PreneurCast is a business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Product Launches have become very popular in recent years in the Internet Marketing community. This week, Pete and Dom discuss Product Launches for both online and offline businesses, with the example of Pete’s relaunch of ‘Selling the MCG’.
Pete and Dom talks about product launches and its internet popularity
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Dom Goucher: Hey there.
Pete Williams: Hey, big fella. How are you?
Dom: Good, good, good. Thank you.
Pete: Back for another week. I’ve very well, mate. Very, very well as usual.
Dom: Back and raring to go for another PreneurCast.
Pete: That’s it, mate. I’m Pete Williams and that leaves you being Dom Goucher.
Dom: I’m touched you remembered.
Pete: So, this week, back again for another episode. What shall we be discussing this time around, fine sir?
Dom: Well, I learned a fair amount last week from Professor Pete’s guide to outsourcing. This week I have another topic or question for you. One of my clients has just got back from the Product Launch Formula event, Jeff Walker’s big thing.
Dom: And it reminded me, being a service provider in the main, most of what I do in one way or another helps people promote products or is a product in its own right – depending on whether it is a sales video that I’m producing or whether I produce the eBooks and information product videos, etc., teaching videos for inside. For a long time now I’ve been aware of this concept in ‘the product launch.’
And obviously, Jeff Walker has launched for the last time – three or four times over the last two years, for the last time, his Product Launch Formula product which is an incredibly famous product. So I’ve always been on the periphery of this and I’ve been a supplier into the chain. But I’d really like to understand if you’ve got any insight into this, about the idea of a product launch and whether it’s kind of for these people who just work on the internet or whether it’s applicable to all kinds of business. Got anything on that?
Pete: Good question. Yeah, a few things. First thing is if you’d probably been able to watch along and play along at home with Jeff, I think he’s just about to re-launch his Product Launch Formula as well. It’s going to be another journey to watch a product launch get launched. Launching the Product Launch Formula about a product launch… Yeah, that’s too many. Yeah, kind of confusing.
Pete: Let’s give a bit of context to the whole Product Launch Formula concept for people who haven’t come from the internet marketing space. You see big products, home study courses, online digitally delivered membership sites being marketed very, very heavily for a short period of time. They go on sale, then they kind of disappear again. It’s very much used in the internet marketing space and has been done so for years with millions of dollars’ worth of digital products being sold in 24 hours, which is very, very successful.
And Jeff produced his own home-study program called Product Launch Formula and it basically shows people how to launch their own product using this formula that he developed. I guess most of you probably got that from the name of the product, but that’s what it’s all about. It’s primarily used in the internet marketing space or it’s been marketed in the internet marketing space to people to apply it to their own fundamentally information-based business to great success. I’ve known a lot of people who have done a lot, a lot of money by launching a product using Jeff’s Product Launch Formula.
I actually have played around with it a little bit with some digital stuff. But funnily enough, the most success I actually ever had applying Jeff’s formula was, it would have been 18 months ago now, when I re-launched and re-sold the MCG. So my biggest success using Product Launch Formula was launching into a marketplace where I didn’t have a single email, didn’t have anybody on the list I could mail and market to – had to build that from scratch throughout the launch sequence, and I was selling a physical product that was getting shipped to people.
It was the MCC-crested carpet memorabilia frames. So, a photo of the MCG – for those of you who are overseas listening, it’s Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium. I was able to buy all the crested carpet that lined the very, very famous Members Pavilion Dining Room. A very, very ugly carpet, but it lined the floor of the Members Dining Room and members’ area of what was the Ponsford Stand, which was part of the MCG. This was 10 years ago when I was 21.
I made a whole bunch of publicity, exposure and obviously, money off the back of selling the MCG as a series of memorabilia frames. So I had all the carpet, did all that, it was great. Had some left over and decided to re-launch it 18 months or so ago and actually thought, well, if I’m going to re-launch it, let’s put Jeff’s system to the test and see how good it is to launching something to a market that I don’t have a list in and all the stuff I mentioned before. We can definitely walk through that, I can talk through that sequence and give an example of how it works. I think it’s very applicable to a lot of stuff.
We played around with it a little bit and used some of the elements of it when I originally launched Big Ears Headphones. I might get the domain wrong: bigearsheadphones.com.au, which is an ecommerce site. We’re just about to re-launch in the headphone space. We launched it originally to so much success. We actually had to shut the site down, which is bizarre, because we didn’t have the actual systems in place to deal with the amount of products we had to ship.
Dom: That sounds so internet marketing. Oh no, the server was overloaded.
