A few weeks ago I did something in my business that pushed me to the limits, I ran my first ever product pre sale.
For a while now I’ve been sitting on a product idea that has interested me for some time, a course I designed to help people choose the type of digital product they should create for their business. The only problem was I didn’t know if my audience was going to be interested in it.
So I decide to hold a pre sale and see if people would pay me before I even created the course. The results ended up being a complete bust. Now you might be thinking that this was a complete waste of time but I learned three valuable lessons here.
- First, I learned what my target audience didn’t want.
- Second, I didn’t waste months of my time creating a product that nobody was going to buy anyways.
- Third and finally, since I know this product doesn’t work I can pivot to something my audience does want.
Now don’t get me wrong I wish things would have turned out better and maybe my product idea could work down the road but I learned a lot from doing this little experiment and in this article I’m going to share the steps you can take to do your own product pre sale.
3 Benefits Of Doing a Product Pre Sale
Below are a few of the benefits I gained while doing my first product pre sale.
- You Don’t Have to Make the Product. One of the top benefits of doing this is that it allows you to sell the product even before you make it. I know that sounds foreign as all get out but it’s awesome to know I can get product validation before I even have it created.
- Don’t Waste Time. Pre Selling a product also saves you a ton of time and fast forwards the process. If the product doesn’t sell you don’t have to make it, but if it does sell you’ll be more motivated than ever to get it done when you know people will pay you for it.
- Allows You Test Things Faster. Finally, when it comes to the internet finding something that works and sells is the key to earning a decent income online. By using this method you’ll be able test ideas fast and speed up the learning curve.
So now that you know the benefits behind doing a product pre sale it’s time to jump in and try it yourself. Below I’ve laid out the steps you need to take to do your own pre sale.
Step 1: Determine Your Product Idea
The first step to doing a pre sale is that you first need to come up with a product idea that you feel your target audience would be interested in. You can do this in a few different ways.
- First you can survey your audience by asking them what their biggest pain points are. Here’s a great article I put together that walks you through the process.
- Second, you can use social media to give you some clues as to what your audience wants. With sites like Twitter and Facebook you can extract tons of great info from your target market. You can check out my complete guide on how to do this here.
- Finally, you can do One on One Interviews with your target market to learn more about their problems. Doing these interviews is one of the best ways to gain insight about your target audience fast and find out what their true problems and pains are. Check out my complete guide on how to conduct One on One Interviews here.
Once you’ve got some basic information together brainstorm some product ideas you could create. Does your audience want a course, an ebook, or do they want some sort of physical or digital product?
Step 2: Put a Basic Outline Together
The next step to pre selling your product idea is to flesh things out a bit more to give you and your target audience a better understanding of what it is that you are planning on creating.
In my case when I was looking to pre sell my digital course I put together a descriptive outline covering everything I would teach in the course.
Now this might be different for you, if you’re putting together a SaaS solution (Service as a Software) then you might create a wire frame design, or if you’re creating a physical product you might create a simple drawing of the product or even a small prototype.
Side Note: You do not need to create the entire finished product at this point. This step is all about putting enough information together to help people gain interest in what you plan to create.
Step 3: Set Up Your Sales Page
Now that you have a product idea and an outline the next step is to design a basic sales page. To help you create your basic sales page here a few pointers to consider.
By the way you can check out the sales page I create for my product pre sale by clicking here.
- Call Attention to a Specific Group of People. First you’ll want to call attention to the specific group of people you want to talk to. For example in my sales page I started with Attention Digital Product Creators! This tells people who fit this target audience who would be a good fit for this product.
- Ask a Question. Next you’ll want to ask a question that really resonates with the problem your audience has. For example in my product pre sale I asked, Are you struggling to come up with an idea for the perfect digital product? This questions get people to identify to the problem and agree to the pain point.
- List 3 to 5 Benefit. Next you’ll want to list 3 to 5 benefits of your product to let people know what’s in it for them. The whole point of this part is to talk about your audience and the problem they have.
- Remind People This is Just a Pre Sale. You’ll also want to remind your audience that this also just a pre sale and that the product has not yet been created yet.
- Give a Brief Overview of the Course. Next you’ll want to give people an overview of what your product will be. It’s at this point that I did a brief overview of my course and what I all plan to cover in it.
- Give a Call to Action. Now that you’ve shared everything that’s included the last step is to ask them to buy. This is the most important part, if you don’t ask for the sale people may not know what they need to do. I know this sounds weird but it will make a huge difference on getting people to buy.
- *Bonus – Add in a Few Testimonials. Finally, as a little added bonus if you’re really looking to spice things up add a few testimonials from some past clients along with a photo and that can really go a long way to getting people to sign up. It’s not completely necessary but it can’t hurt.
Step 4: Launch Your Offer
Now that you’ve got your sales page put together it’s time to launch. When it comes to your launch it doesn’t need to be this long drawn out thing. Their are multiple ways you do this launch.
- PayPal. The first option you have is to set up a webpage on your own site and put a PayPal button on the page.
- Gum Road. Another option is to put it up on Gum Road which is a site that allows you to sell digital products like ebooks. You can learn more about this option here.
