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You want to launch something. You want people to care about it. You want them to buy. You don’t want to launch to crickets.
Maybe you made an app. Maybe want to launch a new product, subscription, or service. Maybe you have a really cool course. It’s going to help a lot of people.
Most people have two diametrically opposed goals: they want to keep their idea a secret while they make it, but when they launch they want everyone to know about it and care.
The problem is it doesn’t work like this.
You need to get people to care first. You can’t afford to launch to crickets.
The longer you hold onto what you believe to be the uniqueness of your idea, the more you lose.
Your idea is worthless.
What matters then? Execution. You must execute this launch flawlessly if you want it to resonate and you need to start yesterday. We’re already behind.
Still hanging with me? Are all the wannabes gone?
Good. Let’s get into the episode and learn how to get people to care and pay attention.
Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins
- It takes a lot of time for people to care and it takes consistency for people to notice.
- You’re not special for having an idea, you’re special if you execute on it.
- Stories are your most powerful tool when it comes to getting people to take action.
- Your landing page should tell the whole story exactly as if your product is available to buy.
- Ramping up to your launch, create unique pieces of content that provide value and use these to point to your landing page.
- You shouldn’t be selling the deliverables, you should be selling the solution.
- You could be sharing super valuable content but if you’re sharing with the wrong audience, they won’t click through to your site.
- The sweet spot for ramp up time for a product launch is 6 months—if you’re already known for the subject.
- Nobody cares about notifications—people care about what they’re being notified of and what it does for them. Sell that.
- 15:18 Sean: A common theme that we’re seeing a lot lately in general is people wanting to launch things, people wanting to put their thing out, whether it’s a book, a course, a video show they’re working on, a podcast, a conference, an event, or something like that. They want people to know about this thing. Maybe they’re building an app, software as a service, or some IOS thing.
Two Opposing Goals
- 15:48 They’re making something, and they want people to care about it and notice it. On the other end of the spectrum, they have this other goal, though they wouldn’t think of it as a goal, in that they’re trying to maintain secrecy. They’re scared that people are going to take their idea, that someone else is going to hear about this and do it better. They don’t have everything perfect just yet, so they don’t want people to know until they have it totally perfect. For as long as possible, they have these two completely separate goals, and suddenly when they launch, they want to flip a switch and have everybody know, care, and go by and check it out. They have these two polar opposite goals that are diametrically opposed to each other:
- You want no one to know about your idea.
- You want everyone to know about it.
- 16:46 Ben: Now, it’s done. It’s close if not exactly what you imagined and hoped that it would be, and now it’s okay to show people. Before, what if the unfinished version of it turned people off? What if someone stole the idea? What if somebody saw it, but they did something different but better?
- 17:15 Sean: Right now, nobody knows about this thing. Nobody cares.
It takes a lot of time for people to care and it takes consistency for people to notice.
- 17:31 If you’re not giving it time and you’re not being consistent, people aren’t going to notice. They don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency. When you go to flip that switch, you launch to crickets. Nobody wants to launch to crickets. The single goal, your real challenge, is getting people to know about this and care about it at all. That is your single goal. If you’re split between thinking that you don’t want people to know about this but eventually you want everyone to know about it, those two ideas are fighting, and you’re not going to be able to get anything accomplished. You have to get rid of the secrecy. If you’re worried about your precious, unique idea that you want nobody to know about and nobody to steal, that’s going to hold you back.
Your Idea is Worthless
- 18:29 Your idea doesn’t matter. What matters is execution. Everyone has had your idea. Hundreds of other people have had your unique, individual, precious idea, even the unique, special version of it. You’re not special for having an idea, you’re special if you execute on it. Everyone has ideas, and then they go watch Netflix.
- 18:56 Ben: I have ideas, and I execute on some of the ideas, but I also watch Netflix. Should I stop watching Netflix?
- 19:06 Sean: The problem is not watching Netflix, the problem is thinking that you’re accomplished something by having an idea and then rewarding yourself by watching Netflix. You have not accomplished anything, and your idea is not worth anything. You have to do something with that. Everyone has ideas. I’m hoping we get rid of the wannabes here, and the people who are serious are hanging with me. We’ve established that your idea is worthless, so now we can get down to business. What matters? What matters is execution. Do you have what it takes? I’ve kind of burst your bubble here. Are you willing to work hard and work late to get the job done?
