May 2, 2013

Joe and I recently went through a full-on launch of IntelliTheme that included hundreds of thousands of emails going out, more than 1,000 sales, and nearly $50K in gross revenue in one week.

It’s been an amazing experience and now that it’s over, I’d like to share with you a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how it all went down.

True to form, we won’t be holding anything back. We’ll share our costs, revenue, and our experience. (the good and the bad) We’re pulling back the kimono and giving you a peek with the hope that this will provide you some tips you can use as you continue to grow your online business.

Now…on to the details!

Investigating Our Options

Joe and I released IntelliTheme publicly back in November, 2012. We sent out an email to our list, put the blog post up, and sold some copies. We didn’t do much to massively promote the theme at that time. Our thought was that we’d make our money back on the theme internally and any additional sales would just be gravy for us.

“We’ll make our money back on the theme internally and any additional sales would just be gravy for us”

We actually considered giving the theme away for free at one point, but this was an actual product that improved profits both for ourselves and the customers who used it. Plus, we’d spent quite a bit of time/energy on it!

We ended up selling around 98 copies via Clickbank and 35-40 copies directly via PayPal. We’d spent approximately $7,000 developing IntelliTheme and had earned around $6,000 from sales. We were still a bit underwater from a pure cost/profit standpoint.

Still, these sales were enough for us to prove the concept and the feedback we were getting from the buyers was incredibly helpful. The problem was that 140ish users for a product like this is fairly underwhelming…we needed a way to get this out to the public.

We knew that Spencer from NichePursuits.com had just recently been promoting the hell out of LongTailPro. Everywhere we looked we were seeing new reviews and videos promoting the product.

We reached out to him in January to find out a bit more and he enthusiastically recommended we talk to Mark Thompson. He’d been working with Mark on a JV partnership promoting LongTailPro through Mark’s affiliate network and the results had been incredible. He’s done so many sales in recent months that he might have a good shot at competing with Market Samurai…or at least snatching up a decent size of the KW research market! Joe and I had a phone call with Mark and he laid out the gist of what he does.

Effectively, he’s a Joint Venture (JV) affiliate manager. His job consists of finding useful and interesting products, testing them out, and then helping to promote them to his list of hundreds of affiliates through which the products get sold. He gets the product owners to offer discounts, puts together the packages and promotes to his affiliates, and shares in the profits received through that promotion.

IntelliTheme Behind The ScenesOur Joint Venture Agreement And Splits

Product Pricing:

Single License – $17
Unlimited License – $27-$37 (dime sale…goes up after X amount of sales)
One-Time Offer #1 – Developer/Resale license – Buyers can use the theme for clients and can sell the sites with the theme included. (Also included was a PDF and video series from us on how to sell sites for a profit)
One-Time Offer #2 – Niche Packs – Offer from Mark

Revenue Split:

Affiliates: 60% of site licenses, 50% of OTO’s
Mark: 20% of site licenses, 25% of OTO’s
Us: 20% of site licenses, 25% of OTO’s

Before getting on the call I had some reservations about the approach. I was explicit in explaining marketing strategies we thought were acceptable and not acceptable. I thought I’d get some pushback from Mark, but he was in total agreement and told us his job was to sell within our boundaries. We wanted to discuss things privately after the call and Mark told us he’d have a slot he could fit us into in April if we were interested.

“We did ask him to share some previous launches he’d done and the numbers were pretty astounding.”

Joe and I discussed our play here and it seemed like a no-brainer. Mark was throwing around some awfully large numbers on the call that seemed a bit unbelievable, but we realized that the majority of the “work” would be on his end anyway. If the project crashed and burned, it would be mostly his time, efforts, and energies wasted. In fairness, Mark told us he really couldn’t say definitively how our launch would go, but we did ask him to share some previous launches he’d done and the numbers were pretty astounding.

Pre-Launch Strategy

Other than creating OTO #1, Mark really took care of everything for us. All sales copy, graphics, email swipes, setting up affiliates, building pre-launch interest, etc…that was all him.

Honestly, I didn’t think much of Mark or the launch through March. He was a nice enough guy, but I just didn’t think it likely that there would be much of a payoff. I figured even if he only brought an additional 80-100 sales in at least we’d get the additional exposure and buyers, even if we didn’t make much money out of the deal.

“Even if he only brought an additional 80-100 sales in at least we’d get the additional exposure and buyers.”

