3 things I learned from my book launch

Launch strategies

I just released my new book, Marketing for Developers. The experience is still fresh in my mind, and I wanted to share three simple tactics that worked for me that you can use for your next launch.

Identify a real pain point

By the time I sat down to create Marketing for Developers, I had hundreds of reference points like this:

I've built my product, that was the easy part, now I need to promote it.

The biggest mistake we can make is to create something that people don’t want. How do you avoid this? You embed yourself in a community, and you listen. Be patient. It might takes months of listening before you start noticing patterns.

Finding a problem worth solving takes time, but it pays dividends when it comes time to promote your product; you’ll have the confidence that there’s demand for what you’ve created.

Your email list is your best friend

I still haven’t found a channel that converts better than email. As an example, here’s a snapshot of my conversions for Marketing for Developers:

What marketing channel converts the best? Email.

My email list had a 24% conversion rate [1. The conversion rate here is calculated as: “those that clicked the link, and bought.” The percentage of people on the overall launch list that bought was 16%, which is still impressive.], and accounted for over 80% of my revenue. That’s huge! As a comparison, Twitter had a 6.5% conversion rate and accounted for 0.4% of revenue.

Once you’re identified a problem worth solving, the first thing you should do is set up a landing page with a subscription form. Build that launch list!

Set a deadline

Two months before I released the book, I was floundering. I was 90% finished the project, but that last 10% was taking me forever (sound familiar?). I’d forgotten a crucial piece of startup wisdom:

"When you set a deadline, you gain clarity" - Jason Fried, DHH

Once I set my deadline everything changed. I knew that every day that passed brought me closer to launch. I couldn’t afford to waste days.

Vague launch plans like “I’ll launch sometime next year” aren’t good enough. Put a date in the calendar. In fact you might want to have three launch stages:

  1. Friends and advisors.
  2. Beta access.
  3. Official launch.

For big projects, 3 months in-between each of those stages is a good idea. Smaller projects could probably do each subsequent launch every 1-3 weeks.


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Published on October 17, 2015