- Teachable. Finally the method I used was Teachable since I was planning to create a course this was the perfect platform for me to do my pre sale on. You can check out Teachable here.
To give you an idea of how this works I put together this simple video to help get a better understanding of how to do this in Teachable.
Once you have launch page up and running it’s time to let people know. If you have an email list this is probably the simplest thing you can do to launch your product. To do this you need to know how many people you need to buy into your product in order to consider it a success.
In my case I had a list of 115 people on my list and I figured if I could get 3 to 5 people to buy my product I would consider making it. In the end I didn’t get three people to buy the product but if I would have I would’ve made the product.
Sending out the first email is just the start of things. You actually want to send four to five email out over a period of a week. To help you here are a few of the email I sent out.
- Pre Launch Email. I sent this email out a day before the launch to drive curiosity. I kept things simply and treated like I was emailing a buddy. As a result I got 38 people to open that email or 35.5% of my list.
- Launch Email. In the next email I gave all the details on my pre sale. Most of all I shared the benefits of this course and directed people to the pre sale page on Teachable.
- Are You a Good Fit for the Product Email. A few days later I sent out another email and in this email I decide to cover who would be a great fit for this product. This email allowed me to really connect with my audience and talk about the pain points and draw the line between the pain and the solution.
- Last Chance Email. Finally, on the last day I sent one last email to my list telling them that I was closing the doors and that today was your last chance to get in. This email really drives that scarcity home and let’s people know that they are getting in on something great and that they won’t get a price like this again.
Now I just want to mention that this is how I ran my launch and in the end I only got a few people to sign up and I didn’t get the 3 buyers I was hoping to get, but as I mentioned in the beginning that isn’t bad either.
Just because my launch was a bust doesn’t mean that yours will be too. Their are a lot of factors that go into why things didn’t work out for me. Things like the amount of people you have on your email list and the relationship you have with them all play a role here.
However what do you do if you don’t have a mailing list?
If you don’t have a list their are some things you could do to still get people to sign up for your presale. To help you out I’m going to give you a few ideas.
- Write a Blog Post. If you have a blog put a post together on your course covering all the details from benefits to features.
- Put a You Tube Video Together. Next put a You Tube video together talking about your product. Keep it no longer than 5 minutes and put multiple calls to action in the video telling people where to click to learn more and buy.
- Share it On Facebook Groups. Another place you can turn to is related Facebook groups. If you have a few groups you’ve been a part of in your topic this could be a great place to get buyers. However you’ll want to get permission from the person who owns the group before you do this.
- Get Interviewed. Now if you don’t have much of an audience another strategy you could use is to get interviewed on someone else’s podcast related to this niche. This works great when you’re first starting out.
- Go Live. Finally, the last option to consider is to go live using a live streaming app like Periscope, or Facebook Live. These apps allow you to get people live right at any time you want and deliver your message.
Step 5: Close Your Offer
In the end like any launch you want to have a beginning and an end. This is critical to having a successful launch. Adding scarcity is the best way to get people motivated in taking action. If you just open the course and never close it people will never take action because they always have the option to buy.
When it comes to the last day of your launch don’t be afraid to send a couple of emails that day. This will hopefully help snatch up a few of those remaining people who are on the edge. This is also the time where you’ll get the most buyers as well.
Side Note: One ninja trick you can do so you don’t over send to many emails to those who are opening them is to filter those that aren’t opening your emails and send a second email to just those people.
Finally once you’ve closed the launch and the last sale has been made you’ll want to send a final email thanking everyone who joined letting people know what the results were. In the end since I didn’t get enough buyers I refunded everyone’s money and sent them an email informing them of the situation.
Honestly nobody was upset that this happened and they were more than happy to buy from me the next time I had a product to offer.
Why My Launch Was a Bust
I know most online marketers don’t like to share the bad results they get from something like this but to be truthful I feel this is where we learn the most from our mistakes. So to wrap this article up I want to share a few lessons learned from my first pre sale launch.
- I Didn’t Move Fast Enough. First off when I initially started this project my idea was to get this all done in a month and I ended up dragging my feet on this to long. I started this process by doing a survey at the end of last year and my goal was to figure out the product my target audience wanted and then jump directly into a presale. When I slowed things down it really brought the impact of this pre sale down a bunch.
- Not Enough Data. Second when I did my survey I got a lot of get data but I just didn’t get enough I felt to make a full conclusion as to what the exact product was that I needed to create. So in order to get the process going I just went with my gut on this one and that ended up being the wrong decision.
- Weak Relationship With My List. Another area I lacked in was that I don’t have a very strong relationship with my email list. I’ve been working on changing that but it’s something that just takes a lot of time to develop.
- No Solid Marketing Plan. Finally, I had no solid marketing plan when it came to getting this pre sale going. I kinda just pushed it all out there at the last second and this is the wrong way to go about it. Ideally you want to have a solid plan in place from your sales page, emails, blog post, videos, and interviews to give you the best chance of succeeding.
To wrap up I’ve learned a lot and the next time I do another pre sale I’ll be ready. So how about you, are you thinking about doing your own product pre sale? Share your thoughts in the comments below.