Episode 349 | Things to Consider When Building Your Launch Plan

Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about things to consider when building your launch plan, both from a preparation and execution stand point.

Items mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Mike:  In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Rob and I are going to be talking about elements to consider when building a launch plan. This is Startups For The Rest Of Us episode 349.

Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

Rob:    And I’m Rob.

Mike:  We’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s going on this week, Rob?

Rob:    Not much, I’m just getting back into the swing of things. As I talked about last week, I was working remote from Chicago at a cello camp for my oldest. Back in Minneapolis this weekend after spending a day and hanging out over the weekend in the Wisconsin Dells, which I’ve never heard of, but when we drove through it, I saw a bunch of resorts there and so I wound up taking my son to a big water slide and stuff on the way back, kind of as a high five for slogging through a week’s worth of cello camp. It feels good, it’s always good.

I like traveling but I like that feeling of getting home, getting settled, having my stuff where it is, my external monitor. There’s just a certain piece that comes about returning back home. The cool part is I tend to be more productive because it’s kind of like my home is a new place because I haven’t been there for a while.

Mike:  I hate travelling and trying to get any work done on the road, I just can’t do it. It’s more because of the access to the external monitors and having everything set up the way that I like it and need it to be. I hear what you’re saying about coming back to your home base and getting re familiarized with where you’re at and having to re energize a little bit but I just can’t work on the road, that’s just me.

Rob:    What’s interesting is I’m very productive on the road, not in long stretches, I can’t just sit and work for eight hours, but I find that if I sit down for an hour here and an hour there, I get two or three hours worth of work done because it’s hyper focus and I’m just hammering through stuff. Although I don’t have my setup, I feel like I don’t get distracted, no one interrupts me. I feel like there’s a good balance. Last week in Chicago in the dorms, I was hammering on stuff.

I really felt like I got a lot of productive thinking done. That’s the kind of stuff that’s harder to do in the office because you’re just in the day to day slog of things. I do feel like having a good mix for me is probably the optimal approach.

Mike:  You just said dorms, was it like in a college campus?

Rob:    Yeah, it was on a college campus.

Mike:  You’re partying the entire time and living up your college years.

Rob:    Partying with a bunch of 10 year olds. I had my 10 year old there. It was fun. I do enjoy that, the college vibe. Obviously, it’s a middle summer, there were no college kids around. I enjoy the feel of campuses, I really enjoyed my college years and so to wake up and be in the dorms and then go to the dining hall. We brought scooters and just the scoot around campus was pretty relaxing and it was a fun time to spend with one kid.

We have two kids. When you’re with them all the time, it’s they like they fight amongst each other and you get frustrated with them but when you pair it down and you do an extended period of time with just one child, it’s like, “Whoa, I’m so jealous of people who were smart enough to stop after one.”

Mike:  It’s funny. I had talked to a guy who had, I think he had five or six kids. We were asking him over lunch one day like, “What is the difference between having one kid, two kids, three kids, etcetera?” He’s like, “If you have one kid, it’s really not a big deal. It’s obviously like a shock because you’re going from zero to one, it changes a lot of things but it’s not really any different. Having two kids is like having three because sometimes you have one or the other and then when they’re together, they fight. It’s like having three.”

He’s like, “Three is no big deal, four, you have to buy a bigger car, five is not a big deal and then six you have to buy a bigger house.” It was interesting to hear him map out what the progression was, I’m like, “Nope, stopping at two.”

Rob:    Anyways, we’ve gone off on a tangent here. What’s been going on with you before we dive into today’s topic?

Mike:  I’m working on my Bluetick launch plan. I’ve realized that my notes were all over the place at the moment, just in various notebooks or different apps and things like that. I got to consolidate them into one specific launch plan and focus on the things that I really need to do and that I’m going to do versus the things that I would like to do because I can’t do everything on that launch plan within the three weeks that I have.

