33% rule

When you’re launching a thing, it’s helpful to think about the process in three roughly equal parts.

What’s considered ‘a thing’? I define a product or project as something that you’re creating to put out into the world.

It could be a web product, website, app, zine, publication, course, poll, physical product, blog post, album, video, collection, survey, directory, event, book, and many other items.

You might be setting yourself up for disappointment if you think that one part of the launch process is 90% of the battle, but it’s really only 33% of it.

I’ve been disappointed by this before, so I wanted to share my take on why ideating and executing may not be enough alone.

33% Coming up with the idea and executing

This part means thinking through why someone would use your product, how, when. Be realistic about what you can ask users to do and how much leverage you have. If you think deeply and thoroughly here, it gives your product the best chance of success from the start.

While this part is important, most people think that they are 90% done at this point. Then you’re understandably frustrated if your work doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves.

33% Making sure people know it exists

If no one knows about it, no one can use it. Your work is for naught. If the product is worth making, it’s worth thinking about how to get it in front of the right people.

I tend to like the creation part more. I used to think of the promotion as a necessary evil to be tacked on after the “real” work of creating the product was done.

But I’ve begrudgingly come to realize that the promotion strategy and distribution channel is equally important. It’s worth thinking about right from the beginning when you’e working on creating the product itself.

33% Noticing if people are using the product the way you intended

If not, why is that? Did you expect 200 people to sign up, but only 20 did? Did you expect long answers to your survey, but responses were barely a short phrase? 

There are lots of reasons why people aren’t interacting with your product the way you thought they would. Hopefully you’re not too far off base. But in the event that you are, follow up and see if it’s a product or promotion issue. You might think it’s obviously one or the other, but many times it can be either.