In today’s guide I’m going to share with you every single detail about my recent behind-the-scenes product launch which also happened to be the biggest of my life, without a single affiliate on board. If you’ve got a product launch coming soon or have plans to do one in the future, this guide will give you all you need to make sure it’s a hit.
Before I start with the negatives during the launch, I want to share something really positive: The best testimonial I’ve ever received. About 6 months ago, Adam Beckett tweeted to me about how putting the tips on ViperChill into action had helped to pay for his entire wedding. Well, last month he finally tied the knot, and I asked if I could share the photo here.
It’s the perfect example of what you can do if you actually take action with the advice you find online. Congratulations, Adam and Jen!
I Should Really Know Better Than This By Now
I clicked ‘Queue’ in Aweber and patiently waited the 20 minutes or so it takes them to recognise which subscribers should be receiving the follow-up email on my “VIP Email List”. Usually I instantly get hit with a ton of out-of-office emails because I actually do use my personal email for Aweber.
This time was different. Before they even came in, I was getting sales.
Within 10 minutes we had made $1,000. We – that’s me and Diggy – really couldn’t believe it. We have this stupid ritual from a few years back when we shared an apartment together that we shout “New Saaaaale” in a Mexican-accent whenever we acquire a new customer on our various niche sites. That quickly became ridiculous over our live Skype chat.
Despite all of the sales (now reaching $8,000 after two hours), we were actually stressed out of our minds. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Let me backtrack a couple of hours to just before I clicked save on that Aweber email.
“WTF, I just went through with a test sale and it didn’t get redirected to the registration page” – Diggy
“No ways dude. I tested this two days ago, and it worked fine for me. Can you try again?” – Me
“Okay, generate another test credit card for me in Clickbank”
Once I had generated the credit card details in Clickbank – this lets you test a sale without actually purchasing anything – we did it again.
“Yeah it didn’t work again, but I’m not sure why.”
“Hmm, worked fine for me again. Took me straight to the registration page after. Maybe just a random glitch on your end? Probably because we used the same test card details or something.”
“Yeah that’s probably it, let’s go for it.”
I pushed the email.
In the midst of all these sale confirmation emails – the kind of messages we wanted to receive – all of the kind of messages we didn’t want to receive started coming through as well.
Dozens and dozens of people stating that they purchased the product and didn’t get sent to the registration page so they could access the membership site. It didn’t take long until that was hundreds of people without access to the content they had paid for. I had launched at 9:30pm on my end, having arranged to meet a friend an hour later.
That of course was quickly cancelled. It was going to be a long night.
I started adding people to the membership site manually as quickly as I could. Luckily, for the first time in my life I was using a two-monitor set-up so I could have the membership backend on one screen and the customers email and desired username in another, making it only take 30 seconds or so to manually input each purchase.
If this was the only problem that would have been fine. I believed we could fix it; though that challenge was definitely made harder by the fact that I couldn’t replicate the problem myself.
The other issue is that people couldn’t even get past the password page to see the sales page. This was a private launch in every sense of the word. Private as in only launching to my email list, and even further protected by a password that only email subscribers would receive.
This was another problem that made no logical sense, since neither myself nor Diggy could replicate the issue. Not in Windows or a Mac in Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari. You name it, we frantically tried it.
The negative emails quickly started coming in:
(Please note that is totally not my style. I never sent another email and didn’t plan on it either.)
I didn’t want to send another email to the list to frustrate people even further so quickly rushed off a message on Facebook hoping it would reach people in a less-distracting way.
That wasn’t all. Lots of people who could get inside the password section said the add-to-cart button wasn’t working. To top it all off, people we’re emailing to say the internet providers in their country had already banned the domain from being accessed.
To say we were stressed is a massive understatement. However, within the next 24 hours, we did manage to fix every single problem addressed and pulled off the biggest launch I’ve ever done.
Anyone who knows me personally or has at least followed ViperChill for a long time knows that generating income from the site has never been a direct focus of mine. After all, I cut off Cloud Living two years ago when it was making me $5-7K per month on autopilot, just because it felt it wasn’t representing my brand as best it could. I didn’t have a single affiliate link on here for the first 18 months of the site as well.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I don’t like making money though. After-all, no matter how much I try to distance myself from the seedy ‘make money online’ guys I definitely preach to the people who want to build internet empires. It’s safe to say that all of these problems cost us thousands of dollars, and that really sucked.
