This is part 7 of a 9-part behind the scenes series on how we ran our biggest launches. You can start at the beginning right here.

Spring was rolling around and it was time to release a few new products.

Since Dave and I had started working together, we had so many products in the production queue that it was a tough call to figure out when to release them and in what order. We had more products than we had launch slots, and the backlog was getting worse instead of better. We had three ebooks in particular we wanted to release next, though, and we wanted them out as quickly as possible.

(You see, we had next year’s Black Friday sale to think about, and the longer the products are in the store, the more time people have to get used to hearing about them. Get enough exposure at launch, and then come sale time, the cash register goes ding ding. If you take Big Launch, we’ll talk about this in the Launch Objectives section in month one.)

So we’re sitting on three products we really want to get out to the audience, but we didn’t want to run three separate launches. (“Didn’t want to” here is actually code for “it would defy the laws of time and space”.) There’s only so exciting three consecutive ebook launches can be, and unless we wanted to run a launch every three weeks, it just wasn’t going to happen anyway.

Also, we wanted to preserve the “you never know what IttyBiz is going to do next” factor. (It’s good for business, and it confuses the competition.)

This is something a lot of people don’t realize:

Once you’ve proven something is successful, and you’ve taken the risk to see if the market wants something, competitors will come in and, well, compete. The more you switch up your offer strategies, the harder it is for competitors to figure out what the hell you’re doing and subsequently rip you off.

The benefit to the audience is good, too, in that you always stay fresh to them and your competitors can start looking a bit stale.

In a typical launch promotion, we tend to offer the product at half-price during launch and then at the end of the launch, it goes into the store at full price. It’s simple and straightforward and generally, everyone is happy.

But with three products being released, it’s a little tricky. You can offer all three at once, with the option to buy whichever they want at half price, but then you have three separate buying decisions to make on three separate products no one has ever heard of. Not ideal.

And truthfully, it’s more than three buying decisions. It’s:

  • Do I want A?
  • Do I want B?
  • Do I want C?

But it’s also:

  • Do I want A and B?
  • Or do I want A and C?
  • Or do I want B and C?
  • Or do I want A, B and C?

And as the seller, of course you want the maximum number of people buying all of them.

So you incentivize each one – let’s say it’s half price. But do you further incentivize buying two? Do you even further incentivize buying all three?

You’d be insane not to offer the deepest discount for the biggest bundle, but if you do that, now you’ve got three products, seven bundles, and three price points.

Hello, decision fatigue.

(I have a headache just writing that, and I’m a pro. A new launcher would throw themselves under the nearest bus.)

Veterans of IttyBiz training know what we have to say on the topic of decision fatigue. If you are not among that hallowed group yet, I’ll give you the short version:


On top of that, the three ebooks were very different from each other. One was on customer loyalty, one was on recovering from a bad launch, and one was a copywriting course for people who were freaked out by copywriting.

They couldn’t naturally end up as a bundle that made sense. There would definitely be people who wanted all three, but chances were that a lot of people would only want two of them, and it was impossible to know which two they’d want.

(Plus, what kind of launch content are you going to create that does each of these three topics sufficient justice? Oy vey.)

Here’s what we decided to do.

We decided to go insanely simple and just make it a 3-for-1 offer. $97 gets you all three books. The idea behind this is that it could come across as a bonus offer rather than a price offer – each of these three books were going into the store at $97, but if you bought this week you got all three.

So if someone wanted only one of them, they might want to buy now because it wouldn’t hurt to get the other two for free. That was the core ethos of this offer.

When we did the launch, we had to figure out what kind of content we were going to have in our emails. As you know by now, typically, we might do something like a 4-part email series on the topic of the product, so we could have interesting things for the people to read whilst we kindly asked them to give us money.

Since these three products were completely different, there was no common ground, content-wise. So what to do?

(Answer: Lots of meetings. “Meetings” here translates to “visits to the little wine and cheese place with the huge chorizo, down by the cathedral.”)

Well, we decided to go meta. We created a 6-part series of monster articles called “How We Do It” that would go to the IttyBiz list. We talked about stuff like how we came up with product names, how we decided what offers were going to look like, and how we wrote launch content.

We knew that these would get extremely high open rates due to a) everyone wants to know about launch, and b) everyone wants to peek behind the scenes. (Also, March is boring. People are looking for something to do.)

