Launching to the sound of crickets can be a thing of the past once you nail your marketing. A lot of people shy away from big launches but I want to show you how to have big success selling your online programs and e-courses from really simple launches.
I originally was going to create a beautiful guide as an opt-in for this topic and create a whole mini training series on it but I want people who found this piece to read it NOW. I’m all about doing everything within my power to empower business owners to market and grow their business.
“I never sell anything so there’s no point in launching”
“Launches aren’t for me, I’m not ready yet”
”I’ve spent a fortune on Facebook ads and it didn’t work… again!”
Often with launching it can be mindset, rather than practical tools, that blocks you from selling out your program. It’s time to rewrite your story. You DO sell. You CAN sell. You WILL sell your program… you just need to get it in front of the right people.
What you will find in this guide;
- Your business model and nurture path
- Becoming more visible
- Before you even launch
- When to create program content
- Content to sell out your launch
- The launch phase
Throughout this guide I use the words program, online program, and course but all the advice is applicable to all. This advice is even appropriate for launching events and other offers too so definitely worth a read!
All the tips throughout this guide is taken from my own launches and that of my clients I’ve been involved in as well as my research into what is happening in the online business world right now.
So let’s dive in…
How we’re going to sell out your program
Content will unquestionably help position you as an authority in your niche thus enabling credibility (cool points) to your audience.
Grab your notebook and be prepared to be wowed because I’m giving away A LOT of really useful ideas for you to use in your business to sell your products and specifically your program launch.
Content is applicable to absolutely EVERY business, no matter what it is you do.
Regardless of how many clients you have, how much money you earn or the fact that you may not see yourself as an expert yet.
If you connect with your audience in a way that really resonates with them and you create content they desire (and really need) you won’t need to put all your money into advertising your program launch, particularly the popular online business go-to Facebook ads. It can be soul destroying to see your money go up in e-flames and another Facebook ad campaign gain you nothing but a big bill.
I’m going to show you how to become more visible and sell your program without the scary price tag.
First things first
If you want to use content as a marketing strategy to sell out your programs then before launching or creating your course you should first revisit your business model.
You can literally take pen to paper and around a piece of paper write out all your services or every way you can make money e.g. through online courses, done-for-you services, coaching packages etc.
Then create your sales funnel, or nurture path, and from each service draw an arrow to the next step.
For instance, if you have a blog then the next logical step for your audience to take would be to a small $50 short course, the next step after that could be a bigger $500 online program and the next step after that could be your VIP 1:1 coaching or done-for-you services.
Now you can see where your program will fit into your nurture path and your business model.
Become more visible
Media coverage equals cool points (credibility). Fact.
Once you start becoming more visible and are gaining media attention you will start getting on the radar of your target audience.
When your audience keeps seeing your name the psychology kicks in. They will be intrigued to find out who you are and why you keep popping up in front of them. There are lots of statistics flying round yet the most common is that someone has to see you 7 times before they buy. This can simply be from seeing you in their Facebook feed… which as we know, doesn’t have to be because a paid advert put you there.
Before you launch
It’s important to create a product people will buy. We can easily get carried away with ideas when it comes to creating courses but the buyers need to be considered here.
Refer back to old notes and investigate what problems your clients have. Does your program fit with what your audience need or desire?
A great place to start is actually undertaking some research. You can create a survey and share this through social media and emails but there’s a much simpler way that is worth considering.
You can send one email to your mailing list saying that you’re creating a program about [enter super cool topic here] and before you wrap it up with a sparkly bow you want to ensure you cover everything that you possibly can. Then you ask them to reply with the top 1-2 things they want to know about that topic.
Having your audience in this with you from the start is important for 3 reasons;
- Rather than just reading your emails subscribers get the chance to talk to you personally which makes them feel special they are part of your launch journey
- Your audience see that something cool is about to be launched (so when you do launch they’ve heard about it and want to know more)
- You get to create your product based on what your audience actually wants not just what you think they want therefore you create something more people are likely to buy
Once you start to get feedback from your audience as to what they want to see from you or the topics they’d love to see covered, then you can start thinking about your launch content (more on that in a moment!)
It’s good to take the time to respond to those that email you too, even if it’s just a quick thank you. It makes you readers feel valued and the time they spent replying to your email was definitely worthwhile.
Don’t create your program (yet!)
Try not to spend time planning out and creating your entire online program. Use this time to tease your audience that something amazing is happening soon. Then market and sell.
I’ve seen too many people run away with their ideas and create all the content for their courses and digital products without testing to see what their target audience wants.
Your time is much better spent marketing rather than creating (just now) and will be more effective strategy when it comes to sales.
Your pre launch phase
The time before you actually open your cart is when you should start actively engaging with your audience, not just when the window for sales is open.
This phase before your launch is when you will be teasing your mailing list and connecting with your online followers and start talking about your program.
