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5 Tips for Launching a Product On Your Blog Without Annoying Your Readers

“Darren, I have written an eBook but am struggling with how ‘pushy’ to be with my readers in my marketing of it. I want to sell some but don’t want to annoy my readers. Any tips?”

This question hit my inbox today and I thought I’d share some of my reply here.

Great question – I remember these feelings vividly when I launched the first eBooks on ProBlogger and dPS.

On one hand, you want to sell as many copies as possible to make the long writing process worthwhile. You know that to sell those copies you need to let your readers know you’ve got something to sell….

But on the other hand, you don’t want your readers to all disappear because you never talk about anything else than what you’ve got to sell.

The answer is annoyingly… ‘it’s a balancing act’. There is no right or wrong answer but here’s what I’ve learned:

1. If you don’t promote it – nobody else will (at least in the beginning)

Most of us have the fantasy that we’ll release our eBook and that before we know it, word of mouth will make it viral across the internet and we haven’t had to much more than tweet that it’s available.

The harsh reality is that unless you’re Oprah (or you have access to Oprah’s Twitter account) – this is highly unlikely! While things do go viral and word of mouth can be an important factor online, the sooner you face the reality that you are going to be the one who will be needing to spread word of your new product … at least initially (and probably longer than that).

Down the track you might find that the people who buy your product begin to tell others about it but you need to be the one to seed that and to do so you’ll almost certainly need to promote it to the readers you’ve already got.

2. Make it an Event

When I first launched ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog‘ I remember being really concerned about a reader rebellion taking place. Not so much because I was going to annoy readers by promoting the eBook but because I was selling them something for the first time – after years of providing free content.

What amazed me was the good will of my readership. The first time I mentioned I was developing something to sell on my blog (about a month before I launched it) the news was actually celebrated by some of my readers.

There were many congratulations and lots of requests for more information about when it would launch – how much it would be, what would it include etc.

There was no real strategy in mentioning it, except perhaps softening the blow with my readership. However, by doing so I inadvertently created some anticipation among my readers about the launch of the product.

As I got closer to launching the eBook, I began to talk about it more and more and in doing so the anticipation of the launch grew. I realised that I was not only not annoying my readers – they were actually enjoying the process.

The launch of the eBook became something of an event on ProBlogger. It was celebrated by my readership rather than something I had to convince my readers to put up with as a necessary evil.

I realised the eBook was something my readers be part of. That fact that it was very practical and useful helped in this but for me, I learned the power of bringing readers along on a journey of releasing your product.

3. Develop a Multi-pronged Launch Campaign

When we release an eBook on Digital Photography School we generally launch over a 3-4 week period and take a fairly multi-pronged approach.

During that period we map out a series of communications that will go out.

For example, we’re currently launching our brand new Landscape Photography eBook (as I write this we’re about to enter week #2 of our launch) and the launch will probably play out like this:

Prelaunch: we use social media to build a little buzz before launch by showing the cover, running some competitions to get readers guessing the topic etc. We send a few key affiliates advanced copies of the eBook for them to review.

Launch Day: on launch day we email our full list with a sales email, post an announcement on the blog and do a series of status updates on social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest). We also typically email our affiliates about the eBook and our eBook author promotes it to their own network. The strong message in the email, blog post etc is about an Early Bird special.

Week 1: Over the first week we promote the eBook a number of times on social media but don’t write about it again on the blog unless it is a ‘by the way’ type mention when we touch on a relevant topic. We also mention the eBook in our weekly newsletter.

Also during week 1 (and sometimes each week during the launch) I’ll run a ‘challenge’ with readers to get them taking photos on a theme related to the eBook and showing those photos (here’s an example from this last week).

7 Days After Launch: We typically email our list again and post on the blog with a 2nd communication about the blog. This week we’re launching a competition for buyers of the eBook but other times we’ve emailed other messaging.

Week 2: we try to post some posts on the blog during week 2 that are guest posts on the same topic as the eBook, often by the same authors. It is important to me that these posts don’t just promote the eBook but they also deliver value whether people buy the eBook or not.

We also again mention the eBook in the weekly newsletter.

