This is part 4 of a 9-part behind the scenes series on how we ran our biggest launches. You can start at the beginning right here.

Failproof 2 is an example of a launch when absolutely everything went wrong. I’ll show you how we (sort of) recovered, but this one’s a doozy on the “Oh my God, are you KIDDING me?” front.

So, flash forward five months from the original Failproof launch. (No idea what I’m talking about? Click here.)

If we ran Failproof the first time with the idea that a whole lot of people who might want it might not already have it, it stood to reason we could do it a second time. Right? Of course.

(First, an aside. For most ittybiz owners, I would generally not advise relaunching the same offer back-to-back like this. Usually, you’ll want to sell something different in between, even if it’s only a high profile sale or something. Back to back can work in a few cases, but they’re pretty specific.

One, if it’s the only product you sell, like a flagship course. Then you can only launch the same thing again and again because it’s all you do. That’s fine. In the other case, you can get away with it if you have a significant chunk of other content in between launches. Basically, you don’t want people saying “Weren’t you just talking about this thing?”)

We were prepared. We were organized. (We were smug.) We were all set up to ride our own coat-tails and run basically a mirror of what we had the last time. Eight new videos, whole lotta fuss, riches of Babylon ensue, yes?

Well, yes and no. Mostly no.

We were in England at the time – my mom had just gotten her hip replaced – and I had in mind the perfect place to shoot video. We were going to go with a swank conference room that I did a live event in the year before, in a 16th century coach house hotel. Then we called and it turned out they changed owners and ripped the conference room down.

They were very accommodating, however, and offered us the honeymoon suite as an alternative. It would be difficult to describe to you exactly how uncomfortable this made Dave, and how delighted that made me. Dave, however, lacked a defensible argument against it, and we were going with it. Dark woods and bookshelves and images of butlers and expensive Scotch. Mmm.

We figured we’d hole up there for a few days, pull some all nighters, shoot some videos, and all would be well. (I have a feeling the proprietors of the establishment were used to all nighters in the honeymoon suite of a very different nature, but there you go.)

Around 8 o’clock on the first night rolls around and we set up our video equipment. We’re good at this by now, and feeling pretty darn impressed with ourselves. We go to grab some dinner, and head back up to the suite, ready to rock.

Except not.

Turns out, the honeymoon suite is right above the dance floor.

There are no words in English to explain how loud it was.

Dave goes to find out what’s going on and it turns out there’s a wedding party taking up most of the hotel, and they put the “party” in “wedding party”.

How long are they staying?

Four days.

At this point, the launch is supposed to go live on day four.

I’ll spare you the description of the slow dawning of realization that we really, truly have no other venue choices. Video is off the options list.

Dave takes a few minutes to walk it off – read: completely lose his cool in an alley somewhere – and I review our options.

We can’t do video.

We can’t do audio.

And this thing was set up to be a Very Big Promotion Indeed.

One thing to do in a situation where you don’t know what to do for a promotion is to look at promotions that have worked before – especially the ones that did better than they really should have. Look to the outliers from the past and see what worked that shouldn’t have worked, and you might have some inspiration.

When I’d done the promotion for Intimate, I’d gone with text only emails that really didn’t have a lot to do with the class itself. The emails for that really only existed to prove that I understood the needs of coaches. I relied on the sales page and offer details to do the selling and the launch content only really existed to get coaches’ attention for long enough that they would look at the offer. Could we do the same thing with Failproof 2?

I was really nervous about this idea. I had a sinking feeling that the reason those had worked was because of the surprise element. The Intimate promotion was all text and crazy targeted. The Failproof promotion wasn’t text and wasn’t targeted, but it was still an onslaught done in a completely novel way.

This felt like it would be a poor rip-off of both.

However, given the total lack of other options, and the fact that Dave had by this point gone with the “drink Scotch at the bar and hope the problem goes away on its own” plan, we were going with it anyway.

Spicing it up.

I couldn’t live with myself if we just did it as the bastard love child of Failproof and Intimate, so I wanted to spice things up. Since I had those seven email lists that were subdivided by industry, and my data was really, really clean, we decided to personalize to a level that bordered on insane.

For my list, I wrote seven emails, but customized each by list. The content as a whole was structurally the same, but all of the examples and copy-bits were modified for artists, coaches and so on.

(Example: the subject line for the first email was, “Make your clients say ‘Nobody understands me like Karen’”. Except it might say “Make your readers” or “Make your customers” or whatever depending on the list they were on. Then within the email itself, all of the little asides and stories and advice were about art, or coaching, or blogging, or whatever.)

