Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a great idea for a project and you start creating it with the hopes of launching it in the next few months.
When you’re almost finished, you start talking about it on social media to warm people up to what you are creating.
Then you manage to get a sales page up on your website or a blog post and a link to buy it, but then no one comes.
No one clicks the link….
2 weeks go by and you sit quietly waiting for the first sale.
Then something hits you and you decide to go in and start double checking everything.
You realize your link wasn’t working, you forgot to make the post live, the page is hidden from the search engine robots, and you’ve received a ton of questions about it through your contact form (but JUST found the contact form and some of the inquiries are a month old!).
And worse! Your broadcasts in Aweber never got CUED!
Hopefully there is something working, but let’s say for the sake of example that it’s not!
Some of your friends even ask you – “hey, so how’s that thing you’re creating going?” – almost like they don’t know you even launched it! WHAT!!!
TOTAL NIGHTMARE, right?
If you’re planning your next launch – your first or you’ve done them before – then you know you need to be absolutely certain your ducks are all lined up and ready to go long before the day the world gets to find out about your genius and become customers!
Here are the 5 crucial, bottom line, you better have these in place systems to make sure your launch is ready to handle all the moving pieces!
Use a mindmap or simple notepad to figure out what emails you want to send before, during, after the launch.
Go through the entire launch from the pre-announcement to the cart closing and even customer emails.
First – plot out the emails you’ll write using the subject and basic focus of the email. Make sure there’s 1 action you want people to take in every single email.
Second – plot when the emails go out – are they auto-responders or broadcasts sent at a specific time.
Third – Start google docs for each phase of the launch and write all your emails out, note who the email goes to – and include even the emails you might resend to people who don’t open your first email.
You need a master schedule which includes everything from content and email creation to any technical set up you need.
From website to webinars to Facebook comments to when your cart opens and closes, when the first day of “class” is…
You need to have a clearly laid out schedule, so you and anyone who joins your team understands what’s happening and when.
In addition to this big master schedule – it’s also a good idea to have more in-depth delivery and completion schedules for each person on the team or for specific work.
Make sure the person loading your emails into Aweber knows when those will be finished so they can load them – and then make sure they know THEIR own deadline too!
There are lots of pieces to a schedule – and I can’t go into them all here. I’ll be diving in much deeper into this specific topic in my program Fearless Launching.
Be prepared for your project to blow up in a good way. Have someone in place who can handle all questions and issues from customers and people who may become customers.
Create an FAQ document for all the questions that have been asked so far about the program. Keep adding to this document and make sure it has completely accurate information — especially if you make changes along the way.
Customer service begins well before the interested person becomes a customer, so make sure you have someone who understands what you are offering, can be personable and answer questions and on occasion help “sell” to the person why it will be good for them.
Another tip: Tell people what to expect when they try to contact you.
What are your operating hours? What’s your average response time? What’s your refund policy? How do you handle refunds?
Also – decide where your customer service inquiries will go. An easy solution is embedding a google form on the contact page of your website.
Then anyone who contacts you goes into a spreadsheet which can be accessed by you or another person on your team who will monitor the form inside Google Docs.
Who Does What
You might not be thinking about hiring someone right now, but the sooner you realize that you need to have help in some form – the better.
I don’t care if you get your mom or brother or unemployed cousin to help or you find someone on odesk, craigslist or elance or you just happen to know someone you can pay to do the job. You need support on your launch.
What is really crucial is having a clear breakdown of tasks that need to be handled by your team and give those tasks job titles.
Even if you end up doing the work of several of those job titles, it’ll make it much easier to integrate someone new to the team and understand who you need to hire.
To get started – list out all the tasks needed to do your launch – I mean everything you can think of. Then, separate tasks by category. Then, assign a job title to each category.
Analytics and stats are an often forgotten piece of the launching puzzle, but if you want to learn and adjust during your current launch and on future launches, you must get a handle on this.
It’s important to understand the performance of your website, who’s responding to your emails, how many people are clicking on the pages you send out, if people are contacting you for services and where they are coming from…
There are so many ways you can track your progress – almost too many to tackle in 1 post, so reach out to your new best friend Google.
Put someone else (NOT YOU) in place to proof and click every single link on your site, that you send to people or that people will be interacting with. Emails, webpages, sales pages, order forms, your book proposal, your blog posts, your worksheets…your keynote or powerpoints.
Now that you’ve got one person to proof – HAVE YET ANOTHER set of eyes look everything over.
One easy way to do this is to have someone proof everything before it gets put into your email marketing service, loaded to your website, and sent out to people.
Then, load everything in its proper place and form and send tests to people from those systems.
That way everything looks good before it gets sent and then someone checks to see what the customer sees!
Implement each one of these systems and you will notice RIGHT AWAY that you have a better handle on what you’ll need to accomplish to make your launch a success.
Anne Samoilov is LKR’s Director of Operations. She’s also the creator of Fearless Launching – a program teaching entrepreneurs how to pull off their first launch. Each month, she’ll come in here and write about managing launches, teams, and setting up systems to keep you productive and your business growing.