Dave, who still mailed to his old Launch Coach list periodically, took a different approach. Each day for the same six days he sent an email to his list linking to an online version of my emails, and then dissected them in real time. He explained why I chose certain subject lines, how I created a sense of flow in the emails, and why I chose specific calls to action.

Basically, he opened the curtain and showed exactly how we were selling the products, as we were selling the products.

Another thing to note:

The launch content we released for this launch was long. Each email averaged out to 2,000 words, and I sent six to my list and Dave sent six to his. So, 24,000 words of launch content over less than a week.

That was on purpose as well – if you’re selling three books to people, it helps to get them in the reading mood.

As far as numbers went, the work paid off. The launch went very well, and open rate on both lists was high. Now, also keep in mind that there was a lot of crossover between Dave’s list and my list, so probably about 6,000 people were getting both of our emails every day for six days.

That’s a hell of a lot of content. But open rates stayed high, mainly because of the detail in the content, where we covered tactical detail that doesn’t usually get talked about.

Unsubscribes were higher than normal, but when you email people six days in a row, that happens. But they weren’t commensurate with sales. So in other words, sales were extremely strong, but the unsubscribe rate was only about 10% higher than it would be in a 4-day launch sequence. It was definitely worth the extra emails.

An absolute onslaught doesn’t hurt as much as you think it does, as long as you’re onslaughting people with something legitimately useful. It’s like an onslaught of organic tomatoes, or fudge, or free naps. There’s only so mad the average person’s going to get.

(One more thing: Remember earlier, when we were talking about exposure? From an exposure perspective, it worked for that as well. The loyalty book specifically went on to become our highest selling product for two years running.)

So what do we learn from all of this?

Yesterday you learned about the SEO School relaunch, which was the most unspectacular launch you’ll ever see in your life. It worked really well, and it was really low key. In this case, our launch was incredibly co-ordinated and perfectly timed. This launch was a work of art.

1. What we learn from this is that there’s no one true path.

There are best practices, and guidelines, and common sense, and some tricks and tactics. But if you suck at spectacles, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO SPECTACLES. And if you love spectacles, YOU CAN TOTALLY DO SPECTACLES.

You can launch the way YOU want to launch. If you’re sick of the “launch formula” fallacy and you want to actually learn how to do this like a normal person, we talk about your different options and how to successfully pull them off in BIG LAUNCH.

2. Your product doesn’t have to be as neat and tidy as you might think it does.

In fact, it can be a total mess sometimes. We can often work with a total mess. No, it doesn’t work in every case, and sometimes too motley is too motley. But you’d be surprised at what can be streamlined into a perfectly reasonable offer.

3. People love behind-the-scenes.

You are proving that right now. So if you’re stuck for launch content, go with that. I haven’t ever seen it fail. If you have no idea what to do, create a four to 10 part series with the titles “Behind the scenes, part 1” and so on, and make sure to number them. It’s the easiest way to make launch content, and as long as it’s reasonably good, people will pay attention.

So, speaking of behind the scenes …

Next up, we’re going behind the scenes on the Your Next Six Months class. The unique thing about that one was that it was a limited quantity offer. For newbies, that means it’s weird because you can’t decide in advance what your last day is. (That means you can’t plan your emails in advance, either. Spooky.)

If you sell service, or coaching, or anything with a limited quantity, this applies to you.

Want to know how we pulled it off? Of course you do. Read part 8 in our series tomorrow.

Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

This is part 6 of a 9-part behind the scenes series on how we ran our biggest launches. You can start at the beginning right here.

Sometimes figuring out how to launch your stuff only comes to you at the last minute. Today we’ll talk about the launch that was actually a relaunch, and a pretty poor example of even that, but which still sold many hundreds of copies.

This is where we learn that if you build enough loyalty and authority, you can totally suck and still make money.

But first, we’ll flash back.

Beginning of 2008, and I didn’t have any products. I had just started consulting and had taken on far, far too much. I was dying under the workload of that and my freelance writing work.

You know that moment you read about on all the business blogs, about how somebody realized they have to stop trading hours for dollars and get some products for sale so they don’t kill themselves? Yeah, that was me in early 2008.

(I was also the offsite editor for a content website in New York which was supposed to be a full time gig but I had it done by 10 am because I had so much other work to do. Oh, and I was blogging 7 days a week. I read a lot of Dave’s productivity stuff back then.)

So I had to make a product. I didn’t know what to make a product about, so I did what every beginner does – I looked at what other people were apparently selling like hotcakes and made something like that.