But one of thing I am going to do that’s kind of an offshoot of this is putting together a short video series called 21 Days Behind the Scenes of a SaaS Launch with a subtitle of with whisky to drown the sorrows, because I know that there’s things that I’m going to want to do that I’m just not going to be able to. I’m going to basically record a three to five minute video at the end of each day and document the daily successes and failures leading up to the launch. I’m just going to talk about the highs and lows and put them out there and see if resonates with people and if people enjoy it.

Rob:    That sounds super cool. Actually, it reminds me a little bit of what Derek and I did with the Drip startups stories podcast where we just had nine months of audio and I edit it down to a couple hours but this is like more focused and intense and just about the launch. I like this idea.

Are you considering turning it into audio as well because that’d be cool, whether you drip it out as a podcast and an RSS feed people could subscribe to or you just slapped it all into one big audio file and let people download it. I think that could be interesting because I don’t know that I, personally, will watch this much video but I absolutely would listen to the audio.

Mike:  I hadn’t actually thought about putting it together in a bunch of mp3s or a single mp3 and aggregating all of the audio together but that’s a really good idea, I’ll probably do that at some point. Obviously, I won’t do it on a daily or whatever. I’ll just have somebody go back through the whole thing afterwards.

Rob:    Something that might be interesting if it really was one audio file, would be just to push it out on this feed so listeners could just get it as an app. We just make it other half episode or just an unnumbered episode, people could hear it. We could also do that with the Drip Series that Derek and I recorded, it’s like 90 minutes worth of audio but throwing it into RSS feed, people don’t have to listen to it if they don’t want to, it could be interesting. I can’t believe I never thought of that before now.

Mike:  That would be cool. I listened to that as well and I thought it was really interesting to hear. The difference, I think, between what you did versus what I’m doing, I’m doing it more because when I heard yours, I was like, “That’s an awesome idea. I should do that.” I just never did it because I don’t really have anybody else to talk to about some of the behind the scenes stuff and I’m not going to record people on my mastermind group or anything like that.

I was like, “Well, I’ll just hold off.” But then the idea came to me to do a video series of behind the scenes and literally just like the 21 days leading up to it. All of this is like three to five minutes each day and encompassing like, “Hey, how did things go today? What’s up on deck next? How did things go?” I think that would be really interesting for people to hear.

Rob:    If people want to follow to that, where do they go?

Mike:  At the moment, I don’t have a landing page or anything like that setup for it but I’m going to be putting one up.

Rob:    Boo! Boo!

Mike:  I just thought of it yesterday, come on, give me a break.

Rob:    Are you going to put it at singlefounder.com or do you have a domain or anything we can give people because you realize this is going to go live next week and you’ll already have started this.

Mike:  I’m probably going to do it from singlefounder.com at the moment. People can go there, there’ll be a blog post on it and then they can go signup directly from there specifically for that. I’m going to send something out to my mailing list and say, “Hey, if you want to listen to this, you can listen to it but it’ll be separate.”

Rob:    Let’s both plan, once you have that landing page or blog post up, you and I obviously will tweet it out. Anyone listening to this, if this sounds cool, seriously, go there and subscribe and tweet it out, let’s try to give Mike some love on this and build a little bit of Twitter buzz around this because I think this is a pretty cool little adventure you’re going on.

Mike:  That leads us into today’s episode which, as I said before, these are things to consider when building your launch plan. It’s interesting, I went back through some of our older episodes and in episode 121, we had seven catastrophically common launch mistakes. Do you want to go through one real quick first?

Rob:    Yeah, for sure. The seven mistakes we had, obviously you can go back and listen to it in its entirety, but mistake number one was not putting up a landing page before you start coding, number two is not tracking key metrics from the start, number three is saying people are finding you through “word of mouth” which really means I don’t know how people are finding us, mistake number four is running an open beta, mistake number five is launching with a single launch email when you should have between two and six, probably, mistake number six was having a free plan unless you really know what you’re doing and mistake number seven was not growing fast enough because you need to grow fast enough to keep yourself interested or you will abandon it.

