How to build a pre-launch email list that is 30x more likely to buy

Written by Mark Pecota

Since LaunchBoom’s inception in 2015, building a highly qualified pre-launch email list was a key part of our launch strategy. The pre-launch email list is how we get our clients funded in the first 24 hours (which we call having a “LaunchBoom”). Flash forward to 2017 and we started experimenting with a change to our pre-launch strategy that changed the entire industry.

The challenge with building a pre-launch email list is measuring how qualified it is—and by qualified, I mean how likely email subscribers are to buy your product when we launch the crowdfunding campaign.

We’d been wrestling with this question for so long with little luck. I even hired a data scientist to look at all our campaigns and try to find correlation between pre-campaign metrics (like cost per lead, email open rate, lead to reach ratio) to the likelihood that they would buy.

The short and disappointing answer: he couldn’t find any strong correlation.

It all changed one seemingly normal day. One of our video editors, Rebecca, sent me a link to a product she liked that wasn’t launching on crowdfunding but was taking $1 deposits on their website. If you put down a $1 deposit, you’d reserve the product at the best discount when they launched.

I immediately knew this simple idea was something big. I got in contact with the founder of that project and he graciously shared their strategy behind the $1 reservation and why he felt it was a better way to build a pre-launch list. Here’s the top reasons:

  1. Making a purchase on a website (even for $1) is a much better indicator of purchase intent than just giving your email
  2. By tracking those that make $1 deposits, you can optimize Facebook advertisements for $1 deposits vs. leads

Within a week, we started testing this strategy out for our clients and in July of 2017, I wrote an article called “Make them pull out their credit card!” about our progress so far with the funnel. It’s interesting reading that article now because (1) I didn’t have enough data to measure how much more qualified deposits were vs. non-deposits and (2) our reservation funnel has evolved so much since that time.

How our Reservation Funnel works

Even though our Reservation Funnel is quite simple to understand, getting all the pieces to work well together has taken a long time and a lot of testing.

Step 1: Facebook/Instagram Ad

User clicks on a Facebook/Instagram ad and is taken to a landing page.

Step 2: Landing Page Signup

We send them to a landing page where the main call-to-action is to give us their email address so they can get notified when we launch.

Step 3: Reservation Signup

After they’ve given their email, we then make an offer for them to put down a $1 deposit to reserve the product at the best discount we will ever offer.

Step 4: VIP Facebook Group

If they put down the $1 deposit, then they are invited into our closed VIP Facebook Group. This gives the VIP access to the founder as well as other individuals who put down the $1 deposit. We’ve found that these groups do a fantastic job of fostering community before the launch.

How much better does our Reservation Funnel work?

Now that we’ve been pioneering our reservation funnel for nearly 2 years, we’ve collected some great data on its effectiveness.

Simply put, reservations are 30x more likely to purchase when we launch than non-reservations.

That statistic is an average and I’ve seen it be higher and lower. For example on OGarden, which was referenced above, the reservations were 60x more likely to purchase than non-reservations. This allowed us to generate $129,820 from the pre-launch email list alone.

By using our Reservation Funnel, LaunchBoom is able to:

  1. Optimize our advertisements for purchase intent vs. lead intent
  2. Allocate ad budget more effectively and get a higher return on ad spend (ROAS)
  3. Build a community of people that is 30x more likely to buy a product when we launch

Because of these reasons, the LaunchBoom team has been able to consistently drive the best returns for our clients on pre-launch email lists vs. anyone else in the industry. With our team experimenting on and optimizing our Reservation Funnel everyday, I’m excited to see how it continues to evolve.

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