Maybe you've heard the name Jeff Walker. Even if you haven't, you've probably heard of something called the Product Launch Formula. If you've been in business online for any number of years, PLF has become the staple way that people launch their products online. It's also referred to as the “three-video series formula” for pre-launching a product of any kind: a service, a physical product, digital product, online course, training—you get the picture.
PLF has become ingrained in the world of internet marketing and online business, and today, we're talking with the man himself, the legend, Jeff Walker. Jeff “launched” his book Launch in 2014, and it went on to become a New York Times bestseller. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] He recently came out with a new, revised version of the book that updates the PLF formula to cover how to launch products in today's world, with shorter attention spans and shorter sales cycles. This is Jeff's first time on the show, and he's going to share with us his framework for launching a product online today, using the updated and enhanced version of the PLF formula that's been helping entrepreneurs make sales since 1996.
This is a highly valuable episode that I'm sure many folks will want to listen to more than once. Let's hear it all from the guy who created the system that's made over a billion dollars for entrepreneurs.
Jeff Walker is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Launch. He teaches people how to launch online courses, products, services, and brands online. Jeff started his first online business in 1996, and he pioneered the very idea of the online launch. His “Product Launch Formula” transformed the online marketing world from the day it was released in 2005—and Jeff and PLF have never slowed down. Now more than 15 years later, the Product Launch Formula brand is the gold standard in the online entrepreneurial training market. Jeff’s students and clients have done over a billion dollars in launches in hundreds of niches and markets and dozens of countries around the world. Jeff lives in Durango, Colorado (because he can live anywhere he wants), and he loves to get outside for all kinds of adventures. He’s been married to his wife Mary for decades. He’s no longer quite as fast as his kids on skis or mountain bikes… but they still let him come along for the ride.
- How Jeff went from flaming out in the corporate world to making $1 million in sales in one hour
- The three components—stories, sequences, and triggers—that make up the Product Launch Formula
- Why Jeff's team holds a “closing ceremony” at the end of each launch
- What to expect in the revised and updated version of Jeff's NYT bestseller Launch
- How to use triggers like reciprocity, scarcity, and authority to get people's attention
- Everything that goes into the “prelaunch” and “open cart” phases of a PLF launch sequence
- Why Jeff loves live video (and how the “squirrel cam” became a thing)
- How to get audience case studies (and why people love sharing them)
Note: The resources below are affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.
App Sumo & $1 Million Dollars
AppSumo, one of our sponsors, is giving away their entire $1 million Black Friday marketing budget to creators!
If you have an ebook, online course, template, or any other digital product — this is for you. List your product on AppSumo between September 15th – November 17th and the first 400 offers to go live will receive $1,000. The next 2,000 to list a product and go live get $250. And everyone who lists gets entered to be one of 10 lucky winners of $10k!
SPI 507: The Formula for Launching a Product with Jeff Walker
Have you ever heard of the name Jeff Walker? Well, whether you have or you haven't, you've probably heard of something called the Product Launch Formula. If you've been in business online for any number of years, this has become the staple way that people have launched products online. You might have also heard it as the “three-video series formula” pre-launching a product of any kind: a service, a physical product, digital product, online course, training, doesn't matter.
PLF has become ingrained in the world of internet marketing and online business. And today, we're talking with the man himself, the legend, Jeff Walker, his first time on the show, actually, to discuss how to launch a product today, taking the PLF formula that's worked since 1996. He had a book come out in 2014. It became a New York Times bestseller, called Launch. He's just come out with his new book, Launch, which is now the 2.0 version of it, to talk about, how do we launch products in today's world with a shorter attention span and all these kinds of things?
This is a highly valuable episode that I'm sure several people are going to listen to over and over again when it comes to a launch of your product. We go through the whole gamut from start to finish and what we need to do. Of course, this book outlines all the finer details of that. So I definitely recommend you check it out. Let's dive into it after the intro here. Welcome to the show. Here we go.
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And here’s your host. If he was living in France, his nickname would be Pâté: Pat Flynn.
What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Session 507 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. Jeff has been responsible for over a billion dollars worth of sales across all of his students who have used the Product Launch Formula in some way, shape, or form. And today we get down into the details. So this is definitely one to pull out the notepad for when it comes to the launch of your product, or even if you're driving or something, just listen intently, and you can pull out the notepad on a second listen or something.
