This article is part of my unofficial launch smackdown series, a series of detailed articles + content preparing you for Fearless Launching. If you’re new here, subscribe for updates and weekly tips on how to create + launch your best (most important) ideas, at the bottom of this post!
A few weeks ago I shared some mistakes people make while launching and planning their launches.
(If you didn’t read my post “9 Launch Mistakes that can haunt your business for years” the cliffs notes version is this – anything that gets in the way of, blocks, or restricts taking action is a mistake. Excuses, perfectionism, and shiny object syndrome are high on the list of launch blockers.)
I added some homework to the post a few days after I published it – to get you to take action – and experience a quick win on at least ONE ACTION that I knew would benefit anyone at any stage of their launch.
I asked you to come up with a list of 5 people or places that could be “partners” on your next launch. Partners in the form of guest posts, interviews, maybe a joint interview, maybe someone who would email out for you or even share your offer on social media.
Surprisingly enough – I noticed a trend of emails, questions and responses to this request.
“What kind of outreach should I do?”
“Where do I guest post for my launch?”
“Does it matter how many posts I do? “I'm launching an app, do I need to get partners for that type of launch too?
This leads me to realize how dangerous it is to not be always expanding our network – by getting press, doing guest posts, meeting real live people and telling them about your product, meaning always in a state of growing your tribe.
If you feel like you’re not reaching enough people or sense that your current tribe is tapped out, then you are ripe for some outreach. In fact – put outreach on your launch master to do list at the very top – every single time you do a launch.
The #1 reason you may be setting your launch up to fail is failure to reach as many of your ideal prospects as possible.
The only way to do this when you’re starting out – is to find “partners” who can extend your reach.
What outreach DOES + DOES NOT mean
Your outreach is not doing 1 guest post OR 1 interview… and then hoping people find out about you 6 months from now when you decide to launch.
You must be doing at least 1 or more guest posts per month and then looking for additional opportunities to reach other people’s audiences–like interviews, telesummits, speaking engagements, conferences that cater to your peeps.
The worry that you’ll tap out your own audience very quickly if you don’t is RATIONAL and REAL.
It’s great to get to know your audience – really engage and get to know what they want and need…but you’ve got to be building all the time.
If you don’t believe me – let me tell you a few stories of outreach and finding the right partners…
5 lessons to remember when looking for the right partners during your launch:
Lesson: When you partner with people just because you admire them and have a good relationship with them, it often does not equal sales or sign ups.
Entrepreneur #1 loved the work of another entrepreneur and thought it would be an easy + lucrative idea to do a joint webinar to support her launch. Not only did the webinar net ZERO sales for this smart entrepreneur, but it was kind of a waste of her time if you look at all the pieces that go into organizing any webinar.
Lesson: You must do at least 1 guest post or interview or some type of outreach every single month. Brainstorm a list right now of what you can do this month. During a launch you need to amp that up and time your posts for the week your offer goes live. People need to see you everywhere and think – wow, maybe I should listen to this person!
Entrepreneur #2 had delivered several rounds of her popular program, but in her current launch things seemed off. What’s happened? Is the program no longer relevant? Is it time to move on? Some signs that point directly to needing to do some outreach – the numbers stayed the same each time she launched her program. Also – though it was a great indicator of the value of her program – she also had several repeat customers. Repeat business indicates she has a solid relationship with her customers, but needs to focus on the outreach and finding new people. Now she's on a path to bring in more people and listen to that voice that wonders – hey, am I reaching enough new prospects?
If your list has grown but not substantially – then understand it could be a reach problem – not a current audience or product problem.
Lesson: Be proactive and come up with 5 NEW ways to reach new people or build strategic partnerships well before launches happen. Think outside the box instead of pulling from the same pool of people.
Entrepreneur #3 knows she has a responsive audience. She has numerous offerings to keep them excited and is confident in her ability to launch another round of a popular program.
She’s already done the guest post round for past launches, but now she knows to reach her next level of goals she must do expand, do more…and is always seeking at least a few key new partnerships to nurture for upcoming launches.
Lesson: Get used to asking for support. Those who don’t ask – don’t get it when they need it. Period.
Entrepreneur #4 has launched and done well with most of her offerings. She’s a powerhouse and someone many can learn from – though she herself doesn’t see it! Her challenge is that she's making so many offers throughout the year that it's draining her and she's pretty sure her audience is feeling it too! What could really bolster her sales and reduce the number of live non-scalable offers she makes throughout the year is – guest posting and connecting with potential affiliates. Those 2 things would work gangbusters for her products. She knows it – but she’s afraid to ask.
Lesson: Don’t just reach out, guest post on well known sites or interview with well known people – unless they cater to your audience or people who want to be in your tribe, the message will be wasted. Always ask if you are reaching an untapped hang out spot for your peeps.
I guest posted on LKR when I came out with my first ebook which was not focused really on entrepreneurs. So – no surprise that there were no sales that came directly from that guest post.
However, when I focused on a site Simplemom.net that did cater to the ebook’s audience – the results were outstanding and off the chart. 200+ comments and several sales meant a perfect fit!
