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A Product Birth Announcement

No matter how many products I’ve worked on marketing and selling, all of that seems easy compared to building my own.

That’s been a focus of mine during some downtime the past few months, as I’ve explored adding a premium layer to Serial Marketers.

For much of the past year, I’ve been building a roadmap for this community that I’ve lovingly called my professional hobby. In that time, it more than doubled in size to more than 1,300 members who now send close to 1,000 messages every week (most of them private, in case you’re there and don’t see it all).

That roadmap accelerated in collaboration with my advisors. Some more tangible inspiration came when I was speaking at DMEXCO last fall in Cologne, Germany and got to sit down with an industry friend, the prolific Peggy Anne Salz. After an hourlong conversation with her in DMEXCO’s press lounge, I created more frameworks for Serial Marketers — including a roadmap and media kit — than I have at any point the past two years.

What’s coming now for the community is a way for it to become less of a hobby and more of a business. The business will in turn allow me to invest more in the roadmap. What’s at the center of it all is one overarching mission: provide as much value as possible for members to build their own businesses, learn more, access resources faster, and create relationships that will provide dividends for years to come.

You can see the sneak preview here ahead of the soft launch (but see me for the discount code).

There was one guiding principle I kept returning to while creating a premium package: keep everything that’s currently part of the community free.

That means all the channels and ways to currently connect with members.

That means the weekly Salon video chats, where the guest presenters keep inspiring us in new ways.

That means the job board. There were a lot of ideas for charging for job postings or making those more exclusive for paid members. But I also didn’t want to police access to them, and I’d love to encourage people to share even more jobs with the community rather than fewer. All of that will stay free.

What the premium version will allow is access to entirely new features and offerings, some of which will be released immediately and some of which will launch in the coming months:

-Recordings and transcripts of the Salons.

-A portal for members to host office hours, either for free or for a fee.

-A member database (the most involved project on the roadmap).

-A research and white paper library that premium members can contribute to, plus a place to share member news updates in the newsletter (ideas gleaned from trade association memberships).

There’s a lot more in there, and much more coming.

If you want to be one of the first to check it out, I’ll be offering an exclusive soft launch offer for 25 of the earliest members, and then I’ll have a still-considerable discount for all current Serial Marketers members to use as we roll this out further. For those who might benefit from the discount, it’s a particularly good time to join the community. If you or a friend choose not to go premium, then you get a head start on connecting with more than 1,000 talented, experienced, thoughtful professionals.

If you’re exploring launching a product of your own, here are two bits of advice based on my recent experience:

1) Do your homework. See what models are out there. Talk to people who’ve done something similar. Join communities or subscribe to newsletters where you can interact with such people. Many people will be more transparent than you expect in giving advice directly.

2) Do it in a way that feels right to you. I’m convinced that financially, it would be better for me to shut down the free community and convert it all to paid membership. Similarly, I could lock some features (like job postings) behind a paywall and increase the urgency to subscribe. Doing some comparison pricing, my membership rate is lower than anything I’ve seen that’s comparable. I’ve also been told how tough it is to launch a freemium model. But the approach I came up with ultimately feels right, and I think it does the most good for the 1,300+ members of Serial Marketers today and the next 1,300+ who join, and then some.

This is all daunting. It feels like there are so many ways to do this better. The timing never feels quite right. I want to do more research. I want to build more first before launching this. I don’t want to rock the boat with what’s there.

But then, I want to remember the motto of the community that I started in July 2018: “Learn. Try. Share.” All three are critical. They all must happen together. And the learning will only accelerate from here.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Oh, and as for the newsletter, that’s still on the house — no upgrade required. I’m just thrilled you’re reading it.

If you’re curious about getting first access to the community upgrade though, let me know.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately. What are you making of yourself?

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