Summary of the book “Launch”: Jeff Walker gives us his strategy to make the launch of a product an event that will give your leads an irresistible desire to buy.
By Jeff Walker, 2014, 180 pages.
Original title: Launch: an internet millionaire’s secret formula to sell almost anything online, build a business you love, and live the life of your dreams
Note: This chronicle was written by Nicolas Favier from the blog Système Marketing.
Chronicle and summary of “Launch”
Before we get started
Launch is not a work of fiction. Jeff Walker is talking about a tried and tested method that has allowed him and hundreds of his clients to successfully launch their products and services, generating hundreds of millions of euros in sales.
Jeff Walker is the creator of the “Product Launch Formula”, or PLF. Sébastien Night, also known as the French Marketer, is one of his students, and the “Orchestrated Launches” method he created is an adaptation of the “PLF” launch method for the French market.
Chapter 1: From stay-at-home dad to six figures in seven days
Jeff Walker starts his book by telling us about the situation he was in before he made his first launch: As a stay-at-home dad, he felt as though he was a failure. His wife was starting to find it hard to bear the pressure of having to provide for their family all by herself, and they were about to have a second child.
Changing this situation was a mouse-click away. A click that sent an email under 50 words long to sell a product he hadn’t even created yet. The result: $34,000 in sales in 1 week.
However, this is not a book about “how to get rich quick”. It is a method that requires work, but allows you to start with almost no budget. This is possible thanks to the internet, which was a game-changer that made it possible to start and to run a business more easily, faster and with much less money than before.
Every successful product, business, or brand, starts with a successful launch. With a successful launch, you give yourself traction from the get-go and this also allows you to create cash flow. These 2 resources are essential components to building a successful company.
Jeff Walker goes on to tell us about how he taught his method and successfully held launches in every market imaginable, with all types of products and businesses.
Can this method work for you?
Unless you’re selling an everyday product (like petrol) or an emergency service (like a locksmith), then the answer is a resounding YES.
But once again, this is not a “get rich quick” method. It is not an automatic or easy method; there is work to be done.
But the reality is that this product launch formula has led to the creation of many highly profitable businesses.
Chapter 2: Food stamps to six figures: The Product Launch Formula explained
In this chapter, Jeff tells us the story of John Gallagher. John Gallagher was a man who relied on stamps to feed his family. But John had a fantastic idea about how to get out of this situation: invent a game about medicinal herbs. He borrowed $20,000 from his father to make 1500 copies of his game. He knew that once he had sold his games, he would easily be able to pay back his debts.
John organised a launch event for his new product. He invited his friends, the people they knew and their entourage. The outcome of this event was… 12 sales… John felt lost… He was now in debt and he didn’t know what to do.
You have to understand that it takes more than a great idea to start a project. Many entrepreneurs hope that a good product will sell itself, but in reality things don’t happen that way.
John’s story is different, because after some research he came across Jeff Walker’s product launch formula. Using it, he made 670 sales at $30 per game – 55 times more than when he had no strategy. This was just the beginning; by continuing to use this method he sold more than 50,000 copies of his game.
What is the product launch formula?
It is a strategy that allows you to engage your leads with your product or business so that they almost beg you to sell it to them, before you’ve even put your product up for sale.
There have been 3 fundamental changes since the arrival of the internet:
- Communication speed: Now, you can send a message to your audience in a few minutes, whereas before it used to take days, or even weeks.
- Communication cost: In the past, we needed to spend thousands of euros to promote products, but now we can do it for a fraction of the cost, or even for free.
- Interactiveness: By studying the replies you receive, you can immediately know if your message is resonating with your audience.
These 3 factors have literally changed the way marketing and business work.
Now, even small businesses and small entrepreneurs can get incredible results.
Have you noticed that Hollywood tries to create hype before a film even comes out in cinemas?
The same goes for Apple, which makes a promotional ad campaign before the launch of a product.
The objective of this type of campaign is to create hype and make people want a product before it even comes out!
Now you’re probably thinking that you don’t have the same budget as Apple or Hollywood. However if you can remember the factors we saw earlier, you too can make it so that the launch of your product is an event!
People find conversation much more interesting than a monologue or a reading. And with the internet, it has never been easier to converse with people all around the world..
