A Lesson About Launch Days

By | May 17, 2006

Edition #51 – 5/17/2006

Yesterday there were two major product launches. I want to compare them and see what we can learn from their results…

The first one for us to look at is Sterling Valentine’s JV Formula. I recommended this program, and you likely received my announcement about it yesterday.

He did $50,000 of sales on the launch day, which is great, but I think it pales in comparison to what it could have been.

The problem is that he failed to create urgency or scarcity in the sales letter. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it yet (I will), but I truly think he is simply such a nice guy that he didn’t want it to sound like he was putting the pressure on anyone to buy his course.

The other likely reason his sales letter was a bit lacking, is that he was still working on it the night before launch. Of course we can’t totally blame him, after all he did the entire project in 90-days from start to finish, which is almost a superhuman feat.

Unfortunately, he left out a few key pieces of information which have now been added to the sales letter (and he’s revamped much of the page). Here are the most important changes…

  • There will only be 432 copies of the program made EVER.
  • There is an easy 3-month payment plan.

    He also added some more killer fast mover bonuses (still available today):

  • You get 2 tickets to the Internet Marketing Main Event II
  • You’ll get 90 days of access to Sterling’s personal cell phone for JV coaching when you need it.

    The lessons learned:

    Do your sales letter first. I discovered this advice in an ebook from Mike Rasmussen awhile back. It sounds extreme, but it’s so important. Your sales letter WILL take you longer than you expect (especially if you do it right).

    If you’re new to product launches, you should have an expert take a look at your sales letter before you spend days or weeks creating the product itself. If your sales letter is not compelling enough, then you need to spend more time on it, or reconsider whether the project is even worth your time.

    In general, I will not even consider promoting a product unless I’ve seen the sales letter first (Sterling was an exception because nobody’s ever done what he did). So another reason to do your sales letter first is to sell the idea to potential JV partners.

    Lastly, don’t forget to create urgency and/or scarcity. I’m not talking about hype, but there must be a genuine reason to buy now. It’s not about high-pressured sales tactics. It’s about truly believing that your product will help people so strongly that you want them to buy it, and you give them a good reason to buy it.

    Another example for us to look at:

    Yesterday John Delavera launched TurboNiches, which is a collection of seven new private label products. He didn’t have anywhere near the hoopla and buzz leading up to his launch, compared to JV Formula. In fact if you look at the Alexa ratings you’ll see that the site never received a single visitor until about three weeks ago.

    alexa rating

    However, John is known for his niche products, and had no problem getting a handful of JV Partners. I happen to be on his JV partner list, and seeing the rankings from his contest I can tell you that these are not your top guru’s like Sterling has promoting his site. These are lesser-known marketers (with a few exceptions), and yet they managed to drive a ton of visitors to his site on launch day.

    By my calculations, he did $43,340 of sales on launch day. That’s front-end sales only, not counting any backend sales he may have made as a result. With backend sales included, I’m sure he probably outsold JV Formula.

    How did he do it?

    Was his product better? No, that wasn’t it, because Sterling’s product is one of the best we’ve seen lately in this industry. Did he have more JV partners? I don’t think so.

    I believe the difference was urgency and scarcity. You see, Delavera’s sale is centered upon those two concepts.

    For one thing, the price is going to go up at the end of today (that’s urgency). For another thing, he’s only selling 500 copies and he makes that very well-known on the page (that’s scarcity). In fact, it was nearly halfway sold-out by the end of the first day.

    I hope you enjoyed this review, and more importantly I hope you learned something that you can apply to your own business.

    As always you can leave comments here in the blog entry.

    Have a great day!

  • 14 thoughts on “A Lesson About Launch Days

    1. Gail

      Thanks for the heads up on this one. I’m on John’s list but not an email that I use everyday, so I would have totally missed this. I love John’s stuff and use JVM. In just skimming over the sales letter, I was impressed enough with the quality, I purchased before reading the whole sales letter!

    2. Barbara King

      $997 was probably out of most folks reach. I’d like to see someone do the same project to help newbies to find JV partners and at a reasonable cost. I don’t know what’s in the members area, the course may be outstanding, but I hope $997 is not the wave of the future for products that would appeal to the internet marketers. Maybe there will be a Phil that has expertise in JV’s that will come along and do it and beat the socks off those trying to make themselves a millionare overnight.

