So much effort goes into the launch of a product, but what happens next?
How do you handle the calm after the launch? How do you keep selling products on an ongoing basis? These are the questions we tackle in this episode as we get rid of the “post-launch” blues.
You can listen to the audio too.
Do you like cold pizza?
Apparently, some people do. They eat pizza, leftover pizza, the next day and they thoroughly enjoy it over breakfast. Some people eat it as a snack, while others may eat it for lunch or dinner. What's the point of this pizza discussion, you may ask? The pizza analogy is to demonstrate that barring some exceptions; pizza is almost always treated as some kind of food.
A similar sort of concept applies to selling a product
Often, people believe that selling a product is entirely different from a service. Or that selling training, a workshop or course, for example, must somehow be different from selling info-products online. The reality is sales is sales—pretty much like pizza.
There are various situations in play, but by and large, whether you're selling a dump truck, a $20,000 course or a pizza, the principles are remarkably similar. You launch a product or service when it's ready. You get a few, possibly a fair number of sales. And then what?
This article is about the “then what” that occurs right after you've done your launch
And the reason for all that “pizza preamble” is because the example you're about to read about involves a digital information product, namely, The Brain Audit. When we launched
The Brain Audit back in 2002, we had no clue what we were doing. To put things in perspective, Google was just four years old, YouTube didn't exist, and hardly anyone bought anything online, let alone an e-book that was twice the cost of a hardback that you could get in a bookstore.
We launched The Brain Audit, then we waited. And nothing much happened.
A similar concept might apply to whatever you're selling, whether it's a product or service. You'll launch the product and wait, but find that nothing seems to happen. How are you supposed to keep selling the product/service for years on end? Do you create scarcity all the time, or will it get old and tired? Will clients get fed up with your tactics?
This series outlines the things we've done with The Brain Audit, just because it's our most enduring product
However, just to give you a framework so that we're all on the same page, we've sold services too. We've sold consulting, both one on one, as well as group consulting. We've sold seminars and workshops, courses like the info-product course or the Article Writing Course.
And as you'd expect, e-books, videos and audio—both digital and physical, as well as to sell a membership site like 5000bc. In short, while this story is mainly about The Brain Audit, it's really a “pizza story”. You can quickly and efficiently apply these steps. And they are steps. They take time, often months and years.
But that's the reason you're reading this article, aren't you? You've created a product or service, and you don't want it to languish on the bottom shelf, do you? You want it to sell on an ongoing basis.
Let's find out how we rolled out The Brain Audit. Let's go all the way back to 2002, shall we?
Stage 1: You've launched the product; now what?
The moment after the launch can often be a thud.
Nothing happens, simply because nothing is supposed to happen. All the clients who intended to buy your product at launch stage bought your product or service. Those who hesitated, stay in the wings and what you're faced with, is an unreasonable amount of nothingness.
This is true for any product, like software, a new kind of shampoo, or for that matter a workshop announcement. There's a bit of a spike at the launch, and then there's nothing.
We were faced with this nothingness factor when we first sold The Brain Audit
Except our launch was a bit different. We simply put up a sales page, and one person came along and bought the e-book. It took us totally by surprise. And so we'd sell a book here and a book there, often selling twenty or thirty books speaking at local events in Auckland.
Nonetheless, the slow pace of sales can't be sustained forever. There are two primary reasons why an increase in activity is essential. The first and I think the most important is that a client that doesn't read your information will often go elsewhere.
To me, getting that client to understand that information was far more important than just seeing yet another sale. Nonetheless, the sales matter too. Which is why both of these factors are vital. Your product partially brings a client into your “fold”, your way of thinking but it also helps create revenue. Even so, there's a lot of “nothing” that happens once you've launched your product.
Which is why you need to prepare for both the drip and the next launch
The drip is your newsletter or any method you keep in touch with your clients. At first, we'd send out one newsletter a month with an article. Then we changed it to twice a month and finally a weekly.
We then moved it to twice a week, once on Tuesday and the other on Saturday (no, there's no logic for the days chosen). But to go back to the very start, all we'd do is send out the newsletter and then add a little blurb—an interesting blurb—at the end of the article. It would say something like: “Aren't clients odd?
They nod at all the right times, agree with what you're selling, and then suddenly don't buy. Or worse, buy from someone else. What causes such behaviour? Find out what's going on in the brain of the client with The Brain Audit (and there'd be a link). That little blurb would cause the drip purchase. A few people would buy the product with every e-mail. As we increased the frequency of the e-mails, the sales of the product went up as well.
Then we'd announce a bonus sale several times a year.
We'd package The Brain Audit along with a few other goodies or bonuses and offer it to our list. The bonuses always did the trick. We'd get a tidy spurt in sales with every launch. Right from the very start, we tried to put ourselves in our client's shoes. We didn't want to be in their face all the time with all of these launches, which is why we'd send out an offer twice or thrice a year.
