How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget

How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget

Blog, Business skills

Product launches and the launch of a new business can be fraught with worry. Although there are some clear guidelines to project managing the creation of a new arm of your business. Here are some tried and tested steps which will set you on the right path.

Test the Market

Begin by dipping your toes into the water; even while you only have a rough outline for the product or service. At this early point, you need to establish yourself with online communities, industry think-tanks and key influencers. Do market research by looking at competitors websites, their product offerings and target audience. Then try to identify any gaps in the market. How can you do things differently from your competition?

Take an Inventory

How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget
Take stock of all of your available resources before you embark on the project.

Similar to a camping trip, you should make sure you have all of the right supplies before you embark on the exciting launch. In terms of marketing, after your preliminary preparations, you should take an inventory of every connection, blog post, recommendation, subscriber list or anything else of value to the launch.

Even if you’re starting with a small financial budget, you may have 180 blog subscribers, 520 Twitter followers, 1,010 Facebook fans. If so, lucky you! This will all be a powerful way to get the word out. It’s a different kind of currency that’s just as valuable to your success as money.

Teach What You Know

Set the pivotal and all-important launch date some time in the future. The further you can push this, the more time you have to work on building your reputation now. A key part of the launch process is reputation building. The best way to do this is to teach what you know. This may sound ludicrous, but it’s not. Essentially, you have special knowledge and key insights into your product or service. So you should actively show this off. A word of caution – this doesn’t mean blatant self promotion. Nothing is more repulsive than a person clearly on a sales mission!

Offer training articles, how-to articles, blog posts and webinars for free in the lead up to the launch. This builds your profile as a thought-leader and guru in your field, before you push the launch button.

This may sound counter-intuitive in terms of making money. However, it’s the giving away for free of information to a captivated audience, that will make this audience eager to part their with money, as soon as you give them the opportunity.

Stay grounded and teach what you already know.

Create a Landing Page or Microsite

How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget
Ensure that your online presence sings, and like an opera singer, not a Karaoke fan.

A few months prior to the big ‘kaboom’ moment of launch, you should invest in a microsite or landing page that is dedicated to the product or service. This will contain all relevant information about the benefits of the product/service, your contact information, and the offer in simple terms. Don’t overcomplicate this microsite with too much information, colours or busy design. However, you need to make it compelling enough for the site visitors to want more. The most important aspect of your microsite will be an email opt-in form. This makes it easier to execute the next phase – email marketing in the lead up to the launch.

Share, Curate and Blog

How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget
All systems are ready for launch.

Once the microsite has gone live, it’s important to promote it on social media and on your extensive industry connections. Create conversations with people on social media about related topics and blog profusely about the product or services you offer. In terms of email subscribers, make sure that you email them at least once a week, to create anticipation in the lead up to the launch.

You should also give your subscribers access to at least three posts per month, that are relevant to your product or service and provide real value to them (not sales spin). You must keep the email subscriber list hot with access to new information. Letting the list to go cold with a lack of new posts, is the sure-fire way to get your email filtered into the spam mailbox, before the launch date.

The Big Bang

How to launch absolutely anything on a shoe-string budget
The big bang

Get the support of key influencers in the industry, media contacts, friends, fans, subscribers and other associates whom you have met along the way. Do this by promising them VIP access to the product or service after launch date. Invite the media to profile you and your project. Remember to have all of your logistical and technical elements in place for the launch date.

In terms of an online service or e-commerce site, by this stage you should have a fully functional website, buyer journey and a shopping cart ready for action. Along with this, have a fully fledged social media response unit ready, to field any questions or queries in relation to the product or service.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Six Sales Tips You Can’t Be Without

Blog, Business skills

Sales skills aren’t just the domain of the sales team in your organisation. Sales skills can explain the logic or benefits of your perspective to another colleague, customer or employer. It’s just another aspect of communication.

Yes – sales skills can win new business, but these skills are also applicable to many other aspects of professional life, such as going for a job interview, gaining new investment, nurturing customer relationships, networking and more.

Selling yourself can seem unnatural and weird, but it’s a skill you should learn to master.

Selling Yourself Effectively

When you go for a new job, don’t simply measure yourself against a position description or the company in question. Instead ask those who know you well about your unique strengths, something that you do without even realising it, that’s immensely beneficial to you. Employers will jump at the chance to employ someone with a distinctive skill set, rather than someone who simply lives up to a standard.

The Nuts and Bolts of Sales

In terms of traditional sales and winning new business, you should follow these guidelines in the early stages. In your project notes or simply in your mind’s eye, make an objective for a particular meeting with the client. Having a clear goal in mind when you have meetings, will avoid the pitfalls of vague communications and interactions. Some examples of goals for meetings include: 1. Getting a description of the customer’s problem. 2. Getting the contact details of the decision maker. 3 Asking for the customer’s business.

Sales does not need to be cheesy. It can instead be authentic and real…but beware of setting off any bullshit-o-meters. Be real.

Green Lights and Qualifiers

Look for subtle hints and green lights from the client, that it may be the right time to close. This is done by qualifying them with questions like: How does that sound? How would that work? What do you think about that? Then summarise your proposed offer with them. It’s 100% true that half of the battle is won by you being completely confident in your solution.

Be Tenacious

Prompt: Be a go-getter and jump onto sales leads quickly. If you intuit that the time is right to close a sale, then they do so right then and there.
Persist: If you know that the customer needs that particular solution, then be persistent and yet flexible in your offering to them. Although there’s a difference between persistence and being annoying, so be careful.
Focus: Use every sales opportunity to improve your skills at communication and proactive questioning. Then channel every new experience into your next sales opportunity.

Embracing your inner weirdo (in other words your authenticity) is a way to really stand out from the masses.

Customer Centric Selling

One critical aspect of selling is intimately knowing the customer’s needs, motivations and perspective. Otherwise your efforts will be pointless. This is perfectly articulated in a Ted Talk by Amy Lockwood. She explained a situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where charity and NGO organisations were distributing huge numbers of condoms in the region to prevent the spread of HIV. However these charity condoms were incredibly unpopular, as they were marketed in the wrong way to their target audience. Pictures on the packaging depicted images of fidelity and the HIV ribbon symbol. They found that condom brands from the West depicting erotic imagery were the biggest sellers in the Congo.

The key message we can take from this, is that any customer solution that you offer must be fine-tuned and customised to the individual or group in question. Otherwise it will fall on deaf ears.

Watch the TED talk here:

Dense Versus Sparse Networks

Dense business networks of people contain individuals who know each other closely and have a lot of interconnected relationships. Dense networks are ideal for people working on the same project, such as researchers or project teams.

In the realm of sales – dispersed networks of people work in your favour.

However in terms of sales, dispersed networks work better. Dispersed networks occur when individuals that you know, don’t know each other. This is the ideal situation for getting fresh or unique information that others don’t know about, for example a sales lead. To attempt to utilise your sales network, try and build a network of key decision makers in prospect organisations. Also, keep a network of existing customers, who often comprise of fans and brand advocates. These people will actively promote your brand on your behalf, and give you new sales leads on a plate without you even asking.