So instead of saying everywhere you can “Buy my product! Buy my product!” which will scare away your leads, engage them in conversation.
The product launch formula is based primarily on sequences, stories and triggers.
Let’s start by talking about sequences:
In today’s society, we are all drowning in a huge mass of information. This mass of information means that our attention is dispersed. That is why it is essential to not base your marketing on a single message. You must share your message in a communication sequence in which each sequence leads to the next.
Here are the sequences used in the product launch formula.
- The pre-prelaunch: This is where everything starts. Start creating anticipation among your most lost loyal fans. This also allows you to judge whether the time is right for your offer and to fine-tune it.
- The prelaunch: It is the heart of your sequence, the moment when you use emotional triggers such as authority, social influence, community, anticipation and reciprocity.
- The launch: It’s the big day when you launch your product, the day you say “You can finally buy it”.
- The post-launch: This is the end sequence. You finish your launch and you can also use the opportunity to tease your next launch.
Seems pretty simple, right?
Your sequence will be even more powerful if you use the power of stories:
If you want to make your business and your marketing memorable, you need to tell a story, a story about your products and your services which must incite your leads to commit.
Let’s talk about emotional triggers:
We all like to think of ourselves as rational individuals, but the truth is that we aren’t. Our decisions are primarily based on our emotions, and then we rationalise these decisions.
Emotional triggers have a huge influence on our actions. These triggers are universal and if you want to incite your leads to buy your products and services, it’s essential that you use them. You will find a few examples of emotional triggers later on in this article.
By combining your sequences, the power of stories and emotional triggers, you’ll be able to create a powerful marketing campaign that will turn the launch of your product into an event!
Chapter 3: A licence to print money: Your list
Having a list allows you to “create” money on demand. When you have a list, the only thing to do to sell is to create the offer that your list wants, and to offer it to them.
When Jeff Walker talks about a list, he means a list of people who have asked to receive your emails by giving you their contact information. In the world of internet marketing, your list is your most valuable asset!
Important note: behind every email address on your list, there is a real person. That is why you have to be very personal in the way you communicate. Using the personal touch, you will establish a real relationship with each one of your leads.
There are two things to know about your list:
- The size of your list is less important than the responsiveness of your list. To have a responsive list, it is crucial to maintain the relationship.
- The product launch formula is one of the best ways to build a relationship with your list.
A list of customers is worth 10 to 15 times more than a list of leads, so even if you have to maintain a good relationship with both types of list, you must pay special attention to your client list. As an example, you can send them some bonuses every once in a while to thank them for being your customers.
To build a list, you must:
- Know exactly who you are targeting and what they are interested in, in order to create your avatar.
- Create something that interests them.
- Create a capture-page to exchange their contact information for the thing that interests them.
- Drive traffic to this page. Jeff’s favourite techniques to drive traffic are affiliation and partnerships.
The secret to having a list is simply to start one. Don’t worry if at the beginning, you only get one sign-up a day. Keep working and grow your list little by little.
Chapter 4: The sideways sales letter: How to sell your stuff like crazy without being “salesy”
You’ve probably already come across a sales letter. It’s a sales document that sells a product or a service, and it can be very, very long to read. For Jeff Walker, they’re the equivalent of a very long and tedious monologue. That is why he got the idea of transforming the monologue into a conversation.
To make things clearer, the sideways sales letter method is the prelaunch sequence, followed by a sales message. Your prelaunch sequence is usually divided into 3 valuable pieces of content. It must naturally lead to the sale of your product.
Chapter 5: Weapons of mass influence: the mental triggers
Mental triggers are things that directly influence our capacity to make decisions. By using them, you hold a powerful tool to convince your leads to buy.
Here are Jeff Walker’s 9 favourite mental triggers:
- Event and ritual
- Social proof
By combining these triggers, you will multiply each one’s effectiveness.
Chapter 6: The shot across the bow: your pre-prelaunch
The pre-prelaunch is the hidden part of the launch method, hidden “under the hood”. It serves to activate or build your tribe, but also to test your market’s interest in your product idea, identifying potential objections and fine-tuning your offer. It also allows you to grab your market’s attention without selling anything.