It was a bit of a mess. We’d just re-branded our business from AdSense Flippers to Empire Flippers. Many of the sales materials and information that was going out online was still mentioning the old AdSense Flippers brand and we had to try to adjust the best we could for Mark and the affiliates. (Sorry guys!)

In early April, we had our mastermind here in Davao and they beat us up a bit for not knowing more of the details. I’d asked Mark about it a few times throughout the process, but I wasn’t as clear on some of the details as I probably should have been. This put us at risk in a few areas:

  1. Brand Management – We began to notice a TON of crappy content out there about Intellitheme. Some of it was spun, put up on Web 2.0 feeder sites, article directories, etc. Would this have a negative impact? What kinds of promises were being made to new customers?
  2. Payments – Up until launch, we weren’t exactly sure how payments were to be processed and who they would go through. We were using JVZoo for affiliates and ForumSpecialOffers for our sales page, but Mark had said something about using his Paypal (with PayPal’s “adaptive payments”) to handle the orders.
  3. Refunds – Some of the trusted JV’s are on instant payments/commissions. Doesn’t that leave us ripe for refunds? If we’re paying the affiliates immediately, are we left holding the bag on refunds?
“Would this have a negative impact? What kinds of promises were being made to new customers?”

As we got closer to the launch date, I could see the buzz online starting to pick up. I did a few interviews both via email and video right before the launch. Joe and I had to scramble to put together our PDF and video for OTO #1. I collected all of our content around the web regarding selling sites, rewrote and formatted it, and had it made into a nice PDF. We recorded some audio and covered some of our best tips regarding site sales and had our team create the videos around the audio.

One of the most fun things we were able to do was create the launch video. We ended up not using it on the launch page for the promotion, but it’s something we can now use on the site:

We originally looked at some of the done-for-you services that provide launch videos, but they were a bit pricey and more than we wanted to spend on marketing materials. We ended up having our newest Intern (Erik) coordinate with our team to get the video completed. Here’s our cost breakdown:

  • Script – I spent about 10-12 hours putting together the script for the project – Free
  • Voiceover – We used Voice123.com to get a professional voiceover done for the video – $150
  • PowToon Video Service – A great service for making cartoon-ish videos and animation – $19
  • Custom Graphics And Images – We had one of our guys spend two days creating the custom images and graphics – $30
  • Intern Erik – He spent two days putting together the voiceover and images from our team – $200

My time isn’t actually free, but aside from that we were able to put the video together for under $400 in total spend…not bad!

Speaking of costs, Joe was pushing to get Version 2.0 before launch. We were using a great new developer, but he’s expensive…we ended up spending another $3,000 to add the additional features we wanted for IntelliTheme. (We didn’t get this done before launch, unfortunately…we had to push it back so that we had time to test. We should have an automatic update out in the next couple of weeks.!)

Total Cost Through Version 2.0: $10,400 approximately

Launch Day

As soon as the sales page went live, things were NUTS! My worries about payments and whether Mark would come through were (thankfully) unfounded.

Joe and I were both bombarded with PayPal emails…we were selling several copies per minute right after launch.

IntelliTheme Paypal payments

Thankfully, Joe and I were both on with two support staff to handle all of the emails, questions, support tickets, and comments that were rolling in.

Total Sales 24 Hours:

IT Total Sales 24hours

Unlimited License Sales 24 hours:

IT Sales Unlimited 24hours

“Almost $24K in only 24 hours! We were looking at a 3.19% conversion rate and $0.88 per visitor.”Click To Tweet!

We asked Mark about these numbers and he said they were a little low. After the first day he mentioned that we’d probably be at around $50K – $60K in total sales when the week’s finished…not too shabby.

By the second day, we realized we were in the top spot for JVZoo sales on both our first and second day:

JVZoo Top Sellers

This led to us being featured by JVZoo in the email out to their list over the weekend. It seemed odd to us that Mark wanted to launch on a Friday (April 12th) but, (again) it turns out he knew what he was doing.! Launching on a Friday with JVZoo put us in a prime position to be the top seller for the day and got us on an email out to all of their subscribers and affiliates.

From the start, we weren’t planning on making much money on the launch. With a discounted product, giving 60% to affiliates, 20% to Mark, etc. that really didn’t leave a ton of cash for us.

Still…we know that if we could increase our exposure and get our product and brand out to a new audience, they would find opportunities later to purchase products, buy and sell websites, etc. This strategy seemed to be working out well, based on our email signups from Day 2:

Aweber Emails Day 2

Challenges

We were extremely happy with how the launch was going after the first day, but there were a few challenges that we were forced to deal with. Some of them were expected, while others were completely foreign to us.

