Why Online Launches Fail

As online business owners, I think a lot of us have had our heads turned by stories of people who have five, six, even seven-figure launches for their businesses. These Cinderella success stories are so compelling, and they seem to be EVERYWHERE!

But the fact is, despite all the success stories you may have seen or heard, a LOT of online launches fail. Or, if they don’t outright FAIL, they certainly don’t live up to goals or expectations.

I couldn’t find statistics specifically on the types of online info- or service businesses many of my customers have, but research has shown that (depending on the industry) the average failure rate of a new product is between 30% and 49%.

Let that sink in: Nearly HALF of all new products launched fail.

Chris Ducker suggests that 90% of internet business startups fail within the first 120 days!  That’s mind boggling — and if you’ve made it past the 120-mark, give yourself a pat on the back.

Regardless of the actual numbers, we can postulate that the percentage of launch failures is pretty high. But why is that? 

If you’re launching soon, I’ve created a checklist of the basic building blocks of content you need to create a solid path for your customers to go down. Click here to download it for free.

Let’s assume that you have a product (not always true!) and that you already know that people want / need it. Leaving aside the problems of production or funding or those sorts of things, a launch’s failure almost always comes down to one thing:


And problems with marketing can be broken down into a few different problems:

1. You don’t have enough leads.

Maybe the biggest problem I see with my clients is that they don’t have enough leads to turn into prospects to turn into the number of sales they want to see. It’s really just math: You need exponentially more leads than you want sales. One of the first things I do in my Strategy Sessions is work with the client to figure out these numbers so that we understand our goals and the metrics we need to track to get there. 

2. You haven’t overcome objections.

I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t think it will work for me. If you’ve ever sold anything, you’ve probably heard every variation of these objections — but are you actually addressing them at any point during your launch? And, beyond the time and money issues, it’s vital to research and figure out what other objections your key potential customers might have so that you can speak directly to those objections.

3. You haven’t made the offer feel urgent.

Urgency is a big deal. Sometimes launches have urgency built-in — the cart closes on a certain day, or there are a limited number of spots available, etc. But sometimes even that isn’t enough because you haven’t addressed why the person must take action right now. Even with a product that is always available, there is something that the customer is missing or giving up or not addressing by not making the purchase right now — and you need to remind them of the cost of delay in order to create urgency.

4. You haven’t made the offer personal.

No matter what you’re selling, the customer needs to know not only that the product or service is good, but that it is right for them. Lots of business owners resist niching down, because they feel as though their product or service would be good for anyone! But I can’t think of a single product or brand whose niche is “everyone;” even products like Coca-Cola and brands like Wal-Mart have specific people and communities they appeal to. Your marketing, especially for a launch, needs to make it exceptionally clear who the product or service is perfect for — and who it’s NOT right for — so that potential customers can self-select. And, to take it a step further, you want them to be excited to self-select so that they will make a purchase.

5. Your audience is exhausted.

Your list is not an unlimited resource.  Let’s pretend you launch a program to your list of 1,000 people, and you make 10 sales.  Great.  But now everyone in that pool of people has seen the offer and made a decision about whether or not it was right for them. If you try to sell the same product to those remaining 900 people, only a very small percentage will change their mind. OLD leads don’t convert at the same rate as NEW leads. The point is, your list is a limited resource, and so you must continuously be replenishing it (see No. 1) in order to continue to sell. 

How do you avoid these problems?

What I most often see is that if people try to address these potential problems, they go about it too late. 

If you are trying to address these problems exclusively on your sales page or while your cart is open, your chance for success goes WAY down.

Because that’s too late. By the time you’re asking for the sale, many times people have already made up their mind, and you have only moments to try to influence them.

Instead, your marketing plan for your launch needs to be addressing these issues weeks, and even months before you ever try to sell something. 


Because I know that most of you are looking to build a relationship with your customers — not just a transaction. And it’s so much more effective to start that early, well before you’re asking them to plunk down their cash.

For example:

  • Need more leads? —> Create tantalizing lead magnets (events, videos, downloads, etc.) well in advance of your launch so that you have plenty of time to nurture those new people. 
  • Need to overcome objections? —> Use content to demonstrate how the investment (of time or money or both) is worth it or the return the customer can expect. Addressing frequently asked questions (or SHOULD ask questions) through content is also effective.
  • Need to build urgency? —> Content that demonstrates the risk of inaction can be extremely effective. 
  • Need to make your offer more personal? —> Build case studies or demonstrations into your content marketing so that your potential customers can see how your product or service meets their exact needs. 

Take a moment to think about your next launch and ask yourself if you are structuring your marketing to guard against these common problems. And take a moment to download my launch content checklist below to help organize your thoughts. 


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