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Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Yes, the product launch is dead.

No, it isn’t.

It depends.

(Way to be decisive Michele!)

Before I dig in, I want to start by defining “product launch.”

Product launches aren’t new. Businesses have been crafting campaigns to launch a new product or program or service for as long as they’ve been creating new offerings. Turning the unveiling of a new product into an event is a pretty standard business and marketing strategy.

However, with the arrival of the Internet, and thanks to a man by the name of Jeff Walker, the product launch now has a completely different meaning.

Walker has crafted a specific formula called PLF, or Product Launch Formula, that has made thousands of entrepreneurs thousands (if not millions) of dollars.

The formula typically consists of dripping content out (three 20-30 minute videos is pretty common) which leads to opening the cart (or offering the product for sale) for a short period of time. Typically, during the time the cart is open, more content is dripped via webinars or livestreams or coach-a-thons.

Now, just because you decide to launch a product doesn’t mean you have to have all those bells and whistles. There are plenty of simplified launches that consist of a webinar or a livestream that leads to an offer.

Or maybe there’s an “in between” that would work for you. Really, the variations of how you structure a product launch are endless.

However, when we’re talking about launches that generate multiple six or seven figures, you typically need to create more launch content than a single webinar, which is why the Product Launch Formula has been so successful.

Until recently, that is.

Over the past couple of years, the big, elaborate project launch has lost a bit of its luster. Many entrepreneurs who had relied on them for years as a major part of their business income began experiencing dwindling returns.

So IS this the end of the product launch? Or is something else afoot?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Scenario 1: Yes, product launches are dead.

Once upon a time, it wasn’t uncommon for entrepreneurs to build their entire businesses around the product launch.

They would have one (maybe two) launches a year, and earn enough income during that frenzied period of time to sustain them the rest of the year.

For those entrepreneurs, life was fabulous. Sure, they had to work hard during the launch, but launch windows are deliberately short (a few weeks at most) and the rest of the year they could spend posting selfies of themselves hanging out at the beach on Facebook.

Alas, that golden time of product launches appears to have come to a crashing halt.

Now, before you start posting comments or writing me emails letting me know about all the entrepreneurs who are still doing this successfully, let me just say that yes, I’m sure that’s true.

BUT, I will contend they are more the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

The overall trend is that one or two product launches can’t sustain a business for a year anymore.

This is partly because product launches became a victim of their own success. They were so successful, everyone started doing them, and the more people did them, the less effective they became (see this post for more about this cycle).

However, the reality is that this was never a good business model anyway. Relying on ONE thing for your yearly income is actually a really crappy way to run a business. It doesn’t matter what the one thing is, it’s never a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

So, in this case, I would say yes, product launches are dead, IF you’re relying on them as the entire financial model for your business.

Scenario 2: No, product launches aren’t dead.

It’s been my position for years that the product launch is an excellent tool to have in your marketing toolbox (note: it’s a tool, not the entire box) IF viewed in its proper context.

For many entrepreneurs, the product launch is about:

  1. Making money (sometimes a lot of it … sometimes not so much).
  2. Building your email list (which you’ll need for all the promoting you’re going to have to reciprocate for all the folks who are jumping into your launch).

There’s no question product launches are great in both of these respects. But, there are more benefits of product launches:

  1. They can grow your exposure and visibility. Product launches give you an excuse to email your prospect list more than normal, to advertise on social media sites (or just do more organic posting), and to have other people promote you. All of the above will help you get more exposure and visibility. Even if your ideal prospects don’t opt in to your list (which is, of course, the most desirable action), the sheer fact they’re getting an introduction to who you are and what your business is about is huge, and can reap big rewards down the road.
  2. They can grow your credibility. When other people recommend or promote your work, they’re sharing their credibility with you. This is an excellent way to build your reputation and your influence.
  3. They can jumpstart your marketing momentum. It happens to all of us; we get stuck in a rut, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is launch something. The sheer act of launching generates energy and momentum that can carry over into other areas of our business, even if the launch itself isn’t as financially successful as we would like it to be.
  4. They can push you out of your comfort zone and cause you to face your fears. I’m a big believer that everything you want is on the other side of your greatest fear. But, for that to happen, you need to actually, you know, FACE your fears. So, you’re likely going to have to take some action to make your fears surface. And launches are an excellent way to trigger those fears, so you can move through them. (Plus, it doesn’t matter if your launch is a big failure OR a big success–both of those outcomes will likely trigger more blocks and fears.)

