How to Build and Launch a Kick-Ass Online Product in Two Weeks

  • June 21, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 40 Comments

We squeaked out another record month last month here at Think Traffic…

Welcome to another Think Traffic monthly report. If you’re new here, this is the monthly feature where I summarize how we grew the audience for this site over the past month, and explain what we’ll be doing to grow the audience further next month.

In this report, I’m also going to show you how Adam Baker and I successfully launched a new online product last month within a total of just two short weeks.

Read on for that, and also to find out what the next big challenge for Think Traffic is (and how you can help).

Inside a Quick-and-Easy Product Launch

Developing products to sell through your website or blog can be a major undertaking. It can be so daunting to create a product that many people give up before they finish, wasting time and effort and potentially derailing a decent shot at success.

The two products I built to sell through my blogs first, Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and Traffic School, were each developed in the traditional research-develop-launch method.

That method can work well, but only if you have the stamina to finish the project and launch it and the guts to spend so much time on a product you’re not 100% sure will even sell.

The affiliate marketing course took me around two months to develop, and Traffic School took the better part of four months. Both were worth it (and will have sold a combined six figures by next month), but there was a lot of stress and doubt involved that I recently learned could be avoided.

That’s where The Hustle Project comes in.

About six weeks ago, I had never even thought about what would become The Hustle Project. Just two weeks later, Adam Baker and I had conceived, developed and launched a kick-ass new product and had earned ourselves a nice little recurring revenue stream from the effort.

Instead of the typical research-develop-launch model, this product followed the trial-launch-deliver model.

If you’ve felt overwhelmed at the thought of developing a full-featured online product for sale using the traditional model, you might want to consider this quicker method instead. I’m really glad I did.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Start by regularly trying new things with your audience. Try video, try podcasts, try webinars, try live meetups, try different topics, try partnering up with other people, try doing live streaming sessions. Do whatever you can to try new things, new topics and to deliver value in new ways.
  2. Pay close attention to what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t. If something fails miserably, learn from it and move on. If something you try gathers more attention and participation than normal, consider creating a product around it.
  3. When you develop your product using the “trial-launch-deliver” method, you’ll work on the marketing and selling first, then you’ll deliver the product after selling it. It’s a pre-sales model.
  4. Take what you learned from the successful trials and turn the best parts into the marketing for your new product. Use testimonials you gathered from feedback from your trial.
  5. Build pre-buzz quickly about what you’re working on.
  6. Launch your product and tell your buyers how it will be delivered (over time following the launch).
  7. Deliver your product, either live, or by dripping in the content you develop privately.

With The Hustle Project, it all started with my buddy Adam Baker (from Man Vs. Debt) suggesting that we do a free live webinar about online business momentum while he was in town on a road trip.

That first session went really well, and it got us thinking. People wrote us in droves saying how much they enjoyed it, and Baker and I had a blast doing it. During dinner after the session, we started talking about how we could do similar live sessions more often.

Over the following two weeks, he and I worked to develop a simple membership site where people could join the project and get access to recorded content, along with the schedule for upcoming live events. We focused on including only the features that were essential to the project’s success.

We launched the product with our first trial session available for download, along with a bonus of another pre-recorded lesson I had done for Traffic School.

Despite taking only two weeks to develop and the modest amount of initial content (we offered a special trial price to entice the first subscribers), we ended the launch with a nearly $6k monthly recurring revenue stream. How’s that for two weeks’ work? We were pretty pleased.

The best parts of this project (and this development method) for me are: the value we are delivering through this simple format, working with someone I respect and enjoy, knowing that we had an interested audience (given the feedback from the trial session), and how much fun we have on the live webinars. More and more I’m making the fun factor my priority factor in choosing projects to work on.

How could you develop something using this method for your own business? I’d love to hear your ideas and questions in the comments below.

This Month’s Report and Traffic

I was a little worried about whether we’d keep up the growth at this site last month, given I was pretty distracted while developing The Hustle Project. It turns out we squeaked out another record traffic month, with the help of a few guest posts and a very active inbound link from a friend.

We saw 29,639 visits this month (vs. 29,057 last month). That’s a massive increase of 2% ;)

Let’s look at some other stats for last month:

  • New subscribers: 749 (+28% month-over-month)
  • New comments (including my replies): 438 (+18% month-over-month)
  • Retweets of new posts: 249 (-38% month-over-month)

Subscribers were up nicely again this month. Comments and retweets per post weren’t so strong, mostly because we didn’t have any single homerun post this month.

10 total posts were published last month (vs. 7 in the prior month), including 3 guest posts and two video posts:

There weren’t any homerun posts this month, just a lot of singles and doubles. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to maintain momentum. Thanks Danny, Betsy and Noah for pinch hitting with some excellent guest posts last month.