10 questions to ask yourself about your pre-prelaunch:
- How can I work it so that people know something is coming without giving them the impression that I’m trying to sell them something?
- How can I pique their curiosity?
- By what means can I get their help in creating my product? How can I get them to collaborate?
- How can I identify the objections they will have towards this product?
- By what method can I start a conversation with my audience about my offer? How can I get them committed without using “corporate” lingo so I don’t kill my launch before it gets off the ground?
- By what means can I make it pleasant, funny, or even exciting?
- By what method can I stand out in my market? How can I be different?
- How can I know if my market wants to buy?
- By what means can I make an offer they can’t refuse?
- How can I naturally bring things to my prelaunch sequence?
To answer these questions, one of Jeff Walker’s strategies is to send one or two emails to announce something to his leads and ask for their help by taking a very short survey in which he asks them what are the two main questions they’re asking themselves about the theme of the product he wants to launch.
Chapter 7: Sell them what they want: the magic of prelaunch
Your prelaunch serves to attract attention by offering value before your leads know you’re going to sell something. This sequence must be built so that it naturally leads to your offer.
Generally, your prelaunch sequence is divided into 3 parts, whether they be in audio, text, or video format:
Part 1: Opportunity
In this first part, you must captivate attention and explain why your leads should listen to you by talking about the transformative opportunity you are going to offer them.
There are 4 reasons why a person won’t buy your products or services: they’re not interested, they have no money, they don’t believe you, or they believe you but they don’t think your product will work for them.
The product launch formula won’t help you change the minds of the people who don’t want to buy for the first 2 reasons, but it can help you for the other 2. And for that, your first part is essential:
Here is a summary of the outline of your first part:
- Show your leads how their life will change with your product.
- Say who you are and why they should listen to you.
- Teach them something valuable.
- Make a note of objections, answer them or say that you will respond to them.
- Create anticipation for the next part by telling them you’re going to teach them something really cool.
- Call to action by asking them to leave a comment.
Part 2: Transformation
In the first part, you talked about the “why”. Now you have to talk about the “what”. You must explain what this opportunity is and how it will change your prospective customers’ lives. The second part is more about teaching. Ask yourself what you can teach in 5 to 10 minutes that could change their lives. Your leads have to imagine themselves undergoing the transformation you talked about in your first part.
Here is a summary of the outline of the second part:
- Thank your leads for the questions and comments about Part 1, and take advantage of this to give a brief recap of the first part.
- Briefly remind them of the opportunity.
- Briefly remind them who you are and why they should listen to you.
- Present a case study to them or teach them something they can use rapidly.
- Talk about the 2 or 3 main objections and respond to them.
- Create anticipation for the next part by telling them you’re going to teach them something really cool.
- Call to action by asking them to leave a comment.
Part 3: The owner’s experience
The first part is the “why”, and the second is the “what”. In short, you’ve shown the potential transformation they could undergo by doing the thing you talk about the second part.
What you have to do now in the third part is explain the “how”? Most people don’t know how to implement the change you’ve talked about. This is where you are going to introduce your product, but before that you must continue building value.
Here is a summary of the outline of the third part:
- Thank your leads for the questions and comments about part 2. Mention how enthusiastic everyone is, including yourself.
- Briefly remind them of the opportunity, who you are and why they should listen to you.
- If possible, you can present a short case study.
- Answer the main questions you’ve been asked.
- Explain in detail the transformation they could undergo and how they can make it a reality.
- Progressively introduce your offer by saying that in the next video, you’re going to offer something to them, and that they must watch it if they truly want to change.
- Say that this will be a limited offer and that there won’t be enough for everyone.
- Call to action by asking them to leave a comment.
You now know the 3 parts of the prelaunch sequence. By properly building your sequence, you will create a relationship with your leads while influencing them with mental triggers such as authority and reciprocity. You’re also going to start a conversation, give them a sense of belonging to a community, as well as identifying their main objections.
If you’re wondering how long a launch should last, the answer is that it depends, but in general it’s around 7 to 10 days.
An important note: when you create your content, don’t just skim the surface; go deeper, offer things that your leads can really use to change even without using your products. You’ll see that by offering a lot of value, you will also receive a lot of value.
