My recipe for a great product launch (+ free launch planner!)

My recipe for a great product launch (+The InDesign Field Guide is now open!) — Paper + Oats

Today is a big day for me, guys. Five months ago I started working on a project that would keep me up to ungodly hours. It would involve weeks and weeks of planning, creating, writing, designing, strategizing, and more strategizing, and a little more designing, and then some more writing, and writing again. It’s been such a wild ride that had my mind racing with non-stop ideas since the beginning. And then the last two weeks, I hit a wall. I’ve prepped as much as I can prep, quadruple checked that everything’s ready, and I think it’s all catching up to me now. I’m tired, unmotivated, and would rather take a nap than write one more email campaign. So to start – if you’re prepping for a launch of some kind for your business and you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone! Apparently it’s normal :)

But these last five months have led up to today, October 27, the opening day for my first online course, The InDesign Field Guide. I’m so proud of this digital product and  truly believe it will help a lot of people learn a complex piece of software that can help propel their business forward. One of my favorite parts about this whole process has been the promotion side of it. I love sharing sneak peeks and getting people excited for the launch, and if you’ve been following along even just for a little bit, you’ve probably seen a lot of that already. #sorrynotsorry :)

So today, I want to share a few key ingredients for how I’ve led up to this launch, and how I plan to keep the momentum going. There’s no perfect formula, and every audience is going to be different than the next. These are just some general thoughts I’ve noticed for my own personal journey; things that have worked well for me, and might work for you, too, if you’re feeling stuck.


1. Build momentum

I started seriously working on this project in May of this year. Before that, it had just been some scribbles jotted in an Evernote file. But that month, I put pen to paper and started taking action. I found myself sharing the creation process on social media as I started, so I kept that up all the way until today. This is called building momentum :) I posted about the project sporadically throughout the summer, dropping hints here and there. In July, I officially announced my plans to create the course, set to launch in the fall. In August, I started creating the content and releasing it to a small group of hand-selected beta testers as each piece was finished. As I created each lesson, I shared sneak peeks on social media and even gave away bits of it for free to a targeted email list that was specifically interested in InDesign.

As the launch got closer, I posted more frequently and revealed more details. This plan wasn’t super strategic or thought-out from the beginning, it just kind of happened like that. But it ended up working great for my audience and I’ve had a lot of people comment on how effective it was to get them excited about my course, and even involved in the creation of it.

This building of momentum can be boiled down to one principle: give before you take. I hate selling. I don’t ever want to sound salesy or over-self-promoting. That’s just my INFJ self :) (Anyone else obsessed with personality tests, lately?!) Especially since this is my first online course, I wanted to build trust as I was building momentum, so I had to prove that I knew the subject I was talking about. Giving away content for free peaks your audience's interest, and helps prove your expertise on a subject. It’s not a selling tactic or a bait-and-switch scheme. It’s a way to prove you know what you’re talking about.


2. Enlist help

A big thing I set in place early on is a community. In the beginning of this whole process, I became good friends with a couple other designers, who became my main cheerleaders and sounding boards for the entire development of this course. These ladies have been so vital in helping me organize ideas, perfect plans, and hold me accountable to get it all done. If you’re not a part of a small group of like-minded people like this, I highly recommend you find one quick!

A Facebook group is one thing, but a small, intimate group can help you do so much more. You get to know each other's businesses personally, and help each other navigate and make decisions that are best for YOUR business, not necessarily what everyone else is doing. If you read my post last week, these are the people to send a special something to as a thank you! They become your biggest fans, and you their’s. 

It’s also important to enlist the support of your close family and friends. There will most definitely be nights when you say, “Sorry, I can’t hang out, I have to finish my sales page.” This is normal :) Having those closest to you understand that you have a lot on your plate and can be supportive of that, is really really important. My family and my closest friends know I’m launching this course today. They know how hard I’ve worked on it, and they’re proud of me for it. And that’s a pretty cool feeling to know they all have my back. :)


3. Stay active

Like I said earlier, my motivation level has been low lately. All the late nights, extra work, and troubleshooting (did I mention my domain name got screwed up 48 hours before launch?! Yeah.) are catching up with me. BUT, it’s important to me to keep up the momentum and stay active even after the registration period closes — which is Wednesday, November 4th! This could look like a lot of different things, and honestly I’m not sure yet how I’ll do this. I may share the progress of some of the students as they start working through the course materials, I may share a recap of how the launch went, I may get some feedback from my audience on what they want to see for the next launch. If you're working towards a product launch, brainstorm some ideas to keep the momentum going and stay active. There’s something unfortunate about seeing so much hype built up, and then suddenly disappearing. I don’t know why, but it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so I’m trying to avoid that. Hold me to it, okay? :)

Let's hear about this InDesign course you speak of.

My original online course, The InDesign Field Guide, is your step-by-step way to learn Adobe InDesign once and for all, with these 5 core lessons: Logistics, Pages, Typesetting, Objects, and Production. 

InDesign is overwhelming on it’s own. I’m breaking it down into bite-size pieces delivered in a very specific order to help you learn the software faster and hands-on, so you walk away with a money-making skill that you can start using right away.

The course is reopening soon, so head over here to learn more + to stay in the loop.

Download my launch planner

When I’m planning a launch – literally every single time – I go into my computer and print off two pages, and these are my lifelines for the rest of the launch (besides Asana of course). I use a launch/promotion planner page, and a monthly calendar. Want to swipe these from me? Be my guest… drop in your name + email and I’ll send them right over!


Kelsey Baldwin

Graphic designer + blogger providing design resources to help creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of design + branding for digital products so they can share what they know.

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