Banned in Turkey and No Love from Clickbank
The first issue was 98.3% my fault and 1.7% Clickbank’s. You see, for this SEO guide that we had created – and not just any SEO guide, it was created around actual websites that myself and Diggy own – I tried to think of a unique name that would stand out from the crowd.
Of course, all the usual SEO and link building monikers are taken. I had the crazy idea of using a .xxx extension. As soon as I thought of it all these ideas started coming to my head.
“I could advertise on marketing sites with just an XXX graphic on a 125 x 125px square. Everyone is going to think ‘WTF’ and likely click on the ad”
“I already have the perfect slogan, Hardcore link building”
“I can actually buy the name backlinks.xxx which perfectly describes what we do”
Though .XXX domains have a much higher price point and of course are notoriously associated with the adult industry, I decided to register and set-up the domain. The first issue we encountered was that Cpanel doesn’t take kindly to .xxx domains, so I had to go to my server admin guys to help me set that one up and bypass their interface.
The second issue was a little more worrying: Clickbank doesn’t recognize the .xxx extension as a valid domain so we couldn’t set up the product on their system. There are alternatives to Clickbank of course, like going direct through Paypal or using something like JVZoo, but I like their service for the most part.
I have my own account manager. I regularly chat with their staff on a personal basis. I get direct payments into my bank weekly. It’s really easy to revenue-share sales with people I make products with and perhaps the most important, most people have a Clickbank account already, so there’s not much effort required for affiliates to promote your product.
We decided to try a solution where we would purchase another domain, backlinksxxx.com and use that to set-up Clickbank. Then we would redirect all user data through the .com to the .xxx extension. We tested it multiple times before launch and all seemed to work well.
However, on the day of the launch we discovered that Diggy (or more accurately Hostgator) hadn’t really set-up the redirect properly for him – just for the domain, not hosting the sales page. All it really took was a redirect 301 line in a .htaccess file, but since Hostgator had installed WordPress on that new domain and not understood his instructions, there was a lot of unnecessary stuff going on in that file.
Once we figured this out, the redirect worked, and people were able to register themselves as members. This was a huge relief after having registered literally hundreds of people manually myself.
This could have been avoided if Clickbank allowed their system to accept .xxx domains in the first place. Despite support tickets sent over two weeks before we launched, I didn’t get a single response from them. Even a ‘sorry we can’t do it’ would have been nice. Frustrating when I’ve sent 6-figures their way, of which they’ve made a tidy sum in commissions.
Your Password / Add to Cart Button Doesn’t Work
As you saw earlier from that email comparing me to sleazy marketers who double-email and send an “oops, sorry wrong password” message, dozens of people had problems with the password feature. We actually turned it off for an hour or two just to try and figure out what was going wrong. After all, this is WordPress’ own built-in feature so we expected it would be working flawlessly.
Turning it off then led to people saying that we lied about having a password or confused why they weren’t getting asked for one. You can’t please everybody.
I used a WordPress plugin to edit the login message to give people advice on this. Here’s how it looks now:
I turned it off for a while and that seemed to help some people. It’s back on now though and I haven’t heard any more reports of that. I’ll just chalk it down to being something odd.
Any person who has emailed me with password help always received a friendly, fast response from me. Mitch on the other hand had never emailed me once stating he had a problem, and replied to something totally different to any product emails. Not once have I ever blamed someone for not being able to access the sales page. That makes no sense.
I get far, far more positive emails than I do negative, I’m just highlighting this here so you shouldn’t be surprised if you get angry customers before they even buy something. I take this kind of thing very seriously. The only time I don’t is when I named that graphic friendly-mitch.jpg.
What the Hell is Backlinks XXX?
Backlinks XXX was a program created by myself and Diggy to help people who want to get more traffic to their websites – specifically search traffic – and make money from their online efforts. I’ve been doing this for a very, very long time and the amount of people struggling with making a decent side-income, never mind a living, is quite incredible. I’ve usually been of the belief that the later you start out in the online game, the harder it’s going to be, but this last year or so it has honestly been easier than ever.