Chapter 8: Show me the money: It’s time to launch!
If you did your prelaunch properly, you’re well on your way to conducting a successful launch, by making your leads want to buy.
However, even if your product has been “pre-sold” by your prelaunch, it is important that you have a good sales message. A sales message starts with the “opportunity” and tells the story of what you are offering.
Once you have your sales message, all you need to do is send an email to your leads with a link to your sales message, and watch the sales come in.
If this is your first launch, plan on keeping the sign-ups open for at least 5 days. You’ll find that in general, 25% of sales are made on the first day, 50% on the last day, and the rest is spread out in between.
For your launch to be a success, it is essential to have a real closing of sales. And this closing must have consequences that are actually negative.
There are 3 main ways you can do this:
- Increase the prices
- Stop giving bonuses
- Definitively stop access to the product
Of course, if you announce something, then it must be true. Doing this will make your offer scarce and create a sense of urgency for your leads.
Another important point is that you must keep communicating with your leads during the opening of sales. Send them at least 1 email per day, and 2 or even 3 on the last day. If you don’t do this, you’re going to miss out on a whole heap of money.
Once your launch is finished, you must keep communicating with your new customers of course, but also with your leads who didn’t buy, so you can maintain the relationship you created and reuse your list for a future launch.
Chapter 9: How to start from scratch: The seed launch
A seed launch allows you to create a business from practically nothing. This means that you are going to sell your product before you’ve even created it, and then create your product with the help of your clients.
The aim of a seed launch isn’t to make you millions, but to get you into the game. Beware, however; this method doesn’t work for physical products, but it is perfect if you have a product based on information.
If you’re starting from scratch, the first step is for you to rapidly build a small list by uploading quality content on social media. Try to reach a list of 300 leads.
Once you’ve got this list, the second step is to send an email to your leads, asking them about their problems and the challenges they face. You are then going to build your offer basing yourself on their answers, and sell it back to them. The objective you should aim to reach is about thirty sales, so that there is interaction when you create your product.
Now that you have sold your product, the third step is to create it. For that, keep talking to your customers. Ask them what they want to know. Organise your answers and create a logical and attractive presentation.
And there you have it; – you’ve just been paid to create your digital product!
Chapter 10: How I made a million dollars in a single hour: The JV launch
In this chapter, Jeff Walker talks to us about how he managed to make 1 million dollars in 53 minutes, thanks to his partnerships.
Forming partnerships is a powerful lever to grow your list during your launches, but for that you’ll need to pick the right partners. In other words, you don’t need many partners to hold a successful launch, if these partners are quality partners.
This means that you must find, within your market, those with whom you want to work and start building a relationship by offering them value. If they are already big players on your market, then chances are that they are already very much in demand. By offering something to them before asking, you will set yourself apart from the rest.
It is important to maintain the relationship with your partners even after your launch. You’ll be able to call on them for your next launches.
Last but not least, don’t test your launches with your partners’ lists. Start by doing an internal test to see if your launch is a success, and then you can launch your new product with your partners.
Chapter 11: Creating a business from the ether: The business launch formula
The business launch formula is based on key concepts from the product launch formula. You must create a relationship and offer a lot of value before asking people to buy.
Here are 6 keys for the business launch formula.
- You must always give valuable prelaunch content during your launches.
- You must always keep building your list and maintaining your relationship with this list.
- Should not stop after only one offer.
- Step up your launches: go from a seed launch to an internal launch, and then to a launch with partnerships.
- Set up re-launches or automate your launches.
- Take care of your customers. Make sure they participate in the launches of your new products.
To sum up, instead of holding a single product launch, holding several will allow you to build your business. By doing this, your list will grow and your offers will become better. You will have more loyal customers and more quality partners.
Chapter 12: Creating a business you love
If you’re going to put your heart and soul into business, it might as well be a business you love. And one of the best things about having your own business is that you can build it on your own terms.
You must understand your “Big Why” to know what motivates you more than simply making money.
You must focus on the potential customers with whom you’re on the same wavelength so you can enjoy working with them.
And you must look to the future instead of focusing on the short term. For example, you mustn’t do things that could harm your reputation just so you can earn money quickly.
