybe they’re dreading the conversation a little and they haven’t got their courage up. Maybe they are waiting for some privacy to call you back and it isn’t for the having. Maybe there’s an emergency on their end. Maybe they have dozens of people they need to call back, and frankly, you’re not on the high-priority list. They’re totally willing to get back to you, but they have to wade through more critical or urgent calls before they can get to their Priority Two list.
These are a lot of “maybes”. And none of them have anything to do with “no”.
This is why, in sales and in life, when someone doesn’t return your call you follow up. Think back to how many times you haven’t returned a call for completely innocent reasons, and then the person follows up. You say to them, “Thanks for following up – yeah, this is a good time, we can talk about it now.” And you mean it. Sometimes you just have to follow-up to get to your “yes”.
Now, let’s bring this back to the world of launch. You run a launch. Some people buy, and many people do not. That does not mean that they’ve rejected you – it just means that for a lot of these people, something got in the way.
So we’re going to go through a number of these “somethings” so we can get the reasoning behind them and figure out how to get back in touch with these people in a way that gives you another shot at the sale.
So! Here we go.
Reason number one – The deal was good but it wasn’t quite good enough. < strong>
This happens a lot, and sometimes it’s because your sales material didn’t do the job as well as it could have, or sometimes it’s just because your final price went past someone’s budget or comfort zone.
Think back to when you’ve been in a bookstore and you wanted to buy a book, thinking it was going to be somewhere between $12 and $14. If it’s $16 or higher, you may waffle a bit before putting it back on the shelf. You want it, but either you don’t have the budget or you just can’t see yourself paying that much for that book – or books in general. This can often be solved by offering a discount afterwards.
How many things did you buy after the vendor said “Ok, I’ll take the price down a little?” So that’s an option, and we’ll talk about how you can present this when you contact them later on in this module.
Reason number two – life got in the way and they got distracted.
This is either general distraction or distraction in spite of desire. In the first case, your offer comes into their inbox, and they kind of think about it and get back to their day to day life, telling themselves that they’ll think about it later. And they don’t.
This can also happen at the last minute. It’s just like all those times you told yourself to go back to the store and get that thing before the sale ends tonight – and you forget. Or something legitimately comes up and eats up your evening time. The answer was actually “yes”, but the sale never happened. This usually gets solved by a follow-up offer.
Reason number three – they couldn’t get approval on the original offer.
A lot of people share finances with their partners, and sometimes getting buy-in doesn’t happen, or it doesn’t happen in time. This can get solved with a “special offer” email, which we’ll talk about later. Sweetening the deal can often recapture these people.
Reason number four – there were payment related issues.
This happens more often than you think. Credit cards get declined, and the buyer can’t sort it out. Sometimes they are waiting for a credit card payment to get applied to their account, and it doesn’t clear in time. Sometimes they’ve got the money, but it’s in PayPal or on their American Express and you don’t accept them. Or they could pay via monthly payments, but you don’t offer those, either.
Reason number five – there were technical issues.
Maybe your shopping cart does that thing where information gets erased if you click the Back button. Maybe the web page was hanging. Maybe your customer was trying to order from their cell phone and they couldn’t get the page to load. Something gets hosed, and the customer gives up.
Reason number six – the person was uncomfortable with the buying process.
Maybe it was confusing – either because your checkout process is legitimately confusing, or maybe they’re just not savvy when it comes to buying online. A follow-up with some personal assistance can often solve this problem and close the sale.
Reason number seven – the discount code field.
If your shopping cart shows a discount code field by default, some people assume a discount for that product exists. So they go away from your sales page and start searching for promo codes.
They type in “Product X coupon code”, and when that doesn’t work they type in “Product X promo code”, and then they type in “Product X discount coupon promo” and nothing turns up and then they remember it’s been far too long since they logged into Facebook. Then they’re gone. Or, they get frustrated and feel like other people must have access to a coupon code, and they don’t want to feel like a chump paying retail. Either way, the sale is abandoned.
