Experimenting with part of HEY's launch strategy on my new book

Lots has been said about whether or not folks like the product, but I haven't seen a lot of critical thought or analysis on the marketing, sales, and launch strategy (beyond people hating on invite codes).

I have a longer set of notes, but one of the things that Hey did that caught my eye was how they built their waiting list.

Their original landing page was a long-form sales letter (which Jason is notorious for and quite good at) but at the end, instead of a waiting list form they said to write an email to "[email protected]" with a brief story about your relationship with email.

This was their only way of getting on the waiting list, which Jason said reached more than 150,000 people before they cleared the invite queue.

I got curious about this, so when folks started asking how to preorder my new book, instead of whipping up a landing page I decided to try this alternative opt-in technique.


So far the only places I posted were on social media, so none of these opt-ins are coming from my email list yet. There is no landing page or website for the book. Just a few photos!

A few Tweets: 124 likes and 15 retweets across all of the book-specific tweets, but a LOT of those were on the original tweet that didn't include the email address. Whoops! Only 28 likes and 9 retweets on the tweets that specifically included the email.

1 Facebook post: 87 likes and 10 comments

1 Instagram post: 147 likes and 14 comments


In 24 hours, 90 people have emailed in to [email protected] request a pre-sale link. Woohoo! And more keep coming in.

I KNOW there are duplicates across the folks who liked, multiple tweets, and across the three platforms, but conservatively, that means 25% of the people who liked one of the posts emailed for the presale link. Removing duplicate social engagement, I'd ballpark that it's really closer to 40%!

Technical setup

I'm using Zapier to grab the sender email address from anyone whose email I tag as "Tiny MBA Preorder" and it's automatically saving their name and contact info into my ConvertKit list for when I want to send out launch reminders.

It's a lightly manual process, but it also means that I get to read every email folks send. Which brings me to the best part.

The TWO best parts

First off, if you think getting waiting list signups feels good, getting actual emails with personalized subjects and messages from people excited to buy your thing is NEXT LEVEL. I'm hearing from folks I haven't talked to in ages. People are mentioning that they want to buy multiple copies to gift to friends and coworkers (something I hadn't considered for launch but now I know is worth setting up, though obvious in hindsight I just forgot).

Second, when it comes time to actually launch, my plan is to actually (manually, with copy/paste) reply to all of the emails that folks sent in (even though I have them in ConvertKit. I know that my emails will hit their inbox because they're being sent by a human and not a bulk sender, but also, the reply will show up as a reply to an email that they sent ME, which is safely prioritized by systems as not spam as well as more likely to stand out in their inbox because the subject will be the one that they wrote me.

I'll report back with how the launch goes, but this has been a fun experiment so far inspired by HEY and I'm curious if anybody else tries something like this too!

  1. 2

    This is a great experiment to try, Alex. Mine is a Twitter-specific app, so my experiment could be to get rid of the signup form, and ask them to @ me on Twitter instead. Actually that'll mean exposure to their followers too. This would be fun to try. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. 1

    Loved it. Any update on this so far?

    1. 1

      VERY successful! Close to 300 people have requested to pre-order :)

      In the last few days I invited some advance release readers to preview the book in exchange for a review, and the first one came in yesterday saying (among other things) "This is the best modern business book I've read all year"

  3. 1

    Love this approach @alexhillman! 🙌

    I really like having them email you -- shows a much greater level of interest than simply filling out a form, plus you have an opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with those folks right out of the gate.

    Looking forward to hearing how the launch works out.

  4. 1

    Nice! Was gonna ask if you were personally responding to each one with a thank you message. But you pointed out something even better before I finished: That when you do respond, there's no way it'll go to spam and it'll be a response to them!

    Awesome :)

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