Grow Your Business

Top 5 questions we get on running $1,000,000 launches

Most of the time when I write an article for GrowthLab, I focus on the big picture. I talk about psychology, mindset, and the frameworks you need as a CEO to build a successful business.

But today, I want to get tactical.

Over the past two years we’ve run well over a dozen successful product launches — one- to three-week email marketing campaigns that made 6 or 7 figures. Most companies are lucky to do two launches like that a year.

And I get dozens of questions about how we do it, and what it takes for a small business to pull off a $1,000,000+ launch.

Below are the answers to the 5 most common questions.

We’re going to move quickly, but If you’re in a place where you’re ready to use these answers, they’ll help you grow the revenue from your next launch 20-200%.

So let’s get started.

1. When should I do a webinar?

Webinars are a perennial hot topic in the marketing world. They’re live broadcasts where you teach the audience something about a problem they have, then sell them the solution. Lots of people use them to kick off the sales window in a product launch — and there are all sorts of myths and superstitions about the best night and time to do one.

Here’s the real answer: It doesn’t matter.

Seriously. I’d probably avoid December 25th and the Fourth of July… but other than that, it makes no difference.

You see, we’ve done webinars on Monday nights for 5-6 years.

But, back in late 2015, a lot of really credible experts in online direct response started saying that the secret to success was putting your webinars in the middle of the week.

They said that putting your webinars on a Wednesday or Thursday night would triple your attendance.

The logic was putting it on a Friday or on a Saturday night meant competing with the weekend. Nobody would show up because they were off drinking or doing things with their family and having fun.

And if you put webinars on a Monday or Tuesday night it was the beginning of the week and everybody was busy so no one would show up then either.

But if you put them on a Wednesday or Thursday… that was when the magic happens.

Now, this was something we were super interested in.

Webinars are one of our highest converting sales vehicles.

In fact, about a month before we wrote the page you’re reading now, we launched Endless Audience — our premium course on how to build a traffic engine for your products and your business.

About 10% of the people who were on the webinar when we introduced the product bought.

So we want as many people on our webinars as possible. If we can triple the number of people to webinars just by changing the night we do them, we were all for that.

But guess what happened when we tested changing the webinar night in an Earn1K launch in February 2016?

Nothing.  

Our attendance rate didn’t even wiggle.

We even repeated the experiment a couple of different times and always found the same thing: Between 24-30% of people who registered would show up.

That’s pretty standard. If your readers care, and you’ve got a pretty good-sized list, you’ll get between 24-30% of people actually attending your webinar. Monday, Sunday, Wednesday, it doesn’t matter — you’ll probably fall somewhere in that range.

So stop worrying about what night you do it on. Choose one that works for your schedule and do it.

2. What kind of A/B tests should I run for my launches?

Most gurus tell you to “test everything,” but that’s impractical. Running A/B tests takes time, they take energy, you need to make sure that a lot of people see them to have a chance at statistical significance, and most importantly, 80-90% of the things you test will make no difference.

Unless you’re already big enough to have a dedicated growth or marketing team, or you’re running a $15,000+ monthly paid advertising budget, most A/B tests aren’t going to be worth your time.

A good rule for A/B testing is this: only test changes you think could 2X conversions or more.

Let me give you an example.

A couple of years ago our copy chief became obsessed with the idea that sending people to a sales page after a webinar was hurting sales.

He figured anyone who clicked on a “buy now” button after watching a 45-minute presentation was either a tire-kicker or ready to buy.

That idea would give most direct response copywriters a heart attack — but he was adamant that taking the sales page out could double or triple sales.

So we tested it.

In September 2016, we hosted a webinar selling Earn1K — a $1,000+ product. We ran a split test and sent about 12% of people straight to the order form, rather than to the sales page.

Here’s what happened:

pasted image 01

The people sent straight to the order form were 15X more likely to buy.

Why? We think it’s because those people are ready to buy. Slowing them down only gives them time to get cold feet and talk themselves out of the purchase.  

But here’s an important thing about A/B tests. They don’t tell us why something works and we don’t really care about the why.

Test things you think will be big wins. Don’t waste time testing stuff that won’t move the needle — nobody cares what color your shopping cart button is.

Don’t waste time wondering why one test failed and another worked. Ninety-nine times in one hundred you’ll have no idea why one test failed and another worked.

Pocket the wins, write off the losses, and get on with running your business.

3. What’s a good open/click through rate for my emails?

Want to know how your open rate stacks up to other people in your industry?

Done. Here are the averages for some of the most common industries our students build businesses in.


Source: MailChimp Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017

And if you want an almost painful level of detail on dozens of industries, MailChimp and Constant Contact both publish benchmark reports annually.

4. Do I really have to write a new launch every time?
Can I reuse emails?

The bad news is running a launch involves writing a lot of emails. Over the course of the launch you’ll be emailing your readers three to ten times a week for two or three weeks.

That’s a lot of content to write.