(The data being clean here refers to making sure your autoresponder’s list has good data. You know when you put your name in the box when you sign up for an email list? Cleaning your data in this context means going in and making sure everybody’s name looks right, there are no weird capitalizations, nobody’s put “Sex God” in the name field, and so on. The ninjas are really good at keeping our data clean on a regular basis, so we can do radical personalization if we need to. It’s very rare that we do it, but it’s a nice little tool to have in the box.)

So people’s emails were customized with their names in cool, unexpected places, and each email was customized with stuff that referred specifically to the needs of their industry.

So we wrote seven versions of seven emails for my lists, and seven completely different emails for Dave’s. (To save you the math, that means we wrote 56 launch emails. Plus the last day emails. So a total of 60. My mom made us a lot of tea that weekend. Merci, Maman.)

People on both lists got both sets of emails, meaning they would each receive 14 pieces of launch content in a week. Remember, the industry average is four.

But wait, there’s more.

In addition to the regular promotion – because hey, why not make it harder on ourselves? – we ran an upsell promotion in the back end. Dave had recently hired a new admin assistant, Jason, and he emailed everybody who bought Failproof the first time and offered them a five-months-later $200 upgrade option to the entire original 10 workshops. Then he emailed everyone who was buying Failproof this time and offered them the same deal.

Very simple, “Hey, I’m Jason, I’m new, do you want this thing?”

This was all going along swimmingly until it occurred to me that nobody had ever heard of Jason, and his upsell emails might end up getting ignored. So I emailed everyone after Jason did, personally, asking if they got the email, if they thought Jason did okay, and what they thought about the upgrade offer.

I annoyed a few people, I’m sure – that was a LOT of email – but Dave ended up getting 22% conversion on the upsell. (Note: It’s generally worth temporarily annoying a few people to get a conversion rate that could buy you a fully loaded mid-range car.)

So how did it go?

Well, our expectations had initially been quite high. Not Failproof the First high, because that seemed fairly unrepeatable. But pretty high.

When video went off the table, we dropped our expectations significantly. OK, we dropped our expectations to, “If we can afford to get a flavor shot in our lattes next week, we’ll have done well.”

It ended up being the second best promotion we’d ever done, second only to the original Failproof. (A couple of others have since surpassed this one, but at the time, it was number two of all time.) That fully-loaded mid-range car thing? That was just the upsell. People LOVED this thing.

As a little epilogue, we would have completely done this a third time later, and possibly a fourth, fifth, seventieth, but Dave took his workshops off the market when he came over to IttyBiz full time the following year.

Key takeaways.

1. Remember how we said yesterday that you really never know how many people almost bought but didn’t? Yeah. At this point we were being relentless enough to even make Dave and me nervous – shameless little marketing tramps that we are. When were people going to just tell us to shut up and leave in a huff? Apparently, no time soon.

2. If your product has legs on its own – if it’s good enough, or even just popular enough, whether it’s good or not – you can relaunch back to back. Use different launch content, though, unless your open rate or conversion rate were really low the first time, or you’ve had significant platform growth. (And if your open rates were low the first time, consider changing your subject lines and headlines. They might have been the problem.)

3. When things go wrong in your launch, you can recover if you keep your head screwed on straight and you make recovery a priority. Too many people, when something goes seriously wrong, spend a lot of time panicking and not much time recovering.

4. When it all goes wrong, you might be better with a completely new plan than desperately scrambling to get your old one back. Sure, spend ten minutes trying to find a way to still do video. The minute you realize how impossible that is, MOVE ON.

So, what’s next?

Talking about weird launches and last minute changes of plan has me in the mood to talk about… weird launches and last minute changes of plan. Next up, the Emergency Turnaround Clinic. Brace yourself… this one’s got stalkers.

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

For those who have been on the IttyBiz list for any length of time, the original Failproof launch (at the end of 2010) is the launch we are best known for. This is largely because it was insane.

(The launch for our BIG LAUNCH class was even more insane, but we’ll talk about it at the end of this series.)

Failproof wasn’t officially an IttyBiz promotion – I didn’t get any money for it and it wasn’t my product – but it’s the one that I get the most questions about, so hopefully I can answer some of them today.

Until this point, in our little incestuous internet marketing coach-y business-y community, launches were usually done in a similar fashion to the ones the Very Famous Sleazy People did, as mentioned in the first part of this series.

