Your customer list is your most valuable asset. You’ve probably heard this many times, but I’m sure many have never actually taken any action on it.

Dealing with many startups, I know for a fact most startups or even older more established companies do not interact with their current or ex-customer list often or ever, or if they do, they probably do not strive to keep a close relationship with the list, and are not really trying to sell the list anything.

Coming from a heavy internet marketing background, I’ve seen most savvy marketers take a completely different route than traditional pre-internet companies. I’ve noticed that:

  1. They focus on building a list and capturing a targeted audience first
  2. They then develop and market products to said list

It is really incredible how much money is all too often left on the table by having a dormant email list. As acquiring customers is often the biggest expense any company has, it makes no sense that companies are throwing money away when they acquire customers, but then forget about them once they’ve purchased a product.

On the other hand, keeping your current or ex-customer list engaged can really make or break your business long term, as a higher customer engagement almost always means a larger customer lifetime value, which in turn means you can spend more dollars to acquire each customer. Maybe companies have gotten away with neglecting their list in the past, but in markets with higher maturity, and when going against competitors that have this piece of their marketing process dialed in, a higher customer LTV means outbidding, outperforming in advertising and getting a much bigger slice of the available leads.

That is why when you’re looking to launch a new product or feature, nurturing and re-establishing a relationship with a pre-existing customer list is not only the most surefire way to guarantee revenue at almost no cost, it’s really key for the long-term pulse of your business.

Before getting into how you actually do this, we assume that people reading this post already have an email list so we don’t have to go into list building as that would be a massive post onto itself. If you want to read more about that, you can check out this post, that talks about the most popular free marketing tools.

Usually, there are two main types of lists:

  • Public lists – These are usually built with giveaways, promotions or newsletter offers. These lists tend to be much less engaged and therefore need more nurturing of up to 60 days before a launch.
  • Current or Ex-Customer lists – If you’ve sold them something before, and assuming the product fulfilled their needs, this list will be your most valuable asset, as it will be filled with people that already trust you and your brand, and will be eager to know about the upcoming launch of your next product. Ideally, you should be keeping close contact with this list, and if that’s the case, the nurturing for an upcoming launch can start a couple of weeks before launch.

Building and Nurturing a Customer Email List Prior to a Product Launch

Generating Hype Ahead of a Product Launch

So you’ve got a dormant email list. Now the first step is to create an autoresponder sequence to re-engage your list a recommended 60 days before launch, particularly for disengaged public lists.

The autoresponder should be split into one email every four or five days for the first 30 days, then for the next 3 weeks every 2-3 days up to launch week. On launch week, send an email every day. 48-72 Hours around launch day you should be sending 2-3 emails per day.

The first emails should not be used to pitch anything or even speak about your upcoming product, they should be all about re-engaging people with the want or need that drove them to subscribe to your email list in the first place.

So the emails you send in these first 30 days should be used to remind everyone why you are an expert in that subject matter by providing insights about your niche without providing concrete solutions.

Twist the knife, that is to say, make people remember the pain they were trying to solve when signing up for your list. I.E. If you have a list about weight loss you can talk about your research into what causes most people to gain belly fat and resulting health problems. Back it up with scientific evidence for an even bigger impact.

After the first 30 days, the following 3 weeks you should be sending the list emails about the solution you’re developing to solve the problem you’ve been talking about the previous month and why it’s going to be different than anything else that’s out in the market right now.

Do not rush and disclose everything about the product in a single email. It’s often best to separate your product features into separate emails and talk extensively about each one, which problems they solve and how they go about solving them. Set a launch date and include an add to calendar link on every email you sent, so people will get an alert on launch date.

During the launch week, you should be sending daily emails re-defining the strong points and main features of your new product, some testimonials if you can get them.

Don’t worry about unsubscribers, you should welcome them, as if they don’t even want to read your emails, they would never buy your product.

An Example of Email Template You Can Use At This Stage

Market’s search for meaning email

You can create an email that targets most customers who do not even know why they do not buy and most of the times they subconsciously disqualify themselves based on old cognitive biases or negative self-imaging.

You will, therefore, need to reframe those negative self-perceptions and give them a chance to derive new positive meaning to REQUALIFY many of the lost customers.