- 19:54 That’s what’s going to matter. It’s that execution, putting in the effort. This is where most people fall off. They think they’re special for having an idea or for listening to this podcast and coming up with some elaborate plan. “Oh yeah, I’ve heard Sean talk all about email marketing, pricing, responding to people, and making content in response to their struggles, doing content marketing, reading minds, and pricing on value. I’ve got this crazy big plan.”
- 20:25 How long have you had this plan? Since episode 150? 120? 100? 80? Years before this podcast? How long have you had plans and ideas? Let’s make something and get it out there. Let’s get people to care about it. You have this thing you believe will make people’s lives better, that you believe will help people, and you want people to know and care about it so that they’ll get it, experience it, and their lives will be better for it.
If you want to accomplish a goal, you have to make sure your audience is aware of it.
- 21:11 Ben: I thought of another reason why folks might not want to talk about stuff before it’s ready. I know this has been true for me before. Sometimes, I fear that if I put something out there and put a hard deadline on it, now I have to actually deliver on that. It’s easier for me if I don’t talk about it at all, to think to myself, “This is going to come eventually.” I find that almost every time, when I don’t put a deadline out there, especially when I don’t make it public, I tend to drag my feet. I often never finish whatever I was going to share.
What is Backwards Building?
- 22:07 Sean: To explain Backwards Building, I’m going to give you an example. Imagine the biggest news publication in your industry reached out and said that they want to do a special piece on you and promote your thing. This would be huge and amazing for your thing, the most targeted audience, the most specific reader or viewer who is interested in your thing is getting to see it in this very popular space that gives it some legitimacy. This is going to be huge. They only have one requirement. They’re going to point people to one place where they can go get this thing, and you need to build this landing page, this place where people can learn about what this thing is.
- 22:53 This is not just for this news publication, but for anywhere else that you’re announcing this thing, ramping up to it. You can’t just announce it once and expect people to care about it. You announce it, and then you back that up with consistently delivering value ramping up. This page you create before the product is done, before it’s even made. You can use this page to collect interest and get feedback as you’re making it. Think of this page this way: “My product is done.” Imagine the product, whatever it is, being completely done.
- 23:37 Who is this for? Why should people care about it? What will it do for them? Speak straight to them. If you’ve got a video show, you need to have a landing page that talks about your video show, who it’s for, and the headline shouldn’t say, “My cool video show.” No, I don’t care about your cool video show. Tell me what this is going to do for me. Grow your business. Learn video editing. Learn content marketing. Tell me something. Why should I care about this? Make a living as a hand Lettering artist, grow your business with writing, start using email marketing…
The landing page for your product is the cornerstone of Backwards Building.
- 24:26 Ben: You can make announcements all day long leading up to it, but you need to have somewhere for people to go and take some kind of action.
- 24:39 Sean: Point people to something. We all know friends who have this thing that they’re going to launch, and we think, “That sounds like the perfect thing for so-and-so.” As soon as you say “podcasting,” I think of my friend. As soon as you say “video,” “parenting,” or whatever it is, I think of this person who would totally benefit from that. Except—the friend doesn’t have a page. You want to point people to this, even if it’s not ready. You want them to tell you where you can point people to, like something.com where they can go sign up. That is what this Backwards Building is and what this landing page is. The landing page tells the whole story exactly as if it’s available to buy, whatever it is.
- 25:31 This person is reading and they’re thinking, “This is speaking directly to me. I need this, I want this. I want this problem solved in my life, because I am having this struggle. You are reading my mind.” That is the experience you want. They’re scrolling thinking, “This is for me,” they’re scrolling, the credit card is coming out of their wallet, and they’re ready to buy! At the bottom, where you would normally have a button to purchase this thing, instead, it’s a sign up form, and this is by design. This is on purpose, because you want to collect interest. Here’s what you do.
- 26:07 You put out some sort of a lead magnet, think of it as an upgrade to the experience they just had. If you take this landing page experience where you provided value, spoke their language, and spoke to their struggles, and you want to take that experience to the next level, what does that look like? Say this landing page is 2,000 words. If you could write another 2,000 words to help this person, what would that look like? Turn that into a PDF, some sort of guide, and offer that lead magnet as an incentive to people to sign up.
