NOTE: We are running a free webinar with Jeff over at ProBlogger.com in two days (November 19), where he will talk about the Four Keys to Building a Powerful Audience Online. Normally the full webinars are only available to paid members of the site, but there will be a few big names in the next few months sharing their knowledge in our free sessions. You will need to create a free account (more info on how to do that here), but it’s very simple.
Please head to the webinar page, and and click “register”. A popup box will appear with a button to create a free account.
Click it, add your details, and click “continue” to log in. You will receive an email confirming your registration, and another reminder email as the webinar approaches.
Without further ado, here’s Jeff to explain how to totally nail any product launch with his six secrets. Thanks, Jeff!
A few years ago, when I was just getting started with trying to monetize my blog, I met a successful online entrepreneur. When I asked her how I could start making money off my blog, she asked how big my email list was. I told her, and she said that was a six-figure business.
I laughed and explained to her that it was more like a three-figure business. I had run a couple of ads that had made me a total of about $ 400 in the past six months. I did not have a business.
“No,” she said. “You’ve got at least six figures there. You just need to leverage your influence and get your audience to buy from you.”
It turns out she was right. In fact, that advice didn’t just help me build a six-figure business in a year. It taught me how to start doing $ 100,000 product launches — not only for my own business but for other people’s businesses, as well.
I stumbled on to some secrets, thanks to the advice of that online entrepreneur and a handful of other mentors over the years, and I want to share them with you.
Secret #1: You Have to Want It
Okay, so I want to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I know this might sound out of reach to you. Pie in the sky sort of stuff. And I totally get that.
I remember reading Darren Rowse talk about his first year of blogging and how he “only made $ 30,000.” When I read that, I was working a job that was paying me a salary of that same amount, and making 30K online sounded like a dream.
So trust me when I tell you that nobody is more surprised to hear me talk about things like “six-figure product launches” than me.
But after doing this for a couple years now, I’ve realized an important truth about business: more income means more impact. Or as Walt Disney once said, “We don’t make movies to make money. We make money to make more movies.”
If you are like I was and tend to think of business and income-generating strategies as greedy or “evil,” I want you to reconsider your stance.
First, consider the income. What would $ 100,000 mean to you and your loved ones? Could it be a means to more freedom or a chance to travel the world or see your kids go to college? Maybe it would be a way for you give to all the charities and nonprofits you’d love to contribute to.
Then, consider the impact. If you sell a $ 100 product, $ 100,000 in revenue means you’ve just made an impact on 1000 people’s lives. I don’t know about you, but personally impacting 1000 people sounds like a lot of work. But a scalable product, especially an information product, allows you to do that.
It might sound hypey to talk about $ 100,000 launches, but I promise you: what I’m about to share with you is a series of practical principles I’ve seen proven over and over again. And they’ve allowed my friends and clients to not only live their dreams but to help a lot of people in the process.
The same could be true for you, but you’ve got to reconcile your relationship with revenue and get focused on the goal. This isn’t about just making more money. It’s about making a difference.
So let’s look now at what it takes to pull off a six-figure launch.
Secret #2: Having a Great Product Is Not Enough (But It’s a Start)
We can’t overlook this step as it is so important to creating a brand with integrity and building a loyal customer base. You’ve got to create what Michael Hyatt calls “wow” products and experiences.
Why? Because frankly, your customers deserve the best work you can possibly do. And because this is the kind of work that people talk about.
Apple is one of the the biggest brands and most successful companies in the world not because of their marketing (they spend a fraction of what their competitors do on advertising), but because of the experiences users have with their products. If ask a Mac fanatic why they love all their iGear, they will tell you, “It just works.”
That’s what wow looks like.
But having a great product is not enough. In fact, it is the basic requirement to even enter the market. Once you have something you are proud of, something the world needs, you have only just begun.
Secret #3: It’s Not About Having a Big List
A lot of people mistakenly believe having a big email list is necessary to monetizing your audience. They think they need something like 20,000 subscribers just to make a living.
Try telling that to Carol Tice, who launched her quarter of a million dollar business with only 1000 subscribers. Or Tim Grahl who has already started replacing his income running a successful book marketing company with digital products that he launches to his list of less than 10,000 people.
It doesn’t take a big list. It takes a willingness to sell.
My friend Stu McLaren, cofounder of Wishlist Member and Rhino Support, once told me that if you want to make more money, do one of the following:
- Increase your market size. If you have a smaller email list (less than 10,000 people), then you will want to either: a) rapidly grow the list, or b) partner with affiliates who can help you reach more people now (as opposed to spending the months or years it would take to organically grow your own audience. Firepole Marketing founder Danny Iny told me, “The key to the big launches is the groundwork that goes into building the relationships that make it happen.”