Questions to ask yourself when coming up with this email template
i) What unexpected actions in relation to your product might your prospects feel ashamed of?
ii) If there are any unexpected actions that they (the prospects) could feel ashamed of, what external thing can you deflect the blame to?
iii) How was the unexpected action best possible at the time?
iv) What pain may it have saved your prospects from?
v) How did it prepare and/or empower them for this moment?

Examples:

  • Tell a story about their experience of that shameful trait/action/behavior
  • Deflect the blame to something external
  • Bridge into WHY it actually wasn’t their fault
  • How was that thing actually positive ­a good thing ­ ie. opening the
    meaning loop
  • But now there’s a better (more appropriate) way ­ closing the meaning
    Loop
  • Tying the meaning loop to your offer
  • Overcome surface level objections through your key features/benefits

An example of an email you can send to your prospects at this stage is shown below:

email marketing example

During The Launch

Do not forget to set up your email marketing service so that you segment your list after a customer purchases. Pass the customers that purchase your new product onto a separate list, so they stop receiving pitch emails.

Send them 2-3 emails per day in the 72 hours that surround a launch date. These emails should be shortened versions of emails you’ve been sending for the past 3 weeks, addressing the key points in your product and why they need to get it now.

Offer them motivation to jump in right now in form of a special launch discount or additional offer that will be very helpful to your customer. This will get your undecided customers to act now. If you do not do it, a lot of these undecided customers that are on the fence will have their hype slowly wear out and will never buy. Offering them some kind of a deal on top is many times all they need to make the jump and buy your product.

Make sure you set up conversion tracking on your emails. You want to know which particular email led to the click that generated you the sale, so you can gauge which emails are working best with your audience, and repeat the formula of that winning email.

Examples of Email Templates You Can Send To Your Prospects During a Launch

1. The spoiler alert email

This email is designed to leverage the power of future pacing. This means that you can use it in a powerful and concentrated way to show your prospect what it will be like to experience the benefits of your products you are launching and at the same time future pacing the experience of overcoming their resistance to purchasing it.

In doing so, we acknowledge that those elements of resistance are normal, par for the course, and ultimately overcomeable within the context of a new reality they want to experience.

Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making a Downsell Email Template

  1. What are the very SPECIFIC thought patterns or layers of resistance they’ll have to
    overcome before hitting “purchase”?
  2. To the best of your ability, describe their current reality as accurately as you can (this
    will be used to anchor the future pace)
  3. What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after buying your product
  4. What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after NOT buying your product?
  5. What will their experience look like a few weeks after buying your product?
  6. What will their experience look like a few weeks after NOT buying your product?

Example in a Template

[CTA]
[Being Specific, Anchor in Current Reality]
[Immediate FP – 10 Minutes – Disarm Fear/Resistance in Purchase]
[Short Term FP – 24 Hours – Immediate experience of owning product –
disarm buyer’s remorse]
[CTA 2]
[Medium Term FP – 2-3 Days – Quick wins as it relates to a unique
aspect of your offer]
[CTA 3]
[Long Term FP – 2-3 Weeks – a paradigm has shifted. Reality has
flipped. What outcomes have started to become realized?]
[CTA 4]
[Long Term FP – 4-8 Weeks: Tangible ongoing and growing results that
emerge from that new world]
[CTA 5]
[Future Pace – 10+ Weeks – What it’s like experiencing that new ultimate
outcome – and the experiences it now affords them

Benji and Devesh of Sellfy have been using this mail in their product launches. The email they send their prospects looks like the one on the image below:

Grow and Convert email marketing example

2. The anti-launch launch email

Majority of sales usually roll in at the final hours of a launch cycle. It’s a known fact and many people embrace it. While there are more theories that try to explain why that is, most launchers/marketers fail to unpack this ordeal further and reap from the benefits of frontloading more sales from the very start. Front-loading can prove to be very crucial at this point as it will:

  • Increase your cash flow to re-invest in retargeting/ads
  • Validate you and your customers
  • Give you the confidence to market aggressively until the end
  • Provide social proof like case studies to use in your closing mails
  • Create urgency as early as possible especially when there is a limited number.

The anti-launch launch email aims at progress and sustaining the momentum of your product as well as consistency in the sales from the time of the launch to the end.