If we went really nuts, it would be four times a year. And just for good measure, we'd pick days that were supposedly bad days. For instance, one of our e-mails would go out on Christmas Day. No one is supposed to be checking e-mail on that day, but our sales would be extremely high. A few launches like this for The Brain Audit and we were well on our way to creating the leverage we were looking to achieve.
The key is not to get too predictable
If you know there's going to be a sale or some goodies, would you buy something earlier and forfeit the goodies? Which is why we kept the announcements of such sales, unpredictable. It ensured that clients bought through the year in small batches and then we'd see a spurt in sales. However, there's a bit of a downside to this strategy as well.
If you don't put in the dates in your calendar, you'll see the months fly by without the bonus sale happening. We'd often “wake up” to find half the year gone and we'd forgotten to announce a bonus sale. We now have the entire year planned to make sure this kind of periodic amnesia doesn't recur.
There's a little note about the bonuses too
When we began, we only knew what we saw around us. And everyone would pile up a ton of bonuses. Monkey see, and monkeys do, so we did the same. In time, we realised that a single bonus is enough. However, there's a significant point to consider, which is to have a must-have bonus. Every product or service has must-have items, yet they're often included as part of the package.
Unbundling the item from the product or service and offering it as a bonus, is an excellent first move. However, you then have to take the time and effort to describe the bonus in detail, almost as if the bonus were the main item; almost like the primary item doesn't exist.
We weren't always brave enough to keep one bonus over the years.
For instance, the Article Writing Course has many bonuses, just as a matter of legacy. We put it there, and now we haven't removed it, but by and large, when announcing the bonus sale, a superior move would be to choose or create one bonus and then push that bonus to the hilt, so that the client must have the bonus, no matter what. And all, or most of this selling is done through your own channel, most often your e-mail newsletter.
Your newsletter is easily the most powerful way to drip sell and to sell a bonus version of your product or service. However, it's not the only way. The other way is to get onto someone else's platform. Let's explore how to sell via someone else's list, without making a big hullabaloo about it.
Stage 2: If you have a podcast or videos or anything, keep repeating the name of ONE product over and over again.
Many years ago when I first started in advertising, I read a book by David Ogilvy. Ogilvy was a master at promotion, but he came about it the hard way. He had to sell products door to door and work out what caused customers to buy.
One of the things that he seemed to underline to aspiring copywriters was an idea of consistency. And my memory is a bit hazy because I read those books back in 1990, but it went something like this: You'll need to follow up about nine times. And it's not because the client is not paying attention. It's just that she or he is lost in their own problems.
Which is why repetition is a must in your newsletter, but it's easy to go off track in other media
When you're sending out a newsletter, and if you do it on a frequent basis, you're going to think about including your product. You could either add the links to the product as part of the editorial, below the editorial (right at the end) or do a sales pitch several times a year.
However, when it comes to other media, that factor of repetition might not be as consistent. Take the podcast for example. When we started the Three-Month Vacation podcast, I'd mention products, courses and workshops right at the end of every podcast in the section called, “What's happening in Psychotactics land?” However, the choice of product or service being offered would not always be consistent.
Then at one point we decided to create a format of sorts
Every podcast would talk about 5000bc, no matter what else was trying to hog the spotlight. Let's take the Houston workshop we're conducting in the last week of October. That would need to get into the podcast, but even so, 5000bc would be mentioned, even once the Houston workshop promotion ceases. In short, you want to get the same message over and over and over—and over again.
But do you say the same thing?
Essentially, yes. I always say “5000bc is filled with introverts and that I'm the extrovert”. However, the tone or the message may change from time to time. At times, there may be an example from 5000bc or a story that's related to 5000bc, but the core message of “introverts” and “5000bc” stays doggedly on target. You too need to change the angle but keep the story consistent.
Let's take an example of The Brain Audit
If you were to drive home one message from The Brain Audit, it would be about “hesitation”. It's about why the client gets hesitant. Why at the last minute she goes from being not sure and not buying your product or service. That concept of hesitation has to be drummed in, over and over again.
However, let's take a chapter from The Brain Audit. Let's talk about the concept of “uniqueness”. How does the concept of “uniqueness” and “hesitation” relate? Or what if you picked a chapter like “objections”. How do “hesitation” and “objections” relate to each other? Did you buy a 99c app online? Did you spend 3 hours and possibly six days wondering if you should buy that app or not? What caused you to hesitate?
With 5000bc, the message of introverts represents “a safe place”.
All the messaging about 5000bc has to be about it being safe. And what does “being in a safe zone” mean to most people? It means it's different from other places online where there's hacking and hustling, pimping and pumping.
It's the polar opposite of people trying to climb over one another to get noticed. It's a place where you can be heard and treated with respect. Both 5000bc and The Brain Audit have a consistent message as do most of the products and services on Psychotactics.