- 26:44 There’s no “fold” on the internet. There’s this concept of the fold that comes from newspaper days, where a newspaper would be folded. You stack them all up, and whatever is above the fold is what you notice, because it’s on the top of the newspaper and it’s not hidden under the fold. The important things in the newspaper realm needed to be above the fold, and this carried over to the internet, where people thought, “You have to have the most important thing above the fold, so if you want people to sign up, the very first thing they need to see is a sign up box.”
- 27:17 Ben: I’ve had clients before who have said, “I don’t want people to have to scroll. When they land on my home page, I want everything to be there.”
- 27:26 Sean: People scroll now. There’s a number of factors. I have two 27 inch monitors here. Some people use 30 inch monitors, other people use projectors. Some people use iPhone 4s, tiny little things. I have a 6S Plus, so I’m a little bit biased.
- 27:56 Ben has an iPhone 5C. He has learned to scroll. You can’t see much on that screen. He’s learned to scroll, and we’ve all learned to scroll. There’s no fold anymore, because there’s all these different devices of all kinds of widths and different heights. It’s all different. What looks like it’s above the fold for someone won’t be for someone else, but the bottom line is, we’ve all learned to scroll.
Your landing page is not about putting your call to action above the fold, it’s about telling a story.
- 28:29 I’ve had a decent conversion rate. It’s not anything insane, but it’s like 10% to 15% on some pages. I was getting 105 signups a day for Learn Lettering with the sign up form at the end of an 8,000 pixel tall landing page. What does this prove? It proves that I knew my target audience, and they were engaged enough to read this thing all the way to the bottom. At the bottom, you have the call to action. This is bonus points for you. If you make this landing page, the sign up form, and the lead magnet, you’re doing awesome. You get bonus points if you have a launch date.
Stay On Track With Public Accountability
- 29:11 The launch date makes a promise to people, and it helps keep you on track. I’m going to get to the three problems this is solving in just a moment, but you want to say, “We are launching soon. This is going ot be available. If you’d like to be the first to hear, sign up below. Also, you get this lead magnet.” You’re giving someone a gift, you’ve just given them a bunch of value, so it’s the perfect time to ask, but you’re also giving them even more value in that they’re going to be the first to hear about this thing. What have you done? Let’s compare you to Mr. Secrecy on the other side, aka old you, who is holding onto his precious idea.
- 29:47 He has nothing. You have an audience growing—an email list of people. I just restocked and relaunched my Hustle shirt, because last time it sold out in a few hours before I could post it on my social media channels. On the product page, I put another signup list so people could be notified of restocking. This is the power of storytelling: I sent out an email saying that last time I launched it to a few people who were dedicated enough to sign up for the early notice. I posted it at 9:48pm and it was gone the next morning. I didn’t post anything on Instagram with 80,000 followers or on Dribbble with 20,000 followers, and I didn’t send it to my newsletter of 20,000. I didn’t know we would sell out completely, but as soon as I saw how fast it was selling, that night I ordered more.
- 31:12 Now I’m kicking myself, wishing I had ordered even more than I did because I know for fact these are going to sell out immediately. I still haven’t been able to promote it to all of my other social media, but I said, “You subscribed and I want to make sure you get this shirt. I’m not even going to post it until tomorrow, so get one now because they’ll be gone.” After sending that email, there was an order every minute and there wasn’t a single discount. This is storytelling and Backward Building.
- 32:01 Ben: It’s nice to have things like graphics if you have a final version, or maybe some pictures of some drafts of your product, but:
If you don’t have any graphics, the text that’s telling a story is your most powerful tool when it comes to getting people to take action.
- 32:50 Even if all you have is text, you can still lead them through that story by virtue of the story itself and visually.
- 33:02 Sean: I spent a ridiculous about of time putting together illustrations for the Learn Lettering landing page, but you don’t have to do that and the proof is SuperchargeYourWriting.com. All the page has is the header image and the rest is text. Tell a story, relate to the person, provide some value. There’s some tips for giving your text some color, adding headers, bold, emphasis, and block quotes to break things up visually, but you can sell things even just with text.