The email should answer the following questions:

  1. What micro-actions have they ALREADY taken that you can hold them consistent to?
  2. How are they already in the process?
  3. In what ways is “Rome Burning” for them? How has it been burning for long before
    you came along?
  4. How will your prospect be in a worse position if they buy in a few days? (what will the
    fire have already consumed between now and then? What benefits are they leaving
    on the table?)
  5. How have they been trying (and struggling) to put out the fire?
  6. How is a product “launch” disingenuous to you? What proprietary elements have
    been in development/testing/being proven for months or years?
  7. What results or case studies can you point to?
  8. What actions have your prospects taken that hold them consistent to acquire your product from the beginning of your launch campaign to the finish?

Example in a template

  • Announce that the offer is now live
  • Social proof and/or a core benefit of the product
  • Bridge into WHY it’s not an actual “launch”
  • Rome is Burning moment – what’s burning – how are they trying to
    Extinguish?
  • Describe the existing context/problem as SPECIFICALLY as you can
  • Remind them that the fire has been burning long before you got there
  • Why it’s not a launch for you (credibility + proof + case studies)
  • Call out a negative trait (ie. procrastination) + hold them consistent to a
    higher standard
    [CTA – which shows naturalness – continuation – small step]
  • Remind them of the cost of waiting. What will be left of Rome?
    [CTA 2]
  • Optional: use the PS to disarm 1 or 2 key objections

An example of an anti launch launch kind of mail is shown in the template below:

Launch day email marketing example

Post Launch

The main post-launch goal is to try different strategies to convert people who were not converted by your sales pitch thus far

The customers should be segmented according to the product level/upsells they bought. You can then re-pitch upsells to the ones that have not purchased them during the checkout process. You may need a developer to set this Automation for you between your website/payment processor and your Email Marketing service using API calls.

You may want to offer a one-time downsell to those who did not purchase your product (the same product as a discounted price). This will not leave people who paid full price for your product happy, so this is why it’s key that you move these people onto a separate list as they purchase.

If applicable you can also offer a 2-3 day free trial, or a $1, 7-day trial. This tends to work really good as you’ll get their credit card information and bill them automatically for the full amount at the end of the week. Make sure you disclose this information to keep chargebacks low.

You should keep sending 1-2 emails a week to your non-buyers. Try shortened/key points versions of the many emails you sent prior to launch and always try to give them a new motivation to sign up. If you are doing this correctly, every time you send an email you should squeeze a few more signups.

Example of Email Templates You Can Send Your Prospects Post Launch

The Downsell Email

Downsell email example

This ‘’wait, don’t go yet, I have one time special offer for you” kind of email is one of the most profitable emails you can send after the initial launch campaign has closed. It is at this stage that most non-buyers are agitated to have missed on your product and it is the ripe time to coax them into conversions.

Apart from just the feeling of missing out on your product, some non-buyers feel disempowered not to pull the trigger and or not being in a position to pull the trigger.

A well-designed downsell on your product will boost your campaign with extra dollars while at the same time creating and building trust and goodwill. It is more profitable than just having to leave your non-buyers hanging. It gives your audience a second chance at success apart from just giving you a second chance at a sale and that makes them feel served, excited and re-empowered.

A downsell will also create a long-lasting goodwill for your next launch.

Forms of Downsell

  • Offering your non-buyers a shorter subscription period/trial
  • An introductory product related to the main product that will empower them to get the full product later in the date.
  • Offering your non-buyers a stripped down product without providing hand holding

Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making A Downsell Email Template For Your Customers

  1. Overlooking the price, in what ways was your audience NOT ready to benefit from your initial offer?
  2. What option from the downsell options might be useful at this stage?
  3. What unique and positive characteristics will exclusively empower them to make a new offer?