14/21 Days After Launch: Depending how the launch goes we may send a ’1 week to go’ email at this point to let readers know that the Early Bird Special is coming to an end. We might also include some testimonials from readers at this point and might also link to the posts that the author has done on the blog.

Week 3: often we’ll post more guest posts on the blog this week and will continue to pepper social media with occasional messages.

Last Chance Email: with 48-24 hours to go until the early bird offers end we send a very short ‘last chance’ reminder email. This is usually just a few lines.

Every launch is different and we’ve done a variety of other things for different launches like posting interviews with authors, running webinars, giving away excerpts from the eBooks, running competitions in the lead up to launches and much more.

The key here is to think about what messaging you’ll do through out the launch and not just to send the same message out each day over and over.

You’ll see in the above that each week has its own theme that helps take readers on a journey.

We also make sure that a fair few of the blog posts that mention the eBook during the campaign are actually valuable to readers whether they buy the eBook or not. My goal is not just to sell readers eBooks but also to equip ALL of my readers in the topic we’re exploring during the launch.

4. Keep Delivering Value Outside of the Launch Communications

A key objective for me during all our launches is to continue to deliver high value to readers during the launch period that is outside of the launch. So while we’re certainly promoting the eBook during the above launch there’s also the normal level of blog posts going up on the blog about other topics.

On a typical week on dPS I publish 14 tutorials – during a launch week it remains at this level. The same thing is true on social media – we continue to share great content on social that is not related to the launch.

So anyone who doesn’t want to buy the eBook still is getting other value out of the site during the launch.

This takes concerted effort as you get excited about the launch and tired from creating all the messaging for the launch – but it is very important. I’ve seen many bloggers fall into the trap of only ever talking about their products on their blog for a month while they launch something and in doing so the momentum of their actual blog stops.

Don’t let this happen or you might just find that after your product launch you have no readers left!

5. Listen to Your Readers

During your launch sequence, pay a lot of attention to any feedback you are getting from readers.

If they begin to complain about the launch, this might be a signal to take the foot off the pedal slightly. If they’re excited it’s a signal that you’re hitting the mark.

Also watch your sales numbers. Generally, there comes a point during a launch when your communication starts to be less effective. This is a signal that you might want to draw the campaign to a close.

When we launch an eBook we never quite know how long the launch will go. We may put aside 4 weeks but if things slow we might cut it back to 3. If there is momentum we can always extend it.

Over time as you release more products you can also compare one launch to another to help identify whether you are onto a big launch or one that might be worth calling to an end sooner than later.

What Would You Add?

The above process does involve promoting your eBook and the reality is that any promotion will annoy some of your readers. You are likely to get some pushback every time.

But I’ve found if you make your launches relevant to readers in terms of topic, you promote something of high value and you work hard to deliver value during a launch that most readers will not only put up with your launch – but many will celebrate it and participate in it with you!

I’d love to hear your tips and experiences with launching products. What have you done to launch without annoying your readers?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Wendy says:

    I would say number 4 needs to be highlighted, bolded and triple starred. I unsubscribed from Mr. Vay-ner-chuck when the only thing he could talk about was his new book. Keep giving me what I came for originally and I won’t mind your promotions.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      yeah – it’s actually quite difficult to talk about much else other than what you’re launching so I know the temptation. My suggestion is to make sure you have plenty of posts in reserve on other topics so you can drip them out during a launch and don’t have to write them.

  2. Ujjwal says:

    WOW, awesome, I am going to launch my first ever ebook, these tips I will definitely use.

    Thanks @Darren

    For sharing million dollar information.

  3. I loved this not just because of what you are saying. I love the time and energy you out into it. I am grateful that you shared this with us. I’m stating that process now and I’m learning that with a plan you can make big things happen quickly with new tools like you are providing.

    It’s also great to see the powerful life changing elements you provide here and example of waking the walk here too.

    I look forward to your continued work. If there is any way I can help you, I look forward to being of service. Have a wonderful day.

  4. kyle says:

    Excellent thanks a lot for this one I’m currently working on an e-book regarding online frauds and this gave me great launch ideas.

    Thanks Much appriciated

  5. Ana says:

    Very good advice, I want to write a novel and then sell it in ebook … but I worry about my regular readers that I have ever read …

    Anyway, thanks!

