Before writing this post, I took a peek back at the life of my business and realised: I had my first ever online launch early in 2014!
Whoa — it feels like yesterday and a million years ago…
I was also shocked to see that over the last 4 years, I’ve launched more than ten times, with another on the way a few months from now.
And when it comes to tactics? I’ve tried plenty, baby: webinars, challenges, video series, promotional codes, early access to subscribers only, free Facebook groups, early bird pricing, payment plans, money back guarantees, live video, workshops — the works!
And if I’m being honest: I’ve made a crazy number of mistakes, seen some pretty exciting success, and learnt so much on the journey — which is what I’m here to share with you today. (Surprise!)
So without further ado: Here are the 10 biggest lessons I’ve learned over 10+ launches:
First up: Have a plan.
You’ve already heard (or read) me go on and on about this in a previous post, but it bears repeating: Do yourself a favour and plan out what and when you’re going to do things by, and share the plan with anyone who is helping you with your launch.
That second part about sharing the plan was something that I really struggled with.
When I first started launching I’d have a plan for myself — well, more of a vague “Here’s what I think I’ll do!” idea — but it wasn’t until I started sharing my launch plan with other people that I really took time to think through each and every detail and feel accountable for making it actually happen.
So next time you’ve got a plan, commit to showing your strategy to someone so you have a reason to map it all out beautifully.
BTW this month I’m hosting a free, live training where I’m spilling the beans on My Biggest Launch Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Launches are the ultimate funnel, and super intimidating for so many of us… but when you get them right, they can be absolutely game-changing. If you’ve been toying with the idea of launching something (your coaching program!, your ecourse!, a book!) this year, you will love LOVE this special training! Click the button below to come along. We’re gonna have so much fun!! PS It’s totally free!
Second: Know that most of your sales will come through on the last day.
You may have heard some launch experts talk about this already, and it’s true. It has always been the case for me, and it’s one of the main reasons why launches really require nerves of steel and faith in yourself.
Keep this “last day surge” in mind as you’re planning your launch. Have a clear picture of how your final day and hours will go in the lead up to closing the cart, and keep in mind you should not plan a dang thing on that day (other than self-care). It’s going to be crazy busy for you.
Third: Hold strong boundaries around when you close the cart.
The truth is that most of us put stuff off. Having a clear “end date” for when your metaphorical doors close works really well because it creates a genuine sense of urgency.
On very few occasions, I have extended the deadline for someone. I remember one launch where a woman contacted me desperate to join, I think there was an hour or so before the cart closed, but she said that there was an emergency involving her child and that she wouldn’t be able to join until later that evening. Would that be all right?
My answer was: Of course!
There have also been other times where people have contacted me desperate to join once the doors have closed, but the truth is? It feels kind of shitty to do that. Because I’d hate to go back on my word to my audience.
Bottom line is that I stay strong with boundaries around when the cart closes, and I recommend you do too.
Fourth: People will unsubscribe from your newsletter subscriber list during launches, and that’s totally OK.
I’m sure that your work helps people. I’m sure that you’re not a sleazy salesperson who doesn’t care about the people she works with. So don’t let those unsubscribes get under your skin.
People unsubscribe, that’s life. And the truth is, it’s always more about where they are at than your launch. It’s all good. It used to worry me when I was getting started, but these days, I just wish anyone who unsubscribes well. I know that more of my ideal clients and community will take their place if what I’m offering isn’t right for them right now.
Oh — and I should add to this: Without fail, I will always get a couple of emails from people who are outraged that I am actually selling something. How dare I, right?
All that means is that I’m not the mentor for them. That’s okay, and the emails I get from people thanking me for the incredible free resources that I share as part of any launch always outweigh the angry snotty emails that I get anyway.
Fifth: Get help.
No, not counselling. (But hey, a little emotional support during a launch never hurts!)
But really — get professional support so you have backup for your launch.
I’ve done launches all by myself and I’ve done launches with help, and the ones where I have backup are always better not just financially, but also sanity wise as well.
Even if you have a really limited budget and you can only afford a few hours of help, getting someone to take care of whatever feels like the biggest pain in your ass can work wonders. Whether it’s responding to questions or keeping track of the plan, or having a developer integrate all the different tech platforms involved in your launch, get the support around your weaker areas.
(Thank goodness for my project manager Sarah, who’s a wizard at keeping me accountable to the plan, and taking care of the technical bits I need help with! She’s the best!)
Sixth: Any kind of launch you do, no matter what promotional tactics you’re using, there’s going to be a LOT of writing.