It seemed like Aaron Wall was selling his product called SEOBook hand over fist. I came to this conclusion because at the time, I couldn’t move for seeing his ads everywhere. So I thought to myself, if he has the money to advertise on all of these websites, this market must be extremely hot.

(The truth of the matter, which I only found out later, was that he ran a very accessible, very user-friendly affiliate program. Everything I thought was a paid ad was actually an affiliate banner. Turns out, he wasn’t spending a dime. This is a lesson in Don’t Assume You Know Everything Or Even Anything For That Matter.)

I figured that SEO was something that I knew well enough to teach people who knew nothing at all about it, if only to keep them from making stupid mistakes and killing themselves in the eyes of Google.

It was never intended to be the end-all and be-all of SEO wizardry, but it was essentially designed for people who were in the position to do the basics and couldn’t even remotely consider spending the billions of dollars necessary to hire an SEO expert (or, in many cases, a self-appointed SEO expert who charges the exorbitant prices that everyone else did).

In short, there was nothing in the SEO realm that was accessible, affordable, or beginner friendly. And that’s how SEO School was born.

(Aside? While typing that last sentence, I couldn’t help but hear the same tone of voice people use when they “And that’s how your mother and I met.”)

Creating the book itself ended up being a gargantuan task, because I’d never done anything quite like it before and I was extremely concerned about getting it “right.” I literally read the entire book out loud over a dozen times, cover to cover, as part of the editing process, mainly because I’d never written something so long and was crap at transitions.

(Still am.)

How it originally launched.

Anyway, I made the product, I released it on the blog – let’s not over-aggrandize ourselves by calling it a launch – and it did pretty well.

However, around August I got ready to take it off the market because I didn’t want to do support for it anymore, and in truth, I figured everyone who was going to buy it had bought it already. I was concerned that if I continued promoting it would make me feel like a shill – trying to squeeze out every last sale instead of coming up with something new instead.

Another contributing factor in taking it off the market was that people were starting to think I was all about SEO. I was doing interviews on different blogs and everyone was peppering me with SEO questions. I didn’t want to be typecast, so I decided to go ahead and take it off the market.

(I also wasn’t all that great at SEO. This was a beginner’s guide.)

So August rolls around and I take it off the market. Remember last week when we talked about the OBS launch, and how I’d done that series called How To Make $12,246 in a Day? The $12,246 day was the last day of SEO School.

Four years later, the SEO landscape has changed – like, seriously, changed – and for the first time in years, we’re getting a lot of questions about it again. And it seems like it might be time to dust off the old ebook, revamp it for 2012, and put it back out there.

Dave rewrites the book – yes, it was totally Dave, because I never wanted to talk about SEO again – and we’re ready to launch. Sort of.

So how do we launch this thing?

At this point in the IttyBiz timeline, a lot of our launches have been big. They’re attention getting. They’re splashy. We work hard to never make them pushy, but we’re hardly subtle about things. Our launches are high information, high intensity, and high profile.

A $29 ebook that most people have already had for four years doesn’t really seem like an appropriate place for a spectacle.

At the same time, for some reason, we’re getting at least an email a day from people saying they’d heard we’d written a book on SEO and they’re wondering if they can buy it. (My main thought? Good Lord, it wasn’t that good. It was a primer.)

So, it’s in demand, and we want people to know it’s back. But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, and we don’t want to say it is.

The question, then, is how do we let everybody and their dog know that SEO School is back, without hyping it even a teeny, tiny bit?

I actually delayed this release for several weeks because I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to this question. (This annoyed Dave to no end, because he’d been writing it non-stop, including on Christmas day at my mother’s house.) But everything “launchy” that we thought of was too hype-y, and I just couldn’t sleep at night if I made this thing sound bigger than it was.

We didn’t want any launch content that talked about why SEO was good, or important, or vital. We wanted as low key as possible. Eventually, in Normandy, over cheese that smelled like broccoli, my brother asked the question that sealed the deal:

“Can you tell them why they shouldn’t buy it?”


This way we can talk about it, we can mention it, we can link to it, we can make sure everybody knows about it, but we can never say one positive word about it. Gorgeous.

After several weeks of delay, we went back to the apartment and wrote all three pieces in the remainder of the evening. The series was about the three times you SHOULDN’T optimize for SEO, when it’s utterly hopeless and you shouldn’t even bother.

Three blog posts, three days in a row, and a slight discount for buying during the promotion. Four days (including the last day) and we were done.

