Last weekend Jk Molina and I did a new product launch of a Twitter course called “The Templates.” It was a simple concept with a big promise: we supplied you with highly successful and converting tweets structures. All you have to do is plug in your own words and the magic will happen.
I’m going to cover some things that I learned from this launch that I think will be useful to anyone who wants to build a product launch plan.
In fact, I’d say that you can use these lessons to have a successful product launch—a physical product, a digital product, or even to promote your website.
Let’s get started
Choose the platform that works best for your product launch
First, the metrics.
The launch date was unofficially on July 9th. Since then, the program has made $79,708 (we officially just cracked $80k in total sales), with the bulk of the revenue coming between Thursday, July 15th and Monday, July 19th. That was officially the launch week, but as you can see, nearly $10k was generated before the actual launch (more on that later in the post).
Total transparency: I worked with a partner, so I only collected half of this. While that changes how much I actually put in my pocket, that does not change the total sold. I’ve been part of many lanches. I’ve never sold 690 units in one week.
This is not to say that those numbers are usual or unusual. This is just my personal experience doing product launches via Twitter and my mailing list. Those were the two channels I used. No paid traffic. No Instagram or youtube. Simply Twitter and my email list.
The product was specific to writing and growing on Twitter, so it only made sense to use Twitter as the primary vehicle for promotion. I also have 154k followers on Twitter, so it only makes sense that it’d be my primary vehicle for promotion.
There are other reasons (that will be stated later in the case study), but the primary reason is that Twitter is the channel where I have the most reach, clout, and the product I launched was about using Twitter. Twitter users were my target audience
The Lesson: Launch products on a platform where you have the most followers. Create a product that caters to that target audience on that platform. Intuitively, this probably makes sense and sounds obvious, but I state this explicitly because it makes a big difference.
One of the primary reasons this did well is that it was a product about growing on Twitter, promoted on Twitter, and promoted to an email list primarily built by Twitter promotion. The principles work for all writing. We could just as easily named it something related to writing, but that wouldn’t do as well.
The best way to use your email list for a product launch
At the time of this writing, my email list has exactly 24,570 subscribers. I didn’t blast my entire list with sales pitches for two main reasons.
On average, barely 30% of people on my email list open my emails. I’ve been told that this is good, but the fact remains that most people won’t see—let alone read or click any of the links within—my emails.
I’ve done things to get around this (like resending the email to people who didn’t open it but with a different headline). This has gotten many emails up to a 50% open rate, but for the most part, that’s considered extraordinary—especially for an email list my size.*
[*Note: The larger your mailing list, the lower your open percentage. If you have 1000 true fans who read everything you send, that’s a 10% open rate at 10,000 subscribers and a 5% open rate at 20,000. These numbers are simple to make a mathematical point. This should not be taken as a goal to strive for because if you have a 10% open rate at 10,000 subscribers, something is VERY wrong.]
Every email sent has a cost. I can expect a range of 40-80 unsubscribers for every email I send. The reason for the unsubscribes is a combination of the following: that email pissed them off, the email was different from my usual content, or they’re just cleaning up their inbox.*
[*Note: Google has made the last option MUCH easier by giving people the option to unsubscribe directly from the email (instead of clicking on a link) if they haven’t opened an email from you in some time.]
Some people say that getting people off your list who aren’t buyers is a good thing. That’s probably true if all you do on your email list is sell stuff, but I use my list to build readership and to drive traffic to my blog. An email list is also a great leveraging tool for sponsorships, promotions, and negotiating book deals.
I try to keep my unsubscribe number as low as possible. Experience tells me that one of the best ways to increase the unsubscribes per email is to shoot off promotional emails. There is also another problem to consider.
I offer a wide variety of products. It’s one thing if a person unsubscribes because they don’t want to be sold to generally. It’s another problem entirely if a person would have bought a course about one subject but unsubscribed because they got a promo for another.
To avoid this problem with The Templates, the product launch strategy was simple. I only sent promotional emails to people who:
- Opted in to be alerted about the promotion. I sent an email out giving them a chance to opt out of the promotion.