But Jeff is somebody who I've come to know very well, actually. We've gotten to know each other and see each other a couple of times. One of the friendliest guys I know. And I'm excited because he's coming on dropping some value for you in terms of how to launch your product. So let's just not wait any longer and let's just dive right in. Oh, and check out his book on Amazon too when you get a chance. Here we go.
Jeff, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. It's such a pleasure to have you here finally.
Pat, I'm just really thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.
I think we've dropped your name on the show with several other guests here several times before, because you are known for the PLF formula, the Product Launch Formula and how to launch products, and that's exactly what we're going to talk about today, in context of what's working now because things have changed since back then. I mean, tell me about the origin story of PLF and where this all came from, and even define it for some people.
Yeah. The origin story for me goes way back into the mid-'90s, and I was a stay-at-home dad, at home with a couple of small children, and not because I sold my dotcom for $30 million. It's just because we wanted one of us home with the kids, and I frankly did not do very well in the corporate world. So my wife got out of school and she got a good job, and I left the corporate world without any plan whatsoever.
And that went on for a number of years. This wasn't a fleeting thing. Then at some point, we were hurting for money and wanted to come up with some possible way to make some money. So, I'm going to try to keep it really short, but I started… the one thing, I had a lot of knowledge about the stock market. I had no letters after my name. I wasn't certified in anything. I wasn't a stockbroker or anything like that, but I just had this knowledge. So I started publishing a newsletter about the stock market in 1996.
It was just via email, and it gradually grew through word of mouth. And at some point, I was like, "Maybe I can sell something to these people." But I had no sales or marketing experience. And frankly, I was scared to ask for the order. I was scared to ask for the money. As people had fallen in love with getting this free newsletter, theoretically they’d fallen in love with me, I was worried about what they would think of me. So I thought maybe if I would romance them and give them a lot of even more great free stuff that led into the sale, that might work.
And lo and behold, it did. I did my very first launch in early 1997. And this was all via email. So that's the origins of this whole formula, was it all happened via email back then. And that first launch did $1,650. Everyone's got a different frame of reference for money, but for me, that was huge. And what was even bigger was this idea that people would actually pay me for something that I’d created. I’d just had jobs before that. Then I had this thought that, "Wow, I did that once. I can do it again and again and again, and I might even get better at it."
And that's what happened is, a few months later, another launch that did $6,000. A few months later, a launch that did $8,000. In 1998, the launch that brought my wife, Mary, home was $34,000. Eventually I did a launch that did over a hundred thousand, all via email still. And then I went to a marketing conference and I started talking to people, and I realized what I was doing was not normal back in those days, and ended up helping a few people do launches.
When I say “help,” I mean, I just got on the phone and talked them through some stuff, not like I was a consultant or I got paid or anything, just helping them out, just to be nice. And those people had followings in the marketing world and they convinced me to actually publish this as a course, and I did that in 2005. By then, we were starting to use things like blogs and audio, online audio, and the most rudimentary screen capture video.
So, the story of Product Launch Formula, it's a formula to help you launch any service, product, membership site, online course, coaching program, mastermind, whatever, online. We've just been adding tools to the quiver ever since the early days. It's been a crazy ride. You know, that first launch that did $1,650 was the most important one, but I've done absolutely crazy things. Like, I've had days where I've made a million dollars in sales. It's not every day, but when I do a launch, I've actually had an hour where I made a million dollars in sales in an hour.
And again, this is what we call marketer math. You know, it sounds good. There's always costs involved. There's always refunds, things like that. But still, a million dollars in 53 minutes. It was a pretty crazy thing. It's nuts. It's nuts. But more importantly, you know, I don't want to scare people away when they start to hear these numbers, because they sound crazy and absurd. They’re very real. My students have done over a billion dollars, a billion with a B, in launches. And that's the number that I'm most proud of. But again, it's just one foot in front of the other. It's that $1,650, and then just 25 years of iterating that and getting better at it and figuring things out.
Well, thank you for that, Jeff. I think that perspective is really key to understand that your first launch doesn't have to be that seven-figure launch that we all hear about and hope for, and the media talks about. I think that just getting started, and to make even a few hundred or a couple thousand dollars is huge for your mental, for getting your gears going.