- 33:55 You need to think of this landing page as a press release. When Apple releases a device, you see the keynotes and the videos and the images, but hidden away somewhere in their blog is a press release. It’s nothing fancy, it just tells the story of the product to the press so the press doesn’t have to guess. It’s you telling the press exactly what it is so there’s no ambiguity. Now, whenever I talk about Backwards Building, I’m going to refer to a landing page as your press release. Right now, you haven’t launched your show, product, or course, but you need to come up with that press release before hand. A press release is fully complete.
- 35:01 You have to write this as if when the product launches you can’t add any details—that’s how specific it needs to be. This does two things for you. First, it provides you with a place you can send people to from your promotional content that you’re creating leading up to the launch. Cory and I were talking about how bands don’t understand the Rule of Reciprocity. They’re great at making music, but they don’t understand this simple rule, so they say, “Buy my thing! Buy my thing! Go to my show! Go to my show!” They spam! You want to create value, but you also want to:
Create a new piece of content in a new medium that tells a different facet of the story.
- 36:36 In this promotional content you’re creating leading up to your launch, you can point people to your press release where they can get excited about it and they can sign up. You can then keep that relationship going over email and that’s a whole other show. This ensures that you build the promised product. One of the biggest problems is scope creep. We get off track—we start building something that wasn’t what we set off to build in the first place—or we don’t finish it at all because there’s no public accountability and no deadline. On the sign up form, saying, “Coming November…” makes it more real, more clear, and it makes sure you get it done.
- 37:29 Ben: There’s also an additional benefit to that, depending on what you do. Sometimes, when you put something out there as if it’s complete and done, people will still chime in and ask questions. You can’t cover every single thing, so people may still have questions to ask and that can help shape what your final product will look like. You may already have a great product, but then because you put it out there and invited people on early who can engage with you about it, you can now have something that’s phenomenal.
- 38:29 Sean: Steve asks, “Should you be transparent in telling users that your product isn’t built yet, or should you remain vague in saying something is coming soon?” We talked about the launch date thing so that answers the coming soon part, but they don’t have to know to what degree this is built. It doesn’t matter. Just like with your design client, they don’t need to know in the middle how many preliminary concepts you’ve come up with thus far. All they need to know is they’re going to get the finalized concept on this date, as promised. The person who’s signing up or looking at the press release doesn’t need to know to what degree you’ve completed this.
- 39:18 Maybe you’ve done a bunch of writing and you’re going to turn it into videos, or you haven’t made any of yet, but that’s fine. They don’t care how the sausage is made.
People will sign up because they want the better version of themselves that you’re promising on your landing page.
- 39:35 You can then take the relationship to the next level by starting conversations over email. You can say, “I’m so glad you signed up! What brought you here? What are you making? How is this going to help you? What are the struggles you have?” Get that relationship going and that data can inform the product creation process.
- 39:59 Ben: The general thinking about ideas and how valuable they are plays in your favor here, because ideas aren’t valuable, it’s the execution of the idea. When someone talks about an idea publicly and makes a promise that they’re going to execute on that idea, then people attribute the value of your idea to whether or not it solves their problem. They don’t care whether or not it’s made yet. It’s like how movie trailers come out two years in advance. Those are like the only clips they’ve shot to piece the trailer together. Sometimes they release a section of a scene and announce the movie before the actual trailer comes out. You know it’s coming.
- 41:15 Sean: When I was in San Fransisco last week, I actually got to tour Pixar and they have a whole building dedicated to story development. Who knows how many ideas for future films that wouldn’t come out for five or 10 years are created, or completely scrapped, there. Their new movie, the Good Dinosaur, was supposed to come out in 2014 but they scrapped their original idea and the direction completely changed. They’re really relentless on the story. You do have to have an idea of the final story when you’re sharing clips. What’s the movie we’re making here?
- 42:38 Ben: By that point, the script is already written, but the script could get a lot of revisions throughout the process. It’s not exactly the finished product.
- 44:14 Sean: In a nutshell, Backwards building is announcing your thing, creating a press release that promises what it is, says who it’s for, and tells how it will benefit them, and then tells them when they can expect it. This also needs to allow them to sign up, whenever you talk about this thing—whether you’re writing a blog post, tweeting, making video updates—you say to head over to that page. They go to the page and they can sign up there.
