Launching a business online can be both exciting and overwhelming.
On the one hand, you’re elated that you’re finally going to take your idea live, yet you’re faced with a plethora of activities that need completing before opening up shop.
And for your business launch to gain any traction, you’d have to know what to do first and then what to do next. And then execute them to the tee.
You don’t want to put all the time, money, and effort into developing your business idea only to hear crickets when you finally launch.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through a final checklist of “rituals” to perform to make your online business launch epic.
I’ll cover everything from what to do prior to the launch, what to do on the launch day, and activities after the launch.
And let me make this clear:
This works whether you are launching a product, service, an online course, a website, or any online business.
Let’s dive right in!
Strategic Prelaunch Rituals
Prelaunch activities are the preliminary actions you take before the launch proper. These activities that lead up to the launch help set the scene, give your launch a framework to work with, and completely eliminate “crickets” before you launch.
Let’s explore some strategic prelaunch activities.
Pick a Date
The first thing you want to do is choose an exact date on which you’re going to launch.
This might sound somewhat insignificant but it is in fact very important.
The thing is that a launch is an event and should be treated like one. Just like every event, it must happen on a given date.
Without picking a specific date, your launch could plod through a long time. That’s something you don’t want as it won’t provide any excitement or urgency for your audience to take action.
Pick a date that your target audience can mark on their calendars, plan around, and look forward to your stuff.
And here’s a quick recommendation:
When picking a date, you’d want to consider what’s happening in your industry or the world in that season. You want to avoid competing with another event for your audience’s attention.
Create a “Launching Soon” Page
Prior to announcing the launch, create a prelaunch page.
Your full website or landing page may be undergoing construction and you don’t have to show it to visitors just yet.
What you should do instead is to create a one-page “Launching Soon” (or Coming Soon) page with a countdown timer and/or an email list opt-in form.
For instance, when we were about to launch SHiFTCADEMY, we had a very simple prelaunch page running in the foreground while we were busy putting things together on the backend.
Here’s what it looked like:
To create something like this, you can use a WordPress plugin like UnderConstruction for simple designs or a premium tool like ClickFunnels if you want more options.
Creating a Launching Soon page helps people who come to your website before the launch to either know when to come back or even join your list. The Launching Soon page is where the people who see your announcements (more on that in the next section) will come and sign up in anticipation.
This helps you build an audience even before business launch day.
Announce the Upcoming Business Launch
There’s something about announcing your new business or product — it gets people excited and looking forward to it (talk of building anticipation).
Your announcement may be a written short notice, a short video, an image-based post, a quick mention of it within a larger body of content, or whatever suits your needs.
It could be on social media, to your email list, a word of it at an event, or on your existing blog.
Here’s an announcement boilerplate template for your inspiration:
However you choose to do it, the announcement should happen where and when your target audience can see it. And it is okay to announce it here and there, more than once.
What most entrepreneurs do is launch their business and then attempt to drive people to it later.
A more strategic approach is to build up enough anticipation BEFORE opening shop.
Take a cue from Apple’s iPhone launches, for instance. The company would often build anticipation through product announcements, marketing campaigns, planned product leaks, and so on.
Aim to drive insane anticipation for your new business.
What you’ll simply have to do is to start marketing before launching it.
Tell people about it everywhere, run relevant ads, leak a part of your product if necessary, and create buzz around it.
Anticipate the launch and get people to anticipate it, too. That’s what this is about!
Build Relationships Prior to the Business Launch
In marketing, there’s this thing called “The Rule of Seven.”
It’s an old marketing maxim that states that a prospect usually needs to interact with your brand or marketing message seven times on average before they finally make up their mind and take action to buy from you.
This rule holds some truth because people typically buy from those they know, like, and trust.
If your online business launch is going to be stellar, you need existing relationships to target in your launch. Spend some time cultivating relevant relationships before launch day.
It could be building up your account on social media with your ideal audience, providing free help to potential clients beforehand, answering questions on LinkedIn communities and Facebook groups, or even surveying your target audience to know what they want.
Prepare Your Marketing Materials
This is also the best time to start getting your marketing materials — ads, guest posts, press releases, press kits, influencer marketing campaigns, affiliate/referrals programs, and the like — ready.
To fire up the whole launch thing, try to get most of these materials to go live on launch day and the days following the launch.
Create the content you want (like guest posts, press releases, etc.) and then reach out to the right people —influencers, blogs, news sites — and try to land a deal with them to publish the content on the launch date you’ve picked.
Perfecting Your Touchpoints
Your touchpoints are those elements in your business that users interact with. Think your website, content, and marketing designs.
If you want people to take your business seriously, you need to ensure that your t’s are crossed and i’s dotted before you open up shop to the world.
Here are the things to do.
Get Your Website Fully Ready
This covers everything about your website:
- Are the pages all good to go?
- Is it search engine optimized?
- What about the technicalities?
Go through your website to ensure all the design elements are in place. Test every element to be sure they’re working perfectly.
Test Your Funnels
The last thing you want is little hiccups here and there when users try to sign up for your new product or service.
Perform a dry run test sale on your sales funnel.
Be the first to sign up for your email list and test the whole conversion engine you’ve put in place.
I once signed up for a relatively new product only to receive a welcome email that was made up of a bunch of shortcodes.
Unfortunately, the entrepreneur and his entire crew had been unaware that their conversion engine had been sending out the garbage. Good thing, I brought their attention to it and it was fixed.
But a test sale could have easily saved the day (and saved some customers as well).
You can use a tool like ClickFunnels to create a sales funnel that is both intuitive and good-looking.
Perfect Your Content
One of the things that make new entrepreneurs come across as dumb and unprofessional is mediocre content.
