$10,000 in 24 hours by preselling our product before we built it

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris /

Ever had this conversation before?

Be honest…

What went wrong here?

The idea was freaking brilliant and you made an incredible product.

Why didn’t people buy it?

There are three things that have to be nearly perfect for a product to sell:

1. Pricing

2. Desire

3. Messaging

The pricing has to be on point. If you charge 10x more than you should, no one buys because you’ve out-priced the market. Price it 10x too low, and people are skeptical because it’s too cheap. Either way, you’re hosed.

Your audience has to have an intense desire for the product you’ve made. Does it solve an urgent problem in their lives? If not, you’re screwed.

Is the messaging right? Are you talking about the problem and your solution in a way that makes sense to them and resonates with them? If not, yup, you’re screwed.

Here is a fun Venn diagram that shows how this works.

Get one of these out of whack and poof! Stupid Pessimistic You thinks he’s a baller. (He’s not. Optimistic You is just lazy and skipped steps.)

So, how do you make sure these three things are correct?

This is how…

Pre-sell the product.

Before you create anything, go through an extensive pre-sell validation process to refine your pricing and messaging and make sure there is an intense level of desire for the product. But most people get lazy and skip this step.

And that’s why most people’s products flop.

This is especially true for those of you who have successfully launched a product in the past. You think you are invincible and know everything. You don’t. Do your homework or suffer.

Don’t skip this process. Don’t be that guy.

I’ll help you.

🙂

Today we’re going to do two things…

Thing #1: I’m going to walk you through my journey of validating the first product I ever sold on the VF blog. It was called The Vault. Some of you old-timers might remember it. For those of you who are newer, the Vault was a weird little product.

It was a resource that contained 3 things: 1) list of my recommended contractors; 2) collection of my swipe files; and 3) video-recorded workflows of how I outsourced and interfaced with the contractors I used.

When I created and launched this product, the VF email list was right around 6,000 subscribers.

What happened? Crazy stuff. It sold over $25,000 worth in the first week.

This happened because the messaging and pricing were on point. And the desire was intense.

And THAT was because I spent 4 weeks in an intense validation process before creating the product.

You’ll see how to do the same thing.

Thing #2: Today we’re releasing a BRAND-NEW template into Slingshot, the Product Validation Template!

If you want me to take you by the hand and show you everything you need to do to properly validate and pre-sell your product (you’ll get at least $1k in pre-orders), this template is for you.

If you’re sick and tired of creating products that flop or being unsure about how to properly price, package and position your product, this template is exactly what you need.

If you’re unsure whether your audience has an intense desire for your product, yup, this template is your soul mate.

There are 37 total steps you need to go through to properly pre-sell and validate your product, and each one is meticulously detailed for you in Slingshot.

Here’s a quick overview of how it works.

 

 

To celebrate the launch of this template, we’re releasing the Slingshot October Bundle to the entire VF family.

Here’s what’s included in the bundle:

  • FULL access to Slingshot and all new templates we release for the next 12 months
  • IMMEDIATE access to the Product Validation Template
  • IMMEDIATE access to the Online Course Launch Template (our first template)
  • FREE license to our entry-level email list-building course Rapid List Building ($300 value)
  • FREE license to our Product Creation Bundle Master Class ($1,000 value)
  • FREE access to three (3) LIVE Coaching Intensive calls starting next Wednesday (November 3rd)

Note: The bundle will be good only until early next week. So grab a copy before it’s gone.

Click here to get a Slingshot Annual Plan and all the October bundle goodies.

Alright…

Let’s jump into the validation methodology we used for the Vault, Get 10,000 Subscribers and our latest product, Slingshot.

There are 6 major phases.

Game time!

Phase #1: Create a product your readers are desperate to buy

My mother-in-law swears that she invented the slogan “Just Do It” before Nike did. It was HER idea, not Nike’s. So, when Nike made it the centerpiece of an entire global marketing campaign, she immediately said, “They STOLE MY IDEA!”

But the truth was she wasn’t the head of an ad agency, she didn’t run a business and she had no way to actually use a slogan. It was just a random idea.

Random ideas are worthless.

What you need in order to turn your blog into a sustainable business is the Perfect Product Idea.

  • The Perfect Idea is extremely focused.
  • The Perfect idea is something only you can make.
  • The Perfect Idea is something that your audience will beat down your doors to buy.

How do you find the perfect product idea?

For most businesses it’s a guessing game.

For a blogger it’s not. For a blogger it’s a process of analysis and testing.

This Product Validation Process allows you to sidestep all of the B.S. that traditional businesses go through to figure out what to create in order to get customers.

Let me show you exactly how to come up with your perfect product idea.

