How to execute a successful launch with no sales page and a list you fell out of contact with five years ago

Taylor Fischer
11 min readMar 20, 2020


What happens when you launch something to a list you haven’t emailed in half a decade?

What about when you’re launching a brand-new concept that no one on your list has ever even heard of before? Brand new as in — you invented this concept.

And then throw in the fact that your list is comprised of people who signed up for a completely different offer…

…under a company email they may or may not be using anymore.

Normally with a hot mess like that, you get a launch that’s a big ol’ F-L-O-P.

But launch strategist and copywriter Eman Zabi and her team somehow made it work for a client of hers. And we’re going to dig into the “somehow” right here, so scroll on down.

The rockets are launching. Get it?

The people launching this (we’ll just call them Mike and Mary) were two academics who founded a research institute and then found their time being spent giving people free advice over coffee.

They decided to create a monthly membership, with access to office hours and webinars and a quarterly meetup, for an early-bird price of $97 a month, which would be raised to $147 a month regular price.

This membership was centered around a concept Mike and Mary created, what we’ll call “Mystery Process X” — and just to be clear, Mystery Process X is not the name of the membership, but rather the name of the theory they built their membership around.

While I can’t go into all the details, Mystery Process X is basically a new definition of what peace means and it empowers business owners in the tech space to make positive changes from the start.

Launch Goal: Find out if their audience gives two-cents about their new membership…or at least $97 a month

The goal wasn’t to make X amount of dollars.

It was to find out if people even wanted their program in the first place, if this was something that could actually generate income for them in the long run (marketers call this “discovering product-market fit”).

And because Mike and Mary weren’t sure their program would even sell, they didn’t want to put any investment down that might be unnecessary.

Including paid traffic and a sales page.

A launch with no sales page?! Is that even possible?

You betcha.

It’s based on what Eman calls a “minimum viable launch” (MVL). It’s all about ONLY using elements that are serving a very specific purpose in your funnel, and choosing them in response to the specific constraints and opportunities you see.

Meaning: You don’t need a webinar for the sake of having a webinar. You don’t need a challenge for the sake of having a challenge. You don’t need a sales page for the sake of having a sales page.

And for this launch, Eman stripped the necessary elements down to this:

Social media posts > Waitlist landing page > Nurture emails > Cart open and cart close emails > Cart checkout page

And that was it. That was the entire funnel.

“Okay, so how do I know what elements to use for my individual launch?”

Before you plan out your launch strategy, look at two factors — your limitations and your opportunities.

Because you can’t plug and play things in a launch and expect it to work well. You’ve got to judge what your weaknesses and strengths are before you can figure out the best way to launch to your audience.

Know the parameters you’re working with AND take stock of your strengths

How much can you spend on this launch? What pieces can you afford and not afford?

Who do you have on your list? What is your organic reach? Are people already asking you for help in this area?

How much expertise do you have in what you’re launching? How often has your audience seen an offer like yours?

For example, Eman took a look at what was already working in Mike and Mary’s favor and discovered:

  1. They already had people asking for their time and expertise. Which by the way, THE biggest sign you’re ready to launch is if people are asking you for it. That is demand you can end up monetizing.
  2. A very prestigious organization was working with Mike and Mary and they were allowed to reference them, which was huge.
  3. Mike and Mary had been working at this concept of Mystery Process X for the last 10 years. This wasn’t something they came up with last month and hoped people would find useful. There was real value in what they were offering.
  4. They’re both very well known in academia. So if you google them, you would see that they’re legit and not just some random internet guru.

As for the challenges and constraints they faced…

  1. They hadn’t talked to their list in five years and people had originally signed up for a different offer.
  2. They were trying to sell a concept no one had heard of before.
  3. Their budget didn’t allow them to try and build their list with paid traffic.
  4. They had zero organic reach because they’d also been absent from social media.
  5. This was the first time they’d ever asked for money for anything so they didn’t have any previous testimonials to show outside support for them.
  6. While they were affiliated with a very well-known North American university (not the same organization I mentioned a second ago) and they did have indirect prestige because of that, they weren’t allowed to mention the university’s name.

They kicked off with social media posts whipping up interest outside of their list

Without talking very much about the membership itself, Eman posted about what they were doing in alumni groups and targeted Facebook groups.

Those posts led to a very simple landing page where people could jump or hop or squeeze onto the waitlist.

(If you’re launching to a list you stopped talking to five years ago — don’t just launch to that list. Expand out like Eman did).

And for top of funnel stuff, the social media posts and landing page were all they needed.

But what do you do with a list that’s older than the hills?

That picture’s supposed to represent something old and outdated, but everything I searched for ended up looking perfectly sentimentally antique. Not sure if it’s what I was going for, but a roll of film will have to do.

The first thing is to try and awaken your long-since-slumbering list. And if it does turn out to still be active, segment it.

So Eman started out with a series of emails designed to get people to identify who they were.

Using open rates and engagement to gauge how active they were, she realized that yes, there was a possibility for conversions here.

And based on their responses, she was able to segment them into four groups: entrepreneurs, executives, an “other” segment straddling the line between entrepreneur and executive, and a fourth segment made up of everybody who hadn’t clicked on a link.

Once that was done, Eman kicked off with a re-engagement sequence

Mike and Mary really wanted to see immediate results from this launch.

So instead of doing an ideal nurture sequence spending three or four weeks getting people hot and ready for the sale, Eman only had ONE week to re-engage this list before the cart opened.