Mike:  Today’s list is a little bit different than that. These are more longer term things that you need to think about way in advance when you get to the point of building a software product and launching it. What we’re going to go over today is more about the short term things where you have a limited time window of whether it’s a month or two months, it’s an arbitrarily selected time period but in my case, I’ve got three weeks. The idea is to walk through the things that you should be considering when you’re putting together that launch plan.

The first one is to have a written plan. I think that this one sounds obvious but the idea here is to have a written checklist for you to work through so that you don’t have to stop at any point and think, “What should I do next?” Everything is all written out and you’ve already decided on that stuff. You don’t have to make any more decisions at that point. Your past self has already made those decisions.

Presumably, you trust your past self to make those decisions. At that point, you’re just iterating through all of the different things you’ve already decided that need to be done. By virtue of that, it’s going to make you more productive because you don’t have to stop and think about those things.

Rob:    I used to not do written plans and I would try to keep it in my head. I would have scrolls here and a notebook and stuff there, just flailing around. When I was doing smaller launches with smaller products, it didn’t really matter because I only had a couple tactics. Once I started leveling up, especially into, I think it was HitTail where I made a big turning point, that’s when I started the Google Doc, it’s the marketing game plan, I think it’s what I called, HitTail marketing game plan. I basically just copied that over to start Drip and it becomes a long list of bullets.

I think now, I look back at Drip which I haven’t used for years but it was 12, 13 pages of pretty detailed, structured thoughts, it wasn’t just random stuff. But it was so helpful as we were going and we could just execute in line. That was the overarching marketing approach of like these are things we should try. But actually, for the launch itself, there is one subsection, I was like, “Do this on this day, do this on that day. Just in line, get these people on board to help promote, email a list here with these five email sequence.”

I really did think it through which sounds like it could be boring or whatever to think all that through but it’s like the timing is so critical and if you forget something until the day before that you should’ve done a week before, you can’t go back and redo it. I really think more folks should have written plans when they’re coming into a launch like this.

Mike:  What you just said about the timing of different things is just super important because you can’t go back in time and do something that you forgot about. As long as you’re writing these things down, then at least they’re in front of you and you can think about, “Well, this is supposed to happen a week before but is there anything that leads up to that?” You do some backward planning at that point to determine if there are previous things that you should be doing or that you need to do in order to get to that point.

A lot of times, they’re just like these little things, you need to set up this webpage or you need to design this landing page over here. There are lots of little things that could easily slip through the cracks and you don’t want them to. The reason for that is because they lead to the next one which is being selective about what you do.

The first one on that list is decide what not do during that time because you don’t want to decide to do something or try to do something that is just not going to get done. If you do that, then what happens is it pushes your time back and it introduces these artificial delays.

If you’re already working towards let’s say 21 days or 30 days, if something delays your launch sequence or the plans that you have by let’s say 3 days or 4 days, then you have to decide what to cut out because it’s going to be hard to push back your launch date if you have a lot of other things that are already in place, that are going live on a specific day whether you’ve arranged with podcasters to put out specific episode on specific days or PR releases, things like that. You need to be careful about what those timelines look like.

The third one is to leverage your strengths. Rob, I think you did an entire talk about this at MicroConf one year, but most of this boils down to who you know, who knows you, and your relationships with different influencers. You need to know what your strengths are in terms of not just the product development but talking to people about your product. If you’re the founder of the product, you have a good idea of exactly what it does and how it can be used and who it’s going to be a good fit for.

It would be very difficult to bring somebody in the last minute to help you with those types of things unless there is no additional information that they’re going to need in order to be able to implement their piece of the project or their piece of the launch. If it’s completely standalone, they could do that, that’s great. But you’re going to have to be the person who’s the point person on a lot of that stuff. You need to be able to use your strengths to accomplish some of those goals.