Pete: Well, we actually screwed a lot of clients over, and I’m the first to admit that. We stuffed up their orders and shipped them the wrong goods, or didn’t ship it to them and shipped their goods to somewhere else. It was just a nightmare of logistics process. Because all the ecommerce stuff we’ve done prior to that was always shipped directly from our suppliers to the clients, which is very, very handy. But this particular suite of products, we couldn’t do that.
We had to ship ourselves and just didn’t realize how hard logistics was. So, we kind of disappointed quite a few clients. Hopefully, we’ve made them all happy and made it all good. But we’re about to re-open the site again. So some of the [Product Launch Formula elements] we applied to that as well, which is pretty cool. None of it was server-overload, nothing like that. It was just…
Dom: Ok, ok. I’ll let you off. I know you wouldn’t do that anyway.
Pete: A bunch of systems and processes that we didn’t have down pat and some staff we hired incorrectly.
Dom: Just to go back, the idea behind a product launch, whether it’s using Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula trademark – insert whatever, re-launch, not-launched-last-time, it’s-been-done, never-shown-again-until-next-year kind of product. Anyway, whether it’s that or whether it’s just going about bringing a product new product to market in a systematic way; that’s really it, isn’t it? It’s about bringing a new product to market or promoting a product in a systematic way for the maximum effect. That’s really what we’re talking about here with the product launch, isn’t it?
Pete: Absolutely. We’ll give credit where credit’s due. As much as you’re sort of laughing at Jeff and the whole internet marketing world of, ‘oh, this is the last time it’s going to be released,’ and all that sort of rubbish that happens in that space; give credit where credit is due in terms of the way Jeff put this together. The way he describes it and the best way to describe it, what a Product Launch Formula process is or a product launch defined in these terms is you’re basically taking a sales communication, whether it be a sales letter or a pitch and things like that, and actually turning it on its side and breaking it up in segments.
So you’re fundamentally building up to a launch date, so to speak, where you make the product or service available. Prior to that coming out, there’s obviously a sequence of events that you can manufacture, and manage, and produce to build up the demand and build up the desire. So when your actual product is released, people are hungry for it. As opposed to saying, “Hey, it’s available now, let’s start marketing it,” you’re actually marketing it effectively prior to the product being available, and getting that demand. Apple, let’s take it very much out of the internet marketing space and talk about Apple because they do it very, very well.
You see, the debatable leaked images of particular iPhones coming out. Then they have, obviously, the actual Keynote presentation where they announce the product. Then they have the website, the video with Jony Ive sitting there looking off camera with the white background, his lovely English accent talking about the aesthetics of the product and how it’s the most cutting-edge thing they’ve ever designed and blah, blah, blah. Then they finally have the product going to be available for sale, and they have people lining up outside and around the corner camping out for three days. It’s a very structured product launch.
Pete: And it’s basically taking all those elements into a system that you can basically just hit on all those hot buttons leading up to a launch of a product, whether it be a book, an iPhone, an information product, a piece of sports memorabilia, a new car coming out. Whatever it might be, there’s sequence that’s been done time and time again for years in every different industry, and applying that to your business and your product.
If you are a wholesaler and you’ve got a new wine coming out, or you’re offering a brand new service to your current clients, taking this process and applying it through communication to a list of prospects can really help you kick off a new product very, very well.
Dom: Absolutely. And all joking aside, I’m completely aware. A number of my clients have kind of bought into Jeff’s product, and it is an absolute blueprint of this process. There’s nothing, as everyone always says, there’s nothing new under the sun. You could stand back and study the last 10 years of Apple and see a pattern to the way that they launch these things – the way they build the anticipation, they build the desire for the product.
They even take preorders, which is part of the game as well. But what Jeff’s done, because we’re talking about Jeff and using this as a framework to go through; all joking aside, Jeff has done a fantastic job of documenting that process and turning it into a real blueprint, a step-by-step. Just to be clear, I am really genuinely joking. Although there are a lot of people who claim server melt, and they’re on their own.
Pete: Oh, absolutely. And it’s not about Jeff by any means. Jeff’s, in our world, the market leader – we use that term a lot. He’s probably the market leader in that space. But there are plenty other people who have produced books and contents and lessons about how to launch a product; it’s not necessarily about Jeff. Jeff did a great job of distilling it down to a systematic process you just basically swipe and deploy, for want of a better phrase.
Dom: Yeah, it is one of those funny things; in the circles I operate in, Jeff is the big name for product launch. But walk down a high street anywhere and say, “Jeff Walker,” and you’ll just get a lot of blank stares. So, it’s not like he’s the world leader at it or anything. And yeah, there are lots of books in place. It’s the principle that’s important here that instead of just dropping a product on a shelf or sending out to your distributors or whatever, if you go through some sort of systematic process, breaking that into a launch that builds desire, you’re going to get much better returns.
