Shopify Store Launch Success Guide (Part Three)
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We're excited to share Part Three of our 4-Part Shopify Store Launch Guide!
If you followed our initial Shopify Store Launch Success Guide Introduction post, then you've picked a date for your Shopify store launch. And if you've followed our Shopify Store Launch Success Guide Part One techniques you've begun working on the 4-Core Topics. If you haven't done those steps yet, then go back and work on them now. If you followed Part two of our guide, then you've worked hard on your pre-launch contest strategies to build your email list and social following.
Now it's time to cash-in on that hard work.
Launch Day: Part Three of our guide assumes you are at launch day and working from launch day to 12 days after launch. Here is what you should do:
The culminating event of your launch day process is to make your site public so friends, family, customers, and fans can come check it out. But there are two other key steps you'll want to make sure you take on day one.
Make Your Site Public: To do this step you go to to your Shopify dashboard. Under "Online Store" ... "Preferences" look for "Password Page" at the bottom. I've included a screenshot of these three sections so you can see what this part of your Shopify site administration looks like.
Two other important tips that you might consider last minute reminders.
Google Analytics: Be sure to install a Google Analytics tracking code. You can learn exactly how to do that here. Why do it? Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that will help you begin to understand a whole host of things about your new website, including:
- Sources of traffic, (Organic Search, Social, Emails, etc.)
- Real-Time Visitors and locations (this is fun to watch)
- The amount of revenue from various sources of traffic
- Which social media sites are most profitable to you
- How many of your visitors are new versus returning
Facebook Pixel: Another step you'll want to take just before you open the door is to install a Facebook tracking pixel. This allows you to "tag" each person that visits your site so that you can advertise to them in the future using Facebook. Creepy? (not if done well) Profitable? (yes, if done well).
Get Feedback! I'd highly encourage you to take the first 12 days after your site is live to collect user feedback. There are several ways you can do it. First, a review team. Second, a 5-minute video review. Here is more information about each:
Review Team: One thing I'd highly encourage you to do is pull together a small group of friends, family, or loyal customers and let them know what you're doing (they should have already heard from your promotional strategies) and ask them to purchase something on day one as a way to help you test the site. Let them know you'll refund the money, or give them a coupon to use, or take them out to dinner. But hopefully some of them will just say, "oh, I'm happy to" and actually buy an item or two.
Review Team Members: Pulling together a group like this can be difficult because these people will most likely NOT want to hurt your feelings. So they will shy away from brutal honesty. So to help get over that issue, do two things. First, pick the right people. Here are the types of people I'd suggest:
- Pick 3-5 "Super Fans". Someone who thinks you're a genius; loves what you do admires you, and will give you kudos and support regardless of how bad your site looks or functions. This will give you an encouraging boost.
- Pick 3-5 "Critics". This could be a brother-inlaw, ex-co-worker, your college buddy, or whoever thinks they're smarter than you and that you're dumb. Plan ahead of time on ignoring their feedback on an emotional level, but listen for clues about how you might improve your site.
- Pick 3-5 "Perfect Customers". These would be people from your target market. These might be long-time loyal customers, or friends that you know fit your target demographic.
- Pick 3-5 "Clueless People". By clueless I mean people who are not "techie" and will likely be uncomfortable using the technology of your site. They are the ones that won't understand things that you think are simple. Listen for clues about how to simplify your wording, layout, product names, and related content.
It's important to realize that half these people won't finish the assignment you've asked them to help you with - even if they promise to ahead of time. So you won't get as much feedback as you had hoped. Three weeks later, you'll probably get an email from a few of them apologizing and asking if they can still go ahead and do what you asked. Such is life.
Review Team Questions: Since these nice folks will want to be helpful, but won't be sure how, you'll want to give them some guidance. I'd recommend you include a simple outline in an email to them that includes something like this:
Thanks again for agreeing to visit my site tomorrow, check it out, and buy something so I can get your feedback on the experience. In particular, I'd love for your opinion on the following,
- What did you enjoy?
- What seemed confusing or odd?
- What stood out to you in a positive way?
- What could I do to improve the site?
- Where there specific words or phrases that seemed confusing?
- Where there words of phrases that you appreciated?
