Launching your product to the world can be terrifying.
While that fear will probably never go away completely, you don’t have to be subject to this kind of pressure.
Instead of putting out a single launch email into the world and hoping for the best, some of the most successful launches I’ve seen instead create a conversation with the audience.
This conversation can sometimes take place over only 3 emails. Other times it can reach as many as 15 (!). Multiple emails over a launch like this can help your valuable offer stand out in someone’s massively busy inbox, which we all have these day.
Even better if this conversation BEFORE creating a product or course and use the conversation to help define what that product actually is.
The great part is you only really need an email list of a few hundred to start getting some results and data about your approach.
While, we’re going to focus on online course launches, the learnings from this process can be easily translated to launches of all types, whether you’re promoting your product on KickStarter or at a tech startup.
The biggest challenge coming into a launch or presale can be: where do you start?
To tackle this, we looked into hundreds of successful course launches and presales. Here are 7 basic email types almost each of these launches has:
Interest List Email
Common Questions Email
To keep in mind: There are a TON of variations you can take with your presale or launch that can be effective.
Do you want to combine a Give Email with an Interest list Email? Do you want to add 3 anticipation or closing emails? This has all been done, and you can mix and match and layer each of these emails to create your own online email launch sequence.
Try adding these emails to start getting more feedback on your product before launching, build your relationships, anticipation and of course, get more sales.
Each of these emails has a specific purpose – and take advantage of psychology we’re all influenced by. Particularly:
For more of the psychology side, check out Robert Cialdini’s book Influence or Jeff Walker’s book, aptly called, Launch.
Let’s tie in some examples of each of these types of emails.
Is a version of each of these emails in your launch repertoire?
1. Survey Email
The point of the survey email is to quickly collect email addresses and get feedback from your potential audience. Imagine knowing what people want before you sell something? You’ll use these responses to tailor your offer and eventual product.
You can do this by sending out an email to your interest list with a very clear call-to-action that asks people for “the one thing they are struggling with right now.”
I did this when founding GrowHack with Mattan Griffel and had an 10% response rate over the past 3,000 welcome emails sent.
With this email, don’t try to sell your product. Don’t include a price. This email is simply a means to find out who’s interested and discover their very specific problems and pains.
The more closely you can tailor your offer to the exact problems people on your list describe, the more valuable your product is and the more people are willing to pay.
This email has the twofold benefit of also creating a personal connection with your audience and build your liking and a feeling of trust. It shows that you care about their personal problems, to the point where you want to go so far as solve them.
A great resource to do your survey is SurveyMonkey which you can use to create an email survey very quickly at no cost. You can simply link to your SurveyMonkey in you email.
A word to the wise, if you’re linking to a survey instead of asking someone to reply to an email, get specific in the questions you ask to foster specific and actionable responses, while not being lengthy (or people won’t finish your survey) like so:
You can also include multiple questions in the Survey Monkey, most people who start your survey will end up completing it if you only show one question at a time.
2. Give Email
One of the best ways to gather people into your tribe is to follow the give, give, give before you make any kind of offer. This helps build a sense of reciprocity. If you give value, someone naturally wants to return the favor.
To start this type of email you can begin by giving something valuable. This giveaway can come in the form of a blog post, worksheet, video training, audio files. Literally anything as long as it’s great.
Here’s an example of a workbook from Amy Porterfield:
Sidenote: As a midwesterner, Ashley our Content Marketer and Writer is really into giving out awesome free stuff. It’s a win/win!
This blog post is an example of that for Fedora, and here are a few other examples we’ve created from us to inspire your content:
3. Interest List Email
This email will help you segment your audience into lists based on who they are and their interests aka. into interest lists.
For example, if I’m writing to all vegetarians, I might want to know who is just a veg and who is a vegan so I know how to tailor my content. Or, if I’m starting a StartUp Sales Bootcamp like Juliana Crispo I might want to know who is a sales executive and who is a founder.
This is a great email to start really building anticipation with your audience, while also getting you an excuse to get into close conversation with the people who are interested right off the bat.
Restrain from including mention about your exact offer in this email, given you can now actually test or email people who’ve gotten on your interest list and ask them directly.