Pete: Absolutely. Let’s look at the movie industry; Hollywood has been doing it for years. They have the sneak peak trailer. Then they have the leaked photos from the set. Then they have the full trailer. Then they have the stars doing interviews. Then they have the red carpet event. Then they finally, finally allow Joe Public to spend their $20 on a ticket and their $300 on a box of popcorn, and go to the movies and watch the actual feature film.
So, movies have been doing it for years and it’s just about working out what they do and how they do it, and then applying it to your own launch. If they just open the doors to the movie and started marketing it, it’s not going to be as effective. it won’t drive the demand and the conversation, and that social element of it that really gets everyone hungry and wanting to go and see it straightaway. That’s what we’re trying to do with the launch of anything, really.
Dom: I picked up a keyword here, you mentioned the word ‘desire’, building the desire. If anyone does this and does it well, whether it’s a movie launch, an iPhone or other Apple product, or whatever it is; invariably, quite a lot of money changes hand between the consumer and the vendor. But the consumer very often is quite often grateful for the opportunity to hand over the wads of cash.
Pete: In Apple’s case, absolutely.
Dom: They queue around the store. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling these people who are enthusiastic about these products. Apple is an awesome product, but it’s interesting to see the level of desire that can be engendered in the consumer if you do this, to the point where literally they are desperate to give you the cash. They’ll go and preorder the product. They’ll do all these things that out in the high street you’ll never see in a normal circumstance.
Pete: It’s insane. During the re-launch of the MCG project that came to be, I had people emailing me thanking me for giving them the opportunity to own a piece of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was just phenomenal. Look, they were genuinely thankful and I was genuinely thankful because I was able to save a piece of Australian sporting history and make it available.
Yes, there was a profit in it and that was great. But at the same time, being a memorabilia collector myself, I was very happy to share this and have other people own a piece of Australian sporting history. And they were literally thanking me for it, which was just amazing.
Dom: Cool. Can you break this down? Can you give us some idea about what it looks like to do a product launch?
Pete: What we can do, the best way to do it is give it some frame. We can walk through how I re-sold the MCG at a high level, and walk through the steps and the processes that way so people can get a feel for what I did and hopefully, use that as a framework they can apply to their own stuff. If you’re interested, and obviously there are other resources – Jeff’s products and stuff like that that I don’t sell directly, if they want to delve into it. But that could be a good place to start. We can go from there. Does that work?
Dom: Framing it and giving a real example to work through, especially one you know so well and was genuinely successful is great.
Pete: Also, it’s not an information product example. That’s the big thing.
Dom: Yes, a real-world example. This was a physical thing that had to be manufactured, that you couldn’t really kind of give people a little sample of downloadable chapter one and all that malarkey. It was physical, big chunk of wood and glass and carpet, obviously. So, yeah, very real-world.
Pete: The key thing in a launch is to build up a database of prospects that you can market to and help deliver or – I’ll use the word ‘manufacture,’ but not in a negative way, the desire that you’re trying to achieve here. What I basically did was put up a website, a webpage that was simply an opt-in box. So all people could do when they came to the page was watch a video of me standing outside the MCG, talking about what was coming out for release in a few weeks’ time. Then I drove a lot of traffic to that through banner advertising and Facebook advertising and stuff like that.
How I got the traffic to the site is not really the launch sequence part of it, that’s just the traffic-generation. So, the page they landed on was me outside the MCG, telling the story of how I originally came about owning all this history, all this part of the MCG, how I originally sold some of the frames, how I then went to the other memorabilia marketplace and industry in Australia and tried to do some joint ventures with them to help get the frames out to other people for the amount of capital I had left, how the price points they wanted to charge for this sort of stuff was astronomical and I refused to sell at that high price point, which was completely true.
It just blew my mind how greedy a lot of people in that space are. So I decided to sell the last bit of carpet myself directly and put it on the market, and was going to launch the opportunity to own a piece of the MCG in a couple of weeks’ time. “If you’re interested in getting on the pre-release notification list and own a piece of the MCG, put your name and email address into the box here.” It was purely old-school style of squeeze page, opt-in box, pre-release registration form page, whatever you want to call it, that most people could imagine.
That was the fundamental front entrance point into the launch sequence. That’s where we started and just spent a lot of time in the first few days driving as much targeted traffic as I could to that page through, as I said, Facebook, banner advertising, bit of AdWords, content banners on the AdWords network and a whole bunch of other traffic-generation stuff that we can talk about it if you want to talk about on another episode. And then from there, there was a sequence of marketing pieces that went to that list that continually got built up to actually take them along the journey of the product launch.
