And use pre-orders to sell your stock before you even have to pay for it!
Two of the toughest things in a product-based business would have to be growing sales and managing cash-flow. Would you agree?
So, would you like to hear about a successful product launch strategy that addresses both of these issues at once?
A strategy that allows you to fund your growth by pre-selling new stock!
Meet my gorgeous client Sarah, owner of Oh Mabel. Sarah has just finished her product launch with great success!
Sarah’s goal was to re-launch her most popular lines of product – her sheet sets – which hadn’t been in stock for a couple of years.
Her goal was to pre-sell enough of her new range to pay for her full production run, including shipping and customs, BEFORE those bills were due.
And she did it! Here’s how.
Below I share the product launch strategy she used to pre-sell her stock.
At the end you’ll find my own planning spreadsheet which you can download for free and use yourself.
What’s your pre-order sales target?
The first thing you need to work out is – how much revenue do you need to make from this product launch?
You need to be specific with your revenue goal-setting, so you can measure your success later.
As mentioned above, Sarah’s goal was very specific. She wanted to fund her full production run, including shipping costs and customs duties.
Decide on your irresistible offer
The next step is to work out one irresistible offer, or a selection of offers. I would limit your offers to 3x choices maximum though.
(Too many choices has been proven to reduce conversion rates, because it becomes too hard for people to make a decision.)
For Sarah’s product launch, she planned a discounted product bundle, plus she added in free express shipping, plus an additional free gift with purchase.
She decided to layer these offers on top of each other, throughout the promotion period.
The total value of her offer was exceptional. Plus, the bundle offered her an excellent order value.
How many offers do you need to sell?
Importantly, you then need to calculate how many of these offers you need to sell in order to achieve your sales target.
This step should go without saying, right? But let’s add it in there.
Many of my clients are manufacturing offshore, or are distributors who are importing from overseas.
I don’t think I’ve seen a single production run or import order go smoothly without any hiccups or issues along the way!
Make sure you stay on top of this process. Stay in regular communication with your factory or your agent or supplier.
Timeline each step of the production or sourcing process. From sourcing fabrics, to producing and approving prototypes. From to quality checking the production run, getting final samples and managing the delivery.
Sarah had a few delays in her production run which were quite stressful. In the end, she received her samples just in the nick of time to finish preparing her launch before she gave birth to her new baby girl!
Before you get down to the nitty gritty tactics of executing your product launch, first you need to think big picture.
What will be the theme of your launch promotion?
Theming your promotion will enable you to create continuity between each component of your marketing.
Theming grabs your audience’s attention and gives them something to grab hold of. Keeps their interest levels high.
Black Milk Leggings are known for their ‘out there’ launch themes.
Sarah’s theme, as I talk about below, was “Made to be the backdrop to your memories”.
Prepare your marketing assets
Build your list
In preparation for your launch, I strongly encourage you to start list-building early.
How can you entice people onto your email list? You want to pique their interest about your up-coming launch.
Sarah took a creative route. She created ‘Mabel’ as her alter-ego and the promotion featured letters written by Mabel to Sarah. Letters about Mabel’s travels and the sources of inspiration for the new designs.
Each letter would also drop some hints about the products to come, in a way that was designed to pre-sell the products in the mind of the audience.
Secondly, you absolutely must do a professional photoshoot. Yes, this is an investment, but it’s essential to the success of your launch.
I’m talking about a styled photoshoot here, not simple product shots on a white background.
You want photos that position your brand and communicate your product value statement.
Sarah’s brand is quite whimsical, and her images are styled to tell stories and evoke memories. The images are also quite deliberate in conveying quality that stands the test of time.
There’s the story about reading a book in bed, or having breakfast in bed. There’s the story of children making indoor cubby houses with sheets. There’s the memory of freshly laundered sheets billowing in the wind on the washing line.
Once you’ve got your images, plus you know what your irresistible offer is, it’s time to load your new products on your website. Don’t send them live until you’re ready to launch though!
Sarah actually updated her entire website using her gorgeous new images, and featured her launch offer on her home page as well.
Email marketing is an absolute essential component of your launch.
Write them in advance, and prepare to send more emails than probably feels comfortable!
Sarah prepared several emails:
- several pre-launch emails to her list prior to launch,
- a launch announcement with initial bundle offer,
- several subsequent emails detailing additional bonuses and perks (which were all extended to those who’d already bought).
- The final emails drove home the scarcity as the offer drew to a close.
If you’re able to organise enough samples in advance, it’s a good idea to line up some PR or some bloggers or influencers to coordinate with your launch.
Sarah wasn’t quite able to time this perfectly – she had PR in some top level magazines lined up, but due to the delays in her production she ended up missing out on these opportunities.
Paid ads – my favourite being Facebook ads – are also essential with any launch.
Sarah created a great little animated video for her pre-launch email list-building efforts.
Then she also created a series of ads to promote each pre-order offer, mirroring the content of her emails.
She also pre-scheduled her ads to make things easier for her to manage. (Remember – she had a baby right in the middle of this launch!)
Once you’ve prepared your timeline, you’ve planned everything out and you’ve prepared all your marketing assets, implementation becomes very easy! All the hard work is done, and now you get to sit back and watch the sales roll in!
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