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Launch Your Product Without Losing Your Mind

This guest post is by Krizia of the Blog Income for Women Blueprint.

At the end of August 2010, my business partner and I made the decision to document the steps I had taken to turn a blog that was earning $20 per month in AdSense money into a $500-$5000-per-month blog (all from natural traffic). Our goal was to show other female bloggers that there was a way of earning income with a review blog.

The journey from idea to actually launching our product was a long road and I’ll admit that some days, I thought I was going to lose my mind in all the details required to execute a proper product launch.

Now that the product has officially launched, I’ve had a chance to sit down and take note of the lessons I learned during the process, so I could share them with other bloggers, and also learn from other bloggers who might use a better process.

It’s no secret that most bloggers who earn six-figure incomes do so by launching their own digital products or services. This means that learning the ins and outs of product launches is a natural progression in any blogger’s career.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve received a string of emails from different gurus claiming that I can launch a product in 48 hours and start living the Internet marketer’s dream life by end of the month. Trust me: the last few months of hard work have proven that’s just not happening unless you have an army of virtual assistants helping you.

The process of launching your own product is very hard work and it can be both challenging and stressful at times, but the end result is simply magical. I don’t think that up to now in my blogging career, I’ve been this proud. So let me explain the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Lessons in ecourse content creation

  • In general, people will tend to be more willing to buy a video course than a 400-page document that they have to download, print, and read. If you’ve ever bought a multi-media course online, then you’ll know that it’s a lot more engaging than a simple ebook.
  • Creating a multi-media course is no more complicated than creating a solid presentation on PowerPoint. Then, use a screen capture tool like Camtasia (for PC) or Screenflow (for Mac) to record each module and convert those files into flash files (for PC) or Quicktime files (for Mac). It’s not so hard after all!
  • Once you’ve recorded all of your modules, you’ll just need to host your videos on Amazon s3. If you have not yet discovered Amazon s3, you’ll be happy to know that you can store video and audio files at a very affordable price, and the whole process is very easy.
  • The end results of a multimedia course is quite impressive. After all, you’re allowing buyers to learn in three ways (audio, video, and text—if you offer a PowerPoint presentation, buyers can download and print that too).

Lessons in building a brand

Building a brand that stands out from the crowd is really and Internet marketing basic. That said, when you first launch a product, funds can be tight and it’s not always obvious how you can find talented graphic designers you can actually afford.

I really cannot say enough about Fiverr.com. We’ve successfully used Fiverr.com to create the following graphical elements to brand our products:

  • logo:
  • ebook covers and DVD covers: the designer also created the group shot (showing all the elements of the product in one shot) for us for $5! We would have paid at least $25 per ebook or DVD cover had we hired someone from Elance or Odesk. Here’s an example:
  • banners for our affiliates to use to promote our product: although banners don’t convert nearly as well as text or video, we still had banners created in four different sizes for our affiliates
  • Facebook fan page: We actually had a Fiverr.com vendor create a video welcome page that looks amazing.

Each job you promote on Fiverr.com will cost you $5 (hence the name). I’ll admit that originally, my expectations were fairly low, but I’ve been proven wrong time and time again. It’s possible to find great talent on Fiverr.com. Our experience with Fiverr.com has been very positive, and the vendors have turned the work around very quickly.

That said, I would advise that you need to be crystal clear on what you are looking for when submitting a job, and it’s worth spending the time time to surf the ‘net to find examples of what you like so you can show them to the person you hire. You should also expect that you might have to spend $10-15 in jobs that don’t suit your requirements before landing on a few really great vendors. I’ve found Fiverr.com to be a good way to get a brand for my product at an incredible price.

Lessons in teamwork

Unless you are super-talented and possess all the different skills needed to put out a product, you’ll have to create a solid team that can help you successfully launch.