What was really cool – and something that were not planned at all, the very first thing I was able to mail to the list on, the MCG actually sent me a pretty nasty letter not long after the original launch of the webpage. Because obviously, I was pretty much plastering every website related to football and cricket and sport in Australia my banner ads for a couple of days. I was using the trademarks of the MCG in a way that they didn’t love, which is probably the nicest way of putting it. So they sent me a cease-and-desist letter, which was fine.
I got on the phone with them, spoke with them, and they were happy and ridiculously supportive and had been through the whole process. They knew what I did 10 years ago. They were like, “Just change a couple of the things you’re doing and the way you’re doing it.” That was all cool, but it gave me a great marketing piece to actually mail in to the list. Because a lot of people would get that cease-and-desist letter, and absolutely crap themselves and go, “Oh, no,” and close the whole product down.
But I got on the phone, was proactive, fix it all up and actually mailed the list on it as a way to sort of, ‘hey, this is important.’ This is building up the conversation with the list.
Basically, I wrote a letter saying, “Thanks so much for getting involved in the pre-registration list. We’ve had so many people already jump on board. It has only been three days now but the funny thing is I actually got a nasty letter from the MCG…” And I went on to talk about why they sent me this nasty letter and what it was all about. Because I spoke about the fact that the MCG is so important here in Australia, it has its own parliamentary act and its rules around the act that I wasn’t aware of, which was why they sent me that nasty letter.
So I said, “You have the opportunity of owning something so important to Australia that it has it has its own parliamentary act.” It was a really good initial piece of content I could mail the list on to say, “This is important,” and build that social proof of the importance of the MCG and how cool it would be to own a piece of the MCG. So that was the first key thing I was able to drive home to this list of prospects in the first mailing.
Dom: Cool. That was quite serendipitous, really, that you’d got some story that was genuine.
Pete: Very, very lucky. That part of it was unplanned. But I was able to leverage into that. Continually throughout the whole campaign, I was mentioning how many people were opting in. “We’ve had 250 people opt in. We now have 500 people opt in. We now have x amount,” to really reinforce that social proof. I was really trying to hit on all the influence factors that Robert Cialdini talks about in his book Influence: social proof, consistency and a whole bunch of other stuff that you’ll see throughout this that I tried to reinforce all the way through to help build up the desire.
Having my experience in the publicity game, I was also able to grab a lot of real-world media exposure for the project as well. The MCG is going back on sale. I was kind of lucky with the angle and stories I was able to develop around it that was applicable to the general media in a way I was able to position it. I got a lot of exposure on radio and some newspaper again, which was really cool.
I was able to, again, reinforce that throughout the launch sequence that this was getting important. “The media is grabbing hold of this and is talking about it because it’s that important to own a piece of Australian sporting history. So you’re lucky to be on the pre-released notification list,” really reinforcing that they made a good decision to get on that pre-release list. Because there’s a fair chance we might sell out of all this before it goes to general public because I’m going to release the frames to this pre-notification list first before I get to general public.
But due to the response we’ve had, the number of people who subscribed is just blowing my mind. It got to the point where we had more subscribers than we had frames. I was really able to play on that really, really well. The demand is huge, so you want to act fast. That’s another key thing. You want to have that demand there too.
Dom: So those are the key steps when you are sending out these marketing pieces. You talked about social proof: so how many people are signing up, where is the interest coming from, is the media interested and that kind of thing. Then you also talked about building up the desire, partly through the social proof but also maybe saying, as you say, you’ve got more people on the list than you’ve got product and things like that.
Pete: Making something look limited. It’s that scarcity play that Cialdini talks about as well. The scarcer something is, the more it’s wanted. As you’re launching a product, maybe you’re launching a new wine or you’re launching a new bike that’s going to market, or a new headset model. Whatever it might be, if you could work out a way to have the very first edition be limited, so change the label or you do something where it’s diamond-encrusted or something like that where you’ve only got a limited amount for the first release, that scarcity comes into play. That really helps build up the desire and get that momentum going. That’s the key thing you try to build on very, very early.
Dom: Because you ragged on me last week about being a big fan of The E-Myth, you seem to be Mr. Influence. But the book Influence is kind of a blueprint for this part of the process.
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dom: You go down that list of the influence triggers and try to include some of them in your communications. Because that’s what it’s all about, it’s about making people want the product before they can get it.
Pete: For sure. It’s all about just having that want build up as much as you can. So when you open the door and people come in and purchase your products, they are just running at you with their credit card and throwing cash at you. So that was what I was trying to build on throughout this whole launch sequence. I then drilled into a bit of an ‘us versus them,’ theme. It’s a bit of the underlying tone I tried to make throughout the whole project where it was about what I’ve got available, and what we’re here as our little community of MCG fans. We’re trying to save authentic Australian sporting history.