Now – because my message is more clearly focused on beginning entrepreneurs – LKR yields much more traffic and subscribers.
Instead of just posting where I think people will be like – oh you are cool for having a post on Think Traffic, I think – is anyone from my ideal audience hanging out over there. And – the answer on that one was yes again!
Create a Launch Outreach Plan
All you have to do is keep asking yourself this one question – will this opportunity help me reach more of my ideal audience?
Do the following about 1-3 months before your launch to find your Launch Partners:
1. Pick 5 blogs you could guest post on – where your ideal peeps hang and that accept guest posts. Be picky here. Get to know those blogs – and choose sites that have active comments sections or lots of shares. You want people to share and comment on your article too. Pitch a few post ideas to each blog and assuming they get accepted – ask if they can be published on a specific date near your launch. Many bloggers will have no problem accommodating…other larger sites may not, but getting on those bigger sites is still important!
Guest posting is not the only thing you can do – though – so if you’re not a writer, don’t worry! If you’ve got a product, app, new software, or service – you can get bloggers review your product. Give them free access, ask for feedback and a review linking back to your sales page.
2. Pick 5 places you could be interviewed or your product reviewed – there might be overlap.
Again – look at social media shares, comments…. choose ones that have a built in audience already. Contact, pitch… rinse repeat until you have a few interviews lined up for the launch week or month.
3. Decide if you are going to have an affiliate program. If so, contact some people you think are perfect matches and have audiences that will thank them for recommending you!
Contact these affiliate prospects EARLY. Once you have people signed on – then you can set up the actual backend.
*There are simple affiliate program set ups – wordpress plugins, services like ejunkie, built in programs like 1shopping cart and infusionsoft or office autopilot.
I devote one whole module in Fearless Launching called Power Partners – which is about finding all your partners to support your launch — from your team to your affiliates.
Here’s the bottom line on finding partners, having an outreach plan, and how it all affects your launch.
You must be working on this aspect of your business all the time. It’s not a task you get to check off your to do list and then never do it again.
You gotta keep looking for new ways to reach the right people.
Sometimes you’ll find them and others you won’t.
Today: Go through numbers 1-3 right now and see how much you can answer for yourself.
Tomorrow: email each person, business, potential affiliate and ask them to be your partner.
Tanya McGill Freeman says
Thank you for this excellent, value-filed post, Anne. There were some great reminders here AND a lot of juicy, new stuff for my brain to soak up! You’ve always taught me so much about outreach and its importance and this post really drove the point home for me in a big way. Thanks again!
hillary rubin says
you did it again…. love the case studies… can’t wait for this to be a webinar!
Do it do it do it…I know it’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do – but everyone must do it! So glad you liked it and got the reminder you needed! xoAnne
hahah – it’s going to be my next live workshop! 🙂
Hi Anne, thank you for your tips. I never thought launching my e-course and having people sign up would be simple. But I never thought that there are much more things I could do to outreach. Next launch is april , so I better get started right? 🙂
Beautiful, Anne! I think this is one of the hardest parts of the game for me to remember to keep front and center. It’s so easy for an introvert like me to stay in my own little bubble of focusing on content creation or supporting my current customers (both vital things for me to be doing), and forget that I need to continue to reach out and interact with people, make new connections, and create new, useful content that can be shared with other communities…both online and offline.
Thanks heaps for the reminder! Keep the great content coming…loving it. 🙂
This year that is my push for myself, to outreach and partner. So far so good! But I must keep doing it – it’s really easy to fall back into the “crab-in-a-hole” mode 🙂
The outreach is my main focus this quarter – it’s easy to get caught up in all the other tasks you need to get a launch moving and make sure it’s successful. Can’t wait to see, hear and read more from you Sarah!
So so soooo easy to forget this piece. It’s so funny when people share they are introverts!!! I never got that from you! – Anne 🙂
You still have time – try to get all your outreach pieces to line up right near your launch! Keep us updated!
Beki Sciacca says
Great content, thanks so much!
any guidance on how to tweak these ideas for a workshop that I will be doing locally, in person? and also for launching 1 on 1 face to face sessions? Thanks!
Very useful and helpful right now.
Glad ya liked it lady! xo
Beki, I found its actually pretty easy to get local press. Contact your local newspaper, any related groups who might be interested in your workshop. I filled a live workshop a few weeks ago – from simple outreach – also – putting the workshop on meetup.com was a surprising driver for many people who wouldn’t have normally found me.
Also – don’t forget to email, tweet, fb your friends and let them know!
Erin, Creative Soul in Motion says
Great article Anne! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Erin Thompson says
These tips are excellent! Thanks for your meaty, useful and practical advice, Anne. I just wonder, what about when you’re WAAAAY behind the 8-ball… what to do when you haven’t emailed your list in months and you need to start building the audience again? What 2-3 steps should be taken then?
Erin – you just start emailing your list again. That’s it. Don’t be too apologetic – just get people up to date on what you’re doing – maybe a “i’m back in the saddle” email is all you need! xoAnne