I’ve also been of the belief that if you know what you’re doing when it comes to marketing and SEO, then you should be doing it for yourself. That’s pretty much why I quit my dream job working with the likes of Bacardi and Land Rover, because my own projects were becoming far more successful than the constraint-campaigns I was able to do for clients.
There’s a pretty common question that I know a lot of people have when they see a marketing or make money online product which goes a little like this: “If this idea is working so well, why would you share it?” Quite simply, we would never be able to cover all of the niches in the world that our product fits into, and nor do we want to. We’re doing this with more than 40 personal websites right now – and double that if you include our small number of clients – so we have no plans to expand.
If you happen to land in one of our industries and have success, that’s fine. We have dozens more, and new opportunities are opening every single day. You guys were all ready for the XBox One launch, right? That games console which is going to (probably) be the number one gaming system for the next few years.
Or Penguin 2? We got hundreds of email subscribers just from people looking for Penguin 2.0 related search phrases. This stuff isn’t hard, it just requires action.
As with anything I do, this is not a product for everyone. My WordPress plugins aren’t plugins that work well for Joomla or on static websites. Someone else can take over those industries. Similarly, this is not a product for people who want to do PPC, want to make $10,000 guaranteed in the next fortnight, or are stuck in the old mentality that you have to follow the Google Webmaster guidelines to a T.
I’m not trying to sell to everyone, so if it wasn’t or isn’t for you, that’s totally fine. I just hope you’ll keep stopping by ViperChill, as I like to share crazily-long articles like this on a semi-regular basis.
The main value I want to share with you today is not to get you excited about my upcoming product (launches June 17th…shh!) but to show you behind the scenes of a product launch which ultimately became the most successful of my life. If you ever launch a product in the future, whether it’s a membership site, eBook, video course, physical product via the internet or anything similar, I hope this will greatly benefit you.
You’ll probably want to bookmark the link and come back to it later if it’s not relevant for you at this point in your life.
Here are the sections we’re going to cover:
Working with a partner you can’t talk to in person
Registering the domain and setting up the site
Choosing my site design
Designing the logo for Backlinks XXX
The membership site software we used
The sales page process
The ultimate launch process and my theory behind it
Making yourself and a product stand out
Dealing with customer support
I’m not going to half-ass this topic. That means that if you’re a total beginner you’re going to get a ton of insights into how to do a product launch properly (at least, according to what I think ‘properly’ means). That also means if you’ve done a product launch before, there is going to be a lot of content on subjects that don’t interest you.
I’m sure you’re used to skipping content on the web, so feel free to jump to the sections you think are relevant for you. I’ve tried my best to make the main concepts stand out through bold text and images.
Working with an Overseas Partner
Since I’m hanging around Asia and Diggy is moving back and forth between the Netherlands and Canada, we’ve never really been on a similar timezone. We did however have the benefit of working with each other in-person a lot in the past, so we’re both aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
One of the reasons I can work with Dirk – more so than other friends I have – is that I can always trust him to get things done. When I asked him to do SEO on one of my sites for the case study, a few days later he got back to me with a huge list of things he had accomplished. Far more than I had even expected him to do.
We agreed right from the offset who would be doing what. I would be handling the design and the text portions of the website, while he would be responsible for 80% of the videos. Anything else, we would discuss.
As far as talking to each other goes, we used that trusty old VOIP service you all know about, Skype. Since we’re around 12 hours apart timezone wise, we tend to talk at either 10am my time or 10am his time and around 10pm my time or 10pm his time. It’s not ideal, but it means we’re just starting or finishing a day so we both know what we have to work on after the chat.
I read an MIT study recently that researched the attributes of managers at large companies, and entrepreneurs who had built their own companies. The biggest difference between the managers and entrepreneurs is that the managers only viewed things as being able to be done one way and insisted they were, while the entrepreneurs were able to find alternative solutions to figure out their problems.
We encountered a lot of problems on our journey, and fortunately Diggy definitely has the brain of an entrepreneur, as we helped each other flesh out potential solutions to our setbacks.
