I created a digital product called the DIY Website Maintenance Course and launched it twice in the past two months. (And may I just say, it was totally exhausting.)
And in this way, it’s just like web design & development or cooking: you can study it all you want, but you’re not gonna know what it’s really like until you actually do it.
I’m happy to report that I’ve learned heaps, and I’m here to share my newbie wisdom with you. May the force be with you!
Here are my 7 tips for launching a product for the first time
Beta test it
Going on Facebook or your mailing list to ask people if they’d be interested in a product you’re brainstorming can be a useful start, but until someone buys your product, there’s no way to know if it’ll really sell. I have two suggestions to resolve this.
One is what a digital strategy guru once advised I do: to sell a certain number of copies and only then create the course, so that I didn’t waste my time if it didn’t sell.
The other is what I did: beta test. I put together a relatively short course with video tutorials and PDFs loaded with content and put them in a password-protected page. From inception to execution and opening/closing the cart, it took me 2 weeks. And I surpassed my sales goal.
From my lovely beta testers, I got testimonials and feedback on how to improve the course, so some weeks later I launched again, this time for real — with guest posts, Facebook ads, new and improved content, a new domain, a membership site, and a higher price tag. And I made a nice amount of sales and a pretty profit.
But before I beta tested it, I just didn’t know enough about what people needed to make it great. And the beauty of a beta test is that you can get going faster and actually, y’know, launch it. It’s way easier.
There’s a lot that just won’t be under your control. But some things are, and they are worth investing in. Specifically, I recommend investing in two things:
1) Making the whole effort worthwhile a.k.a. do your best to optimize conversions. I got professional feedback on my sales page and bought Leadpages and Facebook ads.
2) Making it a great experience for your customers, including in terms of content delivery. I bought WishList Member (excellent, long-established membership site software for WordPress) and Vimeo Pro.
Between the beta launch and the “real” launch, I invested some $540 just in software and Facebook ads. What’s great is that some of this software I can keep using for at least a year, and even better is that if you do it right, it all pays for itself because you’ll sell more, no question.
You need them if you want to extend beyond your Facebook groups and mailing list. I recently got to check out a wonderful course on the subject that I so badly wish existed when I was prepping to make my first Facebook ads: FB Ads for Launching.
It covers precisely the types of topics that had me stumped, like audiences, the Power Editor (which used to freak me out), and pixels (I could never get ’em verified!).
This course will save you many, many, many hours of Googling and help you spend your money wisely for best results (read: more cha-ching). Check it out. (Only available until Feb 26th.)
Learn how to write a series of sales emails, to start some weeks before you open the cart and until you close it. You’ve probably heard this before: people need to hear about you/your product 7 times before they’ll buy it. Most of my sales came within hours of me sending out an email, and in the last 2 days before I closed the cart.
Ask for help
Launching is HARD. It’s like putting up a sign that loudly announces, “NOW OPEN” to all your insecurities and fears so that they may come and visit. Plus, creating and executing a launch plan is simply a crapton of work.
Hire help — to plan your launch, write your sales page, create your membership site. Ask your friends for support — to spread the word, celebrate wins, and soften losses. It’s priceless and it’ll save your sanity.
Expect to make mistakes
And it’s fine to make them, as long as you learn from them. There’s an extraordinary number of moving parts to a digital product launch. I tried a better sound setting for my videos and while the volume was fine on my computer, after uploading the videos to Vimeo, the volume was very low (which I of course realized when it was too late). So this week I’m re-producing the videos.
This shiz will happen. And that’s okay. Just take care of it. Show your peeps that you care and you want to make them happy. And that will make you happy too.
For. Serious. Do whatever you need to calm the fu*k down. Like this cat ^. You’ll spare yourself hair loss, crying fits, and getting the flu for-what-seems-like-ever during critical times during your launch. Or you’ll at least have a lot fewer of these hurdles.
I hope you found these tips for launching a product for the first time helpful. It’s a lot of work, but like any challenge designed to grow your business, it’s worth doing.
If you’re ready to launch and wanna take the tech stuff — sales page + ecommerce integration, membership site + ecommerce + mailing list integration, etc. — off your plate so you can focus on making the best product ever (and making serious bank), holler at me.
Book a free intro chat with me here to tell me all about your brilliant plans and see if we’d be a perfect match to bring them to life together, world-changer.