Step 1: Make a list of your most popular blog posts

Note: If you haven’t written at least 10 blog posts, I suggest doing that first. Use the Question Strategy to create your first 10 posts. You can complete this within the next 30 days.

To do this, log into your Google Analytics account.

Then navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

Once you click on All Pages you will see a list of the most popular pages on your site.

Next, create a Google spreadsheet.

Label the first 5 columns: Category, URL, Traffic, Social Shares, Click Rates, Opt-ins and Notes.

We’ll call this our Perfect Product Idea spreadsheet.

perfect_product_idea_worksheet_-_google_sheets_%f0%9f%94%8a

Next, enter the URL of the top 10 most visited blog posts from your Google Analytics account.

Be sure to exclude your root domain and any unrelated pages that might be shown.

When finished, your spreadsheet should look like this:

edit_post__videofruit_-_wordpress

Step 2: Make a list of your most engaged with blog posts

There’s a few different methods you can use to decide which of your blog posts receive the most engagement from your audience:

Method #1: Which posts have the most social shares?
Method #2: Which of your emails regarding your posts have the most clicks?
Method #3: Which of your blog posts have the most comments?
Method #4: Which of your content upgrades are the most popular?

You can use as many of these methods are applicable to you. The main goal is to have a list of your most engaged with blog posts by the end of this step.

Method #1: Which posts have the most social shares?

The best way to find how many social shares your posts are getting is through a search on Buzzsumo.  Simply type in your website in the search bar…

buzzsumo__find_the_most_shared_content_and_key_influencers

And then look through which of your blog posts got the most social shares.

videofruit_com_-_most_shared_content

Input your top 2-3 posts into your spreadsheet.

Method #2: Which of your emails regarding your posts have the most clicks?

Another way you can measure engagement in your posts is to see which of your email broadcasts get the most clicks.

You’ll just need to log into your email service provider, go through your emails and record what your click-rate was for each email sent about a blog post. Most email service providers have this percentage easily viewable.

convertkit
Once you have identified your emails with the highest click through rates, add the blog post that the email was referencing to your list.

Method #3: Which of your blog posts have the most comments?

This method works great for some and not as great for others. It mostly depends on if you get a high number of comments on your posts. If you are only getting one or two comments per post, I would skip this method. However, blog post comments can be a useful way to see which of your posts are the most engaging and helpful, if you do have a lot of commenters.

Take a look at two of my previous blog posts. You can see from the comments, my audience is much more interested in launching products than building a coaching program (93 comments compared to 36 comments on the following two posts):

videofruit___step_by_step_formulas_to_grow_your_business_with_videoblog_-_page_2_of_29_-_videofruit

how_to_quickly_start_a_coaching_program_that_makes__500_an_hour___videofruithow_to_quickly_start_a_coaching_program_that_makes__500_an_hour
If you have an audience that is highly engaged via commenting, then go through and see which posts have the post comments. Add these posts to your spreadsheet.

Method #4: Which of your content upgrades are the most popular?

Now, if you have content upgrades added to your blog post, then add to your spreadsheet the 5 most popular content upgrades on your blog.

You’ll probably discover that your most popular content upgrades are also your most visited posts. However, that isn’t always the case. If you come across one that isn’t already listed in your spreadsheet, add it to the list.

Then, beside each entry, record the number of people who have opted into each content upgrade.

The easiest way to get your content upgrade opt-in numbers is to log in to your LeadPages account and record the data from the dashboard.

Step 3: Analyze the common elements of each post to find topical overlap

Now that you have a grasp on what your audience likes, it’s time to find the common elements.

Next to each entry in your spreadsheet, fill in the category that the article covers.

When finished it should look like this:

perfect_product_idea_worksheet_-_google_sheets_%f0%9f%94%8a

Now, create a new tab inside of your spreadsheet and name it “Data Overlap.”

Inside of this tab, list each of your categories in a separate column header.

Then, enter the totals from the  “Traffic” and “Content Upgrade” fields for each article

Lastly, at the bottom of each column, calculate the total of all of the articles in that category.

When finished it should look like this:

What these numbers show you are the topics that your audience has read, engaged with, and opted in to the most.

Think of each of these posts as being micro product tests. This is incredibly valuable information and the basis for finding your Perfect Product Idea.

Now, it’s time to pick which category in this spreadsheet to focus on.

A few questions you can ask yourself to help make your decision easier are:

1. Which category received the most engagement?
2. Which category was most consistent in getting the audience’s attention?
3. Which category does your gut tell you would be the most successful?

From the spreadsheet example above I chose List Building.

Step 4: List out product ideas from your top category

Now you need to turn your category into a list of ideas for a product. If you don’t know what kind of product to create, here are a few ideas:

• Create an online course
• Create a mastermind group
• Offer services to help people with the topic
• Host a live event
• Create a coaching program
• Create an e-book, app, or software product.