For Juliana’s presale specifically, more than 50% of those who signed up for her interest list turned into eventual paying customers.
A couple ways to create your interest list page include:
is a simple way to create a basic interest list page.
You can use the Teachable
course page editor to collect emails.
Another option is Instapage
to create your landing page and collect interested emails.
4. Anticipation Email
This email is designed around anticipation. There are a few ways to do this–but a story is a great way to build liking and trust while you’re at it.
A good way to start is by appealing to your audience through your own personal story about WHY you created this content. A story helps humanize you and emphasizes the outcome you’re taking someone to. This can end up being pretty personal.
Here’s how Amy Hoy of 30X500 goes into her story and builds anticipation like this:
In your story, know that it’s ok to say you’re not experienced with teaching. Anecdotally, we’ve found some of the best content comes from something you’ve just learned.
This way, you understand the trouble spots and the language that helped you understand better than a seasoned expert who might pass over important assumptions. Here are a couple strategies to get around the the curse of knowledge from Janet Choi of Customer.io.
5. Offer Email
BOOM. This is where you let your audience know they can actually pay for your product or at least get the presale.
Here’s the opening to the offer email from Bryan Harris of Video Fruit:
There is a ton on how to handle pricing and how you approach mentioning it in this email, however one approach is to do what Debbie LaChusa did with her course, which she offered at a discounted price prior to launch. This creates scarcity and urgency around your offer.
Nat Eliason successfully launched Become a Technical Marketer letting his audience that the cost of the course would go up after it officially launched.
Another aspect of this email can be sending someone to a great landing page. We loved Bree Noble’s story. When she was preselling her online course Female Musician Academy, linking to a great looking sales page helped.
“I was able to pre-sell my online course (Female Musician Academy) to 15 people at $290 new students told me that my Fedora school was so beautiful that they could tell the course was going to be amazing.”
Awwww yeah, look at this baby:
By linking to strong online assets and by creating strong written content around the course, Bree demonstrates some inherent social proof, which she used to help monetize her course before launch.
Alternatively you can also include bonuses and not explicitly state your price in your open email, like in Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray of Copy Cure which recently launched.
In your email, be sure to link to your online properties where people can buy your product and make sure you have standout visuals.
To help you make the landing page to your product beautiful here are a few resources:
6. Common Questions Email
What this email does is pretty self-explanatory. You’re going to answer the questions your audience might be sending you.
This is going to keep people in your course who might be confused and haven’t gone so far to bring up their hesitations with you. It also preemptively saves you time in support.
Jeff Walker’s email with his Seed Launch program:
It’s also a great opportunity to create some social proof. After all, if there are common your offer, right?
7. Closing Email
This is where you’ve got to seal the deal. In this email, you’ve got to let people know that the presale is ending and the price of the course is going to go up significantly or the course will close. You can use social proof and list how many people signed up to further incentivize those still on the edge.
We like the way Amy and Alex did this in 30x500 generating scarcity and giving social proof.
Not only does this push your audience out of procrastination mode and into action, but it can also help you as a producer handle a constant influx of students. It’s easiest to keep everyone on the same path. New users take time and it’s better to handle in batches rather than individually.
In my case, when launching the User Growth Bootcamp, I took a less aggressive approach and only sent 1 closing email. What’s weird, was I actually had people who reached out upset that they I didn’t see my offer and I should have sent a reminder. Ouch. That’s something you can now avoid!
As a side note, although all of the Ali G. Marketing emails are personally entertaining, you probably don’t want to say you're giving out a second rare chance like this:
One of the best ways we’ve found to learn about launching is to study other great launches.
Over the past years, I’ve signed up and seen what some of the best people do, and taken a ton of inspiration. While someone else’s audience might not be the same as yours, you can still learn a lot about launching by soaking them in yourself. Did someone else’s launch work on you?
To do this, I highly recommend going to each of these below sites and signing up:
Second. We started putting together a bit of an ambitious project that brings together some of the best email launches we’ve seen over the past year.
Over this time, we signed up for 100’s of product launch email sequences, picked the most compelling, and wrapped them into a single PDF you can flip through come time for your next launch.