Product Confusion

We were beat up a bit (rightfully so) about our sales process being a little confusing. Potential buyers weren’t sure whether they needed the single site license, multi-site license, etc. One of the worst mistakes we made was not explaining the OTO #1 very well. Buyers weren’t sure exactly what the developer/reseller license was for. We had to explain through support tickets, emails, and comments that it was the ability to sell site(s) with the theme and/or use the theme for clients. I’m sure this cost us some sales. :-(

Surprisingly, we had quite a few support tickets from buyers who thought this was a plugin and not a theme. They tried to add it to their current sites as a plugin and were confused as to why it wasn’t working. This was easy to explain and fix, but probably hurt their expectations when they realized they couldn’t use it on their current theme.

Message Backlash

We knew this was pretty salesy for us, but it was a bit disheartening to read some of the criticism from our supporters. Here’s an example of some of the emails we received:

Email Complaint

And support tickets:

Webinar complaint

Ouch! We were able to resolve most of the complaints or issues, but the sentiment still rang true. For every email or support ticket we received, there were probably another 10+ buyers that thought it and just didn’t say anything.

Ultimately, we felt that the trade-off between having a promotional launch and adding a ton of new buyers and audience was worth it. We were able to help everyone that was struggling to get access relatively quickly and you can always unsubscribe from emails, eh?

Cracked Software Downloads

We made a decision during development that we wouldn’t spend a ton of energy trying to lockdown the software. We thought it was more important to get a working copy out, test the market, and add some of the really cool features and functionality down the road.

While we avoided showing up on any of the free download sites previously, we found our theme available for free from those sites within 24 hours of launch this time around. :-( This is something we definitely expected, but we were a bit surprised when it was the reason for a buyer’s cancellation/refund. Stating something about not being able to “in good conscience” pay for something that was stolen and distributed for free. WTF?

It’s not so bad, though. Future updates and features will effectively lock out unauthorized copies, keeping the theme from working on those particular sites. They can avoid the updates of course…but they’ll eventually find the theme not working very well and probably be forced purchase from us anyway.

Haters And Trolls

[callout2]“We go with the uglier layouts because they make us more money.” – Click To Tweet![/callout2]
We’ve been pretty lucky in that we’ve largely been hater/troll free since we launched our site. Some have raised concerns (whether niche sites are really worth it, maybe we should be building authority sites instead, etc.) but most of them have provided some helpful/useful criticism for us and our audience.

This…well…this was a bit different!

A couple of guys were hammering us in the sales thread. We responded to legitimate concerns or complaints but avoided the nastier comments. Most of the trolls and haters tended to comment on the “ugliness” of the theme. They’re right, of course, the theme is a bit ugly. For those of you who’ve been with us a while you’ll know that we tested the design pretty heavily. As much I wish the better looking themes converted well that just isn’t the case.

We also had a few hate emails and one guy in particular that spammed our comment form on IntelliTheme with something like, “Mark Is A Miserable F#@(ING SPAMMER!!!” over and over again. What a sweetheart he was! :-)

As you can see, it wasn’t all sunshine and PayPal payments and there were definitely a few bumps in the road. - Click To Tweet!

“It wasn’t all sunshine and PayPal payments and there were definitely a few bumps in the road.”

I do wish we would have been more clear regarding the product offer, but the rest we can deal with!

Final Results

We were very happy with how everything played out and Mark certainly delivered the affiliates and sales. Here’s a look at all of the products sold by the end of the week:

IT Total Sales Final

And here’s a look at our Unlimited License sales:

IT Sales Unlimited Final

Here’s a breakdown:

  • 1,130 Total Sales/Licenses
  • $47,244.80 Gross Sales
  • $11,000 Development Costs (approximate)
  • $400 Marketing Costs (approximate)
  • $1,275 Affiliate Bonus Costs (Split with Mark)

And here’s our revenue from this promotion:

  • $11,811.2 – Revenue from affiliates (Approximate – $47,244.80 X 25% for affiliate license sales, OTO’s, and unaffiliated purchases)
  • $4,840.54 – Our commission on affiliate sales
  • So…$7,000 (previous sales) + $11,811.20 + $4,840.54 =
  • Our Total Revenue: $23,651.74
  • Our Total Expenses: $12,037.50
  • Our Net Profit: $11,614.24 (approximately)

On the surface, it seems like a hell of a lot of work for $11K net…even if was only one week! Still, a few things to consider:

  1. This doesn’t account for the additional $$ made on our own sites
  2. The brand exposure for Empire Flippers
  3. The new audience and email signups we’ve picked up that may purchase our other products/services, buy/sell websites, etc.