One question that was weighing on our minds at this point was what to do about people who had the original version. The details in the new version were significantly different than they were in the original, but the basic tenets section was pretty much unchanged. Dave had added some quick start guides or something, because he can’t seem to create a product without them, so there was that addition.

But we seriously had no idea what to do about people who might have the original. Should we say something about it? Should we say it’s different, a little bit different, not very different, kind of different? Should we give a discount to buyers from before?

Eventually, the delays had run so long and I was so sick of it that I did nothing. We had an official position in the background for if we got any questions, but we just decided to say nothing publicly and let people ask questions if they had them.

The solution was to do absolutely nothing and see if we got emails.

So what happened?

We sold hundreds of copies, about half of them to people who already had the original.

We didn’t get one email.

Who knew?

Lessons learned.

1. It’s worth taking the time to come up with the right launch content.

It doesn’t have to be the perfect launch content – I don’t think we’ve ever really achieved that, except for maybe the 3-pack that we’ll talk about tomorrow. But it’s worth taking the time to get it right for the audience at least.

A lot of people feel really unqualified to come up with launch content – they think it’s a confusing, mystical other language that doesn’t follow Earth logic – so they just throw some random crap up there. The number of times I’ve been asked if people can use old audios, PDFs, workshop transcripts from 5 or 10 years ago as their launch content? Blog posts that already exist? Scratchy teleseminar recordings? Yikes.

Launch content doesn’t have to be an example of technical mastery but it is effectively your free sample. Free samples are supposed to be the tastiest stuff you can come up with, not the old crap nobody bought. I don’t care if Shiny Marketing Guru With The Pretty Hair told you that repurposing old content is the secret to riches. She’s wrong.

2. Low key can work if it’s the right product at the right time for the right price.

Not everything should be a spectacle.

3. And speaking of the right price, it’s a nice idea to have a range of price points available for people.

They don’t all have to be available at all times – that can make your store look pretty weird – but have a variety of offers over time. This is January. I’m selling a class for a thousand bucks. Our last class, in October, was $299. In one of our our “Black Friday in July” sales, you could buy mini-classes for $17.

A variety of price points can do a lot to empower your customers to make the right choices for them, and it gives them the opportunity to come into your “funnel” (if you insist on calling it that) wherever they feel comfortable.

One last note on that.

When we sold Intimate, we had people tell us that they bought it BECAUSE it was expensive. They’d had enough tiny products that didn’t encompass the scope that they needed. We also have people telling us that the minute we come out with something at the $50 price point, they’re on it. Don’t get typecast into one price point. You’re throwing customers out the window.

Next up, we’re talking about the motley three-pack, when we sold three completely disparate products in a bundle that had no right to exist.

That was the one with the perfect launch content. You can read about it tomorrow.

Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

This is part 5 of a 9-part behind the scenes series on how we ran our biggest launches. You can start at the beginning right here.

Yesterday I promised more weird changes of plan. Here goes.

In the late summer and early fall of 2011, I was getting ready to run a huge launch.

It was about upsells. I had been nerding out for months (and really, years) about the idea of upsells, and how the psychology of the upsell was different than the psychology of an initial purchase. My theory was that after money had changed hands – or even immediately prior to money changing hands, but after the final decision was made – there was a change in the way people thought, making normal marketing rules go quantum.

I had spent a long time interviewing and surveying people, trying to refine my academic and totally inaccessible opinions into something the mass market could reasonably consume. This took a long time, and eventually it became Same People, More Money.

Same People, More Money was going to be a monster of a product – big and intelligent and high level. It was gonna be huge.

Several days into the launch, The Scandal exploded. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, assume it was a scandal.) Now, I have a pretty high scandal tolerance – it was obviously my childhood dream to become a Very Big Deal on the Internet, so I was prepared – but when Standard Military Issue Scandal became El Creepo Stalkers and Death Threats Scandal, things got a little out of hand.

I didn’t want to run my launch anymore, so I didn’t.

Flash forward a month or so, and most of the insanity is over. (Well, I’m back to getting fewer than 1000 emails a day, anyway, which was nice.)

But now my super fun, nerdy, academic love project feels… tainted. I don’t want to think about it anymore. So I need to do something else.

The Emergency Turnaround Clinic was the something else.

Here’s how it all came to be.