Unfortunately I don’t have a great deal of advice to share with you if you are working on a partner. Mostly because there are very few people I know who I could actually work with on something like this. There will always be the dilemma of sharing workload in some form, so make sure you take up partnership with someone who you’ve known to be a worker in some aspect of their life.
If they’re generally lazy and wanting to work with you to just make some money, they’re probably going to be lazy when it comes to putting in the effort for your product as well. If you’re working on your own, the rest of this guide will be a lot more relevant to you.
Registering a Domain and Setting Up Your Site
I’ve already discussed my logic behind why I chose the domain backlinks.xxx. What I haven’t yet told you is that recently – three weeks after launch – we moved the entire site over to backlinksxxx.com.
Something that happened later when I started sending more emails to my list was that people had no idea what Backlinks XXX was when I talked about it (without a link). It turned out that a big portion of my email list simply didn’t get the email about the product because it had the .xxx extension in the domain and went to their spam filters.
Add in the fact that we’re banned in Turkey (and other countries) by default and future affiliates would have the same problem, then my marketing angle was still relevant, but it didn’t make good business sense. Fortunately the xxx.com was available, so we went with that. As always, I register my domains through Namecheap (non-aff).
I wont go into the technical details of setting up a website too much since that’s covered in other areas of the site such as Cloud Blueprint. I will tell you the basics though which is that the plan for the membership site was simply to run on WordPress.
WordPress is primarily designed to be a blogging platform, but it’s also really easy to use for a static website and using their Pages feature instead of Posts.
Now, there are a lot of ways to sell a product, you’ve got:
Video / text hybrids
Physical CD / DVD products
The reason we went with content and video on a website was for quite a few reasons:
Content on WordPress is easier to update than an eBook
We can embed videos into the course rather than linking people to the actual video sites
The risk of piracy is still there, but definitely lower than people simply emailing a PDF file with their friends
The primary reason was really for ease of updating. We didn’t build a static membership site – there’s Facebook comments and live updates to come – so we didn’t want to go with a static medium like PDF files.
For all videos that we’re going to use, I have a premium account with Vimeo. I’m a big fan of Vimeo over Youtube as they don’t lower the compression of videos as much and I like supporting the ‘little guy’. I love their in-built password feature as well.
Just look at the options available when it comes to privacy for each video we upload:
Designing the Website
I like to think of myself as fairly skilled when it comes to Photoshop / HTML / CSS so when it came to choosing a design, I wanted something that I could hack fairly easily. My only requirements were that the design was clean, looked fairly professional, and fit within a black and / or yellow colour scheme.
Luckily it didn’t take me long until I came across the theme ‘Phrase’ on ThemeForest which is my favourite place to find designs for skinning WordPress. They’re not the cheapest themes in the world, and you aren’t guaranteed great support compared to if you were to buy something from the likes of WooThemes, but I’ve had more hits than misses on the platform.
If you aren’t comfortable with designing your own site that you can interlink for members, then something like Optimize Press (aff) gives you nice membership templates that even some of the biggest guys in IM use for their products. Plus, it’ll help you design the sales page too if you’re not too familiar with creating graphics, embedding videos and so on.
As you can see, I did do a huge amount of ‘hacking’ to the original theme to get it looking how I wanted it to look. My main criteria for the theme was being able to have a wide, blank space where I could fill in all of my own sales page information myself.
I already knew when purchasing the domain that I wanted to focus on the ‘xxx’ side of things rather than the word backlinks. How many sales pages do you really remember in the marketing world? I didn’t want this to be something people would quickly forget.
Though I’m fairly handy in Photoshop, I wanted something a little more professional than what my skills would allow me to do. I headed over to Graphic River, where I get a lot of my images, and did a search for XXX.
I ended up purchasing this, which I loved:
The reason you don’t see it on the site right now is because once I tried to implement it into a site header, it looked terrible. A little too cheesy, and a little too adult-like.
Failing to find anything better on Graphic River, I did a search over on iStockPhoto. iStockPhoto is where I buy all of those little 3D white men images, for anyone interested. I found this yellow design and immediately loved it.
