Product Launch: Soft Launch & Filling The Gaps In The Market With Fred GleeckLance Tamashiro
Hey, this week it's been all about, actually, it's all been about you and us, really. People should know that are listening to the podcast that Lance, as we've told you in the past, Lance and I discovered each other via my client, Bill DeWees, who's a voiceover artist. One of the things that we're collaborating on is the creation of some tools that can be used by voiceover folks and I thought that rather than talk about this offline, we would actually talk about it online and let people listening to the podcast sort of glean from what it is we're doing.
Here's the interesting thing is we've got a core group of over 11,000 people who are on YouTube on Bill's YouTube channel that are voiceover artists. As we have created some of this material, it's become very obvious that many of these people really need and want a professional website like Bill DeWees has.
Finding a Gap
One of the things that we're doing is creating some tools for these voiceover artists. Among them is sort of a templated, pre-done website. What I've been doing is, with the recent launch of the membership site for Bill, which we know have, I think, about 160 people in there.
I've been teasing the fact that if you're thinking about a website, don't do anything yet. What we've decided to do is what we call a "soft launch". Because we're dealing with technology, this is how we do it. Why don't you explain to people what a soft launch is?
The first thing is that I think that the real important part about this case study and even us talking about it for people is that the whole idea of how we came about this was we saw a need. This isn't a niche that I'm in. This isn't even a niche I know anything about. The voiceover thing I know because of the Fiverr stuff, but I'm not good. I'm not a big name or anything.
One thing that I noticed was I started taking classes in voiceover and Bill DeWees says, "You need to have a website. Doesn't have to be an expensive website, doesn't have to be a fancy website, but it has to be a website that has XYZ information." I go, "Well, I need to have this to do voiceover. Fine. I'll go do it." I know how to make websites, but I go and look at his and I'm like, "I don't know how to make that type of website necessarily." I click at the bottom and I see that I can have somebody make a one-page website for $2,500.
That's a lot of money and the first thing my brain said was, "For $2,500, I could have these guys make me this website or I could hire a programmer to make me a template for this website." Same cost. I could probably get a programmer to do it for cheaper, honestly.
I go to a programmer, happened to work with one, and say, "How hard would it be to make a template for this?" "Oh, not a problem. I can just do that."
Get THAT Made!
I think the point is that there's all kinds of niches where people need stuff and we don't even realize it. Whether it's marketing, websites, tools, whatever. To be honest, in the voiceover niche they don't want to worry about their damn website.
They're told that they need to have one, which they do, but they want to focus on their equipment, their skill, their craft. They could probably all go figure out how to program and make one, but that's not the point.
Phase Out Your Product Launch
What we're doing with it is we've come up with a system to deliver it, to have it all made for everybody, to keep it simple and rather than roll it out to the public we're going to phase it out. We do this with our software, we do this with our websites. What you do is you get a group of people that you know are going to buy it and here's the thing.
You want to get basically beta testers. Beta testers, testimonials, and honestly, we don't have all the features ready. We don't even know what the features are. Why anticipate what the features should be when they'll tell you? You get a group of people, you put out a limited number so you know you're going to sell them out. Those people get in at a cheaper price, they get to test and make sure the system works before you get a bunch of people in there.
they get to give feedback about what it should or shouldn't have or what's working or what's not working. For that discount or whatever that special offer is, they're a little more flexible. They understand there's going to be some more hiccups. They get to be a part of the development process.
We will probably going to end up selling this at around just under $1,000, but we want to get 20 people who are in the membership site and sort of give them the advanced opportunity to be one of the first 20 people. I'm pretty sure that we'll get all 20 from the membership. I'd be shocked if we don't.
I've told the group that there will be an announcement on Monday. Monday will be the opportunity for them to get this thing at 50% off and only 20. The idea being that we get the 20 people. They go through their paces, etc, etc. In doing that, that "soft launch," it allows us to get some people who get excited about the product.
They're excited about the price that they're getting. They're willing to give us feedback.