Let’s take the List Building category from the above example.
We could:

• Create a course on list building
• Create a mastermind about list building
• Offer list-building services to my blog readers
• Host a live event about list building
• Create a dedicated coaching track all about list building
• Program an e-book, app, or software product to help my readers build their lists

Maybe the topic of your blog is healthy recipes, and your audience is most interested in weekly meal planning.
You could:

• Create an online course on meal planning
• Create a weekly group where you plan meals together
• Offer meal planning / shopping list services to your blog readers
• Host a live event regarding the topic of meal planning
• Create a coaching / accountability program where you help individuals create customized, healthy meal plans for weight loss.
• Create an e-book, app, or software program to help readers with their meal planning

The question you need to ask is:

How can you turn your most popular category into a product?

Create a new tab in your Perfect Product Idea spreadsheet and name it “Product Hypothesis.”

In this tab, list out every product idea that you can think of for your category.

Make sure your ideas are a mixture of both products and services.

Tip: It’s also good to go to the blog posts written in the category and read through the comments to see what your readers are asking for clarification on and are having trouble with.

If you don’t have many comments on your blog, go to your contemporaries’ blog posts on similar subjects and look at their comment sections.

Once you have brainstormed ideas for your category, it should look like this:

edit_post__videofruit_-_wordpress

Step 5: Pick one product idea to test

At this point, you have analyzed your most popular blog posts, identified the topics that your readers are most interested in and come up with a list of product ideas for each.

Now, you need to pick one product idea to test.

Ask yourself these three questions to help make your decision:

1. Which product idea excites me the most?
2. Which product would be the most helpful to my audience?
3. Which product has the most earning potential?

Don’t overanalyze this step. Spend no more than 72 hours deciding on your product idea. Remember, you’re going to validate it before you build it, so you aren’t committing to it 100% right now.

Just go with your gut.

Then…pick your favorite.

Want to watch the process of picking a topic idea live, in action? Check out this video of a recent webinar call where I actually go through the process of picking a product idea live.

 

Step 6: Create a detailed product hypothesis

Once you’ve picked your product idea, I want you to come up with a more detailed product hypothesis for the product. That’s really just a fancy way of saying to write up a Google doc, describing what would actually be included in the product.

Here is a screenshot of our product hypothesis for 10ksubs.

Inside the Product Validation Template you’ll get our product descriptions for both 10ksubs and Slingshot.

how_we_launched_an_online_course_and_made__220_750_in_10_days___videofruithow_we_launched_an_online_course_and_made__220_750_in_10_days_%f0%9f%94%8a

Once you’ve finished your product hypothesis, it’s time to move on to Phase two.

Phase #2: Validate the product idea

This is where most people get lazy.

MOST people go from “I have a cool idea!” straight to creating the product.

That is a huge mistake.

In order to build a product that your audience will go crazy over, you first have to test your product idea to determine if they will actually pay you money for your solution to their problem.

To do that, follow these three steps:

Step #1: Create a focus group.
Step #2: Get feedback on the product.
Step #3: Ask for the sell.

Let me show you how I did this for my very first product I ever created. It was called “the Vault” and was a list of all the contractors and processes I used in my first few years of business.

Create a focus group to test the product

After coming up with the idea for my product, I tested it by sending out a series of emails to a small segment of the Videofruit email list.

That small segment is your focus group.

They will tell you if your product idea is worth pursuing by giving feedback and pre-ordering the product (more on this later).

If you use content upgrades, creating your focus group is easy. Just segment your list by identifying the readers who downloaded the content upgrade for blog posts in the category of your product idea.

For example…

Before launching the Vault I offered a content upgrade of 150+ Landing Page Templates.

Any time someone downloaded those templates, they were required to enter their email address which allowed me to identify exactly who was interested in that topic.

Since the Vault included 100s of templates, I used the 150+ Landing Page Templates downloaders as the focus group for the Vault.

However, if you don’t track the exact individuals who download content upgrades, you can create a similar segment by tracking who clicked the content upgrade link in the broadcast email for that blog post.

This is easily done with any major email service provider like MailChimp, Covertkit, or AWeber.

Note: If this feels overwhelming, that’s ok. We recommend using the Product Validation Template in Slingshot to execute this framework. It breaks down what you need to do into a day-by-day schedule that’s easy to follow. Click here to get the Slingshot Annual Plan and use the template now.

Ask the focus group to give feedback on the product

Include only 50 people in your initial focus group.

Follow this 3-email sequence to ask them for feedback.

• Email #1: Ask for their opinion.
• Email #2: Send product details.
• Email #3: Answer questions and ask to buy.

This email campaign is designed to get each focus group member to give you feedback on your product, answer any questions they may have and then pre-order your product.

