This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.
Congratulations, you’ve made it.
You’ve worked hard and paid your dues, and finally you have a blog with healthy traffic and a large list of engaged subscribers.
You know what they need, and you’ve invested the time and energy to create a product that will meet and exceed their expectations.
Now all that’s left for you to do is launch the product, and rake in the cash. I mean, at this point, what could go wrong?
Well, the truth is that a lot could go wrong.
Even with a great product and an engaged audience, success isn’t guaranteed. You still have to launch the thing properly.
Here’s how to do it…
It’s all about commitment and reward
There are two keys to effectively launching a product (or selling anything, for that matter): commitment and reward. These two keys feed off of each other in an escalating dance. Commitment leads to reward, and reward leads to more commitment.
Now, you’ve probably already got the cycle going if you’re thinking about launching a product; you’ve got readers who are committed to your blog, and you reward them with content. They commit by subscribing to your list, and you reward them with emails full of great materials that they enjoy.
Simple enough, right? You’ve got a commitment action, and you’ve got the reward – now all you have to do is lather, rinse and repeat. When they commit, you reward them by exceeding expectations. And once you’ve rewarded them, you create another reason and opportunity for them to commit.
In business, this is how someone goes from reading a blog, to subscribing to a list, to taking a free session, to buying the $20 product, to buying the $200 product, to buying the $2,000 product, to registering for the exclusive one-on-one coaching in Maui.
In relationships, this is how a couple goes from casually dating, to serious dating, to taking trips together, to getting engaged, to getting married, to having kids and raising a family.
Now theory’s great, but examples are what makes it real, so let’s look at a real live case study of how I did exactly this with the launch of my Write Like Freddy blog writing training program.
The back-story (how I built Firepole Marketing)
So first, a bit of backstory, in case you aren’t familiar with Firepole Marketing.
We started the blog about a year and a half ago, and a big part of our strategy was guest posting. So I wrote a lot of guest posts; over 80 of them in 2011, and mostly on very well-recognized blogs that you’re probably familiar with (like the one you’re reading right now!).
I didn’t just do a lot of writing, though—I did my best to time my posts so that they would go up all at once, to make it more likely that people would notice me. It worked, and my friend Eugene made a comment likening me to Freddy Krueger. He said “Danny, you’re like the Freddy Krueger of Blogging—wherever I turn, you’re there!”
Well, the nickname stuck, and I started receiving a lot of emails from people who wanted to know how I wrote so much, and would I teach them?
I resisted for a long time, because I’m not actually in the blogging business—I’m in the marketing education business. But people kept asking, so I finally relented, and put together a training program that teaches my method for writing. I finished it back in January, but I didn’t want to release an untested product to the public, so I did a small internal launch, only to the people on my mailing list.
In other words, if you hadn’t already either subscribed to my free video course or downloaded my book, there was no way for you to hear about it.
This is very important for the case study, because in this launch there was no outside promotion, affiliates, or anything like that. Everybody was already on my list, so the entire launch was about this cycle of commitment and reward.
Don’t just say “Buy my product”
Now, the simplest way to go through a cycle of commitment and reward would be to say, “Hey, I’ve got this new blog writing training program, click here to buy it.”
That would be the commitment opportunity, and then the reward would be the great training that they would receive once they sign up. But that’s really just the bare minimum, and I wanted to do better.
So instead of just the one cycle, the Write Like Freddy launch involved several cycles of commitment and reward:
Involve your audience
The first cycle involved a survey.
Instead of announcing that this new training was available, I put out a survey asking people if they wanted it, and if they did, what they wanted it to include. This was great for me, because it helped me understand what to include and what to leave out in order to make the training as good as it could be. At the same time, filling out a survey is a much easier commitment to make than buying a program, so a lot more people took that action.
I took all the feedback that I received, and announced that I was going to build the program, pretty much to their specifications. That’s the reward—everyone who filled out the survey saw that making a commitment made a difference.
The second cycle involved updates.
Rather than just disappear, and then come back when the program was ready, I shared my progress and my excitement with my subscribers, in several emails. Every one of those emails was an opportunity for readers to reply and engage, and many of you did exactly that.
I value all of the conversations that ensued, and I did my best to show my readers that that emailing me is a worthwhile thing to do!
More commitment, more reward
The third cycle involved the actual option to purchase. The program was made available, and people signed up for it. They were rewarded by getting into the program, and by the promise of what was to come—a promise that I have since delivered on, as good marketers always have to.
The fourth cycle wasn’t actually planned, but it happened anyway.
Since this was a new program that I was releasing, and I wanted to get feedback before releasing it to the public, I had originally intended to cap registration at 50 students. What ended up happening, though—at least partially because of all these cycles of commitment and reward—was that half of the spots had been taken before I even put up a sales page on the Friday, and all of the spots were gone by early in the weekend. A bunch of people complained, and rightly so—they were away from their emails, and hadn’t even had a chance to read the sales page before the program had filled up.
It was my mistake for doing a bad job of anticipating demand, so on Monday I announced that I would let more people in until midnight that day. It wasn’t intended, but that was another cycle of commitment and reward; people emailed me, which is a commitment act, and the program was reopened, which is what they wanted—a reward.
Celebrate and strategize
If you implement these cycles of commitment and reward in your own launch, then two things are likely to happen:
- Your launch will go very well; people will be engaged, interested, and buy lots of whatever you’re selling.
- Some things will be fumbled, bungled, and for a bunch of reasons just won’t work out as well as you had hoped.
The first thing to do after your launch is over is celebrate the success. You’ve worked hard, and you deserve it!
The next day, you should go back to the drawing board, and make a list of everything that you’ve learned from the experience, and everything that you can do better next time.
What’s your experience with launches? Have you tried one? Thought about trying one? How did it go? Leave a comment and let us know…
Danny Iny (@DannyIny) skyrocketed his industry-leading marketing blog to success by writing 80+ guest posts on major blogs in less than a year (earning him the nickname “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging”). Now he teaches others how to do the same in his Write Like Freddy blog writing training program.