One of the things that I always like to say to people is, "Hey, we're dealing with technology here, so please understand things may not go perfectly. Please be understanding of that." That's key because every time I launch something that has to do with technology, I always end up remembering that after the fact.
Yes. Technology stuff is the hardest thing to launch. It's definitely one of those things that if you can come up with something else, it's better to not be in the technology segment. Just happens to be where I landed.
Guerilla Marketing Pre-Launch
I think that a lot of people go about this wrong. Especially on Facebook and in these private groups. There's a private group for the members that this is going to be launched to. I happen to be a member of it as well.
Here's what I did. I happened to check the group out and I saw that people had been asking about the websites and I saw you teasing it, which is an awesome lesson for people. If you've got a group and people are asking for something and you've got something coming that's a great thing to do.
Then what I thought was, "Well, nobody knows who Lance is. That could be a problem when this launches." What I do? I'm like, "Well, shoot." The stars kind of aligned for me because something happened for me in the voiceover world that sort of was related to what they were talking about. It doesn't matter if something serendipitously happened to you or not. I went in and just said, "Here's a tactic that you can use and here's how you do it."
To be honest, I was shocked. I didn't know that anybody cared. I figured everybody knew that tip. What's second-nature or obvious to you is never obvious to other people.
The interesting thing is that as Lance was doing this he was basically setting himself up for the future when he's giving people this great tip and they go, "Wow, that's an idea I haven't thought of before." Now when I come back and say, "By-the-way, the guy who's launching this thing that's going to be for the first 20 people, you've heard from him. He's actually in the group. It's Lance," they'll go, "Oh yeah. That was the guy who gave that great idea about the ID3 tags." I don't know exactly what it is myself.
Yeah. It kind of just happened to work out. I didn't know if people knew about this tip or not. I put it in there with what happened to me. All of a sudden, it was crazy. I'm like, "Wow, I wish people would be that happy when I post pictures of my dog and me." People started responding.
Two Things Happened
The first was people said, "I don't know what you're talking about. Can you give me more information?"
The second thing was people said, "I know what you're talking about. Can you show me how to do it?"
The first thing I did was I went to YouTube and I did a search for exactly what I talked about and a million results came up. I picked the first one and I'm like, "I'm just going to go post this, then I don't have to make a video." I'm actually in there with it ready to post, I'm about to hit the button and I go, "Wait a minute. If I do that, then they're going to go follow this other guy and they're going to get his information."
Then what I did was I said, "If you wait until tomorrow, I'll make you a video." Then I just got on my computer, that's what I do. I just captured the screen, made a quick video, and now all of a sudden it's personalized. It was for them. They understood it was for them.
This is how you market yourself and it doesn't mean you've got this evil genius plan, it just means giving value is what really separates you as a marketer.
Yeah, and more generally then, I think for a podcast listener, is this brings up a few different points.
Number one, and you're not a big fan of this, but other people use it effectively. We're using it. I'm not really sure of the effectiveness yet, but having Facebook groups that are restricted based on a membership site provides people with an additional place to get together. All of our members now, over 150 people, are in there introducing themselves and talking
Then, as you're in there talking about something that is of value to them and we're setting you up to then give people the release of this website product that they will then get excited about, it brings up a few things.
Facebook group may be a good idea. If not, there is also other things like other kinds of forum software that you can use, correct?
Yeah. I mean, there's forums, groups. I'm kind of coming around on all of this stuff. It was eye-opening to me to see the response. Quite honestly, I didn't know things were happening on Facebook like that.
The part that I don't like about having a group on Facebook that is tied to something paid is technically it's against the terms of service. Okay, big deal, but what always scares me is if it gets shut down, you lose all of that stuff.
I'm always afraid to sell something or add something in where I don't have control of it. Just to lose the content would be disastrous.
Missing A Launch Deadline?!
Let's take this a little bit further, you're working on creating this piece of software that's going to be a plug-and-play website system specifically for voiceover artists that we're going to try and launch, hopefully on Monday.