- Increase your price. This is often the easiest tweak to make and frankly the most common error I see bloggers and online entrepreneurs make. We are notoriously bad at valuing our own services and offerings and therefore tend to price ourselves lower than we should. The market will always sustain more than you think it can. Remember that, and when in doubt, raise the price. You’re worth more than you realize.
- Increase your sales frequency. Another problem people face is being unwilling to sell too hard. They don’t want to appear pushy or salesy, and end up unintentionally sabotaging their business. Look. You don’t have to be pushy or slimy or do anything unethical to sell. Selling is serving; it’s helping your audience connect with an offering that will truly help them (remember: you’re starting with a great product). So when it’s time to sell, sell hard. Make a case for why this is the very best thing out there, and let people know. And when you aren’t sure what to do, send another email.
A big email list is great, but having a lot of subscribers in and of itself won’t guarantee you a ton of sales. You need to understand the finer points of business: how to identify what a market wants, what they’re willing to pay, and how to get them to buy.
Which is what we’re going to cover in the next section.
Secret #4: Sell Like You Mean It
When you’re doing all of the above and people still aren’t buying, then you don’t have a strategy problem. You have a selling problem.
If you’re doing all the right things, and people still aren’t buying, it’s probably how you’re selling. You’re probably missing three important triggers, which author and entrepreneur Carrie Wilkerson talks about:
If people aren’t buying, it’s often because they feel like they can buy at any time, or that there will always be enough, or they simply aren’t aware something is for sale.
So when you feel stuck, try the following:
- Only sell a certain number of units per launch. This feels scary, because you could be limiting your potential revenue, but really what you’re doing is creating a sense of exclusivity (which equals value in the customer’s mind). Warning: if you use this strategy, don’t create false scarcity. If you say you are only going to sell 200 seats to your online workshop, then close registration when you meet your quota. Otherwise, people will find you out for the snake oil sales person you are.
- Offer a time-sensitive deal. (i.e. “Save $ 100 when you buy this week!” of “Don’t miss these three bonuses — buy today!”).
- Talk about your launch — a lot. Send more than one email (best practice is to do one on launch day and two on the final day).
Secret #5: Give People Options
When Chris Guillebeau gave Nathan Barry (who incidentally doesn’t have a huge list and is killing it with online product launches) a simple piece of advice, it literally made him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What was this simple piece of advice?
“Selling in multiple packages has worked really well for me.”
He said it in typical Guillebeau, off-handed humility. But in that statement was a ton of value that made Nathan more money than any other piece of advice he’s ever received.
Nathan estimates that having multiple price points for each product has allowed him to make two to three times as much money as he would have made, launching at just one price point.
Putting It All Together
The other day I was chatting with a friend who recently started an online business. He was telling me all about his next project, which was another online course he hoped to create, launch, and sell by the end of the year.
“Dude,” I said. “What are you doing?! How much money have you made off your course so far?” He admitted it wasn’t much. He thought, as many do, that the solution was to create the next thing. But he was wrong.
I then proceeded to walk my friend through the process I’ve shared with you, encouraging him to keep selling what he had already built. He planned his next launch and it ended up being bigger than any other launch he’s ever had.
He was made a believer. And I hope you are, too. The secret to a successful product launch isn’t just about the product. That’s a given. But good products, as Guy Kawasaki once told me, don’t sell themselves. You’ve got to launch them well.
When I was struggling to monetize my blog and figure out how to make a living off my email list, I decided to start listening to what all these smart people were telling me:
- I reached out to people who could help my reach more people. Some became affiliates while others just helped spread the word.
- I raised my prices, basically every time I did a new launch.
- I leaned in and boldly promoted a product I was proud of.
And it all worked like a charm. Each launch, more people bought than the last time, and I made more money. But it wasn’t just the income (sure, it was nice to be making 10 times what I was making at my day job), but the satisfaction of knowing I was helping thousands of people was amazing.
It’s about the impact.
Taking the Next Step
So what does this look like for you? Here’s a recap of all of the above:
- Decide you want this.
- Commit to a plan and set a launch date.
- Build something awesome that you are proud to promote.
- Connect with people who will help extend your reach.
- Launch with scarcity, urgency, and awareness in mind, all the while building trust and delivering value along the way.
And watch the magic happen.
For more secrets to successful product launches, check out this page I put together just for Problogger readers.
Jeff Goins is an author, blogger, and entrepreneur who lives in Nashville. He loves helping writers and bloggers get the attention their messages deserve. Tweet at him @JeffGoins and get a free product launch resource here.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger