Have you been waiting to launch a new product, service or business because you basically have no list…and you've been told you should have a certain number of people on your “list” before you launch?
I know some of you are probably nodding your head.
And I've been dying to tackle this reason why people choose NOT to launch for a while now.
So shall we?
“Don't launch until you have X number of subscribers” is long overdue for a smack.
Why you ask?
Waiting until you have a list feels practical.
It's easy to believe.
You feel like it's the responsible and smart thing to do.
Having a list means you have people to share your knowledge with and tell about your offers.
So you wait. And wait. And keep waiting.
How is it possible to sell without having a substantial list behind you?
Your “Real List” Revealed
I've seen it over and over and over again.
Most people start their interaction with you on social media.
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, even Instagram.
They might visit your site, consider signing up for your list, but many people will only interact with you on social media.
So, if you're making so many friends and having so much fun on social media, then why wouldn't they be considered part of your “real list” too?
Do you think your social media followers, friends, fans, likes, conversations don't count?
I'm asking, because I've actually had people say these don't count as your audience, though I know a few people who completely disagree.
So Yes. They. Do. Count.
How Social Media Removes The Pressure To Buy
There's a good reason why social media counts… it's because for most people every platform is still primarily social.
We get people to like what we're doing.
We get daily pats on the head from our friends + followers.
We ‘like' what other people are doing.
We share what other people are saying and sharing.
We share our idealized images of ourselves and our lives…oh things are so great – look how I live. Yadda yadda yadda.
It's like a big party and often a huge love fest.
Sure there are lots of ads, links, and buy now messages – but no one's holding you hostage on a long sales page.
It's like you're at a mall and you can easily come back to the store if you're interested.
If you don't like something all you have to do is scroll.
Social media is self-selection at it's best…and important element to your ability to launch…when the primary goal isn't selling but sharing, you gain trust.
So – even if you see the offers, the launches, the selling, it still feels like you are walking through a mall or an outdoor market with your friends. You ignore what you want and browse what you do….all the while chatting with people you like.
It's all about the easy exit strategy.
Think about situations in real life where you did and did not have any easy exit…you felt trapped, pressured, and a little stressed, right?
Social media removes all that!
3 pieces of PROOF you can launch without a list.
1.) Social media counts because it’s real people.
Wendy was a struggling beginning entrepreneur who was trying it all – blogging, writing an ebook, trying to sell it on clickbank, going to masterminds, trying to figure out what her upsells she should offer… but the truth was – no one was buying. Ever.
At the same time, she started dabbling with Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. In a few short months of just having fun – she built a strong community that starting asking her for specific advice – on Pinterest alone she grew quickly to 2000 people following her boards – and emailing her for advice on the topics she was pinning.
She started out as a “social media doesn't count” person. I think she convinced herself that wasn't true.
2.) When you help people online it’s public proof.
Laura is an entrepreneur who knew she wanted to teach social media to small businesses. She had no blog, no real web presence. But what she did have was an actress friend who needed her help getting press, attention, and more eyes on her website and who got results.
Armed with her friend's results PLUS a thriving Twitter account – and a lot of marketing know how – her list is well over 50k by now. It started with her social networks.
3.) Social media counts especially when that's your normal hang out place.
Kat is an inspiring thought leader who wants to start a movement. She wants to launch something big that will change the way women look at themselves.
She creates a product, but then wonders – how do I tell people I'm launching? I don't have any subscribers at all.
She came to me and asked, “Can I just share my links and email people on social media?” My answer to her was, “If that's where you're talking to people – that's where you can make the offer.”
And so she did – and wouldn't you know it, her product sold … now she's repositioning it to be a membership instead of a product – and is growing her “real” mailing list.
4.) Social media allows you to show and share alongside what you're selling.
Alexis is an online business owner who started blogging years ago, a YouTube channel back in 2009, grew that to over 50k subscribers and is now doing the same on Instagram. She started marketing and selling her products in 2014 … and started her mailing list in late 2015.
Most of her sales come as a result of people watching her videos, consuming her regular content, and interacting with her on all three platforms.
She built her business, replaced her income, even created/launched her first course all before having an email list.
Convinced or not?
Try this experiment yourself…
Ask your friends, your followers, people who like your page–wherever you hang out most online.
Ask them – I'm thinking about creating [fill in the blank with an offer relevant to your social network]. What do you think?
Ask questions you expect a response from – this is something Dean Jackson and Joe Polish recently talked about in their podcast… and I think is perfect for social media.
Worth repeating – ask questions you expect a response from.