The ultimate gauge of the validity of your product idea is whether or not your biggest fans will pay you for it before it exists.

Let’s walk through this email campaign in detail.

Email #1: Ask for their opinion

The purpose of your first email is to get their permission to talk to them about your product.

Once you have identified your focus group, send each member this email from your personal Gmail account (no automation).

Here is the email I used (and what you should copy)…

Email #1: Get their permission

Results: 36 of the 50 people I emailed said they would like to participate.

Email #2: Send product details

The purpose of this email is to get them to give feedback on your product.

To do that, you have to send two pieces of information: 1) a link to a detailed description of your product; and 2) a link to a form where they can leave feedback.

Here is the email I sent.

Email #2: Deliver the info

You product description should be included inside of a Google Doc and be linked directly from your email. DON’T put the full product description in this email. It’s too much information and will overwhelm the reader.

The feedback form should ask these three questions:

1. Do you want to buy this product?
2. What is the #1 thing that made you want to buy?
3. What do you wish this product had that it doesn’t?

By getting real feedback from real customers, the sales pitch you use in your actual product launch will answer all potential objections and highlight the key features that you already know draw in your ideal customer.

Results: 22 of 36 people that initially agreed to give feedback actually left feedback.

Email #3: Answer questions and ask for the sell

This is the most important step.

Feedback from 22 people can be extremely confusing. To cut through the clutter, I do not pay attention to the feedback of anyone who did not want to buy the product.

If, after reading your blog, downloading your free bonus content, being personally invited to participate in the development of a new product…

…if after all of that they still don’t want to buy from you, they are NOT your ideal customer. Ignore them.

Instead, focus 100% on those who are interested. Those are your core customers and the people you want to make happy.

After receiving feedback from your focus group, you need to do two things:

1. Hide the results of anyone who said “No, I don’t want to buy.”
2. Immediately answer the questions of and send a checkout link to those who said “Yes, I want to buy.”

This is an email I sent to a member of my focus group after they expressed interest in buying my product:

Email #3: Answer their questions and ask for the sale.

This email does two things: 1) answers their questions; and 2) gives them an immediate opportunity to buy the product.

Do NOT be shy about asking for the sale at this point. They said they wanted to buy…so let them.

Results: 13 of the 22 people who gave feedback said they would buy the product. 6 of them actually bought.

Phase #3: Determine if your product idea is a success

10%.

That’s the number you are looking for.

10% of the people in your focus group should buy the product.
(If you are selling products that cost more than $400, adjust this number downward. And if you’re selling really low-priced products, less than $50, adjust it upwards.)

How did I come up with 10%? My thinking was that if I sent an email to a highly targeted group of 50 people and I couldn’t get 5 of them to buy a product they had already shown some level of interest in, then it would be nearly impossible to get 10,000 people who hadn’t shown interest in the product to buy it.

Once your first round of focus group testing is complete, analyze the results to determine if 10% of the participants bought.

What if I miss my goal?

If less than 10% of your focus group buy your product, that doesn’t necessarily mean the product is a failure.

There could be any number of problems:

1. Your sales copy could be bad.
2. Your price could be too high (or too low).
3. You could have taken the wrong approach to solving the problem.

If you find yourself in this situation, I suggest testing each one of these potential problems with separate focus groups.

For example…

If your results come back and only 3% of your focus group participants bought, then re-rewrite your sales copy by using the questions and concerns that your first group expressed in their survey.

In my case, one question that came up over and over again was:

“How are you going to protect the contractors in Rolodex from getting overwhelmed and flooded with requests?”

So, in my second round of testing I answered that question.

The results? A 20% increase in sales with focus group #1 vs. focus group #2.

Repeat all of the above steps (from start to finish) until you hit on a product with a 10% conversion rate in your focus group.

What happens when I hit my goal?

Do it again.

Yes, once you hit your 10% conversion rate, you need to do it again.

I recommend using a total of three focus groups to validate your results.

For example…

When I was validating the Vault, I first validated it with a group of 50, then with a group of 100 and lastly with a group of 250.

The first group converted at 10%.

The second group converted at 11%.

And the last group converted at 14%.

Using three separate groups ensures that the results you are getting are accurate and that one or two outliers aren’t skewing the numbers.

It also allows you to collect a wealth of data on the product itself by talking to actual paying customers.

Once you have come up with your product idea and validated it with three separate focus groups, it’s time to build the product!

Phase #4: Launch the product and make money

Ok, the hard work is done.

Pysch!

Finding a great idea and validating that idea is just half the battle. Now it’s time to launch the product to your audience.

The most effective way to do this is to email your readers and tell them about it.

However, just shooting them a quick email with a “buy now” link is a great way to annoy them and ensure the launch is a failure.