All seven of these scenarios contribute to the larger-than-you-think group of people who consider buying from you but don’t. So don’t make the assumption that because you didn’t get a payment notification, they didn’t want what you were selling. There’s a lot that can be going on under the hood, here.
Ok, now that we’ve covered all that …
Let’s talk about a few options you have for getting in touch with non-buyers after your launch. Remember, though, we’re talking about people who viewed your sales page or went through your checkout process but didn’t finish. We’re not talking about everybody who didn’t buy from you, only the ones that visibly considered it.
What constitutes “visibly considered”, though? Well, you can set the bar for that wherever you want, but we have a few guidelines for you.
First of all, if they contacted you in any way to ask questions about your offer, they visibly considered it.
Second, if you can look at your email statistics and see that over the course of your launch, people clicked on the link to your sales page more than once, that can be a good indicator that they’ve visibly considered your offer. If they only clicked over to your sales page once, they may have taken one look and said “No way.”
We don’t want to harass people who may have said no outright. But if you can look in your email stats and see that someone has clicked the sales page link two, three four times or more during your launch … well, it’s safe to say they were putting some thought into whether or not to buy it.
The third indicator of visible consideration is shopping cart data. Some shopping carts allow you to track information about people as they go through – this is why you see a lot of e-commerce sites asking you to begin the checkout process by entering your email address. This is so they can follow up with you if you don’t – or can’t for technical reasons – complete the checkout process.
If you don’t have access to shopping cart data like that, then you may want to look into getting that set up before your launch. If you can’t do that, you may just have to pass on this data source for now and stick to the first two.
Now, once you have this data, you need to figure out under what auspices you are going to contact people.
You have a few options.
One is the “Tech support” email.
This is where you contact the person after the launch – preferably very close to after the launch ends – and ask if there was a problem with their order. If you have shopping cart data, you can say “We noticed that you added it to the cart but didn’t purchase, and we wanted to check to see if you had any tech issues.” You can say “We can still take care of you if you’d like.”
If you don’t have access to shopping cart abandonment data, you can just keep it general. You can say that you know that sometimes people have issues with ordering, and you’re just following up to see if this person is one of them.
A second approach is the “special offer” email.
This is where you contact them and say that you really want them as a customer, and you really think they’ll enjoy what you’re selling, and so you cut them a deal. Maybe it’s a discount. Maybe you throw in something extra. But this is just a nice, casual, friendly offer that you make to them.
A third approach is the “What will it take?” email.
This is like the “special offer”, but it’s custom. This is where you ask if they had a specific issue, or set of issues, and you offer to work with them to make it a deal they’re happy with. This is often used when you’re selling something high-ticket or high-touch enough that you can make this kind of proposal without sounding weird.
If the guy selling you a car or a home security system or a vacation package says “Hey, maybe we can work out a deal”, you have a frame of reference for that. You know somewhere inside that this is a reasonable kind of transaction to haggle over. Customization of the offer is something that falls into the realm of reason. If you’re selling a $29 ebook? Not so much.
So, these three approaches can help you legitimately get in touch with these “almost buyers” and offer an additional opportunity for the sale. Again, you’ll want to do this as close as you can to the end of the launch, and you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re extra friendly. The power is in their hands here, so you’re not pressuring them to buy. You’re trying to woo them. Act accordingly, and you won’t end up looking like an idiot.
Contacting non-buyers can be scary at first, but remember, this has been going on since the dawn of commerce. It doesn’t bother people as much as you might think. Generally it bothers people when they actively don’t want to buy but the salesperson keeps hounding them. It doesn’t tend to bother people when you take a respectful approach and assume that they have good reasons why they didn’t buy the first time.
So, use what we’ve covered here to get in touch with non-buyers, and you may be surprised with how many extra sales you make. You’ll probably end up with a number of people who are excited because they didn’t think they’d end up having another opportunity, or a chance to work out a deal. Everybody wins! And your sales go up. So there you have it.