- 44:56 Cory: Make sure you’re talking to the struggle instead of just about your product. That’s great that it’s a video course, but make sure you’re telling them what they’re struggling with. If they aren’t struggling with that, then that’s not your audience.
- 45:16 Sean: That’s good because a lot of people are worried if they make their headline too specific it will turn people off. That’s not your problem! If it’s too vague, it’s not going to turn on the right people.
Backwards Building Solves 3 Problems
- 45:38 Backwards Building solves the top three struggles when it comes to launching:
- Launching to crickets (nobody cares about your thing)
- The ever-expanding product (scope creep)
- Never launching (lack of a deadline)
- 46:08 If you’re currently working on something, you’ve got your idea under wraps that you hope people will one day care about, I have a one step solution for you to keep your launch from being an absolute train wreck: stop. Start Back Building! You need to get this idea out there. Your challenge is getting people to know about it and care about it at all. I’ve been Backwards Building Supercharge Your Writing, including doing a four-part series on seanwes tv about writing and each one of those was valuable in and of itself, but it also promoted my live workshop. I’ve been promoting and mentioning it a lot, but some people don’t consume everything I do. We even get people in the Community who don’t even know about it. We feel like we’re talking ourselves blue in the face but some people still don’t know!
- 47:19 The mistake you don’t want to make is thinking, “Sean says that people don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency, so I’m just going to spam the same tweet over and over.” You don’t want to do that. You want to create unique pieces of content that provide value around this thing you want to promote (Related: Lambo Goal e020 10 Steps to Launching an Online Course).
Ramping up to your launch, create unique pieces of content that provide value.
- 48:08 If someone only ever sees that, they get value out of it and it should be something new every time. Like the four videos I put out, if someone sees one of them, they learn something new and get something out of it, then I say, “By the way…” and I promote my thing. If you want this to be the biggest launch you’ve ever done—you want the most people to care about this thing so that it benefits their lives—you need to get rid of scarcity and start the ramp up process! Yesterday was the time to talk about it, you’re already behind.
- 49:56 Cory Miller asks, “How much should I promise to deliver without knowing exactly what I’ll be delivering? Should I know exactly all of the details beforehand?” Delivery implies deliverables. You won’t know what the deliverable looks like and if you’re thinking you need to know that, you’re going to run into problems. Let’s say your deliverables end up being six modules of a course, but you may not know that at the beginning. You shouldn’t be selling the deliverables, you should be selling the solution. What does the item in the box from Amazon do for me? How does it make my life better? That’s what you sell. It doesn’t even matter how you do that.
- 51:42 With all the things I have coming up—Supercharge Your Writing, Value-Based Pricing, seanwes Conference, etc.—I’m going to be focusing on mindset shifts (Related: e215 10X Your 10X). Think bigger! I want to show you how you can go to a completely different realm by changing the way you think. You can get completely different clients who will pay 100 times your rate by changing the way you think. In my Value-Based Pricing webinar, I want to focus on the mindset people need to be able to charge more and to be able to price according to the value they’re creating for your client. The people paying $25,000 a logo think differently. The people at this level don’t care about how long it took you to come up with the solution.
- 53:21 You don’t care how long it took someone to make your computer chair that you bought on Amazon. I care about the value it gives to me and the more money people spend, the more those people value their time and the solution. When you’re in the low-end commodity market, you think people care about hours, how hard you’re working, and how fast you can get it done or how fast someone else can get it done. The higher-end clients care about the solution, and the faster you can deliver the solution, the more value there is and the more they’re willing to pay. If you can turn their $10,000 into $100,000 next week, as opposed to next year, they’ll pay you more.
You’re selling an improved future for someone, not the deliverables.
- 54:41 Hopefully there’s some value there for people, I know I went really vague. Cory is saying, “How much do I promise to deliver without knowing exactly what I’ll be delivering?” Don’t focus on what you’re delivering, focus on what you’re solving. If you’re doing a video show and you don’t how many days a week it will be or you’re doing a course and you don’t know if it’s five modules or 10 modules, don’t sell the deliverables, sell the solution.
