Product Launch Advice, Part 7: Do I Even Need To Launch?

You will often hear people tell you that you are required, by some unwritten or perhaps even written rule of marketing, that you HAVE to launch your products. You may be told that you’re leaving money on the table, or that you aren’t going to ever get any traction without a launch, or that launching is the way you’re “supposed” to get your product out into the world.

Now, the first of those is potentially true, the second is patently false, and third is … I don’t even know what to say about that. It’s your business. There’s no one way you’re “supposed” to do anything. That’s like saying that candy and flowers are the way you’re “supposed” to show your partner you love them.

Even if you’re not told you have to do it by any one party, the implication is there by the internet marketing community in general that no launchy = no happy.

So… do you need to launch? Is it required? Will you be getting in line for government cheese if you don’t master the art and science of the big launch?

Sigh. For all the fuss about launches, whether or not you need to do them shouldn’t be that dramatic.

Let us discuss.

Here’s what your marketing looks like when you’re NOT launching something.

For your regular, everyday marketing, you go through the standard AIDA process (which consists of Attention, Interest, Desire and Action):

  • You attract Attention so people notice your product exists.
  • You capture Interest so people feel like your product is relevant to them.
  • You nurture Desire so people want to purchase your product.
  • You encourage Action so people buy your product.

That’s basic marketing. That’s normal commerce. That’s how people buy gum.

Here’s what your marketing looks like when you ARE launching something.

When you ARE launching a product, you still go through the standard AIDA process (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action), but now you’re doing it with a pretty high level of intensity:

  • You attract major Attention so lots of people notice your product exists right now.
  • You capture major Interest so lots of people feel like your product is relevant to them right now.
  • You nurture major Desire so lots of people want to purchase your product right now.
  • You encourage major Action so lots of people buy your product right now.

It’s virtually the same. All that you’re really leaving out if you don’t launch is the “right now” and the intensity. You’re not doing categorically different things than you do in your regular marketing – you’re just ramping up the effort you put in and taking as many steps as you can to make it all come off seamlessly, elegantly and effectively.

It’s a little like playing hockey with your buddies and playing it on a real team. When you move from one to the other, you’re not playing a different game. You’re playing a more intense one, with more intense risk and reward.

But you play that game when you want to. If you want to.

Some people prefer to release products – instead of launching them – for the entire life of their business. And that’s okay.

The AIDA process works whether you launch or you don’t launch. You run the process, people buy, then eventually more people buy, and eventually enough people buy that you’re making the money you want to make. Hooray! Eventually you’re making a living. (Or a killing. We don’t judge.).

All things being equal, however, launches tend to turn “eventually” into “much sooner.” And that’s exactly what a lot of people want for their ittybiz.

A lot of people need money. A lot of people are in a lot of pain in their lives and want their ittybiz to be their ticket out. A lot of people know they won’t stick to their ittybiz if they don’t see some traction and some gains.

But that’s not everybody. For quite a few, slow and steady is just fine. And if that’s you, then when someone tells you (or implies) that you JUST HAVE TO LAUNCH OR ALL THE PUPPIES DIE, just remember you have permission to let things unfold on your own timeframe. Not everyone wants or needs to press the fast forward button.

That said …

Here are two cases when you might very much want to run a launch.

Case #1 – You would find a rather substantial chunk of money particularly useful right now.

If you’re just running your business on “grow as it grows” speed, then you don’t care too much about when the money comes in. You’re just enjoying the ride.

But a well-executed launch could essentially generate 50% of your year’s revenue in a week. And there are circumstances where that could come in handy.

If you’re aiming for a bunch of money in the bank so you can finally quit your job, for instance. Or if you’re looking to take care of a down payment on a house (or, if you can swing it, pay off a mortgage). And for some, a big launch can be proof that this business you’ve been working on truly has legs.

Keep in mind here that “a bunch of money” is relative, not absolute. For some people, that would evoke images of $5,000, and for others, $500,000. So it’s not so much about big money in general but what you’d consider to be big money. That number is up to you.

(Dave and I both remember our first $1,000 days – the actual dates, too. We both cried. We both prayed. And neither of us believed it could possibly be real. The numbers change over time, but the HOLY $#!& stays the same.)

Case #2 – You would like to get your 13 exposures out of the way as quickly as possible.

If you’ve taken our classes before, you’ve heard us talk about the idea that a customer, in general, needs a certain number of exposures to your product before they end up buying.

They hear about your thing via your blog and they think about it. Then they see an ad in your sidebar and they think about it again. Then you mention it in an email, or they hear someone else talk about it … and the exposures add to the amount of time they spend seriously considering it.

Thirteen is not a hard and fast number. Depending on who you hear it from, it can go as little as 7 or as high as 21. But the idea is that most customers need significant repeat exposure before they go ahead and buy. Normally, that process can take a long time.

With a launch, you can get 8 to 10 of those exposures taken care of in a week or so. Regardless of sales numbers, even if your launch is a poorly executed flop, launches are the best way we’ve seen to make sure everyone knows about your product. They may buy now, or worst case, they’ll be well on the path to buying the next time they hear about it.

So in addition to the spike up front, launches tend to make subsequent promotions more lucrative, and passive income more stable as well.

Now at the end of the day, do you NEED to launch your products or not?

Are launches essential? No. You can absolutely succeed without ever doing a launch in your life. Many people have. Success just tends to take a significantly different path if you don’t launch. You’re probably looking at a longer timeline without them, but you’re hardly going to die.

But based on the reasons we just talked about – being able to generate meaningful chunks of money all at once, and being able to get to your 13 exposures in a very short timeframe, and increasing product awareness and passive income stability – we’d say that it tends to be worth it.

Now, we would say that. We’re very biased. We’re in the launch business. But we could have been in the graphic design business or the virtual assistance business or the wine-making business. We’re in this one for a reason.

Now, here’s what we want you to pay attention to.

Next week, we’re going to share a lot of the behind the scenes details on how we did a bunch of our biggest launches so you can learn more about how to run them yourselves.

Of course, we’re going to be selling a class at the same time we give you the behind-the-scenes. (It’s launch content, after all. For a launch. Get it?)

The class is called BIG LAUNCH.

It’s the biggest and most comprehensive program Dave and I have done together.

It’s $1,000. (Yes, there’s a 12-month payment plan for the dirt crazy broke. We haven’t forgotten you.)

More details will be coming your way on Monday, December 30th. Keep an eye on your inbox, and if you’re not on our newsletter, sign up for it today.

We think you’ll like what you see.

Watch your inbox on Monday for details.

(If you’re not receiving The Letter, get it here.)


About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.