And then, with the Product Launch Formula, I think this is great because now it gives us tactical things that we can do to launch. A lot of times, we spend a lot of time building our audience, and a lot of the people listening are great at that. We spend some time creating a product, and people in the audience are really great at that. But then how do we start selling? I think over time, we've come to learn that PLF has, in some ways, been synonymous with what people call the three-video series. Three videos, and then you launch the thing. But I know it's more than just creating videos. What is really the Product Launch Formula?
I think of it… I mean, I love tactics, but I really love strategy. And the strategy that really drives it comes down to three things. It's stories, sequences, and triggers. So stories, I know you talk a lot about stories. I've heard enough of your podcast where you talk stories a lot. I mean, that's how humans communicate. That's how humans teach. It's how humans learn. You want to be able to tell the story of your product in your pre-launch, leading up to your launch.
And really, it's not the story of your product. It's the story of the transformation that it's going to make for your prospects, for your future customers. Really, it's the story of their future life. That's the story you're telling, in a very big meta sense. There's little smaller stories embedded throughout the launch, but on a meta, big-picture sense, the story arc is really the story of your future customers’ success when they have whatever you give them.
If you're going to teach them to quit smoking, if you're going to teach them to meditate, to find the love of their life, to play guitar, to play soccer, whatever it is, you're transforming their life in some way. You're delivering more pleasure or you're taking away pain. That's what we do as entrepreneurs. Everything comes down to that. Stories are absolutely critical, and this launch process gives you time to tell those stories, to deploy those stories, to use those stories. So stories is one piece.
Sequences. Actually, I'm going to go to triggers first. So triggers is the second one. There are what we call mental triggers. And these triggers, these are things that are inside of our psyche that influence us. And I'm talking about things like authority. If we perceive someone as being a person with authority, they have some authority in whatever the venue is, then we'll listen to them more acutely, more closely.
Scarcity. If we perceive that there's less of something, then all of a sudden our ears perk up. We get really interested if there's only a little bit of something: diamonds, Ferraris, whatever. Community. We will act in accordance to the norms of the community that we consider ourselves part of. Social proof. If we see a lot of people doing something, then, "Wow, maybe we should pay attention to that." Five years ago, no one was paying attention to Bitcoin, but now all of a sudden everyone's talking about Bitcoin. And now, wow, there's a lot of social proof around that.
I don't think I mentioned reciprocity yet. If you give something to someone, they're going to want to give something back to you. So there's all these triggers, and there's a bunch more. One really good book, I didn't read this until long after I was doing this stuff, but it gave me the terminology. I was doing this stuff without knowing it, but it's Influence by Robert Cialdini. In fact, I think he's just publishing an update. This is a book that I read in 2003 for the first time. His name is spelled C-I-A-L-D-I-N-I, Robert Cialdini. Great book. It talks about some of these mental triggers.
So in the launch, it gives you an opportunity to use these triggers. It gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority. In any marketing or sales situation, you pretty much have to establish your authority. Otherwise, people are just not... They're not going to pay attention. Forget belief. They're just not going to pay attention. So usually, that comes really early on in your launch. Then you start to build reciprocity. Later in the launch, you start to build social proof. Even later, you start to use the scarcity.
All of this, the stories and the triggers, we use them in that third piece, which is the sequences. And so, there's four main sequences. There's the pre-prelaunch, the prelaunch, the open cart, and the post-launch. And so, I'm mostly going to focus on, since we only have a limited amount of time, I'm mostly going to focus on the pre-launch and the open cart period. So when you said that few people think of it, like it’s a three-video series. If you've seen the three-video series, you have seen Product Launch Formula, and at some point in its origin, that person reverse-engineered it or they learned it.
Somewhere, it all traces back to my launch that did $1,650 in early 1997. Really, I think of it more as four videos, and they don't have to be videos. They can be emails. They could be podcasts, frankly. I've seen it done with podcasts. You can do it with any media you choose. But these days, most people do video because it's easier for most of us to speak than it is to sit down and write. You can mix it up. You could do a video, and then a PDF, and then another video. You could do live streams. We can talk about that a little bit later.
Let's go back to the three videos or the four videos. The three videos is your prelaunch sequence. I talked about the different sequences. So in your pre-launch sequence, this is all about getting people excited before they can even buy your product. So they are anticipating it. Anticipation's another big mental trigger. Anticipation and ritual, those are big triggers for people. We look forward to births, to weddings, to graduations, to holidays. It's something we do as humans. We crave that.