I read a book about turnaround situations in small businesses. Now, “small businesses” here refers to companies in the 75-500 employee range, so we’re not talking about ittybiz-sized operations. And I thought to myself, “Self, if companies that have been around and flourishing long enough to make it to hundreds of employees find themselves needing a turnaround, imagine how much good this could do for an ittybiz.”

(If you’re not familiar with the term, “turnaround” refers to a business that is in the red enough to be about to close down. Basically, turnarounds are for financial emergencies, the very last resort before you close the doors.)

We wanted to have something accessible from a pricing standpoint, and we wanted a scope of material that would apply to the greatest possible segment of our market. Figuring out the content wasn’t too tough – the problems person A has are very similar to the problems person B has, in general – and by this point, the audio and PDF combination we now use for all of our products had become second nature.

(We also decided to incorporate an old idea from our old membership site, the SpeakEasy, which was the daily Get Off Your Ass emails. We didn’t want to call them that because we didn’t want old SpeakEasy members thinking they were repeats. So they became “Quick Action Steps”. Easy tell Dave was involved in that decision.)

The biggest stumbling block we were having in the development phase was the pricing. Obviously it had to be affordable – I never really went in for the classic, “Oh, you’re screwed and on the verge of bankruptcy and you’ve already cleaned out your retirement fund? Then you’re looking at minimum four figures” strategy – but we didn’t want to undervalue the product.

One of the big problems that people run into when they want to give something the widest possible market is when the customer sees the price as commensurate with the value. (Hippies, listen up. I’m talking to you.)

  • If it’s free, it tends to get downloaded but skimmed. People tend to remain pretty uninvested in the process, and they don’t retain as much information as they do when they pay cash money, even nominal cash money. They’re also much less likely to do the exercises, workbooks, and homework assignments.
  • If it’s cheap – especially if you have other products that it will sit beside in your store – it looks like less than your other products. If your favorite author had a book for an everyday price of $19.95 and a book for an everyday price of $1.95 with no explanation of the difference, which one looks better?

Or perhaps more accurately, if your local college had a $4,000 accounting course and a $400 accounting course sitting right beside each other, and they were the same length and the same format, what would happen?

Well, either people would assume that the $400 was inferior but the $4000 was out of reach, and buy nothing, or they’d buy the $400 one and then never buy anything else because after $400, everything else feels overpriced.

Either way, the college loses.

So the question was, how do we make it accessible without undervaluing it?

So… what to do?

Go out for drinks, of course!

And there we were, at Wink’s on Richmond Row in London, Ontario, getting the last of the decent weather before we went down south for an onsite. It’s a popular student hangout, and the prices are medium to high, for the market. (Nachos are $18, not $14.)

That’s when we saw it, sitting there in plain sight.

“Pasta avec saucisse (Kraft Dinner with Hot Dogs) – $9, OBO.”

“OBO” meaning, “Or Best Offer”.

Perfect. If it’s good enough for a student bar, it’s good enough for IttyBiz.

When we’d first thought of Pay What You Can pricing for the Emergency Turnaround Clinic, it didn’t seem like it was going to be a feasible option. Pay What You Can traditionally works as either an across the board strategy offline – like the restaurant in Australia where everything is sold on a set your own price basis, or Pass The Hat at a fringe festival – or it’s for a limited time. Pay What You Can Day or Week or whatever.

(Aside: A lot of information sellers struggle with the idea of limited time Pay What You Can because they feel like it alienates existing customers who already paid full price. This only really tends to happen if the promotion is positioned badly or if your market feels like the product was overpriced to begin with. Your mileage may vary.)

So Pay What You Can is tough under the best of circumstances, and even for limited times. But permanent pay what you can, on only one product? That’s just weird.

And most importantly at launch, where’s the incentive to buy now? (We’ll get to that one in a minute.)

But somehow, for whatever reason, calling it OBO felt different than calling it PWYC. People are used to OBO from garage sales and eBay and Craigslist and classified ads. OBO is about empowering the buyer, not condescending to them. It felt different, somehow workable.

So giving an actual, sticker price, but adding an OBO (Or Best Offer) on the end?

Screw it. Why not?

(For reference, sticker price ended up being $375.)

Yes, but why now?

Another challenge we faced during this promotion was the position of the launch timing itself.

A promotion is generally going to have at least one of two scarcity elements – price or quantity, and they’re both going to be based on a deadline. Either the price is going up at a certain time, or there is a limited quantity available. In this case, the price didn’t even really exist, so it couldn’t go up, and we weren’t limiting the quantity.