It's going to sound kind of cheesy if I go back on Monday and go, "Folks, it's not quite ready yet." It will really sound like I'm teasing them. What do you suggest? I understand technology can't always work as you want it to in the time frame you want, but if it isn't ready on Monday, what do I say and how do I justify it?
The way that I would approach it is say, "I know I've been telling you about this. We've got an extra-special discount because I have mud on my face." Then we work that out. If you get caught in that position, I think the first thing is try not to promise. Obviously unforeseen things happen.
The reason why I said Monday, by-the-way, is you told me Friday, so I added a weekend.
Exactly. That's what I was going to say is give yourself some time because you always look good if you come out before you said. You look bad if you come out after. If it happens, own it and then add something. Yeah, it's going to turn off some people, but the truth is most people get it.
I think that's what happens with too many marketers in every niche is they get this ego thing about themselves that they're supposed to be perfect and that the people that follow them think they're perfect and the truth is you relate a heck of a lot more when you're not perfect. None of us are. Be that.
Premeditated Launch? I HOPE So!
My only concern is that they might think that this was a thought-about-in-advance tactic.
Yeah. I mean they're allowed to think whatever. I think at the end of the day if you have a service that's valuable and here's the other thing we've been talking about as we have been leading up and building this is we know what the market is.
The Market Left A Huge Gap
This is a strategy that we have used throughout our entire career.
We've got Backup Creator, which does backups and cloning of WordPress sites. We weren't the first backup software. When we decided to do that what we did was we went and looked at the market and we said, "There's four other competitors on the market. Every single one of them sells at $197 or $297 with a recurring fee on top of it. There's a huge gap in the market."
What did we know about those people? They can't lower their price.
They can't lower their price because they've got too many customers. We knew they had too many customers, so what we did was we said, "We're going to undercut them.
We're going to come in at a lower price with a better product. We're going to incorporate all of the things that they don't have into our product."
We've done the same thing with the websites, right? We went and looked at it. They're charging $2,500. Everybody's charging $2,500 for this simple website. It has a flaw. The flaw is it's missing a vital piece that is needed in it. What did we do? We'll just add that piece in and charge less.
Now all of a sudden, they can't compete with us and we know there's a market. No matter what market you're in this is a strategy you should be looking at as far as to gain a bunch of market. You can always raise your price later. You can never lower it.
Let's switch gears for a second and talk about another one of my clients and I think that this will really help people listening, Tony, who is Travel Scrooge, and he's the guy who shows people how to travel in champagne fashion on a beer budget. He's tagline is, "Bah humbug to overpriced travel." He's got a little thing that I suggested he do on YouTube called, "The Daily Travel Minute".
Tony, he's one of my clients, and we're helping him to create this. I think I said last time we talked that here's a guy that I met with, this June it will be two years ago. He had all these great intentions of doing things right away and he's now finally getting around to it and I give him a lot of credit for sticking with it.
Tony is now creating this program and one of the things that you talked about last time with me is travel is such a broad area. If you're listening and you have a broad niche like you have weight loss or income building, something big like that, you have to kind of small it down.
Lance and I were talking and one of the things we talked about is, he's got a buddy who lives next door who goes to Disneyland more often than he should and he always goes to these sites that show him how to finagle around Disneyland so he can get in there and get everything done real quick. I said, "I thought, what do you know a lot about?" Then I thought, "Wait a second. I don't even need to ask that question because he's been talking to me repeatedly about meeting him with my family in Cancun because he knows this guy at the hotel." I said, "Look, there's a ton of people that go to Cancun every year. Why don't we create a program specifically for people going to Cancun?"
Now my question to you is, okay, so the first thing I told him, though, "Tony, we can't really sell the Cancun program until we build a decent-sized list." Let's talk about putting the cart before the horse and what should he do? List building first? Individual product, Cancun first? What do we do?
A couple of things. The first thing is I was actually checking out his site and I was impressed because with no followers, just starting to put up videos cold, there is views. He's already getting views which means a couple of things. Either he's promoting it somewhere or he's getting found in the search, which is even better. That was the first thing I looked at and saw.