Final Thoughts

We’re really happy with the results and appreciative to Mark for taking on this project. We’ve had some great feedback and success stories from some of the new users which is so exciting to hear. We’ve got some pretty major plans for IntelliTheme through the rest of the year and can’t wait to start kicking out the latest versions and updates!

We’re planning to have Mark Thompson join us on a future podcast episode. He has a really interesting job and he’s done some major launches – We’re excited to have him share with you exactly how he’s done it.

Anything we missed that you would have liked to see included? Do you think this was a worthwhile project based on the final numbers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!



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Discussion

Leave a comment
  1. Great break down and peek behind the kimono, as disturbing as that sounds. These launches have always peeked my curiosity and I’m glad to see more about how it all works. Something I might have to do down the road. Plus you point out some insightful pieces of information that will help me prepare for that future project.

    I’m glad the launch was a success for you guys. I love your comment about the ugliness of the theme too. Overall it’s about the effectiveness of the theme and not the aesthetics.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Steve!

      Yeah, my girlfriend was shaking her head at our little guy with his kimono open, but I couldn’t help using it, heh.

      It’s really too bad about the “uglier” layouts working. The people that were complaining about the theme being ugly have a good point and I agreed completely…but the better way to look at it (I think) is that it’s designed to make you more money with your niche sites.

      My guess is that we’ll add some better looking layouts/presets later (or just allow you to design your own) but we wanted to start with what we know “works” right?

    • Iain says:

      I second what Steve said. I am very happy that you guys gave us full monty view of what actually happened.

      Similarly to Steve, I also have wondered what happens behind the scenes.

      Also, I am glad to hear that overall it was a success. I can’t imagine all the hard work that went into it that wasn’t quite expressed in the post.

      Hats off to you Justin and Joe

  2. Hi EmpireFlippers!

    Congratulations to your IntelliTheme successful launching. Nevermind those haters or bashers out there as the famous saying goes you can’t please everybody. Just do your part, be fair with your customers and to courteously answer all their concerns. Every effort you gave with the product will surely paid off just continue working at your best.

    Good luck with all your upcoming ventures!

    Cheers,
    Arwin

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Arwin!

      Yeah, it can be a bit frustrating…especially when I AGREE with them! The theme is a bit ugly. We probably could have done a better job communicating WHY that is. Trolls can be ignored, but the confusion about the licensing/product and the misunderstanding about why it’s “ugly” we should own, I think…

      Thanks and best of luck to you too!

      • Irene says:

        I am one of those who didn’t like the theme because it looked ugly (I’d say outdated, more than ugly), but I am very hopeful about new versions with more control over the design/layouts as the theme worked really well. Any chance for a post with timelines at some point? :D

        • Joe Magnotti says:

          Well, we intend on having a WYSIWYG editor and additional presets in version 3, as you well may know, but it’s hard for me to commit to exact dates. Running a development team is far from an exact science and I am finding that the best laid plans have milestones missed by weeks or even months. The best I can say is “in a few months”.

          I will go on to say that ugly presets perform much better than good looking design when it comes to AdSense revenue based on clicks. We’ve tested this and we know it to be true. That said, I understand your wants and your wish will be granted! ;-)

          Lastly, those who buy IntelliTheme now will get unlimited upgrades for life. I don’t know if this will be true for future versions. Prices will go up as we add more features — we have already raised the price to $97.

        • Shon says:

          But what is the point of making it all pretty, when the ugly converts better. I could care less about what my site looks like if it is making me money. Tests have shown over and over that uglier converts better, period.

          • Joe Magnotti says:

            I agree Shon, but if users want a pretty preset I will give it to them. I think most people will find CTR is way lower, but sometimes they want to see with their own eyes on their own site.

  3. CD says:

    Enjoyed the breakdown.

    I can testify to the massive amount of emails you will get in the future from Mark and his affiliates after purchasing something from him. I bought long tail pro from him and was hammered for months. I probably had to unsubscribe from 50 different emails before it got cut down to getting emails just a couple times per month.

    Next time I would just create an email just to buy the product.

    Love the podcast!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, man…

      I hadn’t considered the emails from Mark AND any of his affiliates. Hopefully they all have (relatively easy) unsubscribe options. If not…SPAM! :-)

      Marketers don’t do well with email delivery when you start marking them down for sending spam emails.