For about two weeks before launch, that graphic was solely the logo / header for the website. I didn’t change it and really liked how it looked. It wasn’t until I was messing around with some chain images on Photoshop – with the intention of using chains as dividers on the page – that I had the idea to incorporate them with the logo.
So, with a little more hacking, I interlinked (no pun intended) the chain and the XXX logo together. It only took around five minutes to do, and I think it was a much better end result.
If you’re not very skilled in Photoshop but do have the software, I recommend you check out the Logo section on Graphic River to see what people have already created. Some of them are very professional and can be picked up for between $3-$5. All you have to do would be to change the text to the name of your site which is a one minute job.
Another option that a number of bloggers use is 99Designs. It’s not cheap – you’re looking at a minimum of around $199 for a logo (when I last checked) – but you’ll have access to some of the best design talent on the internet. Whats more, you’ll usually have more than a dozen designers submitting logo entries so you just go ahead and pick your favourite.
Implementing Membership Site Software
I’ll be totally honest and say that I really haven’t looked around the market for what membership site solutions are available. The reason for that is because I found a service that works and it comes with great support. With simple WordPress integration as well, there’s not one problem that makes me want to look elsewhere.
That software, is Wishlist Member (non-affiliate link).
Wishlist makes it easy to:
Integrate with payment services like Clickbank, Paypal and many more
Integrate with your email autoresponder such as Aweber
Block WordPress posts / pages for members only
Limit IP login limits for security reasons…
…and much more. Members can be auto upgraded to a different level after a certain amount of time which is perfect for sites which have a monthly fee, then you can drip-feed more content to your members and so on.
Wishlist set-up is very easy – you install it just like a WordPress plugin – and I can connect it with Clickbank and Aweber now in less than 5 minutes with no issues. The only criticism I have for them is that they automatically add a link to the footer of your website which gives them a nice anchor text backlink.
This can be easily removed, but it seems pretty sneaky from my point of view. That being said, they’re ranking number 1 in Google for that specific phrase (“membership site software”) so I guess it’s working for them.
Usually I would like to give you other options but I honestly haven’t played with anything else for a long time. I’ve heard some good things about Amember if Wishlist doesn’t seem to be for you.
Building Your Sales Page
Anyone who follows this site for a long time knows that I hate selling. If I could put up a ‘buy now’ link and nothing else I would totally do that. I don’t actually have a dislike for it in any other industry I’m a part of, but there is automatically a negative stigma attached to promoting anything in the marketing / seo world.
That being said, I’ve created a product I’m really proud of and has already changed people’s lives. That might sound a little over the top, but the amount of emails I’m getting from people saying “I’m finally getting rankings, traffic & making money” is more than I could ever have envisioned. You’ll see quite a few of those – with permission to share them – on the sales page.
The first iteration of the sales page was as non-spammy and selly as I could make it. It was really broken down into 4 sections:
Here’s what’s in the product
Here’s the results we have
Here’s some questions you might have
Here’s the buy now button
It was probably the shortest sales page you’ve seen in the IM world.
The sales page worked well, at least meaning that we got far more sales than we ever imagined. But, of course, a lot of people bought it because of me. I’m not saying that to brag – people will buy your products just because of you as well – but to emphasise how trust and a reputation go a long way when it comes to selling products.
Soon after launch, Diggy went out to speak to some JV (joint venture) managers and copywriters who we were willing to pay for advice on increasing the conversions of the sales page. One of them, Michael, gave us some fantastic initial advice on the call, but his services weren’t available until the end of June, which was later than we were planning to do the public launch.
Some of his advice included:
Being a lot more personal with mine and Diggy’s story – the original sales page didn’t even mention our names
Include a lot more testimonials – again, the original sales page didn’t show this, because we didn’t really have any besides beta testers
Move my FAQ section to after the checkout / add to cart button
We needed to connect with emotions more in the sales copy, rather than just sharing the features of the product
Call the program something other than Backlinks XXX because it is too pornographic sounding. I decided to ignore this, but did change the domain (as previously mentioned) for other reasons
Update the graphics for sales page headings
I’m possibly about to get into too much detail, but that’s what I like to think my job on ViperChill is that sets me apart a little. Regarding the last point, the font I had originally used for the sales page was Qlassik Bold, a free font which you’ll find on both of my OptinSkin and PostSkin sales pages.