The good news is you don’t have to write new emails for every launch. That would be insane.

You can reuse emails and even entire launches without anyone ever noticing.

We’ve sent out launches where up to 50% of the emails were similar or identical to ones from launches we’d sent out before with the subject lines changed.

There wasn’t any difference in performance versus new launches — many of those made more than $1,000,000 the second time around — and none of our readers noticed.

Why is it people didn’t notice? Are all our readers just forgetful?

No.

It’s just there are 2 fundamental truths about running a product business:

  1. Many of your sales will come from new leads. Unless you’re releasing a brand new product, people on your list will have either bought after 90 days or they’re probably never going to buy.
  2. Honestly, you just aren’t that important to your readers. Remember a GOOD open rate is 25%. That means 75% of your readers never saw the email in the first place. And even if they did, most people have better things to do than remember what emails you sent 19 months ago.

That doesn’t mean you should just send the same emails out over and over again. Leading with fresh creative is a cornerstone of our strategy and we spend a lot of time creating new and valuable content for our readers.

But if we’re answering questions about a product we’ve launched three times, yeah, we can certainly reuse our tested and proven FAQ email. You can too.

5. How long should my sales page be?
How do I tell if it’s good enough?

Is your product less than $700?

If so, don’t waste time writing 45+ pages of copy.

You’re better off with 2-5 pages of really good copy than 20 mediocre pages.

That’s what we do.

And if you’re thinking about the 78-page sales letter we wrote for Zero to Launch, consider this for a second.  

That page is the exception, not the rule.

You need good copy, not necessarily long copy, and we actually have far more short sales pages than we have long ones.

In fact, here’s what happens when you type out some of the sales pages for our other products in a normal font:

GL Table2

Those first five products have made this company millions of dollars — and none of them are longer than 15 pages.

And how do you tell if the copy is good enough?

Hate to say it, but there are really only 2 ways.

  1. You can run a launch and see if people buy.
  2. You can join Accelerator and ask one of our copy coaches.

That’s it. Those are the answers to the 5 most common questions I get about product launches.

If you have any questions I missed let me know in the comments — we’ll either answer them there or save them for a future article.

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There Are 22 Comments

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I love how you wield your ‘bullshit-o-meter’, Ramit! Debunking marketing ‘rules’ is one of the most valuable parts of reading your materials. Thank you.

Also, this sentence jumped out: “….first five products have made this company millions of dollars.”
Reminding me that even though my dreams are big, lower priced programs with great value will also get me there..without needing a $50,000. product.

Quick question: How much money did you make from poaching my idea to partner IWT with General Assembly?

In May of 2015, I applied for a position with IWT (Vice President of Product) through the careers page.

One of the essays on the application asked what new products I would spearhead for IWT.

One of my suggestions was an affiliate marketing program with technology boot camps. I specifically mentioned General Assembly In my answer.

Then I learned from my subscription through GA that they had partnered with IWT to promote an “Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing,” leading to a sales funnel for Ramit’s flagship Zero-to-Launch course.

I have no doubt that this partnership led to increased sales in the area of six figures for IWT, for which I have received absolutely no credit, much less some form of compensation – I never got the Vice President job.

This is straight up exploitation, and I intend to call you out for profiting off my creativity and hard work.

Alison N. Smith

In May of 2016, I applied for a position with IWT (Vice President of Product) through the careers page.

One of the essays on the application asked what new products I would spearhead for IWT.

One of my suggestions was an affiliate marketing program with technology boot camps. I specifically mentioned General Assembly In my answer.

Then I learned from my subscription through GA that they had partnered with IWT to promote an “Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing,” leading to a sales funnel for Ramit’s flagship Zero-to-Launch course.

I have no doubt that this partnership led to increased sales in the area of six figures for IWT, for which I have received absolutely no credit, much less some form of compensation – I never got the Vice President job.

This is straight up exploitation, and I intend to call you out for profiting off my creativity and hard work.

Alison N. Smith

All of this actually happened last year, in 2016. Ramit’s company has been profiting off of my idea for over a year – I submitted my application with the affiliate marketing proposal in May 2016, and the IWT + GA partnership went live in October 2016.

Alison N. Smith

P.S. I am using my first & last name to show I have nothing to hide – I welcome any questions in public.

Ramit Sethi

Alison, thank you for your comments. To respond:

1. We did not use your idea as the basis for our initiative.
2. You are mistaken about the results.
3. I see that over the years, you have emailed several ideas directly to me. Your sending ideas does not mean we use them — nor do we accept your obligation to compensate you, or anyone, for unsolicited ideas. I note that on July 26th of 2017, you emailed me (subject: “I Will Write For You – Free of Charge”) and, a month later, you sent me yet another email (subject: “Free Article: Power in “Game of Thrones””) on August 27th, 2017.

I appreciate your interest and I wish you the best.