Emails, sales pages, landing pages, thank you pages, product descriptions, writing the program, delivery sequences, nurture sequences, awesome freebies, sales sequences, social media updates, cart open emails, cart close emails, abandoned cart sequences, Facebook ads, blog posts, FAQs…. The list goes on and on (and might make your head spin a bit).
It takes time and thought to pull it all together, so give yourself enough space to create the writing piece — even if you’ve got a hired writer on board. There are always going to be edits and revisions, and everything always takes more hours than predicted. Schedule yourself plenty of wiggle room into a realistic time frame.
Seventh: Things need to be clear — clearer than you think they need to be.
When it comes to calls to action and directives, you’ll have to spell stuff out, and repeat stuff more often than you think.
Man, did I learn this the hard way! In the early days of my business, my stuff was very pretty and kind of poetic, with very flowery language… and it absolutely didn’t land.
Even though I was putting heaps of effort into that, and it was costing me money, it wasn’t landing with people that I knew I could help. That was on me because I wasn’t being clear enough.
It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your sales page is. If it’s confusing in any way you are going to be losing sales and letting down potential clients/students out there who really, really need your help. Keep it simple. Keep it clear.
Oh, and on that same note… expect some kind of “stupid feeling” questions to roll in. Some people may not know where the buy button is, or ask for updates on when the cart closes when it’s clearly on the website. Just learn to roll with it! It’s all part of the journey, and of being of service.
Eighth: Do not sit and keep refreshing the Internet on your laptop to see if people are buying throughout your open cart period.
It’s tempting, I know!
But a watched pot never boils… and a watched order form never loads up with cash.
There’s just no point because the truth is staring at your sales numbers makes absolutely no difference. All it does is fuel self-doubt. In fact, I think it’s one of the most disempowering things you could be doing during your launch because while you’re sitting there anxiously waiting for someone to buy… you’re not making any difference in your own results. That’s what kills me.
These days, I have a commitment to myself that I just don’t do that. I refuse to refresh obsessively, and instead, I either focus on things that are likely to make a difference to the actual results, or I make myself leave the house, leave my laptop at home, and I go and do some self-care, wellness-related thing.
One time a few years ago during a launch on the last day that the cart was open, I went swimming for about 90 minutes. And you know what happened when I was in the pool? 30 sales went through.
That was an eye-opening experience for me. There’s no point in sitting there waiting for sales to come in. Don’t sit there and do nothing, it’s completely disempowering. Get up from your desk and take care of yourself instead. <3
Ninth: Expect refunds.
I got lucky with this bit. My first ever refund was a lovely letter saying that their circumstances had changed and the program now wasn’t for them and they were very apologetic. I didn’t feel bad about it at all.
However, I know that some people feel really worried about potentially getting a refund request because surely that must mean their work isn’t good enough. Woman, that’s not true!
Refund requests are just the nature of business – especially online. It’s not personal, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
Just always make sure you have a clear documented policy around refunds, and stick to it.
Tenth: There will be fuck-ups.
Oh, my god, the fuck-ups. Emails are going to go out at the wrong time, or to the wrong people. Webinars will drop out juuuust as you’re about to present the offer. Someone else is going to be launching at exactly the same time as you, selling something very similar.
Just don’t worry about it. Life happens. Everyone stuffs up.
(Yes, perfectionist friends — even you.)
Everything that you learn in this launch is going to make your next launch all the better.
And finally, a BONUS tip: Do it scared, because action beats perfection, action cures fear, and action grows your comfort zone.
Once you’ve set your launch plan, action is the only thing that gets you closer to your launch goals.
Being scared isn’t a good enough excuse to not launch or to not do something in your launch. You just have to go for it.
Think of every launch as an awesome experiment for your business. Sure, there will be blips and oopsies and fuck-ups, but some stuff will really work. Sometimes your results will surpass your wildest dreams. And every single time — you’re learning, learning, learning.
Which brings us to this post! And my question to you today, lady:
What’s been the BEST launch you’ve ever seen? What lessons did you take away from that?
Feel free to brag if it was your launch – or let us know who pulled off a fantastic launch you really enjoyed. I’d love to hear about it and get some inspiration.
Hope you have an awesome rest of your week!
Don’t forget to join me for the free, live training I’m hosting this month: My Biggest Launch Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. If a launch is something you’re planning this year, this special training packed with practical tips is for you! Click the button below to come along. We’re gonna have so much fun!! PS It’s totally free!