A waitlist strategy can be a powerful way to take your pre-launch marketing to the next level. But, you have to make sure you’re covering all of your bases for your waitlist to have the maximum impact. Otherwise, you could end up attracting the wrong people for your offer.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of waitlist marketing, so you can leverage it to drive anticipation for your offer, gather valuable feedback from your audience, and increase your sales once the cart opens.
If you prefer to listen, we also covered this topic on an episode of The Copy Dates Podcast:
What is a waitlist strategy?
Let’s start with the basics: What’s a waitlist strategy? Until you’ve seen it in action, it can be hard to understand its purpose.
A waitlist is a segment of your audience that has shown interest in your offer before it actually becomes available, usually by giving you their email address.
These people are typically trading their contact information for some sort of goodie. It could be early access to your program, or an exclusive bonus that’s only available to this specific segment of your email list.
Waitlists can be extra powerful if your offer has some sort of built-in scarcity. For example, maybe you have limited spots for your coaching program, or maybe you’re offering 1:1 coaching sessions to the first few buyers of your online membership.
What role does a waitlist play in a pre-launch strategy?
Your pre-launch period is the weeks or even months leading up to your launch.
One of the most effective things you can do during this time is to fill your audience with people who are a good fit for the product or service you plan to launch. If you plan to promote your offer via your email list, it’s important to use these weeks or months to fill that email list with subscribers who want your offer’s solution.
By implementing a waitlist as part of your pre-launch strategy, you’re giving your audience an advanced chance to show their interest in your offer. It also gives you extra time to help them decide whether or not they want to buy, so they’re more likely to reach for their credit cards once the cart opens!
Benefits of a waitlist marketing strategy
No matter what it is that you’re selling, who your audience is, or how much time you have to build your waitlist, implementing a waitlist strategy has a ton of benefits for your launch.
1. Build anticipation and excitement
A waitlist creates a sense of anticipation among potential buyers. By offering them the chance to be among the first to access your product or service, you can start generating some buzz and excitement for your offer before it even becomes available.
2. Make sure there’s demand for your offer
A waitlist strategy can also help you validate your offer and ensure there’s demand before you invest a ton of time and resources in developing it. By seeing how many people join your waitlist, you can already get a sense of how in-demand your solution is.
3. Get potential buyers on your email list
If you plan to use email marketing during your launch, it's important to make sure your email list is full of interested buyers.
A waitlist strategy allows you to create a segment of your list that has already shown interest in your offer, giving you a unique opportunity to establish deeper relationships with them, engage them with valuable content, and increase your chances of a sale.
4. Collect early feedback and data
The waitlist segment of your email list is also a gold mine for market research.
You can engage with this group of people to find out what questions they have about your offer, helping you overcome objections well ahead of launch time. You can also fine-tune your offer and sales copy based on their input, making sure that your launch efforts are tailored to your target audience's needs and desires.
5. Help your buyers make an informed decision.
If you do your due diligence in engaging your waitlist, you’re giving your audience more time to plan, ask questions, and make a more informed decision on whether or not they want to invest in your product or service.
Especially if you’re planning to have a short open cart period, this extra time can also help your audience come up with the cash flow to invest in your offer.
Which offers can benefit from a waitlist marketing strategy?
Virtually every offer can benefit from a waitlist strategy.
- Course creators can use a waitlist to gauge demand for their course, collect market research during its development, and build anticipation.
- Membership creators can use a waitlist to increase urgency for limited spots and stagger entry so they can get their bearings with a smaller group.
- Coaches can use a waitlist to get a sense of demand (and plan their schedule accordingly) and decide between 1-on-1 or group coaching.
- Service providers and consultants can use a waitlist to better manage their workload, plan ahead, and create different offerings based on their leads’ needs.
Where waitlists tend to go wrong
I sometimes see business owners set up waitlists as a quick way to build their email list before they have time to create lead magnets or other valuable content. But the last thing you want to do is pop up a waitlist page that just says “something big is coming, sign up here to learn more!”
If you want your waitlist strategy to pay off, you need to pre-qualify your leads. Your waitlist page and promo content need to give people enough information to ensure they’re actually a good fit for your offer.
You don’t need to dish on everything right away, especially if your offer is still under development. But you do need to give readers the key info they need to decide whether you, your methods, and your offer are the right fit for their goals and how they like to learn.
In other words, make it crystal clear who this offer is for before they join your waitlist.
How to implement a waitlist marketing strategy
Convinced that a waitlist belongs in your pre-launch strategy? Here are the steps to follow to make sure you’re covering all of your bases.
1. Come up with a waitlist incentive
One of the most effective ways to get people on your waitlist and get those people to convert is to offer an attractive incentive. On top of early access to your offer, you might want to offer waitlist members an early-bird discount or exclusive content, like a group welcome call.
2. Create your waitlist page
I highly recommend transforming your sales page into a waitlist page. This makes sure anyone joining your waitlist already has the most important information about your offer, making them more willing to invest once the cart opens.
If you want to leave some details out, that’s totally fine. But I at least recommend thinking about what your audience needs to know to make an informed buying decision.
The easiest way to do this is to take your existing sales page and replace any call-to-actions (CTAs) or checkout links with an email opt-in form. If you haven’t created your sales page yet, our offer-specific sales page copy templates can help you get one up and running in no time.
3. Set up your welcome email
Once someone joins your waitlist, you need to deliver a solid first impression. Automate a welcome email that thanks them for their interest, shares the most important information about your offer, and lets them know when the cart will officially open.
4. Promote your waitlist
Start subtly promoting your offer on all the channels you plan to use during your launch. This might be your social media platforms, your wider email list, your network, or even paid advertising.
If you have a referral program, you can reach out to your affiliates and encourage them to push their audience to your waitlist. Just be sure to set up your tech so that their affiliate cookie tracks properly!
5. Nurture your waitlist
Once people start joining your waitlist, don’t ghost them! Instead, use it as an opportunity to build connection and trust while also building hype around the offer you’re launching.
Regularly email your waitlist with updates, sneak peeks, and valuable content related to your upcoming launch. You might want to talk more about your expertise authority in this area, behind-the-scenes of offer development, or share case studies and testimonials from people who have previously gone through your offer.
A recap: Do you need a waitlist marketing strategy?
A waitlist strategy can really give your launch a boost. By building anticipation, gathering feedback, and nurturing your leads, you can position your offer for success way before the cart opens.
But it’s incredibly important to fill your waitlist with the right people. Giving your audience the information they need not only helps them make better decisions, it also helps YOU make sure that your marketing and sales efforts pay off come launch time.
Your next best step? Get clear on the messaging around your offer. Our Messaging Clairy Journal will help you get clear on who you’re targeting with your offer and what your main positioning points should be.