All of the consistency comes from “one word”. When you examine your product or service, it will almost always seem to represent more than one word. Take The Brain Audit for example. It could be about hesitation, but it could also be about “speedier conversion”.
If you have a service like a yoga class, you might achieve mindfulness, flexibility, injury-free. You could end up with three, four, even a dozen ways to explain your business. The big mistake most people make is they use two or three, and in the process, they don't get a single message across.
A single message sent out repeatedly is what sticks in the brain of the client. And that's what you need to put in your podcast or video.
I say video, or podcast, but the application doesn't matter
You might be using webinars, speaking to live audiences, or getting your message through social media. The consistency is what is going to bring you repeated sales. The consistency of the “one word/one idea” is the ONLY thing that's going to cut through the clutter. When the client runs into flexibility issues, they're not thinking of mindfulness.
Drum home that one message and you'll get the point across. Then take the same message into videos, podcasts, speaking, webinars or any medium that you're going to employ in the future.
However, it's not enough to do a sales pitch. In almost every situation, you also need to embed the product or service within your content. Let's find out how.
Stage 3: Embedding the information within the editorial
You've seen those Matryoshka Russian dolls, haven't you? Also known as nesting dolls, it's a set of wooden dolls inside each other. You open one doll to find another smaller doll within, the smaller doll reveals yet another smaller doll, and so on. It's like one doll embedded into the other.
When it comes to selling your product or service, it's a lot like embedding the information within the editorial content, with one prominent difference. The embedded information doesn't necessarily get smaller. If you do it right, you can take all the time and space you need to get your point across.
Let's get right to the example, shall we?
If you've been following this series, you'll notice that there was an entire discussion about 5000bc, our membership site. You got told how 5000bc was for introverts and got other bits of information about 5000bc.
Then, there was a follow up of The Brain Audit, which is also a product being sold on the Psychotactics site. In effect, you were introduced to two products, and if you paid close attention, the sales page/landing page workshop was brought up as well. Yet, you may have also noticed something else.
You didn't resent the information at all. If you're already a member of 5000bc, you are happy that your decision to be a member has been reinforced. If you've already read The Brain Audit (thrice as suggested), then you don't resent the information. And the workshop: that too would have caught your interest if you wanted to attend a Psychotactics workshop in October.
In short, the entire piece in part 2 was embedded as a form of a sales pitch, as well as the information you just read in the past paragraph. What makes it so non-confrontational is that it's giving you information that is useful to you. If you imagine a photographer conducting a workshop, you'll know exactly what I mean.
Let's say that photographer is a stockist for some lenses. And during the workshop, she can either talk about the lenses and give you the prices, or she can do something quite sublime. She can introduce you to the lenses, let you see them, play with them, even use them on your camera. Not everyone will be captivated, of course, but some will. And in embedding that information, she's got prospects who move over to clients.
Think of that yoga class we mentioned earlier
What could you do in the yoga class? Maybe you're having a weekend session. You could say it during the class itself. It's possible you are selling some new yoga books that you've sourced.
Often enough you don't even have to mention the books. You could simply display them on a stand, and you'd get clients wanting to buy the product. However, not everyone notices or gets why one book is better, or why they should join one membership site over the other. And it's why editorial is so very crucial.
When you explain concepts using the editorial format, the client gives you lots of time to drive home your information. Try doing a sales pitch as long, and many, if not most of the clients will tune out immediately.
However, there's one more point to pay attention to when bringing up your product or service
You can't merely keep the spotlight on yourself. Notice that Psychotactics doesn't have yoga classes. It doesn't sell photography lenses, either. Even so, you ran into those examples and for two good reasons. The first big reason is that more examples let the client get a better picture.
If you're embedding examples of info-products and courses, for instance, a lot of clients may not make the leap. But as you add more examples, like yoga and photography, you're creating depth in your presentation. You're giving them examples of both products and services, and you're doing something even more critical.
You're moving the spotlight away from you for a little bit. Once you've embedded your information, it's time to move on and give other examples, just to level the playing field a bit. Clients don't feel like they're stuck in an unending sales/editorial sequence.
Embedding sales information in your product isn't hard to do
Once again, you can use it not only in your articles but also in your video, podcasts, webinars and every other media. Even a casual social media post can show a bunch of camera lenses or photo equipment. Or it can mention a workshop that you're thinking of having in New Zealand.
Whatever the eventual goal, you don't have to get stuck with just trying to sell. You can also use plain ol' editorial to keep selling products through the year. You may not sell in huge volumes when mentioning the product or services through the year.
Your sales won't see any great spike. However, that doesn't mean your clients aren't paying attention. These embedded pieces of information are getting through, and when you finally do your sales pitch or your sales email, all of this hard work will pay off.
There's really no downside to embedding like a Matryoshka doll. You've created great content, have sound examples and have moved strategically towards greater sales of your products and services.