There were usually four pieces of launch content, in a variety of media, spread out with several days in between them. You were allowed to see one piece of content for “free”, and you had to give your email address to be allowed to see the rest. (Often the first piece was a teaser piece, ended on a cliffhanger, or was part one in a series.)

In some cases, in order to see the rest of the series, you not only had to give your own email address, but three to five email addresses of your friends and relations.

Yeah. We didn’t do that with Failproof.

In Failproof, you saw our launch content whether you liked it or not.

Why we launched it.

Picture the scene. (For fans of Golden Girls, you may add “Sicily, 1942″ if you wish.)

The charming and handsome Dave Navarro had just started the world’s ugliest divorce (WUD) and the poo was hitting the fan for my best friend. We’re in Miami. He is getting harassed every day. He’s handling it pretty well, considering, but as his de facto handler, I decide that creating a new product from scratch is simply not going to happen.

I’d recently done the Intimate launch (which we talked about yesterday) and a pretty successful store clear-out sale called Gone, Baby, Gone, so I don’t really have any financial needs for the foreseeable future. He, on the other hand, is about to hand over what is looking like it’s going to be 207% of his income for the rest of his life in alimony, child support, and the newly instituted federal What The Hell, We May As Well Tax Them tax.

So he could probably use a bit of a war chest, and my store was empty. Running a promotion through or with IttyBiz seemed like something that would benefit my list – it’s not like I had anything for them to buy at this point.

Dave had a set of ten (I think it was ten) workshops that had proven very popular with his own people on common online business building topics that sold for $199 each in his store. Since ten was daunting to all but the most… committed… of ittybiz owners, I wasn’t in a rush to try and hawk a ten-pack.

Plus, everyone and their grandmother had just bought some kind of package in the Gone, Baby, Gone sale, so I had a feeling information overload would kick in at that level. (“I just bought this insanely huge thing. Why don’t I wait till I go through that with a fine-tooth comb and pick this thing up next time?”)


“Next time” will bankrupt your business if you let it. If you sell information – or a number of other things, by the way – you’re going to run into this situation and it pays to have a plan in place for it.

Here’s the scenario:

Somebody buys something they don’t want or need because of hype or fear of loss or something like that.

They buy another something they don’t want or need for the same reasons.

And again. And again. And again.

Repeat for months, or years, or even decades.

Then your thing comes along and they really DO want it or they really DO need it. Let’s say you sell a weight loss group coaching class or something. They see it. They love it. They think it would be perfect for them. It’s so much better than the other “solutions” they’ve bought in the past.

What do they think to themselves?

“I’ll wait till I use the gym membership. And the pilates DVDs. And the herbal supplements. And that virgin diet book.”

Except they never DO use the membership or the DVDs or the supplements or the books because they never should have bought them in the first place, and they know it.

They’ll buy YOUR thing as soon as they do a bunch of OTHER things you and I both know they will never do.

Sucks to be you, doesn’t it?

If you’re in an industry where people tend to overspend, or in which people tend to feel “desperate” for solutions, you should have a plan to deal with this kind of situation. Because it doesn’t matter if the thing you make is the best thing since sliced hummus, if they’re overloaded and feeling guilty or embarrassed, they’re just not going to buy your magic wonder bullet.

What I tend to do in this situation – and your mileage may vary, since every industry is different – is to consistently come out with more stuff that’s smaller or manageable.

Most of our competitors ONLY sell things that require major involvement. Huge information products and membership sites that send peoples’ commitment flags up, usually without accessible payment plans. I’ll generally sell smaller things that don’t make people daunted by the very prospect, and that aren’t impacted by That Huge Thing they bought from somebody else two weeks ago and really regret but are too embarrassed to ask for a refund on.

(Big Launch is the only exception I have ever made to this rule, and I’m only good with doing this because the last 20 products and classes we’ve come out with have been much smaller. It was time to do an intensive on an intensive topic. But the only reason I’m cool doing this now is because we’ve done enough Not Intensives to create significant trust.)

It’s not perfect, and it won’t work in all cases, but it’s something to keep in mind. If you’re thinking of putting out Very Big Stuff, you’ll want to consider the impact of other vendors’ Very Big Stuff on peoples commitment radars.

Anyway, where was I? Right. Failproof.

We figured we’d take the three of his workshops that lent themselves most to bundling, and the ones that were most useful for people across a variety of industries and situations. We put them in a bundle, slapped a gorgeous name on them, and ran a Promotion That Was Not A Launch But Looked An Awful Lot Like A Launch.

How we launched it.

