Launches are fun.
(OK, that’s not true. Launches are lucrative. When you look back at them, you say, “Wasn’t that fun?” and you think it was fun because something good happened at the end. This is very similar to childbirth.)
Making money while you sleep is also fun.
(Fine. You’re right. I suppose that’s not really true either, because you’re sleeping when it happens. I don’t know why you have to be so pedantic about this. Sheesh.)
On this topic, one of the questions that I get asked most frequently is the following:
“Can’t I just put it in my store and have people buy any time they want?”
The “it” they are talking about is their thing. Their course, their ebook, their membership program, their whatnot.
Can they avoid the whole scarcity debacle and say, “BEHOLD! My thing!” and put it in their store and leave it there forever?
Let us discuss this today.
First, a brief definition of terms.
The types of products we are talking about today are ones that, theoretically, could be taken away. If you’re putting a novel into the Kindle store, you are obviously not going to make it available for 10 days and then take it away again. If you are introducing a new line of soap, ditto. So what we’re talking about are things like information products, courses, membership sites, and the aforementioned whatnot.
If at any point during the reading of this article, you look at me quizzically and say, “Uh… why would I take it away?” then I am not talking about you. You may continue reading because I am smart and funny, or you may go away and come back tomorrow where there will be something new to read here.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to take some liberties with the definition of both “evergreen” and “product launch”.
In this article, when we say “evergreen”, we do not necessarily mean that the offering will be permanently for sale, or has no timely elements. For the purposes of this article, when we say evergreen, we mean:
“Once this thing is out in the world, the general public can buy anytime. They can buy today, they can buy tomorrow, they can buy four months from now. At least for the foreseeable future, I have no plans on taking this thing away.”
In this article, when we say “launch”, we do not necessarily mean the first-time release of a brand new offering. For the purposes of this article, when we say launch, we mean:
“This thing is not available all the time. There is a window during which it is available for purchase or registration. At the end of that window, availability will be taken away, either forever, or for a while.”
So, to recap. Evergreen means “buy whenever”. Launch means “there is a window and it closes”. Got me so far?
OK. Now let’s look at why people like each option.
People like launch because, when it works, it’s a whole lot of money at once.
People like evergreen because, when it works, people buy all the time.
Launch = holy mother of God, that’s a lot of money!
Evergreen = look! money dripping in every day! ka-ching!
Now let’s look at why people DON’T like each option.
People don’t like launch because:
- It’s a lot of work.
- What about people who don’t buy at launch? What if people don’t have the money at launch? What if they’re on vacation? What if they’re at the hospital with their mother getting her hip replaced? What if they need some time to think?
- Isn’t launch exhausting?
- What if it doesn’t make any money?
- Launching seems like something you can suck at.
People don’t like evergreen because:
Blah blah blah, drippy drippy drippy WHERE’S MY BIG PAYDAY?
Still with me? OK.
Ready for me to tell you what to do now?
There are three reasons to put this category of product out into the world.
- To make money. Ideally, lots of it.
- To add to your general feelings of comfort, security, well-roundedness and stuff.
- To provide credibility to your brand for other reasons. (Speaking, coaching, etc.)
If you are in category 1, you have two options.
- A: You can launch it and take it away, either temporarily or forever.
- B: You can launch it at a discount and put it in your store, evergreen, for a higher price.
If you want money, there is no non-launch option.
You know how they say, “Put it in your store and you’ll make money every day”?
Or, “If you only sell one copy a day, you’ll make $Blah,blah,blah a year”?
This, like communism, works on paper but not in practice.
The reason people buy during launch is because there is a good reason to buy during launch. There is a reason to buy right now. Even if that reason is “look at this shiny object, perhaps I will part with some of my money now”, there is a reason to buy RIGHT NOW.
That is what drives the majority of sales. Not in launches, not on the internet, but in life.
Take away the reason, you take away the sales. Boo.
If you are in category two, you also have two options.
- A: You can lightly launch it at a discount and put it in your store, evergreen, for a higher price.
- B: You can just stick it in your store and link to it every now and again. (You could also buy ads.)
In this case, a mini-launch is nice because it brings in a little money at the beginning, but more importantly, it draws attention. Then all those people who are going to be buying while you sleep? They will now be aware of the product’s existence, thereby increasing the likelihood they will buy it while you sleep.
(I am still looking for a way to get people to buy while THEY sleep.)
This option works particularly well for lower priced products. If your product is $50, this can work.
If your product is $2,000, I wouldn’t recommend this, UNLESS you’re planning to slash the price on Black Friday or something. Then everybody looks throughout the year and says, “Gee, $2000. I sure wish I could afford that.” They put pictures of you and your product on their vision board and when you put it on 50% off sale in November they say, “See? Manifesting works!” and give you a thousand dollars. Yay!
One thing to remember, though, is that if you do this, you MUST have a link on your navigation bar that is called Store, Shop, or Products, and this product must be there. You can’t have it on a random page. You would think this would be obvious. You would be wrong.
If you are in category three, you can do whatever you want.
It doesn’t matter because you don’t care anyway.
BUT! If you are heavily invested in selling your coaching, mentoring, servicing, speaking, or interpretive dancing, you might want to avoid a launch. When you don’t really give a hoot if they buy the product since you’re only doing it for the cred, a launch draws attention away from what you’re really trying to sell. Boo.
Ready for the Executive Summary?
If you want money, you launch.
If you want the coziness of occasional drip sales, you go evergreen.
If you don’t care, it doesn’t matter.
There. Wasn’t that easy?