2 years of blogging – is a long time.
It feels even longer if you’ve never offered a product or service and WANT your blog to be a launchpad to an actual business.
The switch to selling is a tough one – I know personally – the 2 years I spent writing post after post after post and making NO OFFERS AT ALL was grueling.
I created so much free content that I get dizzy thinking about it now – optins, ecourses, free reports, blog series…you name it, I created it. I kept thinking – just create free, valuable content and people will be excited to buy from you once you know what you're going to offer.
I anguished over putting up my shingle – opening up business – making that first offer.
But it never felt right.
I didn’t want to bug anyone. I didn’t want to get unsubscribes from my abysmally SMALL list!
This could have gone on forever and for some people it does.
But I'm here to tell you that it can change with a little bold action and testing.
Cut to: February 2012
I’m launching my first online program – I’m making sales – I’m getting feedback from people and requests for different types of services.
Wait – what?
Making that jump to paid offerings happened because I made the decision to do it, but also because I knew that I'd have to prepare my current audience, grow it as much as possible, and then just flip the switch.
Without going into a whole review of what led to me launching – I will reveal my favorite ways to prepare people for that first launch – for that change.
If you can start doing this several months before you decide to call yourself a business, you'll weed out people who just came by for the free drinks and appetizers – and you'll end up with people who are excited to stay for the whole dinner!
But – before you go any further…know this – it’s going to feel unnatural. It’s going to feel like no one is going to buy. All you need to do is take the time for yourself and your audience – start with even one of these 5 methods – listen for the clues – and you WILL make the transition.
My Top 5 ways to prepare my readers for a launch
(pssst…they are pretty simple and I know I’m not fooling anyone with them!)
P.S. and Oh BTW
Dean Jackson is the one who demonstrates how well a p.s. works. It feels natural, not scammy, and allows you to share what you’re upto without writing a full length sales email or pitch. The reason I love adding p.s. to my emails is that they allow me to change topic from value – take a breath – and then let people know in a very direct way when I have something for them to pay attention to.
Sure it’s not fooling anyone that it’s a true – oh yeah, I almost forgot – but it’s a great way to keep the tone of your emails conversational.
If you’re writing a series of blog posts related to your upcoming product or service launch – why not tell people that’s what they are? Put a highlighted note at the top, bottom or both and make sure people know that you’re building up to launch something.
Thesis theme allows you to create these “alerts” and “notes” very easily.
The great thing I like about the alerts is that they are easy to change – so during the pre-phase you’ll link to an interest page, when your product is available for sale you can change the link to your sales page!
Share related OPC
Sharing links to other people's related content is a powerful way to establish yourself as a relevant part of any industry. Sure – you are writing your own articles, sharing your own content. That establishes you have knowledge of your topic. Round that out by sharing OPC (other people's content). Maybe once a day – you share something you come across.
The trick to making OPC work – is to include your commentary or opinion on that work. The more people see you creating content and sharing content about a topic, the more they remember you as the person to go to when they need help or have questions about that topic/industry.
Spend the month or 2 before the launch covering mini topics related to your upcoming offer.
Pick 4-5 mini topics directly from your program, your product, or how you deliver your service. Write about those topics on your blog! It’s a great way to get people used to share information on that topic.
The result of these mini topics is giving people a taste of what you teach, the actual offer itself, plus it gets people used to YOU teaching THEM about the topic.
Q & A
Ask people to respond to a question – in your emails and your blog posts.
If you’re not at least asking people a simple question at the end of your blog posts and emails, you’re missing out on the opportunity to find out more about your readers and potential prospects. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it. Just ask a question.
Want to hear more about starting a conversation that can lead to a more successful launch?
For a limited time – you can grab last weeks Conversations That Sell workshop replay where we cover this and much much more.
But wait – now that you know a few ways to get people “used” to your upcoming launch, promotion, release – why not start using one or 2 of them right now.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you do – even if it’s completely different and/or seems totally obvious to you!
I decided to change things up and keep the Fearless Launching Early Enrollment open for a few more days. Click here to enroll now before the price increase on April 4th!
Just wanted to say thanks for this post. I’m about to start a new blog and my plan is to just write for awhile as I develop my work and find an audience. It’s good to have these tips in advance, and I was just wondering about this very thing. Thanks for your work!
Hi Anne, really glad I’ve stumbled on your site this morning.
I’m launching an email based course for crafty and creative people, got no list, the website and facebook page are all new… as it’s a brand new business for me.
I’ve tried to put the mood on my site, and explain the “culture” of my site and who it’s for so people can recognize quickly if it’s for them or not, as I’ve got few blog posts and no testimonials (will get some as I’m doing a pre-launch with a handful of people before…). So much info on your site, it’s brilliant. off to read more ! cheers.
How do you get people to actually answer a question? I really never have anyone answer anything. I get likes and shares, but, it drives me a little crazy that people really never answer the question or comment. I really only have about 150 on my list – I think I get a lot more hits from non-subscribers on FB.
Love your stuff.