Launching a new online product is exhilarating. Watching sales come in, pivoting and changing strategy to match the market, answering questions, holding Facebook Live sessions… There’s no doubt a successful online launch is a living and breathing organism that needs watching, tending and care.
What Mountain Biking and Launches Have in Common
For some, an online launch rush similar to a high adventure sport like mountain biking. There’s more than just knowing how to ride the bike. You have to know how to navigate the hills, avoid the rocks and keep from falling into a ravine. You have to understand how to stay hydrated, how to fuel your body both during and before the race, and finally, you have to understand pace.
If you don’t understand technology, your first launch is like standing at the bottom of the mountain with the pieces of your bike still in a box. You know how to ride, you’ve studied the concepts, but you just can’t figure out how the bike goes together.
Is that how you feel about your launch? You just wish someone would put the darn bike together for you so you could be on your way?
[Tweet “Successful online launches are living breathing organisms that require daily monitoring and care.”]
Sure, you could take your bike to a bike shop and have them put it together, but what happens when it breaks down on the trail? Are you going to walk down the mountain? You’d better darn well know how to do some basic repair work yourself.
I get it. I really do. You understand the steps to launching, you know you have a great product. What you need is someone to just take it all out of your hands, set up the tech pieces and put the launch in motion.
That will never work.
The Changing Nature of the Online Launch
Sure you might get your launch up and running, but the chances of it being successful are slim. Here’s why: Launches aren’t static. Even when you have all the pieces in place, when the emails are scheduled, the cart has been tested and the advertising dollars spent, the minute you click send on the first launch email, you need to start adjusting.
Within the first few hours, you’ll be able to see if people are opening your emails. You’ll know how your subject lines are doing. You’ll see patterns as to what time people are looking at your ads on Facebook; who is looking at your ads on Facebook. And, if your launch is going to be successful, you’ll need to react. Maybe you’ll change a subject line. Maybe you’ll realize you left a huge question unanswered that needs to be addressed in an email or on Facebook Live. Maybe you need to change an ad.
This is where the rubber meets the road (or the mountain, to stick with our analogy). If you have outsourced your entire launch by hiring a launch manager, you’re going to be stuck. Because you won’t know how to make the changes that are necessary to make the launch successful.
Where is Your Launch Manager When You Get a Flat?
You might be able to reach out to your launch manager, but what if it’s a weekend? What if at midnight you get an email that your cart isn’t working and your launch manager is sick, or MIA? What if he is in the middle of another launch? What if all you want to do is fix a typo on an email or one subject line but you’re afraid that doing so will mess up the whole autoresponder series (and yes, it can)!
Requiring your launch manager to be available during all parts of a launch probably sounds reasonable to you, they may even offer a guarantee. Consider, however, that a launch manager launches products all of the time.
In the same way you wouldn’t expect your bike repair guy to follow you around the mountain in case of a flat, your launch manager can’t be available every minute while you’re in a launch. Just because your cart breaks on a Saturday night doesn’t mean they will be responsive. This is what they do, they may have launches every Saturday night. Your launch is one of many they do, no matter how much they like you, it just isn’t as important to them as it is to you.
On the flip side, if you’ve developed your own team of people who know your product inside and out, this is likely the only launch they’ll do this month, or maybe even this year. A team of people who know, like, and trust you are going to be rooting for your success, right there by your side every step of the way during your launch.
The Sweet Spot: Build a Team Devoted to Your Launch
Here’s the deal: If you are starting an online business and you know you’re going to be launching, don’t rely on a launch manager when the time comes. Instead, work to build your team. It’s OK to do this slowly; add people as you need them, nurture them, train them, make them into a trusted circle of people who are championing for your success rather relying on a hired gun whose success depends on a percentage of your profits.
It’s the only way to be sure you’re going to make it back down the mountain in one piece.
Have questions? Disagree? I’d love to hear your comments below.
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