Launch jacking is when you get out in front of another business’s product launch, especially as an affiliate marketer.
If the term is new or strange to you, think first about ‘car jacking.’ This is (obviously) when you steal or take over someone else’s vehicle.
Launch jacking, therefore, is when you steal or take over someone else’s product launch – only it’s not quite so dramatic, and unlikely to result in a prison stint! Others have referred to it as ‘launch hi-jacking.’
Product launch jacking can be a fantastic way to get traffic to your site and, more importantly, a highly lucrative affiliate marketing strategy. Check out these examples!
Whatever niche you are in, there will be opportunities to try this out.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the health niche, the pet niche, or the digital marketing niche. It doesn’t matter if you primarily market digital products or physical products.
There are new products being released in every niche all the time. The idea is to rank your review or overview at the top of page one in preparation for the launch.
Before we get into some tips on how to best pull this off, here are two launch jacking examples. One is a physical product, and the other a digital product.
Physical Product Launch Jacking Example
This is an example of how I used to launch jack physical products in the craft niche.
I had a niche site about heat press machines – a product that is used to decorate t-shirts and other apparel. One of the main related products is cutting machines. They are one way to produce the heat transfers that are applied with a heat press.
Cricut was the most popular cutting machine brand in our target market, and we already owned and used their machines. We had many reviews and tutorials on Cricut machines. Our site ranked very well for both heat press and Cricut-related search queries.
Each year, Cricut releases new products and we would keep an eye out for what would be next. They would always tease a new product for a month or so before release and we always wanted to write the first review (or overview).
In 2018, Cricut announced on Instagram that they would be releasing their first heat press – the Cricut Easy Press. It was the perfect product for us to try and launch jack because it brought together two categories that our site already did well ranking for – ‘Cricut’ and ‘heat press.’
View this post on Instagram
We were on holiday when my wife saw the announcement, but that night I wrote a quick 500 word post on everything I could find out about it. There was very little info available at that stage, but I just embedded the Instagram post, added some commentary and speculation, and posted the article.
The next day, the post was ranking number 1 for all the terms associated with the machine:
- Cricut heat press
- Cricut Easy Press
- New Cricut iron
- and all the rest!
We had written the first post on the topic, so it wasn’t hard to do!
As usual, we made a Pinterest pin for the post, shared the post on Facebook, and emailed it out to our list. It got a ton of traffic and attention, particularly because it was the first post on the new product. Most people hadn’t even heard of it yet.
The launch date for the first Cricut EasyPress was a month or two away from that initial announcement, and our post ranked in position number 1 – 3 until well after it was available for sale.
Of course, we updated the EasyPress review as we found out more information. We also bought one for ourselves as soon as we could (ending up with three of them by the time we sold the site).
The EasyPress machine costs between $150 – $250 (there are different sizes), and had (😢) an 8% commission from Amazon and a 10% commission from Cricut.
Just this one search query, ‘Cricut Easy Press’ (screenshot above) has an estimated 35K search volume. That’s not to mention all the other terms the post ranked for, like ‘Cricut heat press,’ ‘Cricut Easy Press review,’ Cricut iron,’ ‘Cricut EasyPress vs heat press,’ and all the rest.
You can only imagine how good it was to be ranking number 1 for all the main keywords at the time of that launch!
Over time, new reviews by much higher authority sites eventually came out on the machine and the keyword has become very competitive. However, our post bounced around page 1 for all the important keywords for a couple of years after that successful launch jack.
Digital Product Launch Jacking Example
As you can imagine, you can also do this with digital products.
I got in touch with Joshua Smith of Work With Joshua. He reviews a lot of online marketing, e-commerce, and mindset courses and I asked him about his experiences with this affiliate marketing strategy.
Launch jacking is common practice in his niche, and he has done it dozens of times. Two recent course launches he used this strategy on were ‘The Wholesale Formula’, an Amazon seller training, and ‘The Knowledge Business Blueprint,’ a mindset and marketing training.
When an online course is released, potential buyers are skeptical and seek out reviews to confirm if it’s actually genuine. They want to see any additional results or hear success stories.
Joshua has been launch jacking since when Warrior Forum was popular, though he doesn’t do it as much these days. He has found it can attract an audience who might make a poor buying decision in the heat of the moment.
Joshua shares some of the potential cons of launch jacking, if it’s not done ethically:
“Many people who go with a launch jacking strategy in the online course world haven’t actually bought the product. Worst still, many affiliates minimize or even eliminate any potential red flags or negatives of a course in order to attain a juicy commission. This often leads to higher refund rates and a lack of trust in the blogger.”
As a long-term approach or sole strategy for making money, he doesn’t think it’s a great idea.
“It’s good to get a few big-ticket commissions in a relatively short space of time, but those who do launch jacking as their only strategy have to constantly seek out new offers. Evergreen offers, on the other hand, mean less work and potentially more revenue over the long term.”