You have to warm them up!

My wife and I went on a trip to Costa Rica. We were driving through the middle of nowhere when we began to notice signs for this little restaurant, Toad Hall.

TOAD HALL!

We hadn’t seen a car for over an hour and then all of a sudden we began seeing signs for Toad Hall.

5 miles out: “Best Tacos in Nuevo Arenal!”

4 miles out: “We’re nice people!”

3 miles out: “You’ll love our view!”

2 miles out: “Don’t miss Toad Hall”

1 mile out: “Toad Hall on right in one mile”

0.5 mile out: “Welcome to Toad Hall…not really. We’re 0.5 mile on the right!”

0.1 miles out: “Park here and visit world-famous Toad Hall!”

Guess what we did?

We visited Toad Hall.

No other restaurant in Costa Rica did this. All of the OTHER restaurants relied on the sign hanging in front of their building to capture my attention.

All of the OTHERS were working under the assumption that as I drove down this long, winding road, fiddling with my GPS and trying to drink my Dr. Pepper, that I would randomly look up, see their sign and decide to stop in.

<lol>

It just doesn’t work like that. Relying on one sign is stupid.

Toad Hall isn’t stupid. They had 25 signs!

By using 25 signs, Toad Hall warmed me up. They got my attention. They made me like them and gave me a good reason to stop at their restaurant.

You have to do the exact same thing when you are launching your product.

Just because you have a great product and an established audience doesn’t mean it will be a best-seller. Especially if you rely on just one sign.

My recommendation is to use a multi-part education-focused email series to launch your product.

Let me show you the seven part email series I used to launch the Vault.

Note: Since originally using the email sequence I’m about to share, we’ve discovered an even more effective launch sequence. You can read about it here. Also, the Online Course Launch Template inside of Slingshot contains a complete breakdown of how to execute the updated email sequence..

Here is the exact email sequence I used to launch the Vault:

Note: The purpose of the first educational email is to start a dialogue with the reader around the category and #1 pain point that your product addresses.

In the case of the Vault, the #1 benefit that I highlighted in the pre-launch educational series was how to properly structure a product launch.

Note: The purpose of the second educational email is to continue the dialogue with the reader around the category and #1 pain point that your product addresses.

I chose to use case studies as the centerpiece of my educational emails. This allowed me to gain authority in the mind of the reader by positioning myself and my product next to established authorities that they respected.

Note: The purpose of the third educational email is to provide the reader with a more practical case study and an easy tactic that they can install into their business.

This email is written with the intent to show them that you don’t have to have a massive audience to have success online. By sharing a personal story I was able to relate to the reader.

Note: The purpose of the this email is very simple: tell the reader about the product.

This is the MONEY email. This is where you reader first learns about the features and benefits of your product.

It’s also important to let them know in this email that the product will be available for sale tomorrow morning at an exact time.

Note: This is the shortest email in the entire sequence.

The ONLY purpose of this email is to get the reader to click through and land on the sales page.

Do not put any other links or unnecessary information in this email. Short and concise wins.

Note: This email saved my butt. This is the pivot email.

The pivot email comes in the middle of your launch window, between the opening and closing emails.

The pivot email allows you to….pivot your sales pitch if necessary. After my initial influx of sales on launch day things slowed down drastically.

So, I sent an email to everyone who bought and asked them “What is the #1 reason you bought the Vault?”

Their answer surprised me.

See, I had framed the Vault as being a resource to learn how to launch a product; however, everyone who bought did so for the contractors list.

The pivot email enabled me to make up for my mistake by changing my sales pitch to focus on the contractors list and its benefits instead of the launch sequence training.

Note: Whatever you do, don’t forget to send this email.

People are busy and procrastinate. Send them a “It’s going away in X hours” email before your launch window expires. 

***
The results: $10,000 in sales in the first 24 hours of launch.

This was the first time I had ever made money from my own product. Nothing compares to the feeling of having an idea, validating that idea, building that idea and then releasing it into the world and people paying money for it.

I can’t guarantee you results (that would be irresponsible), but I will tell you this: You WILL have more success if you take the time to validate your product idea before creating it.

It also helps to have a step-by-step plan to help make it happen.

Want to get 4x my results?

The launch series that I just describe is what we used to launch our first product, the Vault.

That launch produced $4 for every subscriber on the list.

It’s been a few years since we first launched the Vault and we’ve launched two new flagship products in that time.

With each launch, we’ve tweaked and perfected each step of the process to make it more effective.

How much more effective?

With this original process our revenue per subscriber was $4. With the new launch framework we use it has risen to $22 per subscriber.

What does that mean for you?

This morning at 6 AM Central time we released the Product Validation Template in Slingshot (our newest product).

The Product Validation Template will help you execute every step of the process we outlined in this post and will also give you the new email framework we use when launching any product or service.