      Glad you’re digging the podcast! Just launched a new episode today as well.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Congrats! I love the behind the scenes look you guys give, especially about a recent product launch.

    If I was on wp I would buy it just to support.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Jeremy!

      We had some buyers that did just that, lol. They mentioned they don’t know whether they’d use the theme or not, but wanted to support us. Not a ringing endorsement for marketability of the product, but we’ll take it all the same! :-)

      What do you use…Joomla?

      • Jeremy says:

        Tumblr. For what we needed at the time we launched, for our market, and for the type of content we create tumblr was the best option.
        We picked tumblr because of the reblog ability and network of people on tumblr.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I ‘ve always loved a behind-the-scenes look. I always wondered how these launches worked. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Justin

    Congrats on a very succesfull launch.

    the best way of looking at the $11K is its totally validates the business and helps cover the initial development costs so that’s golden.

    I dont like the launch page Mark did as its classic hype selling I know it works but there you go. As needs must. No reflection on you or your brand.

    having said that im impressed by the amount of work that sales page must have taken by mark(and his team).

    So the baby is truely born and running nicely

    congrats

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Steve,

      You’re right, Steve…covering the costs and turning a profit does validate the market.

      Don’t be too harsh on Mark…he sent it to us and we approved it before we posted anything so it’s on us! We were surprised, actually, at how the sales page was of much higher quality than most we come across. I’d love to have his graphics/copy guys/gals with us! hehe

  7. muddaser says:

    Nice post and the reason it got this high was that you have made your space here in the internet world. congrats and i need a treat hah.

  8. Ruchik says:

    HI , Awesome case study guys.I have been always curious about the product launches and want to know the real scenario behind the scene.Today , you guys fulfills my desire.Very few people in IM has courage to be honest and show the real figures and fact of the business.You guys provide great value to the entire IM community.

    I think $11600 is impressive figure at this stage and you are going to make this figure more bigger.I like to know the outsource process from you.How you hire a programmer guy and what kind of tools you used?I am personally working on plugin development and i really like to know from you about what site you use for outsource?Is it freelance.com or any other?What kind of qualities you seek in the programmer ?

    Keep up the great work …..

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, man!

      Yeah, I’ve always been curious about the product launches too. I’d wondered why some products (that don’t seem like much) get so many visits, purchases, etc. while others (that seem decent) get nothing. Now I know why! They’ve got a huge team of affiliates behind them.

      We did a podcast recently on hiring developers that you might be interested in:

      http://empireflippers.com/efp-39-business-and-the-borg/

      Finding the right programmers can be difficult for sure. I dig the plugin market…do let us know what you end up creating!

      • Ruchik says:

        Thanks for podcast link .Just go with your podcast and understand the importance of the need of the graphic designer and programmer.So what i understand this should be procedure – I will make some rough mock chart and then hire a designer and he will make a beautiful interface in photoshop and then finally progammer will build the plugin or softare based on the final design.Please correct me if i am worng.Yes,once my plugin will be done i will love to share with you guys ! Once again thanks for all the help.

  9. Loved the post. Such an insightful look into the backend of these big launches.

    It also makes me want to look twice whenever I see some of the “over-promotional” stuff come my way. Usually I would immediately write it off, but it never really hit me that it could just be some promoter writing a sales copy that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the creator.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Travis…

      You’re totally right about that…something I hadn’t put much thought into before this.

      I think Mark’s approach is spot-on. He knows what he’s good at, so he partners up with guys/gals that are developing products in a market they already know well. He gets to promote through his team of affiliates and leverages their knowledge/trust in their market. It’s a sweet deal for all parties, I think.

  10. James says:

    Admittedly, I’m very turned off at the “WSO” style of marketing (Not in the terms of having a special offer on a forum, but more specifically the way these guys tend to market things “AutoMAGICALLY SIPHON billions of dollars INTO YOUR BANK account with the PRESS of a button.” and frankly I think the EmpireFlippers guys are miles beyond that in terms of transparency and trust, but I do see the advantage of partnering up with someone that has such a large audience.