In your prelaunch, you're building up excitement. You're getting people excited and ready to buy from you when you go live, when you open cart. So that first video is all about the opportunity. You're giving people an opportunity for a better life. At the end of the day, no matter what you're selling, you're delivering some form of transformation in people's lives. And there's an opportunity. They could become the person that doesn't smoke. They could become the person that steps on the first green and hits the ball down the fairway and puts it right into the middle of the fairway 300 yards down. They can become a person who when friends come over and see the guitar in the corner of their room and they say, "Hey, play me something," they can actually pick up the guitar and play a song.
It's about that opportunity to change your life. And I believe showing people they have an opportunity to have a better life is one of the highest services we can do as entrepreneurs. That first piece is the opportunity. The second one's the transformation. And this is where you focus more deeply on how their life will transform.
And one way I think about this is the opportunity is more about... It's like an external idea. The transformation is an internal idea for your prospect. So now they're starting to feel that they can do it. One of the things often in a second video, if you have case studies, we love to use case studies. A lot of people are just starting out, they don't have case studies. That's fine. Don't use them. But second one is all about the transformation.
The third one is ownership, and really having them take ownership over that idea, over that feeling that they can change their life. They can have that meditation practice. They can meet the love of their life. They can learn to skateboard. And then, so that's their prelaunch sequence. And that's typically… you ask about what's working now. In the old days, let's say pre-COVID, everything was different then. The typical prelaunch might be seven to 10 days, and a lot of that has gotten compressed.
So now, often it might be more, three to five. It could be seven days. It could be 10 days. But a lot of times now, we've compressed that down. I've been using sequences that were three days long, and it's sort of like, it fits more with our binge-watching kind of world that we're in right now. So that's your pre-launch sequence, and that leads into your open cart.
One of the things you want to do in that third piece is you want to basically let people know that none of this is about hiding the fact that you're selling something. None of this is about hiding the fact that there's an offer in the future. It's all above board. But like in that third piece, it might be, “You've been watching these videos. If you're still with me, I've been reading all the comments you've been putting in all those videos. I know that a lot of people are really, really excited about having a daily meditation practice. And if you're ready to go deeper and would love to go into my deeper training and work with me, then Monday, I'm going to be opening up registration for a limited period of time for my meditation course.”
From there, you go into the open cart period. This is that second sequence I talked about. It's really the third of the four sequences. And in that sequence, it's typically five to seven days. You don't want to go longer, in my opinion, than seven days, because it starts to turn into a beg-athon, because you want to be telling you people every single day. You're going to be emailing your people every single day, and a lot of folks freak out at that. We can talk about that later on if you'd like.
But you're going to be emailing every single day during the open cart. And if you go beyond seven days, you just run out of things to say, other than, "Please, pretty please, with sugar on top, buy my stuff. Please, please, please." So you keep it at five to seven days. And during that time, it's typically the, day one, it will be, "Hey, we're open." It's that simple. It's a 30-word email, "We're open."
And the second day, you typically will drop another piece of content. If it's a video-based launch, drop another video. This is a short video. This is about one easily digestible piece of content that leads naturally into the sale. It's not introducing a big new concept, because at this point you want people thinking about the offer. You want them thinking about them buying from you. You want them to click the order button. So you don't want to overwhelm them with content. So a quick short video that then leads into, "And registration's open for a few more days. Click the link below."
And then day three could be like, you could highlight students. You could do it live stream. Often, this is a live stream where you're highlighting students. You're highlighting other people in the industry, or you’re just doing... you could do an FAQ here. And then day four, you're starting to focus on the fact that... I like to do five-day carts, open carts. Day four, it's like we're coming down to the last 48 hours here. I'll often do an email; that might be an FAQ email. And then, the last day is just closing day and you have to email two or three times on that day.
We've lately started doing a closing ceremony, because when I do it, I do this for myself. It's automatic because I'm selling my course on doing launches. But it's all done live, and I'll deliver, Pat, it's like 12, 14 hours of training. It's absurd. We go over the top. I like to call it, my free pre-launch, I like to call “the second-best launch training in the world,” with the best being my paid course. But that's just a little... I think I'm the only one that finds that humorous. I started doing a closing ceremonies on my last day on cart because people have gone through this journey with you.
