Reflecting on the Small Product Lab Challenge

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This time last week, I was preparing to launch my new workbook: "You Deserve Happiness Workbook: Achieving the Clarity You Need to Have the Relationship You Want." I was uploading the final pdf to the Gumroad and hoping that I wouldn't run into any issues. I scheduled my tweets and Facebook posts using Buffer (one of my favorite social media tools). I emailed my mailing list and pre-order customers to remind them about the launch. The only thing left to do was launch on August 6th.  I've had time to reflect on my first product launch. In this post I'll talk about some of my thoughts regarding this launch and what I plan to do in the future.  

What went well?

I am happy to report that quite a few things went well with this launch. I attribute some of my launch day success to creating a launch plan.  Creating a launch plan was one of the assignments to complete on SPLDay8. This was an extremely helpful exercise that allowed me to think about ways to promote my workbook on my various social media accounts. I designed some images in Canva (another awesome tool) for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that I would have an image to accompany some of the updates that went to those accounts. When I tweeted about my launch date, some of my followers and members of the SPL community helped spread those tweets by retweeting them. A few of my friends on Facebook shared my updates with their friends. In addition to using social media, I sent an email to my family to let them know about the upcoming launch. I encouraged them to spread the word by sharing the email or notifying others of the launch. 

Part of this challenge was about pushing myself to try new things. Gumroad was an entirely new platform for me. I also wanted to experiment with Mailchimp. Using Mailchimp, I could manage the email list for my product and setup an email list for my blog. I created email campaigns to send out to those that followed (joined my email list) me on Gumroad or purchased my product. Gumroad has the capacity to send out emails to your customers and I did use it at first. Mailchimp offers more options for customizing the look and feel of your email. It took me some time to figure it out but eventually I established a template that I can use to build my thank you and launch day announcement emails.

What could have been better?

Even though I consider the launch plan that I created effective, I could have done more to promote my workbook. Promoting my product sooner would have helped. Instead of promoting my product or announcing what I was doing on social media, I didn't say much on social media. I wasn't quite sure what my final product would contain or look like. I told myself that because I didn't know those details that I should wait to promote my product. WRONG! I should/could have been more transparent and shared a behind-the-scenes look into what I was working on. I've heard other entrepreneurs on podcasts recommend creating your landing page with some basic information about your product and collecting email addresses. I was so nervous to try this strategy. I felt like I needed to know everything about my product before I could officially announce it to the world. Now I feel ok with implementing that strategy for future products.

I launched this product without a dedicated audience for it. My blog hadn't been updated in months and when on social media I wasn't talking about anything dating related. I knew that I needed an audience when I started this challenge but I didn't have time to work on creating my product AND building that audience at the same time. Time was a very precious commodity and using it wisely made all the difference.  Would I have liked to launch my product to a larger audience of people? Absolutely. Now, I know that I need to build my audience and draw them in. 

Before this challenge, I very rarely participated in Facebook groups. I had no idea how awesome they could be. The Small Product Lab FB group was very encouraging and supportive. I branched out a little bit and found some other Facebook groups that will help me to build up my audience and network amongst other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. I've heard that Google+ communities can also be a great way to connect with others and I plan on joining some of those communities.

What will I do going forward?

I know that I need to be consistent about growing my audience. I have a few ideas about how I can do that. One idea is to create a content plan.  This content plan will include my social media presence and my blog. I've heard podcasters, bloggers and other creatives stress the importance of being consistent. Showing up when you say you will and doing the work goes a long way. Going forward I am striving to be more consistent in posting content. 

To help me stay on track for creating more content I realized that I need to set deadlines. The deadline for the Small Product Lab forced me to keep going even when I felt like I couldn't or didn't want to. Openly announcing that I am launching something at a specific time is another huge motivator to get things done. 

I am already brainstorming ideas for version 2 of my workbook and ways that I can bundle it with other content. I'm also waiting to hear some feedback from the customers that purchased my workbook. I want to make sure that my content is addressing their needs and helping them. 

I encourage you to try the Small Product Lab challenge. The July challenge has concluded and I think they will have another challenge next month. Follow Small Product Lab on twitter for more information. 

Lastly, have you checked out my workbook? I would love to know what you think.