      I would think that more sales would have been preferable to selling less at a higher price.

    3. Eric Post author

      Gail- You’re welcome, and I agree…John’s a professional.

      Barbara- After talking to Sterling and seeing how much he poured into this product, I wouldn’t want him to sell it for any less…not to mention the sheer cost of all the production for a physical product this size. However, you bring up a very good point. There is a much bigger market for a lower price point, and I’m sure someone will come up with a competing product eventually (maybe me, but don’t hold out for it…), but I can’t imagine that it would be as comprehensive.

    4. Barbara Martin

      Dear Eric,

      I agree with what Barbara King said that the price was out of most people’s budget. The ones that really need the info are the ones who can’t afford $997. I am very disappointed with the price. I was really looking forward to this info. I thought we had a guy who would be willing to help newbies but I guess not.

    5. Eric Post author

      Hey it’s the two Barbaras 😉 Sterling is definitely willing to help newbies. He provided a good deal of free content (like the JV mistakes ebook) and the teleseminars that he did with myself and others.

      I totally understand that a lot of people simply can’t afford it, but I don’t think he’d be justified in selling such a big course for any less.

      Another way to look at it is this… hundreds of people spend $1000 on going to seminars and they don’t flinch at the price. These are people who otherwise “can’t afford” $1000, but they scrape together the money and go to the seminar anyway because they believe it will change their life.

      But then what happens? Most of the time those same people don’t do anything with the information they get at the seminar and it was a complete waste. Or worse, they become “seminar junkies” and start going to every seminar hoping that the next one will be their big break.

      Unlike a hyped up seminar, where it may be hard to seperate the “pitch” from the real info, JV Formula contains the real life strategies of 50 successful JV marketers.

      $1000 for JV Formula is like investing in an education. At the low-cost community college near my home it costs $1000 just for a few classes. JV Formula is like a college business course that isn’t taught at any other university in the world…so naturally the price should be a premium.

      But again, I understand your disappointment, and I do empathize with those who can’t afford it. However, keep in mind that Sterling himself said that you don’t have to buy his course in order to succeed at JV’s. Obviously myself, and Sterling, and everyone who’s come along so far has figured it out without his course.

    6. Ben

      I think that part fo the problem was that someone will only purchase a course of that expense if it is radically going to change the way that they do business. I actually think that for a newbie, the course is useless, as they are not even up to the stage yet where they need JV partners. This is as opposed to an Adsense product or your Motivated Marketing course which can actively help you to make money from day 1.

      As you say, it is likely that the sales-letter was not strong enough on the emotions. Without pulling on somene’s emotions, but trying to appeal to someone’s logical decision making, he would have a great difficulty. Although I do buy high-priced items, I only buy them when they will definitely make back the purchase price for me very quickly.

      It would have been great to also see a comparison with Andrew Fox’s Domainating Adsense which was also launched on the same day.


    7. Michael Holdcroft

      Butterflly Marketing started the $997 price tag and makes everybody believe you are on the fast track to making a million within a month by offering a deal like this. You are certainly right on one thing, there are enough people willing to pay the price and waste it.

      One remarkable point you made was “In general, I will not even consider promoting a product unless I’ve seen the sales letter first “. What you are saying is, regardless of how good or bad a product is, how it is sold is more important.

      This must be true because I got a mail yesterday about another PLR offer which is not doing at all well (something like 144 copies from 500 sold after 14 days). The writer offered a $100 rebate on the price which was already up to $247. Up to this point I had not heard anything about the offer.

      In the long run, I tell you there are other points which are more important. Customer support is one main thing where most people do miserably or fail at.

      A second point is, personal contact with your customers. Yes, I know that is not easy, but I can’t count how often I have sent an e-mail or support ticket to the person running things and either get a canned answer, someone else writes “sorry, he’s not available right now” or quite often, no answer at all.

      Like most businesses, you want to make your one time customer into a regular. With miserable or non-existent customer support and disregard of their personal views and problems you will fail. Once your name is down the drain there is no way you will get it back up, and more than likely you would never even know why.

      So, in my book the premium $997 price tag is only for a few people and has to not only supply a first class product but also a first class organisation behind the scenes. Somehow I don’t believe that will be the case, but I will never know will I?