    Much respect for the way that EmpireFlippers run their business, you guys are in it for the long term. Just because you flip sites, that doesn’t mean you treat your leads, clients and your business as a “Churn as burn” as many marketers in and around this niche tend to do, especially the ones who offer Special Offers.. on Forums.. Anyways.. On to the theme…

    I really like Intellitheme, it does what it’s supposed to do and its easy enough to use. At $97 it’s a bit of a tough sell when you compare to the type of value you can find with some themes on ThemeForest for around $50, or other premium marketing themes in the $100-$150 range that include everything and the kitchen sink. Having said that, including everything and the kitchen sink obviously isn’t the goal of IntelliTheme, which does what it is supposed to do and does a very nice job of it. I’m able to setup a site quicker than ever before, and time is my best asset and with the special launch price it’s a no brainier, I’m all over that and I referred some friends, too.

    Also I have to give props to Joe. I used the “Contact us” forum on your official theme website a couple of times, and I had a response within MINUTES each time. You can’t hire the type of fanatical customer support that a vendor will have for their own product, to keep up the great work guys.

    I hope this doesn’t come off as too mixed of a review, because make no mistakes – I’m very happy with Intellitheme, the support I received, and the price I paid for this theme.

    Cheers and keep it up,

    James

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, James!

      Yeah, that’s not really our marketing style…but it seemed smart to team up with someone who knows how to drive sales and get IntelliTheme more users. This helps us expose our brand and style to quite a few “new” readers and listeners and we can (hopefully) help them out.

      I think I might agree with you…$97 seems a bit aspirational. We know where we want to take it and I think it will be worth that, for sure…but maybe it’s a tough sell from where it stands today? Curious…what do you think it’s worth right now?

      From a strictly ROI perspective…it would be worth a TON to us if we were purchasing…but for someone new just starting off that’s probably not the case.

      We have a pretty amazing team backing us up AND Joe has been on the ball when it comes to IT support! :-) Thanks for the comment!

  11. DJ says:

    I didn’t send any emails but if I had it would have resembled the first one in your post.

    It took no time at all to get slammed with pitches from Mark’s list that resembled a decade ago. That is, way too many, way too often as taught by the “pros”; the “A-listers”.

    Bought many things over the last decade and a half so I recognized it wasn’t you guys. A simple unsubscribe took care of it.

    Kudos on your launch and the detailed follow up.

    DJ
    Oh, yeah, thanks for the “ugly” theme. 8^P

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Sorry you got hammered, DJ…glad to see you’ve fixed it though.

      I’m not subscribed to a ton of sites/blogs but I still get a ton of email from other sources. I definitely understand the need to protect your inbox! :-)

      We’re happy with the “ugly” theme too. Honestly…anyone that’s looking for a really good looking theme here…this probably isn’t the theme for them. (They should check out ThemeForest or something)

  12. Congrats on the launch! Good job on the “total reveal” without bashing any of the partners.

    It was a really eye-opening look at how to balance branding, sales and customer service. I appreciate the insights about handling trolls. I still haven’t figured out how to approach them.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Quinton!

      Years ago, Joe and I worked for a company that took on product resellers. (Affiliates in the non-IM world) It was quite a challenge keeping them on point and balancing sales with message/branding, etc. They ended up dumping them all save one which had been a great partner with us.

      Yeah…trolls are miserable, man.

  13. Daniel says:

    I would love to see a live demo(s) option on the purchase page for review prior to deciding to purchase IntelliTheme.
    I am on the fence about making a purchase (though I really love what you guys do) without any example(s).
    I may just wait a few weeks to see what the early adopters have to say about it first.
    Kind of like how some do with a new OS update.
    Crappy design still worries me :/

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Daniel,

      Mark put it on one of his niche sites as a demo and we have a ton of videos showing you the different designs, back-end, etc.

      I was actually for putting up a demo site people could log into, but Joe fought me on it a bit. He was worried about support request for people trying to login, having trouble playing with it, etc…wanted to instead support customers.

      We wouldn’t put it on a “live” site as we don’t release our niches…that would be a bad idea overall.

      Maybe I can talk him into it…we’ll see! :-)

      Again, if you’re looking for a good looking theme, I’d really suggest checking out ThemeForest. They have some awesome/sexy designs to choose from. That’s the route I would take if I were going for engagement/audience over conversion optimization. If you’re looking to build a big/authority site, you’re better off with something like that and using Optimizely to split-test I think.

  14. Clay says:

    Pretty cool of you guys to divulge all of this and be so transparent. You definitely don’t have to but it’s nice to see all the little detail for people like me for my own little projects.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Happy to do it, Clay! I’m hoping you get something out of it that you can apply to your own business.

  15. Marcus says:

    Good stuff as always, guys. Transparency is your signature style.