- 56:05 Cecile says, “Let’s say that you have audited the people you want to launch the product to and heard their specific demands. It’s a product that people will use and they’ve asked for it, yet not a lot of people subscribed or buy the product. It takes time to take the mechanism of word-of-mouth to work. What do you do so the people subscribe and buy your product?” The phrase “not a lot of people subscribe”, is a little concerning on a few levels. “A lot” is relative to the traffic you’re getting. 10 visits is a lot if you have 10 people subscribed, but 10 isn’t a lot if you have 1,000 people subscribed.
- 56:56 I’m more concerned that there’s likely a problem with your value proposition, or it could be a problem with the traffic or lead magnet. This is part of the benefit of the press release—it’s a validator. If you put up a landing page telling who this product is for and how it will solve their problems, and no one signs up, that’s an indicator that there’s not interest. That’s good information to have and maybe you need to iterate. If you don’t know five people who, for a fact, would personally buy this thing, that’s a problem. Either nobody wants this thing, or you haven’t made relationships with the audience you’re trying to reach.
- 58:01 Ben: If you’re not getting a lot of subscribers and you’re not getting a lot of visits to your page, it could be that you’re not putting out enough of or the right kind of content to get people there in the first place. The traffic issue isn’t just about your SEO being right, but a lot of it has to do with the channels you’re using, how consistently you’re using them, how frequently you’re using them, and how valuable that content is. It may even be that you’re not pushing that content to the right platform or the right people.
You could share super valuable content but if you’re sharing with the wrong audience, they won’t click through to your site.
- 55:54 Sean: I would look at the conversion rates. I need to quantify what “a lot” means. It could be a problem with nurture. Maybe you made this thing and pointed people to it but it’s the first time they’ve had exposure to it at all. Maybe you need build it up, put some credits in toward the Magic of 7, and nurture people a bit more.
How Far Out Is Too Long?
- 59:42 Ryan Magner says, “I want to Backwards Build a course on developing and shooting video courses. My thought was to launch a blog/newsletter/videos on that very topic, engage with the audience, and build it based on the most overwhelmingly popular topics of feedback I get over a period of time. Is 2 years too far out from announcement to delivery, even though I think I will get the best results from feedback gathered over that time? I will be heavily engaging with subscribers over that 2 years, but I don’t want them to think it’s never coming, or think that my release date is too far out for them to even care.”
- 1:00:21 Two years objectively isn’t bad, there’s nothing wrong with it. You can ramp up to your film or event in two years. However, it’s not necessary and it’s certainly not necessary as your first product. You don’t have to ramp up for two years for something to be a success. Aaron Dowd has had a very big vision for a podcasting course and we’ll be working on that next year, but so far he has nothing to show for it. I’ve talked before about how you have to sell something now (Related: e123 Sales Is Not a Dirty Word – Why You Need to Learn to Sell). Sell something small now because people will only notice your 12th product. Start selling! Ryan, get a simplified version of your course, like an ebook, out now and sell it for $29. Do something simpler, especially if it’s your first thing.
- 01:48 Ben: Especially if it’s your first thing, once you finally put that out there and you have the experience of a single person purchasing it, it’s amazing how much fuel that gives you toward the next thing and the next thing. When you’re talking about a large product that’s much more complex, you’ll need that fuel to get you across the finish line. I think there’s some proportion you have to keep in mind when you’re talking about the size of the product. Size is relative; it could be in terms of how much content, how big of a book it is, how much value there is, etc., but I’m talking about size and length of time. If I was coming out with a t-shirt design, two years would be a little accessive, but if I was doing something a lot bigger, two years might seem like a relatively short amount of time.
- 1:03:08 Sean: I like to say six months. I actually don’t like to do things in less than six months that are substantial, not like a t-shirt. Supercharge Your Writing is a live workshop, it’s not a huge production. For things like Learn Lettering or Value-Based Pricing I ramped up to for way longer than half a year because they’re substantial courses and programs that we’re doing. I like six months with one caveat:
Take six months to ramp up for a specific product launch that you are already known for.
- 1:03:52 You can’t just come out of the gate and say, “I’m going to be a pro at this thing and then launch it six months from now and nobody knows me for it.” I launched something with a six month ramp up after four years of daily creation and people associating something with me. If the two years includes also becoming known for something, then that’s good. Ryan has provided us with some updated information in the chat room, “I was actually going to use the list to sell smaller products leading up to the bigger one, but I would have it on their horizon.” That’s good, but I don’t necessarily know you should be saying you’ll build a course two years ahead of time, even before you’ve put out the small products.
