How to sell out your next launch by using a waitlist

I’ve been implementing something new (well, new for me!), and it’s been working really well! It’s one of those things you try on a whim with low expectations and end up being pleasantly surprised by the results. 

Aren’t those the best kinds of things? 

Anyway, I thought of you (obviously! who else?!) and wanted to share this newish business hack I’ve come to know and like so well. 

Ready?

I’ve been waitlist launching! 

Ok, I know on paper that doesn’t sound super exciting. Waitlist launching is a term you’ve probably heard on the street once or twice. But I gave it a go with my Content Toolkit on Black Friday weekend, and it went great! I think I mentioned the Toolkit a few times on social media, but it primarily sold via the waitlist.

I implemented a waitlist again in January for my branding minis, and ended up selling way more spots for this service than I ever have before!

So, waitlist launching, I think it’s time we went public. Made it official. I’m changing my status and letting everyone know I’m your BF (Biggest Fan). 

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Eh, I dunno, Maddie. I’m not into more email list stuff. I don’t think this is for me!” 

I get it. I’ve felt the exact same way, which is probably why I put off waitlist launching for so long. 

So why waitlist launch? 

1- It takes the pressure off of selling on social media.

Waitlist launching has given me the freedom to just enjoy Instagram more! By the time I announce offers over there, I’ve already sold the bulk of the spots I need to fill via my waitlist, so it takes away all those “Does anyone want to buy this?!” jitters when I hang out with my audience on social media. 

2- It gauges your audience’s interest in your offer before you launch!

Announcing your waitlist is a great way to collect data and see how your audience feels about this thing you’ve created BEFORE you launch it. 

If you have a lot of people signing up for your waitlist right away, that tells you your audience is ‘warm,’ or they have a good understanding of your offer and how it can help them, and you can adjust your pre-launch content to meet them where they are.

If sign-ups for your waitlist are going more slowly, that’s ok! It’s just data. This might be telling you that your audience isn’t quite as familiar with your offer as they could be, and they need to better understand what you do before they feel ready to buy. You’ll know to focus on pre-launch content that fills in the gaps. 

3 – It increases your confidence in selling.

I don’t know why, but once you make those first few sales to your waitlist and that’s out of the way, you can show up and feel so much more confident when you talk about your offer elsewhere because you already know someone has bought it! 

Likewise, if someone raises their hand and says they’re interested in what you have to offer by joining your waitlist, it’s a huge boost of confidence to sell with enthusiasm when doors open. 

Organizing and planning your waitlist launch 

The set-up

I use Flodesk for my email marketing, and I love it because it’s super, super easy to navigate and use. Not only can you send emails, but you can also create forms in Flodesk, which are essentially landing pages that also capture someone’s name and email address. They have templates with simple layouts you can choose from, so it’s really just a matter of plugging in your photos and text, and you’re set! 

When you open your Flodesk, you have an option that says Audience at the top. Click that, and you can create a new segment for your list. So if you’re launching, let’s say, a branding mini session, you can create an audience titled ‘Mini Sessions.’

Then, you’re going to click on Forms and create a new form/ landing page in Flodesk. Right after you choose your design template, it will ask you which audience segment you want to connect to your form. 

So if you’re creating a sign-up form for branding minis, choose your new Mini Sessions audience here, and that’s it!  Plug in your design elements, add your text, and once that’s finished, you’ll have a sharable link to this form. 

Anyone who has that link will be able to put in their name and email and automatically be added to your new waitlist segment! 

To get the word out about this waitlist,  I tell my email and social media audience, for example, “Hey, I have branding minis coming up. If you want to be the first to know, join the waitlist!”

They click the link, which leads to that form or landing page you created in Flodesk, they enter their name and email on that form, and Flodesk puts them onto your branding minis waitlist. So easy! 

When you go to announce your offer to the waitlist, everyone who filled out that form is automatically on it, and they’ll get any email blasts you send specifically for them. 

You should be good to go! The setup is really as easy as creating an audience tag for your waitlist launch, creating the form that puts those email addresses into the waitlist, and then sharing about it.

The strategy 

Here are two waitlist launching strategies I’ve implemented:

1-  If you’re on the waitlist, you get first access to whatever I’m offering. So if you’re on the waitlist for branding minis, you get to hear about them first. That way you get first dibs on picking the time slot for your session that works best for you. 

2 – Offering a discount to your waitlist. This means if someone is on your waitlist and they sign up for your offer, you give them a discount off the normal price.

The strategy you use really depends on you and what makes the most sense for your offer, and what would give your waitlist that  ‘exclusive’ VIP feel. 

That’s Waitlist Launching 101! What questions do you have? I’d love to hear ‘em!

If you’re a photographer who wants to learn more about growing your business or pivoting into branding photography, or a service-based business owner who wants to keep hearing more tips like these, sign up for my weekly e-newsletter! It’s the best place to stay in touch with me and talk about all things business and personal branding. 

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