- How did the product selection and checkout process work?
- Did you notice any part of the site that seemed un-finished?
Thanks in advance for your help! I truly appreciate it!
Of course, you'll want to collect their feedback and make changes as appropriate. One word of caution. One person's opinion doesn't necessarily give you a good perspective. But in a multitude of comments, you'll find patterns and common themes.
5-Minute Video Review: Another fun way to get interesting feedback is to use a free tool called "Peek".
This fun tool gives you a free review of your site using a real person that has no knowledge of who you are, what you do, or what you're trying to accomplish. They are recorded as they review your site and they talk out-loud about what they see, questions they have, confusion they encounter, and things they like. It is a blast!
Just realize Peek reviewers won't be your ideal customer (unless you get lucky) and they won't go through the purchasing process. But their feedback will still be very fun to receive.
From day one of your website - you have an opportunity to evaluate the success of your product strategies. That's a critical part of finding success. You'll find 3 possible outcomes:
- Your Product Strategy Works Well
- Your Product Strategy Barely Works
- Your Product Strategy Doesn't Work At All
Pivot, change or continue moving forward as appropriate. If successful, you'll want to find ways to highlight and enhance your winning products. If after a few weeks of having your site live - you're not seeing visitors purchase items - then you need to re-think your plan and try new things. Listen to your customer feedback and other clues for how to adapt and change.
What exactly should you look at?
Review #1 - What Are The Most Popular Items?
- Which product is most popular?
- Do you have a logical and effective upsell tied to that product (using the Product Upsell App)?
- Do you have that product featured on the top of your homepage?
- Is that product in a category with similar products, so you use it's popularity to sell related items?
- Do you have a bundle made from that item that sells multiples of it, or mixes it with logically connected items?
Review #2 - What Are The Unpopular Items That You Think Should Be Popular
- Does the unpopular item that you think should be popular have a well-written description and product photography? Consider changing it.
- Is the unpopular item buried on the site - and therefore not getting the views that it should? (Consider positioning it differently on the homepage).
- Is the unpopular item poorly named? (consider changing it).
- Does the unpopular item serve as a logical extension of a more popular item? If so, consider making it the upsell (using the Product Upsell App).
Focus On The Winners: It's easy to focus on the problems with your unpopular items, especially if you really like them personally or have invested a lot of time, energy, or money in them. But you have to be pragmatic. Your successful products should be obsessed over, refined, polished, upgraded, and well supported. Take them from good to great. At some point, you have to throw in the towel on poor performing items. This can frequently be a hard and emotional decision.
Review #3 - What Products Are Missing?
- Have your customers asked why you don't carry "xy or z"?
- Has it become obvious what additional products your customers might purchase?
Review #4 - What Information Is Missing?
- Is there a confusion, question, or knowledge problem related to your products or their use? Consider improving your Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Do people need a "walk-through" video explaining part of the product use? Consider whether that should be free or whether it could be a paid course.
- Consider whether you could make a paperback book for your customers. It's easier than you think via Createspace.com.
- Evaluate whether a Kindle ebook, Video course, or simply a PDF, would be valuable to your customers. These products have incredibly high margins because they have zero cost of goods - so if at all possible - weave them into your product strategy.
Don't expect your product strategy to be perfect - it will be far from it. Instead, consider this the first step in a journey of a thousand miles. Take the long view. Learn. Have fun. Release yourself from any unrealistic expectations. Determine in your heart that whatever happens, you're going to learn and grow and continue to move forward.
The first 12 days of your site being live should feel like a constant party with daily activities occurring on the site that you have planned in advance and run it like a summer camp director. What activities?
- Contests. We've discussed the strategy for these already in prior sections. I'd encourage you to have your biggest and best contests during your launch week. Effective contests will simultaneously get people to visit your site and also share about your site via social media. Contests such as comment contests also demonstrate social proof. If you have a comment contest and have 1,000 comments - people immediately see that you are THE REAL DEAL! And people like what other people like. In other words - prove you're popular and it will help comfort people's mistrust and build their confidence in your website and brand.