- 1:04:49 Assuming the small products are related in some way, you’ll build up a reputation. The nice thing about the six month sweet spot is that for people who take a holiday or something, it’s enough time for them to notice, but it’s not so much time that they get fatigued. I’ll be honest, I’ve messed up with The Overlap Technique. The first episode of this podcast was about The Overlap Technique and it’s a book I’m writing that I keep saying I’m going to launch and give away for free, and then other things get in the way or take priority (Related: e137 The Overlap Technique: A Crash Course).
- 1:06:01 I keep pushing it to the back burner. I was set on finishing it this winter, but then I went on a treat where the guys said, “You have to start selling things if you want to remain in business,” (Related: e209 Unsolicited Advice – Recap of A Mastermind Retreat). I have to keep pushing the book back even more and that hurts. That hurts your reputation when you have something going on so long, eventually people will get fatigued. The people for whom The Overlap Technique was hyper-relevant for a year ago, it’s less relevant for now. I’ve put people through that experience of being excited for a book that doesn’t come out and that’s what you don’t want. My sweet spot for something you already have a reputation for is six months of Backwards Building.
- 1:06:55 Ben: Definitely go case by case and determine what length of time seems appropriate, but I like that as a starting point. As soon as you have a product in mind to launch, give yourself six months of lead time. I’ll often have an idea and I know I would have the time to put it together, and I’ll think I can release it in a month or two. I could release it in two months and I could do ok, or I could release it in six months and completely blow it out of the water.
- 1:07:43 Sean: As long as you’re providing value ramping up to it, not just holding back for the sake of waiting. The point of it is to get people excited during that six months. You’re putting out new videos and articles that aren’t just, “Go buy my thing!” It’s showing a sample of what you have to provide. If you’ve got a small product and you have an existing list, you can still use this Backwards Building concept. You don’t have to use a full six months for a huge ramp up, but keep in mind the concept.
How Big Is Too Big to Start Out?
- 1:08:24 Felippe asks, “How do I know if I’m creating something too big for the moment? How does Backwards Building help me to determine if I should start small before moving bigger if I see a demand for it?” Take the concept, even if you want to mess with the time because you don’t have six months. Ask yourself, “What would it look like to really do this purposefully in two months?” Not everyone is going ot notice in two months, but how can you get the most people to notice in two months? Immediately your focus is on making sure you’re solving the right problem and putting up that press release to speak to people and capture interest. Then, you can continue to nurture them and send relevant content to keep that list warm.
- 1:09:09 It’s better to keep consistent and relevant emails going out to your list because it’s warm. Someone was asking about unsubscribes earlier and people aren’t going to randomly leave your list. They’re not going to dig through old emails to find an unsubscribe link, they’ll do it when they get a new email. This is scary for people because they think, “If I send an email, then people will unsubscribe.” Yes, but that’s the point. You don’t want the people who aren’t serious! You want the people who are serious and the people who are serious need the value.
The people who unsubscribe when you send them value were never going to buy.
The people who want to buy aren’t going to buy if you aren’t sending them emails.
- 1:10:08 You have to keep it fresh with them. If you have two months, start nurturing people. Keep it consistent and warm because you only have a little bit of time. Plan it out ahead of time. You have all the time in the world to plan it the right way before you announce it. What if you wrote 30 posts and made 10 videos, and sent them every other day, in those 60 days? If you plan it right, you can announce it ahead of time, stay relevant and provide value, then when it comes time to sell, they’ll press the buy button.
Nobody Cares About Notifications
- 1:10:52 Ben: I’ve been helping Rachel out with her book stuff and she has a couple of different genres she’s representing in her books, but we’ve set up a separate list for notifications of a specific book release. On the front end, the landing page has a signup form for a notification of a book. When they sign up for the notification, they also receive the lead magnet. When they sign up for the notification, should that sign up go to the main list? Currently we have it going to a list just for notifications for that book. She’s going to use the main list as a channel for promoting the book anyway. Is there a need to have two separate lists, or would it make more sense to put those together?