For some reason, something about it just didn’t quite look ‘right’ on a purely white background. OS & PS have sort of a greyish-brown background, and the font seemed to suit that colour contrast a lot better. Instead, for the first time in my life I actually went out and purchased two fonts, just so they would be unique on the sales page.
They were Core Sans M (35,45,55 and 65) and Blokletters Balpern. Overall they cost me about $40 for the 6 fonts, but I really think it was worth it and made the page look far more professional.
As for all of the effects that I have on testimonials and other images (see below), I can’t take too much credit for their design style.
Once again, I headed over to GraphicRiver and picked up some PSD’s (editable Photoshop files) and simply ran some Action Scripts on the images that I wanted to make far more attractive than a typical screenshot. Remember, being an entrepreneur over being a manager is knowing where you have flaws and being able to see other ways to overcome them. GraphicRiver is my alternative solution .
By total chance, Karl Staib reached out to me to ask me if I had any product launches coming up. Because we weren’t able to work with Michael, I asked Karl if he had time to review my sales page and offer suggestions. Like I said earlier, sales pages – especially in the marketing world – really aren’t my thing, so I’m always happy and open to getting ideas from others.
Karl quickly sent me a PDF of all the changes he suggested that I make. I’m not going to list everything here, but some of the main points were:
Removing a testimonial we had for Diggy. It was a great testimonial, but really didn’t fit in with the theme of the product
Changing the colour of my add-to-cart button to either purple or red. I’ll have to split-test this, but his logic about picking something on the opposite side of the colour spectrum made sense
Adding a blue text link under the add to cart button – I sometimes forget the basics myself
Editing some of the headings to engage people more in the sales copy
Now, I didn’t implement all of Michael or Karl’s suggestions. Partly because I thought some of them were a little spammy (that’s not their fault, they just share what works) and partly because I want to test out a few ideas of my own as well. The sales page is long, but it could have been much, much longer had I followed all recommendations given to me.
The importance of adding more information about myself and Diggy is critical for people who have never heard of us before. Everyone on my email list was warm to both of us already, especially after all of the SEO emails and videos we’ve been putting out. But, if you’ve never heard of either of us before, you’re really going to want to know who you’re buying from.
In my perfect world I wouldn’t have to put my face and that personal story about us up there, but I understand why it makes sense to do so.
The Launch Process
This is not the first time I’ve covered product launches on my blog, but how I launched OptinSkin was quite different to how I launched Backlinks XXX.
As many of you will know already, I revamped my email list around a month ago to focus more on more of an SEO and marketing angle, rather than focusing on niche ideas. In that blog post explaining my decision, I shared how I had received over 1,000 thank you emails from the ideas I was sending out, but couldn’t give you one example of someone who actually turned those ideas into a website.
Though a few people have emailed me since then saying “I did build something but didn’t tell you”, I could count them on one hand, and that’s not a very good success rate when over 20,000 people went through my entire email sequence.
On the other hand, I’m getting dozens and dozens of testimonials now from people who are getting higher search engine rankings and putting my ideas into action. I argued that the reason people weren’t putting my cloud niche ideas to use was because they weren’t necessarily passionate about the site ideas I’m sharing.
When I share marketing angles though or specific advice on getting higher rankings, that can literally apply to everyone who has a website already, so it makes sense I’m getting much better feedback from my emails.
The only downside to sharing this really high-quality information on my email list is that I now see people blogging about my concepts and rankings that I’m showing. Getting credit for my content and of course giving absolutely no clue to where they heard it. I’ve even been told they’re being used in private webinars, with no mention of me at all.
I can’t really do anything about that, but if you want to get my ideas before you see them around the blogosphere or Blackhat world (thanks for the traffic, guys!) then sign-up over here: http://viperchill.com/10000-subscribers/ – you get a lot more than just that one eBook.
If you’ve been on my email list, then after 5 emails over the span of two and a half weeks, you will have received my email announcing the launch of Backlinks XXX and your password expiry date.