Paid YouTube Channels
The second thing, which is down the road, that you guys should look into is something I've only seen one other person do and I subscribed to it just to see it is that you can now have paid channels on YouTube.
He was basically teaching how to do stuff in Adobe Edition. It was free for years. He built this huge following. All of a sudden what he did was I got this notice and he's like, "Oh, for the real stuff it's over in this thing and it's $3 a month." I signed up. It was a seven-day trial. I've now been in it for three months. Don't know if I've ever even went and looked, but I'm getting dinged for it. Every time I went and looked, he's got a couple hundred people in there.
My thought is, especially with YouTube stuff, is once you build this thing up big enough, you can make a separate paid channel that is tips for each specific thing. You don't have to update it.
Leverage Existing Contacts
Here's what I would sort of be inclined to do because you mentioned he knows the hotels and he knows the people. I would try to work a deal with them in one of two ways.
One, let me put my fliers on your desk about this thing that I do to the people that are already there so that when they leave your hotel, they're still thinking about you. I'm going to promote your hotel. I'm going to promote your services. Let them build the list.
What do you know about those people? They already like that hotel. They already do this.
The second thing would be, "Can you give me a discount to anybody that I send to you?" Now, not only do they like your hotel and you're telling them to come follow me on my YouTube to find out more about stuff that can happen, they also get a discounted rate. Even if it's $10 a night, you know, nothing, for people that he sends them. That way the hotel's building your list for people in Cancun, but also your list of people that like to travel.
Yeah. My thinking, though, in the case of Bill the voiceover guy where we've been going for five-and-a-half years and we now have 11,000 people, the largest following of any of the voiceover artists, I said to Tony, I said, "What we really have to do first, it feels like to me, and maybe you can talk about this in your experience on how you've done this with clients and people that you've worked with, but my first thing is we need to get going with building our list."
That list will include a YouTube channel following list. It will include a Twitter following. It will include a Facebook group, et cetera, et cetera. We want to build our list and we want to build it in different areas because some people are more Facebook people, some people are more YouTube people. Am I right in your eyes of thinking that the first thing that we have to do is get a bunch of people following?
Podcasting Traffic and Exposure
Yeah, I think get a bunch of people following him. The other thing that I've been doing, and I know you've probably seen a little bit of this, is my podcast, I decided a couple weeks ago I just want to blow up my podcast.
I want to list on iTunes. I want to be on people's phones . I thought, "I've been sort of dabbling with this podcast thing for years." I mean, my list listens to it, but I'm not getting new people because of it.
This is something he can do as well. I started contacting other people in my niche. This is weird. I didn't know what was going to happen. I just said, "Well, I want to get more exposure, so how do I do that?" I always heard you've got to give stuff so I started contacting other people in my niche I had never heard of and just saying, "Hey, will you come be on my podcast? Will you come be on my podcast?" Everybody said yes and so far everybody's shown up.
Here's the thing that I didn't realize was going to happen. Every one of these people, every one of them after the show said, "Let me know when this is going to go live because I'll send it out to my email list. I'll put it on my Twitter account. I will Facebook it." Every one of them. It's like I'm getting a bunch of benefit.
First of all, easy content. I'm getting more exposure to people that I have never had exposure to and I've been doing this for six years now. I've never been able to walk up to somebody and say, "Hey, will you mail for me?" They're always like, "No, I'm not going to mail for you. I'll mail for my own stuff."
It's About Them
This podcast thing, everybody is like, "I'm ready to mail. I'm ready to send it out to my following," because it's about them. It's about them and it builds my thing.
Even in the last two weeks, I've gone from 37 reviews from iTunes, being nowhere in the searches, to I think this morning I think it was 100 likes and 60 reviews in two weeks from other people promoting my show.
I asked how I could help you as well and you may want to explain to people why our decision was to make this a subset of your podcast as opposed to a separate podcast. Explain that.