So, if you feel overwhelmed and not sure what to do next, your next step should be to grab a Slingshot Annual plan and follow the road map we lay out for you.

There are 37 total steps you need to go through to properly pre-sell and validate your product, and each one is meticulously detailed for you in Slingshot.

Here is a quick overview of how it works.

 

To celebrate the launch of this template we’re announcing the Slingshot October Bundle.

Here’s what’s included in the bundle:

  • FULL access to Slingshot and all new templates we release for the next 12-months
  • IMMEDIATE access to the Product Validation Template
  • IMMEDIATE access to the Online Course Launch Template (our first template)
  • FREE license to our entry-level email list-building course Rapid List Building ($300 value)
  • FREE license to our Product Creation Bundle Master Class ($1,000 value)
  • FREE access to three (3) LIVE Coaching Intensive calls starting next Wednesday (November 2nd)

This special offer will only be available for a limited time.

So grab a copy before it’s gone.

If you want to execute this process without the help of Slingshot, you can grab our brief execution checklist below.

Or with Slingshot you can be up and going with a personalized road map, detailed instructions, individual coaching and the support of our entire team in less than 60 seconds.

 

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  • Thanks for sharing Bryan! I’m still in the “getting started” phase, but this is a great outline showing what I need to be focusing on every step of the way.

    • Keep the template outlined in this post in mind Brian.

      You goal at this point is two fold:

      1) Write articles in your main 3 categories
      2) Build your email list

      Once you get to 500’ish subscribers start analyzing and testing to find your product.

      • Zac Headrick

        @bharris007:disqus just read your 2015 year in review post and have you considered sharing how you find your employees or what your process is? Seems like you are building a great team and that could be very valuable! Thanks!

  • If there was only one article that I could save and refer back to over and over again to help me succeed in creating products online it would be this one!

    • Thanks Joe! You’ve set the product creation standard HIGH.

  • Outstanding Bryan! This is literally the exact point I am at and the exact information I have been searching for. Thank you.

    • Great Craig! Share your progress with me as you go through the steps.

      What are your top two categories?
      What are your product ideas for each category?

  • Pablo

    Bryan, I just found your blog and it is THE best information I have ever read, it’s what I needed at the time I needed. I’m transforming my site and adding as many lead captures as I can without making it too much.

    However, one thing is constantly on my mind. All those lead captures are a huge waste of resources when somebody has already signed up and we have their email address. If they come back to our blog it means they are very interested in whatever we offer. Why would we still show them lead captures on our blogs then? It would be great to show them some more great content or just put sales messages there, once we have their email we should change approach: stop showing optin messages and start showing sales messages.

    Same thing when they become our customers, at this point we need to sell them more, not show those old lead capture boxes. Do you have any idea if there is any plugin or anything that can achieve those results? For sure it would be well worth it, less annoying to our readers, giving them more benefits and us more money.

    Thanks!

    • Thank you for your kind comments Pablo.

      I understand what you are saying and have been working on a better technology solution to this problem. Hope to make it available to everyone in 2015.

  • Andrius Petrošius

    Awesome stuff as always Bryan, thank you!

    It’s my first comment and I would like to share that I’m truly grateful and inspired by how you run your business and share your wisdom with the world. What really inspires me is to see how well your coaching service works based on what you share on your landing page.. I have a couple questions about it, would be amazing if you could create a moment and answer them:

    1. It seems that just like me, people recognise you as the expert in your field due to the high quality content that you share on your blog. Is this the main factor that cause people to enroll in your coaching programs or are there other factors that play an important role as well?

    2. Do you get all your coaching leads primarily through your blog (online) or is offline networking a big part of it?

    3. How do you deal with the pressure of bringing ROI to your clients so they continue their coaching cycle?

    Thanks!

    • 1. Yes. That’s the #1 lead gen for the coaching program
      2. Yes. That’s the only source of leads.
      3. More nuanced question. My job as a coach is three fold 1) Teach 2) Hold accountable 3) Provide grace. I use metrics to track all three.

      Hope that helps!

      • Andrius Petrošius

        Thank you for taking the effort to answer me! All the best to you 🙂

  • Bryan, thank you – it’s awesome! I usually read a lot but this is the best product launch article I’ve ever read.

    I emailed you earlier about my new coaching program, and here it is. Now I’ve a lot of work to be done.

    Thank you very much and keep on!

    I’ll definitely email you with my results in mid-January!

  • Whoa! Bryan this is Epic… Best part was…

    “This is a lot of work. I’m not going to lie.”

    Thanks bro

    Ameer

  • Gr8 post! I am definitely going to try the validation idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Awesome post Bryan!

    Congrats on the successful launch of your first product!

