There is a formula for successful product launches.
It doesn’t involve throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. It involves carefully defining an audience and building a mailing list around that audience.
What You're Meant To Do
Deliver high quality content to a list of engaged readers. These readers should value your content so much that—when it does come to offering a paid product—the foundation for trust has been laid and they’ll buy whatever you’re offering.
What I Did
Threw a tweet out into the ether and crossed my fingers.
This is what I've been working on. An email course for the DSLR novice who needs to pick up their camera more. http://t.co/610vYaaaOf— Ashley Baxter (@iamashley) April 7, 2015
It was a haphazard, imperfect launch that lacked any kind of strategy, but I needed to get something out there quickly.
Self-Employment Peaks And Troughs
I literally couldn’t afford to spend months building a list.
My haphazard, imperfect launch did result in £2.2K revenue for the month of April, which has more than validated this is an idea worth pursuing, yet I can’t help but wonder how much more I stood to earn had I put the time into building an audience.
It took tweeting about my launch and making two, measly sales within two hours to realise ‘build it and they will come’ doesn’t quite stack up. You need that loyal readership. Trust me, it will make things a lot easier for you.
I Got Lucky
Within 3 days my landing page had 8,000 hits and sales had picked up.
My two true expenses—a ConverKit subscription and my time—have more than been covered. Not bad for not having an audience to launch to, but I certainly don’t recommend relying on luck to make your launch a success.
Imperfect Can Be OK
It’s okay to do an itty bitty, imperfect launch. To get something out there and test the water, like I’ve done with this first version of my product. But when it comes to making real money and building a serious business, I’ve learned first-hand the importance of having an engaged audience to launch to.
Lesson learned—you have to have an audience. I might not be so lucky next time.
tl;dr: It’s never too late to start building an audience, and this launch has driven that home for me. I don’t want to rely on ‘luck’ with future launches.