One thing I want your people to get is, when you take them through the process, you're delivering real value in those videos, real value that they can take home and use. That's the only way this process works, or I guess the best way it works. When you go through that and then they start leaving comments and you start answering those comments, and maybe you're doing a live stream to answer those comments. And then you get into this open cart and maybe you have a couple more live streams and you're working with people, you're showing them, you're showing them their future.
You're holding a bigger vision for their future than they have. And this is, it becomes an intimate thing. And so, having that closing ceremony at the end where I'll usually have my whole team on with me. And they’ll just, we’ll just talk about what it's like to have this business where we can work with people and change their lives. It's just a really fun, warm way, just like the Olympics. You know, you've got an opening ceremony; you've got a closing ceremony. It's been just a warm, fun thing to do on closing day. That's the formula in a nutshell.
In a nutshell. And if you want the details of the formula, there is a revised version of Jeff's book, Launch, Jeff Walker and Launchon Amazon. It's the number one bestseller right now at the time we're recording this. There was a previous version that came out, and this is now updated with stuff that is available today, including things like how to use social during your launches, how to use live streams during your launches. And I do want to dive into that in a little bit, but anything else people should know about the book in particular before we move on?
The first version came out, the first edition, seven years ago, in 2014. It was a number-one New York Times bestseller. This one is completely revised, revamped, pre-vamped, enhanced, better. I think every chapter was updated, but then I added in three new chapters, and then two chapters just had massive makeovers. But, you know, I just talked about the open cart. Really, back in 2014, the open cart was just to send some emails. There really wasn't much to it. So that has expanded.
And the use of live streams and live launches, which a few years ago I thought was just for the most advanced people, but now what I'm seeing is a lot of newer folks are doing it with their first launches, just because it's so much easier to do a live, and the expectations for being perfect are so much lower. People see a produced video and they expect it to be really amazing, and they're comparing to other produced video.
But you do a live stream and crazy stuff always happens. I mean, we had a squirrel show up on my deck playing right next to the camera. I'm sitting, looking at the camera, trying to avoid looking at the squirrel. So I actually said, "Hey folks, just got to tell you, there's a squirrel directly next to the camera in my field of vision." And we ended up hooking up a squirrel cam because we had built out a fairly fancy studio, so we had extra cameras. So we actually put the squirrel cam looking out on the deck so everyone could watch the squirrel.
They don't expect perfection when you're live. And that's really great because, like you said, a lot of your followers, they've got followings. They've built audiences. They may even have products. But a lot of times, if they don't have products, or they haven't launched, it's because they've got the whole perfection thing going, which most of us do. Especially if you're going to put yourself out on video, you've got to look incredible. When you go live, it's just, people don't expect that. That's a beautiful thing.
I love that. I think live is also great because sometimes the emails aren't getting through, or sometimes people's emails get lost amongst other emails that they might have. So this is another touch point with a lot more ability to connect, like I was talking about earlier. My question with relation to, like, the start of this whole thing: how do we even get people interested in coming along the ride in the first place, especially with things like email getting a little bit tougher?
I mean, you had mentioned that your year-1996 launch was all email, and that's back when email was still new and innovative and you didn't even need to have video. Everything was great because nobody had gotten anything like it before. But we are in a saturated world right now. How do we initiate the pre-prelaunch and get people excited to come along this ride with us? Because once they're there, if you tell a great story, like you said, you connect with these triggers, then the sale just becomes a natural conclusion to everything. But the start of it is what I'm curious about.
So the pre-pre, it's all about getting people excited that there's something coming without there being any hint of the sale. My favorite things to do is to try to get people to feel like they're co-creating. Actually invite them to co-create the product, because people support that which they help create. Like for example, when I launched the first edition of this book back in 2014, one of the things I did was I got a bunch of cover designs made. And then I ran a survey to my list. I said, "Hey, I'm trying to come up with the cover for this book, and here's four. And could you just go and tell me which one you liked the best?"
I got a lot of great data, a lot of great feedback. But in addition, it let people know there was a book coming. I wasn't asking them to buy it. It was just, "Hey, there's this book coming? And oh, by the way, you get a vote. Let me know which you think is the best." If you take that type of thing... Like, another great way to do it is if you have a following, and say you have a product that's already out there, you've had some success, one thing I've done is I've done a call for case studies.