To give you an idea of what’s involved, here’s a list of the team members who helped us create our product and launch it:

  • a virtual assistant: she uploaded all the videos on Amazon s3 and checked a lot of the work and links that had already been checked. She’s also been instrumental in helping us get traffic to the blog as we were building out the product.
  • webmaster: he designed each page of the site and each sales video page.
  • graphic designer: we outsourced all this work to different Fiverr.com vendors.
  • Facebook fan page designer: again, we outsourced this to a Fiverr.com vendor.
  • copywriter: I wrote most of the copy.
  • editor/proofreader: we had the copy revised by a few editors.
  • PowerPoint creator: one of those editors also set the entire project out in PowerPoint.
  • customer service: this task is a collective effort between my business partner, our virtual assistant and myself.
  • affiliate marketer: because of my background as an affiliate manager, I took on this role and managed all activities surrounding affiliates.
  • video marketer: I’m the one creating videos, but our virtual assistant is the one publishing them to video sharing sites for maximum exposure.

When you are first starting out, you might not have a budget to outsource all the functions needed to launch a product, but I’d highly recommend you outsource any kind of technical work that’s not your strength—otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time.

Furthermore, having a site that works perfectly is essential for a product launch and you’ll surely want to hire qualified people to do the job.

Lessons in copywriting

There is far more copy to write for a launch than you expect. Throughout the launch, you’ll also be writing quite a lot of copy. Here’s a list of all the copy we needed to support our product launch:

  • copy for the PowerPoint presentation (aka the course)
  • copy for the video sales page (some stats show that video converts 12% better than a text-only sales page—there are some experts who say it’s up to 25%)
  • copy for the text-base sales page
  • copy for the affiliate toolkit (this is the copy affiliates will use to promote your product)
  • copy for the affiliate auto-responder (to keep affiliates abreast of what’s happening)
  • copy for the buyers (weekly emails to walk the buyers through the course)
  • copy for the leads (people who opt-in to our list, but don’t buy … you’ll need to keep building a relationship with them)
  • value-added messages (after reading a number of sites, I decided to add a string of value-added messages in my auto-responder for both buyers and leads)
  • copy for guests posts (to get the word out on this product, I’ve written a lot of guests posts!)

As you can see, if you don’t like to write, or you’re not comfortable writing, you’ll have to hire a copywriter because there is quite a lot of copy needed to properly launch a product—and that’s not taking into account the work you’ll do writing the product itself.

Lessons in marketing

To help market our product to the largest possible audience, we’re using the following strategies:

  • affiliate marketing: we’ve formed alliances with a number of marketers who will help us promote our product to their lists
  • video marketing: we’re using video marketing to reach a wider audience with less effort
  • article marketing: our virtual assistant is posting articles to article directories to get us back links and additional traffic
  • forum marketing: because our product targets women, our virtual assistant has been commenting on a number of forums and because our URL is in her signature, we’re able to attract new leads.

Do you still want to launch your own product?

I know this list must seem endless—when you are in the middle of it all, it really does seem endless! But it is doable. If you are able to chunk things down and keep working towards your goals, you’ll succeed.

I’ve found two aspects to be key in moving your concept from an idea to a final product: persistence and seeking advice and guidance.

Without persistence, you won’t make it because there are so many challenges along the way and the work often seems like it will never end. You’ll have to have a strong vision of the finished product that you keep in mind at all times in order to help you keep moving forward. Otherwise, you may abandon your dreams of launching your own product online.

I’m lucky to have had a large pool of experts who were willing to offer me help and advice. My years as an affiliate manager have paid off really well. If you don’t have access to those kinds of contacts, I’d suggest you ask friends and other bloggers for help. If you’re part of Darren’s ProBlogger.com Community, that’s another great place to get support, feedback, and ideas.

Launching your own product online is hard work. You are probably going to have to sacrifice a lot of things in order to make this happen, but the end result is spectacular! After all, you’ll have accomplished something that most people will never do.

If you’ve launched your own product and have more tips to share, I’d love to heard about them—share them in the comments so we can all learn from them.