- 1:13:08 Sean: This is a common struggle that a lot of people have so I’m glad you brought this up. The short answer is that you can solve this problem with some very advanced systems, which we have and has taken the better part of this year to develop. You don’t want to do that. On the other end, let’s say this person is sending out a weekly newsletter and it’s on the topic of the book.
- 1:14:01 Ben: That’s not accurate actually. The book comes into the weekly newsletter as it gets closer to the release of the book, but the people who are subscribed to the main list aren’t really subscribing specifically for that book. They’re subscribing for Rachel as an author.
- 1:14:16 Sean: Your biggest asset is your main list. Ideally, what you’re launching will align with them and their interests. That’s where you’re going to get the most leverage. The simple version of this is not to have separate lists. It’s great to be able to segment lists, but it’s advanced. If you don’t have separate lists, it can be ok if the content aligns. When you’re talking about the book or sending out newsletters, then you’re serving the same people. They’ll find different kinds of value in the different kinds of content, but all of it contributes to the same Magic of 7 that would lead them to buying.
- 1:15:18 Ben: I feel like maybe it’s an issue with how it’s positioned on the landing page. On the landing page it’s about getting a notification about when this book launches, so the people signing up for that wouldn’t assume they’re getting on a list where Rachel will share all of her other stuff. I want them to know they’re going to get notified about it.
- 1:15:55 Sean: You’re right about the positioning. It’s how you position this thing and how you align it with your message. Nobody wants updates or notifications. Nobody cares about notifications.
Notifications are not valuable.
People care about what they’re being notified of and what it does for them.
- 1:16:19 You don’t want to sell the notification. You want the solution to be the value. If the book is about improving your productivity, then what you sell is a more productive life, not updates about a book that will give someone a more productive life. When you align that, it’s your value proposition. “Sign up to get a more productive life and you’ll also hear about this book.” It’s almost like an afterthought. That way, they’re on board for the message. They don’t care about format—ebooks, physical paper books, podcast installments, newsletter installments, etc.—they want the message and the results. Don’t think of it as a newsletter, think of it as what you previously would have thought of as updates.
- 1:17:10 The problem with updates is that they’re self-serving. You care about updating people on your product. Other people care about how your product is going to make their lives better. Instead of thinking of it as an update, think of it as providing value. Yesterday, I sent out an email to the Supercharge Your Writing list and I didn’t want to say, “Registration is open!” in the subject line. This the first email I sent where registration was open. People think, “I want people to care about registration being open, so registration is now open!” but what does this person care about? If they’re my target audience, they care about writing and improving their writing, so my subject is, “Writing Tip: Rambling vs. Elaborating.”
- 1:20:03 The people who care about writing tips are people who want to get better at writing, so I provide 1,000 or 2,000 words of value on writing, then at the end, I say, “By the way, registration is open for this live workshop and I want to help you take your writing to the next level.” It’s not about caring about your updates, your launch, or your registration opening; it’s about providing value and using that value as a way to get people’s attention to promote your thing.
Should I Launch Early?
- 1:20:51 Ben: Matt Ashcraft asks, “What if you set a launch date, but you actually finish the product before the launch date? Should you launch early?”
- 1:21:13 Sean: You might actually be working against yourself a little bit because people actually put things like this on their calendar and plan around them. If you change it at the last minute, they might have to miss it when they were planning around it. But, you can make it an exclusive thing. You can say, “Hey, I’ve actually finished this, but I want to refine it. I want your feedback. If you’re interested in being a beta member of this course…” This is similar to what we’re doing with Value-Based Pricing.
- 1:21:54 The course isn’t going to launch until mid next year, but we’re opening up a pilot program next week. The final course will have different tiers where we provide various levels of coaching and consultation for people, and the pilot program is going to be even more private consultation with them. We go through each module with them and get their feedback. We may even revise the content before we produce the whole version. It feels exclusive and personal, and it ends up resulting in an even better final product based on that feedback. If you finish early, still stick to your main launch, but you could open up a beta program.
- 1:22:45 Ben: Because you’re not having to spend the time making the product, you have some extra time on your hands. Use that time to create more value so you can develop that content and create more interest. It’s a unique problem to have, because most people are hurrying to finish the week before. If you find yourself in that position, use that extra time to either add more value to the product by getting input from beta members or by creating more content.