- Downloaded my free guide about writing on Twitter. If they already showed interest in learning how to grow, then they are part of the target market. They’ve indicated (albeit not explicitly) that they’d be fine hearing about the promotion.
- Purchased any of my Twitter growth products in the past. Gumroad, the platform I used to host the product, integrates nicely with Convertkit so I can see everyone who’s ever purchased from me. An excellent marketing strategy is promoting to people who have already spent money with you.
This doesn’t guarantee that people won’t unsubscribe, but it does optimize the situation. Anyone who unsubscribes from this list is either dishonest, disingenuous, or legitimately tired of me.
If I’m going to have unsubscribers, I’d much rather they come from this pool than from my general pool who might be interested in something else down the line.
The Lesson: Figure out how to target people who are most likely to buy from you. This goes double if you have disparate offers in your catalog. Email is a powerful tool. In fact, for many of you, it will be the most powerful tool. Segmenting your list doesn’t haven’t to be as obvious as asking them if they would like to be part of the promotions during the marketing campaign, but it is still something that you should do.
For newbies, free guides work best to not only establish credibility but to grow your email list. Just make sure that your free guides are as good as something you’d expect people to pay money for. This builds customer satisfaction and increases the chances that they’ll buy from you.
How to choose a launch partner and delegate responsibilities
My partner on this project was JK Molina. At the time of the launch, JK had about 33k Twitter followers. This makes him a bit of an influencer in his own right. This obviously helped, but Molina brought a few other things to the table that made this launch a roaring success..
He already has a decent list of buyers from his own Twitter growth product. Your most loyal customers are previously satisfied customers. JK brought a list of buyers and a reputation for being a great writer on Twitter himself.
The other far more impressive thing that he brought was leadership and structure.
A big reason this launch was so successful is that he organized a list of other influencers to message, partnerships to pursue, several tweets and emails to send, and days to do all of this. While I’ll fully admit that I was not the best at sticking to this structure, it did direct my energies and efforts.
There was always something to do or someone to reach out to help spread the word about the project. This type of product management goes a long way in having a successful product launch.
As much as I would love to take credit for orchestrating the product launch, JK is largely responsible for product marketing, product positioning, and the organization of all launch activities. My primary responsibilities were to lean on my network, acquire bigger affiliates, and be the main line of communication for them.
JK Molina drew up the roadmap. I simply followed it.
Also, I tweeted about the program quite a lot. Judging by my socialblade.com stats, I sent out roughly 200 tweets explicitly promoting the program and retweeted another 200 or so by the affiliates to help them make sales. This helped maintain hype around the product and keep it in front of the eyes of our customer base (Twitter users).
There are a few lessons in that, but the main lesson relevant to this section is that JK let go of the leash and let me do my thing the best way I knew how to. It’s important to work with people who recognize your strengths and let you lean into them.
While the partnership between JK and me was explicit and well-defined, it’s arguably not even the most important relationship that helped facilitate this launch. That leads us nicely into the next section.
The Lesson: Work with people who respect your abilities and bring something to the table you also respect. The idea behind any successful partnership is that 1+1=7. Together, you should be greater than the sum of your parts. This will look different depending on the goals and personality, but this synergy is vital to a successful partnership.
How to manage affiliates and generate goodwill during your product launch
This isn’t a post about the specifics of the algorithm, but there are some things that you have to know about social media algorithms.
Assuming that you don’t pay to promote it, a post (on IG, Twitter, and Facebook) will only be engaged with by 1-5% of your audience—and anything above 3% is actually considered pretty damned good. These stats don’t apply to Youtube, but Youtube isn’t technically a social media platform.
Engagements are any activity on the post (like, comment, retweet, share, etc.), but we’re specifically interested in how many people click on the link that takes people to the sales page. Of the people who click on the sales page, a good conversion rate is 5%. If you look at our conversation rate in the image above, we actually did a bit better than that (views/sales = .08).
