“This book will build your business – fast. Whether you’ve already got a business or you’re itching to start one, this is a recipe for getting more traction. Think about it – what if you could launch like Apple or the big Hollywood studios? What if your prospects eagerly counted down the days until they could buy your product? What if you could create such powerful positioning in your market that you all but eliminated your competition? And you could do all that no matter how humble your business or budget?” – Jeff Walker
Walker puts the knowledge gained from 18 years of personal experience in internet product launches, as well as the wisdom of others, into 180 pages of content. That is not an easy task. It is a broad stroke covering a large and hefty topic. Yet, readers seeking to begin an online business, as well as those already experienced in the field, will both find important ideas and knowledge which they can take away from this book.
In his heart and in his method, Walker is an internet email marketer. The main coaching moments of the book are about how to start, manage, and build solid relationships with potential and current buyers on an email list. “If you take NOTHING else from this book but an obsessive focus on building your list of clients and prospects, this book will still be worth 10,000 times what you paid for it.” (Walker, p31)
Squeeze Them Gently
Maneuvering prospects to called “Squeeze Pages,” where potential customer opt in to free offers, is where Walker stands out. His methods for creation, management, driving traffic, and maximizing page results are noteworthy. They are also the largest single segment of his book. His focus remains on using email to drive traffic as this work was originally based upon his successes from 1996 through 2005.
The author takes the reader on a journey of the evolution of email marketing, and how to drive customers to buy. He focuses on a soft sell in his emails. He calls it “the Sideways Sales Letter.” (Walker, p48) The three main components are:
- Personal emails – Use “I” not “we.”
- Providing value – Do not give away the farm, but give valuable free content.
- Have a Conversation – Ask for feedback and needs from recipients.
The Product Launch Formula
After establish a list of prospects, driving them to squeeze pages to provide value and assess interest, the Product Launch Formula (PLF) is then applied as the author’s “selling strategy.” It is also the key to his own personal success. Walker states “the success of this product launch model is due to the integral STRATEGIES that we use, and those strategies are timeless. PLF has withstood the test of time because it’s solidly rooted in the very core of our mental psyche.” (Walker, p60)
His formula address nine human psychological triggers which he states are fundamental:
- Authority – Establish yourself as an authority in your field.
- Reciprocity – After receiving his free content, people feel obliged to buy.
- Trust – Build on the conversation/feedback in multiple emails over time.
- Anticipation – Count down to the launch of the product, the “open cart day.”
- Likeability – Use “I” not “we.” Build a strong personal connection with your list.
- Events – Turn marketing into events. Events pull people in.
- Community – Use the first six triggers, plus social marketing if needed.
- Scarcity – It forces people to make a decision to buy or not.
- Social Proof – Use reciprocity and interaction on a blog to prove value.
These triggers, built upon in order and then layered upon themselves over time, create a synergy. For example: you become a “trusted authority” in your business area; your “anticipation”-generating emails build the mentality of “scarcity.” All of these are designed to direct people to squeeze pages. And, later, to sales pages.
The author acknowledges social media’s usefulness as an addition to email marketing, but not a replacement. “Of course, there are other types of lists in addition to email. You can also build a list of followers on social media sites, such as on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. But as of right now, email still has the real power… at least 20 times more powerful than a Facebook list.” (Walker, p36)
The Formula is Repeatable
Walker’s Product Launch Formula is self-described as “wash, rinse, repeat.” (Walker, p118) After one launch, the reader is told to analyze site and conversion analytics to tweak the idea for a second launch. Perhaps the same product, but improved, based upon feedback from previous buyers. Or, perhaps a derivative of the first product, such as a live webinar, instead of a video presentation.
Useful Information for Any Business
Walker helps round out the book with some smaller concepts that are not related solely to internet marketing, but still very important. He makes the reader ask essential questions: Why are you in this business? How do I attract the clients I want? Are there other “ad on” selling opportunities. How do I find a mentor? How do I find time to continue to learn and grow? Where do I find help when needed? This use of personal introspection helps the reader and build a trust bond with the author as a valuable, well-rounded businessman who can help them achieve greater success.
A Book: The Ultimate Sales Letter
Walker, in writing this book, creates what every marketer dreams of: a very effective long form (very long form) sales letter. And the reader assumes the role of the prospect, without knowing it until the end. Here is how the author did it: detailed or statistic-heavy internet marketing topics are not tackled in the book itself. Instead, the reader is referred to visit his book’s website links for more information.
When they do, the links help form a connection with the reader. The author is a likeable entrepreneur. For specific topics, he provides value via free informative videos. Walker stands out as an authority in his field. And all of this information is given away freely. Thus, in fact, the links contain all of his nine triggers for the Product Launch Formula. By signing in to view more information, the reader opts in to Walker’s email list and starts receiving emails driving them to the author’s own squeeze pages.
Then the realization sinks in: the reader has just been a participant, playing the role of a “prospect” in using the formula. And this may just be the greatest takeaway from the book. It is truly eye opening, and very impactful. The author has very effectively demonstrated his process in action first-hand for the reader. Few books can or have accomplished this aim on such a personal level. His mastery of his craft is readily apparent.