5 Launch Strategies That Aren’t Scummy

It’s a tale of two marketing strategies. Or rather, a tale of what seems like two marketing strategies. They’re “soft selling” and “bro marketing,” and it feels like you have to pick one school of thought if you want to be a successful business owner. 

So… Which one will you choose for your brand? 

We hope neither. Below, we’re talking about the problem with “traditional” marketing strategies and showing you how to turn them on their head and make your own ethical marketing strategies. 

Soft selling vs. bro marketing

What is soft selling?

Soft selling is when people take a passive approach to their marketing strategies. There’s not a lot of urgency (or none at all), and it all feels very vague. It’s kind of like the person who is scared to voice an opinion for fear of rocking the boat, “I think this is a great program — that’s just me though! It’s whatever you want to do.”

The problem? We’re hard-wired to be sold in a certain way — with urgency. Not putting any “oomph” into your offers means they get booted to the back seat of your audience’s mind. People see a lot of offers in a day, and if you’re gently and quietly talking about yours, you likely won’t stand out. 

With that said…

What’s bro marketing?

Think of bro marketing as the opposite of soft selling. It’s called “bro marketing” because it feels pushy and ridiculous — you may have seen those disjointed stories-turned-lessons about why you need their offer. “I dropped my recent delivery of smoothies on my foot and I realized… everyone needs my course.” (OK, no one is that blunt, we hope, but you get the idea.)

Bro marketing is also characterized by over-promising and under-delivering, and exploiting pain points for the sake of making a quick buck. 

The problem? It can be really unethical. 

You’re not stuck with bro marketing OR soft selling

While the majority of marketing training and programs out there seem to tell you how to market in one way or the other… they’re really two extreme ends of the same spectrum.

On one end, you have the in-your-face, slightly dishonest marketing approach and on the other, you have the quiet, meek, afraid-to-sell approach.

There is a happy medium. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, it’s finding the marketing mix that’s right for you. 

Remember: you still have to make money from launches, which means you’ll have to use marketing tactics to sell them. But that doesn’t make you a bad person! So let’s talk about how to leave bro marketing in 2017 where it should stay, and how to move forward with ethical marketing strategies that sell.

Using urgency with integrity

The bro marketers did us dirty on this one. They used “urgency” to drive sales — telling people they had to buy now or forever hold their piece. Only… they didn’t close doors or end promotions. They were just trying to get people in the door. 

That gives urgency as a marketing strategy as a bad name. But the truth is, urgency has been used in marketing since before the days of Mad Men.

Let’s look at Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. There’s a firm deadline for those sales, so what do people do? Advertise that their offer only stands (usually) until the end of the day on Cyber Monday. And no one looks at those brands and thinks they lack integrity because of it. 

If there really, truly is a firm deadline, it’s okay to advertise that. In fact, it helps cement the offer in your audience’s mind instead of leaving room for them to become distracted and forget it altogether.

But if you don’t have a deadline, like with evergreen offers, then don’t advertise one! Lying is not a good look — let the offer speak for itself instead of trying to manipulate the situation to get more sales. 

Using bonus offers with integrity

If it’s not truly a bonus, then don’t advertise it as such.

If it’s part of what’s included in the main offer, then it’s not a bonus.

If it’s the information they will be learning inside the course, it’s not a bonus.

If it’s something they were going to get anyways…it is not a bonus

A bonus offer is something that’s up for a limited time, like when you decide to throw in an extra module or mini course for the first 15 buyers. Or giving them access to another low-ticket offer in addition to their purchase. 

We see so many people piecemeal out modules or PDFs as “bonuses” when really they’re parts of the main offer. When people buy that program or your product, they’re going to feel misled when they only get one deliverable (i.e. the course or template). 

Don’t wreck your reputation or bloat your sales page for the sake of saying you have “over $10,000 in bonuses.” That kind of bloated value claim immediately causes suspicion, and your buyers will immediately wonder if it’s actually worth what you claim. 

How to use scarcity with integrity

This is along the same lines of urgency: Don’t use a false sense of scarcity. 

Scarcity marketing is when you only have a limited amount of your offer, whether that’s spots in a coaching program, freebies, bonuses, or sign-ups for a course — and you advertise it as such. 

For example, “If you want to launch your product within the next 3-4 months, you’ll want to join this mastermind now because I won’t launch again for at least 6 months.”

But where it becomes scummy is when people do that and it’s not true. They reopen the program in a month, or they open more spots, or they give out bonuses to everyone who joins. 

Now, you can still use scarcity even if you don’t have a strong bonus or short-term/limited incentive. You can let people know you don’t know when your course will open back up. Or that you’re unsure how many seats you can offer in your masterclass the next round. You can even say that you’re considering giving your freebies to anyone who joins, instead of the first 10. 

But one thing’s for sure — if you don’t really have that scarcity, don’t advertise it!

Using pain points with integrity

We want you to sell your stuff as much as you want to sell your stuff. But one thing we’re not going to do? Use people’s insecurities or exploit pain points for the sake of a successful launch. What do we mean by this? It goes back to that concept of bro marketing…

“If you don't get this, you won't find success. You can stay stuck in your work now OR you can choose this offer.”

And we KNOW you’ve seen those opt-in buttons that give you the choice between signing up and “No, thanks I want to stay lame/broke/sad forever.”

Does this mean that you can’t speak to your audience’s pain points? No. You should absolutely speak to their pain points. But do it in a way that acknowledges their experiences and what they want. Talk about what’s possible, aspirational, rather than the negatives of not buying your offer.

“Join this program now and we’ll work together to eliminate pain and have you feeling your best,” sounds (and sells) a lot better than, “Join now if you don’t want to let excuses stop you from losing weight.”

Which leads us to…

Using guarantees with integrity

Guarantees are tricky because you can’t ever really guarantee anything. But when you create a new offer, don’t over-promise if you know you can’t deliver on it (or aren’t sure if you can). 

Be clear on your guarantees or program promises, too. You can’t ever guarantee 100% success, but you can guarantee some outcomes if they do the work. 

For example, “If you follow the steps as they are laid out and designed in this course, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you want to create next in your offer suite.” That’s clear, helpful, and not over-promissory. 

And if you’re offering money-back guarantees, be crystal clear on the parameters. It’s not enough to say “If this course didn’t work for you but you can prove you did the work you’ll get a total refund!” You’ll get people going through all the modules and saying they got nothing out of it! 

Want to dig deeper into launching with integrity?

Honestly, one of the coolest things about running your own business is that you get to decide how you show up. If you want to soft sell, you go for it. If you want to be a bro marketer… to each their own.

If you want to find your own happy medium, your “Goldilocks zone” of marketing, we love that for you. We’ve talked extensively about how to launch with integrity (however YOU define integrity). If you want even more ways to make money off your offers in ways that feel aligned with your values and business, check out our Launching With Integrity Guide.


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