Example in Template

  • Remind them of offer they missed
  • Show you care – that they’re still on your mind
  • Confirm that they made the right decision
  • Commend them on that decision – and WHY it was the right one
  • Transition: What about their current stage or unique abilities makes
    them exclusively empowered for your downsell offer
  • Introduce the downsell offer
    [CTA]
  • OPTIONAL: Give unselfish reason for the downsell
    Urgency/Scarcity/Guarantee
    [CTA2]

Mistakes people are fond of doing during downsell

  • Guilting or shaming them into a sale.
  • Making them feel like they’re getting a second rate product.
  • Painting the FOMO on too thick
  • Making it feel like a “compromise” instead of a new, more fitting opportunity.
  • Not being transparent. Unless you give your real motivation, your audience may think it’s just a cash grab

A downsell email example you can send your prospects is shown below:

Downsell email marketing example

Other Strategies That Will Help You With A Product Launch And Can Be Incorporated Along With The Above Email Strategy

Create a Presell Page

This usually will be a small page used to pitch or display your upcoming product or feature to your customer list and possibly validate the product or even just the idea, before actually investing your hard earned money on it.

What we usually do with a presell page is we offer our email list the chance to signup for an early launch (with benefits) of said product. Based on the number of signups we not only generate hype for the launch, but we get a pulse for how much the product is going to sell.

There is no way of knowing how many of those who sign up actually end up buying the product when it launches, but common figures in the Software as a Service industry tell us that from 30 to 60% of those who make a pre-signup will actually buy the product at least for 1 month, when it comes to subscription based products.

So this can be used to get a small representation of the actual figure after you launch. If you will find it good enough, then your product will be worth launching and you can now dig into pre-selling it. If not, then it is advisable to use your time to focus on something else.

The image below shows a presell template used by Jimmy Cyclone of Sumo:

Sumo Pre-Sell Page

Top-Notch Pre-selling Strategies

1) Create a group and offer them a Beta version of your product at a discount.

This strategy works really well as long as you stay transparent with the fact that you are giving out a discount because your product is still being refined.

We use this a lot when we’re in need of funding but we don’t want to stop development and look for funding elsewhere. You can create a private group for members who are willing to pay a bit less for an early unfinished version of your product. A beta version of your product is like an experiment and those who will be willing to pay for it will do it knowingly.

Customers usually have different reasons when they decide to pay for your beta product, but the main reason revolves around getting an opportunity of early access to your product and the exclusivity that it entails, as well as actually helping you making the product better.

A discount is just a bonus for them. In fact, it acts like a bait for more who may be interested but feel like they cannot afford to pay for a beta product for as much as the complete product costs.

Make sure to use that opportunity to gather feedback which will help you refine your product prior to launch.

2) Host a Webinar

Even before you host a webinar, you should write a series of emails that not only engage your prospects but also build trust among them. Once you earn their trust, it is easy to host a webinar that teases your product nudging them toward paying for your beta product before the official release.

Your ideal webinar should not only focus on convincing your prospects to acquire your product by giving them all the reasons but also should be precise fun and ‘easy’ to watch. If you convince them well, chances are that most viewers will be willing to pay for your product.

You should understand that hosting a webinar will prove to be crucial if it dawns on you that you might not be able to gather a group of enough beta testers for your presell activity.

In general, if you have a fairly loyal or enthusiastic (assuming you know your audience quite well) following, you can choose to go with the strategy of creating a beta group for your product pre-sell action. The reason is, unless they are already fans of your work, it might not be easy to convince them to pay to work through the kinks of an incomplete product . Hosting a webinar works just fine in all situations, but it does need some more preparation and content creation.

Jeff Walker is the prominent entrepreneur who has made a number of most successful webinars prior to product launch and they have made quite a fortune for him.

Jeff Walker video

Photo Credits: YouTube

Conclusion

I trust that this article has shed some light on how you can start utilizing your pre-existing email list and turn into a perpetual money machine, and a source of guaranteed income, particularly when it comes to launching new products or features.

As with mostly everything, consistency is key, so after creating your email sequence, you need to put a system in place to guarantee that the crucial emails are being sent to the right prospects every day. Also when it comes to email, more is more, meaning each email you sent will probably lead to more sales, as long as you’re offering some value on it as well. It’s also a good idea to put some of the other tips into action. For example making a pre-signup page shouldn’t take you more than 1 hour and can dramatically increase your product sales.

Are you ready for a smarter way to engage with your customers?

Benchmark helps you do email marketing the practical way. Create an ongoing relationship with your subscribers that leads to increased sales and happier customers.

Founder of Outbound.net

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