Krizia is the co-creator of The Blog Income for Women Blueprint which teaches women how to turn their blogging efforts into blog income. You can watch a free video tutorial and download a free report here.

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Comments

  1. Kenny Voon says:

    That’s a lot of hard works involved to create a product that truly helps and adds value to the community. Congratz for the successful launch.

    Probably it’s still a long way to go for me to create my own product.

    • Yes, congratulations on a successful launch. I will be saving this post for future reference, thanks. Incidentally, I recommend watching a free recommend watching the free webinars given by Chris Farrell whom I have written about. He goes step by step into how to make videos and use Amazon S3 to host them as discussed in this article.

  2. Totally agree with you. With tips from all over the Internet (which includes A-List blogs like ProBlogger) bloggers have assumed that launching a product can take their internet journey to unimaginable heights. They end of up creating a small ebook which is actually ghost written from someone for $5 a page. People assume that having any product is key to that product’s success but they don’t understand that literally nothing is possible without a set plan.

    Though fortune favors the brave yet you got to have a plan ready in your mind or otherwise have a product that will go viral without your intervention. As the later is a very rare case so at the end of the day you got to work hard and concentrate on your goal. Also, one must not lose confidence no matter what happens. Sooner or later success will come by. You got to stick around..

  3. I am smack dab in the middle of a product launch and I must admit it has had me close to losing my mind at times. But I do know that it is key to my evolution as a blogger and I know the first one will be the most challenging due to all the new components I am learning to pull it off. But I am enjoying the ride and it has brought new energy to my career as a content creator. I have no idea what to expect as far as revenue but that is not my focus. Right now all I want to do is create a quality product unlike anything that has been seen on the web. Mixing Prezi and PowerPoint to create more engaging video lessons and aiming for a more edutainment approach. Thanks for the post. Helped me to make sure I got all my basis covered.

  4. Dr Satire says:

    Congratulations on the launch! It’s certainly heartening to hear of other’s success in our field.

    “I’ve found two aspects to be key in moving your concept from an idea to a final product: persistence and seeking advice and guidance.”

    You have covered the seeking advice and guidance part here, but could you please also elaborate on the persistence side of things. Would be interesting, and maybe immediately relevant to fresh entrants such as myself in this field.

    Once again, thanks for sharing!

    (ps- laying off the satire here)

  5. I have not even began to think about launching a product yet. I cannot imagine the work that must be involved. Regularly maintaining my website is work enough. You have provided tons of information here. Great post!

  6. Emily says:

    It’s extremely encouraging to hear stories like yours Krizia. Apart from my full-time job as a dentist, i’ve been experimenting with building niche websites. I’m surprised that I’m now making around 300 month from my work. I will check out your site to see what I can learn from your experience. I’ve toyed with the idea of launching a product on some sort of dental topic, but I’m not sure what yet. Thank you for your post!

  7. I completely agree with Krizia as well… there are so many different elements to launching a digital product, and one does not know the intricacies until you really dive deep into the project. I think this is a very well thought-out post and creates a good platform for other content marketers to

  8. I completely agree with Krizia as well… there are so many different elements to launching a digital product, and one does not know the intricacies until you really dive deep into the project. I think this is a very well thought-out post and creates a good starting platform for other content marketers to begin with.

  9. The design of the book looks good. That’s probably a reason why your product is successful.

  10. Lea Sadler says:

    Wow. Lots of info here. I was unaware of how easily a video course could be developed–more easily than I had realized, is what I should probably say.

    I noticed you didn’t mention anything about a social media aspect–using Twitter, Facebook, etc.–to your product launch plan. Why is that?

  11. @ Kenny – thanks a lot!

    YUP! It’s a lot more work than those Gurus make it out to be.

  12. @ Salman – your words are golden. You’ve summed up what our jobs as bloggers and internet marketers should be.

    I’ve bought the PLR content on the net, but never wanted to put my name to them because the quality was pure crap. Also, I’ve already been concerned about accuracy.