Whatever everyone else sells in the memorabilia game is fake – or not fake, definitely not fake, possibly fake. Because there is a lot of fake memorabilia out there, that’s a definite fact, and not authentic and not real. So I had a couple of emails throughout the process. One of them was like, “I saw an interesting video on You Tube. Check this out,” and it was a link to a video of Tiger Woods for Upper Deck, sitting at his desk just signing photo, after photo, after photo, after photo.
And I made the point that, how unauthentic is this sort of memorabilia. Not authentic in terms of fake, but it’s not genuine sports collectibles when it’s just something that’s been manufactured as a collectable. So I really kind of hammered that point home throughout the whole process that it’s us here, ‘us’ real sporting fans who are going to have the opportunity to own a piece of Australian sporting history, authentic sporting history versus all the other memorabilia dealers who want to rip them off by charging high, high prices when I tried to JV with them. But also, when they’re selling these high-priced signed photos, they’ve just been manufactured.
They’re not real, they’re not authentic. It’s to build up that desire and the positioning of my product in the marketplace. So if you can do that with your product, if you could tell the story of why your wine is more valuable and better than the competitor’s wine, why is your particular product better, why is your carpet cleaning service better, what is the process you’ve got compared to them… You could tell that story about this new degreaser that you’ve got coming out and how it’s been tested in the Swiss Alps by whatever it might be to actually get that germ out a little bit better. Have that ‘us versus them’ story and build that up into the process is really, really valuable.
Dom: You mentioned story there about seven times in the same sentence. I’m thinking ‘story’ is a big thing in this. But you started with a story; you started with your video on the site to get this sign-up in the first place. You told some of the back story, some insider knowledge. Is that a big thing?
Pete: I think so, yeah. The community aspect. If you could, try and build that inner circle throughout this. If you’re on a pre-release notification list, you’re in that circle. You know stuff that no one else knows. You have access to information. You have access to this product before the rest of the world’s going to have access to it. So if you can, really play on that community aspect.
It will not only help you for the launch, it’s going to help you for a long time to really build that social proof and build those thousand true fans that get spoken about quite a bit. If you have a thousand true fans in any business, that should give you a solid, solid income for life. It’s about building up that relationship with your community.
Dom: Cool. And the story is just giving a little bit of yourself.
Pete: Yeah. But make sure it is a nonfiction story, that’s the biggest thing. We’re not talking about making something up here, it’s got to be a true story. But tell it as a story.
Dom: Yeah, just give it a little bit of a thread and a little bit of a build up and things like that. And that’s another thing and you say this a lot in everything that we do, which is, always tell the truth. Find the story in things by all means. Find the story in that. Again, you made the most of that letter, that nasty letter. You could take that, but you could take that a number of ways and you found the story, the positive story that you could turn to your advantage. And you made it into a message to send out to the list. But don’t make this stuff up, right?
Pete: No, hopefully that goes without saying almost because that should be the baseline and the foundation of which you live your life. So, from there, once you had that part of the whole process established, I started to try and work on setting the context and the framing. This is the big thing that we’ve spoken about in a lot of episodes, so start to frame people’s expectations and price. And what I wanted to do was frame them with a high price point. So when they actually saw the price I was offering my products for, the frames for, they’d see it as an absolute bargain and great, great value.
So I sent out a couple of emails and some videos to the list saying, “Everything is coming along well. We’re still on target for the launch day in a couple of weeks’ time,” reinforcing that social proof. “Lots of people have actually have been opting in, it’s been great. The feedback has been awesome,” and did a video showing other memorabilia websites and the price points. So I literally on-screen took my prospects to competitors’ websites and spoke about our competitors products.
“This is what this competitor has to sell, this is the pros on it, this is the cons on it in my opinion, this is the price point.” So, they could see that in the previous video I spoke about just manufactured memorabilia with the signed photos, the video two days later that went out was saying, “This video shows you products that have been manufactured that are selling for $2,000. It’s a signed cricket bat that’s not even authentically used. It’s just a cricket bat they manufactured and had someone sign, and they’re charging $2,000 for it. Isn’t that incredible? Oh my god.”
And really build up that frame that manufactured memorabilia is really, really expensive. So I tried to set that frame up very quickly. But I also noted that the authentic MCG carpet frames will be a lot less than half of that price. So I set them up really, really high and then showed them how much value I was going to offer by saying it was authentic and it’s half the price. So I really wanted to set that frame up very, very strong. I did that in a couple of different videos through the launch process.
I also started kicking in that commitment, consistency and social proof elements by actually taking some of the responses I had from emails I’d sent to the list previously and put them back into this email. I was sort of saying, “Things are going really, really well. Just had some wonderful emails. Here’s a couple of awesome ones I’ve had so far and cut some snippets out of other people’s emails and pasted those in here,” just to reinforce and show some proof about the social proof. I put some testimonials to show that commitment and consistency element as well, which is really, really cool.
