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I create holistic, sustainable paper goods for socially-conscious changemakers who give a damn.
Shop owner, online educator, and activist.
I’ve worked in social media and online marketing for almost a decade, and I’ve gotten to watch my clients launch dozens of products. I’ve been part of 5 and 6 figure launches, and seen my client’s products on the shelves of national retailers like Target, Whole Foods, Anthropologie, and Sephora. Having a successful online shop was something that catauplted me into this work almost a decade ago, but last fall, after not having as much time to dedicate to my own endeavors the past few years, I decided to pivot my business away from client work to focus my energy once again on my own shop and products. One of my biggest goals with doing this was to finally launch my dream product and something my customers had been requesting for years: a spiral-bound planner featuring my best-selling design, The Daily Page.
This was so exciting, not only because it was literally one of my dreams coming to fruition, but because I got to take all the things I had learned from past experiences working with my clients and put it to work for something I created myself. When all was said and done I had not only successfully executed a 5-figure product launch and rolled directly into another 5-figure launch the following month, but I also ended up having 5-figure income months for 6 months in a row (and counting)! And it’s not just about the money, since partnering up with One Tree Planted in December my shop has helped plant more than 2,000 trees, too.
I learned so much from the experience, and today I’m sharing 5-Lessons from My 5-Figure Product Launch that just might help you successfully launch a dream product of your own. Below are some key points from this episode, but press play above to hear it all with more detail.
A big launch is great, but the more orders you have, the more customer service messages you are likely to get. Whether it’s a simple message asking when their product will ship, how to download a digital file, or the best pen to use with their new planner, you’ll probably notice that if you get a question once, you’ll likely get it ten more times. That’s where templates, or canned responses, can come in very handy and save you a ton of time. I know it’s easy to procrastinate doing this (honestly…I did for years), but you’ll save yourself so much time and stress if you set up templates or canned responses to your 10 or 15 most common questions so that when that question lands in your inbox all you have to do is hit paste. Bonus points if you set it up in a way that can be used universally across all platforms and devices! Email! Instagram! Facebook! Your contact form! This tip is great not just for online business owners, but for any business owner who is indundated by questions through every possible form of communication (which I think is all of us, right?). Tune in to the episode to hear how I set this up and how it’s helped me maintain my 5-star customer service rating on Etsy, of course, along with the use of the best Salesforce solutions.
When you create a product you get to see the process from start to finish, and there are a lot of amazing things about that…but one of them is the opportunity to pay attention and watch for places you could increase revenue or diversify your income.
Creating The Daily Page Planner meant creating a lot of PDF files. I realized that they could easily be converted into instant downloads, iPad files, and printables in a matter of seconds. So, I converted some of my designs into digital products that people can download and print at home or use on the tablet. One of them is simply The Daily Page layout with a margin along the left side so that you can do a 3-hole punch to put into a binder. A simple addition to my shop that probably took me less than 20 minutes start to finish, but guess how much revenue I generated JUST from this single digital download?
The answer is about $30,000.
The potential for additional revenue is going to be hiding ALL OVER your product launch, and one of the best lessons I learned was to enjoy getting to be involved in the process from start to finish — it’s one of the perks of being a small business owner — and to keep my eyes open for where these opportunities might be hiding so that I can utilize them. If you don’t feel like you’re great at this consider partnering up with another business owner and looking over each other’s processes to see if there’s any extra revenue hiding in there!
I know a thank you note might seem “old school” but I’m a firm believer that they should be part of our modern marketing strategies. Not every business owner has the opportunity to place all the information they want directly into their customers hands, so if that opportunity presents itself in your business you should take it. The secret is that it’s not just a thank you note: it’s also your opportunity to tell them what and who they are supporting, how you prefer to handle customer support questions, where you most appreciate reviews, how they can connect with you online moving forward, and so much more!
This is kind of funny because this lesson seems like it should be so simple, but I actually have SO MUCH to say about it that I had to take this section and turn it into its own episode. So, plan to tune in to episode 031: The Power of a Thank You note (live on March 19th!). I’ll walk you through the 7 things to put on your Thank You note, how to design your own for free, and where I have mine printed.
Another huge lesson that I took away from my launch was trusting my gut and not being afraid to do things differently. From creating a Facebook Event on a whim, deciding to tie my business to a cause, or taking huge design risks I did not hold back when it came to stepping outside of my comfort zone with this product launch, and I’m so thankful for that!
A launch can be scary, and sometimes that can make you want to crawl into your comfort zone and stick to what you (and your industry!) are familiar with. But as the saying goes the riches are in the niches and creating a truly one-of-a-kind product requires taking risks. My planner had unique features in the design, but also in the fact that it is rescyable, sustainable, and that we plant a tree for each one sold (my shop has helped plant over 2,000 trees to date!).
Fortunately, most of the risks I took were well-received and ended up being some of my customers favorite features of the planner. Which I know thanks to lesson number five…
I am so incredibly thankful that I took the time to do this! I waited a couple weeks after shipping to allow customers time to try the product, and then I just created a simple survey using Google Forms and emailed it out to those people on my email list who were using The Daily Page Planner. Their responses got automatically fed into a Google Spreadsheet where I could review and analyze their feedback. Google forms is free and super simple to set up and use.
The responses you get to a customer survey are literally a treasure trove of valuable information. Here are a few examples of what you might glean from them:
I took a lot of risks with the planner, but my customer feedback survey helped confirm that I was on the right path. That things I was worried people might not like turned out to be their favorite features. That the things that were important to me were also important to them. And that standing out and doing things differently helped me create a unique product that can carve out it’s place on the shelf.
Tutorial: How to Set Up Text Replacement on your Phone iPhone Keyboard Shortcut tutorial
Product suggestion: Permanent Clipboard Chrome Extension for creating canned responses within Google Chrome
(I use these two because I have an iPhone but a Windows computer. If both of your devices are iOS you should be able to have your text replacement settings sync across between both your phone and computer)
Product Suggestion: Set up a Google Form and includ the link to the form in an email to collect customer feedback easily and for free.
Support the show: Take 15% off your order in my Etsy Shop by entering code PLANPODCAST at checkout.
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