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Dec
22

[Case Study] The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of a Book Launch

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Launches. They seem to be all the rage in Internet circles. Launches of a product or service can potentially create excitement for your brand and help you build trust, credibility, and visibility with your target market.

Recently, I took a dive and went completely whole hog with a launch. I read at least three books on the subject, surfed the Net for some Infographics, and watched Jeff Walker’s intro video course regarding launches.

Having published a devotional book last Christmas, I had never officially “launched” it or made much of a big deal about it at all. I decided, very last-minute I might add, that now was the time.

First I put together a launch plan. The launch would be a total of 10 days with a follow-up challenge group for 30 days.

I wrote out exactly what each email would contain, which also was the content for social media posts. The first few days contained video where I led with value.

In the first video, I explained why I wrote my devotional, 31-Day Blessings Journey. I told the story of what led me to publish the book. I challenged my viewers to use the holidays as a time to embrace a blessings lifestyle rather than letting stress and the hurry scurry of Christmas drown their joy. I gave them a vision of what their Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond could be like if they applied the truth of Scripture into their lives. Then I whetted their appetite by briefly describing the sales and new products I would be rolling out in time for Black Friday and beyond. I asked in the video, in the email, and on social media posts for feedback. “What is stressing you out?” I asked. I used this feedback in later emails, posts, and videos.

In the second video, I did an actual devotional. I talked about the journey of living according to the Scriptures and how it can transform stress into blessings. I painted for them the transformation that could take place by studying and applying the Bible studies found in the devotional. I gave further details of the sales and events, including a contest that would be at the very end. I had a call to action–to sign up for a free devotional that I had created as a lead magnet. I asked for feedback in the video, as well as in my email and social media posts. I asked, “What do you want out of life?” And I used the answers I received in other communications.

In the third video, I read aloud an excerpt of my book as well as testimonials from readers. I described what my life was like after I had done my Bible study that the devotional is based on. I emphasized what it’s like to have this change. My call to action was a 30 Day Challenge through email, which would be another way for me to highlight the features of my book and most importantly, to give value. I reminded my viewers of my upcoming sales culminating in a contest. I talked about bonuses that I would be giving for those who purchased my book. I asked again for feedback: “What could make life easier when it comes to stress?” I used this feedback in subsequent communications.

So the rest of the days I announced my various sales and product releases, including a free offer of the Kindle version that I had just published. Each email and many of the posts included helpful information on how to transform stress into blessings, especially during the holidays. My last email and social media posts regarding the launch was announcing the winner of the contest– a product I had created that further carried the theme of my 31-Day Blessings Journey devotional and was something of useful, appealing value.

So what I have described was quite the lengthy process. I was exhausted after it was all said and done! Looking back, let me tell you some of the good, bad, and ugly about this launch:

1) I think on the whole the outline of what I said in the videos was on target. I gleaned that information from all the reading I had done on launches. Tim Grahl, who wrote “Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launch,” encourages authors to be “relentlessly helpful.” I think coming to the table first with value for your reader is extremely important. After all, it’s not about your product or service. It’s about how your product or service can BENEFIT your potential customer!

2) Of course I didn’t have enough time to plan. A launch to this extent needs at least 30 days before it begins. In the future, it would be good to have a launch team who could review my book and agree to help me get the word out. Also, I created many new products as I was executing the launch, which meant I put in a lot of long hours and had to adjust my plan accordingly when some of the products didn’t get finished on my original timetable.

3) I think it was very long, and perhaps too much information thrown out there. I tried to present a sales funnel–a free lead magnet, a low-cost product, and then a sale on the core offer, the book. Of course, this was “going by the seat of my pants” marketing so it was definitely a learning process.

4) With all the work I did, I found I had made mistakes in my autoresponder sequences. Once I figured it out, I fixed it promptly, but it would be better if I had done these ahead of time.

5) I did get on the free Kindle bestseller list for my book. I was number three for awhile which was exciting! The most success I had was posting about it in Facebook groups. I was still getting sales from it a week after my launch was finished. I have garnered a few more raving fans, which is priceless. These fans are helping me to spread the word about my books and other products. I also have several podcast interviews to set up and now I have everything in place that I need when they go live.

6) It wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be as far as net sales. I think that I had too much going on with creating new products, producing videos, and the email delivery. Thankfully, I had a team member ghostwriter helping me in that department, but I still had to carefully plan what each email was about.

7) I think overall it was a good process. It reinforced my conviction that my job as a business owner is to plant seeds and wait for God to grow the harvest. This takes a long view. It’s not about just one launch. I am still called to share the importance of a blessings lifestyle to my followers. And while I did spend a limited amount of money on Facebook advertising, testing and scaling more ads would greatly expand my audience reach. That’s the primary need I have from this time forward. I will be building on my work to launch another related book this coming week that is almost ready to be published.

8) While it was exhausting, I learned a lot and the deadlines helped me get my products finished and out there. Progress, not perfection. That’s what it’s all about!

So I hope that rather lengthy description of a launch helps you if you decide to promote one of your new products or services through a launch process!

Launches can, after all, bring you great and lasting branding success!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Dana Susan Beasley, the creator of an online training program called Brand Identity Quest, helps Christian families create sizzling brands so they can build dazzling futures. A graphic artist, writer, and homeschooling mom to a special needs son, she is the owner of AngelArts, an arts agency and publishing house. It’s purpose is to inspire audiences to reach for new heights in their lives and beyond through excellently-designed publications and products using original art and literature. To take her free mini-course, 5 Steps to a Wildly Successful Home Business, click here to start now

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