Retrospective: Deploying Email List for Launch

One of the best things that I’ve done in terms of growing awareness and gaining traction for my small indie app is leveraging the power of the email newsletter. I’ve expressed already, in no uncertain terms, the power of the newsletter and how it can really dictate the direction and momentum of your small side project.

On October 30th, the day of launch, I began to execute against my growing list of emails of potential users and customers that I had been collecting via a temporary landing page (see my thoughts here on email capture). And it worked hansomely.

I sent out emails via Mailchimp to nearly 1,000 people (didn’t quite make it to the 1K mark… drat) and waited to see the results. This is what it looked like:

My simple launch newsletter.


Of the 947 recipients, 709 opened it and 519 clicked through for an open rate of 75% and a click rate of just over 55%. This was a major windfall, especially compared to industry averages.

Here’s a look at the report:

Hey, not bad...
Hey, not bad…

To be honest, I’m surprised that I didn’t get a higher percent but I guess there are people who sign-up and don’t read newsletters…

In addition to this direct newsletter I also sent out another previous newsletter (via my previous app and venture) that had over 1,600 signups from a previous project. I was hesitant at first to do this but I was won over by the fact that many of the people on this particular list not only supported my last project but the users on this list would have shared many similar characteristics.

For instance, my previous app was for the iPhone and the chance that they also used a Mac (OS X) would also be pretty high. The subscribers were passionate about digital publishing and the app that I launched was clearly in that same spot.

First day sales.
First day sales.

A total of 2,600 were hit up that morning which helped me feel great about launch potential and gaining some ground for traction, although, to be sure, I wasn’t sure about what to expect with “conversion” with the direct email list and the older list. I wondered how many would line up for purchase.

In the end, though, I sold 76 copies that launch day. I’m not sure if this was a good figure considering my near 1,000 direct subscribers or not and so I was neither happy nor disappointed.

To be honest, I think I was just relieved that anyone would buy the app in the first place. Regardless of actual conversion I think what was most important was that I got attention to the app which spread around the internet quickly, even if people weren’t buying the product.

That would eventually snowball into something much, much bigger and I’m really thankful for the long-term results. It’s always a marathon, not a sprint, right?

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