If there are things where you fall short, you may need to bring in that extra help and just be aware of the places where you’re probably going to spend a lot of extra time as opposed to somebody who you just hired to do a very specific thing and hand it off to them and say, “I need you to this and this is everything that needs to be done with it.” And let them go so that it saves you time in the long run.

Rob:    This is where cultivating a network, or an audience, or some pretty epic skills really come in handy and these are the things that you only build out over time. Who you know, who knows you, those are the things that you’re not going to solve that in the next 21 days, you need to attend conferences, or been blogging and met other bloggers, or had a podcast and have an audience.

That’s something that takes so long to build but this is where you start calling in favors, and this is where you start talking to your audience about it, and this is where you start really making a few withdrawals from that trust bank account or the relationship bank account that you’ve built up over the years by offering advice, helping people, and giving stuff away for free. This is one of those times where you’re going to start calling back some of those favors and some of the value you’ve given into the world.

Mike:  Essentially, that’s capitalizing on that social capital that you’ve cultivated, as you said.

Rob:    Exactly.

Mike:  The fourth one on this list is relentless execution. Rob, you’ve mentioned this phrase a bunch of different times either on this podcast, or on ZenFounder, or in some of your MicroConf talks. I really like this phrase of relentless execution but you have to make the most of the time that you do have to put into the work that you’re doing. If you’re launching something else aside, you probably only have a couple of hours a day or even a limited time period per week to be working on this launch and you need to maximize the productivity for the time that you are working.

If you focus on that productivity, if you’re making sure that, “Hey, I need to be productive during this two hour stretch that I have.” Don’t let anything interrupt you and make sure that you don’t get distracted by things that are essentially meaningless. The font, for example, on a webpage is off, it’s not really that big a deal, there are probably much bigger things that you need to worry about. Just blog it as an item to come back to and then move on, it’s not on your launch list, go ahead and do something else.

Not everything is going to need to be perfect and it is worth taking those things, just setting them aside and walking away even if it bugs you. I would have a hard time with that. I do have a hard time with those types of things because I look at something and I’m a little OCD and I’m like. “Hey, this just sucks. I can’t deal with that.” But you have to be able to put those aside. If you write them on a list that says, “Hey, I am going to come back to this.” It makes that process of walking away from those things a little bit easier.

Rob:    Yeah. During this three-week period, specifically this is where you have to really bring your A game and you need to remove the distractions. This is where I would probably go on a complete social media fast aside from what’s needed to promote your launch, I wouldn’t be reading the news, I wouldn’t be checking Twitter during the day, I would be getting that epic playlist together or perhaps this single song that I would loop for three weeks straight and have that general dose of caffeine every morning, every afternoon. This is where you need to bring everything you have because you have to execute on this and it can have such a huge impact on how the app gets started and the motivation.

If you have a good launch, you’re so motivated to continue. If your launch tanks, it’s tough, it’s tough to pick yourself back up after month and months of preparation for this point. This is where you need to relentlessly execute, as we’re saying.

Mike:  The next one is to be a little bit mindful of how you’re presenting your products to people. This is more of a features versus benefits type of idea which we talked about in the past on this podcast. But you need to demonstrate how it benefits users versus how good the product is and what it does. You want to focus on what the users are going to get out of it and how well it’s going to help them do their job and make their lives easier versus these are all the different things that you can do with the product. They can do this, they can do that, etcetera, all those things don’t matter, what really matters is what they’re going to get out of it.

Again, this is something we talked quite a bit about so I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but it is important to think about that when you are putting together this list that says, “Oh we need to create this webpage or that webpage.” If it doesn’t fall into this bracket and allows you to present it in such a way that it’s going to resonate with people, then I would just skip it and move on because those are the things that are brand awareness that aren’t really going to help you, specifically during a launch.

Rob:    The next thing to think about is to balance your long term and your short term goals because if you think about it, you can have a big initial splash that leads to waves of signups which tends to be good. Now, realize that that may clear out your pipeline for a while so your second and third months could potentially fall off, I guess, from there. Also, make sure that you have things like your tracking pixels and your analytics in place and you’re going to want to test and verify these.