My belief is that, if you view a launch as a more holistic tool that will (hopefully) also generate some additional revenue for you, you’re far more likely to be happy with the results. If you’re just focused on how much money you’re making, you’re far more likely to not only spend the entire launch completely stressed out, but to also be disappointed by the results (and who wants to put herself through that?).

Scenario #3: It depends.

At the end of the day, it’s really up to how you view the product launch if you consider it dead or alive and kicking.

In my view, product launches can be an excellent tool in your toolbox, so if that’s how you’re using it, a product launch can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you don’t want to create three videos and a webinar and a livestream and line up a bunch of affiliate partners, you don’t have to. You can choose the precise love-based marketing tactics and approach that makes your heart sing.

And it still can be successful.

But, if you’re relying on a product launch to financially fund your business for six months or a year, it may not be the wisest choice.

I’m a strong believer in creating a business you love AND that loves you back, and making peace with the product launch is key to that. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs freak out, melt down, abandon their normal self care practices, even abandon their integrity and compass, all because they’ve turned the product launch into something bigger than it was ever intended to be.

For instance, I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are typically rock solid around carving out time for meditation or exercises stop all of that during a launch. And, if their businesses are all about mindset practices, along with being out of balance when they need it most, they’re also out of integrity with what their business stands for. Or, normally love-based entrepreneurs switch to fear-based marketing tactics in the middle of the launch because they’re panicking over the numbers.

When the smoke clears and the launch is over, along with dealing with whatever the results of the launch were, they now also have to deal with the remorse of losing their way during the process.

Needless to say, that’s definitely not the way to build a love-based business.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s completely possible to enjoy all the benefits of the product launch without it descending into a launch hell, and it starts with you being clear on how it fits into your business.

If this resonates with you, you may like to take the teachings deeper with my book, “Love-Based Online Marketing: Campaigns to Grow a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s available here.

[Checklist] How to Grow Your Online Social Influence

[Checklist] How to Grow Your Online Social Influence

One of the best ways to supercharge your business growth and your income (while getting your message out there in a bigger way) is to grow you online social influence.

After all, when you have a strong online social influence, you’ve built credibility and visibility around your expertise, which means your ideal clients are likely seeking you out, excited to work with you. You probably also enjoy the results you get from the power of word of mouth marketing to sell your products, services, book, programs and more.

But be warned—building your online influence isn’t easy (and there are some hard truths you should know about it before you even get started, which I share here). The good news is there IS a path you can follow if you’re ready to step up and start growing your social influence.

That’s why I’ve created this checklist—to show you that path, and to provide you with links to additional articles and resources, so you can begin developing your social influence.

The Checklist:

_____ Are you clear—crystal clear—on your business?

It is crucial to be clear on:

* Your message, and

* Who you serve.

If you don’t have absolute clarity on both your message and your ideal client, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to actually grow your social influence.

(Note—in my “How to Start a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back” book, you’ll find a whole host of questions to help you get clear on the precise business you want to build. You can grab your copy for free here.)

_____ Have you developed your own unique voice?

People will resonate with you (and want to follow you) when:

* They fall in love with your message, and

* How you communicate your message.

The way you communicate your message is just as important as your message itself.

For example—many self-help experts have a message around love being the most powerful force in the world. But, the ones who rise to the top have a distinct way of communicating that message so it rises to the top.

Most health experts have a similar message around healthy habits. So how do they differentiate themselves from their competition? By communicating that message in their own unique voice.

So, how do you develop your unique voice?

Two quick tips are to read more and write more. (The more you read and the more you write, the more you’ll start to develop your unique voice.) But most importantly, don’t be afraid to share your personality. Let people see the real you—your quirks, your loves, your rants, your vulnerabilities. That’s what people want to see—the real you.

_____ Are you in integrity with your message?

There’s nothing less persuasive or compelling than being a hypocrite.

Really, who wants to follow a hypocrite? (Think of Dante’s Inferno—he devoted a whole circle of hell just to hypocrites.)

