Actually, it is my opinion that they do NOT have to suck, but I will get to that soon…
If you have a pulse and half a grain worth of interest in the internet marketing space, you must have caught a couple of recent technology based launches: Kajabi from Andy Jenkins and Easy Video Player 2.
(Disclaimer: I didn’t participate in either launches, nor did I assisting them as copywriter)
To be honest, I have no idea how well these two launches went, I’m assuming they made their money and then some, regardless of any hiccups. That’s what’s so great with product launches, even when something goes wrong, it’s STILL pretty sweet.
Or as a friend of mine is keen to say, “it’s like sex… even when it’s BAD, it’s still pretty damn GOOD!” 😉 But I digress…
But the overall public perception seems to be, with both products, that the launches ‘went bad’. Namely, complaints about unfinished features, buttons returning errors, supposedly unscrupulous sales tactics…
Just take a look at this gripe train on Kajabi…
Or this one on Easy Video Player 2.
Ultimately, NONE of that matters. The people who got the software for the right reasons, will probably love it and use it to prosper even more.
Kajabi has been used in HUGE launches (seemingly) without a hitch… it obviously WORKS. Easy Video Player has been used by TONS of online entrepreneurs for years… it obviously WORKS. So what’s the problem? How on earth could their launches go so wrong, or at least get such bad blood? Let’s examine this….
What matters is the public perception. Because what the public perceives to be true… soon becomes accepted truth.
Therefore, there are very important lessons to be learned from these recent experiences, that you as a marketer, promoter or consumer can learn and profit from.
Alright, let’s go!
- Do NOT promise perfection and 100% seamless operation – you will almost always certainly disappoint if you’re offering anything more complex than an iPhone application (and even you’d better test your pants off before pulling the trigger). As a rule, the more complex the software, the more surely you will mess up. Educated customers know this, but you must cater to all.
- Do your stress tests properly to ensure scalability! Errors ruin a good tech launch and ruin your image. At the very least have backup installations and backup servers on call, if even your best load balancing and stress testing end up being inadequate preparation.
- Do your damage control! Do not panic, but do take notes, and stage a measured counterattack.Take a page from Apple’s antennagate handling. Divert attention from the problem (hey all phones have problems, even this same one), give something back (free bumpers for all), address every problem, but in proportion (sure we screwed up, but not as bad as others). In other words: hold a webinar for customers, maybe even to the public, and take ownership of the situation. Make sure everyone is HAPPY.
- Have tech support ON CALL and ready to act & react, at least for a few days immediately after launch day – prevent refunds based on bugs and non-responsiveness. Fix the visible ones, and hide the bad looking ones. Plan ahead for handling bug occurrences – ALL software has bugs (even airplane computers, believe it or not, yet it just WORKS).
- Do NOT go below industry standards (buy base license to remove watermark, not an upgrade). You must respect the expectations of your customers, before you can manage them. Simple truth.
- If you don’t have the resources to make the product and the launch technically foolproof, get a launch partner who already has those resources! give a small percentage of the profits or do some other irresistible deal. There is a reason why the likes of SAP have giant armies of consultants, middleware providers and whatnot. Share the wealth, brother.
- Do think very carefully about the kind of software licenses you’re going to sell. Obviously, you’re going to want to have some kind of continuity, but sometimes that will simply run against what your market is ready for. If they’re willing to pay a few hundred or even thousands for a one-time license, why not provide that option? If you’re not 100% sure that everything will work as advertised, why on earth would you offer a free trial – only to get cancellations and bad press? Software is complex, and so are the licensing models. It’s NOT information, it’s a tool that can be sold in dozens of different ways. Take every opportunity!
- A promotion related problem: loads of people promoting without any hands-on experience with the product! this can fly with info products if you know the type and quality of information the vendor usually puts out, but with technology… you HAVE to know. I was hard pressed to find a SINGLE product review that gave any sensible picture of what it was like. not even those who definitely had used it! where is the DEEP pre-selling when you need it; here’s what it did for me, my results, a well-selected gripe, plus a relevant bonus.
Ok, let’s wrap up this little monster…
Clearly, the internet marketing industry (or community, if you like) is at a stage where technology and systems will be more and more of a differentiator. So we WILL undoubtedly see more and more of technology launches.
But for the love of god… do NOT approach them as you’d approach an info product launch. Think first, then test beyond all reason. And if you don’t know what to think… well, you could ask someone with experience in tech launches.
Looking forward to the next big tech based launch… will it be yours?!