    8. Bob

      Hi Eric,

      Having been in the process of learning this business for the past 90 days or so, I’m beginning to catch on to what it takes to become successful. It is very easy for a newbie to become cynical given the apparent incestuousness of the JV part of the business. But Newbies need to understand a basic fact of life regarding business success: If successful entrepreneurs cut special deals for newbies, they would soon be out of business. Valuable information; the kind of formation for which people with a burning desire to succeed will pay serious money; becomes worthless if it falls into the hands of an unscrupulous marketer who then abuses the information.

      This country (The U.S.) is a beacon to people the world over looking to prosper under our economic system. One reason for the success of our economy is our system of copyrights and patents which grant the originator monopolies on the intellectual properties or processes they protect.

      While the written text containing an idea can be protected in this way, the idea itself cannot. Once a “secret” is out, its value to the originator rapidly declines as it becomes more and more widely used. Hence the need for the creation of “Urgency” and “Scarcity”. A newbie who wants to achieve success MUST, FIRST, GRASP THIS CONCEPT and then apply it to his/her own business. There is not better way to make this happen than to price a product or program according to its true value to the committed entrepreneur, i.e., what kind of return can be realisticially obtained from the investment.

      I apologize for the length of this. If you can and wish to use it, feel free to edit it.

      Highest regards,

      Bob Stovall

    9. Eric Post author

      Ben – I can totally understand where you’re coming from, but I think this is where so many newbies are just failing to see that this product WILL radically change their business. Yes products like Motivated Marketing and AdSense stuff are appealing to newbies because it’s easy to understand HOW it will affect their businesses. They need only to read the sales letter to see what the finished result will look like. But something like JV Formula is not so concrete. It’s more like investing in an education, so of course the results will vary, and to a degree you will get out what you put into it. In other words, it depends on your ability to apply its principles.

      That said, I think this is one of the most valuable educations that a newbie could partake in. JV’s ARE for newbies. I think its becoming more apparent that most newbies do not understand the scope of joint ventures, and the many different types of JV partners that could help them advance their businesses.

      As for Andrew Fox’s program, yes I would have liked to have thrown that in the mix too, but I decided to skip it because I’ve promoted several other AdSense products lately and don’t want to burn people out on it…and I’ve got an AdSense related product coming out next month 😉

      Michael- In regards to not promoting a product unless I’ve seen the sales letter… you’re interpretation was “regardless of how good or bad a product is, how it is sold is more important.”

      I’d have to say yes and no. In terms of the ability to make money in the short-term…yes the sales letter is more important than the product. However, this should not be interpreted as me saying I’m willing to promote a poor-quality product as long as it converts. The first thing I look for is a quality product, and if I don’t like it I won’t promote it.

      I was saying this mainly for the benefit of my readers, for two reasons…

      1) If you’re launching a new product, you need to invest time into the sale letter. The product alone will not sell itself (in most cases).
      2) If you’re an affiliate promoting other’s products, it is important to see if they have a sales page that converts, otherwise you may be wasting your time.

      Bob- Thanks for your comments. I agree, and I would take it a step further to say there are very few “real secrets” in this business anymore.

      And as far as the “incestuousness” of the JV aspect of internet marketing…you are right. But I also want to remind everyone, that ANY newbie can become a part of the inner circle if they do the right things (like what Sterling did), AND you don’t have to JV with the big dogs to be successful. If newbies would partner with other talented newbies, they form their own new cliques which will grow and they can become successful together.

    10. Richard Posner

      It is true that a person should market a product based on value. And maybeeeee Sterling’s product is a true value at nearly $1000. Yet the Internet is getting saturated by people claiming they have the Holy Grail of marketing programs or software, and yes, people are smartening up and holding tight to their collective purse strings anytime a pot of gold is on offer.
      Many copywriters and their JV partners feel proud as puddin that they had a slick, takeaway system that seduced wary buyers to let down their collective guard just long enough to be screwed. There are no proven systems because the Internet is a fluid medium. What works today is not valid even six months down the road.
      In the late 1950’s Corning Glass introduced the first Plexi-Glass. One supersalesman gave his strategy to the other salesman at their annual convention the first year after the revolutionary product’s launch. He had far outperformed the runner-up salesmen and these others wanted to get an insight as to how he had done it. He gave them a step-by-step analysis and then went about his business. The next year at the annual convention he once again had attained results far exceeding any other salesman. Why? The first year he shocked each customer by saying, “You want to see glass that doesn’t break? and then proceeded to hit the glass with a hammer. The second year he handed the hammer to the customer.
      My point? I’m not impressed by super successful marketers who teach techniques for riches and totally neglect to teach (because they don’t understand this either) that character-building is an is the foundation for long-term prosperity. While such money-grubbers may make a killing through highly seductive copy which jacks up the perceived value, over time these hyped up promotions will grow stale and the online public will grow acutely cynical.

