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Applied Reading: Launch by Jeff Walker (2014)

Jeff Walker is one of the people who invented the packaging of knowledge as products and bought in business through email marketing using a content strategy. He has kindly distilled 15 years of experience into the Product Launch Formula, which he now teaches to others as his main knowledge product. Launch is his book that outlines the formula.

Email is not dead

Jeff thinks that anyone trying to persuade you to go on to social media at the expense of email clearly doesn’t have a list. Those on your email list are farther down the marketing funnel and closer to a buying decision than they are on social media. You know this because it takes more effort and time to sign up to your list and read your emails than it does to read your Facebook post. Jeff has sold $1 million worth of knowledge products in one day before. His very first attempt, with no marketing training back in the 1990s, made him over US$ 30,000.

The Product Launch Formula (PLF)

Now Jeff teaches this in detail, so if it sounds interesting, sign up for one of his courses, but to get us on the same page, here is a summary.

  1. Pre- Prelaunch: This is a soft-sell technique, very similar to Daniel Priestley’s signalling interest technique. You email your list and say “I’m thinking of putting xyz together, might anyone be interested”. It alerts them to an upcoming launch and gives you a chance to do market research or co-create your product.
  2. Prelaunch: Day 5, 3 and 1 before launch you send out emails where you give away content. Videos work very well. Jeff says that the more you give away the more you’ll sell at launch.
  3. Launch: This is launch day, you outline your product and add a big button that allows people to pay you. Keep the launch open for a week, the limited time will trot people through to the buying decision faster.
  4. Postlaunch: Thank everyone by email afterwards and provide a bonus they didn’t expect so that they are delighted. Make sure that you deliver on your product promise or those on your list will not buy next time.

Product Launch Formula (PLF) variations

Starting from scratch: in this case, you need a seed list. That means going through all your contacts and putting them in an excel spreadsheet. Look at people on your social media profiles, get friends of friends. The list will grow with each campaign.

Joint Venture Marketing Partners: This is how you go viral in any part of marketing. We call it “influencer marketing” on social media for example. You are best off doing a launch to your own list first to iron out any bugs and refine the messaging. That means you can show a history of success to your partner and you’ll make them look good to those on their list. Go for a ling term relationship.

What can you do tomorrow?

  1. Give away content in your email marketing campaign, video is best.
  2. If someone else is marketing you, provide them with content (without being asked) and perhaps include any recent news that reinforces the relevance of the content.
  3. You can pull off amazing results in a surprisingly short time, so no need to go overboard if you do it right.
  4. If you are in the knowledge or professional services industry, then consider creating a 10-week video learning course. You can run classes and support with teleconferences. Once you have the assets, the scaling potential is enormous. You can spend a few hours a week and make your yearly salary. PFL is the secret to scaling a knowledge business.


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