If you want retargeting pixel from Facebook or from Perfect Audience, if you want certainly Google Analytics, whether you use Kissmetrics or Mixpanel, you want this stuff in place before you start driving traffic because you really want to know how they’re finding you, who’s signing up, who’s getting the most value and who’s sticking around.

Mike:  Along with that, you really want to make sure that there is a stopping point where if somebody is not quite ready to buy, at least you have mechanisms for capturing their email address so that you can follow up with them later. If they’re not totally on board right now when you’re doing your product launch, at least have mechanisms to get their email address so that you can put them into an email series, either that’s a short term email course or a longer term follow ups, something along those lines.

If nothing else, you want to be able to at least get their email address. Tracking pixels do help to be able to bring people back but it’s not quite as good as getting an email addresses so that you can send them direct emails later on.

The last one for preparation is to accept critical feedback but be mindful of the trolls. Not everybody is going to be supportive or is even worth listening to. There are going to be some people who are not supportive or dismissive of what it is that you’re working on and you can just walk away from those. You can either listen to them or read them or whatever, have the conversation with them and nod your head and say yes, okay, I’ll think about it and then walk away and just let it go because some people are going to have things to say that are absolutely not worth listening to.

There’s going to be others that you are going to look at and say yes, this is important stuff but is it important right now? You don’t feel the need to act on every single piece of critical feedback. I heard a podcast episode from, I think it was Craig Hewitt and Dave Rodenbaugh a couple of weeks ago on Rouge Startups where they were talking about Craig was going through his launch and Dave have commented that as a strategy for support, you can’t listen to everything that somebody says and implement all of it. It’s really only going to get you about 30% of the way.

That’s so true. What it will do is it will eat away your time when you’re doing the launch and even shortly afterwards. You can’t just listen to everybody and do everything that they want, you have to be selective about it and filter out the things that are going to be important to large numbers of people and take the things that are not and set them aside and then come back to them later and decide whether or not you’re going to do anything with them or you’re just going to let them sit there.

Rob:    It’s always tough to balance this when you only have a few data points and somebody complains about your pricing, it’s always something you doubted early on. Once you have hundreds or thousands of data points, you just learn what kind of noise and what the concensus is.

It is definitely hard early on to take feedback and figure out which is most valuable and which you should listen to. It’s just something you got to be mindful of. It’s kind of a learned skill but it also goes away with time. As the older the product gets, the more mature it gets. You just learn where it is. This is a hard one especially for folks who are just getting started.

Mike:  That walks us through a lot of the preparation for a product launch. We’re going to talk a little bit now about specifically some of the execution. The first thing that you want to do is you want to look at how to prime the pumps, there’s a bunch of different ways that you can prime the pumps for your launch. The first one is an email list. What you want to do is you want to plan out when you’re going to send the emails, who you’re going to send them to and what you’re going to say in each of those emails.

I think it’s really helpful to print out a copy of the calendar and write on it and say, “I’m going to send out an email to this list on this date and it’s going to say X, Y, or Z.” You don’t have to write out the entire email at that point, you’re really just trying to build an outline of it and work backwards from the times that you want to send those emails.

In episode 121, mistake number 5 was launching with a single launch email, I have at least 2, possibly up to 4. That advice absolutely applies here. You want to plan out the number of emails that you’re going to send, when you’re going to send them, and what the headline is. That’s the place I would probably spend the most time, is on that headline to make sure it gets opened because if those emails are not getting opened, then the contents of the email are almost immaterial at that point.

But planning out when those emails are going to send and then setting everything up so that they are sent at that time automatically in the background whether they’re using Drip or anything else that’s out there. You want to make sure that those emails are going out when they’re supposed to go out because you can’t send them retroactively after the date has already passed.

