Ah, the launch email. A beast as mythical and mysterious as the chupacabra.
(Or unicorn. Pick your favorite mythical creature…)
I’ve been writing launch emails since 2009, but until 2013, I didn’t even know they were called “launch emails.” Maybe you don’t know that term, either? That’s totally okay.
Basically, a launch email is an email you send to announce that a product or service is available for sale.
Super scientific, right?
(This is apparently how serious things get when I’m writing launch emails)
People like steps, so here are 7 steps to writing the most amazing launch email ever!
There are all kinds of resources out there that’ll tell you how to sell your products in 11 simple steps, or which 5 power words every successful marketer uses to DRIVE MASSIVE SALES, but ehh…that’s not what we’re doing here today. This is an article about how *I* write launch emails, but instead of just theory, I’m going to give you a personal case study, too. (You’re welcome.)
Everyone loves some social proof, so here’s mine: This exact formula for writing launch emails has generated over $500,000 in revenue for my various products and services. Yay for validation!
Before we begin, let’s take a short trip to DisclaimerVille:
This launch email formula is not guaranteed to work. And it’s not going to make up for a crappy product or service offering. But it is the formula I use and have used to build a sustainable online business over the last four years, and it should give you an accurate, honest, and slightly sarcastic framework to go of off when writing your next launch email. Once we’ve identified the 7 steps, I’m going to show them to you live and in action in a launch email I wrote last year.
Ready for the exact steps (and the sarcasm)? Let’s do it! Oh, and I’ll share examples of all of the steps further down in the article.
Step 1—Lead with a relatable story
This is where you tell a story about how you’ve launched or started something in the past and had success with it. You can’t make the success story sound too great, or it won’t feel relatable. But you also can’t share a mediocre success, because that won’t inspire your potential buyers to pull out their wallets and throw money at you. There’s a fine line when it comes to sharing a story that’s approachable but also motivating.
Step 2—Speak to your potential buyer about some problem they have
Next, you need to tug on your potential buyer’s heart strings a bit. You can tell another story here, something that could be your reader’s very own story, and/or you can say things like:
- Do you wish you had a little extra cash in your bank account? (Who would ever say no to that??)
- Do you want a nearly foolproof way to make money with your next product launch? (I know I do!)
- Have you tried to launch a product before and failed? (This one really cuts people to their emotional core.)
Again, you want this section to be something the buyer can relate to.
Step 3—Explain there’s an answer waiting for them
This is where you want to start to lead them into whatever the thing is that you’re selling. You tease it a bit, and you make sure to tie any of your stories to this impending product and how it’s going to help solve their problems (as it solved your own).
Step 4—It’s time for the initial pitch
You don’t just say, “Here’s the thing. Go buy it!” No, no. You explain the value of the thing. You explain all the components of it. You show the wallet/purse holder why your thing is worth their dollars, and how much effort you’ve put into it. Sometimes, this section of the email can get a bit longer and more detailed because, again, you want to show as much value as possible.
Step 5—Make the ask (insert bonus, discount, or sense of urgency here)
Boom. Buy the thing! It’s normally priced at X dollars, but if you (the potential buyer) buy within a certain amount of hours you get it for 50% OFF! Or, if you buy before tomorrow, you can acquire a nice shiny surprise. Or… this is a super-limited purchase opportunity, and if you don’t buy before Z-O’clock PM EST, you’ll miss out until next year (or—gasp—forever)!
Step 6—Go for the jugular
This is where you lay it on thick. You say things like:
- You don’t want to be left behind, right?
- You don’t want to miss out on a chance to get something awesome that could change your life, do you? Because that’s what this product will do.
- Before this product, you had some money, but after it, you’re armed with a wealth of knowledge and the potential to make a bunch more money!
This is the place in the launch email where you can also refer back to heart-strings-tugging story as a reminder.
Step 7—The last call
Make it happen! Click this link. Pay this amount of money. Get the thing!
Okay, okay, it’s a bit over the top the way I’ve written out those launch email steps.
But truthfully, this is a basic blueprint for a sales article or email that compels people to take action and buy your stuff. Strip out all my sarcasm, and this formula works.
How do I know? Because I use exactly this process every time I write my own launch emails. I estimate I’ve written 15-20 of them using this formula, and it works when you do it intentionally. Like I said, it’s not guaranteed to work (even for me!), but it’s a solid formula to get you from 0 to launch. And truthfully? I’ve never sent a launch email that didn’t result in some amount of sales.
Here’s a launch email I wrote last year, numbered by section according to each of the 7 steps.
(Note: You wouldn’t typically see the numbering in a real email.)
[Step 1—Lead with a relatable story]
Some of you may not know this about me (most of you probably do), but in the five years between 2008 and 2013, I made my living wearing t-shirts. I literally sold the space on my chest as advertising, along with my ability to make videos on YouTube, share about companies on social media, and accumulate a dedicated following that cared about what I had to say.