Buuut…their audience had no idea what Mystery Process X was. So before they could buy into this concept and ultimately buy into the membership, these re-engagement emails had some heavy lifting to do:

  1. They had to shift the audience’s current idea of what peace was to Mike and Mary’s idea of peace.
  2. They had to show the audience how incorporating Mystery Process X into their own businesses would alleviate their biggest problems and get them the results they wanted.

(Because who’s going to buy something if they don’t understand both what it is and what it will do for them?)

3. They had to accomplish all of that both without causing information overload AND without making the audience feel like they were being “dumbed down to.”

All in seven days.

Each sequence was hyper-tailored (and I mean HYPER-tailored) to each segment

Especially in two ways:

  1. By talking about each segment’s own set of business problems and not trying to lump the entrepreneur problems in with the executive problems.
  2. By talking about Mystery Process X within the context of whether they were an entrepreneur OR an executive and how it would benefit them.

For example, after talking to about 25 entrepreneurs they connected with on Reddit, Eman and her team noticed the main struggles these entrepreneurs were having was getting funding and being able to measure the impact they’re making.

So the emails they got showed them how incorporating Mystery Process X into their business would allow them to measure their impact and make them eligible for certain investments.

But the executive segment had an entirely different set of worries and wants, so the emails they saw were not the same ones the entrepreneurs saw.

To explain Mystery Process X quickly without losing anybody in the process, Eman used apps and technology each segment was already familiar with and related them back to Mystery Process X to make it easy to understand.

HOT STRATEGY TIP: Whenever you’re introducing something new, try to find something your audience already knows that you can relate back to your new thing. Creating a frame of reference makes explaining and educating about it so much easier.

These emails included everything from super academic language to Macklemore references

Because the audience was made up of very educated, accomplished people in the world of technology, Eman didn’t need to strip away all of the jargon and academic language, but at the same time, she had to make these emails sound like a down-to-earth, person-to-person conversation.

So she fell back on her trusty rule of thumb to make sure the tone and language were right on point — reading them out loud to her mom or dad. They have nothing to do with this field, so if they understood what it was about and it got them excited, she knew she was hitting the right note.

HOT COPY TIP: Find the fun stuff your audience likes. Their music, their movies, their taste. And then incorporate those references into your copy. You’ll make them smile, make them enjoy reading it, and make yourself feel real and relatable. And that goes a long way towards conversions.

Every email you write should end with something that people have to respond to in some way — whether by clicking a link, leaving a comment somewhere, hitting reply, etc.

The goal is always engagement.

And by the way, there was no mention of the membership during re-engagement.

Only after people understood what Mystery Process X was and how it would benefit their business did the emails start introducing them to the idea that Mystery Process X might be the solution they’ve been looking for.

Once the re-engagement sequence was through and cart opened, everyone got an early bird discount that ran for the first 48 hours with emails linking to the checkout page (cause remember, ain’t no sales page needed here).

And because the price was doubling in two months, the cart close emails had tons of urgency built into them as well.

But once your cart is closed, the work isn’t over yet:

Ask your non-buyers what kept them from purchasing

You’ll find out what worried them the most, what confused them, and the biggest questions they had.

Next time, you can use their answers to write stronger copy that gets more people over the hump and into your program.

And besides that, responses to ALL of your emails can give you tons of voice of customer data for the next round.

Which goes to say — save all your responses. It’ll show you where the gaps are and what you need to highlight in your copy next time to help take your launch to a whole ‘nother level.

For this launch, people were writing in with their life stories and how this concept was changing them and their business. It was incredibly heartwarming for Mike and Mary to see these very emotional responses to something they created — and for Eman to see how people were connecting with the copy she’d written.

In the end — they sold 60% more than their initial estimate

Everyone was thrilled!

The waitlist converted very well at 15.79%. Everyone on the waitlist was from the people who signed up after seeing the social media posts Eman posted in certain alumni and Facebook groups.

And this is how the five-year-old email list converted:

  • The Entrepreneur segment converted at 10.5%
  • The Other segment converted at 6%

To put that into perspective, a 1% conversion rate is generally the industry average for academic circles.

  • The Executive segment converted at 0% — which is extremely interesting, because get this: The executive segment had very high engagement and everyone thought it would do well.

However, mid-launch, Mike and Mary announced that for corporate members, they were going to come out with a separate offering apart from this membership. So that kind of shot them in the foot.

Point is — don’t deviate. If you stay on track and stay on message, you’ll make a lot more money.

Remember how the goal of this whole launch was to prove product-market fit (which means to find out if their audience even cared about this membership and would buy it at all?)

Well, they for sure proved it. The minute cart closed, an extra one hundred people scrambled onto the waitlist to make sure they didn’t miss out the next time it opened.

This launch was the first step in turning their research institute into an actual profitable business

Mike and Mary now have a group of people they can upsell their higher ticket offers they plan on introducing over the next few years.

Instead of being frustrated with the fact that they’re getting swamped with requests for help from people who aren’t prepared to pay…

…they’re turning their knowledge into money while living out their passion of helping business owners become pioneers in this field of Mystery Process X.

>>> Leave a comment below about YOUR biggest takeaway or question, I’ll reply, and we’ll have a grand old time conversing with each other.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a word of wisdom: Stay on top of emailing your list! 😉

See ya in the comments.



Taylor Fischer

I talk about how your ag-related business is changing the farms and ranches — and lives — of the people who feed the world.