Thank you so much for being here with us today. I’m Dave from IttyBiz and you have been listening to the BIG LAUNCH launch multipliers, Reclaiming Non-Buyers After Your Launch. I’ll talk to you very soon.
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Welcome to day one of our blog series of advice on product launches. Day one is unique in that it is the only day that comes before day two, but after the introduction.
As promised, we’re answering common launch questions. We’re trying to answer the hard ones, too, so that you’re not totally wasting your time. We are very aware that you had a choice in what you did today, and that getting blasted on egg nog was among those choices, so please accept our thanks. We will work hard to ensure you feel you made the right decision.
So. First question. Probably the most common among people who have launched stuff in the past. You feel like you did everything right and it still flopped. What went wrong?
There are three things to consider. We will list them.
1. You did everything perfectly but you launched to a near-empty room.
In a certain percentage of cases, the launcher really did do everything right. They just didn’t have any real platform to launch to. This is very similar to perfectly executed pick-up lines in an empty bar. You might have executed flawlessly, but there was nobody there to see it.
This is most common in people who start out launching a product – usually their first one, or their first serious one, but not always – and have very realistic expectations. They say, both to themselves and the people around them, that they don’t expect the launch to do anything significant in terms of sales, but that it will be a learning experience.
Then they start doing the launch and get really invested and forget that they said they weren’t going to get really invested. They go through most of their promotional period and don’t sell much (or anything). They keep hope alive by saying that Naomi and Dave said that you make most of your sales on the last day anyway. The last day comes and results are… lackluster, to put it charitably.
The bad news: Can be incredibly disheartening if you let it.
The good news: You did it perfectly. Go build your platform and do it again. You even already have the product made, which means that unlike most people launching products, you’re not scrambling to make the product, at the same time as trying to sell it to people, at the same time as trying to find people to sell it to.
The solution: Build your platform. Improve your launch process while you’re at it. There’s always room for improvement. Six sigma, baby. Mmmm… kaizen*. Tasty, tasty kaizen.
Then relaunch when you feel like your platform is big and strong enough. Doesn’t matter when.
2. You did everything technically perfectly (or perfectly enough) but your product sounded like a “nice to have.”
This is most common in ittybiz owners who started out with strong ties to the blogging community. They read a lot of blogs. These bloggers tell them what great launches they’re running, and our hero decides to make products just like theirs. Obviously they’re selling well, so that must be what people want, right?
Here’s the problem with that approach: People lie.
If people had a crappy launch, it is highly unlikely that they are going to go out on their blog and tell you they had a crappy launch. And if people have a crappy launch, they feel that they need to say something, because that’s what they’ve seen their bloggy heroes do.
So blogger # 1 feels compelled to make up a whopper about their launch because they’re too nervous to say nothing and move on. This person is not a known liar with the morals of an alley cat, they simply don’t realize that they’re allowed to shut their mouth and move on with their life.
Blogger # 2 reads it, launches their own product, and feels compelled to make up a whopper about their launch because they’re too nervous to say nothing. Probably also not a known liar, probably also doesn’t realize they’re allowed to say nothing.
Blogger # 3, probably a mommy blogger turned launch consultant, reads both. Launches a product about product launches, and feels compelled to make up a whopper about their launch because, well, for obvious reasons.
Our hero reads all three and says, “Man, other people are making a lot of money. I should make products just like theirs.”
Good products fall into two categories – Must Have, and Nice To Have. Most products put out by bloggers, coaches, service providers, even physical product sellers are Nice To Have.
Now, please don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that Must Have products are ones that dwell on pain points to the point where they qualify as old-school “desperate buyers only” stuff. Many luxuries fit the criteria of Must Have.