    I’m currently in the process of starting my blog so I’m not at the stage to implement this strategy yet, but I’m super excited to give it a try when I have my 10 posts up.

    One question I have is why did you wait till you had over 10,000 subscribers to launch your first product? I have seen you recommend launching a product to a list as little as 500 subscribers.

    Thanks for the awesome content!

    • I’ve had several smaller ‘launches’ along the way. For instance, before I started this blog I had a course and I’ve done an evergreen launch for it through the life of the blog. Also, the coaching program I started in March is technically a launch as well.

      But the first legit, full blown launch I’ve done was the Vault.

      Why?

      My #1 focus was building my list to 10,000 subscribers by the end of 2014. Product came second, however, once I hit that milestone I wanted to test the list so I created and launched the Vault.

      You absolutely do not have to wait until you get to 10,000 subscribers to launch a product. It’s just the path I chose.

  • Bryan, your blog updates are the only ones I usually stop what I’m doing to look at. Favoriting this to check out in detail later.

    P.S. Did you beat a personal best in the number of content upgrade opt-ins here?

  • Cary

    I’m nauseous and exhausted from just skimming the wealth of information you presented here. You’re a disgusting overachiever. I’m jealous.

  • LaKeisha

    brian love this article! i have a youtube channel and getting like 20,000 views a month on how to vids and vloging vids. i was just thinking i should look at the most popular and see what they comment and ask and create something….i havent collected any email addresses though… there is just consistent traffic….i guess the next step is to put landing pages on those videos huh?

    • You need a landing (lead capture) page indeed! What is the link to your YouTube channel? I’d like to check it out.

      • LaKeisha

        i agree ive been hesitating to put them up for some reason. most views come from the hair tutorials and then i blog a bit to the beaty school students and that is in the top videos analytics as well. the youtube.com/lakeishamichelle

  • You do a fantastic job, as Brian Dean says, of going “an inch wide and a mile deep”. I’m in the very early stages of learning about online business, so my only critique right now is your choice to using Nick Marshall for your “side step” image…come on Bryan

    How about some Amari Cooper…Roll Tide!

  • Great article, Bryan! Are you familiar with Jeff Walker’s PLF by any chance? 🙂

  • Luke

    Bryan,

    Do you have an email I could contact you through?

    Luke

  • Man this is a course in itself. Make it a product!

  • I have been reading your blog for just 15 minutes. Mind blowingly simple and effective. Time for action.

  • ddragilev

    Interesting. I love this! Question – what if the timeframe between when they buy and when you are finished developing it and launch it is say 8 months, you now have 10 people who pre-paid for it and have to wait for 8 months? How do you deal with that?

  • rrichards

    I don’t know how I missed this before, cause holy crap that’s a lot of value you just dropped! Looked through the comments, but didn’t see this question: when you are pre selling to your focus groups, are you actually collecting the money or payment info?

  • This is an extremely helpful piece of content. Bookmarked and saved for future reference. Thanks, Bryan.

  • Holy Bilbo Baggins Treasure of Value!!!
    This is awe-mazing.
    Thank you for your hard work on this Bryan!

  • Regret Free Life

    You are an incredible teacher, Bryan. Such an thoughtful and intuitive way of explaining what can be an overwhelming process. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    Thanks for sharing but I think it’s not really helpful for any blog or business. You’re showing how to sell a product that talks about how to sell a product…hmmm

  • Hey Bryan! This is one of the most epic blog posts I’ve ever read. I’m a regular reader and active member of your site; so I expect great content every time. But you outdid yourself here. man!

    Apparently, I participated in one of your Vault focus groups. I was one of the “yes, gimme” guys all the way through the launch.

    But here’s the deal: until I read this post, I never believed I was in a real focus group. Honestly, I thought you were simply executing one of your branded techniques designed to get feedback from your audience.

    So why didnt I believe it was a real focus group? The second email. The copy in the second email screamed “this is an automated response trying to look natural”.

    It’s hard to put my finger on the precise issue, but I remember the feeling…the vibe. Suddenly, I felt stupid for believing you selected me (but now I know you really did).

    So that’s why I didnt buy. Plus I was concerned about the contractors being overwhelmed.

    I’m a perfect example of a true fan, who had an honest interest, with real money to spend…who was ultimately turned off by the copy.

    Now that I know, I would gladly buy the Vault.

    Hope this helps!

    • Interesting. Thanks for your feedback Blaine!

  • barney

    Hey Bryan,

    Thanks for this great post! I only have one concern, I hope you can answer that.

    So, in Step #2 (and within that in Step #3) you say ask for the sell. But this is the validation part, and you only start to create the product after you validated the idea. How can you ask for the sell? What’s there to sell?