- Polls. Using www.polldaddy.com is a great way to get customer insights, include your customers in your business, and make them feel heard. Ask them smart questions, such as - "which product should we put on 50% off next week?" Wow - that's a great question! Give them 4 options and then let them see the voting outcomes. That way they'll not only see what other customers think, they'll be encouraged to return to your site the following week to get that item.
- Special Daily Deals: Publish a schedule of "Launch Week Specials" so people know what you're going to put on sale and when. Make these great deals and in that way, you'll be encouraging your customers to visit your site each day.
- Live-Stream hangouts: Plan to use Facebook Live, or Zoom (or use them together) to conduct a "live-stream" hangout. This is YOU on camera chatting with your customers. This is the ultimate test of your belief in your ability to serve your customers. Can you get them to show up - bribery works well. Can you answer their questions? Make your launch party "real" by really having a fun time with people!
- New Product Launches: Let people know in advance what new products will be published on the site and when. Pre-sell it via your newsletter and social media. Give people a reason to show up ahead of time.
Avoid Freebie (only) Seekers: One caution as it relates to contests. In most industries, there are people who want things for free - and people who are paying customers that just want a fair deal. Do your best to structure your activities to attract the buyers and avoid the people who are only going to ever want freebies. This can sometimes be very hard to discern, so as long as it doesn't cost you too much, err on the side of including everyone and you can sort it out later.
Have Fun & Your Customers Will Feel It: Being the summer camp director can be exhausting. So plan ahead. Create a launch week plan that is clear, logical, thought-out in advance, budgeted, and achievable. Don't expect Oprah or the New York Times to call or visit the site. Millions of people probably won't show up. But if you structure the activities correctly, just as with a real party, or summer-camp, a fun time can be had by all.
At the time of your launch, if you've followed our launch plan, you should have the following communication assets:
- An email list.
- A social media following on several social media platforms (again, I recommend Facebook and Pinterest at a minimum).
How To Use The Communication Tools & What To Say
So the question is how do you use these tools to communicate - and what do you communicate - to gain maximum launch energy.
Let's talk about "what" first.
Early, Often, Casual
I'd highly recommend you follow this 3-phrase mantra. Communicate early in the process, communicate often, and communicate casually. Let's focus on each one for a moment.
Early: Start sending newsletter announcements as soon as you have a launch date and an email list with some names on it. Then when you have your pre-launch promotions - share about them. Then during launch week - tell people your plan.
Often: Always have a reason to communicate - and be looking for reasons. Create reasons. Think about "what can I tell my audience". Then, email your list frequently. How often? Well, it could be daily. As long as you have something important to tell them, then go for it. Email is incredibly powerful because YOU control the frequency. The only rule is - make it good or people will opt-out, or mark it as spam.
Casual: Treat everyone on your email list like they are an insider and friend. Speak casually. Speak from the heart. Tell them the truth of the situation. Reveal your fears, hopes, and motivation. Tell them your dreams, and how crazy those dreams sound to say out loud. Tell them you care about them - and that you want to help them - and that you're building your business to serve them. Treat them like they're special - because they are! Bring them on this exciting journey with you by sharing it with them.
How To Use The Communication Tools
Lead With The Email: The simplest way to use your communication tools is to let your email newsletter serve as the centerpiece.
Expand The Conversation Onto Social Media: Then simply share it on the social media sites. You can literally share the link to your newsletter on Facebook and Twitter for example. Or you can take chunks of the newsletter and repurpose it.
Leverage Free Tools To Make Your Communication Beautiful: However you share things, it should look professional and eye-catching. You can use www.canva.com to make a whole range of shareable images for various parts of your messaging. You can make things like:
- Visual Twitter Posts
- Visual Facebook Posts
- Visual Instagram Posts
- Gift Certificates
- Business Cards
- Email Header
Be Honest: I've spent a lot of time writing these Launch Guide articles, so I want to ask you a special favor. During your launch week, take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself about your launch effort. If your launch was a failure - ask yourself whether you actually did the pre-work to make it a success. If you put in the hard work outlined in this Launch Guide, but your launch was still a disappointment, send me a note and let me look at your site. Maybe I can point out a thing or two that could be improved.
My goal is to get you into a thriving Shopify site - I hope this article has been helpful in getting you one step closer to that goal.
You can do this!
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