So, whatever your message is, it’s critical to make sure both you and your business are aligned with that message.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be aligned 100% of the time. For instance, if you’re a health coach, you can occasionally pig out on chocolate cake. But, then be honest about it. Let people know you’re human, and you occasionally cheat and it’s okay if they occasionally cheat. (In fact, sharing your flaws and being honest about them will likely make you even more relatable to prospects.)

But, if you’re a health coach and you have some nasty health habits you’re not owning up to, people are going to sense that you’re out of integrity. They might not know why, exactly, but they’ll feel something is off. And they won’t be all that interested in following you.

_____ Are you making a difference in people’s lives?

Most people want to follow someone they can look up to, right?

One great way to be that type of person is to make a difference in people’s lives.

A lot of people have a dream or a goal to leave the world a better place than they found it, and if you’re working toward that vision, people will be naturally attracted to you, so they can learn from you.

In addition, if you help people, those people are going to be more inclined to follow you.

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that a key trait for most successful people is their generosity and commitment to being of service to others. So, if you want to be successful and grow your social influence, upping your generosity may be exactly what you need to do.

_____ Are you putting your best work out there?

For years, the prevailing wisdom we heard as entrepreneurs was to focus on your marketing, rather than the quality of your work, because “he who has the best marketing wins.”

That actually hasn’t proven to be completely true. Yes, there’s no question you still need marketing, and having a solid marketing plan you consistently follow will go a long way to help you attract a steady stream of clients, customers, and buyers.

But, marketing on its own isn’t going to cut it. You also need to make sure you’re putting your best work out there.
Marketing can help you get a first-time buyer, yes. But, if that buyer has a bad experience, almost no amount of marketing will convince him or her to come back a second time.

In addition, if everyone has good marketing, then the only thing that separates one business from another is the quality of what they’re offering.

_____Have you chosen the right communication vehicle for you?

Having a large social influence typically means having a lot of followers.

So, if you want to have a lot of followers, you need something for them to follow. (Makes sense, right?)

Whether it’s a blog or a podcast or a youtube channel or a Facebook group or something else (or even a combination of vehicles) you’re likely going to have to build something for people to be a part of.

If you’re not sure which is the best communication vehicle for you, you may want to take my “Love Your Marketing Assessment” in my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book, to help you figure that out.

_____Have you worked through your mindset and/or subconscious blocks?

When you decide to step up and become more visible so you can start making a bigger difference, you may discover you have some mindset or subconscious blocks that are keeping you from making the progress you want to.

First off, this is completely normal. Chances are you already WOULD have a big social influence if you didn’t have any blocks getting in your way.

My book “Love-Based Money and Mindset” is all about working through your mindset blocks so you can grow your business, but this article will help you get started.

Lastly, you may want to dig into one or several of these topics in more detail. My Love-Based Business series is a great place to get started. Check out all the books here.

3 Hard Truths About Building Your Online Influence

3 Hard Truths About Building Your Online Influence

There’s no better way to grow your business online than by growing your influence.

When you’ve built a strong online influence, it likely looks like you have a large online community who follows you. For instance, maybe you have a big email list or lots of Facebook followers or a popular blog or podcast or Youtube channel. (Or a combination of the above.)

And, of course when you have that, it’s so much easier to build a successful, profitable business.

But, having online influence is more than just collecting followers on the various social networks. It also means people are actually reading your words and listening to your message.

And, when that happens, it’s truly magic. Because then you’re in a position to share your gifts and message in a much bigger way.

And when you want to make a big difference in the world, who wouldn’t want to have an influence?

The problem, of course, is how … how do you do it? How do you grow your online influence (especially if you’re just starting out), and do it in a way that’s authentic and doesn’t feel slimy, or like you’re twisting people’s arms? (In other words, how can you do it in a love-based way?)

Well, while it’s not particularly complicated or difficult to develop and grow your online influence, it DOES take some work. And you also need to accept a few hard truths. Let’s take a look at three of them:

1. It’s an inside job. Learning the latest, hot new way to attract followers on whatever platform you’re focusing on isn’t actually going to build your influence.

If you want to inspire people to make positive changes in their life, then you need to be very clear on who YOU are—what your expertise is, what your business is about, who you serve, etc.