After putting in so much work to create an awesome product or service, you should take the extra step to meticulously go through your content to ensure that it’s all clean and clear.
Proofread everything. Yes, even if you outsourced the content creation process.
You might even want to have other people in your team go through the content to ensure it is up to standard.
Finalize Your Brand Touchpoints
Are you happy with your logos, colors, fonts, design, and brand voice?
One hilarious branding mistake is to keep changing your brand element after you’ve launched. It tells a lot about you and portrays your business as inconsistent.
And whether you know it or not, your audience is watching.
Before you finally set your business on the get-go, check all your brand touchpoints and bring them to their final state.
Ruling Your D-Day
In the first two chapters, you’ve been working towards the launch. In this chapter, I will show you what to do on the launch D-Day to maximize your results.
Open Your Business
Up until now, your website has been under construction. It’s time to open it up for people to visit.
If your online business launch means flinging open anything other than a website (a membership platform, an online course, whatever), go ahead and “cut the ribbon.”
Just remember to do it when your target audience is awake and active. For instance, if you operate from, say, Europe and your target customers live somewhere in North America, you’d want to observe the fact that Brussels is 6 hours ahead of Ottawa.
Present an Exciting Offer
The fact is that almost every time, the product or service you’re bringing to the market has already been offered by a different business. And it might have been offered to the exact same set of customers you’re trying to reach.
Here’s a question:
Given that the customers have been offered similar deals in the past, what would possibly make them take up yours now?
This is where you need to energize your launch with an eye-popping offer.
You need something that’s totally irresistible; something that will pull in those early birds.
It could be freebies, trials with no credit card required, free shipping for the first 100 customers, 50% discount for the first 20 people, pro bono work done to build your portfolio. Anything valuable!
These early adopters are usually very critical to the future of your business because you’ll need feedback and testimonials from them to optimize your business’s performance.
Activate Your Marketing Campaigns
Remember those marketing materials you worked on? The ads, guest posts, press releases, press kits, influencer marketing campaigns, affiliate/referral programs, and the like? It’s time to unleash them!
Send reminders to the blogs, news sites, and influencers you’ve been talking to, so they remember to publish your materials.
If you’ve been running pre-launch ads, go back and tweak them to reflect your launch.
Remind Everyone About Your Business Launch
Those who signed up on your prelaunch page? Send them a reminder.
Drop some posts about the launch on relevant social spaces. If it’s a new business, remember to update your personal social media profiles to include your new role at your new company.
Tell your mom you’ve finally fired the shot. And your friends, too. And ask them to do the needful by spreading the word.
Be Ready to Close Your First Sales
Most new entrepreneurs don’t think closing a sale on the opening day is a feasible feat.
It is both a mindset thing and a traditional marketing problem.
The latter is based on stone-age marketing advice which suggests that you shouldn’t ask for the sale on day 1… just as you shouldn’t ask for a kiss on your first date.
In my opinion, business is business, not a date. If you’ve got a great product or service that people want, it’s absolutely appropriate to monetize your stuff from the outset and ask for the buy.
Of course, you’ve been building relationships. And with an exciting offer on the table and your marketing campaigns running, there’s definitely going to be some actions on the part of your prospects, especially if you had set up a waiting list during prelaunch.
Prepare your mind for a possible first close and look forward to it. Diss the old advice and talk business with those who are willing to listen. Open opportunities and close deals.
And do all of these from day 1. That’s why you’re in business!
Be Prepared to Answer Comments and Questions
Your launch day is not the day you throw open your business and go hang out with friends, telling them how hard you’ve worked.
Chances are that there’ll be some curiosity as it is a new product, service, or website. This will push early users to ask questions. There’ll also be those who leave comments on your blog, social media, and other relevant places.
You ought to sit in front of your computer, ready to answer these questions and comments.
You also ought to make available the tools and help desk for providing support to those who are going to try your product or service.
Create an Email Autoresponder
This is basically a welcome email that new users will receive once they sign up to try out your new solution.
In addition to the welcome email, you might want to create some follow-up emails to keep engaging the early users within a certain period after signing up.
Here are some email autoresponder ideas:
- Welcome/thank you email
- Asking for feedback
- Educating the user about the new solution
- Nurturing emails
For this kind of email, you can use GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, or Moosend to power and automate the content. These are full-featured email marketing tools with dandy features for easily sending sequences automatically.
Must-Do Post-Launch Rituals
In this final chapter, I’ll walk you through the activities you should focus on after launch day to make the most of your launch.
Keep Talking About It
After launching the program, you should intensify your marketing efforts.
Publish more content, do more SEO, run more ads, send out your press kits. Do you get the point?
It’s not time to relax; it’s time to scale your effort.
Gather Feedback and Make Improvements
Although you might have put a lot of work into creating an awesome product, the day you launch that product is NOT the day the work ends.
Don’t go to sleep after launching.
Developing a successful solution involves getting real-world feedback from actual users and using the data to up your game.
Pop Some Wine!
It’s always a good thing to celebrate your victories, however small. Think of your launch as a WIN. Celebrate it.
It may be big or not too loud. It may be all to yourself or with the people that matter to you (like your loved ones or your team).
Whatever celebration means to you, do it anyway because you deserve it. After all, most people only dream of launching their own business but never get to do it their entire lifetime. But here you are 🙂
It is not enough to develop a great product or service. You need a fitting environment to launch it.
But there are usually a lot of things that go into a successful launch, and it can be overwhelming to keep track of what comes first and then next.
In this resource, I’ve provided key rituals and activities to help you avoid mistakes and focus on more important work.
Use it as your launch playbook to remind you of the minimum necessary steps.