Top Traffic Sources

I’d like to point something out from this list of top traffic sources above. Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog sent nearly 3,500 visitors here last month from one well-placed link to the 21 actions post.

Pat has a massive audience of smart and engaged fans, as evidenced by the 3 minutes and 37 seconds they spent here on average.

This is a graph of what happens when Pat links to your site from his blog:

Thanks again Pat, and I hope to be able to return the favor one day :)

Top Search Terms:

  1. think traffic: 530
  2. unique selling proposition examples: 379
  3. unique selling proposition: 356
  4. personal introduction : 271
  5. website traffic: 261
  6. unique selling point examples: 173
  7. thinktraffic: 168
  8. corbett barr: 137
  9. best sales pitch: 67
  10. smartpassiveincome everett bogue pat flynn: 58

Top Content

The Next Challenge for Think Traffic

After 15 months of blogging here, I’m very happy with the growth, and so thankful for everyone who stops by here. Thank you for your support and encouragement, and for keeping me on my toes. It means so much.

Traffic is just one part of the puzzle, as you know. Engagement and conversion are the other two pieces, and while I’m happy with all three, I think engagement is the area where we can improve the most.

Specifically, I’m talking about the average time spent on this site (2:20 last month), and the bounce rate (about 72% last month). I don’t have a lot of examples to compare to, but I know that Pat claims a very low 25% bounce rate for Smart Passive Income, and over 7 minutes average time on site.

This may be apples and oranges, but I’d like to improve Think Traffic’s numbers up to at least 3 minutes average time spent on site, and down to a 60% bounce rate for starters.

I have some ideas for how to accomplish that, and I’ll be reporting on it over the coming months. I also have a critique of Think Traffic coming up by a special guest later this week. That will generate lots of ideas for me, and hopefully for your own site, so watch out for that.

If you have ideas for how I can improve engagement here at Think Traffic, I would LOVE to hear it. Please leave a comment below.

What Can I Help You With?

You know the drill. I’m here to help. Questions? Comments? Just want to say hello? Hit me up on Twitter, send me an email or leave a comment below.

P.S. One more thing: this Wednesday (June 22nd), I’ll be hosting a free live webinar with Lewis Howes all about how to use LinkedIn to build traffic and generate leads for your business. This is powerful stuff that you can start using right away, and I’d love to see you on the call.

Register here to join:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/491164667

Thanks as always for reading. You’re the best ;)

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


Think Traffic is now The Sparkline. Click here to check it out.

Or View The Archives

Tyrone Shum June 21, 2011 at 5:30 am

Hey Corbett,

Yes… I know Pat has a very large and responsive audience because when we did a launch together his readers were very supportive and I too noticed a spike in traffic. Anyway just wanted to congratulate you and Adam on your success of the Hustle Project and I wish you both many more to come.

Thanks!

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Tyrone! And congrats on working with Pat, I’m guessing you two have had a lot of fun.

Dean Dwyer June 21, 2011 at 5:35 am

Hey Corbett,

I have been thinking a lot about this lately and have a few ideas with regards to videos and podcasts created.

I watched the 100 minute podcast with you and Baker and while I was inspired I was not inspired to act. Let me explain.

There was a lot of great info, and much of it ended up being lost once the next great idea was presented. So while I was inspired when the podcast was done I was not inspired to act…simply because I didn’t know where to start.

The solution would have been to go through the podcast again, but at 100 minutes it’s just too hard to find the time do so.

So here is what I am playing with. Videos and podcasts should be curated to help people structure and act upon the information you are providing.

I think if that piece was broken down into 10 separate sections for example, each with a theme, I could then easily go back and listen to the sections that were applicable to me and then act upon them.

I realize this is more work of course, but if engagement is the goal, then I think curating is essential to help people act on the great info you are providing.

By doing this, it moves away from simply inspiring people (which is nice but inspiration is persishable as Jason Fried would say) to putting info into bite sized chunks where people are inspired to act. That would also bring a whole new quality to the comments you would get because people could then share their actions they have taken which is really what think traffic is all about to begin with.

That, in my opinion, is where engagement lies.

Be welll amigo,

DD

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback Dean! I agree, it’s easy to overwhelm people with too much information all at once. This is something I’ve been thinking about very much recently as well. Hopefully I’ll have some results of experiments to report on soon.

-Corbett

Byron June 21, 2011 at 5:35 am

You’r using 16th may to 15th june for your reports? Oo

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Yes, thanks for reminding me. I forgot to specify that in this report. All the monthly reports have been from the 16th to the 15th of each month because I originally started this blog mid-month. At some point I suppose I should switch to regular month ends.

