How to Launch a Product - A big picture overview - OWAHL #2

Last week on the podcast, Jason and I shared how we make a full time income online. 

In that episode we broke down our different sources of income but throughout the years our #1 source of income has remained to be our very own products. Today we are going to share how you can launch your very own product and the steps you need to take. 

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In our Homemaking Ministries store, we currently have around 20 products for sale and that number is constantly growing. In the past two years, we have fallen into a good rhythm of doing about two big launches per year (our conference and our academy) with lots of little mini launches throughout the year. 

How we got started launching our own products

My very first product I ever launched was my eBook, Apartment Gardening in 2012 for $5.95 and I was so crazy excited to make $6 here and there. I think in our first year of launching that, we made several hundred dollars and it was amazing. 

That was actually our first taste of making a little income online and realizing it was possible we could make a part-time income doing this! (We didn't even dream at the time that this would turn into our full time income for our family.) 

Since 2012, we have launched over 20 products. Some have been huge successes and others have been total flops (we will have to share our biggest flops sometime)! 

Our Secret Sauce when it comes to launching

If we had any "secrets" to share about launching - it would be in scheduling. Over the years we have refined our launch schedule again and again, each time honing it more and more. 

Now, we plan at least 6 months in advance of any of our big launches. 6 months might sound crazy, but it gives us plenty of time to fit everything in to make a successful launch! 

(Note: The 6 month plan is for our large products. If you want to launch a little product or get it out there for sale, you don't have to do a big launch like this.)

Download our FREE Product Launch Checklist! 

I know this is a TON of information! So I distilled it all down into a handy printable product launch checklist for you. All you have to do is fill it out for you next product launch and you are well on your way to a successful launch. 

To download the FREE checklist, simply sign up here and download right away

The Schedule:

6-12 months before:

Plan out the initial details including: Date(s) of launch, name of product, URL if needed, etc. 

2 - 4 months before: 

Plan out the big picture for the launch: What the product is, what it will contain, how you will deliver it, etc. 

Plan out the free opt-in: Start planning now what your free opt-in for your launch will be. Is there an eBook, course, video, email sequence, etc that you can set up to share for free to get people interested in your product coming up? (We will cover launch opt-ins coming up in episode #4 of the podcast.)

Plan out your schedule: At this point, at least start planning out your schedule for the launch. Think through things like: What day will it launch? What day does the sale end? Will you do any live workshops or Facebook parties? When will you start offering the free opt-in, etc.

Now is also the time to invite affiliates to your launch if you will be doing that. Let them know what your product is, how much their commission will be, when they can promote it, etc. Coming up in episode 3, we will be covering how to work with affiliates on a product launch. 

Jami Here: This is unrelated, but if you are looking for a good planner, I did a review of all my favorite planners: You can check it out here

6 - 8 weeks before:

Set sales goal: Set some realistic, but high goals for your launch. And then create mini goals within that.

So for example, if you want to make $5000 from a launch, how many overall sales is that? What does that break down to each day? How many do you need to sell each day, and so forth. 

If you are working with a designer, now is the time to get started on your ads and banners for the product. Or if you need anything done for the actual product, eBook cover, video templates, etc then now is the time to get on that as well. Be aware that some designers have a very long lead time on getting started on new projects, so make sure you negotiate that from the beginning. 

Plan out your promotional material: Along with getting your ads and banners created, now is the time to create your sales video, any sneak peek promotions, Facebook ads set up, line up podcast interviews or guest posts, etc. 

4 week before:

Four weeks before is the perfect time to launch your freebie! The basic sequence goes like this: make a free offer (a PDF guide, a video, a printable pack, etc) and share it on your blog and social media. Once readers subscribe for that freebie, you can enter them into an email sequence to get to know them more - which eventually leads to the sale of your product! 

So spend this month focusing on traffic and sending lots of people to your free offer. 

You will also want to spend this time collecting all your promotional material (ads, banners, videos, etc) and distributing them to your affiliates. If you have a large amount of affiliates, now is a great time to set up a training for your affiliates as well to help them know how to best advertise your products. 

2-4 weeks before:

Now you are getting down to the wire! Nows the time to set up your sales page, test out your sales links, and more sure everything is working well. 

You will also want to make sure that all final tweaks to your product are DONE. The last thing you want to do is to be working on your product right up until the minute you actually launch it - believe us - we've been there and it's difficult! 

If you can get ahead of this stuff, this is also the perfect time to write out all your sales emails for your launch week. This allows you plenty of time to work on perfecting these emails and planning everything out ahead of time. 

If you are going to throw a FB or Twitter party during your launch week, about a week or two before hand is a great time to invite your readers to the party and start spreading the word. 

NOTE: Make sure you are in constant contact with your affiliates during this time! 

Launch Week:

Now it's time to SELL! Don't worry - if you can plan things out a little bit ahead of time then you can take a lot of the stress out of launching. 

When launch week starts you want to kick things off with an email to your entire list letting them know that your item is for sale! Get excited with this announcement email - don't be afraid to let your own personality shine in this email. 

After this, you will want to send 2-4 more emails this week to your audience! Try to come up with different angles or features you can talk about. Don't just keep saying the same thing over and over again. Mix it up and keep it fun! 

On your final day: Send up to 3 (or 4!) emails! I know that sounds like a lot. I used to be scared to send 3 emails in a week. But the final sales can will make up to 50% of your sales for that week. So start with 2 emails that final day and work your way up during your next sale. 

You will want to throw your FB/Twitter party during this week (only if it makes sense for your audience). 

And of course, you will want to make sure to monitor all customer service emails and issues during this week! Make sure to keep everyone happy while they are trying to get enrolled/buy your product! 

Your Next Steps: 

I know this was a TON of information. My intention with this was to give you the BIG picture overview of what it takes to launch a product. But you don't need to tackle all of this at once. 

On your next launch, add one or two new things in. Make a simpler version of this plan. But important thing is: to plan ahead!!  Trust us after dozens of product launches - it MAKES A DIFFERENCE! 

And don't forget to download our FREE product launch checklist to get going right away! 

Designing a Life You Love Through Online Business! 

Do you want to discover how to make an income from home with a blog or a small business? Or maybe you are ready to take your blog/business to the next level? 

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