When we talk about this launch, we talk about it as the time we “launched” a product that already existed to two groups of people who already had it. The sheer hard-headed idiocy of this plan really cannot be overstated.

The biggest issue at play – apart from the “they already have it” part, which really wasn’t that big of a deal because if they already had it they could just ignore the promotion – was that there was a huge amount of crossover between Dave’s list and my own. Because of a lot of administrative factors, it was hard to say how much crossover there was, but we estimated it was around 30%.

In that 30% would be both of our biggest supporters, strongest fans, and most lucrative customers. So if we both hammered the hell out of our lists promoting this product, the people most likely to get burned out were our favorite people and best customers.

Hmm. Not ideal.

So we had to create a launch that was so attention-worthy, so interesting, and so valuable that people getting hammered from two sides wouldn’t get sick of it.

After a few abandoned potential iterations, we settled on a series of 10 videos. (It became eight because we had to drive from Miami to Canada in the middle.) We would create videos of us riffing together on big topics that had to do with marketing on the internet, but as we’d learned from the Intimate promotion, they didn’t have to be directly related to the product.

(One big additional reason for that was because if most of the potential buyers and fans already had the products, they wouldn’t want to spend two straight weeks hearing about something they already had. So we wanted to make it valuable content for those who had the product, those who would never have the product, and those who were considering buying the product.)

We decided on video because neither of us had ever really done that before – he had done a few by himself for a previous promotion, but they were pretty dry and instructional. We wanted to do something fun enough to watch on Christmas Day or New Years’ Eve. We have pretty good chemistry on film, so we figured we could make it fun. That was the hope, anyway. We didn’t exactly have time to run a beta test.

What happened during the launch.

We ran eight long videos on these topics. They were chosen on the basis that they seemed interesting enough to us. That’s how much thought went into them.

  • Episode 1: Introduction (or, A New Hope)
  • Episode 2: Building Lists for Profit and Also Profit
  • Episode 3: Social Proof
  • Episode 4: Getting People To Hate You For Fun and Profit
  • Episode 5: The Product / Service Snowball
  • Episode 6: How to Close the Deal
  • Episode 7: How To Create Your Own Irresistible Offer
  • Episode 8: Making Metrics Sexy, And How To Make Damn Sure You Don’t Quit

We didn’t sell the product at all within the content of the videos. We simply aimed at increasing their comfort with us, and particularly Dave, as a teacher. The promotional element was this – we told them at the beginning, “Hey, this is all in aid of you giving Dave $300!” and we told them at the end “Remember, this is all in aid of you giving Dave $300!”

That was pretty much it. Everything else was pure content.

So how did it go?

It turns out we really hit the right nerve on this promotion. One person who linked to it tweeted “These videos are so good I almost bought this training a third time.”

That seemed to be the common sentiment. They were worth watching. This ended up being the promotion every marketer dreams of.

The promotion ran from a few days before Christmas to New Years’ Eve – what most people would consider an absolutely insane time to promote – and by the time the ball dropped in Times Square, Failproof was the most successful promotion either of us had ever run, before or since, together or separate.

So what do we learn from all this?

1. There’s no such thing as a bad time to promote.

Certainly, if you can capitalize on certain socially, politically or astrologically conducive circumstances, that’s great. But as far as I was concerned in the first several years of this business, there were two bad times to promote – late December and July. Failproof and a later Black Friday in July promotion were our two best promotions.

Turns out, I’m just plain wrong. Repeat this to yourself – there is no bad time to promote.

2. Never underestimate how well people will respond to you just being yourself.

During these videos, Dave was drinking beer, I was cursing like a sailor, and we were utterly shameless in our flirting. Guess what, folks! That’s us, in real life. We’re disgusting. Embarrassing, frankly.

It is a natural human tendency to think we will be more attractive and compelling if we try to be someone we’re not. This is based in our psychological conditioning and anchoring – we see the people we admire, or are attracted to, or are entranced by, and we think that our anchor represents universal admirableness, attractiveness, or entrancement. Sad to say, it’s simply not true.

Just do your own thing and a statistically impressive amount of people will find you really, really cool.

3. You can never guess how many people WOULD have bought something the last time you launched it, except for some unique circumstance.

They didn’t have the money. Their mother was in the hospital. They’d just bought a competitor’s product. It was a busy time at work.

We ittybiz owners are a fairly solipsistic bunch, and we tend to think that the entire world – and the decision-making matrices of each individual within it – revolves entirely around us. It is humbling and gratifying to realize, once again, that this is not the case.

