My Subscription Box Launch Failed - what now?

Uncategorized Apr 11, 2018

It’s happened. You have pulled the trigger after all that time and energy into finding the best most unique idea for your sub box.

  • You have lovingly crafted your pre-launch page.
  • You have built a killer website, taken gorgeous photos.
  • Spent HEAPS on amazing custom boxes and Facebook Ads.
  • You stood up on your stage and shouted to the world that you are OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Here is where the money, that sweet recurring revenue, comes pouring in.

 

*crickets*

 

 

Ok – hold up for a second.

If you are someone who needs to be constantly praised. Stop Reading this now.

If you don’t like confronting uncomfortable truths. Please go and look at Facebook.

If you are thinking your launch sucked for any other reason than you. You probably don’t want to read this.

Because today we are going to explore 3 things:

  1. Exactly why your launch sucked,
  2. Why this is a good thing, and
  3. What to do next.

 

Why your launch sucked

Because you probably didn’t try hard enough AKA if you are lazy and you know it….clap your hands

If I asked you to put your hand on your heart, then swear to me that you did every little part of your launch perfectly and didn’t half ass it. Could you?

Don’t lie – SANTA is watching.

  • So you took your time and made an email capture page that is beautiful, well written and makes sense to your target audience.
  • You marketed your launch to your perfect audience and took the time to collect quality email addresses – not just freebie seekers.
  • You communicated regularly with your email list, discussed ideas with them, got them engaged and enthusiastic about your upcoming launch. You know, had a conversation with them…
  • You took lovely high quality photos of your mock boxes, invested in having them edited and touched up.
  • You sought partners, influencers and setup a marketing schedule, with everyone’s efforts culminating on a single day, week, month.
  • You built your website perfectly and it makes sense to your customers who know exactly what they are going to get and when.

Can you swear to me that you did all these things well?

Hey I’m not here to judge.

After all things said and done, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself. Have a deep dark look at everything you did for your launch.

Then ask yourself: “Did I really do a good job or did I just do the bare minimum”.

 

Does my idea suck?

Does the world need another “dog subscription box” or a box for albino hairless cats?

Be honest with yourself. If the idea is not resonating with your ideal customers or maybe your idea customers just don’t appear to be the type of group that is spending money on a product – what’s the point? Just change direction and move on.

 

You are a try-hard. Stop trying so hard.

What – didn’t you just tell me I didn’t try hard enough?

There is a difference between putting in effort and coming across as desperate.

Posting crap like “C’mon guys!! This box is amazeballs and without you it will not happen. Please show your support” screams of someone who has recently given up on a Lularoe business only to latch onto the next big idea with the same fervent delusion.

The scent of your desperation transcends space and time and your prospects and customers can smell it a mile off – even through the internet.

Play it cool Millhouse.

Honestly. If your idea fails. Who gives a shit? Yes it’s a kick in the guts, but idea’s are like farts. Everyone births a new one into the world every few minutes. So just birth the next one and move on.

 

Why your launch sucking is a good thing

Something I have learned from Mark Mason’s bed time book: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck, is that failure is liberation. It’s through the act of failing that we can grow, be it in business or our personal life.

"The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience."

What this means is that when we accept a negative experience such as a failed business launch we accept we cannot control everything but we can control how we respond to it.

If you have failed in something you can start changing and improving. Now you can start looking at what we need to do to get better – without letting our ego and bias rule our actions.

 

What to do next

Let’s enter what I call: The Post Launch Autopsy

This is where we layout the corpse of our launch and cut it open to see what caused it to fail. It's a time for honesty and thought. Don't rush this. 

Grab a pen and paper and start answering the below questions.

Step 1: Review the website

Does it work?

Be the customer: Go to your site and confirm that everything works – buttons, checkout, post checkout etc. Can someone actually make a purchase?

Does it make sense?

Are you trying to be too clever?

Are you using simple language to explain the big three questions:

  • What do you sell?
  • Who do you sell it to?
  • Why do I do to buy it?

Is it mobile friendly?

Does it look good and function well on a mobile device. This is a must. Most of your traffic is going to be mobile traffic so having a site that actually works on a mobile device is a non-negotiable.

 

Step 2: Review Your Marketing

Who is your target audience?

Do you even know? What do you know about them? Are they men, women or somewhere in between? What language do they speak? Are they geeks, sporty or maybe fine arts aficionados?

Does your website speak to that group of people?

 

What was your pre-launch offer: discount, free box etc?

Was the competition congruent with getting someone to sign up for your box? Eg: Were you offering to win a free iPad or computer but you run a Rabbit Lovers subscription box.

Was your offer any good? A 1% discount isn’t exactly enticing. What can you offer that is better?

 

How did you position your product?

Was it a way to maximise the enjoyment of a niche?

Do you give access to something they couldn’t afford?

Do they get exclusive new and exciting products?

 

Did you have a Marketing plan or just wing it?

How did you attract prospects?

How did you Influence them into becoming buyers? Did you not do this and just assume they didn't need to be "sold"

 

Step 3: Your Follow Up          

Did you email your lists before, during and after the launch?

How did you communicate with them? Did you just randomly email them or do you have a clear plan around what to say and when to say it?

 

Did you setup retargeting to people who visited your website?

Did you just send people to your site and not follow up with them?

 

Did you offer chat support to people browsing your website?

What feedback did you get? What are the common questions being asked?

 

What to do with your post mortem autopsy report?

If you have been completely honest with yourself during this deep dive you will have started to identify some critical areas in your marketing where you can improve. Your mission is to go and implement those changes!

If you need help with all this I have courses available on launching and marketing your subscription box within my membership site - The Subscription Accelerator Program. To find out more you can check it out here. Not only do you get access to all my courses but you can get regular feedback, tips and advice on all aspects of running your Subscription Box business.

Conclusion

While a failed launch may be painful initially it doesn’t mean that all is lost. Yes, you need to take a good hard look at what you did, because ultimately everything about launching this business is your responsibility. But the first steps to success are paved in making mistakes, picking yourself back up, fixing them and moving on.

You have got this. I know you do!

Steve

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