    You have to work and have a plan – that’s pretty much it.

  13. @ Cameron, I’m humbled that you’d say that. That was my goal at the end of the day.

  14. @ Mani – we have been blessed when it comes to finding talented people on Fiverr. They have provided such amazing quality for a price we could actually afford.

    Thanks for the comment.

  15. Just an update to this post. Since writing this, I have followed Mike Koening’s 10 x 10 x 4 formula (Traffic Geyser) and I’m now offering 20 free videos that answer a lot of questions newbies would have.

    If you are interested, feel free to click on the link inside my bio box to sign-up to receive them!

    Mike and a lot of other marketers swear by this formula and I have started only today testing it out.

    Krizia

  16. Nice work, is that a Kajabi set up for the course?…

    Thanks,

    David Edwards

  17. I have to agree with your statement about hiring a copywriter – and not just because that’s my business! I’ve worked with so many clients who spent hours agonizing over their website, email, and blog copy only to call me in frustration to make it all sound good. Always play to your strengths, and if at all possible, hire a pro to handle the parts you’re not great at. In the end, you’ll have a stronger online presence and more peace of mind.

  18. @ David – No Kajabi was way too expensive. This is WordPress. The entire program is set on a protected WP set-up.

  19. Like this – “…idea to a final product: persistence and seeking advice and guidance”. You need these basic ingredients. Though I am yet to launch any product yet have learned from your experience. Also, with broadband getting ubiquitous, video marketing looks more appealing these days.

  20. Hey Krizia

    You formed a very good plan there, what is left to do is execute and be persistent. Maybe you want to elaborate a little on what kind of products to develop for your blog, any ideas…

    Elias

  21. Michael says:

    Seems like a lot of work. One guy who is always great with product launches is Eben Pagan, I’ve been following him for a while, he just released a product about product launches, too. Similar stuff to what you said, though.

  22. i think your adevice is so perfect.i agree with you.but i think this have a case.

    ’ve found two aspects to be key in moving your concept from an idea to a final product: persistence and seeking advice and guidance.

  23. Dave says:

    Very timely tips for me, as I’m in the midst of relaunching a membership site this month. I can relate to so much of this. Creating and marketing your own product requires as much, if not more time than keeping up to date with a blog. It’s insane, but the key I’ve found is to break it all into manageable tasks (the chunking approach). If you think about everything that needs to happen, you’ll just overwhelm yourself.

    I have a lot of respect when I see product launches by other people now that I know how much work goes into them. The audience might think it looks effortless, but there is so much going on behind the scenes!

  24. This was great info for me as I am launching my first e-book on March 14. A lot of this I have done, but there were some things mentioned I had not thought of! I appreciate the info about creating video courses as that is where I plan to end up!
    Thanks!
    Bernice
    Change what you can, accept what you can’t

  25. Great to see you post on ProBlogger Krizia – funny timing as you commented on my own blog just yesterday! I have used Elance both as a client and a person looking for work, so what you say about Fiverr is interesting. Me though, I don’t know if I’d go for it – I really don’t like to feel like I’m exploiting anybody. Coming from a creative background I know I wouldn’t do a job for $5, and I know anyone of good talent is usually worthy of more than that. But if both parties agree and the result is the same, then sure why not?

  26. Allen Walker says:

    Building a brand is definitely an important part. Though so many people choose to ignore this or simply don’t know how and rather expect quick dollars with hasty work…

    Great insights on launching a product. :)

    Cheers,
    Allen

  27. Great book!

  28. Tim Prentiss says:

    Great advice – I’ll be looking into Fiverr for sure.

    Here’s my recent experience in course creation, as opposed to a place that charges to serve up your course video content: Learnable.com. I created one of the first 60 video-heavy courses on that site (Look for “Play Better Golf by Playing INDOOR Golf!”) and I love the fact that they process the media and serve it up just for people who pay for the course. Sounds fair to me. The site was just launched last week but I’ve seen Google ads around, so they’re promoting it. And once you get to the site, they’ll ask if you want to create a course yourself. I’d say, give it a shot. Right after you finish my online course, helping you to become a really good putter…

  29. Jenny Tsai says:

    Good advise!! Everything around us is lesson for us to use in the future.