You don’t know who would have bought if it weren’t for something external. Giving them a chance to buy again is probably a really good idea.

Having said all that, we’ll tell you tomorrow about the following May. If that many people hadn’t bought before so they bought it in December, what might happen if we promoted the same damn thing again in May?

Want to find out? Of course you do. You can read all 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 2 of a 9-part behind the scenes series on how we ran our biggest launches. You can start at the beginning right here.

Let’s talk about IttyBiz Intimate.

Once upon a time – in August 2010 – Dave was on a bit of a kick.

(If you’re new around these parts, Dave didn’t work here at the time. He had his own gig as The Launch Coach, and we had written and created a few products together. And he did everything at IttyBiz that I found terrifying. And he wrote my sales emails when I overcommitted. OK, basically, he worked here, we just didn’t pay him.)

Anyway, Dave had gotten it in his head – quite rightly – that one of the reasons ittybiz owners were failing so catastrophically was because they weren’t charging what they were worth.

As coaches, service professionals, even product sellers, they were wildly undercharging, which was making business owners flounder when they should be flourishing.

He was thinking of taking the direction of teaching people to raise their rates to premium. He had just paid an ironically premium price to buy, and was trying to convince me to stop charging fifty bucks for ebooks and create something worth spending serious money on.

(Incidentally, while we’re gossiping, the first time I met Dave was when we were both invited to attend a roundtable meeting in Las Vegas. After everybody introduced themselves, the first question was posed: “Since nobody’s paying any real money for ebooks anymore, how do we compete with free?”

Dave answered that our ebook was less than 100 pages and sold for $97 every day including Christmas, so he wasn’t too worried about competing with free. That was around the time I started making out with him.)

Anyway, at some point, the number $1,000 came up.

I told him that the IttyBiz audience couldn’t handle that price point, even if the “what’s in the box” part of the offer was genuinely worth $1,000.

I can’t remember what Dave’s actual response was, but it can be summed up with “I double dog-dare you.”

(He was pretty committed to this Premium Pricing thing. He was going to be seriously taking his company in that direction but then Vegas happened, and, well, you know.)

Anyway, now it was ON. I had to make a $1,000 product or risk humiliation in front of my closest competitor.

The deal was that I had to create something that would retail for that price point and I had to honestly try to make it succeed.

If it succeeded, he would win and could be smug forever.

If it failed and nobody bought it, I would be right and he would shut up forever.

Let the (weird and dysfunctional) games begin.

Coming up with the product.

If you listen to how most people create stuff, it seems like the generally accepted protocol for creating premium products is to come up with something and then see how much you think you can get away with charging for it.

In this case, it was a little different. I knew how much I had to charge for it, so now I had to come up with something that I could put in the “box” to make it worth it. I didn’t actually care that much if people bought it. I just wanted the people who saw it to think “yeah, that makes sense” instead of “oh my God, Naomi from IttyBiz has turned into [the person we always mock in our teleclasses]”.

I knew that the product couldn’t be for the mass market, because at that price point, you need to be teaching some advanced stuff, and the general marketplace can’t really handle advanced stuff.

I had my list subdivided into six groups anyway (artists, coaches, service providers, bloggers and so on), so I took a look at them – their open rates, their buying history, their answers on their intake questionnaires – and decided on something targeting coaches.

After much ado and wine, I created IttyBiz Intimate, a four session intensive on (effectively) branding for coaches.

The class itself went something like this:

  • A pre-recorded lecture on Monday, along with homework to be graded by me
  • A Tuesday tutorial based on Monday’s lecture
  • Another pre-recorded lecture on Wednesday, along with more homework
  • A Thursday tutorial based on Wednesday’s lecture

… and we repeated the same process the following week.

As part of the package, you got an hour of consulting with me, and a very detailed website audit. You could avail yourself of those whenever you wanted, so if you wanted to get your life together after the intensive, you had time.

We called it “IttyBiz Intimate,” because it was, well, intimate. Small group. Lots of personal attention.

I did some poorly thought out math and figured if I sold four seats, it would be worth the time I’d put into the class. (And, I could always sell the homestudy version later). So I set it up to have room for 15 people, max, in the class, so I could manage the workload.

Setting up the launch.

This was a tricky process for me. The launches we’d done so far were not the most elaborate in the business by any means, but they did have a certain number of moving parts. They also tended to attract a lot of attention.

In this case, I didn’t want to attract a lot of attention.