    I assume, it’s a presell, so you basically promise to deliver the product at a later point, IF they pay now. Isn’t that a lot to ask from them?

    Also, what if the validation idea doesn’t pan out, there is no 10% conversion? That’s pretty lame-o, to send them an email explaining that you were basically joking and not going to make the product (although you opened the whole discussion with the fact that you’ve been working on it for 8 months).

    Or am I missing something? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    Barney

    • What do you think the answer is?

      • Barney

        I don’t know, this is why I asked. Could you elaborate?

        • Take a stab at it. You’re the entrepreneur, pose a hypothesis. What does your gut say you should do?

        • Barney – I don’t mean to spoil the lesson, but here are a few hints:

          1) Everything you need to know is in this article and the downloads.

          2) But Where? Well, it rhymes with “Schtep Schtwo”, especially the section toward the end of that “Schtep” that matches your question.

          3) Can you be more Specific about the process, Please? OK, sure. The processes used to resolve your question rhymes with “Schmiterate” and “Schmalidate”. Again, the steps are outlined in the article and downloads.

          4) What about the “been working on it for 8 months” thing? Well, it’s a small detail, but relevant: In the opening email, you speak of a PROJECT you’ve been working on, not a specific PRODUCT. (Sorry about the all caps – I’m not yelling).

          Remember – not a lot of details at first. You are still trying to figure out the best product to offer.

          5) But what if you do everything 56 different ways and still don’t reach 10%? The answers are in the article. And some of it is common sense.

          But since I’m all about hints I’ll tell you a well-known, and often ignored principle of marketing:

          — A product is only worth what your customers are willing to pay–

          The “worth/value” and the “willing to pay” parts can be influenced via sales copy, targeting the right folks, the problem you are solving, timing, and how you overcome objections.

          Also, all the testing and marketing in the world can’t fix a poor product. But they can help fix a poor product-to-market match. This is a big hint by the way. Again, addressed in the article.

          So Barney, armed with these hints, what is the best answer to your question? What would you do?

          Seriously man, post your answer. Give it a shot. You aren’t the only one with this exact question.

          And this isn’t about ridicule; it’s your chance to be a leader for Brian’s audience. You have Brian’s attention…so use it.

          Is it best to send a “just kidding” email? OR handle it a bit differently? How?

  • Ah this is AMAZING Bryan. I caught half of your live webinar with Jeff and I really appreciate this. Just sat down with a pen and paper and worked through all of it.

  • Thank you for putting so much time and energy into this monster of a post. It’s funny, it’s precisely the type of post that reveals what actually works as opposed to catchy link bait posts that serve as candy instead of concrete advice. Way to go, my friend.

    I’m curious, in your sequence above did you create a beta version of your product to deliver to your beta buyers right away (focus group customers) or did you move on to doing the major launch first, then create the product for everyone (beta and full launch peeps) all at once?

  • Yeah, this has been saved. This is my template for my first product launch, amazing detail here and really helps set things up for a successful launch. Your blog is ridiculously practical, so glad to have stumbled on it (through Grant Baldwin recommendation on Pat Flynn’s blog, btw).

    Thanks for showing us all the behind-the-scenes magic!

    • Ameen

      How did it go Jacob?
      I’m just reading now and thinking to use it myself. Nervous!

  • Rhys Kilian

    Great article Bryan! I’ve passed it onto my Twitter followers.

    You’ve filled up a lot of tags in my Pocket save. I’ll be referring back to this one a lot!

  • Margarita Guillermo

    My niche market is the Spanish speaking market, which, if I may add, is 7+ years behind when it comes to online engagement/business. I have tried, and tried to get them to sign up to my newsletter email list but has not been successful. I do, however, have a very active FB page. Can I utilize the page to determine my product idea, and if so, how?

  • Jermaine Edwards

    Great stuff Bryan. I’m at the MVP stage with small $37 product. But can definitely use alot of the ideas. Thanks.

  • You are a genius Bryan! I am super glad I found this article! There are so many resources out there but this has got to be one of the best! Will be using this in my future blog adventures 😀

  • Hi Bryan,

    This post is sooooo helpful, thank you so much for this!

    I have a free email course which is around 20% of paid course, after the course, I send an email about waiting list for a paid course, but the email is quite overall because I only have a rough outline of a paid course.

    Around 6% of people from free course signed up for a waiting list, but it’s just a
    waiting list so I’m not sure whether they’ll buy it or not.

    I have several questions:

    1. Do you think I should validate my paid course with your 3 steps with the 50 people
    from the free course?

    2. How much course content you should have before you presale it to focus group?

    3. What is a time gap between preselling a course to focus group and launching it?

    4. What about the launch sequence, do you think I should send those emails to remaining people from my free course or to completely different list (I have a list for my resources library full of content upgrades)?

    Thanks in advance