    What interested me was the aspect of “outsourcing” your product launch. I don’t see that as often, usually owners do it all themselves. Bringing in a pro can really relieve the burden. As long as you get approval over all marketing and communication before it goes out, it should be okay.

    For comparison, you might want to check out Glen’s (ViperChill) write-up of his product launch for Optin Skin: “Revealed: Behind the Scenes of My Premium Product Launch.”

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Marcus!

      The concept was new to us too, but we’d seen what Spencer had done with it and asked him for more information, heh. You’re right about approval over marketing/communication…this was a concern of ours and we asked Mark if this was how it worked and he said yes, definitely.

      Glen puts out some excellent content at ViperChill. Definitely a good read:
      http://www.viperchill.com/product-launch/

  16. Dave Starr says:

    Great rundown. Explains a lot. Comments from the “little guy”peanut gallery:

    First, I don’t know Mark, but I have had so many “breathless” (you gotta buy this now, it’s the greatest money making secret ever revealed … blah, blah, blah) emails from him and his affiliates over the years that I have long ago unsubscribed and blocked everything possible from him.

    It’s fine to hire a “pusher” who can get product out there (he obviously can do it, I respect that), but you should thing twice about letting such a “heavy breather” be anywhere near your public facing persona. Likewise “JVZoo” … unseemly.

    Second, product definition and description. I didn’t even know what the developer option was about .. automatically didn’t look at it because it smacked of “code”. It makes great sense for anyone trying to follow in your footsteps and build and flip sites … it’s a reseller license in my view. I can build sites, but I couldn’t make a pimple on a real “developer’s” butt.

    Also, again right here in this article confusion about “Version 2.0 “. I even wrote you, confused about this.

    You actually seem to mean Version 1.2, which seems to be the latest and updates fine, as you said it would … but reading this article and earlier ones, I was thinking this whole launch was about a “Version 2.0 “.

    Just need to be clear on things is all I’m saying.

    And lest anyone think this is just another negative old man rant, no way!

    I am a happy, fully satisfied user of version 1.2 and I think it’s totally worth the money … I’ll be back for more ;-)

    • Joe Magnotti says:

      Hey Dave, just to clarify, version 2 has not been released yet, but version 1.2 owners will get a free upgrade when released (and also to version 3). The developer and I are working on it as we write this.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks for the comments, Dave!

      Don’t worry about beating us up a bit…we know it comes from a good place and you’re really trying to help! :-)

      I was trying to say above that we’ve “paid” for Version 2.0 (development costs) and so I’ve included it in the costs. The code has (as of today) been completed, but Joe and the developer are currently testing/debugging before we push it out as a release.

      Version 2.0 that’s coming out soon has some pretty sweet features, but it’s Version 3.0 that I think will make this a complete, well-rounded product. (And meet the vision of what we had when we set out to create IntelliTheme!)

      Baby steps though, eh?

  17. Ryan McLean says:

    Hi Guys,

    I was also in the boat of not appreciating the influx of offers sent to my email after I bought the theme.

    But I unsubscribed to them all and haven’t had any issues since.

    The theme has exploded my income (doubling my adsense revenue). This has allowed me to ramp up new content on my sites because my return on investment is so much better.

    Couldn’t be happier and I am looking forward to future updates.

    #lifelongfan

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Ryan!

      Doubled? That’s awesome, man…glad to hear it!

      I think the number one determinant for CTR is niche selection of course…but next is design and ad placement which we’re looking to optimize. Keeping picking great niches and we’ll cover the design/ads. :-)

  18. Ryan McLean says:

    Also,

    I just checked out PowToon and all the jobs say $395+ for a 1.5 minute video.

    How did you guys get it for $19?

    Or any other video making services you can recommend. I do a lot of 5-10 minute audios which I would like to have turned into video for cheap.

  19. Dr. Niche says:

    Hey guys,

    Nice launch and congrats on the $11k in the bank. If your an IM, then you know that is no easy feat. I picked up the unlimited license and thanks for the promo rate! I already had IntelliTheme 1.0 on a couple sites I purchased from Adsense Flippers so I knew the theme had an excellent CTR. I wanted to make sure I picked up 2.0 for the added functionality and lifetime updates.

    I’ve doubled my Adsense money in the last 90 days, and owe a lot of my success to you guys and the folks you virtually hang with and promote. Keep up the great work, keep doing what you do and F#@K them haters/trolls. They only lash out because the care…lol!

    Dr. Niche

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, man!