  30. Awesome post.

    I think you really made a crazy good point when you said “chunking things down.” It seems that whenever you can effectively manage the psychology of ANYTHING, let alone a product launch, the action steps don’t seem “so big” in your head. I’m a huge fan of chunking, 10 – 20 minute action strategies and how psychology fits in to marketing.

    Nice post,

    Ryan

  31. Pepper says:

    I have a few issues with this post and feel like someone should really speak up.

    I think the article itself is well written and has some good points. But on the other hand if some of Darren’s readers take your advice on some points I’d feel bad for them.

    Fiverr.com is a pretty neat idea and a great place to get your kids birthday cards designed, maybe find a small graphic. But for your logo design I would highly recommend not going this way. You pay for what you get.

    Even seeing the graphic up here at the blog I can see it’s okay, I’ve seen worse, but up on the site it is cover with JPG artifacts and it’s pretty much hard to look at.

    Most likely you received a JPG of your “logo”. It’s probably been saved either as a low resolution or just saved too many times. A logo should be a vector file that you can resize for whatever kind of media that you need. I’ve written a post at my site about the four ways of getting a logo and I would recommend buying a stock logo before buying a JPG image for $5. Value your product spend a few more dollars on a logo and get something that will really show off your product, your style, and be usable.

    I thought the eBook cover you got was pretty good, it was a little gimmicky looking but I’ve seen some covers that just make me cringe. I’m sure once someone’s product was bringing in money they could invest in updating the eBook cover.

    I wanted to visit your site to see what this Fiverr layout looked like. I wasn’t surprised by what I found, lots of stock images that really didn’t go together.

    But this brought me to a new problem your product feels shady or like a scam. I don’t know if it was the graphics or just the actual fact you are trying to sell women how to get rich by blogging (which is a huge scam online that women have to really be careful about).

    I am also a big believer that there is a lot of free info on the internet and a lot of places for mom’s to find help them learn more together. I didn’t see anything on your site that was offering anything new or unique that they couldn’t find for free.

    At first I thought your product might be interesting but after viewing your site I felt a little uncomfortable. I’m sure it’s probably okay since Darren is letting you guest post, but I still wanted to leave the site.

    I then saw that your web designer pulled in your facebook comment feed. I would not recommend this if you want people to give feedback on the product I would using something you have more control on.

    By the way you have two comments that state they never received anything once they signed up and the comments are already a day old.

    At this point I chose to close the tab and then was insulted with a popup window, not letting me leave. So I closed that popup and that opened up another page on your site. This made me feel even more uncomfortable. This is something you would find in a very dated site or a site you are going to get a virus from. I would be very careful, if someone wants to leave your site just let them.

    I’m sorry to be frank and I hope I have given you something to think about and for Darren’s readers to think about.

  32. @Pepper

    Everyone is in title to their own opinion and you’ve made your voice heard.

    So let me answer your questions before people think that I’m running a scam:

    1) You may not like my logo, but if fitted my budget and I believe they look attractive. As things evolve I can pay the $250 (per logo) I had paid for the logos on the other sites I own. When I have to hire an graphic artist – I do. We decided not to for the site and test out Fiverr. The idea was to show that you can create a product on a budget and since this is our first product, we wanted to be careful with your costs.

    2) The ebook cover looks great in our eyes and again, it fitted our budget.

    3) We are not running a scam

    4) We are NOT promising women they will become millionaires, just that they can add to their monthly revenues.

    5) There might be comments here that I’ve not addressed because I do have other sites that I need to manage and I’m also launching a video interview channel which means I spent the day working on those and had the intention on answered comments tonight, as I’m doing now.