Assuming your landing page conversion rate and engagement on social media posts are fixed, the only thing you can do to get more sales is to promote your offer to more people. While JK and I have big accounts, there are only so many times that we tweet. This is where partners and affiliates come in.
For those who don’t know, affiliates are people who promote your product. If someone buys through their link, they’re automatically paid a percentage (digital products are typically a 50% commission, but exceptions apply, shifting to more or less than 50%). With your affiliates promoting, you will make less money on each sale, but you will get more sales.
They’re like your own promotion and sales team.
I know that not everyone will use Twitter to run a product launch event, but it’s a LOT easier to promote yourself on that platform. It’s a lot easier for affiliates to promote your products as well. Because JK and I have built a respectable following, getting people to affiliate with us was easy.
This was particularly important, as this is technically a new product with no testimonials or recommendations. Because we built trust in our space and in the industry we were selling, people (many of which have huge audiences) were willing to affiliate and/or retweet out of goodwill.
The Lesson: Maintain a good reputation, not only in your niche but also in your life. If you’re a solid person who creates great products, avoids online drama, and tries to help people when you can, then two wonderful things happen: you make it easy to be your affiliate and people are happy to retweet and promote you for free. People love helping people who do good work and have a purpose.
How to use urgency to make more money during your product launch
“Urgency” and “scarcity” are excellent tactics for driving sales and making more money online.
“Urgency” is when you impose a time limit to drive action. For example, “The sale ends at midnight tonight.
“Scarcity” is when you impose a product limit to drive action. For example, “There are only 10 copies left.”
While there are some objections to the tactics, no marketer denies that they work. They work because people tend to wait to take action. These tactics force them to make a move. Consider a sale I had at the beginning of January 2020.
As you can see, more than half of the money was made during the last day. If we could break this down by hour, it’s more like half the money was made in the last 12 hours.
Generally speaking, urgency is more powerful than scarcity.
The one drawback to using urgency is that the longer the sale goes on, the less urgent it seems. The less urgent it seems, the fewer people buy. Intuitively, one would think that having the sale last longer would generate more money, but it seems that a condensed launch period makes all the difference.
Technically speaking, we only had a 4 day launch period. In those four days, we made a little over $60k. However, we modified it and created our own marketing plan.
We set up a mailing list a week beforehand for people to sign up to be alerted when the product was released. When people signed up, they were immediately offered a chance to purchase at a discount early-bird price. Using this pre-launch tactic, $10k was generated before the 4-day launch event.
Using this mailing list tactic, we were able to extend the actual sale time, keep the urgency high (4 days as opposed to 7), and also build a list of buyers who—for whatever reason—chose to wait until the price rose on launch day. The other thing it allowed us to do was to build awareness through pure marketing*.
[*Note: I used the phrase “pure marketing” to describe marketing where there is no apparent option to buy. Marketing is usually just building awareness of a product without a sales channel attached to it. It’s simply a messaging channel. Twitter is unique in that, in most cases, the marketing is also the sales channel. Well, this tactic was pure marketing. Or rather, it appeared that way.]
We were able to market the product and build awareness on the timeline and mailing list. Even if people didn’t sign up for the mailing list, they became aware of the product.
A little hype and awareness are all that you need because only 2-5% of your audience will see any given tweet. Heavy promotion to your mailing list or on the timeline can make a lot of sales on the back end and generate income.
The Lesson: When I did my first launch, I was an affiliate. That launch lasted one week. I always just stuck with that because it worked, but I’ve learned since then that short periods of promotion time work best—especially if you put a lot of time into pre-promotion. If you can figure out a way to make your pre-promotion profitable, then you can still make a decent dollar while keeping the urgency of the launch offer/bonus/restriction high.
Although this launch was specifically about Twitter growth and promoted on Twitter, there are many lessons that you can learn and apply to your product launch.
If you want to grab the product yourself and grow your Twitter, you can get it here at the original launch price. This is a special offer only for people on my mailing list.
Until then, the rest is up to you.