The word itself sends shivers down every entrepreneur’s spine.
But the cold, hard fact is that failure is real.
Statistics tell us that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.
And stories like this make us want to never, ever take the risk:
“I launched my eCourse in September 2016 and I didn’t sell a single spot. My husband was so mad at me for investing $1,500 in Facebook ads as a last-ditch effort to bring in interest. I couldn’t motivate myself to work on my business for nearly a month after that. The worst part is that I’ve lost confidence in myself. It’s as if this is a sign that I should just throw everything into the trash and go back to an office job.”
Sure, heaps of motivational quotes and inspirational memes will tell you that risks are worth taking and that it’s better to try and fail than never to try at all… but the reality is that not all of us can afford to fail.
Failing is expensive!
That is why it’s vital to spot the warning signs that you may be about to fail before you actually do. There are actually some glaringly obvious warning signs if you’re looking to launch an online program like an eCourse or a webinar that it may not attract big numbers.
It may sound like a grim topic to talk about, but it’s an important one. Here are 5 Warning Signs That Your Product Launch Will Fail Miserably and how you can turn them around.
1. You haven’t validated your idea
Excitedly plunging headfirst into launching a program online? Press pause for a minute.
Have you validated your idea?
In plain speak, have you tested the idea to see if there is a market and a need for it?
Not validating your idea is a surefire way to ensure that when you throw the doors open to your launch, no one’s going to be on the other side.
Creating a product just because you want to is not good enough reason to do so!
So, validate it before you do anything else. Here’s how:
- Go to where your target audience is and pay attention to what they’re talking about. A popular place to scout for idea validation is Yelp. It’s a goldmine of opinions: check out different reviews and filter by Lowest Rated to find gaping holes and pain areas in your location. You can tailor your program or idea to help fill these pain areas. Udemy, Quora and Reddit are three more oft-overlooked communities for idea validation.
- Check the 2-star and 3-star Amazon reviews for books on your topic or in your niche. What is it that people want more of? Here’s an example. Say, you’re planning to launch a book for folks who want to eat healthier while leading a busy life. Head to Amazon’s Bestseller Lists for books in the Health and Fitness niche.
A quick peek at The Whole 30 book’s 3-star review section shows a glaring need for plans that are not hugely restrictive, ad copy that’s on point and recipes that make eating healthy food fun and easy.
- Have a look on Google and check out if there are any keyword searches for your topics. Check out what sort of PPC ads are popping up and what your potential competitors are offering. Review your own history and credibility, and ask yourself what you’ll do differently.
- Survey your target audience (or even friends and family) using a proven and tested method like Ryan Levesque’s Ask method.
2. You haven’t got a post-launch plan
Your launch has the potential to take over your entire life and become as demanding as a hungry toddler. So to be prepared you need to remember that it is YOU who controls the launch and no one else.
You’re in the driver’s seat. That’s why it is so important to have a plan, a roadmap or a launch GPS. You need to map out exactly what you’ll be doing during the three pivotal launch stages: pre-launch, launch and post-launch.
For some reason, people often forget about the latter part. They assume that success will be easy. It rarely is.
Prepare your three-part plan and keep it front-and-center so you don’t get distracted by shiny objects like adding another webinar, sending seven extra emails, or random other admin tasks that will neither boost profits nor productivity.
3. You’ve forgotten the launch linchpin
The linchpin of your launch is your copy.
Your copy can either compel your ideal buyers into producing their wallets and signing up, or it can turn them off completely.
As someone who’s written copy for over 20 high-profile launches, I can vouch for the fact that solid, engaging and persuasive copy can 100% make or break your launch.
Because well-crafted copy drills deep into the pain areas of prospective buyers and it shines a spotlight on the benefits that your program offers.
Not only that, good copy engages with your readers in a way that resonates with them and encourages them to both like and trust you.
Yes, copy for launches is super-important.
A launch copywriting checklist can be a great starting point so you know not only what elements of copy to include but also what each of those elements should do:
- An opt-in or landing page so you can share your VIP offer or your lead magnet.
- A ‘thank you’ page to cement new connections and encourage new sign-ups to socially share your product or invite them to join your free group or community.
- An email newsletter sequence that funnels subscribers towards your sales page or launch trigger.
- A sales page that not only outlines pain points, but also brings the benefits your program offers to the fore in a way that is engaging yet persuasive.
- Ad copy so that you can reach both cold and warm traffic.
- Social media copy so that you can share various details on Facebook, Twitter and the like without turning into a spam machine.
Ignoring your copy or leaving it for the last minute – or worse, hiring a below-par copywriter – can squeeze the life out of your launch and eat up all of your budget.
4. You’re already feeling burnt out
The ability to hustle is considered a mandatory skill in our fast-paced digital world… but don’t hustle so hard that you burn out before you even truly begin.
Practice regular self-care and make sure you turn off your laptop at a decent hour and get enough sleep in the pre-launch stage.
It’s hard for entrepreneurs not to get completely consumed by a pending product launch, but make an effort to ensure you are not burning the candle at both ends. Stick to regular exercise and see your friends. Eat well, and stay hydrated.
Yes, this sounds really basic but you’ll be amazed at how many entrepreneurs overlook these fundamental things when launching, which means that by the time the momentum starts, they’re ready to crash!
5. You’ve got a negative mindset
Finally and most importantly, if your mindset is full of doubt, your launch will probably suck.
Believe in your offer.
Believe in your value.
Believe in the impact you will make.
It’s important because your mindset will shine through in everything that you do and heavily impact whether or not your launch is exciting and successful.
Here’s the thing: failure is as real as the air that we breathe and it can choke us, suffocate us and strangle our entrepreneurial dreams slowly.
It’s not all bleak and dreary. Many successful people have experienced failure in some way or another. So you don’t have to fail and think it’s a bad thing.
At the surface level, the primary reason businesses fail is they simply run out of cash. But the more insidious reason is because negativity creeps into the mindset and affects the ability to strongly relate with people and close sales.
Knowing what guideposts to set up and which signs to watch out for when it comes to failure is crucial to eventually finding success. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s the only way to go from 0 to 100 on the success superhighway.
Maintain positivity throughout but be wary of the above warning signs.
Have you launched before, and are brave enough to share your experience in the comments? Let me know what you learnt and if it included any of these warning signs. Alternatively, share your story of entrepreneurial success or your current ‘work-in-progress’! I would love to give you more tips to ensure it’s a hit.
Guest Author: Prerna Malik is the co-founder of Content Bistro where she serves up finger-licking-good copy and content to time-starved entrepreneurs. With over six years’ of experience and 300+ clients worldwide, she has truly mastered the recipe for conversion-laced copy that cunningly persuades customers while engaging and entertaining them as well. Yep, boring long-form sales pages shudder at Prerna’s name!