I really don’t want people on my email list to feel like some sort of guinea pig here, but the reason the launch was such a success was due to what I had been emailing privately, weeks up until the announcement. I’ve shared videos and idea after idea showing how search engine rankings are easier to get than ever. This is content you could get a lot of value from without having to pay for a single thing. At the risk of sounding egotistical, it was high-quality content that was good enough for people to be blogging about it and using it as the basis for their webinars. You should be doing the exact same thing for your audience, just like my Cloud Blueprint model has been focused around for years now.
Give them frequent, high quality information that they can’t share elsewhere, and launch something of an even higher quality down the road on that same subject.
One of the reasons for the password being in place was to limit the amount of support and questions we would get so we could tailor the product accordingly. We’ve added a lot of things based on suggestions since launch, and still have a lot more coming. Even better is that all of the case studies we show have gone up in rankings since Penguin 2.0. I’m now 3rd for my main keyphrase on one case study site, which gets around 9,000 exact searches per month (seasonal), and it’s highly targeted.
Some people on Facebook noticed:
Another reason for the password – besides the obvious privacy side of things – was scarcity. If you see a pair of shoes that you’re in two minds about purchasing but then find out they’re only on sale for a week, that’s often enough to tip you over the edge to make the purchase. I am increasing the price for the public launch compared to when it was launched in private, so that added another incentive for people to buy.
Someone on Facebook asked me how the password and expiry date worked: Well, there’s nothing automated about it. I simply change the password and date on WordPress each week, and then update my Aweber follow-up emails accordingly.
There were a lot of angry people when the password had expired for them, but I have to stick to my promise about closing off the ability of the product when I said it would close.
Anyone can make a product, but not anyone can sell a product. I’ve arguably covered the most important part of a launch already, but there are ways to take things even further.
First of all, the important part is to make the best guide you can make. We spent money on scripts like our Youtube PR checker (more idea what that’s about inside the course) that we didn’t really need to do but wanted to do anyway.
We have over 4 hours of video, thousands of words of text and more importantly, actual case studies of websites getting quick rankings and making money. Of course, the product is not going to be for everyone. We’ve had refunds; our refund rate is around half the Clickbank average, but they tend to be from people who have been doing SEO for years and we’re looking for some backdoor access into Google. Hey, we’re not the NSA!
When you first enter the membership back-end, you’re presented with ‘Hello [your name]‘ – obviously with your actual name being written there. It’s such a small thing, but I’ve received feedback already from people saying they like the personal touch. Your name will also pop-up randomly at points in the course where I’m writing with a very one-on-one style. This is something that’s really easy to do with Wishlist member, but in my experience most people are just happy to put a product together and rush it out the door.
On my email list I’m always preaching that I aim to over-deliver. Don’t delay your launch by six months because you’re not sure if people will buy it, but do delay a week or two if you think you can massively improve your offering in that time period. Selling is not about getting a customer once, but having them look forward to receiving more things from you in the future as well.
Dealing with Customer Support
As I mentioned in the OptinSkin product launch guide, the most important thing after your launch is to make sure you’re free. Don’t have anything planned for the week or even the fortnight after you go live. Especially if you only have an hour or two per day to work on your internet business.
Fortunately I do this stuff full-time, so we’ve been able to respond to the majority of questions we receive within an hour or two, which people always seem delighted with. Unlike with OptinSkin, I can personally answer every single question, so it’s much easier for me to help out on support. I actually enjoy it as well, though I definitely couldn’t do it all day every day.
Diggy is helping out with a lot of questions, and I’ve hired a friend of mine to work solely on answering Baclinks XXX questions as well. He handles any account issues, refund requests and general SEO questions he knows the answer to. If he doesn’t know the answer, he just leaves it for me and Diggy. Some people send zero emails, while others send 20+.
Customer support has been a big part of my business for a few years now, and it hasn’t always been done well. Software is far, far harder to support than an information product. There isn’t a question that I’ve been asked for Backlinks XXX that I couldn’t answer personally, but when it comes to OptinSkin or PostSkin, since I didn’t code them myself, I’m having to wait and rely on other people to handle that for me.
It can become difficult when people reach out to me on Twitter and so on “What’s going on, I emailed two days ago and didn’t get a reply” then i have to push on staff to deal with the issue. There are a lot of developers available for hire, but training someone on specific software and being able to trust them (I’ve had developers try to sell my software on their own) is not an overnight process.
