Turning A Launch Into A Movement: A $1.8 Million Case Study
Launches are becoming less and less profitable. The margins are shrinking.
Audiences are becoming inoculated to “Launch Madness.”
They recognize that video sequence with a hidden pitch at the end.
They know what’s coming when they see your email sequence ramping up.
They see through your efforts.
There are whispers throughout the marketing world…. What’s next? What do we do now?
Launch Wars: A New Hope (whew!)
In this case-study-slash-manifesto, I want to share the deeper strategies at play in a remarkably successful launch I wrote.
Because I believe embedded within it are lessons that can change the way we market, and help push forward positive cultural change –– which for me, is what this is really all about.
So let me pose a question…
What if your marketing was self-perpetuating?
What if instead of endlessly flogging your audience with wet-noodle messages and hypey machismo that smells suspiciously of cheese...
Your launch was itself a rally cry, a participatory phenomenon that spread on its own?
What if your audience was your sales force?
What if you could transform your launch into a movement?
The Proof Is In The Pudding
Sounds pretty good, right? I mean honestly, who wouldn’t want their marketing to inspire the masses and generate millions?
So, before we got any deeper, consider these numbers (all of which were more than 2x our goals for this launch):
300,000 Opt-ins in just two weeks
250+ comments on every video during the launch
35% open rates while sending 3-4 emails per day
$1.8 million in sales in one week with a product that cost less than $100
And let’s not forget that this also created a hot-list of 300,000+ active consumers who loved our material, trusted our message, and are willing to engage in what we put out.
That, my friend, is an asset.
Disclaimer and a Humble Brag
I am by no means taking all the credit for this. I was a part of a visionary team with an incredible product and a whole lot of heart. We also had the participation of some incredible affiliates with perfectly aligned audiences. This was a team effort, start to finish.
Every single email address…
Every single click…
Every single person who was inspired enough to pull out their credit card and say YES!..
All the thousands of individual decisions that added up to a wildly successful launch…
Were guided, nurtured, and catalyzed by one thing: the written word.
That is the power of copy.
And in this case, copy with a powerful underlying strategy that made this launch such a success.
Deep Psychology: Human Needs and an Opportunity to Serve
One of the deepest human needs is to be a part of something greater than ourselves. It is hardwired into each and every one of us.
This drives us to form communities and collaborate. It’s a fundamental part of the human story.
It is also what drives the power of a movement –– religious, political, or social.
It is also perhaps one of the most underserved needs in modern technological society.
And anytime there is an underserved need, there is a massive opportunity.
A leverage point for the astute business, if used properly. (We’ll get to “proper” in a minute”)
Beyond “Viral Marketing”
A movement, once it gets rolling, gains greater momentum than you could ever create yourself. People begin to share it because they believe in it.
Think Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016. Or the environmental organization 350 when they stopped the Keystone pipeline. Politics aside, they inspired intense emotional engagement and massive action from everyday people.
Because they showed their audience a new world, a new way of being, new possibilities, a new self that they aspired to in their heart.
This belief, this aspiration becomes a part of them. They share it because they want to. Because a piece of their identity is now wrapped up in your offer. Your launch. Your message.
Because you engage a much deeper part of their being than just some benefits or a solution to a problem or whatever else.
Give the People What They Want to Become
In a sense, I’m talking about identity marketing, just not with an identity that already exists.
This is about creating an aspirational identity and then giving people the means to make it real.
Most marketing attempts this, but it’s often so superficial and so self-centered, and it never really crosses the line into belief. Much less an identity. Even less a movement.
This is where the power of your “Why” comes in. If you’ve never seen Simon Sinek’s discussion on the power of Why, let me save you several hours of reading...
Your WHY is the center of gravity for the movement, for your community. The deeper your why, the more potent your message, and bigger your movement.
You have to dig deep, for this. It’s not always easy, but this work pays off in a big way.
At our core, we all have the same desires: security, wholeness, love, status, a better future.
So the deeper we go with our why, the more universal our message becomes. The more people can resonate with what we say. The more you engage the fundamental drives of your fellow human.
This is at the core of every movement. And when you really begin to tap into the power of this, to give people a rally point for a core desire, a fundamental part of WHO THEY WANT TO BE in a way that their beliefs and identity becomes enmeshed in your message and your brand.
This is no small thing.
At this stage, your audience gets real value simply by participating in what you’ve created. Your marketing, your launch, gets them closer to the person they want to be.
Even without buying anything.
This can all seem a little abstract, so I want to bring this back down to reality.
3 Easy Steps to Transforming Your Launch Into A Movement
The truth is, most people aren’t going to instantly resonate with some pie-in-the-sky aspirational message. As much as we want to be a part of something larger than ourselves, our day-to-day life is self-centered.
Nobody wakes up and thinks “gee, I’d to be a part of a movement” or “I’d like to find a niche community today.”
Relationships like this take time and trust.
Step #1: Meet them where they are at.
You have to speak to the issues your audience has right now before they’re going to buy into any sort of identity or new core beliefs.
You need to begin with a real-world, top-of-mind issue. Unless they’re willing to stop and listen to what you have to say, you’ll never get the chance to develop the relationship.
This part goes right back to marketing 101: Benefits and Pain Points
This particular launch was in the alternative health space, so our initial messages focused on:
The glaring blind-spots and collateral damage of pharmaceutical medicine.
“Health Secrets” of ancient cultures
Naturally, these have to be presented carefully to stand out from all the other messages your audience see day in and day out. It has to grab attention and stimulate curiosity. A desire to know.