And again, some of the stuff that comes out of the woodwork is just insane when you’re doing this kind of launches. Just like that cease-and-desist letter, another awesome little note that came out that I wasn’t expecting was, one of the people who emailed me back throughout the sequence to my emails actually wrote to me telling me about they had a nephew or a son, I think it was from memory, who played semi-professional in a professional cricket league here in Australia. And he knew it from a fact that when his son or any teammate is away on a signing day, other players just sign that person’s name on the posters that go out on behalf of the club.
That wasn’t me saying that, that was someone else who was a subscriber, a part of this little inner circle saying that. It was just reinforcing stuff I had already said in a way that I probably wouldn’t be able to say myself directly. But this is a subscriber telling me that’s what happens in the space, which was incredible. It was another way to really reinforce the authenticity, the size of the community and that amazing launch process we were going through. That was very, very cool.
Dom: That’s pretty cool that you picked that stuff up. It’s all about looking for that, isn’t it? It’s about looking for those opportunities and looking how you can take anything and fit it into this process. What seems like everyday occurrences or even frightening things like the nasty letter from the MCG, and just see how you can fit it in within those parameters of building desire and social proof and things like that.
Pete: Absolutely. That’s it. You’ve got to have that openness and being involved in the process and working out what can you take and how can you make a marketing angle out of everything. And then from there, we’re getting pretty close to launch date. I’ve built up this huge wave of social proof and demand and framing. Then I wanted to take them to the process that felt like they already own their piece of the MCG.
Because in selling, what they talk about in the old-school, which is still applicable to a certain extent is that you want to get people to imagine and talk about the solution or the results they’re going to have in the current context. If you’re going to clean their carpet, you want them to talk about what they’re going to do with their clean carpet. Are they going to be able to have their kid crawling around on it again or are they going to have a party, or whatever it might be. Get them to envisage and feel that they’ve already got the solution you’re going to be selling them so they can actually internalize that.
What I actually did, which was really cool, I took my little Flip video camera at the time to the framers who were making the frames and putting them together. I recorded one of the framers making up one of the pieces of memorabilia, for a couple of reasons. Obviously, to have that internalization as I spoke about and also to show them the high quality of the product they were going to be investing in and that piece of memorabilia would last for years because of the high workmanship that was going into each of the frames.
And also, just have that cool inner circle over-the-shoulder kind of feel again throughout the launch process. They actually got to experience that they were going along with entire ride with me, which is part of that product launch process. Had that video, gave them access to that video where they could actually watch their frame being made, which is really cool. It gave them that experience. That’s what you want to try to do, you want them to experience your product if they can beforehand.
Dom: Not wanting to pimp my specialist subject as it were, but one of the things I think that was key to this and key to a lot of what you do is the use of video.
Dom: As you said, when you did your little back story, it wasn’t just a printed letter or a webpage with loads of text on it and the odd photo here and there; it was you in front of the place, the MCG, talking, being real, being on camera. And then again, you went – and this is important especially if it’s physical product, but also even if it’s not a physical product. But if it’s a physical product, if you can actually pick it up, that experience, that internalization, seeing the quality – those are things that is very hard to talk about but very easy to just pick this thing up.
You went to the framers and they could see it’s real wood. They could see people sawing through the wood. They could see the thickness of it. They could almost feel the weight. They could really engage with it. And video, it doesn’t have to be high quality video, but video is really powerful for that kind of thing.
Pete: Absolutely. It is that visual, they get to almost experience it. Think about it. Most products people buy, they’ve probably been seen on television. They’ve had that experience by watching a TV commercial, watching an infomercial and purchasing a product. I was trying to redevelop that in the online sense. That’s why I went down a video path. It’s a much, much more connected communication tool. From there, we pretty much just got ready for the launch.
The last two steps were pretty much saying, “Here you go, give me your credit card and purchase your own piece of the MCG.” The second last email I sent out was simply a FAQ email and video where I basically answered all the questions that I’d been sent through the email response that I’ve had: when is it available, what’s the money-back guarantee terms, how can they buy it, can they buy it for their friends, and all that sort of stuff that I was being asked that I not only replied to people individually, but I answered all the questions in a group scenario.
So it was a bit of leverage for my time, reinforce the social proof, here’s a question from blah, blah, blah, here’s a question from so and so. And obviously, if one person asked a question, there’s a fair chance out of the whole community you’ve built that other people have asked that question as well. So that was really important. Finally, it was the matter of saying, “The shopping cart’s open. It’s available for pre-release before the general public. Check it out here. Go for it. Good luck and I hope you get a piece of the MCG.”
