Launching a new product is like going on a journey through the wilderness.
No matter how many supplies you bring, how much you study your map, or how much you train for your journey—you ultimately have no idea what’s going to happen.
You could get lost and never find your way out. You could make it to the other side but sustain a lifelong injury in the process. You could even get through easily and come out the other side as a much better person. Who knows???
But you do know that the more prepared you are for the journey, the more likely it is that you’ll find success.
And the same thing applies to launching a new product.
Even though anything could happen once your cart opens, there are specific things you can do before you launch to give yourself the best chance to succeed. And at Leverage Creative Group, we’ve used these 3 pre-launch preparations to help our clients see multiple 6-figure product launches and avoid deadly mistakes.
Our Life-Saving Pre-Launch Checklist
1. Have you actually validated your product idea?
Does your product provide a solution to a problem people are willing to pay to fix?
It’s a question worth asking now, because if the answer is no and you launch anyway, well…
It probably won’t be a launch to remember. Luckily, you can validate your product before you launch by sending a series of surveys to your audience.
How to Validate Your Product Idea With Surveys
Note: This is our version of the Ask Method by Ryan Levesque.
Step 1. Send an exploratory survey to your email list and social followers to identify the problems they have.
The idea here is to identify patterns. Are there problems that most people on your list have? How intense are those problems and how do they impact their life? Would they be interested in a product that solves that problem?
To find out, ask questions like these in your survey:
- Make this an open-ended question so your audience can tell you exactly what they’re struggling with.
- Add 5 – 10 problems based on things you’ve heard them mention in the past that relate to lack of inspiration, motivation, knowledge in a certain area, etc. and let them check as many as apply.
If you had to pick one thing for me to help you with, which would you choose?
This helps you identify which of their problems impacts them the most.
Would you purchase a product that helped you solve this problem?
Don’t let this question fool you. A lot of people say they’ll buy a product then change their mind when it’s time to pull out their credit card. This question helps you get an idea if there’s general interest in a solution to their problem.
2. Send a second survey asking more questions about the most prevalent problems from the first survey.
Once you have a good amount of survey data (50 – 100 responses), dig into the data to see which problems were selected the most. Then, send a second survey to your list asking them for more details about those main problems.
The goal here is to present your audience with 3-5 product ideas so you can see which one gets the best response.
To do this, ask them questions like:
- I’m thinking about making an “ultimate guide” on one of the following topics. Which one interests you the most? (list 3-5 mock titles based on the most common problems)
- If I made a guide on that topic, what format would you prefer? (Video, Print, Audio)
- How much would you be willing to pay for a guide that gave you a step-by-step solution to that topic? (list 3-5 options, along with an option for them to fill in their own price)
These kinds of questions will give you valuable insights about what kind of product to develop, but be careful…
Like we’ve talked about, people will generally tell you what you want to hear in surveys rather than the truth. They’ll say, “Yeah, I’d buy a course on that for $197. Sign me up!” But when you finish developing the course and send them an email…crickets.
This data will help you confirm that your product does in fact solve a problem your audience is willing to pay for, but it’s not a definitive sign that everyone who said they’d buy will buy.
2. Do you deeply understand how your audience talks about this particular problem?
Now that you know your product idea is solid, you need to figure out how to position it.
Because here’s the cold hard truth: your customers won’t buy your product if they don’t clearly understand how it benefits them (even if the product is absolutely incredible).
That’s why it’s so important to figure out the specific words, phrases, and emotions your customers use when talking about that problem. Luckily, finding that information isn’t as hard as you might think. 🙂
3. Easy Methods for Figuring Out How to Position Your Product (Other Than Surveys)
1. Social Listening
Your customers are having conversations with each other all over the web. They’re talking about their problems, pains, and frustrations on everything from social media to forums. And since this information is online, you can view it as an innocent bystander to analyze the specific things they say and the way they say them.
…Yeah, it’s kinda like stalking, but it’s ethical!
The easiest ways to do this are:
- Using Twitter search to find every tweet including specific phrases.
Example: if I wanted to figure out what people were saying around the topic of getting more blog traffic I could search for things like:
- “Get more traffic”
- “Blog traffic”
- “Website/site traffic”
- Searching for forums in your niche on Google and combing through them to find relevant conversations.
2. Review Mining
Here, you simply search Google/Amazon for reviews of products similar to yours and see what people are saying about them.
As a rule of thumb, take 5 star and 1-star reviews with a grain of salt (since these will be the most emotionally charged) and spend a lot of time on the 2, 3, and 4-star reviews.
3. Skype Interviews
This is arguably THE most helpful thing you can do to learn more about your audience uses.
Skype interviews give you the opportunity to:
I recommend reaching back out to anyone who responds to your survey (from step 1) and trying to schedule 5 or so quick 15 – 30-minute calls. In those calls, simply ask them to expand on what they talked about in the survey. Ask them specific questions about how the problem affects their life, and what their life would look like without that problem.
3. Have you developed trust with your audience?
I’ve noticed something really interesting over the past few years…
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell or what niche you’re in, if you’re selling something over $100 or so, you have to develop some amount of trust with your customers before they’ll buy. And on top of that, the more expensive the product, the longer (on average) your customers will be a member of your audience before they’ll purchase.
For example: after a recent launch of one of our clients’ membership sites, we saw that the average purchaser was on his email list for 3 months before they pulled the trigger!
We’ve seen this effect with every client we’ve ever worked with.
And it makes a lot of sense when you think about it…
You and I won’t purchase something unless we’re confident the product will be worth it. We’ve simply been burned by crappy purchases too many times before. So, we wait to see if a brand will deliver on their end of the deal before buying anything from them. Knowing this, how do you and I get our audience to trust us before we launch a product?
The easiest way is by giving them a ton of value for free.
Give them incredible:
…without asking for ANYTHING in return.
After a while, your audience will start thinking, “Hey, if they give this much awesome stuff for free, I bet their paid stuff is amazing!”
And at that point, they’ll be ready to purchase when you launch your product. It’s completely impossible to remove all the uncertainty from a new product launch. There are so many variables at play, and ultimately you have to sit back and watch what happens after you open your cart. But checking these 3 things off your to-do list before you launch will give you the best chance to succeed.
What other strategies would you add to this pre-launch checklist? Tell me in the comments below!
About The Author: Hunter Branch is the Director of Marketing at Leverage Creative Group. He’s an SEO and Content Marketing pro who’s helped New York Times bestselling authors, personal brands, and small businesses skyrocket their organic traffic and leads.
Photo by Tyler Franta on Unsplash