    6) PLEASE do not call me a scammer as you don’t know me.

    7) You will notice there is a lot of hard work done on our site and product launch and we take a lot of pride in what we do.

    8) We actually took action and produced something … we’re not just observers … but action takers.

    9) If the pop-up window seems old to you, then you might want to check out more product launches. During the day, I have helped experts with their dollar launches as an affiliate manager and the launch follows the example of some of the top marketers on the net.

    10) Darren’s team have checked out my site and they have been in contact with me and know I’m a real person and not a fake.

    11) Also you are talking about your presentation with stock photo – NO WHERE in this post did I say that someone from Fiverr created that presentation. That is something we did ourselves and it DOES tell a story.

    12) FREE STUFF? No one has to ever buy anything online because it’s all free. Darren’s two ebooks are “useless” in a way because the content is available online. People BUY digital products NOT because it’s not available for free on the net, but because they don’t want to do the effort of surfing for hours when someone else has collected all the data for them.

    13) What we are offering is not free because it’s base on specific action steps you should take on a daily base.

    14) I also visited your site and noticed it had an Alexa rating of over 3 million … that’s really high for someone who has spent the last few sentences being so critical on someone else’s hard work.

    15) You aren’t offering anything to Darren’s readers if you are talking base on false assumptions instead of solid facts.

  33. @ Lea

    We decided to focus solely on video marketing for this launch.

    I will see about Facebook a little later on.

  34. @ Geet – Thanks a lot!

    Video marketing is the way of the future!

  35. @ Thewebcitizen (aka Elias) The kind of product is dictated by the need of your audience. That’s what I’ve learned from the other experts I follow.

  36. @ Michael,

    Eben makes $20 Million per year – he’s a master at this :-)

  37. plastic cards – thanks so very MUCH!

  38. @ Dave – best of luck with your launch and LOVE-LOVE-LOVE your blog my friend and I’m one of Yaro’s students and I did follow your own product launch last year!

  39. Bernice – I love your site and look forward to having you as guest on our new video channel!

  40. Brent – I could not resist – you have a great site my friend!

    I hesitated a lot with Fiverr at first, but after trying it, I have to say it does the job.

    I have other sites where I’ve paid $250/logo and worked with pro graphic designer, but we didn’t want to go down that road with this product launch because there are sooooooooooooooooo many expenses related to launching a product.

  41. @ Allen -

    Branding is quite important and I’ve learned this on Darren’s site.

  42. @ Sam – Thanks!

  43. @ Tim,

    Learnable? Wow that’s a new one for me and will look into it!

    Thanks,

    Krizia

  44. @ Jenny – thanks a lot for the compliment!

  45. Ryan – it’s the only way to go with a product launch or else you think you’ll loose it.

    There are sooooooooooooo many details and moving parts.

  46. How do you find a great virtual assistant? Word of mouth?

  47. Anna – word of mouth? I wish!

    I’m launching a video channel for work at home moms (you don’t have to be one … we have men who are interacting) – we’ll have great guests and we’ll answer that question.

    It will most likely be one of the first interviews.

    It took me a while to find a good one.

    But I so love both of them at at $1.75/h – I feel so blessed.

    Here’s the channel you can register now and we’ll have a free membership site soon:

    http://www.youtube.com/WorkatHomeMomsHQ

  48. Jenny says:

    Uh huh… I still wouldn’t buy it ’cause that shit never works out for me anyway it’s just a GIANT waste of money.

  49. @ Jenny, this post was NOT about people buy my product but to share my experience launching my own products.

    Also, Jenny – if you “feel” NOTHING ever works for you – then you won’t.

    Not sure if you’ve ever seen this quote by Henry Ford:

    “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you’re right”!

    Also, my product is NOT shit – it’s a summary of my experience in building a blog business.

    That said, thanks for your feedback!

  50. @ Jenny – I am giving out 20 free videos, so you can take advantage of that and it won’t cost you one thing!