product lifecycle

Evergreen Sustainability: : Evolving Past the 7 Day Product Launch

In Affiliates, archive by admin

This second edition of our Launch Newsletter is about alternatives to the scarcity close and seven day product launch cycle.

One of the problems with short-term product launches these days is that they don’t give enough time for marketers to identify their target audience, and therefore achieve a high relevancy score, before the product launch is over.

In this newsletter I’m going to share with you the tips I’ve learned recently, through both my own personal experience and from my mentors, to overcome this issue, increase your relevancy and gain more success in your business.

Enjoy!

Vik

The One Week Product Launch vs. Evergreen Sustainability

I recently participated in a one week ‘launch’ of a product that I could easily have been selling all year long, if it was available all year long. Unfortunately, the product launch ended and you can no longer buy the product. This is a critical problem in the product launch industry that has become a standard ‘mindset’ and is causing customers to become overwhelmed.

The number one reason people fail in business today is overwhelm.

Are you overwhelmed?

To help you not become overwhelmed in future, I am changing this product launch ‘mindset’ by working directly with product launch creators to “embrace and extend” selected launches that I have personally vetted.

I will be including these extended launches in the comments section at the end of every edition of our Launch Newsletter.

I’m going to share with you my results from various split tests I performed during the last few launches I promoted.

Before I do so, I’d like to share with you some mental concepts and considerations, in particular my personal thoughts around the topic of ‘mindset’. It’s important to be clear about this topic before we begin promoting product launches because I believe this is the backbone to our success.

As I’m sure you are aware, ‘mindset’ has become a buzz word in the online marketing industry.

What happened to talent and technique?

How about experience and creativity?

Tony Robbins please help us!

I posted a comment on Facebook recently asking people’s thoughts about the word ‘mindset’ in the marketing world.

Here’s one person’s comment:

“Mindset is the fuel that makes the engine go. Without it, the marketing engine cannot go in a positive direction.”

And my response:

“Let’s first look at the word. MIND is mental projection or perception. SET is a fixed point of view. In online marketing, nothing is fixed. Strategies are always changing and evolving. And our mind is very logical and rational thinking. Being logical and rational doesn’t always work in the world of marketing, in my opinion.”

So, I believe we should simply drop the word ‘mindset’ altogether and use a different word or phrase for the same concept.

In the online marketing world, I believe people are using the word mindset out of ignorance. It’s a poor choice of words for a concept that goes way deeper than the mind.

Considering this, I reached my conclusion:

When you drop your mindset you are able to enter a more intuitive space and move towards a process that aligns with your true values. This is the key to success.

So how does this affect product launches and relevance?

There is a ‘mindset’ about product ‘launches’ that has become somewhat formulaic in the affiliate space. It goes something like this:

As a product launcher, you typically select a handful of affiliates and give them 3 weeks or more notice about your upcoming launch. Certain affiliates are sometimes given a few months notice but for the sake of this example let’s call it 3 weeks.

Everything is all set for this big one week ‘launch’.

The pressure is on and everyone is promoting the same launch at the same time.

Here’s the dark side of product launches though – cookies.

The first time a customer visits the product launch site, for example by clicking on a link in an email or an Facebook ad, a cookie is placed on their computer, by default, unless the product launch creator chooses otherwise.

Since all affiliates are ‘promoting’ at the same time, the affiliates who promote the product before the ‘launch’ begins get their cookies placed on the computers before everyone else even begins promoting the product.

According to experts, it takes SEVEN impressions of an offer to an average consumer before they buy a product. I suppose this is why product launches are so popular – because in seven days of a product being promoted by hundreds or even thousands of affiliates they are being bombarded in their email box daily from various marketers.

By the seventh day, and usually within the last minute of the last hour, the most units are sold by the product creator.

By that time, the affiliate that the customer chooses to buy the product from rarely receives the commission because the customer’s computer already has a cookie from the affiliate of their first visit to the product launch site.

This is a major problem for marketers as well as for product launchers. Something we can discuss over the next few months, so please write your comments below. Chances are you haven’t thought about this, have you?

So I believe these are the problems with the ‘mindset’ of the Seven Day Product Launch.

Another problem is the ‘scarcity’ of launches.

“Doors close FOR GOOD in less than 6 hours”

“Just 2 hours to grab the Traffic Secrets of 7 figure earners!”

“[LAST CHANCE] It’s now or never…”

Marketers wouldn’t send emails like this if it didn’t still work.