Integrate a mastermind group, a group of entrepreneurs who help each other to grow their businesses.
Measure the cost of an opportunity before seizing it. This means that you have to be aware of what you have to give up when you make a decision.
Keep learning in order to stay on top of your market.
Don’t shut yourself off; don’t think of others as competitors but rather as potential partners.
Sell information – it’s an essential aspect of every successful business.
Be human: talk to your leads as if you were personally talking or writing to each of them.
Remember, you make the rules. You don’t have to do the same as the other businesses in your market and you don’t have to work with the customers you don’t like. You can create a business you love.
Chapter 13: A recipe for a big life
You must know how you want your life to be, because if you don’t know what you want, then you won’t know in what direction to go.
To be able the create the life you want, you must first and foremost have security, and the only true security nowadays is the capacity to create value and to be paid for it.
Take care of your health. Set aside some time to relax and enjoy yourself. Instead of always trying to work harder, you must try to work smarter.
You’re going to experience highs and lows in your business, so make yourself a list of things to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down.
Stay in your genius zone, do what you do best and delegate the rest.
Your concentration is your scarcest resource. Use it to make high-value things rather than things that are just distractions.
Only work with the customers you want to work with. You are the one who makes the decision to work with a customer or not, so choose with whom you want to do business.
Build a team, because trying to do everything yourself will only bring you average to mediocre results. However, be sure to carefully pick the people you are going to work with.
You must know how to say no. Don’t say yes to everyone and remember that each opportunity has a cost.
Your state of mind must be one of abundance, meaning that you have to be aware that we are in a world of abundance and not shortage. There is enough for everyone, so be generous. By being in this state of mind, you’ll be happier and your business will grow faster.
Be careful – building a successful business won’t necessarily bring you a happy life. This is why you why you have to know what you want when you build your business and create your life.
To end this chapter, Jeff Walker tells us about Sébastien Night the French Marketer, and how he used the product launch formula to create a business where he now works only one day a week.
Chapter 14: It’s your time to launch
You now know all about the product launch formula. This method is a strategy, and a strategy persists over time, even if the tactics to implement it evolve.
The book’s first objective was to show you the process, the second was to make you realise that you can do it too.
Build it up gradually. Don’t expect to make millions in the beginning, expect to make mistakes and to learn from them, expect to work a lot, expect to be frustrated and have a few sleepless nights…
And most of all, expect your first launch to be unforgettable!
Conclusion about “Launch”:
For me, this book is one that any future entrepreneur should read before getting started.
I’ve met many people who think that if they simply have a good product, it will sell itself. What they don’t realise is that they’re not alone on their market.
Remember that building your offer and praying that someone will buy your product doesn’t work. If you don’t have a strategy to launch your product, there is a good chance that you’ll make barely (if any) sales.
The best part is that to use this strategy, you don’t need to have the same budget as Apple. Even if you’re alone and don’t have a lot of funds, you can still use this method to launch your product.
Here are the three main ideas that I took from the book that changed my vision of marketing:
The first is that you must build yourself a list of leads. Thanks to the internet, this is practically free of charge.
The second is the “Sideways Sales Letters”. In other words, instead of unilaterally communicating, interacting with your leads is the key to building a relationship. Get them committed, identify what interests them and create an offer based on this so you can maximise your sales.
The third idea is to use emotional triggers to influence your leads and make them irrationally want to buy your products and services.
Now, if you’re wondering whether Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula or “PLF” works, the answer is yes! Perhaps you have heard of Sébastien the French Marketer’s “orchestrated launches” method? Well, this method is an adaptation of Jeff’s method and plays a role in the success of many entrepreneurs, including Olivier Roland.
- The method makes it possible to start selling on the Internet with a very small initial budget.
- The product launch formula is based on human psychology, so it won’t become obsolete for a very long time
- Jeff Walker gives us the structure of his method step by step.
- Chapters 12 and 13 are a nice surprise, giving us good advice to create a business and a life we love.
- It is sometimes a little repetitive.
- Very little information on the technical part.
- There is a lack of concrete examples and templates, which makes it rather complicated to hold a first launch based solely on the book.
- Some stories don’t really add much to the book.
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