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:
- What is the exact date of Christmas next year?
- 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.