What I learned from launching 6 six-figure products this past year

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In the past year or so, I’ve been the “brains” behind around 6 product launches that grossed anywhere from $300k – $625k / year within a week of launching (so $25k – $52k in monthly revenue).

These launches were totally bootstrapped. No outside funding. And in many cases, barely any marketing budget or none at all.

Here’s what I learned along the way that I think can really help you in your freelance business too:

Scarcity sells

Many people will take action right away regardless.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

But others are on the fence, leaning heavily your way, and just need a little encouragement to make it over.

Putting limits on quantity, scheduling, etc. gets people to take action.

Limits like price hikes after X number of purchases or limiting the number of clients you’ll take on are just the “push” they need, and bring in sales like crazy.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

This is the same for lead generation efforts. If you’re promoting a free offer to collect leads, putting an expiration date on it can triple the number of leads you get (works for us every time).

Make HUGE promises

You can’t play it safe if you want to really get people’s attention. You have to make big, bold promises about service, quality, and results.

For a marketing coaching program I helped launch, we made a 100% money back guarantee that said if you don’t make 10x your investment in the first X number of days (I think it was 30 or 60), we’ll refund you in full.

That’s pretty bold, right?

Who would turn down an offer like that?

Live up to those promises

Nothing kills products or companies faster than making huge promises and not living up to them.

This takes work. A LOT of work. It adds stress on you and your team. It’s hard to always do an amazing job.

It also means you’ll inevitably let some people down. That sucks, but you just do your best to make it up to them, and you keep pushing forward.

However…do your job right, and 99% of people who come to you will love you and sing your praises from the rooftops. They’ll be grateful to you for really caring. You might even change some lives.

That’s what really counts.

Back those promises up with social proof

For every promise you make, post a testimonial that backs it up.

Example: If you claim your websites increase sales like crazy, immediately follow that claim up with a testimonial of a customer saying you increased their sales like crazy.

If you were writing a research paper, you’d cite sources to back up your claims, right?

If you’re writing a marketing piece, cite customers for the same authenticity and effect.

“Give your customers what they want, not what they need.”

This is an old advertising mantra. It’s survived the ages because it’s TRUE.

I’ll give you a perfect example:

I work super closely with an amazing niche website creation company. I basically write every word that goes on their clients’ websites.

However, while the websites get people in the door, you have to have:

  • sales systems to convert them into a long-term customer,
  • customer service systems that keep them happy and satisfied, and
  • referral-generating systems to grow organically.

With that said, no one in this niche “wants” that stuff. They only want to “get people in the door.” So that’s how we advertise the websites.

We hammer the crap out of that benefit, and pretty much nothing else.

But…once they see how effective the websites are, they open up to us. And then, on the back-end, we sell them coaching to help build those other systems.

Eventually, they get what they need, but we get them in the door by giving them what they want.

Make your marketing about this:

Your customers’ most pressing problems.

Every word of your website should be about how you solve them.

It really is that simple. That’s what sells.

(I know this is a consistent theme throughout my posts, and I repeat it a lot, but it’s because it WORKS.) It’s that important.

You have to have what I call “altruistic marketing.” That’s marketing without ego whose sole focus is on the customer, and no one else.

After all, your website isn’t for you.

You didn’t build it so you could read it – you built it so they could, right?

So make it about them.

Build an email list

The product launches I mentioned at the start of this post were fueled 85% by email marketing.

Here’s the thing: the list wasn’t that big – only about 4,000 people strong.

But from that list, because we consistently gave them amazing content and made their lives better and gave them great results BEFORE they were even our customers…

We’ve built up an insane amount of influence.

That influence comes to fruition when we launch a product. Since they know us, like us, and trust us – they buy.

So start building a list today, and put out content every week that makes their lives better and shows them you’re the guy or gal to help solve their problems.

Construct a killer offer

For every product launch, we follow a loose rule of thumb. We had to deliver value worth 10x or more the cost of the program.

So if the program cost $500 / month, the value had to be $5,000.

Think of things you can do for your customers that support your products / services and add value to them.

For example, at our new company, Reliable PSD (a company that converts web designs into HTML / WordPress), we give away a lot for free that our competitors charge for, like:

  • load speed optimization,
  • mobile compatibility,
  • custom fonts / @font-face,
  • a ridiculously thorough testing phase,
  • and more.

We stack on as much value as we can so by the time the customer gets to the price, they’re already blown away by how much is included for that price.

Makes sense, right?

Take a stand

Reliable PSD takes a stand against the terrible service that we and so many designers have faced in the design-to-code industry.

The products mentioned above took a stand against other coaching programs in that space that delivered outdated, lame, and ineffective advice. (Like Reliable PSD, the mastermind behind these programs had joined the other coaching programs and was disgusted with what he saw.)

So he took a stand, and made his own. Only his advice works wonders, it’s fresh, and it generates amazing results.

Taking a stand doesn’t have to be about putting someone else down though.

  • It can be about doing things in a green way.
  • It can be about working only with companies that really care about what they do and who they serve.
  • It can be about refusing to cut corners, even if it means your work takes longer, and as a result, you lose out on project bids because other people had quicker ETAs.

Just take a stand for what you’re passionate about.

Be the person your market needs you to be

Our market needed a super-friendly, super-responsive company that really did things right. So in every email, even if we’re upset with something a customer said, we set that aside and respond from our company’s voice.

We do our best to never falter from this “persona,” because that’s who we’ve decided we’re going to be.

That’s who we want to be.

If we were in their shoes, that’s who we’d want them to be.

Who do your customers need you to be?

Set goals that scare you

For every product launch, we were scared sh*tless. I had no idea how we were going to hit our mark, or if we could even get close to it.

Yet EVERY time, we either hit it right on the money, or exceeded it.

Let the fear drive you. Let it push you to do 5 extra things today you wouldn’t have done otherwise.

You might be amazed with what you can accomplish.

Have questions? Got something out of this post?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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Comments

  1. Clay Mosley says:

    Hey David, I’ve recently discovered your blog and the articles that you write provide high value (at least for me). Much of it is stuff that I already know in my mind but just need a little “reminder” and lot of it is new stuff that I love. Even your older blog entries when you were blender are really good. Great job.

  2. David, I love your philosophy and your mad copywriting skills. You sold me on Reliable PSD (first I met you) and they did a great job – I wouldn’t let them talk me into learning wordpress as I wanted to keep working on my site in Dreamweaver and so they set it up for me in html/css so I would be happy and made it responsive too. Then they said when I was ready to move to wordpress they would rebid on that process and I will use them for that when I decide to learn it. I actually had my host put up a divi theme on my site under a separate file so I could play with it (which I of course have not done yet). The bottom line is I LOVE your company. Kati Falk

    • Hey, Kati!

      Good to hear from you 🙂 I remember when you first called into Reliable. Lou and I were actually in Lisbon at a botanical garden I think 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so happy to hear you feel that way 🙂

      Best,
      David

  3. Sharon Pettis McElwee says:

    Thanks for this peek behind the curtain of so many successful product launches, David. It’s given me a new way to look at my marketing messaging, and encouraged me to keep my marketing costs low.

  4. SoldadoPeregrino says:

    Imho your best post yet, David. Extremely well written and just so helpful. Really eye opening.

    Sincerely thanks for all the help in these posts. So valuable.