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We’re living in a strange time. A time where one tweet can completely derail weeks or even months of hard work gearing up for a big launch. Having helped hundreds of women navigate big launch days for their business, my team has definitely been thrown a few curveballs.
Launching a new program or service is fun and exciting. Your energy level is up, but if you don’t give yourself enough time to prepare, your stress level is sure to overpower that positive energy. If you decide to skip the preparation and rush through your launch period, you’ll leave your team overwhelmed, burnt out and dreading the next time around.
Can you always avoid curveballs on launch day? No. But, there are certain things you can proactively do to ensure you have the most successful launch possible for your business. Better yet, doing these five things may just even get you through the process stress-free. Imagine that.
1. Create your project plan two to three months in advance
The key ingredients to any successful launch day are showing up in your zone of genius and serving your audience well. To do this, you need a thorough launch plan and a well-rounded team. And no, that doesn’t mean gathering your team together a week before launch day. You want to plan, prioritizing launch preparation in your calendar as far as three months out to make sure you’re giving it the appropriate amount of time and energy it deserves.
Related: How to Turn Your Small List Into a Big Launch
Launches should be a full team effort, and any successful team effort requires advance planning. Meet as a team to plan out your goals, key dates, content and marketing strategies for launch lead up, launch day and the immediate days post-launch. Assign every task a person and a due date so everyone knows the role and tasks they’re responsible for, making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Each person on your team should leave that initial meeting knowing their marching orders for the next two to three months.
2. Hire or outsource the support you need
The initial team meeting you conduct two to three months out from launch will give you an idea of whether you need to hire or outsource support for specific tasks or roles. This is not a time to let your skill deficits slow you down. The top three important team members I suggest you have on hand are:
Virtual assistant: It’s easy to let administrative duties slip through the cracks when you have an important launch coming up. That’s where your virtual assistant comes in. A good VA will fill this void while you’re in launch mode. It’s also good to have an extra person looking out to make sure the team is reaching the necessary benchmarks and staying on track for launch day.
Project manager: This person will be the primary day-to-day contact for all things related to the launch. They should have a pulse on the entire launch timeline and be aware of all tasks that are being worked on, both in-house and those that have been outsourced.
Graphic designer: The design is what will bring your offer or service to life for potential clients and consumers to see. If you’re putting out ads and promotions, you need attention-grabbing artwork. Spoiler alert: People actually do judge books by their covers. It’s critical to invest in a graphic designer who will do your brand justice and give your launch a leg up.
If you can’t afford a project manager for the entire launch process, hire an experienced one to at least set up the launch project plan. You’re going to want an experienced pair of eyes to spot any gaps in the plan well before you begin executing.
3. Prime your audience for your new offering
With the current state of things, consumers are being safer with their money. If you want them to invest in your new service or offering, you need to give them ample time to prepare. Telling people far in advance about a launch will help them plan their time and money around it, particularly if it’s a higher-level offering you’re launching.
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A couple of things my team does specifically:
Find creative ways to connect with your network consistently. My top three go-to ways of doing this are hosting a Facebook Live series; consistently emailing your list to work through some of their frequently asked questions, fears or potential objections to the product or service you’re launching; and being a guest on podcasts around the time of your launch so you are reaching a wider audience.
Incentivize them to join a waitlist. Everyone loves a good deal, especially if it’s an early bird discount special. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love an early access incentive. Setting up these incentives for your audience early on shows them that you’ve thought of them ahead of time. You’ve taken that extra step to ensure that as a loyal customer, they’re receiving the perks. Not only does this strategy nurture relationships with your loyal fanbase, but you’ll likely secure a few sales from these efforts well before your launch day even takes place.
4. Have a Plan B for everything
Recently, a client of ours was gearing up to launch her Diversity & Inclusion webinar. Her launch took place the day George Floyd died, so needless to say, the team took action immediately and rolled out a Plan B. She ended up going through with the webinar, but the talking points she had originally planned to deliver were all but thrown out the window. Instead of panicking, we met as a team and asked the question: What does your audience need the most right now? In the end, what her audience needed was a safe space to open up and a resource to guide them through the process. She could have easily canceled or postponed the webinar, but what good would that have done anyone? Sometimes the best thing you can do is show up and be the person or thing your audience needs right at that moment.
That being said, you should always leave plenty of time in your plan to schedule, test, modify and adjust. You can’t plan for sudden “day of” curveballs, but you can give yourself more than enough time to course-correct as needed, especially for any pesky technical glitches.
Related: Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting a Venture
5. Closing debrief
No matter how successful your launch is, a good launch is nothing without a debrief. After your launch, you first want to show appreciation for your audience. That means engaging with the new customers or clients you gained, as well as those who are already in your network. This is your time to make your audience feel special, regardless of whether they bought the new offering or not. Always remember: just because somebody said “no” this time around doesn’t mean they won’t say “yes” next time.
Conduct an honest team debrief to help you determine what to keep or change for your next launch, how soon to have it and any other specifics that need to be discussed. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What can be changed for next time to ensure we don’t make that mistake again? How can we continue to nurture our audience until the next launch?
Launches can be stressful, but they definitely don’t have to be. Planning and organization leading up to your launch, as well as flexibility and fluidity on the actual day, will serve you well.