  6. Stephen says:

    I’m halfway through my first ebook and this really helps me out! Thanks Darren!

  7. Tilly says:

    Personally I LOVE it when a blog I follow releases a product for sale – particularly if it’s their first one, it’s so great that they’re able to earn an income by doing something they love and sharing it. In my experience, there are some people who don’t like it when blogs becoming businesses (no matter how small), and no matter what you do to they are going to complain anyway.

    • bostjan says:

      Agreed. Good blogs are hard to come by and their products are worth their money. I also agree on those naggers, who don’t recognise the effort and value of blogging. Luckily, there are only a handful of those, who wouldn’t appreciate even if you throw a pound of gold into them. I say, who cares about those; most people do value a good product, and that’s it.

  8. Ken says:

    We just came out with an eBook ourselves regarding Pinterest, and I was wondering @Darren if in your experience it helps or doesn’t matter to simultaneously come out with a Paperback and/or get it into Amazon?

  9. شات says:

    Great, but what is the way to increase the number of readers in the blog؟

  10. Carlos Coto says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for showing us your launch sequence… I guess that when you keep with your normal commitment, and interspersed into your normal info, you give them the new info, the readers take it as something worthwhile to investigate, and since, you are still delivering on your normal info, it will be less likely for them to leave your list, or blog, etc.

    Thanks for the info, as always.

  11. Michelle says:

    I think the most important thing is to avoid hitting your email list too often when promoting a new product. Obviously you want to make sales, but being too “in your face” about it can put a lot of people off and no blogger wants to see people leaving in droves at the critical juncture where they are trying to make sales.

    Michelle from Traffic Travis

    • Darren Rowse says:

      it is definitely a balancing act – you have to leverage your email list but how many times is something you need to really think through!

  12. After successfully promote the first product, you can go on and create your own product under your name, and promote it using the same method. It’s a cycle.

  13. Surya says:

    Thanks for these wonderful tips about promoting my product. I was looking for such ideas. Thanks a lot.

  14. Zenelia says:

    hi darren
    nice tips for launching something new on a blog….very helpful one..I really like the thought of Developing a Multi-pronged Launch Campaign as this thing can help out you a lot

    Thanks for sharing nice post

    Keep posting

  15. Liton Biswas says:

    Thanks Darren,
    This post will help of a lot in future as I’m writing a book. In this book I’ll focus on various check points of common civil items of building construction.
    But I’ll give it free of cost to my readers through my civil engineering blog.

  16. I think making the launch an event is key. The best advice I received was early adaptors are your best advertising. So anyway you can get people to read and talk about it on your behalf means you don’t have to. I like the idea of a multi-week approach.

    I’m launching a new book this fall and thinking of rolling it out on different Social Media sites each week. Starting with Facebook the first week, then Pinterest, and possibly #instagram – which would be a challenge to have readers photograph their books etc.

    I love the idea of having others post on your blog about content related to the book. Great idea!

    Thanks Darren!

  17. bruce jones says:

    Very nice article. I have just launched a video course on making video documentaries and we are struggling with the launch process. You rarticle gives some nice tips on how to lunch a product without going crazy. There are just so many steps to do after the product is released to marketing it. It is very confusing, what to do first and then second. The big guys make it look so easy but in reality it is really hard. I think you have simplified it down nicely. I am going to rewrite the main points from your article for my team so we can put some key tasks on a calendar and get the promotion out.

    I have followed a Jeff Walker Product Launch and it worked but it is so hard when you are trying to get other people to do what is needed. You spend all your time just getting the product out and the real effort should be made on the marketing after it is done. There is a lot of great sensible info in here.

    This might be a nice little product for you, how to launch a product in 10 simple steps..

    excellent article thanks

  18. Making a separate event for the product launch is a great way to intrigue our loyal reader base instead of scaring them away. Thanks for these tips for launching a product.

  19. Dan Erickson says:

    I really don’t like the marketing end of blogging and writing. I start feeling like a used car salesmen. I’ve written and promoted two books on my blog. The first book has sold and still sells more copies even thought it’s a series. I think I promoted the first a bit harder. I followed a plan similar to the one you mapped out in this article. I would add doing some offline promotions, too.

