Adam Wathan on Nailing your First Launch

Written
  • Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajrDxZRpP9M
  • Author: Adam Wathan
  • Adam first tried a SaaS project and took the "just build it when you have an idea" approach. This didn't work great, with just 19 customers and $3k in revenue after 3 years.
  • He moved on to info products which worked a lot better.
  • Why Info Products?
    • The one-time purchase has much lower cognitive overhead to buy compared to a subscription.
      • People buy them aspirationally. "I'll read it one day." We've all bought books with this in mind.
    • You can actually finish an info product. SaaS products are never finished.
    • If you have the knowledge already, they can be quick to write.
    • The money is often front-loaded, as opposed to other types of products which can take longer to really get going.
  • How do you sell it?
    • First and foremost, you need an audience.
      • A big audience makes up for everything you do wrong with your launch.
      • They already trust you and so are more likely to like and engage with your stuff.
    • How to build an audience?
      • Provide value where people are.
      • Fitting helpful content into a tweet can be better than blogposts (or do both!) because it puts the content where people actually are, on Twitter.
  • Picking an Idea
    • Getting an Idea
      • Don't try too hard. It's better to just make content and see what piques your interest.
      • What are you excited about?
      • What are you ahead of the curve on, or better at than other people?
      • What can you bring from other communities into the one you're in?
      • What have you figured out that helped you a lot and could help others?
    • Test Your Idea
      • Tweeting small tips about the concept can indicate interest.
      • In-depth blog posts based on successful tweets.
      • Track feedback you get to see what aspects excite people most.
    • Figure out the Product
      • Generally it's a book or course, or can be reasonably shoehorned into one of those categories.
      • Start small You don't need to plan a huge product. It will probably become huge on its own anyway.
      • Books are easier to write since you can write in bite-sized chunks.
      • Courses can have a higher price, but videos take a long time to film unless you're already comfortable with it.
  • Landing Page
    • The headline should be clear and explain what people are going to learn.
    • For a preorder, you need an obvious call to action to sign up for the list.
      • Send some free content, or promise future free content or discounts if you don't have enough content made yet.
    • Establish expertise, for people who hit the page without context of who you are. You can link to existing other content like your blog posts while talking about the new thing that the landing page is about.
    • Some testimonies from people, even if they're not famous
    • Outline of the product
    • Have another signup form at the end.
    • And talk a little about yourself and things you've done.
  • Should you Presell?
    • Pros:
      • It's great validation for the product.
      • You'll make more money because it lets you talk about it while you're still building it and excited, and seems less spammy because you're still building it.
      • More motivation. The accountability factor of people having already paid you can help through those valleys of demotivation.
    • Cons:
      • Harder to sell multiple tiers when the higher-tier addons won't be ready right away.
      • You may promise too much, and it's harder to change the scope of the project when people have already paid.
      • It's like taking on debt, paid back by finishing the product. While the accountability factor may be motivating, it can also be stressful.
  • Building Your Email List
    • Tell your audience about the landing page. Obvious, but "preannouncing" the landing page by asking people to share the upcoming announcement can help a lot, and has no downside.
    • The email list signups are usually frontloaded with the announcement.
    • Share updates and free stuff with the email list to keep them engaged. Also share the updates with Twitter a few hours before each email.
      • This can risk diverting your time from working on the product to maintaining the list, but you can compress or excerpt content from the product to help get content quickly.
  • Finishing the Product
    • Promising people about upcoming emails with some content can help you get it out.
    • Emailing on a schedule helps.
    • Sometimes you just need to cut the scope.
  • Tiered Pricing
    • Single tier
      • Ok if your price is high enough. A $30 product won't sell enough to make it worth it.
      • Generally not preferred though
    • Two tiers
      • You can have the second tier be the real product while the lower tier is mostly there to give people something to upgrade from.
      • Especially easy for video where you can just cut content.
    • Three Tiers
      • This makes it easier for customers to evaluate the product as a package instead of compared to other books on Amazon.
      • Price points of 1x, 2x, 5x work well
  • Launch Discounts
    • Pick the price you want to charge and make that the discounted price.
    • Discount higher tiers more than lower tiers.
      • ex. Discount tier 1, 25%, tier 2 35%, tier 3 45%
    • Don't set a close date on your launch discount since it makes people procrastinate.
  • Actually Launching
    • Still include email signup with free content and preview once you have launched.
    • Testimonials and social proof
      • Use feedback from preview content before you have feedback from the full product.
    • Sort tiers from highest to lowest so that users see the biggest one, the "real thing," first.
  • Post-Launch
    • Collect early feedback and repeat some of it onto your email list a few days later.
    • Send another free preview
    • Leave the launch discount period open for a while (a few weeks?). Once sales drop off some, then you can announce the upcoming end of the launch discount period.

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