7 Strategies for Escaping
“Me Too” Product Launches

image of rocket

Are you noticing an awful lot of launches nowadays?

Well, it’s not just you.

As many bloggers jump off the Adsense bandwagon, they’re getting into the launch game, with a neverending stream of premium eBooks, white papers, audio interview series, video courses, membership sites, networking events, webinars, conferences, consultation packages, private coaching groups, print books, physical items, and anything else that could be wrangled together into a marketable asset.

And because bloggers are good at creating content, they don’t just release these products without any buildup. They’re conducting multi-stage launches with tons of strong content.

So if you’ve got something to bring to market, is there any point? Is there any way to cut through all this noise?

Believe it or not, there is a way to break out from the pack. You truly can back up your unique product with an equally remarkable launch — a launch that, in and of itself, will be talked about.

You probably already know that selling is about eliciting emotional triggers, not about making a logical case. So why leave those triggers to the sales page, when you can expand them to encompass your entire launch?

Don’t just create a launch. Create a remarkable launch, using these seven core elements of psychological attachment:

1. Limited time frame

I’m not talking here about using scarcity and imposing deadlines for purchase. That technique brings out a strong emotional response (fear of loss), and it’s already a defining characteristic of launches.

Not enough marketers, though, use scarcity in their pre-launch buzz-building period.

Release valuable free content that has a small window for consumption. Create the “want” for people to devour it, absorb it, embrace it before it goes away forever. Live events or webinars definitely fit the mold more so than anything else — if you make sure it’s “must see TV.”

If your content is as remarkable as you make it out to be, people will be clamoring with anticipation. They’ll mark the date on their calendars and even start asking around if others are as eager to get their hands on it as they are. This is real buzz.

Here’s the important kicker — you have to be fully committed to this ploy. If you’re holding a webinar, don’t post a recording afterwards. Let people know that if they miss out, it’s gone. Network television relied on this concept for decades to boost ratings, until the VCR (followed by the DVR) was developed and “must-see TV” turned into “will-probably-see-it-when-I’m-in-the-mood TV.”

Use scarcity to your advantage and significantly improve your conversion rates on the pre-launch content you create.

2. A unique movement

Think of your pre-launch material not so much as a series of independent events and more as a story with a single compelling theme.

Beginning, middle, end, and everything in-between, take your readers on an emotional roller coaster. Make them feel as if they’re getting a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece. Let them construct the final picture by the completion of your launch cycle.

Cult culture doesn’t just appear overnight. But a compelling story that unfolds over time is one of the most effective techniques there is to turn your audience into radical brand evangelists.

3. The joy of sharing

Bloggers are often perplexed at what actually makes a piece of content “go viral.”

It’s more than a powerful headline. It’s more than offering a high-quality pillar resource. And it’s definitely not pure luck.

Content goes viral simply because it’s as fun (or even more fun) to share than it was to originally consume.

Humor often fulfills this requirement better than any other type of content. A joke is one of the few constructs in which the person delivering it gets as much satisfaction making others laugh as the one receiving this pleasure.

Any semblance or perception of “insider” information also does the trick. How hard do you find it to keep a juicy nugget of a secret? If you’re like most of us, you just can’t resist the temptation to pass it along.

Releasing highly informative pre-launch material isn’t, by itself, “worth talking about.” It’s often the case that a light-hearted video of virtual “fluff” gets spread much, much more than anything else. How else could you explain this YouTube video getting nearly 47 million views?

4. Audience participation

Improvisational comedy groups form the basis of their art on this single concept. By focusing solely on the input of their audience, they’re creating a once-in-a-lifetime unique moment.

The performance is not about them. It’s about us. The quality of our experience rests upon our shoulders. We directly affect the outcome — and we know it.

Creating this effect in your launch has to go beyond comments or contests.

Find creative ways to shape your pre-launch content based on prospective customer input. Invite a small segment of your audience as guests on a webinar. Interview a random reader on your blog.

Find any way you can to showcase other people in your own product’s launch cycle. Let your audience be creators as much as customers.

5. Extreme consistency

Let’s conduct a simple test. Answer these two questions:

  1. What is the exact date of Christmas next year?
  2. What is the exact date of Easter next year?

I’m figuring you easily responded “December 25th, silly” to the first one. But were you able to state the second one without checking a calendar?

The date for Christmas is memorable because it’s consistent.

Product launches often build anticipation by drilling a set date into a prospect’s head. That specific time and place become part of the prospect’s future plans, a mark on their calendar.

Why not use this technique for your pre-launch content as well?

Create a routine — a release schedule that can be relied on like clockwork. Instead of just one specific date and time to place in people’s minds, let people anticipate high-quality content on a predictable schedule.

Make your pre-launch content into an addictive habit that ends with the purchase of your product.

6. The bandwagon effect

Everyone wants to hang out at the hippest nightclub, even if the wait is two hours to get through the door.

If there’s something everyone is clamoring about, it hard to fight the urge to experience for yourself — even if it’s just so you can be part of the conversation.

The flip side of that coin is that no one wants to be the only person who signs up. Most of us are afraid of the potential ridicule in making a poor decision or supporting an unpopular position.

Build the sense of popularity in your target audience by strategically stacking your content. A themed series of posts is a great way to accomplish this. Leverage your audience from the first piece to create buzz for the second, and so forth.

As more and more prospective customers climb on board, it increases your “buzz” exponentially, day after day, as the appearance of a hot new trend comes heavily to the forefront. Nothing attracts more people than … more people!

7. Lasting addiction

Why don’t people quit their bad habits? Usually, it’s because withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable.

They don’t call it “buzz” marketing for nothing. You’re creating a nice little high for your audience, by deploying innovative, participatory content on a consistent schedule. That develops you as an addictive habit.

At some point, this ends abruptly. The whole point of a launch is that the valuable pre-launch goodies come to an end and you offer a product for sale.

Your product becomes the after-hours speakeasy when all the bars have closed for the night. It’s the only solution to cure those painful withdrawal effects.

Nefarious? Maybe a little. But creating this irresistible urge for more is at the core of good viral marketing.

The inoculation for launch fatigue

Yes, more bloggers are coming out with really great new products and services. Yes, the market clutter and noise are becoming hard to cut through.

But don’t let that be an excuse for why your own launch doesn’t live up to expectations. The responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders.

Who says your launch has to be a me-too clone? Interrupt the pattern in your niche.

Embrace and implement the psychological ploys of viral marketing to make not only your product, but your launch process itself, be something worth talking about.

(And I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Check out the current Beyond Blogging Project launch. Can you point out examples of all the seven tactics I discussed in this post?)

I’ll see you in the comments.

About the Author: Jordan Cooper is professional stand-up comedian who rants about blogging, social media, and marketing at Not A Pro Blog. He is currently the community manager at the Beyond Blogging Project.

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Comments

  1. Hey Jordan,

    Wow!!! This information is good. Thanks for giving out great pointers for a launch. I am seeing a lot of new programs coming out teaching how to do a proper launch. It’s like the hottest trend right now. You definitely deliver some pack full information here.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  2. Good points here and it’s good to realize if you’re going to follow the massive trend that is launching, you still have to do the work, creating scarcity, etc.

    Good to think about!

  3. hah, that’s one kick-ass post you got there, Jordan.
    ANd you guys are trying something new, which is really rare nowadays. I soak it all up.
    I believe the old way of launching is becoming less and less powerful – you really want to create a new experience that hopefully blows people away.
    Nice job, can’t wait to join your sessions.

  4. Hi Jordan,

    There is some great information contained in this post. I am working on a product launch myself so the pointers you included here will come in useful. One for the bookmark list I think!

    David

  5. Great points for all thinking of doing a product launch.

    “The flip side of that coin is that no one wants to be the only person who signs up. Most of us are afraid of the potential ridicule in making a poor decision or supporting an unpopular position.”

    This is totally true. This can be seen in the readers of a blog. If the feed burner stats show 0, then probably no one will sign up.

    But if it is more than 100-500, then people will begin signing up and list of readers will be growing (hence the advice of not showing your feed burner stats till they reach around 100-500).

    Thanks for the post and awesome information.

    Nabeel

  6. Wow, not bad for a comedian. You’ve certainly got some good ideas…glad I was able to steal them all for my own evil desires :D

  7. Really awesome tips! All the time I see people create a great product, but then fail on the marketing stage of it. However, it’s definitely a crucial step in creating a successful product.

    The things you give work extremely well; it’s amazing how much you can do to a product launch by marketing it correctly.

  8. I love this line:

    “Content goes viral simply because it’s as fun (or even more fun) to share than it was to originally consume.”

  9. Laughing, Nathan. Very smart!

  10. Unlike the Wizard of Oz, you guys should definitely pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Nathan, thanks for playing the puppet role to perfection… I think I can take it from here. :-)

  11. I’m reminded, reading this article, about the British toddler who bit the knuckle of his older brother, whose growing grimace during the seconds that followed was found so humorous by an astounding number of people, more than the worldwide audience for the Superbowl. So yes, humor of that sort is a popular tool for attracting the attention spans of those Tweetering, UTubing, IPhoning their days into night. But what does it mean for those who publish, dare I say, literature. A novel whose art changes reality into something deeper, more meaningful than its rather ordinary surface. A book like that has to be read, savored, as one would a glass of 1789 Chateau Lafitte. Mine’s more like a 2008 Edna Valley. But still . . .

  12. @Ward, I think the person who needs to translate product launch strategies into what it means for those who write literature would be you. :)

    There are certainly models. Oprah’s book club, while it was running, sold many millions of copies of some fine serious novels. And that was essentially a launch strategy with some refinements.

  13. Nice post Jordon. Great tips that b2b marketers can embrace. I shared it on my blog – http://launchclinic.com.

  14. Great thoughts Jordan. My favorite part is building the popularity quotient, or creating a herd mentality. It doesn’t mean pushing an inferior product down people’s throat. It’s just that you can use, if you can call it, weakness to get more and more people buy from you. Take for instance the iPad mania. I’m sure most people have bought it due to the coolness effect, the herd mentality.

    ~~ Sarah ~~

  15. @Ward. You may have inadvertently answered your own question there. Combine the launch of a great book, with tasting of fine wines.

    (Although the ’89 Lafitte would probably be vinegar, and is likely to cost around $10k a glass.)

  16. Awesome product launch ideas… I’ll definitely be using these for my future launches

    Lets not forget the importance of a good product (some sell themselves) and a good sales page

  17. @jeff You’ll be using a game show to launch a product?

    You must be nuts! :)

  18. Great stuff. I had a question about your limited time suggestion. Do you have a strategy for people to use free content to continue to promote their product for the long term? Do you suggest they just create new content or perhaps continue to publish some of the items in high demand?

    I think one of the drawbacks of the “me too” launch is that they are here today, gone tomorrow. But a great launch will propel the business to continue to sell that product.

  19. Great thoughts. I will use this on my future launches. Keep writing good articles like this. :)

  20. Thanks for the great suggestions. I am working on crafting the greatest product launch the world has ever seen, and these ideas will surely help. ;)

  21. Thanks for the great suggestions. You’ve certainly got some good ideas.

  22. Nathan Williams :

    Good point about the addiction part. Most of the time the audience does not even realize when the freebies are over and its time to shell out until its far too late. It just seems a logical carrying forward of the process.

  23. Steve Bauer :

    Jordan,

    This is easily THE BEST post ever on Copyblogger. Thank you and congratulations.

    Steve

  24. @Alice: I agree that a lot of launches focus primarily on that initial rush of sales when anything fresh goes on the market – it’s justifiable, but I understand your concerns when looking for more of a passive income stream for the long term.

    When it comes to the “limited time” content using the scarcity mindset… who says you couldn’t re-purpose that material for something else at a later date? That sounds like a great way to continue promoting a product – by dripping out a re-packaged version of your pre-launch content every few weeks. There’s no need to have *anything* be disposable and thrown away when it could serve another purpose quite well.

  25. Great post. It seems to be the new “in” thing to do. It seems like there’s a new launch every week. Funny thing is, half of them are about launching new products/services. HA

  26. Extremely useful post Jordon. I am about to launch my eBook and these tips will surely help me design the marketing strategy. Thanks for sharing this.

  27. thanks for the post Jordon.