Yeah, I mean well part of it was we were initially going to start this whole, new thing and that was fine, but there was no following. There was not traction. I already had my list and I couldn't fit it, honestly, into my own list promotion to mail that out. I just didn't have a date to say, "By-the-way, here's this other podcast to listen to." It made sense to do that.
On top of it, this other thing that I had just been talking about, these interviews started. I saw where it was going to go and so it was like, we could either do this separate thing or we can leverage the stuff for what we're doing into this same show. It was like rather than split the audience, why not just bring it all together as one?
You know what, after we spoke last time, I want to do a little bit of blatant self-promoting, but the reason why it's worthwhile for people to listen to what I'm about to say is this. Over the past 30 years, I've done well over 2,000 interviews with business professionals. I realized, after we got off the podcast last time, I said, "What is it I'm particularly good at?" I have this document on my computer on the desktop that says, "My Revenue Sources." I keep thinking, "What is it that I'm better at than 99.9% of the people out there?" For years I've had this site, ExpertInterviewer.com.
I have learned how to do that really, really well. Whenever I watch Fox News or any of these different, CNN, whether it's Anderson Cooper moderating a debate, I say to myself, "You know what? I could do that as well." Some people I can't say better than, some people I do, but others I say, "I can do it as well as him or her." I think that there really is something to be said for looking at what you can really do already really, really well. Expert Interviewer is a site that years ago I put together with the famous Terry Dean.
Terry interviewed me back in, what was it? I don't remember when it was. Way back. It talked about that. I'm going to update that site, but I keep coming back to the idea that one of the easiest ways to create content ... I always tell people, people always say information marketers or info product creators. You need to create products. Great. You know what? Even if you're Tony Robbins, sitting and talking into a mic with nobody bouncing ideas off you, frankly I don't care how good you are, is boring.
It's boring to listen to. I like to listen to a little bit of back and forth. You and I go back and forth. If somebody's listening to this in their car, they're kind of like, "What's Lance going to say to that? Oh, that's interesting." There is a back and forth.
I did an interview about five or six years ago with a guy who Al Gore claimed to be. His name is Vinton Cerf. If you look him up on YouTube, he's one of the two people credited with having started the internet. He developed TCP/IP protocol. I interviewed him. It was a weird story on how this happened. I hired a crew. If you go to YouTube and put in, "Fred Gleeck and Vinton Cerf," you'll see something that looks 60 Minutes quality because I hired a professional crew to do this video recording. We'll talk more about that later, but I think that the interview process is so critical to creating info products. What do you think?
I'm Mr. Stupid
I agree with you. If it's spoken out, it's so much easier. All of the products we create, they're trainings. For us, it's easier with two of us to do the trainings. One of us is always the lead, the other one's just kind of making sure things were explained correctly or bringing out the part that was wrong. You guys do that as well.
Yeah, and I refer to that as, "I'm Mr. Stupid." I will ask the questions that the person who's listening to the program wants to ask, but is fearful to do so because somebody's going to say, "Oh, that's a dumb question." No. I'll ask them for you.
You know, 90% of the products are trainings that me and Robert put out. We do them because we don't want to get on a call together and usually it's, "Hey, I figured out how to do this. Let me show you." We're like, "Let's not do it on a call. Let's do it where we're getting paid for it." We do the same thing, the Mr. Stupid. That's how we're able to actually build something real because it's normally based around I want to show Robert something or Robert wants to show me something, so, "Why not just set up your podcast, Lance," or, "Set up your income machine, Robert," or whatever and then it's walking them through the process as if they know nothing.
Think about when I first called you on Skype just now. First thing I said was, "Don't talk about anything. Let's just put it on the podcast." Because those are the ideas that people are looking for, I think. A lot of times, training is great, but people oftentimes want to hear what are you really doing. What is happening behind the scenes?
Tell me, what's really going on with your business? What are you doing right now yourself? I think that's why I told you last time that people, and I forget. One of the big marketers did this where they charged people to take a tour of their office and facilities to see behind the curtain. People were paying them a lot of money to see what they really do everyday.