Now, I didn’t realize it when I started IWearYourShirt, but one year into this novel idea, when I officially got paid for the 365th day, one full year of shirt-wearing, it finally hit me that people weren’t buying ad space on just any t-shirt.
People were paying me because of me personality.
It was the unique spin that I brought to every piece of content I created — my jokes, my weird sense of humor, my strange ability to remember personal details about the strangers that showed up to my daily show, my confidence.
Once I made that realization, from that point on I started to use each and every bit of my own uniqueness as leverage in my business. Not just a small amount of leverage, like say, a crowbar. But a gigantic wrecking ball of leverage that swung at every twist and turn of my career.
That wrecking ball of leverage, which was just me being as authentically me as possible, led to over $1,000,000 in revenue and countless media appearances. I’m 100% certain that I never would have had the chance to appear on The Today Show or the CBS Evening News if I wasn’t a bit weird, quirky, and silly. It’s that personality that I’ve used to bolster the success of my subsequent projects like BuyMyFuture and SponsorMyBook.
[Step 2—Speak to potential buyer about a problem they have]
Now here’s what I want you to take away from this realization of mine:
We all have skills. We all have the ability to create. As human beings we’re all fairly similar except for one glaring variable: our personalities.
Unfortunately we’re taught throughout our lives that fitting in is more desirable than standing out. Yet I’ve come to find that some of the people I admire most are the people who let their personalities shine through in everything they do (I’m willing to bet you feel the same way). That doesn’t mean these people are loud and obnoxious, it just means they embrace their quirks and what they believe in. The majority of those admirable people are weird, say bizarre things, and have personality traits that don’t allow them to fit the standard mold.
[Step 3—Explain there’s an answer waiting for them]
I want you to figure out what I figured out: Being your authentic self, embracing what’s unique about you, and letting your personality shine through gets you way more opportunities in life. It aligns you with the right people. And it can help you make you exponentially more money.
I already knew about the wrecking ball of personality leverage in 2009, but that wrecking ball morphed into something even bigger in 2014 when I met Paul Jarvis and read his Write Your Damn Book e-book. As I flipped through the digital pages, I learned so much about who Paul was as a person.
He was vegan.
He had pet rats.
He got tattoos on his knuckles.
He made fun of himself for being Canadian.
And he cursed, a ton.
But all those things drew me in! I wasn’t reading some boring e-book, I was learning how to write from someone that seemed like a super-interesting person.
I reached out to Paul after finishing his e-book and then buying his paperback book Everything I Know. After a few random emails, we hopped on Skype. After a few times chatting on Skype, we decided to kick off a project together. Every time I talked to Paul or read any of his writing it just made me want to increase the size of my personality wrecking ball.
I already knew it could work for me, but meeting him showed me I was only scratching the surface of putting my personality into all aspects of my business.
[Step 4—It’s time for the initial pitch]
That’s where How Dare You (our most recent project) comes in.
How Dare You is the culmination of our experiences pouring our personal brands into every fiber of our businesses. There are two ways we want to help you start building your own personality wrecking ball:
1. Free bootcamp: Sign up for our 100% free Personal Branding Bootcamp. It’s being held on January 26 at 11am PST. You’ll walk away with actionable things you can do right now to add more of YOU into everything you do. Over 650 people have already signed up!
2. Get the full Workshop: Skip the bootcamp and just jump right into the full How Dare You Workshop. A workshop that includes five video lessons, 13 additional bonus video walk-through lessons, practical workbooks (that don’t suck), bad jokes from Paul and me, and a bunch more.
[Step 5—Make the ask (insert bonus, discount, or sense of urgency here)]
The workshop is $149, BUT, we’re doing an action-takers (and rat people) discount of $101 OFF for the next week! Use the code actionarmy to get $101 OFF the workshop!
(The $101 OFF offer will go away next Friday. Poof! It’ll be gone for-ev-er.)
[Step 6—Go for the jugular]
I want you to see the benefits of putting more of your personality into every aspect of your business. I’ve seen the amazing rewards of doing that, and I believe every entrepreneur, small business owner, and creative person can benefit from doing the same.
[Step 7—The last call]
Sign up for the free bootcamp or buy the full workshop (at $101 OFF). Let’s put more YOU into everything you do.
See what I did there? I really do use my own formula!
Some of you reading this article may have read that exact email when it went out to my Action Army last year. And some of you joined that workshop as a result. That’s just one example of how I know this formula works.
There’s nothing fake or contrived about it. It’s just true and valuable information structured in a compelling way and offering value that I know my audience wants.
The key element you may have noticed in this example is storytelling. Step 1 is the longest of all 7, and that’s on purpose:
Stories are what people relate to and remember, and they’re the key driver that keeps people reading, and ultimately encourages them to take action.
The more relatable you are, and the more you can make your potential buyer feel heard and understood, the better chance you have that they’ll shove money in your bank account.