Funny thing is when I split test these types of headlines against non-urgent headlines they never perform as well to my subscribers.

The problem is that it creates an industry where a perfectly good product that could be sold day in day out, year in year out, can’t because of the scarcity close – or the marketer has to lose trust with his audience if he re-opens it.

Unfortunately Bob Cialdini’s book, Influence, is to blame here for this ‘scarcity mindset’. In this book, Bob outlined the 7 major psychological factors that drive human behavior. I interviewed Bob back during my tenure at MSN in the 90’s. He’s a cool guy. But VERY old school. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Let’s just suppose that everything he wrote about simply doesn’t apply anymore to the ‘right people’ i.e. those of us who have read his book and can see it a mile away?

Let’s go even further….

What if what Bob wrote about in his book Influence didn’t take into account the information overload society we live in today?

What if the scarcity close only works for the type of people who buy out of impulse or fear? Are these the kind of people who will invest $5000 in a retreat? No.

If you send the same message to the people who CAN invest $5000 in a retreat as you do to the people who buy out of impulse, fear, or simply to study you for their own product, you miss out on the best buyers.

Once again it comes down to audience and sending different messages to each audience.

The whole ‘launch mindset’ evolved when affiliate networks, including Amazon, promote on their home page the product of the day or most popular products updated daily. How do they determine that? They look at what is selling. So if the entire audience of what you would be selling (in your estimation) is 1500 units – if you spread that out over a years’ time you wouldn’t get the ‘product of the day’ – so you have to force the buyers into a narrow time frame.

This is what the industry calls a ‘launch’

My vision is to set a new standard for what we consider today a ‘product launch’.

My vision is to set a new standard for what we consider today a ‘product launch’

Here’s another Nugget – this is a ‘million dollar idea’ I heard this past week.

“Don’t ask a customer for the sale until you have the right to ask them for the sale.”

This means that you have to provide them with a lot of value first. What is value? It is subjective and depends on the audience, which usually determines your relevance.

In my example above, the type of people who will gladly invest $5000 on a retreat or $30,000 on a custom campaign with creative will be offended by an email that tells them that a product’s doors are closing.

Why is it closing? It doesn’t matter the reason even if it’s a good one, as my friend recently had – (he wants to only work with that group of 1500 people that bought the product) and he said that the doors were closing because he wanted to generate a LOT of sales in a short period of time.

But he misses out on the Evergreen Sustainability and so do I because I burned my list promoting his product.

But then I’m not a typical marketer either. Those that unsubscribed I can reach just as easily and probably even easier on Facebook ads and Twitter.

What’s ironic is that most likely everyone who has unsubscribed from my affiliate promotions is actually my target audience: for example, people who are into the $5000 retreat and the $30,000 done for you custom campaign type but are offended by the psychological influence factors of emails that I’ve had to send to the ‘whole list’ because I can’t know my email subscribers as well as I know my social media fans.

So what can YOU DO?

Here’s a technique that worked well for me.

Import your unsubscribe list into a custom audience in Facebook.

Instead of trying to ‘win them back’, strive to identify who they are and retarget them in a different way. Most likely they are the types of people who will spend a LOT of money in turn for your services.

One of my clients said this about my last product launch:

“I stopped buying information products because it’s easier to hire someone else to do the work for me than buy the product that tells me how to do it.”

The product marketing niche is a very narrow niche. I’ll define it for you:

They will be comprised of other marketers, people who want to launch their own products, people who are studying your product to get ideas for their own product, people who buy products in order to sell them to others, people who don’t have a lot of money, do it yourselfers, hobbyists.

Big ticket folks won’t like the ‘scarcity launch’ cycle. They will be at the top of your unsubscribe list.

Business people who work for themselves or hire other people will probably also unsubscribe because they don’t like feeling pressured into buy something.

One of my clients said this:

“I unsubscribed from your marketing list because I was getting too many badly formatted emails from you and people like you. Nothing personal. I love your stuff. I’d rather hire you do to it for me and for that I can just Skype you or pick up the phone.”

There’s an important point.

I’m no longer available for hire in that way. I’ve evolved, but my audience has not. My former client doesn’t know this and so when he sees my email he thinks it’s the same guy that used to work with him on his stuff.

It’s important that you realize that you’re only as good as your last communication with your audience, if and only if you reach them.