Ever seen the headline “The Must Have Handbag of the Season? It’s not an actual Must Have. It’s not a need. It’s a compulsion, an obsession. When Marc Jacobs started making eyeliner, I know a lot of people who would have sold their hair to buy it if came down to that.
Must Have is “Oh my God, that’s AMAZING.” There’s a breathlessness, a catch in the voice.
Nice To Have is “Oh, that’s so cool.” There’s a sweetness, an affection.
The first product flies off the shelves.
The second product gets you emails saying how great you are.
So, in this situation…
The bad news: Can be incredibly disheartening if you let it.
The good news: Much of this can often be solved by positioning. It’s possible, even likely, that the problem wasn’t the product, but the presentation. That means you don’t have to scrap your product. And if your presentation wasn’t thrilling, nobody paid much attention, so if you get the positioning right and relaunch it better next time, they’ll sort of forget what happened before. Let’s face it – Nice To Haves aren’t that memorable. In your case, that’s a huge blessing.
The solution: If your product is good but badly positioned, stop pulling your punches. Figure out what’s really great about your product and lay it out there. Relaunch in 6 months to a year.If your product sucks, make a new one. I have made lousy products and I have made great ones. The great ones are easier because they take over your soul. They’re never things you have to “get around to”, but things that are a joy to create. Launch your new product whenever you feel like it – nobody really noticed this one anyway, so they’re hardly going to be overwhelmed. Wait at least three months, though.
3. You did only as much of “everything” as you felt comfortable with, which wasn’t really everything at all.
This is common in ittybiz owners who have spent a lot of time loosely learning – either through free sources or purchased information products – but never sat down to create a strategy. Strategies that work are ones that other people make for you, or ones you make on your own. But a strategy must be made.
You’ll know this was you if you find yourself saying, “I know, I really should have…”.
Things you “should have” done include, but are in no way limited to:
Sending a decent number of emails
Writing a proper sales page in advance
Doing that webinar
Getting back on social media more than a week before you had something for sale
You can’t half-ass a product launch any more than you can half-ass a rocket launch. You have to plan them properly, and you have to work your plan, and you don’t get to sit around saying, “Yeah, I know I should have…” Or “Yeah, I really meant to…”
Some things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes most things don’t go according to plan. That’s fine. But when you have a real, non-half-ass plan (is this a full-ass plan?) and something can’t be done, you replace it with something. And so it works anyway.
Think of it like this. If you have a plan for what you’re going to do for Christmas dinner and for some reason the turkey falls through, what do you do? Let your family eat Stove Top and starve? Or do you find a not-bad replacement?
If you do not have a plan for what you’re going to do for Wednesday night’s dinner and anything at all falls through, what do you do? You wander around your house complaining about how hungry you are and mutter over and over that you really meant to pick up some food.
The bad news: This can be incredibly disheartening if you let it.
The good news: Your entire village didn’t die in a fire? A tornado hasn’t ripped the roof off your home? You’ve still got your health? At this point, there’s not a lot in the way of good news. Presumably your product didn’t suck, which is a blessing. And you’re clearly trainable, because you know what you should have done, you just didn’t do it. So that says to us that if someone gives you a plan, or you pull it together to make one, you’ll at least be capable of doing what needs to do be done. That’s something hopeful, at least.
The solution: Relaunch in 6-12 months. Do it properly this time. Try to build and strengthen your platform in the meantime. You’re looking a little wussy right now.
This is part one of our launch advice series. You can read more in part two.
Tomorrow we’re going to answer the question “How sexy does my launch need to be?” Keep an eye on the blog or sign up for The Letter and we’ll email you when new posts are out.
Issues related to launch are not inscrutable or closely guarded secrets. They’re generally things that you don’t realize until you’ve had a few under your belt. We’ve run over 80 launches for ourselves and our clients. We’ll help you not have to learn everything the hard way.
* What we mean by “kaizen”: A Japanese philosophy / practice that focuses on continuous improvement. Kind of helped them become an economic superpower, so, there might just be something there.
Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)