Vic Magary June 21, 2011 at 5:36 am

Congrats on another stellar month! I’m going through the time and energy of creating a product right now (that like you said, I have no idea if it will even sell) so your build and launch a product in two weeks headline really grabbed my attention.

The big take away for me on your launch of the Hustle Project, wasn’t just the trial-launch-deliver method but that you and Baker combined your audiences. As someone just starting to develop traffic, this made me ask myself what strengths or skills can I bring to someone who already has a following so that we can provide value in a way that everyone benefits.

Thanks for always keeping the wheels turning!

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm

That’s a great take-away, Vic. Baker and I have very different audiences and somewhat different skill sets. I liked the idea of working with Baker on the project for that very reason.

Did you experience similar benefits through your partnership with Steve Kamb for his last guide?

Paul Wolfe June 21, 2011 at 5:42 am

Corbett

Love the launch story – very cool, very inspirational too.

With regard to reader engagement – especially with comparison to Pay – it may be that Pat gets low bounce rates and high reader engagement on specific posts because he has several very detailed ‘how-to’ posts that people actually use to achieve a result. (For example his Facebook Landing Page page. Or his Backlink Strategy page).

Also those are the kind of pages that people will bookmark and come back to specifically to use – again lowering his bounce rate, and increasing the average time spent on his site.

So might be worth testing that out….

HTH

Paul

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Definitely, Paul, those are good explanations. I definitely see higher engagement with some of the posts like the “21 Actions” post or my guide to unique selling propositions. Those are longer resource-type posts that take some time to digest.

Good idea, thanks for sharing!

Mike Routen June 21, 2011 at 5:53 am

Corbett, regarding the engagement here at Think Traffic vs. Smart Passive Income:
As a frequent reader of both blogs, my impression is that the fantastic information you provide lends itself to the reader thinking “Oh man! I’ve got to go do that with/to/for my site!”. You provide actionable information that is quickly digested and can be put into place.
Pat’s blog seems to provide more contemplative information that almost requires the user to dig around further on his site to answer the questions that are in the readers head.
I know that this is an intangible and vague description, but it is the best way I can describe the difference in engagement between those two sites.
While I agree that increasing engagement would be a good thing, you may want to poll your readers and see how effective the information you are providing is. If you are giving your readers the tools that they need to build their sites, then I’d say just keep doing what you’re doing!

Mike

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Hey Mike, I definitely like that explanation ;)

As far as information effectiveness goes, I definitely measure the “reader awesomeness factor” (as Betsy Talbot put it in her guest post) informally on a regular basis, just given the comments and email I receive from readers about results.

I’m already very happy with the level of engagement, but figured I should challenge myself to improve things and report on the results to help other people out.

Onibalusi Bamidele June 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

It’s really clear from the above that this is another great month for Think Traffic.

Pat’s blog is a great blog with quality reader engagement and I still get traffic from my guest post I wrote in March till date.

Concerning reader engagement, I believe ThinkTraffic is one of the best blogs online with great content, and the results you’re getting proves that. I also used to worry about high bounce rate and low time on site but after taking a look i discovered the reason was me not interlinking my posts properly with clear call to actions and also because I blog about a wide range of subjects. The bounce rate reduced and the average time on site increased as soon as I started blogging on more specific topics – I got close to 3k visitors from Stumbleupon last month and I still had a bounce rate of 60% and an avg. time on site of 3 mins.

Thanks so much for the awesome report and keep up the great work!
-Onibalusi

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Wow Oni, those are great numbers from StumbleUpon. SU is notoriously high-bouncing traffic. Congrats on that. I’d love to see a link to the specific post you’re talking about as an example.

TheUglyKoala June 21, 2011 at 6:16 am

Dude, You’re quite smiley and friendly looking. Maybe you should put a pic of yourself on the home page like Pat does.

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Touché ;)

Benny June 21, 2011 at 6:31 am

Just want to say I’ve been enjoying the Hustle Project so far. You guys have been great to listen to feedback and are always improving it.

You launched it in two weeks but do you believe you could have done it six months ago? Or having more experience allowed you to create and launch it fast?

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I think we could have done it 18 months ago. Of course, we wouldn’t have had the same results, and it may have taken longer, but think about how far along with it we might be now if we had started back then. I think in general people wait way too long before launching products and services.

TrafficColeman June 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

Great numbers my friends..plus I see Pat’s site is send you lot of referral traffic which is all ways a plus.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

Alberto June 21, 2011 at 7:21 am

Just one thing. Be careful when comparing your traffic stats to the last ones reported by Pat. He has now moved to Getclicky, which measures stats differently from Google Analytics.
Bounces on Getclicky are defined as visits that last more than 10s, while GA defines them as one page visits, independently of their duration.
Moreover, average time spent on the site is always really longer on GetClicky.
I have a site which is minuscule compared to Pat’s, but my bounce rate and average time spent are very similar to SmartPassiveIncome, on GetClicky.