That was fundamentally the final launch sequence. I did hit them with one additional follow-up email to remind them to take action. Because the day that we opened up the shopping cart, I had a pretty big article in one of Melbourne’s biggest newspapers as well. So I was able to re-email the list with another reason for mailing and that reason was that, ”mX magazine, which gets read by over 300,000 people is running an article about this whole ‘Own the MCG’ thing this afternoon.
So if you want to get a piece of the frames before they go on sale to the general public, make sure you get one now. Because with 300,000 people reading this, they’re probably going to sell out pretty quickly. So, that was a great excuse. The biggest thing is you need to have a reason. You need to create a reason why you’re mailing everybody. You need to have a different hook, a different angle and a different influence factor every single time so you’ve got a reason to mail and have that sequential process mailed.
Because if I try to touch on all these elements in one video or in one long sales letter, I would have probably lost the prospect from Day One. They would have come to the site after seeing a banner ad, and tried to watch a one-hour video or consume a 40-page sales letter to have all this desire build up, and it wouldn’t be engaging. But by breaking it down into a sequence of seven or eight emails over a two-week period, there was more engagement, more desire built, more interaction with the community.
Dom: Absolutely, absolutely. You went through this process and it was, again, a successful launch.
Pete: More successful than if you just had basically opened up the shopping cart on the website, and even probably more successful than if you had opened the shopping cart and website and used that banner traffic, that pay-per-click to just drive people directly to the sale, right?
Pete: I would absolutely guarantee that’s a fact. And I think I even tested it at one point. And the launch sequence converted so much more because it was an engaging process that the consumer got to go through and felt they were part of the process, rather than just being a very one-dimensional sales letter. The thing that Jeff talks about in the, for want of a better term, ‘latest’ release of Product Launch Formula which really is a must-invest for a lot of people; but what he talks about is how to make it go evergreen.
And what he means by that is actually making your launch sequence available for your prospect to go through all the time. So rather than having it as a launch for the very initial release of a product, how can you make that launch sequence evergreen so when they come to your particular website and they want to find out more information, they get sent a similar sequence of emails before they’re even allowed to open up their handbag, purse or wallet, and give you money. They have to actually go through this sequence rather than seeing a static sales page and going away.
And it’s very cool and it can work for a lot of different processes. This can be applied simply to your conversion process. So even if you’re a B2B or B2C sales person, whether you’re doing carpet cleaning, roof tiling or painting, you could compact this into a three or four-process thing. Maybe you’ve got your initial welcome pack you give people when they inquire about you. Maybe there’s a DVD that goes out with your quote. Maybe there’s a follow-up email two days later.
There might be some sort of sequence you can do to hit all of these hot buttons in a three or four-day period as part of your normal conversion process. It doesn’t have to be just a product launch or launching a brand new product. That’s the biggest thing. It doesn’t have to be about launching a brand new product. You could apply this to any business in any way if you sit down, take the elements out, and make it evergreen.
Dom: Good tip. That’s awesome. That’s a really good step through of the idea behind product launches. I certainly have got a lot out of that. I’ve read through a lot of the stuff. You wrote some stuff about the MCG launch, and you were kind enough to let me have a look at that. But even with what you wrote down and even though I’ve seen the site, it’s great to understand where these things came from and how you turned it around and why you did each step. So, that was really helpful.
Pete: What we might do, we might edit onto the end of this episode or work out a way to make this available to people who are interested in getting, for want of a better term, a swipe file which is what I think you’re referring to. I put together a little PDF of all the emails that I sent out during this launch and put together a video of the best-of. It’s about an hour but it was the cuts of all the different videos that I sent out to the list as part of the launch and had it available.
So, what we’ll do is we’ll cut out the end of this episode and edit it after in a way to actually get a copy of this and I’ll make it available to everyone who’s listening. We’ll work on how we can make that happen. I’ll get Flo to put up a page and we’ll cut into the URL at the end of it. If you’re interested in getting a bit deeper into this, I know we’ve gone about 45 minutes. But if you want to see what I spoke about in action, we’ll make it available to people and they can check it out.
Dom: Yeah, that will be available at preneurmarketing.com/mcgswipe.
Pete: There you go.
Dom: Yep, that’s preneurmarketing.com/mcgswipe.
Pete: We’ll do a redirect to where ever we make it live at the end of the day. I like it, Dom. Good idea.
Dom: Yeah. But I do recommend that you do through that. It’s a great insight into a real-world re-launch or launch, and it follows these steps and gives real examples. You can actually see the emails that Pete wrote, and look at the videos and stuff. That’s great.
Pete: Any other questions we should talk about, Dom? Any other product launch things you want to mention? Anything else you want to speak about in general when it comes to PreneurCast?
