Launch List Conversion Rates

I’m trying to plan out marketing milestones I need to hit on my way to a successful product launch. To that end, I’ve decided to work backwards from desired initial cashflow, and back into the marketing numbers I need to hit.

I’m trying to ballpark the number of email list subscribers I’d need to line up in order to make it a reasonably safe bet that I can get X customers off of the launch.

Question is:

What percentage of your initial launch list converted into paying customers in the first month after launch?

Obviously mileage will vary depending on product, the marketing tactics used to build the list etc, but it occurred to me that I have no data to determine a realistic range for that number.

If you could comment on the balance of your list in terms of “people that specifically signed up to hear about a launch” vs “folks that signed up to get a free download” that might be useful contextual information as well. (Or is it?)

I am wondering why you would spend time on this before you launch your product?

The phrase counting your chickens before they hatch come to mind. :wink:

I’d never want to get to a situation where I was waiting to launch a product just because I didn’t have x launch list members.

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This seems like an unhelpful line of thinking.

The reality is, hardly anyone will sign up, try, or even notice your product upon launch - unless you are piggybacking on an already successful previous product that you have.

The first challenge is to actually get a product available for people to try, use, and purchase. And most important of all, on which to give you feedback. And then you have the long grind of increasing awareness, improving your product, and marketing to get a nice regularly sales figure.

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@johnf The reason I spend time on this is to have realistic marketing goals. I’ve gone down the road of launching to an empty room before and that’s not going to happen. I’m not saying I’m going to prevent launching until I have a certain number of email addresses, it’s more that while I’m building the product, I want to be able to set quantifiable goals so that I have a decent list to launch to when the time is ready.

@SteveMcLeod This seems like a really unhelpful response to a very specific question. Yes, in reality “hardly anyone” will sign up, but the rub is in defining what “hardly anyone” means. If hardly anyone is 5%, then that’s fine, it means I have to get 20X into my list in order to meet my goal. And it’s absolutely not true that you need a previously successful product to piggy back on. That’s absolute rubbish. A previous product just means it’s easier to get the required audience, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible, or even an order of magnitude more difficult.

Yes, increasing awareness is a long grind, but I’m not waiting until I’ve invested hundreds of hours of dev time before I’m going to build my marketing funnel. If anything, that marketing funnel creates the largest channel of beta users and target-market feedback available.

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Not a direct answer, but more of a question/suggestion…

This seems like a product where you could easily get some initial validation & feedback by going door-to-door… is that something you’ve considered (or done already?)

That isn’t the case. It is perfectly possible to build awareness and interest in a product prior to launch.

We launched Perch to a list of about 500 people, this was five years ago and I don’t have stats to hand but a good chunk of those people bought the product, helped us raise awareness of it and many are still customers now. Perch was our first product, we were a services business.

About 40% of my email list bought a copy of my recent e-book.

In both cases people from the list were emailing to ask “when will it be ready?”

I wouldn’t spend a huge amount of time worrying about exact numbers but in my experience a launch list of keen people is worth having. Not only will some of them buy the product but they can also help you to get some initial buzz going on Twitter etc.


Thanks for the info. I’m not so much concerned about exact numbers as getting a realistic range. My product is relatively high-priced (it’s cheap compared to alternatives, but it’s also not $9/mo) so I’m guessing that will lower the initial conversion rate. My goal is to start launching beta users off of the initial launch list and take them on in a slow, controlled fashion up to the launch so that they can build buzz on their own. The product is a CMS, so once they start seeing that they have a beautiful site that they actually built themselves, I’m guessing they’re going to want to show it off.