This inner work can be tough—I get it. But, the clearer you are, the more people will be able to decide if you’re someone they want to listen to, and become a part of your community.

The less clear you are, the more likely people will ignore you—not because they aren’t interested in what you have to say, but because they’re too busy to try and figure out if you’re someone they want to pay attention to.

2. Be authentic. People are savvy. They can sense if you’re walking your walk, or if you’re just telling people to do one thing while you do something else.

And, there’s nothing that has less influence than a hypocrite.

The more you and your business are in alignment with your message, the more influence you’re going to have.

At the bare minimum, it’s important to reflect what you offer in your business. So, if you’re in the health industry, make sure your health habits mirror what you teach. If you teach marketing, make sure your own marketing is in order.

But, you may want to look deeper. Are you someone who pays your team and other contractors on time? Do you believe in investing in yourself (since you’re asking others to invest in themselves through you)?

It may not seem like this would move the needle much, but it really does. If you believe in Law of Attraction, you know that the more you have your own act together, the more the Universe will deliver to you. But, even if you don’t, if affects how YOU are showing up. If you’re out of integrity, it likely will show up in YOUR energy, which people will sense even if they never say anything or are even completely aware of it. And that will affect how people see you, and their willingness to be in your community.

3. It’s going to take time. Ah, this one is tough. Building online influence isn’t going to happen overnight. It might not even happen in six months. Or a year.

People need time—time to get to know you. To see if they like what you’re about. To see if they resonate with your message. To see if they resonate with YOU.

To make things worse, all of this happens on THEIR time, not yours. You need to land some clients because you need money for next month? Tough. No one is going to be compelled to follow you (much less buy your products and programs) because you need the money.

There is no question this is a long-tailed marketing strategy, which by definition means it’s going to take time … BUT once it happens, it will start to take on a life of its own.

If you want to dig deeper into marketing your business, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book—you can get it here.

 

3 Keys to Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth Advertising (And 1 Bonus Tip to Help Skyrocket Your Results!)

3 Keys to Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth Advertising (And 1 Bonus Tip to Help Skyrocket Your Results!)

Raise your hand if you think word of mouth advertising (aka word of mouth marketing) is what you should be striving for as an entrepreneur/business owner.

It certainly feels like the most perfect form of marketing, doesn’t it? Your ideal clients, customers, and buyers just flow to you, without your having to make any effort at all, because your current happy clients are busy sending you referrals.

Alas, it’s not as simple as all of that (check out my 3 Myths about Word of Mouth Marketing That May Be Hurting Your Biz). BUT, it IS more under your control than you might imagine.

Below are three keys to harnessing the power of word of mouth advertising (and a bonus tip!)

1. Get crystal clear on your ideal client. Okay, so this one doesn’t seem terribly helpful at first glance. How is getting clear on your ideal client going to help other ideal clients start flocking to you?

Well, here’s a little secret about ideal clients—these are the clients who LOVE you and LOVE working with you (just like you LOVE working with them). Because they love you so much, they’re happy to sing your praises to the world. These are the clients who will happily share you with all their friends and associates.

These ideal, perfect clients are at the heart of your word of mouth advertising plan.

Now, contrast that with clients who aren’t ideal. These are the clients you struggle to work with, who you dread getting on the phone with. They also typically take 80% of your time (versus the ideal clients who take 20%).

Trust me when I say the feeling is mutual. They know you’re not ideal for them, either. They’re not feeling the love.

So, they are most definitely not going to tell the world about you. (And, if they did tell someone, it likely would not be a glowing review, but something far more tepid.)

(If you want to learn more about finding/getting super clear on your ideal client, here’s a post you can check out. You can also grab a copy of my Love-Based Copywriting Method book for even more on ideal clients.)

Bonus Tip: If you REALLY want to supercharge your word of mouth advertising plan, look for ideal clients who are also influencers.

Influencers are folks who already have a big following, and who will be happy to tell that following all about you. If that happens, you can get a big business boost that may last months or even years.

2. Become a master at your expertise. Again, this may sound like less-than-helpful advice, but think about it.

For people to rave about their experience with you, they need to actually have an experience worth raving about. Right?

So, the more you’ve mastered your expertise, the more likely it is you’ll be able to provide that amazing experience.

