Most start-ups have a hard time pinpointing where to start when it comes to their marketing strategies. My experience with one particular startup has allowed me to add a twist to the “norm.”
What better way to build up your name as a legitimate business than by launching a brand new international bestseller? You can instantly gain a competitive advantage and earn credibility with new customers.
Lets talk about instant credibility. This is how you launch an international bestseller.
Power It Up With Your Pre-Launch
The pre-launch phase of a book campaign presents the most challenges. Why? Because you will be deep in the trenches, finding an audience and doing all the prep work that will either drive your campaign or hinder it.
The goal is to launch with a bang. Here are the steps we took, and how you can implement them for your own book launch campaign.
Step 1: Start With a Pre-existing List
Anytime you have a book launch you want to start with a pre-existing list of people who may be interested in supporting you for your launch. The goal is to have at least 5000 people interested before the actual launch comes around.
The goal is to get your audience excited about your launch. We used excerpts and “meaty” sections in the book to entice our audience and encourage them to buy the book.
In each email we sent out, we instructed them on how to purchase. They received a special “bonus” gift if they signed-up on the actual launch day.
Step 2: Set Up Online Events and Invites in Multiple Platforms
Yes, that is right, we had event pages set up all over the web! Here are the three places we used as well as an explanation of why we chose each one.
Eventbrite: We hosted “virtual event” on this site prior to launch day. In order to ensure that our leads were serious, we had them answer questions prior to signing up. The book was written for video creators, so our purposeful actions sought to attract that target audience to our platform.
After opting in, someone would automatically receive an email with directions on what to do come launch day. The following two emails in this campaign encouraged them to invite their friends to participate, as well.
Facebook Event: We created a Facebook event two weeks out and advertised the event through launch day. This page served to update RSVPs on our real launch party and all the happenings the day of the launch.
We also used the event page as a follow up tool to collect feedback from attendees.
Many of them were interested in using the platform right away. The book served as a resource that built value around the Gbox brand and persuaded video creators to get on board.
Most of these creators had video content and they just wanted to be able to sell it using the Internet. Gbox filled that need. Check out our updates from the event page here:
Tweetvite: We used Tweetvite to entice our Twitter followers to participate in our launch. In addition, we created a schedule of tweets for our partners to push out.
A big incentive we used to entice sign ups was a contest with a Go-Pro as the prize. The goal of the invite was to get as many of our Twitter followers as possible to join us for our launch.
We set up eight tweets per day for the five days preceding the launch. These were the same tweets we sent to our partners.
Meetup.com: We have used Meetup in the past to collect partner information and build strategic relationships.
Global Silicon Valley (GSV) was our main promoter for this event. They created an event on their Meetup channel and invited their list of over 180 people to the launch.
In the past we have used several different film meetups to drive our launches. We also set up a Meetup specifically for the launch in Startup Minds, a group I started back in 2009. I am currently the main organizer and the group has grown to 8,000 attendees.
Each person who opted in from each avenue was emailed specific instructions for the event on launch day.
Step 3: The Email Drip Campaign
We sent out 5 emails prior to launch day and 2 emails post launch, in order to share our results.
8 days before the launch: This is an email that you send out to “softly” tell leads about the launch of your new book. This can easily be done through in a “P.S.” section of a blog post email you send out to your list each week.
4 days before the launch: This is another email that peaks their interest and encourages people to invite their friends to the actual launch. We created a couple videos around this maximize the effectiveness of the campaign. The videos encouraged attendance and offered a “sneak peak” of the book.
3 days before the launch: is an email we sent out a few days before the launch to invite the list of over 5000 to our “VIP Launch Party.” They got to see what the event entailed right before their eyes. The GoPro provided and additional incentive to attend.
1 days before the launch: This is an email the attendees receive a day before the launch so they know exactly how to participate in your physical launch. This should have all sorts of call-to-actions.
Launch day: This is an email they receive on launch day so they know exactly what they need to do. This email will give them all the details, plus the trending hashtag information. Don’t forget to create a hashtag on Twitter so you can curate all the content from your launch. Our hashtag was #VideoProfits15.
Post Launch Victory Email: This is for people who missed out and were not able to participate. You want to give them a taste of what they missed out on during the launch. The content should summarize all the fun happenings at the launch into one email.
This email also let everyone know our major accomplishment: that the book earned best-seller status in three different categories. We informed readers and encouraged them to purchase the book!