And so, then got a whole bunch of case studies. I had people create their own case study, shoot their own video talking about the results they had gotten from my product. We got dozens and dozens and dozens of these. So first of all, I've let everyone on my list know, at least everyone who got that, everyone who was following social, let them know that there's this call for case studies, because I'll just tell them, "We're going to be doing another masterclass in the future. I want to gather some case studies."
So I sent that email out. All of a sudden, they know something's coming. Then I took all those case studies and I put them on a page. I said, "We're going to have a competition and have you vote, you being my audience. You vote for which is your favorite case study." So we send out an email, "Go look at this page. Watch all those case studies and tell me which one you like the best," and had them vote on it. And then we had another round. We took the top three and we had sort of like a playoff round.
This went on for like a week ahead of time. People had their favorites. It just became a very interactive thing. And then those videos, of course, then get used during the launch. It's just this super-interactive thing. And what am I doing? I'm incenting them to go watch case studies, to binge-watch case studies. And now they're already part of this launch and they don't even know the launch is even happening yet.
Another way to do it, my favorite, especially if you have a new product or a new offer, you want to change your offers to just simply send out an email that, and do this on social as well, use all your channels, but say, "Hey, I'm creating this product and I'm really close to having this thing done. I want to make sure I cover everything. Can you just write back to me," and say like, "If we were going to sit down for coffee, what would your top two questions on this topic be, or what would your number one question be?"
And often when I do this, I'll say... and the PS will be, "I really want to hear from you. Just hit your reply button and I'll get your email and read it right away.” So just, “Hit your reply button." Not, “Go to take a survey, go to SurveyMonkey, go to do anything.” It's just, "Hit the reply button and let me know what you're thinking. What question would you ask me?"
And then you're getting all these answers that you can then integrate in some way, right?
For sure. I've done this and literally almost take out lines that they'll reply. They can often almost drop right into your sales video or your prelaunch video. It's just, it’s amazing.
I love this idea of the case studies. We've had guests, and I know you know, for example, Stu McLaren. He's come on the podcast, and he just blows my mind with how many stories he can remember from his audience. And then I come to find out he literally has a spreadsheet behind him on his computer. That's how he knows that. But I think that's really smart, though. It comes down to, again, storytelling.
But how do you incentivize people to create the case studies in the first place, if anything, or you just hope that they'll create it?
You create big change in their lives. I mean, it's sort of a flip answer, but the reality is when you help... I mean, there's an Amazon review for my first edition of this book. I do the horrible thing no author should do, and I go on and read the reviews every now... Just don't do this, people. Don't. Don't do it. There's a one-star review that said, “This book is absolutely useless. I don't understand what the hype’s about.” But right next to that one-star review is a five-star review. And it was left by Tiffany Alicia.
And Tiffany said, "I was a preschool teacher, and I got this book. I did this, and I did this launch, this launch, this launch, this launch, and now I have an eight-figure business. And I don't know Jeff. I've never bought any of his other stuff. I've done it just based off of this book." And I saw that, and I loved the fact that it was right next to the one-star review. It just, it blows my mind how people can have different perceptions about different things. But I was like, "Oh my goodness."
So I Googled her. I'm like, "Okay, so she must have some kind of footprint." And I Googled her, and I tracked down her website, and I went to the contact form and I said, "This is Jeff Walker, and I saw your review on Amazon. I'd love to talk to you." I got on with this young woman, and she just blew me away. She actually right now has her book. I think she has a book, and it's on the New York Times bestseller list right now, as we're speaking. She is a powerhouse.
I'm like, “Can we do a case study?” She's like, "Absolutely. I've just told my whole team that I'm going to get on the phone, get on a call with you, and they are so excited. They're jumping around the back." When you make that impact on someone, there are people out there, a lot of people, most people, everyone, who feel sort of like I felt about asking for money for my first... They feel bad about asking for those case studies.
But the reality is, if you're doing good work out there, and you're helping people and impacting people, a lot of them, they want nothing more than to thank you, and the ability to tell you what they did. I mean, I can be reporting case studies 24 hours a day. Once I met Tony Robbins. I actually went in to sort of help him with his business a little bit. When I was a stay-at-home dad and had nothing going on in my life, and felt like my life was flat-lining, I bought Tony Robbins' program, Personal Power II, off the infomercial.