It’s not that I didn’t want it to sell – I’d promised that I’d put in a full, good faith effort, and I wasn’t going to bail on my end of the bet. But what you launch reflects your intentions, and this was a bet, not a life plan. I was hardly going to tell 40,000,000 people that I was the girl to go to for small group intensives. It was going to be a one-off.

People had to know, but I didn’t want to set any inaccurate expectations.

I decided to email only the coaches’ list, and not promote via any other means, including the blog. The launch comprised four emails of text-only content directed specifically (and only) at coaches.

Now here’s where things got seriously weird.

Normally, launch content fits into one of two categories. One, it’s a bunch of hype – “here’s all the stuff we’re GONNA teach you” – that doesn’t have any content whatsoever. Two, it’s preliminary teaching or supplementary materials related to the product or class – introductions, samples, interviews with past students, and so on.

In this case, when I drafted up the content for the class, I wanted to make it as all-encompassing as possible, within the scope of what it covered. That meant there wasn’t a lot left over for launch content. And there weren’t any supplementary materials that wouldn’t have been contrived or forced.

So, after consideration, I decided to go with launch content that had absolutely nothing to do with the class at all.

The emails just covered issues of value to coaches – highly specific, somewhat advanced concepts that were customized for the world of coaching. Basically, I wanted to say “We don’t know marketing – we know you.”

(Example: We had a piece called The Holy Sh*t Factor for Coaches, espousing the philosophy of never having any piece of public communication leave your desk that could not theoretically cause a “Holy sh*t!” reaction. “Holy sh*t, I can’t believe she said that”, “Holy sh*t, that must have been a lot of work”, “Holy sh*t, I never thought about it that way”, and so on.)

When it came time to do the promotion, I put my cell phone number in the emails, so people could call me before they bought. I really didn’t want people buying this on hype.

(Ironically, this was a VERY low-hype promotion, but when people see a big price tag they tend to add the hype in all by themselves.)

I wanted to make sure that if people had any questions, they could ask me directly. I wanted to hear their voice and the questions behind their questions, so I could talk them out of spending that much money if it wasn’t right for them.

Basically, I wanted to hear if their voice shook when I said “You know this is $1,000, right?”

I wanted to ask them if paying this price point would hurt them, and I didn’t want a carefully crafted written response to mask bravado or desperation or hesitation.

So, I ran the promotion, talked to a hell of a lot of people on my cell phone, and didn’t expect too much response.

How it all went down.

The first class of 15 slots sold out in 2 days. I say “first” because so many people called me that I ended up opening a second session that ran in the evenings, and sold a total of 27 seats at launch. Damn it. I was hoping to hold this over Dave’s head for years to come.

Also weird? While I knew that, statistically speaking, some of my coaches must have been on other lists, I didn’t realize how many. I only mailed the coaches list for this promotion because I figured that everyone on the other lists – geeks, writers, artists, service providers, etc. – wouldn’t want to get all of the launch emails.

Sure, a few people would get lost in the shuffle but like I said earlier, I didn’t want to be a hypey pants to everybody for a one-off thing being sold to only one demographic.

But so many people came to me later saying that they had no idea that this class had ever taken place and they wished they had known. And by “people”, we mean “coaches”. Lots of them. Some of them were even my existing coaching clients.

In other words, a whole lot of coaches weren’t on the coaching list at all.

(Later I discovered that this was because these coaches thought the industry-specific lists were just for beginners, and didn’t get on the list. Oops.)

So, here I was segmenting out the launch and trying not to be annoying and people were upset they didn’t have a chance to buy. Keep that in mind when you’re tooting your own horn.

This low key, text-only, tangentially related email approach worked so well, it basically became the precursor for just about every launch we’ve done since.

On the back of a stupid bet.

Lessons learned.

1) It doesn’t need to be as fancy as you think.

2) No, seriously. Try for less fancy.

3) Aaaaand… a little less fancy than that. You know how they say to “put on all your jewelry and then take one piece off”? This is like “put on all your jewelry and then take it all off”.

4) Your list can afford more than you think they can.

5) For God’s sake, MAIL EVERYBODY. The most painful email you will ever get is “I would have bought if I’d known”. You think unsubscribes hurt? Unsubscribes are bush league. I just about threw up when I saw all the people who could have taken this class but didn’t.

6) I was very smart to not say this was a one-time-only thing. It was so popular I ran it twice more. Just because you THINK you’ll only do it once, doesn’t mean you’re right.

Alright. So that’s Intimate. Next we’re going to talk about the launch we ran when Dave was running for his life. For reals.

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.