Step 4: Strategic Partnerships and Sponsors
Face it, you can’t pull off a successful launch alone; it requires a ton of people to pitch in and help out. Gbox gathered a group of different partners to help. Many of our current customers were able to attend, as well. Here is a great blog post from one of them: Hellostage-A Free Lunch.
Step 5: Get Everyone Excited! (Hint: Giveaways Help!)
Flyers may seem a bit old school but they are effective. They have the potential to raise both interest and curiosity. We built hype by posting cool flyers in relevant locations throughout Silicon Valley. We had a great turn out as a result.
Crush It With Your Launch
It is the big day! You’ve already done the prep work required for a successful launch. This should be the fun and easy part. You already built the castle, invited your audience and now they will come support you during your launch. The actual event around the launch should encourage everyone to participate by showing them how to participate. This means, sometime during the event, have them pull out their phone, buy the kindle book and show a Gbox team member the receipt to be entered in a raffle.
Step 1: Facebook Ads that Encourage People to Buy!
We did set-up an organic launch, but we also supported the organic launch with Facebook ads. The Facebook ads went to a special Giveaway we created. This was called the Video Profits Book Giveaway. We sent Facebook leads from to this page and enticed them to sign-up and receive a free Kindle version of the book.
Step 2: Incubator Launch Party!
The actual party was a hit. We were able to become the Amazon number one bestseller in the US, number one in three different categories in Japan, and number one in Australia!
Step 3: Friends, Families and Fools?
We encouraged our entire Gbox team to invite friends and family to the launch party. These people serve to bulk up the attendance and create buzz around your event. We even incentivized team members with an internal contest. The person to bring the most guests received a free Go Pro.
Step 4: Free books and SWAG
Free T-Shirts, books and paraphernalia added to the fun of our event. Our goal was to make sure each and every person left feeling “treated.” When considering giveaways, think of ways you can spread your branding through grassroots marketing. T-Shirts, hats and other branded materials serve this purpose well. If you’re selling a product, you will also want to give away a good number of it. Getting it out there is the first step to selling it.
Step 5: Set-up Giveaway
In addition to free swag, our highlighted giveaway (promoted by your emails, invite sites, social posts and flyers) was a Go Pro Hero. Those who bought the book were entered into a drawing for a chance to win.
The giveaway creates hype before the event and incentivizes people to attend. In addition, it provides something to look forward to during the event. Everyone wants to know who the winner is!
Smile with your Post Launch
Launch day may be done, but the work is not over yet! In order to solidify success and keep the ball rolling, here are the steps that Gbox took to thank attendees and keep people buying.
Step 1: Thank You Cards
Aside from the emails mentioned in the Email Drip Campaign section of this article, every attendee was placed on a new email list and received a special “thank you” soon after the launch party. This email is an important one because while most emails are all about you and your launch, this one is all about THEM (the readers and attendees). When you write this email, make sure to mention highlights of the event and thank specific people directly.
Step 2: Offer and Upsell
During launch day consumers could purchase the book for just 99 cents. Those who purchased were then offered a free gift consisting of a downloadable resource guide. In addition, we used the opportunity to up sell by encouraging buyers to sign up for Gbox (our ultimate goal).
Step 3: Free Book with Paid Shipping
Post launch we decided to offer a free paper copy of the book to anyone willing to pay for the cost of shipping. We continued to promote this deal to our list via emails. By offering this option, those who want a hard copy have an incentive to purchase quickly (before the deal ends!).
Step 4: Keep the Momentum Going
Gbox continues to promote our book via targeted ads and our ongoing email blasts. Each week our list receives an email promoting our newest blog. We use the “P.S” section to remind readers to purchase the book if they haven’t already. In addition, we use creative social posts like quotes from the book and then link to the Amazon purchase page. Steps like these ensure that people are continuously hearing about “Video Profits.”
Step 5: Speaking Engagements
Being an author sets you up as an authority in your field. Gbox utilized this power by seeking out and procuring speaking engagements after the launch of our book, “Video Profits.” These engagements continue serving to further spread the word and build our credibility in the field of online video selling.
Check out these photos from a very successful speaking engagement at Soho House!
Throwing a successful launch party is a major accomplishment. For a brand new start-up to reach bestseller status is phenomenal, and the credibility gained the company earns is priceless. We at Gbox are incredibly proud of this newest success, and we hope that many more start-ups will take advantage of the opportunity to launch bestselling books.