      Doubled your AdSense income? That’s awesome!

      A bit of bad news – You didn’t have to actually pay for the next version…we would have upgraded you for free. :-( Keep this in mind for Version 2 and Version 3…you’re with us now…you’re good!

      • Dr. Niche says:

        Not bad news at all! Even though I purchased websites from Adsense Flippers with IntelliTheme installed, I didn’t have an unlimited license for new website development. Since I build a lot of my own sites, I wanted to have that theme in my library. I don’t need a lot of themes, just the kick-ass ones. And seeings how I have retirement property in Mindanao, I didn’t mind blowing a few bucks on some dudes from Davao…

        Dr. Rod

      • Dr. Niche says:

        Not bad news at all! Even though I purchased websites from Adsense Flippers with IntelliTheme installed, I didn’t have an unlimited license for new website development. Since I build a lot of my own sites, I wanted to have that theme in my library. I don’t need a lot of themes, just the kick-ass ones. And seeings how I have retirement property in Mindanao, I didn’t mind blowing a few bucks on some dudes from Davao…

        Dr. Rod

  20. Justus says:

    Fascinating look behind the scenes. Thanks for your transparency. Also appreciated hearing about Voice123 and PowToon Market Place.

  21. An article worth reading for the cartoon at the top alone!

    I missed it when I skimmed this on Twitter, but cartoon you has me in stitches.

    Congrats to you both on a successful launch.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Justin! I love your heavily-detailed posts…trying to do the same here, hehe.

      Yeah, cartoon guy was too funny. I asked our in-house guy to create the image and was cracking up when he sent it to me…had to use it!

  22. Justin says:

    Great read. It is so refreshing to read something that is so informative and honest from your perspective.

    I’m glad Intellitheme was so successful for you, I bought it and while I’m still doing as much research as I can, I will definitely be using it.

    Keep it up guys!
    -Justin

  23. This article is why I love you guys. You really do cover behind the scenes. You lay it all out, the good, the bad and the ugly. Not having done a JV like you have described, but thinking about it, I learned a ton and now have a better understanding of how the process works and what to expect.

    One comment, regarding using Mark Thompson, would you use him again ? From your case study I guess to get his results ( I don’t know ) he really does have to ‘spam’ that much and promote ? ( That’s what he does). To me that would be the one down side.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey, Fred!

      Thanks, man…I wrote this post thinking this is the kind of thing I would have appreciated reading before launching IntelliTheme. Hopefully it will help others as they prepare to launch their own products/services.

      To be clear – We’d definitely use Mark again! He was a pro and very helpful to us. If the “price we have to pay” is that some buyers had to unsubscribe from his emails, well…that’s no that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, eh?

  24. ilias diamantis says:

    Hi guys .

    Very interesting article . Always wondered how you actually do a product launch . And sometimes I guess you have to partner with the “devil” :) . Just take care not to become much like him .

    Congratulations on your launch , enjoy your well deserved profit , be healthy and smile .

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Ilias!

      I think Mark’s one of the few guys who knows what he’s doing in a somewhat-sketchy industry. We won’t be using all of the tactics/strategies he uses in our own business, but it was a fascinating look at that side of the industry.

      To be honest, I found Mark to be considerably “less sketchy” than I thought he might be! Whenever I come across product-launch, hyped-sales guys my guard is always up and I expect the bullshit sandwich, but I was pleasantly surprised to find Mark was legit. :-)

  25. Nino says:

    Great post Justin! I love this kind of transparency…

    You should have contacted me for your video.I would have given you a great offer since I’m a long time reader of your blog.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Wow, man…thanks for the offer! Funny enough, I think I’ve stumbled across your site before but didn’t stick long enough to take a look at your offer.

      Looking at it now, it seems like a pretty sweet deal, actually! I think we’ll be in contact the next time we need a promo video done. :-)

  26. I appreciate you sharing the break-down of the planning and sales of this launch. Especially since you definitely didn’t have to. I’d always been curious to know details about product launches. Thanks.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, man…happy to share!

      Side note: I just noticed there are a “ton” of Justin’s in this thread…WTF? :-)

  27. Tammy says:

    Wow … eye opening to say the least !

    Thank you so much for sharing your launch experience with us. It sounds really exciting & inspiring : )

    I am totally looking forward to seeing your checklist … thank you so much : )

    Tammy

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Tammy!

      I’m a bit delayed on the “launch prep” checklist as I’m catching up on work…will have it out as soon as I can, though! :-)

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