For software, in a few circumstances a customer essentially generates zero profit and actually costs me money due to how many questions they’re asking, and how much I’m paying for support staff.
Our simple aim for any support question – besides the obvious – is to figure out if there’s something in the guide / software we can change, or whether we can update our user guide to deal with the question. We have user guides for our software, and for Backlinks XXX myself and Diggy are putting together a podcast answering all of the questions we get asked the most. As promised to all of you who are members already, that’s going live on June 15th.
Questions from ViperChill Readers
I asked if people had any questions before I went live with this so I could cover everything in the post. Some of them fit perfectly into sections I’ve covered already so I changed some paragraphs, while others deserve their own little ‘area’ I think. So, here goes…
“Do you really need to run a JV contest?” – Richard Wright
Nope. We’ve made all of our sales so far purely being the only people to sell it. I don’t want to reveal the exact figure, but we’re on our way to 1,000 sales. I’ve never actually ran a JV contest in my life until now. We do have a page on this website which has been set-up for people who would likely do well as an affiliate for the product, and highlighted some of the big prizes we’re giving away. However, they’ll also be public on the launch date as well, and not private just for a select few.
A JV contest really only makes sense if you know you’re going to make enough money back to cover the cost of what you’re giving away, or you feel like you can sell to those new customers multiple times over the course of your online ‘career’.
“Do you have advice on doing a limited-time offer? Yours was only available for like one day. How do I set that up?” – Mike Park
I did cover this in the post so make sure you read the relevant sections. To keep it simple, I just used the password feature in WordPress and manually changed it each week and changed my Aweber emails accordingly as well. It was actually available for 7 days, which I think is probably a good time-span to replicate if you’re doing something similar. 24 hours is simply not enough, especially when people are on different timezones, away for the weekend, busy with work etc etc.
“Interested in knowing strategies to reduce the probability of illegal copies of videos (when the product is a video) showing up on emule or torrent sites.” – Miguel Magalhaes
The short answer to this is probably a little depressing: You really can’t stop it. There are ways to limit the risk like putting a password on the videos, limiting access to your membership site and so on, but if people really want to share the videos they will. If something loads in your browser, it can be saved to your desktop. There are ways to massively reduce the chances of it happening though, and I’m going to do a huge post on this in the near future (case study included).
“Templates! For affiliate emails etc. Do you rest on relationships or do you test EPC first and mention that?” – Jaime Tardy
As with any emails I send out, I try to get to the point. If it’s someone I know personally then I’ll simply email them offering the product for free and just plain asking them if they would like to help promote the product on launch day. There’s absolutely no pressure from my end and whatever their answer is, it will not affect our relationship. Some friends who are usually affiliates for me are actually launching something on the same day, so we understand we can’t really help each other with promotions (at least not on launch day).
If it’s someone I don’t know very well – but they have a suitable audience or have expressed interest in promoting something of mine – I’ll once again keep things very simple and share something like:
What’s inside the course
A selling angle you could use to present it to your audience
Here’s our conversion rate and refund rate (if you have them)
Here’s how many sales we’ve pulled in so far and how
People much prefer to be an affiliate for you for the launch day of a product, so it’s better to do this well in advance of going live.
“When do you know you provided enough value to put a price on it and sell it?” – Ralph Kooi
You have to be your own critic here really. I did give out some ‘test’ copies while the course was in development and received some great feedback that way. If you have someone who is known for giving honest advice tell you that it’s a great product, you’re probably ready to go live. As long as it meets your own standards of what you wanted to achieve with the product and you think people will benefit from it, then hit that Send / Publish button.
Interested? Public Launch: June 17th!
Just over a month after the private launch, Backlinks XXX is going live next Monday. We’re going to be giving away over $5,000 in prizes as well so even if you aren’t looking to pick up the guide for yourself, hopefully there’s going to be something in that unveiling post that interests you.
I really hope you got something out of this 8,000+ word post and I promise I won’t be angry if you tweet it or share it on Facebook. Thanks as always for reading, and I’m in the comments if you have any questions!