Digital product launch strategy: Lessons learned

Up, up and away

Digital Product Launch StrategyI just wrapped up my latest digital product launch strategy.

From December 9th through January 14th, I had the doors open to The When I Grow Up Coach Clubhouse—my virtual membership site for aspiring entrepreneurs.

When I initially launched this in January 2011, I fell right on my face. Hard. Since then, I made some tweaks and have launched it once or twice more, and I can happily say this was the best Clubhouse sign-up period yet.

Here’s what I did to improve my digital product launch strategy:

I kept a sign-up form up on my Clubhouse page when it was closed.

I kept a blurb describing the Clubhouse on my site and included a call to action for people to sign up to get information about future openings. This allowed me to start building an email list for this launch, and almost 80 people signed up.

I had my web designer pretty up the sales page.

In the past, I’ve done this myself with less-than-stellar results (aka a really ugly page). It was so worth the investment to have my designer make the copy easy-to-read and keep the page on brand.

I wrote some new, exclusive content for the peeps on my Clubhouse Interest email list.

I know that soon-to-be/new-ish entrepreneurs need time management help, so I created a whole series around this. My general email list (I call them my VIPs) and my blog got this post (which I knew would also attract people to the interest list), and then every day for about a week I sent a new, on-topic time management “post” to the interest list that I didn’t post anywhere else. I grew my subscribers to that list by 35% during that time, which left me with a larger subscriber base to offer the Clubhouse Coworking Day (which I describe below).

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I ran a Facebook ad for my time management series.

It was essentially a sponsored post for the blog post that I described above, and I ran it for women ages 25-50 who speak English and like a whole bunch of things I know my Clubhousers like (theater, reading, entrepreneurship, etc). It reached 15,510 women and had a click-through rate of .786% (124 clicks) over the course of three days. I spent $40.

I gave away a spot via a blog sponsorship.

Yup, I paid $350 to advertise on a popular blogger’s “giveaway party,” with the winner getting a year-long membership. The person who won was already enrolled, so I had to refund her money … and it doesn’t seem like I got any other sign-ups (or even much interest) from the ad. If I include the membership I lost, this $750 spent was a hard pill to swallow.

With permission from the current Clubhousers, I opened up our Clubhouse Coworking Day to those who were on the Clubhouse Interest list.

You had to be on the email list (or in the Clubhouse) to get all the information, and while only a handful of non-Clubhousers joined us, two of them signed up during the day or right when it was over. It was great to see those sign-ups come through and know that those two people really connected to one of the essential parts of the offer. I love doing things that attract the right people!

I had my designer whip up Facebook cover photos that pointed people back to the Clubhouse.

I had one that just said “The When I Grow Up Clubhouse: Now open for a limited time! Click here to get your membership,” and that was up from Dec 9–Jan 8th. Then, each day ’til I closed the Clubhouse, I put up a new image that pointed out how many days were left ’til the doors closed. Since those pics come up in my fans’ feed, I thought they’d be great advertisements. Unfortunately, that wound up not being the case: I had under 10 views (from 3,500 fans!) for each cover photo I changed. But I did have almost 200 new likes while the Clubhouse-specific photo was up, and since that’s what the new like-ers saw first, I think product-specific cover photos are worthwhile.

I put up a Clubhouse banner on my homepage.

I’ve never changed my homepage for a launch before (I’ve just utilized Hello Bar), but I had my designer whip something up that I can use for any launch—I just change out the image. I wasn’t able to get this up ’til January 10th, so it was only up for four days. However, I had 45 visits/day to the Clubhouse page on the days the banner was on the homepage and just 26/day on the days it wasn’t. To quote my hero Judge Judy, “I don’t believe in coincidences,” so while I can’t access my Google Analytics for those days to get the actual click-through rate (silly Analytics!), this seems like a win to me.

I reached out via email newsletter to my other relevant lists to let them know about the Clubhouse opening, and offered some discounts.

I thought this was a great place for my Grads (people who have coached with me for 12 sessions) and my Career Campers (who take my online course to discover their grown-up, passionate career), and I reached out to them a couple times with the link to the Clubhouse and a discounted offer. It ended up working really well—about 45% of my new sign-ups came from these two groups.

And here’s what happened:

Total new sign-ups: 18 at an average of $74.72/quarter

  • Renewal rate: grew from 29% to ~40%
  • Total spent on advertising and designers and whatnot: $895
  • Total projected growth from this income stream compared to 2013: ~50%

Updating my digital product launch strategy (or what I’ll do next time):

  • Keep the sign-up form on the page when it’s closed
  • Use the pretty page, Facebook photos, and homepage banner that’ve already been designed right from Day 1 of the launch
  • Shorten up the time the doors are open, from 5 weeks to 2-ish
  • Look at my in-page stats on Google Analytics before the page turns back over
  • Offer a limited-time discount to those on the Clubhouse Interest email list
  • Not spend $750 on a giveaway
  • Spend more time putting together a Facebook ad strategy along with a custom URL that I can better track
  • Have the Clubhouse open to Career Campers and Grads at the end of their program, even if it’s not open publicly

Ya know what? I think I’m gonna do a “report” like this for every product launch to use internally. It’s such a helpful tool to keep stacking on the wins and cutting the losses—my favorite!

Image by: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Compfight cc

Michelle Ward has answered the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question for herself, and as the When I Grow Up Coach she helps women transition out of soul-sucking jobs and into work that feels like play. Connect with her on or Facebook!