Rob:    Yup. Email launch, that’s the big deal. We’ve talked a lot about that in the past and that’s the thing you’re going to want to focus on a lot. Another thing to think about is when you start your podcast tour. If you haven’t heard of this, this is something I stumbled upon after revamping HitTail and I went on this big tour of all these appropriate podcast. I measured the impact each of them gave me as I went along and I went all these in a MicroConf talk.

The fun part about podcast tours is you’re able to reach a lot of folks through audio which means they tend to be a little more engaged than when reading a blog post. It’s such a small amount of time because you show up for 30 minutes to have a conversation and then a couple weeks later, you show up on someone’s podcast and you reach 5,000, 10,000 people. The thing you’re thinking about here is when should you do this, who to reach out to and how long it’s going to take for that episode to go live. Because if you record a bunch now, some podcaster booked out a few months. Other podcasters record and go live a few days later.

This is where you got to start thinking about there’s a whole bunch to learn about this. We don’t have time to go into how you plan all this but it’s something to consider if you’re up for getting on some podcast, I think that this is something that didn’t really exist. 10 years ago there were a few podcast here and there but there wasn’t nearly the audience for this kind of stuff as there is today.

Mike:  The next one is to look where you can promote your launch to things like Product Hunt, or BetaList, or Hacker News. You have to be a little bit sensitive about some of the different communities that are out there because some of them are very accepting of people coming in and say, “Hey, I’ve got a product launch going on.” Some of them are not. It also depends a lot on how you go into those or how involved you have been in those communities in the past. A lot of this has to do with social capital at that point but some of them, it doesn’t matter really matter.

With Product Hunt, you don’t necessarily have to have a large following or a voice in the community, it’s a lot easier to just post with something like Hacker News or Reddit. You have to be a lot more sensitive about that. They are not very receptive to external people who are not members of the community and never really contributed, just coming in and trying to market themselves. Be a little bit sensitive to that but other ones that come up, you could go in and you could try to pitch TechCrunch, or Master Ball, or various tech blogs.

If you know influencers then you can reach out to them, and ask to either do a guest post, or appear on their blog, or if they have a video series or something like that, there are ways to get in front of their audience as well. That’s really the point here, you’re trying to leverage other people’s audiences in order to help bring about awareness of your product.

Anything where you’re getting onto an email list or mentions on blogs. Even if you’re not directly on a podcast, for example, at least if you can get a mention, that’s going to be helpful, you’re going to get some traffic from those assuming that it’s the right target market for that.

Rob:    This is also stuff that you have to prep in advance. If you have relationships with these folks, whether it’s the Big Tech Blogs or whether it’s someone who composed the product for you. It’s so much better to not just hit these things cold and then have some type of plan that you’ve worked out in advance. There’s a bunch of blog posts and resources online. If you Google how to do a product launch or how to pitch TechCrunch for your startup launch, you can read through these and get a gist of what works.

These are crap shoots. If you’re relying on either of these for you launch, it’s a really bad sign because you can do it and either get 0 signups or you can get 1,000 signups. Even if you get 1,000 signups, a lot of people are just checking out what’s going on, they’re not actually looking for the apps.

It’s that method that TechCrunch launched, getting linked to from TechCrunch is not going to make your startup, it’s going to send some traffic to you from a bunch of people who like to try out a lot of different apps and your churn is going to likely be very, very high.

That’s not a reason not to do them, this will give you an incremental bump and they’re worth doing if they work but these are the exciting, fun things that when you do them it’s accelerating. I think they’re worth doing and they can definitely make you some money but these should not be the pillar of your launch approach, the email list. Emailing the launch list really is that pillar.

Another interesting approach, and it’s one that I’ve only seen done a few times, but it’s to launch at an in person event like at a conference. I spoke at LES Conf five years ago maybe. Brennan Dunn launched Planscope at that conference and I think Intercom spoke there. I don’t think they launched at LES conf but it was very close to the time that they launched. I just thought it’s an interesting idea if you can time it for that and you can get either a little stage time.