And my life sort of just started going up after that. It made a big impact on me. So fast-forward about 12 or 13, 14 years later, and I got the call, and he was having some struggles in his business and wanted to figure out how to go online. So I went out there and met with him along with a few other folks, Mike Koenigs and Frank Kern, and Mike Filsaime. We all met with him. Tony comes walking into the room. I told him my story about my Personal Power II. I'm like, "You probably get sick of hearing this, but I got Personal Power II, and ever since then, here I am now talking to you, teaching you how to do..."
And he said, "Jeff, you never get sick of hearing people tell you that you changed their lives." And I'm sure you have this happen all the time, Pat. I just heard it happen when I was listening to one of your podcasts just recently. It goes the other way too. People want to tell their story to you. They want to do that. There has never been any incentive ever for any case studies.
I'm kind of happy to hear that, in fact, because then it's more genuine that way, and you get the real energy coming in those videos, and then you can create this amazing little almost contest or a competition, which adds a lot of excitement to it. And then, of course, all these touchpoints, people watching. It's all touchpoints about the program, and they're seeing, again, a version of themselves in the people who you've already helped, and I absolutely love that.
We could talk for days about all the different nuances of the Product Launch Formula and what works today. I do want to cover two things. Number one, with relation to emails, like you mentioned earlier, you had mentioned in launch week or open cart week, if you will, that you should send out an email every day. And that can worry a lot of people, especially if we don't normally send that many emails out. How do we get comfortable, or how do we ensure that this is going to be well received and we're not going to get pitchforks on the other end?
Well, I mean, first of all, if you're in business, you're going to get some level of pitchforks no matter what you do. So, I hate to break that to folks who haven't started yet, but there are just some grumpy people out there. That being said, this whole process is a process of delivering value. If you do this right, and you deliver the real value in the prelaunch, they fall in love with you. I'm just going to fast forward to past the end of the launch: no one has a more engaged list than you do if you've gone through this process.
Even after you send an email every single day during open cart, it's the absolute warmest list you could ever imagine. I've got a lot of empirical data on this. If you just look at the open rates after the launch, if you look at the video views. Say like send out every week I sent for like the last seven or eight years; I've sent out a video every week to my team. I put it on YouTube. I put on my blog, and I send an email out. The video views and the video after a launch, higher than any video views leading up into...
The end result is you end up with a warmer list than you ever have had before. So, that's the end. So the way you get there is every single email has a purpose. So the first email on opening cart day, it's just like, "Okay, we're open. You can go buy now." But there's been so much anticipation built up for that, and it's a 30-word email. It's not like a big psychic load for people. It's not like their inbox is blowing up. The next day, you've got a piece of content for them. You're sending them that content. They're already engaged with you. They've been watching this content all the way through your prelaunch. They're totally all about it.
Now, Pat, I’m not gonna... it's not like you get 100% open or 100% clicks, but you're not getting hate mail when you send that email. The next day, maybe you're going to do a live stream. Maybe it's a live stream with some of your top students. Well, you're probably, actually, if it's a live stream, you're going to be sending more than one email on that day. You're going to send one in the morning that says, "Hey, we're going to do this live stream." And then you're going to send another one 15 minutes ahead, or maybe 60 minutes ahead, and then 15 minutes ahead.
But again, it's building up for this live stream, which, again, has got a lot of value. And they're connected. It's all part of the story that you've been telling for the last five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 days. Then you've got an FAQ email. Here’s an email... I might send a 1,200-word email that'll have the top 10 questions answered in depth. So, I think part of this is also, you're changing out formats as you go through. You have a 30-word email, you have a thousand-word email. So you're just moving it all around.
The last day is typically, "Hey, we've been through it. We've been on a big journey together. But now if you want to keep on moving forward on this path, well, today's the last day. You have to buy it by midnight tonight." Second email that day might be, it'll be more of a story, a longer story-based one. It'll be a story of like in the past, when you've had a decision to make, when I was sitting there watching Personal Power II infomercial. Had to make a decision whether I was going to get that or not.
And then the third one is just, "Hey, just courtesy reminder. I know that I often procrastinate about things, and maybe you've had this browser tab sitting open for the last three days thinking about it. So this is a courtesy email, just a reminder, just now's the time." I heard you ask a question recently on one of your podcasts, and it was about selling and how to get comfortable with selling. And I believe... Well, first of all, I didn't come to selling naturally. I think the reason I invented all this is because I was scared to ask for the sale.
