The QuanSite team has been busy working away on a huge re-brand and launch project for the past four months. Now that we’re comfortably 30-days into the release of the QuanSite system, we thought we’d share some of the tips and strategies behind the launch so that you could benefit from our experience.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been involved with a product launch, but every time we go through a launch we pick up a few new tricks. this time was no exception, especially since this was software.
Product launch lessons learned:
1. No matter how much time you give yourself for a launch, it’s never enough.
Expect many sleepless nights and last minute things that need to be taken care of. You can minimize the impact of the little things by planning out your launch two or three weeks in advance.
Set goals and milestones and appoint one person to keep you on track or use an online project management service like Basecamp to keep track of the things that sleep deprivation might cause you to overlook.
Takeaway tip: if you are planning a simple product launch (like a downloadable product, e-book etc.) add 20% to your projected timeline. So for example, if you are figuring it will take you a month to fully prepare for release, you’d add a week to your timeline.
If your product is more complex, like a big physical product, a book promotion or software) add 40% to your projected timeline.
If you’ve never done a fully promoted release of a new product and a marketing launch; A) get professional help from a coach or mentor who has done them B) double the percentage above even with professional assistance.
2. Test, test, test and then test again!
In addition to testing your the functionality of your product (if it’s a software product like QuanSite), you need to test the sales process from start to finish… many times in all browsers before you launch. Make sure people can order and pay via credit card (or paypal if you offer that option). Make sure they can reach the download page and can download the product. Make sure they know how to reach support if they have a problem. Test everything! Twice. And then test again!
Takeaway Tip: When testing anything to do with sales or marketing, change ONLY ONE THING at a time. For example if you want to make several changes to your sales copy, don’t make all the changes at once. If you do and conversions do improve you won’t know what worked.
There is a caveat to this rule. If your marketing/sales process is failing to convert at all and you have a mentor or professional copywriter look at your marketing materials and they tell you “a truckload of Viagra won’t revive this copy” — then change it all at once as quickly as possible.
3. Minimize technical glitches by planning ahead.
Nothing is more frustrating than having your sales site go down during a launch, especially when it means a loss of potential sales. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to tell a JV Partner they didn’t earn as much as they could have during the launch because your sales site was unreachable.
The QuanSite.com launch team planned for the increase in traffic by installing additional RAM on the main sales server and caching parts of the salespage. We also had our server admin monitoring the server during high load periods and the technical team was ready to implement “Plan B” within 20 minutes should something go awry.
4. Make sure customer support is on hand during the launch period.
The support team should be on hand to deal with any issues as they arise. Both technical support to manage server issues and the customer support team to manage any new customer questions. The first few days after a product purchase can make or break a new customer relationship.
Make sure the entire team is up to speed on the offer(s) on your salespage, the included bonuses and where to get them, know how to answer common new member questions (where are my bonuses, I can’t login, etc.), as well as know the escalation path should they need to raise an issue to a Customer Support Manager or the technical team.
Takeaway Tip: Using a program like Kayako Support Suite can add tremendous value to your launch and increase response time and monitoring of customer service inquiries.
5. Set clear and actionable goals.
How do you define success? What’s your measure of a successful launch? The QuanSite.com launch team had very specific goals and milestones that needed to be achieved and timelines for achieving them. We also closely monitored hourly and daily sales and reacted quickly if there was a dip in sales as it could indicate a potential technical problem.
6. Review & revise
Once you’re on the other side of the launch, comfortably on the other side of the launch (so not the next day!) sit down with your team and review the launch process.
Even if you’re an old hand at launches, you can learn something new from each one. Analyze all online, offline and marketing systems.
- Did you meet your goals?
- Were there any customer service problems that indicate a hole in your sales process?
- Or your support process or even training if your product requires training?
- Was your team proactive and responsive and anticipate issues before they arose?
By analyzing the launch a few weeks past the crunch period, you’ll be able to improve your systems and processes and ensure an even greater launch next time… and maybe a little bit more sleep!
Takeaway Tip: a thorough strategic review of what happened that you didn’t expect, what didn’t happen that you did expect and how actual results line up with your goals will not only help with your next launch. If this is a product that stays on the market for sale (as most products will) then this Review & Revise process reveals gaps in your sales process where you are leaving money on the table.
For example; if 2 out of 5 new clients requested an additional service that you didn’t offer in association with this product, then adding it as an upsell will not only satisfy those clients, it will get others who were not yet thinking about that service take it as an add-on too.
The result is your clients feel well-served, you win them over as raving PAYING fans . . . and you put more money in your pocket with very little effort.
So what do you think?
Got some good ideas from the lessons learned and takeaway tips above? Do you have some tips of your own to share on product launches you’ve done yourself or seen done by others?
Share your thoughts, ideas or feedback in some graffiti down below in a comment.