I don’t know if Brennan’s sponsored or if Steven Alan just gave him stage time but he had five minutes where he just stood up and he said, “Hey, I’m launching. Here is my background. I have this app, check it out.” It was for freelancers, obviously. There were bunch of freelancers there.

It’s an interesting idea and I think I’ve seen some folks launch at MicroConf as well. They either tried to attendee talk where they’re able to talk to through their process or mention their app in some say. Obviously, this is not giving you an audience of 10,000 people but since it’s in person, people can come up and talk to you and I actually think there’s a lot of value if you can swing this.

Mike:  The big downside to something like that, I think there’s two. One is there’s only so much of you to go around and the audience is going to be much smaller than you would get. The big benefit of that is you get that in person, in depth conversation with somebody that you wouldn’t get if they just hit your webpage or they read an article someplace else and then came to your site. They don’t get to ask questions and you don’t get to ask questions, either. That’s the big thing that I’ve noticed in doing a lot of in person demos.

Right now, for example, with Bluetick, you still can’t sign up for it unless you talk directly to me. I’ve done that very intentionally so that when I’m talking to somebody, if I ask somebody a question, I get to hear them pause, I get to hear not just the words that they say but how they say them. That stuff is very, very important when you’re trying to figure out what is important to them and what’s not. If you get a question that says, “Hey, can I do this?” You can ask them, “Is that important to you?” “No, I was just asking.”

It’s very good to be able to differentiate between those two types of questions and you can do that in an in person situation. It’s just much harder to do that if you get that type of question through an email.

The last one is to put together some explainer videos. I think that this is important just because sometimes it’s really difficult to rely on your sales copy. You may have a group of people who you have treated as beta customers, you’ve talked to them, you’ve on boarded them and you’ve heard what they have to say but sometimes, presenting that in such a way that an anonymous person who comes to your website and sees it for the first time is not necessarily going to understand it as well as if you had that in person conversation with them.

An explainer video can be a really good way to enhance the sales copy that you have and inform people about what the product is going to do for them and how it’s going to work and answer some of the questions and overcome some of the objections that they have, in a way that your text and copy is not going to be able to. I think that relying on those explainer videos as sort of a crutch can really help you especially if some of your sales copy is a little bit deficient or it’s not quite where it needs to be.

I find that a lot of the sales copy is really helpful from an SEO perspective. When somebody comes to your website and doesn’t have any preconceived notions about what something is but the video is really, really helpful. You can show your app and it helps give them that little bit of extra trust as well because they see the app, they see exactly what the state it’s in. It gives them an idea of what it is that they’re buying into versus if you send somebody an email without the screenshots even.

A video is better than screenshots because you can show them this how it works and this is what it will do for you versus telling them what it’ll do and maybe giving them a screenshot. It’s just more in depth and more engaging.

Rob:    I have a blog post that we will link up in the show notes called How I Created 4 Startup Explainer Videos for $11. It talks you through the process that I used to create some low fidelity and just crappy bootstrapped explainer videos that we had on the homepage of the Drip website for a couple years, actually.

I do think that there’s a lot of value in explainer videos as well especially if you can execute pretty well on them and they don’t feel cheap and they do show the benefits. Like you said, there’s always a balance to video versus text, some people like to skim but if you create 60 second explainer video, it can have a lot of impact, a lot more than just a wall of text.

Mike:  Yeah. I have an explainer video for Bluetick that I did when the product is a different name, and at a different URL and unfortunately, that name is used inside the explainer video so I have to redo the entire video.

Rob:    That’s a bummer.

Mike:  I did really well with the video and it worked well to explain what it did. It’s just the old name is plastered all over it.

Rob:    I think that wraps us up for the day. If you have a question for us, call our voicemail number at 888-801-9690 or email us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com.

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One Response to “Episode 349 | Things to Consider When Building Your Launch Plan”

  1. Rob, I bet a lot of people would love to see that old Drip launch plan document. Is that something you’d be willing to share?