Your reputation matters. Nurture it. Focus on it. If people hear good things about you, they’ll be far more likely to invest in you.

3. Ask for referrals. Despite what you might believe, word of mouth advertising is not passive. It’s very much something you can control.

Actively pursue it. The best way to do that? You create a plan-of-action around asking for referrals.

Maybe you have a policy in place where you immediately reply back to a glowing client email, thanking him or her and asking his permission to use the email as a testimonial. This is a great time to also ask for referrals. Maybe you send an email to your client list asking if they know anyone who would be a good fit for your services, and if so, to please provide those people with your contact info. Or maybe you take it one step further and create a contest around it—give a prize, like an Amazon gift card or free coaching, to whoever sends you the most referrals.

It’s also a great idea to reward all referrals. Give a gift card, or a referral check. And let people know you value and appreciate them for helping you reach more people.

Lastly, keep in mind that as powerful as word of mouth advertising is, it’s just one piece of an overall marketing plan. If  you’d like help putting together a specific online marketing plan that’s unique to you and your business, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

3 Reasons Your Mindset Is Crucial to Writing Love-Based Copy

3 Reasons Your Mindset Is Crucial to Writing Love-Based Copy

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably understand the difference between fear-based marketing and love-based marketing. But did you know that if you’re not in a love-based mindset, you’re going to have a difficult time writing great love-based copy?

Here’s why: any fear-based emotions you experience around your business and/or your marketing will shine through in your marketing and messaging, both in terms of how you feel about it, and how your customers perceive it.

For example, if you feel like marketing is slimy or arm-twisty, that will not only hold you back from writing promotional copy but also getting it out there. And if you’re experiencing marketing resistance, you may unknowingly sabotage your own efforts.

Here’s a quick recap of the difference between traditional, fear-based marketing, and love-based marketing:

Fear-based marketing often uses fear-based emotions like guilt, shame, or scarcity to get people to buy.

For example, a dentist might use fear-based marketing like this: “If you don’t come into the dentist this week, you’ll probably lose all your teeth.”

On the other hand, love-based marketing triggers love-based emotions like hope and abundance.

For example, a dentist might use love-based marketing like this: “My staff members and I have specialized in providing the best possible dental care in a stress-free environment – we keep your gums and teeth healthy for as long as you need them!”

You’ll feel good about it, your prospects will feel good about it, and your business will thrive.

That being said, here are 3 reasons mindset is crucial to writing love-based copy:

  1. It helps you feel good about what you write.

If you’re like so many of my clients, you just don’t like writing marketing copy. You feel like you’re twisting people’s arms, or being slimy somehow. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you write copy from a love-based mindset, you realize that you’re simply providing your potential clients or customers with a choice about whether to work with you, to experience the solution you provide.

You let them know you understand the pain they’re in, you present your product or services as the solution, and you step back and let them make that choice.

No arm twisting required.

  1. It helps you get past marketing resistance.

Marketing can be a huge trigger, because it brings up so many fear-based emotions.

Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not earning money, not having time to spend with your family and friends, fear of “putting yourself out there,” of “owning your value,” of “selling yourself.”

Whew!

When you’re coming from a love-based mindset, though, you’re not thinking about all that “scary” stuff.

You’re thinking about how to best let your prospects know that you’re available as the solution to overcome their pain points or problems.

You’re feeling confident that your love-based copy will inspire just the right people to work with you, at precisely the right time. With this confidence comes the ability to recognize and move past marketing resistance that often results from fear-based emotions.

  1. It gives your prospects the space to make a choice, which feels so much better than pursuing them.

Love-based marketing copy is so effective when you’re writing it from a love-based mindset. Why?

Because your prospects see you as a loving individual who cares about the transformation they’re preparing to make!

Even if they don’t ultimately decide to buy from you, they’ll have seen that there’s the potential for transformation, and that they can choose a better way. They can choose to move beyond their pain. Even if they don’t do it by working with you, it’s possible that you’ve offered them a new vision for the future!

And how great is that?

If this resonates with you, you may enjoy reading the first book in my Love-Based Copywriting series, Love-Based Copywriting Method: The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites. It’s available in both print and most eBook formats, and you can get it here.