Another point: “people like you.” You used to be a credible business man – what happened? When you are perceived as a marketer – doors will close. You’re now the scum that sends email to people telling them that something is closing down and making them feel like they’re missing out.

It’s a catch-22.

Here’s my top 3 mindset beliefs you ought to drop today based on personal experience

1) Hype sells – Scarcity Closes – Influence Selling

Every time I’ve split tested it, my EMAIL SUBJECT LINES that have the least amount of influence out-perform those that do.

2) Money Proof, Claims

Facebook doesn’t like it, nor does anyone else. Stop with the money proofs. They don’t work. Again split testing shows this to be the case today. Even a few months ago it still worked. Today – nope.

3) [ ] in emails

I split tested it. It ends up with higher spam score and it gets identified as an ad.

What works with business people?

Press Release language: Who What When Where Why How – the more of a straight shooter you are, the more effective you are.

What works with newbies and people in the IM space?

Psychological influence will still work on low-ticket buyers in the niche.

Long Sales Pages – Don’t work as well as a simple video with register or buy now button. For example, marketing legend Frank Kern is now selling with nothing other than a video on a page. The ‘buy now’ button doesn’t even appear on the page until after you’ve watched the video for several minutes.

Action step:

Figure out a way to split your list into three groups:

a) Looky loos – usually identified with a gmail address – although you can’t always base it solely on that. One of our companies does market research for the Fortune 500 and it has become a problem for us that so many executives in big companies use gmail as their primary email address. This is because they don’t want their boss to know that they’re being paid on the side to participate in studies for cash incentives for things like DirectTV.

b) Business Leads – if you consistently see people signing up with an address like ‘viktor at viktor grant dot com’ they’re a real person and chances are that email address is managed by them or their PR person. Consider moving these people OUT of your autoresponder or marketing emails

c) Buyer Leads – generated by sales. Treat these people differently. Instead of HYPE – send them a newsletter with links. They’ll buy because they trust you. They don’t need to be sold.

EVERGREEN SUSTAINABILITY

Let’s move into the deeper and more wholesome space of Evergreen Sustainability.

I’m coining that term as the antithesis of the Product Launch today.

What is Evergreen Sustainability?

It approaches the selling process from the point of view of delivering consistent value over long periods of time.

Determining which email headlines convert the best, i.e. which subjects will appeal to your audience, will take at least a week to two weeks of testing.

During this testing phase, if you are an affiliate marketer, 96.7% will lose money (yes, that is an actual statistic someone cited from an actual survey performed.)

So if 96.7% of marketers lose money, why bother doing it?

Because if you’re smart, and you are because you’re reading this newsletter, you have the ‘edge’.

You have to do your testing BEFORE the launch.

The problem with most launches is that the 96.7% who lose money do all the research for the 3.3% that cash in.

This is why successful marketers have built up their ‘lists’ over years of time. The list isn’t actually an email list or even a retargeting group. It is a profile or audience and a culture that they are familiar with and know how to speak to their audience.

Let me ask you this:

If Tony Robbins was addressing a group of cattle farmers in Michigan would he use the same message as he does to sales people at Salesforce?

I had the rare opportunity to hear Tony speak to Salesforce executives and although his core message is consistent with his brand, the APPROACH or audience he was speaking to was a different audience than those who go to his ‘firewalk’.

It is the same with affiliate marketing, network marketing and JV launches.

The ‘exact target’ audience varies from list to list – from product to product – from launch to launch – every single time.

Think about it.

So Evergreen Sustainability attempts to identify the audience through testing. You only need a small sample group of maybe a few people to have your sample audience.

Once you have your sample audience, with Facebook’s ‘Lookalike Audience’ feature you can create an audience in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who are similar to your sample audience.

 

The Dark Side of Solo Ads

Something I heard in a webinar last week during a product launch I was participating in shocked me and I’m still reeling from it – so I thought I’d share it with you.

When you buy ‘clicks’ from a marketer it is a reputation business. I heard there are services out there that sell clicks to people. All they ask for is where to send your clicks. Beware of these services unless you personally know the click broker. Here is what I heard:

Many of these services employ third-world workers in India for example that create lots of free Gmail accounts and have inventories of them. When you buy your 1000 clicks for $1000 or $800 you’re happy because you see the clicks, and you get the optin rate you desire – 30 to 40 percent.

But what is actually happening is someone is simply opting in to your form and putting in their name and email address.

You know how you can tell when you’ve been ‘had’?