    11. Eric Post author

      Again I would have to agree with you that the internet is saturated with “holy grail” products. And yes some marketers are proud that they are able to screw people out of their money.

      however, that’s not what I’m talking about when I explain the need for good copywriting (both from a seller’s standpoint, and as an affiliate). It’s not about seducing people into buying a crappy product. It’s about making sure you have good sales copy to sell your good product.

      And I also agree with you that character-building is foundational to your long term success. To quote myself, from the Motivated Marketing Guide which is an ebook I recently wrote…

      “I think it’s important for you to have a good grasp of what your convictions are, and to know what you believe. Your moral compass will direct and undermine everything you do as a marketer, so make sure you’ve got it figured out before you begin the game.”

      That’s one of the main reasons I promoted Sterling’s product so heavily, even though he hadn’t yet finished creating it… I felt he had a strong moral character and resolve to truly help people, and I believe his product is created with that notion at heart.

      Since the launch, I think my theory has been confirmed to some degree, as I’ve already seen Sterling go above and beyond to help people… For example, one of my customers had a problem with his order and was not too happy about it. Sterling went out of his way and spent an hour on the phone with him, and by the end not only was the customer relationship mended, but they had become friends and likely JV partners.

      You’ve got a quote near the top of your website: “Lay hold of something that will help you, and then use it to help
      somebody else.”

      Your site also says, “Success Begins With Self Education”

      Those two statements lead me to believe that we are really thinking along the same lines. Sterling has laid hold of something that will help him (the JV formula) and now he’s using it to help others. And it’s really an educational course. Unlike the softwares and “secrets” and big red buttons, this is not based on some gimmick. It’s based on techniques that wil likely NOT go out of style any time soon.

      If you’ve seen any of the JV Formula previews, you probably saw that Sterling is basically doing the modern day equivilent of what Napolean Hill did decades ago with Think and Grow Rich. And just as the PRINCIPLES of Napoleon’s work have not expired, I expect the same to hold true for Sterling’s course.

      That is not something I can say about most products (including most of the products I promote) and that’s why I felt it important to take the time to make this distinction.

    12. Barbara King

      I sort of resent the idea of being called a newbie. Just because someone does not have extensive expertise in marketing doesn’t make them a newbie. I’ve 20 years experience working as a programming/analyst and have coded more programs than you probably will in a lifetime and probably in more computer languages than you know.

      It is just one area that some folks need that extra advice. So, in the future you should not be so quick to judge those that are a little farther down the internet marketing ladder. Isn’t that where you started?

      Also, Butterfly Marketing was sold at the same price and with the same hype and it still wasn’t working properly two months after hitting the net. So, why should we not be cautious when your sales pitch refers to Mike Filsaime. His promise of no one left behind was just not true. It didn’t matter to him that folks in his forum were on dial-up and that they couldn’t view his tutorial videos. He freebies were a way of making up for the over price of the script he sold. Sure, he was sly as a fox and made a million. I’d rather make mine honestly, and without trying to cover over matters.

      No newbie here,
      Barbara King

    13. Eric Post author

      Hi Barbara, I never called you a newbie…nor was I trying to insult anyone by calling them a newbie. I didn’t really coin the term or anything, it’s sort of an industry term I suppose. You used it in your own comment…

      And as far as judging those further down the ladder, I’m really not sure what you’re referring to?? This entire thread wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be making these comments if I wasn’t trying to help those people.

      I agree you should always be cautious about what you buy on the internet, but in regards to Mike Filsaime not caring about his customers…it’s simply not true. Of course he’s not perfect and he makes mistakes like the rest of us, but he DOES care. I have spoken with him on many occasions and I’m telling you he’s not in this business just for the money. Mark my words: you will not see Mike Filsaime take his money and retire to an island two years from now. He’ll be around helping his customers for many many years to come…


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