December 26, 2017
It’s no secret that launching a product is immensely challenging. In a study by Harvard Business School, it’s estimated that 95 percent of new consumer products fail in the market.
Since there are so many mistakes you can make that will kill your product launch, most marketers never even attempt to do a launch of their own.
Fortunately, with a properly planned sales funnel and some smart execution, you can largely mitigate the risk of failure.
In one of the most comprehensive case studies I’ve ever read, Bryan Harris, the pioneer behind Videofruit, lays out the process he used to earn $220,750 from his online training course: Get 10,000 Subscribers.
Whether you’re launching an online training course like Bryan or any other product, here are some of the actionable takeaways from the case study that will improve your chances of success.
Build a List First
If you’ve been involved in Internet marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard the expression: “The money is in the list.”
Before launching his course Bryan built up a list of 13,528 active subscribers. All the sales came from his e-mail list — he didn’t run any PPC campaigns or other forms of marketing.
In order to build up a list, Bryan recommends posting a new blog post every week for three months. This is more than achievable, even if you work an exhausting day job.
In order to ensure that your readers end up on your mailing list, consider content upgrades instead of regular lead magnets.
A content upgrade is a free giveaway that you can offer at the end of a blog post in exchange for contact information. Unlike a generalized lead magnet, the content upgrade provides additional information pertaining to a specific blog post, so it’s laser-targeted on what the reader is already interested in.
Once you have an e-mail list of 10,000 or more subscribers, you can start planning your launch.
Data-Driven Idea Generation
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a newbie entrepreneur is to base your decisions on assumptions rather than data.
There’s nothing more painful than dreaming up a killer idea, pouring countless hours and dollars into innovating a product and then finding out that no one is prepared to pay money for it.
If you love your new idea, that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is whether your customers love it.
Bryan recommends analyzing the data for your most popular blog posts and content upgrades in order to determine trends.
Are there common themes behind your high performing content? If so, you might be onto a winner for a new product.
As an additional tip, I recommend checking out industry forums, LinkedIn groups and Quora to learn about common pain points that you could potentially solve with a product.
Validation Before Development
Based on the data, Bryan speculated that his subscribers may appreciate a course on list building. He then validated this theory by asking them.
After creating a control group of 50 subscribers who had downloaded his content upgrades on the subject of list building, he sent them an e-mail asking if they’d be interested in a paid course.
When 17 percent of the control group gave a favorable response, Bryan knew that his course would be highly profitable if a similar percentage of his mailing list went on to purchase.
Bryan used this validation strategy in the middle of the launch too, asking his subscribers what kind of bonus they would want – then reaching out to other course providers and negotiating a deal for his subscribers.
The Most Important Aspect of a Launch
You might think that creating flashy sales videos or writing highly persuasive copy is essential for a successful launch. While these things can help, Bryan emphasizes that the most important aspect is building something that people actually want.
By spending 500-plus hours on research, validation and product creation and only 12 hours on the launch itself, Bryan was still able to turn a gigantic profit.
Sell a Solution, Not a Service
Just because someone will benefit from a product doesn’t mean they’ll actually pay money for it.
Sorry to break it to you, but people don’t actually care about your products. What they care about is having their frustrations alleviated.
By using the PAS (Problem Agitation Solution) formula for his pre-launch e-mails, Bryan was able to avoid pitching his product like a typical salesman and instead focus on the emotional pain points faced by his subscribers.
A course that teaches e-mail growth is uninspiring, but a solution to the problem of working a job you hate and not being able to spend enough time with your family — that’s highly compelling.
If you don’t give people a reason to buy immediately, they will likely procrastinate and then eventually, forget.
By including an end date on your sales pages and e-mail marketing, people will feel a sense of urgency to convert.
For the same reason, I also recommend using a countdown timer on your main landing page for the launch. It’s proven that countdown timers improve conversions for eCommerce sales. The same applies for any kind of product launch.
The Power of Social Proof
Unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous Internet marketers out there who promise customers the world and then underdeliver. Because of this, people feel a certain apprehension before pulling out their wallet to purchase.
You can combat this using social proof.
I like to include vibrant testimonial videos on my landing pages, allowing my customers to explain how I’ve benefited their businesses and lives. However, testimonial quotes accompanied by headshots are also acceptable.
Having rushed his launch, Bryan didn’t have time to include testimonials on his landing page. Instead, he incorporated stories about former clients into his e-mail marketing to build trust and demonstrate his capabilities.
Can you think of any other tips for building a successful product launch sales funnel? Please let me know in the comments.
Aaron Agius, CEO of worldwide digital agency Louder Online is, according to Forbes, among the world's leading digital marketers. Working with clients such as Salesforce, Coca-Cola, IBM, Intel, and scores of stellar brands, Aaron is a growth marketer - a fusion between search, content, social, and PR. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or on the Louder Online blog.