But what I know now is that I've got a great product, and it's become a great product because I've been in constant communication with the people who own the product, and it's been iterated and iterated and iterated, and I've seen the results it gets. So I literally view it as my sacred duty to do my best to get it into people's hands. If you have a great product, a product that can transform people's lives, then you don't want to pull any punches.
And I don't like to use that analogy so much because I don't think of this as combat. I don't think of it as fighting. I think of it as educational. I think of it as serving. You have to make an effective argument for your product if that product deserves it, if that transformation you're going to make for people deserves it. And so, people are going to love you, going through this process, if you do it right, and you deliver that value, and you've got to send the email and let them know because most people procrastinate.
Jeff, I think that's a wonderful lesson to leave this episode with, because truly, if you don't believe in your product and you don't think it's worth fighting for, then why in the world would somebody take you up on your offer? That's so important. My favorite way to get over that, because I had struggled with that myself, was to get some small, quick wins. Maybe bring somebody through that product before I even let everybody else know about it, because once that one person gets a result, that's it for me. I've got to give everybody else the same result too.
Absolutely. For sure. Yeah. I mean, we have our entire process and like we call a seed launch where you create your product in a very interactive manner, where you're literally doing live trainings, and ahead of every live training, you're gathering questions so that you can get on and answer those questions and iterate. When I came out with Product Launch Formula, I was really good at doing launches. At that time, it was about eight years I'd been doing these launches. But I wasn't necessarily good at teaching it.
No one is born knowing how to be a teacher. You might be the greatest guitarist in the world. Doesn't mean you know how to teach it. But if you can focus on getting those early quick wins and working in an interactive process... And that's the beauty of the world we live in. It's so much easier to do now. Back then I was using telephone bridge lines, if anyone remembers what those things are. They were like webinars before webinars were a thing, but all just audio.
But yeah, if you just get those quick wins, get those first few sales, work with people, iterate your product. No one's first product is great, but iterate your product. Take care of those people. Get those wins, build a great product, go out there and change the world.
Jeff, thank you so much for coming on this Smart Passive Income Podcast today. Everybody go check out Launch, the new updated version on Amazon. We'll have links in the show notes for you all. In just a second, I'll let you know where. But Jeff, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate you. You are a legend and can't wait for people to put into action what we talked about today. Thank you.
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jeff Walker, the legend himself. You can find his book on Amazon or anywhere else books are located. It's called Launch. We'll have a link easily, just at SmartPassiveIncome.com/plf or Product Launch Formula, and that'll take you to the book. That is an affiliate link to Amazon. Just keep that in mind. But Jeff, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us and also helping dispel some myths and helping us understand how we should approach our business. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
As you can tell, it's always from a value-first approach. A lot of people, I know this to be true. We didn't talk about it in the episode, but I know a lot of people have used the Product Launch Formula and their products weren't even that good. That's not good. We want to make sure we believe in the product, that the product can actually serve our audience, because with things like this Product Launch Formula and the sequencing and everything that happens here, it's a power that can be used for great and it's a power that can be used for evil.
Now, maybe I'm preaching to the choir here because I know all of you are going to be using this for the right reasons. And hopefully, you can take the steps and the sequences that we talked about here today and use them and map them on top of your product. Just everything, from the emails, to the case studies, all those things, as you can tell, can be used to amplify the message that you have and the value that you want to provide for your audience too.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. Let me know what you thought about it on Twitter or on Instagram. I'm @PatFlynn. Let me know that you heard it. Feel free to share it if you'd like. Let me know if this is one of those episodes, like many in our past, that is a how-to that you're going to listen to over and over again. I believe that to be true, and I hope you enjoy this.
Thanks again. Make sure you subscribe because we've got a lot of great episodes coming your way. We have a follow-up Friday coming in a couple of days after this gets published. You hear from me and just me alone, and some thoughts that talk more deeply about the episodes that we have here on Wednesdays. So make sure you subscribe for that. And of course all the amazing interviews coming your way in the future. So thanks again. I appreciate you for listening to the show. Take care, and as always, peace out, and Team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.
Want more from SPI?
Enter your information below if you'd like to join our newsletter!