Ramit, thank you for taking the time to answer. In response to your points:

1. I did not give you permission to use my affiliate marketing proposal from the job application in May 2016.

You were welcome to publish the articles on Game of Thrones & Special Forces.

However, I did NOT give you any rights to copy the ideas in my job application.

2. The timing of your partnership, coming a mere 4 and a half months after I submitted a thorough and intricately researched job application, is extremely suspect.

Also, the fact that you affiliated IWT with one of the companies that I explicitly named in my proposal is sketchy, to say the least.

3. Even if you only sold 1 subscription for Zero to Launch, worth about $2,000, that would amount to an astounding profit from an idea that you had no rights to copy.

To put things in perspective: What would happen to you if you walked into a store & left with $2,000 worth of merchandise, without paying a dime to the rightful owner?

Btw, I suspect that you sold a LOT MORE than $2,000 worth of courses from the General Assembly marketing campaign.

Finally, I want to point out how much blame you cast on other marketers for copying YOUR ideas.

You wrote an entire article just a few weeks ago that names & shames another business coach for plagiarizing your work!

Why don’t you just make an effort to do the right thing: take responsibility for your actions & give credit where credit is due?

If you have any issue with what I wrote, I would politely ask that you re-read my job application from approx. May 18, 2016.

What would a reasonable person think?

We can discuss further questions over e-mail (you have my address) or phone (your assistant Leanne has my number).

Sincerely,

Alison N. Smith

As a student and as a reader of IWT content I can always count on multiple “ah-ha” moments on every read. I have notebooks full of brainstorming on the advice and insight your content and articles provide. The product I’m launching now is a subscription database for a niche professional audience. I’ve had great response during the get to know your client phase and have made the database exactly how my audience wants it. What is holding me back from launching is basically fear. Since my audience are a bunch of busy consultants and lawyers, I feel that 3-10 launch emails per week for several weeks would actually have a reverse effect and push them away. Is my audience really that different or am I just being scared?

Ramit Sethi

The only way to know is to try it. But remember: If your material is amazingly fascinating, your target market doesn’t see it as a chore to read. They want more. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for this post. I’m running my first sales Webinar to open a course enrollment period in two weeks and I found the tip on sending folks directly to the checkout page after the webinar particularly helpful. Was thinking about sending them to the sales page, but it’s pretty clear that’s a really bad idea.

Thanks!

Thank you for this article, it is great to see the results of the tests you are able to build! Two remarks though: when you say the day on which you have a webinar doesn’t matter but you actually compare only the percentage of people who registered and acually show up. What I would love to know, is if you saw biggest numbers of people registering or not (if I see a webinar on a Saturday night, most of the time I won’t bother signing up, except if I really want the replay).

The second thing is about the benchmark open and click rates you mention: these are taken from MailChimp clients. However, there are a lot of beginners on MailChimp’s free plan, and people who succeed in their business often switch (Convertkit, Aweber, or CMS systems suck as Infusionsoft). Wouldn’t it be more interesting to know the rates of people using those tools? We want to write as well as those people, not just write slightly above an average of (mostly) beginners.

Could you please share your open and clics rates for example (even considering they might be lower than expected because you send a lot of emails, so even huge fans will miss one in a while).

Ramit Sethi

The data from the “business and finance” section is pretty accurate.

These are a general guideline. Some will be higher, some will be lower. Treat it as a benchmark and move on! Thank you for the comment.

This is great to see. Here I was stressing that my open rates have slowly crept down to 25-30% as I’ve grown it this past year (education and training industry); now I see that I may have had an inflated open rate to begin with (for a time, it was between 40-50%) because it was a small, new list. Of course, if it all of a sudden tanks; that’s another story, but that hasn’t happened.

I’m curious to hear some stats about “good” conversions for a launch. For example, what % of the list will typically opt in for your launch sequence (whether it be and email/video series, webinar, etc), and then from there how many people typically end up buying. I imagine a “good” conversion is probably way lower than people think (or way lower than some people brag about). If I remember correctly (from what I’ve read, or heard from you/Accelerator coaches), it could be something like .5-1% of your total list?

Another question I’d be curious to know would be what % of your list tends to be buyers (not within one launch, but anyone who has made a purchase at any given time)? And is looking at this metric a good way to tell if you’re attracting the right people to your list with whatever list-building tactics you’re using?

Ramit – your content is NUTS. I get so excited whenever I see an email from you in my inbox. Thanks for the incredible amount of value.

Quick question: I feel like measuring your sales page by “pages” isn’t the most useful benchmark. How many words is 10 pages?

I know you said it was in “normal font” but that still doesn’t provide the clearest picture.

Whether or not you answer, the general framework for length is helpful. Appreciate everything you do!

Ramit Sethi

You are right. That’s our point! # of pages isn’t a good measure (though many people think it is). Focus on making it as long as it needs to be. If it’s amazing and it’s 10 pages, great. If it’s 70 pages, great. Focus on the “amazing” more than the pages.

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