When he does use a launch jacking strategy for a new course release, here are some of the things he does:
- Has a well written, honest review of the course
- Sends some internal links to the post
- Builds external links to the post prior to launch
- Shares the post on social and to his email list
He will do what he can to have the post ranking well organically in search so that the people who hear about the launch can search for a genuine product review.
Unusually, Joshua only reviews courses he’s actually bought and used, and he isn’t afraid to share both the pros and the cons, even if it’s going to cost him some commissions.
Launch Jacking Pros And Cons
The real upside to a launch jacking strategy is the potential to make big commissions in a relatively short space of time. If you rank well for the relevant terms, there will be a lot of activity for the week of the product launch.
If you rank in position 1 – 3, you can potentially have a big windfall. However, depending on the product, it can die down pretty quickly. This is particularly the case with online course launches, many of which are only open for a limited time (Authority Hacker Pro, for example).
Alternatively, physical products, like the Cricut EasyPress, can go on selling for many years. However, as other competitors start targeting the keyword, you will need to continue doing those regular things that are important: link building, improving content, and ensuring the on-site experience is good for visitors.
The pros and cons of launch jacking:
- Get a surge of traffic around launch day
- Chance to earn many affiliate commissions
- Set yourself up as an authority on that product
- Opportunities to work closely with the product launcher
- If the product isn’t great you may lose readers trust
- Possibility of many product returns
- Product launcher may not appreciate being hijacked
It really depends on the niche you are in as to how you go about it.
If you are a vacuum review site, there’s no harm in doing a great write-up on an upcoming Dyson vacuum release. Simply say all there is to say on the product and then do what you can to have the article ranking as it goes for sale.
Some products, especially expensive online courses, need a little more care as to how you go about them.
Launch Jacking Tips
The marketers who do the best with launch jacking online products provide extra benefits for having someone sign up through their link. This is also known as ‘offer-stacking.’
Joshua often offers:
- An additional course
- Helpful and relevant templates
- Email support or even a coaching call
I’ve found this is an excellent way to reduce refund rates while helping individuals gain more from the program than they otherwise might have.
Other ideas for making the most of a product launch:
Facebook Ads – As a new product is being released, run a Facebook Ad targeting your ideal buyers. For example, with Cricut product releases, we were able to specifically target people who had liked Cricut’s FB page (almost 3 million of them) and get amazing results.
Pop-Ups – If it makes sense, create a pop-up to notify visitors to your site of the new product release. You can set it to pop up site-wide or only for specific categories that are relevant.
Notification Bar – If pop-ups aren’t your thing, set a notification bar at the top of your site to tell visitors about a new and exciting product release. This can be less intrusive and there are many plugins that look good and do the job.
Internal Links – Send a bunch of internal links to the post that you are trying to rank for a launch jack. Every little bit helps, especially if others are jockeying for position. Link Whisper can help you build internal links to your target page faster.
External Links – Try and build a few external links to your launch jack post. If the potential is there to earn a lot in commissions, it’s worth putting some real time into ranking the post.
Comments – If you have comments enabled on your site, once the post goes live, get some friends to find the post in search and leave some comments. Google will hopefully reward the engagement with higher rankings.
Email – Make sure you email your list with a link to your post and with your affiliate links leading up to the launch. If your product has a 7-day affiliate cookie, for example, email the list within this period. If they make a purchase after launch by going to the product site directly, it will still be your sale.
YouTube – If you do YouTube, it’s a great idea to make a video about an upcoming product release. Obviously, leave your affiliate link and a link to a blog post in the description and tell people to click it!
How To Find Opportunities To Launch Jack
The best way to find launch jacking opportunities is to know your niche and be intimately acquainted with it!
Make sure you’re on top of what the most popular brands are and when they are releasing new products. There’s no point trying to launch jack a new product that no one has heard of or cares about! There’s nothing to jack there.
Joining Facebook groups in your niche is one way to stay on top of what’s popular and what people are getting excited about.
Most affiliate program managers will also email out about upcoming product releases. Make sure you read these and research whether or not it’s going to be a big deal.
Following brand social accounts is another way to hear about new products – both for digital and physical products.
Also, try to target a high-paying affiliate product to launch jack. It makes it more worth your time.
What Is Launch Jacking?
Launch jacking is one affiliate marketing strategy for making money, but it should be used in combination with regular product reviews and valuable info posts. You don’t want to only be a launch jacker.
Generally speaking, you need a strong site to rank well for any products that might be worth launch jacking. Keep the products relevant to your niche, stay honest, and you can have a lot of fun during product launches.
It’s always thrilling to have a massive surge of traffic to your site and a flood of affiliate commissions into your account!
I’ll give Joshua the final word on digital product launch jacking:
“While I’ve done this numerous times and made way more money than I want to admit to, I’ve come to the conclusion that we all should focus on building a more sustainable business as Spencer Haws does.
By building a real business that can be sold for a 30x to 40x multiple with evergreen offers, we aren’t stuck chasing one’s tail every week looking for the next hot launch.”