  20. Hi Darren — was great to meet you at last at WDS! Great basics here.

    I’d add: Begin by asking what your readers need and would like to buy from you. Ask for comments on this topic on posts, conduct surveys, hold contests, have a quiz, give out your phone number…whatever it takes.

    Then, create that product. Then tell your readers, “Here’s that thing you told me you wanted.”

    Guarantee they will not be annoyed by your product sale.

  21. Bert says:

    I’ve seen instances where very financially successful bloggers offered their first paid infoproduct and the offer really polarized his community. Some readers defended the business model switch while others were very angry about it. None of that is surprising, but what really got me was that some commenter’s relentlessly attacked the critics of the offer and the blogger just sat back and let it happen.

    How do you manage comments when your fans are attacking your fans over something that you did?

    • marc says:

      yes, it really is a very interesting effect, witnessed that a couple of times too.
      -some people really get mad when they actually get an offer.. maybe that really is the art of selling: making sth attractive without being pushy ;)

  22. vaibhav says:

    hi thanks for this article it’s so great that they’re able to earn an income by doing something they love and sharing it

  23. Munawar says:

    Well, interesting topic, darren. I still preparing for my first ebook about travel in Indonesia. Is there any different approach or suggestions to the readers in my niche? I mean, how to promote my ebook

  24. Nikhil says:

    Some times it annoy to us but if the product have interested and users want to know more about then its create a successful launch. I like the mention point by @Darren mostly creating about buzz on social media its helps a lot while Prelaunch and increase curiosity among the users… thank you for sharing this post ….;)

  25. Haha, this was a great article and I loved the part about Oprah!

  26. Sharon says:

    Thank you so much for laying out a basic week by week plan. I’m just getting ready to send my book (e-book and physical book) off to a designer and was looking for tips on how to do a launch. This will help me in a practical way, I can adapt what you outlined to my situation! Yeah, I love a checklist.

  27. Adam Kielich says:

    It’s definitely easy to tip the scales in favor of being too pushy. This is good advice to help maintain that balance.

  28. thanhtungdo says:

    When read your article, I withdraw 2 lessions. One is “If you don’t promote it – nobody else will”. It is similiar
    to “if you don’t try, you will never reach it”. Orther is “Listen to Your Readers”, it means that I need to know what the customer need.

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. It’s not my first time to pay a quick visit this web site, i am visiting this web site dailly and take pleasant facts from here everyday.
    Great!

  30. Matt Brennan says:

    Some great tips here. I haven’t gone through this yet, but it seems to me like building your email list to the best levels possible would also be pretty darn important.

  31. Loving the chronological steps of what to do which week. I am stuck in planning mode for my ebook because it seems such a daunting and difficult task to me as I’m not a good marketer.

    These tips are definitely a great help, Darren, thanks!

    • bostjan says:

      Well, you are what you write about, right? So planning shouldn’t be too difficult, and writing even less. About the marketing part – good product sells by itself, the viral way. You just need to do the first push through the social + targeted channels, and let the world does the rest. Good luck!

  32. mrdat says:

    Great Tips ! It’s definitely a great help for me , excellent article thanks !

  33. This article will be very helpful to those that do something of this nature. Unfortunate for me I can’t use these methods. – Scott Craighead

  34. Point to point description is very attractive. I think your thought may help other because you are absolutely right, I like this view. Thanks.
    Keep posting.

  35. hiren says:

    Thanks for great stuff… this will help me lots….
    Thank u very much

  36. bostjan says:

    I remember when I wrote my first eBook and tried to sell it as a product. It went rather ok, but the problem was my readers’ perception. That’s where I found out what my mistake was; I presented a book as a product, not something that came out of my dreams, wishes and thoughts. So, if you showcase your product as a product, people will perceive it as such. However, if you present it as a part of you, people would not hesitate so much to buy it. What do you think?

  37. Monique says:

    I’m just now beginning my e-book promotion, so I’m definitely glad I found this post. In fact, I searched the site specifically for it! Something I would like to know is how to best promote an e-book through e-junkie? I noticed that problogger uses e-junkie, so I decided to use it. But apart from uploading my book and putting the “buy” button on my site (and advertising it on my site), I’m not sure what else I should do. Any pointers?