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hey Alberto, I was thinking about that myself. Perhaps I’ll install GetClicky and do a comparison for myself. That’s the only real way to know if it’s a factor. Thanks for the note.

Pat Flynn June 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Corbett – dude, you deserved ALL of those visits because your “21″ post was seriously one of the best posts I’ve read in a long, long time. Like I said in my post where I mentioned it – I wish I had written it myself.

Please don’t feel like you need to repay me for it.

And, I have to give a proper shout out to the SPI readers. In my (probably somewhat biased) opinion, they are the most engaging and supportive community I know, and each and every one of them is important to me. They are changing my life, and I’m trying to do the same for them, like I know you’re doing here as well.

Cheers bud!

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Thanks Pat for taking the time to stop by and comment! You’re the man.

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog June 22, 2011 at 6:37 am

absolutely love the premise behind the hustle project. it is exactly what most people need – a guide to push them and hold them accountable to take action quickly! interested in its long term success, please keep us posted C!

Leevi June 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Hi Corbett

Always inspiring to read your monthly reports.

I loved the behind the scenes of a product launch insight that you gave us. It is nice to see an alternative to a long drawn out product creation project.

Thanks
Leevi

Kyle June 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I do have a question actually. I have a blog that’s doing fairly well. About 33k pv’s per month on average, with highest month at 36k.

But I haven’t had a record breaking month for a long time. My average hangs at 33k and doesn’t go up or down. I feel like I’m at a plateau. I have used a lot of your tips to get to where I’m at, but I’m wondering what I can do to get back to growing again!

Corbett June 24, 2011 at 11:48 am

Hey Kyle, without knowing all the details, it’s hard to say what would work best for you. Generally, to break through a plateau, you need to cover new ground and reach new audiences. I wrote a whole post about plateaus a few months back:

http://thinktraffic.net/what-to-do-when-your-site-hits-a-traffic-plateau

-Corbett

Tyrone Shum June 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hey Corbett,

It’s definitely been fun plus very rewarding because we are able to help others achieve their goals and to see them succeed. We were both saying how awesome and so much of a family they are to us.

By the way I forgot to mention last night I’ve been reading through all your monthly reports and it’s been inspiration to learn from you and I’ll definitely be “borrowing” some of these ideas and be giving you credit for them too. So thank you!

Trent Dyrsmid June 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

Hey Corbett,

Having fun is so overlooked in business! I’ve now done two podcasts. One with Spencer from NichePursuits and another (soon to be published) with a guy who’s built two multi-million dollar online businesses. Both of them were a blast and I’m really looking forward to doing more (props to Pat for turning me onto the idea).

If you’d like to be a guest on an upcoming show, please get in touch. I’m sure my (growing) audience would love to hear what you had to say.

Thanks for creating such a terrific blog!

Trent

Benny June 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Great point. When I listen or read interviews with bigger bloggers, many of them will say, “I wish I had started _______ earlier.” Most of the time it has to do with monetizing it or building a list.

Pat Flynn June 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Clicky is an awesome tool, I highly recommend it – but yeah Alberto is absolutely right. Clicky measures stuff, primarily bounce rate, a lot differently than Google Analytics – and I feel that it (Clicky) is more fair. Just because people don’t click from one page to another doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged in the content. If they leave in 10 seconds, then they definitely aren’t.

Corbett June 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Cool, well, you all made me very curious about Clicky. I installed it today and can’t wait to compare the results to Google Analytics. Plus, the real-time stats are kind of addictive (maybe not in a good way ;)

Alberto June 22, 2011 at 2:02 am

Yes, Clicky’s bounce rate is really really more fair.
However, I am a Google fanboy, so I am using both and still prefer GA’s reports and segmentation :) .

Pat June 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

Haha – they are addicting, so be careful. The coolest part is actually the “spy” feature. You can see people in real time (and if they’ve left a comment on your site before you actually see their real name, not just their ip address) and what page they came in on, what they are clicking on and where they leave.

Good times :)

Onibalusi Bamidele June 22, 2011 at 2:49 am

Hi Corbett,

Here’s a link to that post:

http://www.youngprepro.com/traffic-generation-methods/

Over 2k visitors to it the first day it went live and if you go down to the share button below the post you will notice there are close to 200 stumbles for it – unfortunately, my server crashed after getting a lot of spike in a minute and the traffic stopped (I’ve learnt my lesson though and I’ve configured it to be able to receive more traffic).

Corbett June 24, 2011 at 11:48 am

Awesome Trent, congrats on the show, sounds fun. Email me with details about being a guest to support@thinktraffic.net.

Cheers

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sites That Link to This Post