Are you planning a sales launch soon, and the market has you spooked?
It’s true, the online sales market is shifting BIG time. Course sales are down. Professional development masterminds remain unfilled and customers are not as quick to hit the “click here” button on all kinds of offers.
Shifts in the market are inevitable, as are dreaded tech glitches, social media platform shutdowns, and ideal customers who just don’t want to spend.
But that doesn’t mean you need to panic. It means you need to pause and take stock of what’s working for you, and how to forge a different path to meet customers where they are.
Here’s what you can do when planning out your sales launch to ensure you’re ready to take on the market, in whatever state it’s in — because that’s all you can control.
Know Your Audience
Depending on who you ask, the success of your offer breaks down roughly the following: 40% offer / 50% audience / 10% copy.
As a copywriter, I’d like to think that copy accounts for at least 20% of the success, but I can’t argue that the other two factors make or break a launch.
Here are a few things to consider about your audience when thinking about taking your product or service to market:
- Does my audience want this product? Right now, products around time management are hot, hot, hot. Marie Forleo and Kate Northrup are leaning into this theme because, for years, their audience has been telling them they struggle with time. The audience of prospective buyers has expressed a need as a collective — not just one or two people who’ve mentioned it in passing.
- When was the last time you sold to your audience? Are they in sales fatigue, or are they wondering, when can I learn/buy from Laura again? (and yes, people do want more of something that helps them achieve results).
- Take the pulse. Is your audience all in on high-ticket offers right now, or is it something they’re working towards investing in for the future? Do they want a concise workshop with strategies and tactics they can implement right now to see fast results?
- Have you warmed your community up? The biggest mistake I see clients make is jumping head-first into a topic they’ve neglected to talk about with their audience. Seeding your offer subtly 90 days in advance of your sales period is crucial to increase conversions. The rule of 7 in sales is simple — a customer has to interact with a specific product or service at least 7 times to consider making a purchase. And that doesn’t mean 7 sales emails!
- How does your audience like to learn/buy? Recent feedback from the marketplace indicates that people want results in less time. Here’s what I mean — they want to do shorter, smaller programs versus 6+ month Masterminds. Meet them where they are, and they’ll be more likely to buy.
It seems simple but I see so many offers that are not meeting the needs of their customers, even if they are great offers.
Key Takeaway: when you know your audience and what they’re willing to spend money on, you’ll be able to sell to them despite the change in the way people are spending because you’re fulfilled a genuine need with a valuable product.
2. Know Your Numbers
This is the non-sexy part of launching, but it is so integral to projecting your results.
Three months before the launch date, in what should be your pre-launch period, check in with your EMS:
- How many subscribers have not opened in 90+ days? Send re-engagement sequence to see if they want to be there.
- What was the conversion rate on your last launch? Are you calculating based on the warm list or the entire list?
- What are your sales benchmarks? What type of offer has performed best for you in the past?
- What are your average click-through and open rates? What kind of CTAs perform best for you?
- BONUS: As you plan out a launch, send a survey to take the pulse of your list and drill down into what they want and how they want it.
The reason it’s important to do this pre-launch work is to project your results for your next launch on hard numbers, and troubleshoot where you could have done better. Taking a measured approach will help temper your expectations and provide you with the insight you need to improve.
Key Takeaway: reverse engineer your results by analyzing the numbers before you launch. Get an accurate assessment of your audience so you can project sales and take action based on what’s worked and what didn’t.
3. Do Market Research
The life of an entrepreneur, especially one with a small team, is bananas. The tasks pile up, the calendar appointments are endless, and the stress of making it all profitable is… a lot to carry. Add in a sales launch, and crawling under the covers becomes more inviting by the minute.
But one of the most thoughtful and strategic things you can do at any time, is keep an eye on the market.
I can’t tell you how many launches I saw taking place at the same time in the Fall 2021.
More challenging than competing timelines? Competing offers on the same topic.
If you want to hold the attention of your clients, it’s best not to launch at the same time as the rest. If you don’t want to wait until the big launches are over, plan to be the first out of the gate with your offer.
The truth is when the big players are playing, there’s not a lot of room on the playground for anyone else, and we have to deal with it.
Keep track of what’s happening in the market and at what times of the year. Fall and Spring tend to be launch seasons, and brands take advantage of consumer holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Be like Beyonce and upend the system by planning your launches differently. Maybe you scoop Black Friday or take a quiet time in January to offer something new?
Key takeaway: stay up to date as much as you can by doing market research on social channels and via competitor email lists. Be strategic about your launches and sales cycles to ensure you’re not competing for visibility at the same time as the bigger launches.
4. Be Realistic
Customer behavior is changing. Anecdotally, I can share that people are slower to buy, and they’re choosing to do one program, course or mastermind over many, as we’ve seen in past years.
So how do you adjust your approach to your sales launch based on this change?
I suggest taking a personal approach and leaning into your network — as in people you actually know. The best candidates for any product or service come by recommendation, so don’t be afraid to ask for a referral.
All of the points detailed above will also help you to set realistic sales goals. It’s common to hear of six and seven-figure launches, or strategies that will get you a ROI in months, but the reality is, sales is a long game.
Key Takeaway: look at the hard data, set a strategy and stick to it to set realistic goals. Most importantly, shut out the noise of the overblown expectations and promises of overnight success.
If you’re planning a sales launch soon, there are strategic, proactive steps you can take to be as confident as this wild market allows.
Know your audience and your email list well and create your offer and expectations based on them.
Be aware of what’s going on in your industry, and don’t be afraid to take a different approach.
Old-school sales tactics may just be the antidote to the traditional ways of the recent online marketplace.