When you start seeing ‘bounces’ in your email program after a few months.

This nice ‘list’ you built up with Solo Ads isn’t buying anything and you’ve invested thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars ‘building it’

Why?

Because they’re not real people. They are, technically, but they’re not consumers. They were hired by the person who sold you the solo ad or ‘click campaign’

My friend who discovered this secret blew over $250,000 in ads from click vendors before he figured out what was going on. But he was smart – he shared this ‘dark secret’ and sold several million in product last week because of his honesty in sharing it with people in the webinar. What goes around comes around.

Here we have the ‘mindset’ thing again.

What is the ‘mindset’?

It is the mindset that people can ‘opt-in’ to get a ‘free report’ or ‘free ebook’.

Drop this mindset. I earlier said that the only use of the word ‘mindset’ is to drop it. Just drop it. The Evergreen Sustainability equivalent would be to only offer good products for a fair price.

Until people buy something you have no idea whether that person is a real email address or not.

The 100% Commissions Email List Grab

Recently I’ve seen another play happen in the JV world: the 100% email list grab. How does this tactic work? Someone who is doing a product launch offers their product to affiliates for 100% commissions – all the money goes to the affiliates.

What do they get out of it?

A buyers list.

Real people, responsive people. I had a friend of mine do this a few months ago. He sold his Facebook Marketing training for $17 and gave away all the commissions to affiliates. He sold over 2000 units and made no money from the launch.

A few months later he promoted a different product that I also was promoting at the same time. He placed third in the affiliate contest and made around $50,000 in commissions selling this other product.

That’s the power of the buyers list.

So ‘opt-in’ forms can be hacked.

On our search engine we get ‘dummy’ submissions all the time. Sometimes tens of thousands of them.

Then we added ‘captchas’ – that didn’t really solve the problem. Obviously people in the third world who were just typing stuff into the forms could also take the extra second to type in a captcha.

I wrote a special algorithm to spot bad listings and clean them out. It cleans our database every hour, currently and no listing goes live without several check points.

Why are we doing this?

Because we’re building a list of WEBSITES and website owners.

Do we email product offers to those lists?

No.

Instead we use them for custom audience intelligence.

Suppose we’re promoting a product in the personal or leadership development space. We have a list of a thousand people in that space that represent our 1% audience.

These days, Facebook and Twitter both have audience targeting.

 

Evergreen Sustainability Revisited

So what would be an ideal campaign?

Let me bring up an example of one of my friend’s business partners who is a ‘corporate guy’. He sells Divorce Papers and advertises on Google. In the webinar he shared how this year alone they’ve spent $800,000 on ads in Google and made multiple times that in sales. They’ve been doing so for YEARS. He has 9 other .com companies. Cool guy. His name is Jason and now he teaches marketing.

He has discovered Evergreen Sustainability.

He knows exactly how many people are planning a divorce every day, he is able to reach them directly, he knows to put the right ad in front of the right audience and he keeps selling the same product over and over again.

Was he able to figure out his niche in 1 week or even 3 weeks as product launches are today?

No. It took years of testing, planning and refinement.

Once he had a winning audience, BOOM – he scaled it.

The problem with product launches is that they don’t give enough time for marketers to identify their target audience before the product launch is over.

The last product launch I did ended just before I was able to get a ‘bee line’ on my target market of buyers of that product. It was a Twitter product.

Here are a few tips in closing.

Organize your lists of buyers based on audience interest instead of the product if you’re in the JV product space.

As you play in the affiliate world, unless enough marketers read this article and get smart about Evergreen Sustainability with their products, the launch cycle will continue to dominate the affiliate marketplaces.

The only thing you can do if you want to play is build your list of BUYERS in each niche. Whenever a Facebook product comes out send it to the Facebook niche. Whenever a Twitter product comes out send it to the twitter niche. Build niche audiences and focus on building audience intelligence.

Once you have enough buyers you can use today’s huge social networks i.e. Facebook and Twitter to micro-target ads to exactly the same types of people that have already bought from you. This goes WAY beyond age and income level. I heard that the 1% Lookalike audience algorithm that Facebook uses has over 2000 factors that influence the targeting of the ad to the audience.

Having said that we’re building Search Triggers to be an Evergreen Sustainable product.

If you’d like to be one of our JV Launch partners here is the page to apply.

Let’s build an Evergreen Sustainable launch daily and grow it daily and make it last for years to come.