Dom: No, that was really good. And as you say, we’ve hit 45 minutes or so. The one thing I will say, and I’ve seen this, the moment that you realize that this concept exists, if you then stand back and look, you’ve probably been ‘launched at’ quite a few times in your life. I experienced this, maybe four years ago before I really got involved in the industry, in the online marketing industry particularly. I’m heavily into the graphic arts and stuff and I was involved a lot with Photoshop. And there was a guy who produced a first-of-its-kind product in the Photoshop world a while back, an add-on to Photoshop.
He basically went through this process. He had a list. He’d already been capturing people’s email addresses because he’d sold the products and gave away freebies and just generally had a mailing list with tips and tricks on that subject. So, when the day came that he wanted to put together this big-ticket item, a few hundred dollars he wanted for it, he mailed out to the list and said, “Hey guys, I’m putting together this big-ticket item. Anybody interested? Go here.” Off we went, signed up and we started getting the emails that were specific to the big-ticket item.
And some things that he did, he answered the questions as you did. Somebody asked him a question, he answered the question. It might be a technical question or an artistic question, whatever; but he used that as an excuse to mail the list with an answer to a question. He gave samples. Because it was an electronic product, he could give a sample. And that was probably one of the most engaging things he could do at the time, to give a sample.
You could basically use a part of this product. See, it was 1% of the overall product, it was one particular thing out of 100 or so many. But you could use it and go, wow. All these things he’s been talking about with the quality and the ease of use. I’ve actually used it. I completely know. I don’t just believe what he said, I know it because he gave me this thing and I had a go. And then he’d again, “look, look, here’s the packaging. I’m going to ship this to you as a physical bunch of DVDs,” blah, blah, blah. “Here look at the DVD cases.”
And then, “Oh, here, look. In my warehouse, these are all the boxes ready for shipping,” blah, blah, blah. But the one thing this guy did in this process – and I’m not saying good or bad, I am saying genius; but the guy built the desire and then went, “I’m taking preorders,” just like Apple have done with their iPhone just recently. “I’m taking preorders,” and he gave an incentive. He gave some scarcity because he said, “If you preorder, I’ll give you this extra DVD with this extra stuff on it.”
He actually said ‘secret DVD,’ he didn’t even tell you what was on it. It could have been anything. Secret DVD. Ok, fine. Preorder. And I know for a fact the guy paid, prepaid for the production bill for everything – not just the ones that were ordered, but all of the ones he planned to have manufactured and have in stock for people to buy it later. He prepaid the whole lot by having a preorder. This entire thing never really cost him anything to produce.
Pete: Beautiful cashflow positive.
Dom: Beautiful. Amazing cashflow positive way to do it – by building the desire, by engaging the people, by demonstrating the quality. By doing all that stuff, he got everybody so whipped up into a frenzy that when he said, “there’s a bucket you put your money in it,” bang, it was done. The guy sold out however many copies he sold, I can’t remember. A couple of hundred copies or whatever it was. It was literally, again, you mentioned it right at the beginning, people do these product launches on the internet with information products.
“Oh, I did a billion dollars in a day,” and all this – that’s how they do it. They build the desire until these people are bursting to hand over their cash. And then they say, “Ok, it’s here. Here’s the bucket. Stick your money in.” And if you then can use that in a cashflow positive way, in a real-world environment where you’ve got a manufactured product or whatever, then all the better for it.
But absolutely, having been on the receiving end, I can tell you these things work. And it’s a great way to build customer loyalty as well because you’ve involved this customer in an almost personal level all the way through this journey. They feel they know you more – this is my opinion, but they feel they know you more and they’re probably, if your product is up to scratch, highly likely to buy from you again.
Pete: Absolutely. So that URL that you magically created was…
Dom: preneurmarketing.com/mcgswipe. Go have a look at Pete’s materials that he’s done that basically talk through the MCG re-launch, an awesome case study.
Pete: There are videos and there will be a PDF you can download as well, which is literally all the emails I wrote word-for-word, with a little bit of annotations of why I wrote what I wrote and stuff like that. I’ll make that available to everyone who’s listening here too. So there’s some good value there for everybody. Let’s wrap it up with a nice little bow as we always do, Dom, and we’ll catch everyone next week for another installment of PreneurCast.
Influence – Robert Cialdini
http://www.preneurmarketing.com/productlaunches – Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula
http://owntheg.com.au – Pete’s site selling Melbourne Cricket Ground Memorabilia
http://preneurmarketing.com/mcgswipe – Case study of how Pete re-launched his MCG site
http://www.7LeversCalculator.com – Don’t forget the awesome online tool to help you see the effect of improving your figures for each of the 7 Levers of Business. Created by Preneurcast listener Lee Turner (@leeturner).
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