But this is just the first step.
Stories, Hooking-Attention and Your Favorite Buzzword
Once you have their interest, now the real fun begins. Onwards, to…
Step 2: Building Trust and Framing Belief.
Here you begin building trust and creating the context for the new beliefs. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are a 3 of the most powerful (we used all of them):
Over-deliver on the initial promises
Weave a compelling personal story into the marketing.
Use anecdotal stories and testimonials
Stories are how our brains naturally process information. There’s a lot of compelling neuroscience and about 10,000 years of human storytelling to back this up.
The better stories you use, the more your messages will stick with your audience. They best part is when they are well-deployed, they build the context for the beliefs and ideal identity you are offering the audience.
The information and stories you offer should all “frame” the beliefs you want the audience to have.
In our situation, “herbal medicine is beneficial” is not terribly compelling on its own. But when “framed” by stories of evolutionary biology, leading scientists talking about the synergistic relationships of humans and plants, and the underlying wisdom of traditional cultures…
It takes on a new meaning. It becomes more interesting and powerful.
But won’t do you any good if you keep their attention or trust. And at the very root, there are only two elements you need for that:
Element Number 1: BE REAL.
Be a human. Care about your audience and let that care be reflected in the way you speak and write to them.
Another way to say this is everyone’s favorite million dollar buzzword: authenticity!
We live in a culture absolutely saturated with marketing. And in response, we have all grown highly-developed bullshit detectors. If you sound fake and try to hard sell from the beginning you’re not going to get the results you want.
Yes, you can make short-term profits, but you won’t get the long-term traction. You won’t develop the deep trust you need to cross over into creating a movement. It just won’t work.
Element Number 2: Be interesting.
Interesting can be valuable how-to information presented in a unique way. It can be stories. It can be entertainment. It can be funny videos. It can be a lot of things, depending on you, your business, and your audience.
The what doesn't really matter so much as long as you build a connection that is deeper than a mere transaction.
If you’re only teaching someone how to crochet a sweater… that’s probably not going to do it. But if you teach how to crochet a sweater while using colorful language or weave in emotional stories about how handmade clothing is an artifact of love that lasts decades beyond the physical relationship… that’s something else.
But you can’t stop there. You need to go further to create a movement.
Building the a Movement, One Person at a Time
As people move deeper into your message and begin trusting you a little more each day, you need to take it up a level.
A real relationship is built on dialogue. On interaction.
If your audience stays in a one-way consumption-based relationship, I’ve got bad news for you: you’re still just a commodity.
To truly cross over into that deeper territory of identity and core belief, you need double down on...
Step 3: engage with your audience.
Now “engagement” is another one of those million dollar buzzwords so let me explain why it’s so important.
I don’t just mean getting likes and comments.
I mean actually interacting. For someone going through your launch material, a single interaction –– even if they are just watching you interact with someone else –– instantly transforms you into a real person.
All the other stuff, the content, the stories, the information, the whatever, is still just another piece of media in the incomprehensibly vast ocean of media we are all swimming in.
A real interaction?
That’s a signal. A flare. A lifeboat. Holy crap, someone’s alive over here!
Where You Gain Real Traction
In our extensive, personal, story-based email campaigns we asked questions. We asked for feedback. We asked what they thought about this crazy thing we showed at 17:46 in the 3rd video.
Now here’s the real trick:
We replied to each comment. We replied as many emails as we could. We had live Q&A sessions.
But we didn’t stop there.
We asked them to comment about their own experiences, not just for us, but because their experience was valuable for others watching.
Together, this transforms the entire launch into an interactive experience. They see others with the same problems. And in the process, they discover something very important:
They are not alone.
And in a dissociated technological culture beset by a gnawing sense of isolation and disconnection, this is true value.
Not just for you building a trusting audience, but for the viewer themselves.
You will have just broke through to a very deep level in their psyche. This has nothing to do with your widget or information. For our campaign, it had nothing to do with alternative health.
But it created a priceless sense of trust and participation. As the campaign gained momentum, people began sharing deeper and deeper elements of their own health journeys. Things they wouldn’t even tell friends.
In that moment, we crossed over from a passive source of information and entertainment into a community movement. One in which they were an integral part.
And they spread the word for us.
Even if they didn’t buy, that emotional connection remains.
The Truth: Why Am I Sharing This?
Because a lot of internet marketing is, quite frankly, awful.
A lot of it is hyperbolic, disingenuous, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I wouldn’t want anyone to talk that way to me.
Or my mother. Or my cousin. Or my friend….
And here’s the crux of it: EVERYBODY is somebody’s mother, brother, father, cousin, or friend.
So let’s relate to them like it.
Hypey fear-based marketing the equivalent of internet pollution (and I applaud Facebook’s efforts to clean up the place, much to many marketer’s doomsday cries)
Ultimately, I am sharing this because I want to live in a better world –– this is the same reason I became a copywriter. I want to live in a world where the messages we as entrepreneurs put out there lift each other up, inspire us to be better versions of ourselves. To be kinder, happier, healthier, more alive.
And marketing is an incredibly powerful tool to amplify meaningful messages to people who need to hear them.
I wrote this because I want to see marketing that inspires people, that lifts people up, that shows them a world of possibility, and prosperity and depth and beauty.
Marketing can be a tool fuel positive cultural change. Let’s use it.
Let’s make a movement.
Want to learn more about me and how I work?
Just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m here to help.