Michael Hyatt’s new book Platform, was available on May 1. But he asked me not to buy it until the unofficial book launch, about three weeks later.
Why would an author ask me NOT to buy his book? It was all a part of the launch plan.
Though I purchased the book and am looking forward to reading it, I’m equally as intrigued by his launch strategy. Here are seven things you could learn from Michael Hyatt and the way he launched the new book.
1. Ask people to do something specific.
On May 1, Hyatt wrote, “I want to ask you to wait until the week of May 21–25, which is the official “launch week.” He goes on to give the specific reason for requesting this specific action. Hyatt didn’t ask people to support the book, talk about it, consider something…he called for a specific action. His request wasn’t vague, it was clear.
Too many times we inform but don’t ask. We tell people we have a mailing list, but we don’t ask them to sign up. We tell people they can make a donation, but we don’t ask them to do it. This isn’t a subtle difference in terminology; it’s an important lesson in clarity.
2. Worthwhile bonuses lead to action.
If you purchased the book during the launch week, you were rewarded with several bonuses, including a six-session video series, a video about writing, two previously available e-books, digital versions of the book, and an audio recording of the book. According to Hyatt, these resources have a value of $375.98. When it comes to offering bonuses, Hyatt got two things right.
First of all, the bonuses were valuable. This wasn’t a free bookmark with the purchase of a book, or a six-page blog post turned PDF. The video and audio resources are arguably MORE valuable than the book itself. If you’re going to give bonuses, make sure they are worth it.
Second, the bonuses were diverse. Some people will greatly appreciate the video series, but as I read through the list, I wanted the audio book. Since I spend a good deal of time in the car, I will listen to this book before I read it. That one bonus made the product more valuable to me.
3. Creating a launch plan is important.
Too many times, we work hard on creating a good product, but but no thought into how to launch or sell it. As Robert Kiyosaki jokes, there’s a reason we talk about best-selling authors and not best-writing authors.
Hyatt and his team created a launch strategy that was both intentional and effective. Tweets throughout the day showed the book climbing up Amazon’s Top 100 list.
I would argue that a good launch plan is nearly as important as a good product. If you’ve got something great, but nobody knows about it, you won’t make much of a difference. From reviews, to the bonus offers, to the Platform Launch Team, great thought and care was taken in the launch of this book.
4. Landing pages are different than websites.
Hyatt created a unique landing page for the book and the special offer. Notice the sidebar isn’t the typical blog sidebar – everything is focused on one thing. The typical plugins and popups are disabled, because the goal of the page is to get the reader to do one thing…buy the book.
When you have a product, event or service that you want to emphasize, create a landing page and drive people to one action. If the idea of a landing page is new to you, I highly recommend this free series from CopyBlogger
5. Deadlines drive decisions.
If you want people to take action, you’ve got to give them a deadline. The special bonus offers were available for one week, and the countdown clock in the sidebar is an effective tool to remind us.
Too many times we create offers and campaigns with no deadline. That means people have no incentive to take action now. Instead, they think, “I’ll get to that one day.” Whether it’s a limited time offer or a price increase, a deadline can actually drive decisions.
Here’s an example of deadlines you could use:
- Parents, sign up your teenagers for student camp. $299 until June 1, then it’s $349.
- Bring in your donations of gently worn clothes before Sunday, May 16.
- To receive a tax donation, be sure to postmark your envelope by December 31.
- Happy Hour is from 4-6 PM.
6. Honest communication trumps hype.
I love that Hyatt clearly explained WHY he is doing this.
“Why am I doing this? Because I want to get Platform on the best sellers list. The best sellers list is tabulated by counting all the books that are sold each week. The book that sells the most is #1, the book that sells the second most is #2, and so on. (I know it’s not a perfect system, but it is what it is.) When a book makes the list, it drives additional visibility. Retailers who initially didn’t stock the book order it. The traditional media becomes more interested in booking the author. People who weren’t aware of the book, suddenly become interested.”
That’s an honest answer and I respect it. I understand exactly what’s going on, and I didn’t feel tricked into making a purchase. People do like to buy, but nobody wants to be sold.
7. No strategy makes up for bad content.
I haven’t read the book yet (but I will read it and listen to it), but based on the reviews, the book is great. I trust many of the people who provided quotes, including Seth Godin, who said: “A generous book from a man who knows what he’s talking about. Michael Hyatt has built a platform, and you can too.”
Too many times, we launch and market something that isn’t any good in the first place. Michael Hyatt created an excellent launch plan, and it seems to be working. If the book is as good as the launch plan, I’ll be happy.
If I could offer one critique of the process, it would be in the product review department. On the day of the launch, the book had more than seventy five-star reviews on Amazon. I might be inclined to give the book five stars as well, but absolutely NO one, two, three or four star reviews seems odd to me.
While asking for positive feedback is great, some people are skeptical of products that don’t have ANY negative or neutral reviews.
Google’s recent ZMOT report learned that a few honest, mediocre reviews don’t heart…they actually make a product or service appear more authentic. Here’s a post I did about what churches could learn from the ZMOT report.
In the coming weeks, I’ll post some notes from the book and do a Two Minute Book Review.