I’ve been fortunate enough to launch a few things that people have cared about: nonprofit campaigns, best-selling books, even a few business ventures. And the success of each experience had less to do with the quality of products and more to do with how they were launched.
Many people struggle with this. They want to believe “it’s the product, stupid” or that “content is king.” But the truth is now that technology makes excellence more affordable than ever, quality is no longer remarkable. It is assumed.
If you’re not creating great stuff, you’re not average; you’re irrelevant. Want extra attention or publicity for your next venture? Better do something amazing.
This is the secret to success in the new economy: Launch well, or don’t bother launching at all. If you want to publish a book or make a million dollars selling information products, you need a launch plan.
Each epic launch involves three basic elements…
1. An event
That means a deadline, a date you set and don’t waver from, when you’ll introduce your thing to the world. Here’s what events do for us:
- Events create anticipation. People get excited when you announce something is on its way “to a store near you.”
- Events force you to ship. Instead of talking about your idea, you actually have to create it.
- Events lead to action. When you focus energy and attention on a release, this creates energy and emotion that lead people to action (think opening night for Harry Potter).
We all need deadlines. When you set a date, you make it easy for everyone to act and all at once, which drives even more interest.
2. A launch team
If you can’t get ten people to talk about your idea before it comes out, don’t expect anyone to like it later. This is the reason why most new businesses fail and why it’s so hard to get a new product off the ground. The odds are not in your favor, friend.
One way to tip the scales is to start with a small army. Harness the power of word-of-mouth through free samples, advance reader copies, or whatever suits your campaign. The trick is to make it good, really good.
Every movement needs first-comers who rally around the message before anyone else cares. And the way you make that happen is by being giving more than taking.
3. A gimmick
I’m not talking about some smarmy sales tactic. The kind of gimmick you need is something interesting and memorable that gets people talking. It doesn’t have to be cheesy; in fact, it helps if it’s not.
A gimmick is an excuse for conversation, a way to simplify the complicated components of your offering.
- When you begged your mom to buy that box of cereal because of the free prize inside, that was a gimmick.
- When Michael Hyatt launched his book Platform and gave away hundreds of dollars of free product, that was a gimmick, too.
- And when Apple gives a pair of cool headphones away with every iPhone, that, too, is a gimmick.
Something special that makes you feel good about spending your time or money — that’s what a gimmick is. The more generous and audacious, the better the gimmick.
That’s what it takes to launch anything well. In other words, you need deadlines, people, and a reason to buy now. Good luck.
What elements do you use in a launch?