We ended up deciding to create the feel of a live class without the live element. For many ittybiz owners with small lists, live classes sell well because the scarcity element is inherent – class starts when class starts, and if you snooze, you lose. This wasn’t a live class, and none of it was done in real time. But the course material was being released on a certain day each week, just like a class, so we ended up creating the feel that it was live, without it being live. We said that the first class was going to be available on Monday, and based the promotion around that.

That’s a risky strategy, because if it’s not positioned right, it’s going to look ridiculous.

Last minute addition!

We also ended up adding a piece of promotional content very late in the process. We had our standard-style launch content planned out as usual, and then we noticed something interesting.

We were getting TONS of emails from people – and notes to seller in our PayPal logs – from people saying, “No, seriously, I really don’t have a lot of money at all. I only have…” and they’d tell me how much money they had. Like, exactly how much money they had.

We got literally hundreds of these messages. People in PayPal were apologizing for how little they could pay, and people in email were saying that they felt they couldn’t buy because they could only pay so little.

Sales had been very strong, but if this many people were getting in touch with the same sentiment, we had a feeling that sales could be a lot stronger if we addressed the low payment issue.

We ended up sending an email out on the Sunday with the subject line, “A message for the dirt, crazy broke.” In it we explained that Pay What You Can is pay what you can – there was no such thing as too little. It was a very emotional message, and one that really came from my heart.

I had so much compassion for the people who had emailed, and so much love for them being so concerned with my bottom line, of all things. So I went all out and told them, no, seriously. Go get the change out of the cupholder in your car and send me the equivalent of that. Got $7.11 in your PayPal account? That’s FINE. That’s why it’s Pay What You Can. It’s called the Emergency Turnaround Clinic, for God’s sake. We’re not here to gouge you.

For the first time in the history of any launch I’ve ever seen – mine or anybody else’s – the highest sales didn’t come on the last day. We sold more on a Sunday in the middle of the launch than we did on the last day. (It was close, but the Sunday still won out.)

(It was also the highest open rate we’ve ever had on an email.)

So, what happened?

Sales for this product at launch were over 500% higher than any other product we’ve ever launched before. MAJOR success.

One side note: One thing that I did notice with this promotion was that, for the first time, the vast majority of buyers were not existing customers. That’s good news and bad news. Good news is our customer list exploded. Bad news is that a lot of our existing customers who would have loved it, didn’t get it.

Later, I surveyed, and it seemed like the people who knew me already were more likely to feel nervous sending less than full price. So I went to a lot of existing customers who didn’t get this one and emailed them personally – like, personally, personally – and said, “Seriously, honey. A dollar is fine. Get the course. It’s great.” That led to a big spike after the launch.

In my opinion, the Emergency Turnaround Clinic was the best thing that ever happened to IttyBiz. Because so many sales were for $100, $50, $2.31 or whatever, the dollar figure for the launch wasn’t as high as Failproof or Online Business School. But our customer list exploded, people poured their hearts out in their intake questionnaires, and we got a chance to see what our customers were really feeling. This was a massive pivot point for us.

So what are the takeaways?

1. Sometimes weird works.

(Also, sometimes it doesn’t.) Weird doesn’t mean a death sentence, though. We all sit around talking about innovation and how the absence of it is the death knell of business, and society, and life itself, for that matter. But innovation means different and different is a synonym of weird. Take some risks, for God’s sake. They might not pan out. They probably won’t pan out. But those that do pan out make you an innovator. Then they write books about you and stuff.

2. Don’t be afraid to go intimate and raw.

Part of why this sold so well was our willingness to come out and say, “So… you’re broke, huh? Like, really, really broke? Yeah. That sucks.” We didn’t try and make this shiny and flashy, we tried to make it real and honest. That seemed to work in our favor.

3. Timeliness and scarcity don’t have to be Mean And Evil.

Sure, it takes a bit of a fine hand to pull something like this off, but it’s not flying an F-15. It doesn’t take THAT fine a hand. If you’re lacking any kind of scarcity or timeliness element in your launch, see if you can add something live, or live-lite.

4. Despite what the gods will tell you, people do open email on weekends.

(We’ve tested this since, by the way, and open rate is always higher on a Sunday than on a Saturday.)

Next up in our series of More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Launches, we’re talking about the anti-launch, the quietest little sneeze of a launch we ever did. For those who are freaked out by launching, you may want to try this approach.  Stay tuned to see all the details.

Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.