For a small business or start up, there’s nothing worse…

You spend days, weeks, months… even years… on an idea for a website, product or service…

Then launch day comes.

You’re excited.

Butterflies in your stomach…

Dreams in your head about how successful this idea will be – how many customers you’ll get and how much money you’ll make.

Perhaps you’re super hyped-up because you’ve read a load of motivation advice like this…

“Whatever your mind can conceive it will achieve!”

“Set yourself goals and you will reach them!”

“Believe in yourself!”

“Dream big: your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your success!”

You have seen posters like this:

With all this motivational advice and self-help expertise, you cannot fail.

So you press “SEND” on that promotional email, activate the dazzling new website or launch that Facebook advertising campaign.




What you get instead of clicks and sales is rolling tumbleweed and a heart-breaking silence on what should be the most exciting business day of the year.

All that investment, time and hope, shattered on day one.

If you’re a new business, operating on tight margins or cash-strapped, a failed launch can not only crush your spirit, it can destroy your business.

The thing is, failure can happen, no matter how big your dreams or how good your attitude is.

So it’s no wonder there’s such a boom in online joke posters that take the mickey out of motivational clichés.

Here’s an example:

As a copywriter, web-developer and product creator I’ve had failed launches. Damp squibs. Disappointments.

It happens to the best of us. Even Digital Upstart founder and successful entrepreneur Nick Laight experienced it earlier in the year. He was totally honest about it and gave this advice…

“You’ve got to quickly overcome the negative emotions that are first to appear. ?

“On reflection, the reason for failure may prove to be obvious. And the sooner one can make that realisation the better.

“DENIAL may be followed by ANGER…

“…ANGER towards your customers (for not appreciating all the hard work that went into the launch)…

“Or ANGER towards work colleagues (for letting you down or not spotting an obvious flaw)…

“Or even ANGER directed towards yourself…

“Don’t beat yourself up about it. There are far worse things going on in the world that legitimately deserve your anger.”

This is very true. The first thing to do is get past those torrid emotions.

Then what?

Well, quite simply, you have to try again, learning the lessons from that failure.

And while I could give you a motivational pep-talk here about believing in yourself, I won’t.

Instead, let me give you some proven practical pointers on what you could do next-time round to make sure you get a hit.

1. Customer Research

If you launch a product without fulfilling an urgent need or burning desire in your email readers, blog visitors or social media followers –then you won’t make the sales you’re looking for.

Before you do anything else, you need to be clear about who your customer really is, and what they really want. This includes their…

• Primary Goals (Do they want to overcome a specific problem, increase knowledge or skills?)

• Positive Emotions (How will they feel if they were to solve their problem or achieve their dream outcome?)

• Primary Fears (What will happen to them if they fail to achieve their desired result?)

• Negative Emotions (How will they feel if they fail? Do they currently experience negative emotions due to their problem?)

• Bad Experiences (Their negative experiences in the past when trying to achieve their desired outcome. Have they been let down or receive the wrong advice or information?)

• Obstacles (What’s stopping them from achieving their goals?)

• Common Enemy? (Is there an individual, group or organisation working against them or getting in the way?)

• World view? (Have they a particular outlook on life, politics and society that you can key into?)

To help answer this…

Carry out a survey.

Email your database with questions or a request for feedback.

Check customer service feedback.

Look at the comments beneath your blog posts.

Collect all the comments and feedback from email correspondence.

Check your Facebook page or other social media sites for comments beneath your posts and updates.

Go to forums in your niche and hunt for mentions of your business or products.

Look at reviews of your product on Amazon or other ecommerce sites.

Google your business, services and products and see where you’re mentioned, reviewed or listed.

With this information you’ll have the ammo to draft a much more accurate customer profile. This is vital if you want to create a product that hits all the right buttons.

Next you need to make sure you have accurately positioned your product.

2. Product Research

Here’s what you need to do…

• Go to Amazon – search for products that target the same customers. Note down the reviews (good and bad), as well as prices, design and product description – what are its features and benefits.

• Search on Google – focus on keywords related to your product niche, but also rival businesses and products. Note the adverts down the right-hand side, as well as the products you find in the organic search. Note down prices, special offers and keywords. Also create a file of all the landing pages and sales copy you find.

• Use Yelp to find and mentions of competitors’ deals. Ideal if you’re an offline business like a shop or restaurant, or offer services (such as plumbing, DIY, personal fitness training).

• Sign up to email newsletters by rival businesses, or services that promote products related to your field.

• Buy products – set aside a budget and buy the competition’s products, then react to them just like a consumer. Copy what’s right about them and note what’s wrong with them.

• Use Spyfu – this online resource helps you to research what keywords and Adwords your competitors are buying and how they are doing. This is important for you to know what your headline and promises should focus on. It also helps you see who’s doing well and how they’re pulling in customers.

• Try Alexa – here’s where you can check out how rival websites are doing, where those customers are coming from.

• Look at Google Trends to stay on top of the latest in your niche, what the trend in popularity is.

Once you’ve gathered all this information you’ll have a much better idea of what your customers really want.

You’ll also know what the most successful businesses in your field are doing.

Now you can go back to the drawing board with much more chance of a great launch next time round.

This should work far better than a motivational poster!

Do let us know how you get on…