Wherever and however you normally socialize, chat, get to know people … start there. If you have a list, but a small one – great – you can also include those people.
Don't count anyone out.
If most people are RSS subscribers – write blog posts making your offers.
If most people are on Social Media – experiment with different types of posts.
Now It's Your Turn
Leave a comment below sharing where you spend most of your time communicating, talking, interacting with other people online.
If it's social media, what types of conversations can you start with simple questions that will encourage people to answer?
I'd also love it if you take a moment to share this post with 1 person right now – you'll be surprised what conversation starts just by sharing a piece of content!
I absolutely agree we don’t need a list! I reached out to everyone I thought would be interested on Facebook and sure enough there were many people who were. I’ve realized that I can also leverage my relationships on Twitter for my next launch! My tactic was to reach out individually to each person. It might take a little bit more time, but that’s just what you have to do sometimes.
Laurie Rosenfeld says
Anne, love this post! It echoes something you said at your “Fearless Launching” class in Seattle (ThinkSpace in Redmond) last month and I love that you took it further to explain HOW you can launch organically without a formal “list.”
I like the way you described interaction on social media: “feels like you are walking through a mall or an outdoor market with your friends. You ignore what you want and browse what you do….all the while chatting with people you like.”
You have inspired me since I have not focused heavily on list-building but enjoy Facebook and am fairly active there. I notice that the FB posts that get the most attention are those where I share something personal and where I involve others.
Great tips! I will share this! xoxo
Awesome Kat – and I say this – do the personal touch as long as you can! I love connecting with people here and on Facebook and Twitter. It is just so cool getting to know the people that need your help the most!
Funny Laurie – about your Facebook engagement. I have had that happen – AND I know a few other Fearless Launchers who that happens to as well!
I’ve taken on a new love of Facebook and can’t wait to find people to chat up!
I’ll be talking about this more in a few weeks at my second workshop over at Thinkspace – come!
Oh you launch queen you. Love your writing and truly enjoyed this article. You are oh so right that your social media peeps are your list.
Laurie Rosenfeld says
Oh and your questions remind me that I could probably be more intentional about starting conversations on social media about topics that pertain to my core message: inspiring wholeness and building sustainability in individuals, teams and organizations. 🙂
Tanya McGill Freeman says
Wow – I got SO much out of this article…and the phrase that really struck me as uber significant was, “If that’s where you’re talking to people – that’s where you can make the offer.” That seems so simple, yet, it’s a question I know many are wondering. Thanks for addressing that & all the other juicy questions about launching without a list in this article, Anne. Bravo – great post (as always!)
Michelle Rodriguez says
Anne, this is was such a mind-shift for me. I now see how different platforms can play a “list” role. Thank you!
Erin Giles says
Amen!! You don’t need a list, it helps but it’s possible without one! The beta version of my course sold out and only two people from my list signed up. FB played a huge role in sign ups. The funny thing is too, when I sign up for stuff, I’m usually not on their list;)
Thank you Anne!
Thank you Erin! I think there are so many examples of people who used OTHER methods to launch and actually sell their programs!
Michelle – you do such a great job of connecting with your peeps on Facebook BTW – I’m watching you!!! xoAnne
Catherine Just says
I have direct results with this fact myself. My summit last year tripled my list so they all came from twitter and FB. I was so excited about the interviews I was doing for the event and each time I mentioned completing a new interview people leaned in and signed up. It was really exciting to watch that happen. And guess where I learned to launch before I have a big list from……
neil simpson says
interesting…I do a lot of face to face talking to groups…I gues I am going to have to learn to throw forward the attention to my web and social media
…nice content by the way…Im new here!…thank you
Tanya – my pleasure – I love it when a phrase stands out like that – because it happens to me all the time! xoAnne
If you do a lot of face to face talking to groups – you should try out webinars. I just went the opposite direction and boy is it a ton more work to get ready for that interaction. However – it’s great to see the immediate response, get time to actually chat with people during/after. Thanks for joining in the conversation. Really appreciate it!
I have noticed that I’ve done the same thing … actually I just bought a ticket to an event that I had no idea about, until I saw a post about it on facebook.
I agree – where you’re having your conversations … they are your list.
Debra Gould, Entrepreneur says
I agree that you can make an offer via social media, but I think that works best when it’s a social media-related product (as 2 of your 3 examples are).
Also it’s important to use your social media connections/offer to build your list because you “own” that resource for the future, whereas you don’t own your twitter followers or FB friends because you have no real control over those 3rd party sites.
Great post by the way, I found you on Twitter because one of my tweeps linked to this 🙂