Ever wish you could launch a new product without worrying it would fail?
I’ve got 2 words for you:
A pilot program is when you promote a simplified “beta” version of your product idea to a small group of your most engaged email subscribers or existing customers.
It’s a chance to make sure your customers want the product you plan on building, while also generating a nice chunk of revenue for yourself in the process.
For example, one of our clients, Ean Price Murphy, recently brought in $6,000 and validated a new product idea by promoting a pilot program version to a small segment of her customers.
In this post, you’re going to see how she did it.
The Client: Ean Price Murphy, Founder of Moxie Bookkeeping
Moxie Bookkeeping is a Brooklyn-based business that provides bookkeeping and cash management consulting services to hundreds of clients.
Ean’s idea was to create a group coaching product called Profit First Implementation that would take clients from theory through their first quarterly profit distribution.
That’s where the idea of a pilot program came in. In Ean’s words, she wanted to “test that my syllabus was complete, in the correct order, well paced, and with enough supporting documentation. I wanted to test the product before selling to the general population.”
The Campaign: Validated a New Product Idea and Pre-Sold It to 8 Customers for $6,000 in Revenue
- How She Selected Her Group of Clients to Pitch: Ean selected a group of around 20 current clients who she knew were feeling confused about dealing with fluctuations in income or wanted more clarity and authority in their business.
“They know they have a solid service and are great at what they do,” she said, “but want support with making financial decisions for their business.”Tip: If you’re thinking of creating your own pilot program, but don’t have existing customers, try promoting it to a segment of your most engaged email subscribers (people who open, click, and/or reply the most).
- How Ean Sold the Pilot Program: Expecting an elaborate campaign? A 20-part email sequence and 10,000-word sales page? Think again.
Instead of overcomplicating things, Ean sent out individual invites that said, “Hi, I’m starting a pilot group for Profit First theory to implementation. Interested? Schedule a call and let’s talk.”That’s it! Nothing complicated. Nothing fancy. Just good ol’ fashioned manual outreach and a call to close the deal.
(Sidenote: Ean said that clean, short style came directly from the style of pitching we recommend to clients in our Partnership Playbook.)
- The Results: That’s all it took to get 8 clients in the door at $750 each for a total of $6,000 in revenue.
As an added bonus, taking those clients through the pilot program has given Ean ideas on how to make it even better before opening enrollment to the public:“I created another calculator and added a section on pricing and business planning,” she said. “There were a few units that, once I taught them, I realized could be more clear and make another support document.”
Best of all, though, is that it gave her the confidence that her product is ready to serve a wider base of customers: “It’s been really satisfying to see how much IS working!” she said.
Here’s what Ean had to say about her experience as a Growth University coaching client:
“Before GU I was *all over the place*. I was trying to figure out what I didn’t know I didn’t know, which was overwhelming. I had a chorus of experts, each in a different area of expertise, telling me my next Action Steps, but with no overall plan, guidance, or TESTING to let me know if I was headed in the right direction.
“With GU, I have a playbook, weekly tasks, and a browser extension to remind me exactly what needs to be done next. I’m still trying to make it all work (I still desperately need help with writing copy to finally nail down a truly effective lead magnet) but I now can SEE exactly what needs to change, and I have a guide to answer questions when I get stuck.”
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