When considering what content to use throughout your pre launch you can revisit your program or e-course modules. Aim your content to be around your course topics to help spark interest in people who will be more likely to buy the program.
As an example, if you are planning on launching a ‘How to declutter your house and use minimalism to create a more abundant life’ type program then you could create content* around each room in the house for your launch.
- 5 things to declutter from your kitchen to increase your family’s happiness
- 10 ways to live a minimalist lifestyle (all within 15 minutes)
- How to create kid-free zones even if the toys are taking up every room in your house
* When I say ‘content’ this means blog posts, videos, live streams, audio, interviews, media coverage, guest blog posts, emails, social media, basically any way to spread your message and make you more visible online.
These content titles above speak to your audience and will make those interested in the topics read, watch or listen to your content* more likely to want to hear more from you.
What content to use
You can make this as simple or complex as you like. You can start with 6-10 pieces of content. Some people start with less and some with more but you’ll soon discover your sweet spot.
Remember to keep in mind your ideal clients and who you want to buy your program ALL the way though your content planning and creating. Use places like AnswerThePublic.com, Google and YouTube to see what topics your audience is already searching for so you know you’re on the right track.
Creating content your audience craves and actually needs is WAY more effective than just ‘writing some blog posts’. Sharing top tips and how-to advice are great but make sure they’re aligned to where your audience is struggling right now, what they are searching Google for and areas they’re stuck.
List out all the ideas you’d love to use to create a blog post on that topic, making sure it is all relevant to your program. From each blog post idea you can repurpose it and then create;
- A Facebook Live stream talking about the topic
- Download your Facebook Live video and embed into your blog post
- Upload your video into YouTube (adding the blog post URL into the description)
- Repurpose the blog post into a LinkedIn article
- Design images using Canva of the blog title and your favourite quotes to share on social media (when sharing the blog post link)
- Record an audio if video isn’t an option and add to the top of your blog post for people to listen to you reading the post and talking about it
- Offer a guest blog post for someone else’s website
- A freebie opt-in resource (more on this later!)
- A webinar or online event (more on this later too!)
To keep things simple you could start with this as your core launch content;
6 blog posts, 3 videos, 1 opt-in and 1 online event
Live life in a call-to-action
A really great piece of advice here is that when you create ANY piece of content, you need to think ‘what do I want the reader to do next?’
You need to be putting a call-to-action at the bottom of a blog post (all of them!), mentioning your call-to-action throughout or at the end of videos and audios and be mentioning your offer or program casually in emails, interviews or any media coverage you gain.
Consider what would be the next logical step for your reader to take after enjoying your content…
- Do you want them to download your free guide?
- Do you want them to book a free coaching call with you?
- Do you want them to stay in your website and read another relevant blog post?
- Do you want them to download your opt-in that is part of your launch and mentions your program after they’ve got the free resource?
Here’s how you could write your call-to-action…
Loved these tips and want to know 50 more ways to [enter super cool topic here] then get instant access to my 3-part video training series here
Once you get into the hang of this and start to do it regularly it will become second nature.
I really recommend going back to all your old blog posts and adding in a call-to-action or update them as they could be mentioning products you no longer have for sale.
We want everything to point people towards your new offering and your launch, so these-call-to-actions will be doing this in the background for you 24 hours a day!
So be sure to add your call-to-actions to everything from now on.
Grow your mailing list
Launches are a great opportunity to grow your mailing list, thus have more people in your community to engage with and sell to.
It’s no secret that launches with large mailing lists are often successful. Of course you need the right people on your list but if you create content aimed exactly for your ideal clients then you will attract people interested in your services.
As part of your launch content you will also need to consider an opt-in, also known as freebie, ethical bribe or lead magnet. In essence, you giveaway nuggets of knowledge in the form of a PDF, email, audio or video in exchange for their email address.
Think of the people you want to attract to buy your course. Who is it aimed at? Who is perfect for it?
Once you know this, consider what they are struggling with right now in their personal or business life. How could you help them with a free resource that your program becomes the natural next step for?
For instance, my program is called Step Into The Spotlight. The topics cover marketing, mindset and PR. I know my audience wants to get their marketing done as quickly as possible and they struggle to fit it into their hectic work (and family) schedule. With this in mind, I created an opt-in that was a guide to raising your business profile in the least time necessary. My launch content, blog posts and videos, were based on DIY tips to save time and money.
Once you have your opt-in idea you will then need to design it. If you’re thinking a PDF this is really easy to do very well in tools such as Canva.
You can either host your opt-in within various blog posts in your website or, and I recommend this, you create a page dedicated to just your opt-in, known as a squeeze page. This is where you would direct people to download your resource and you can easily add the link to this page onto your website homepage or sidebars.
Then you can create an automated email sequence whereby when someone gives you their email address on your website they receive your resource with a lovely welcome email. They then remain on your list to later hear of your launch or you can set up more emails that follow once they read your opt-in resource that tell them about the launch separately.
If you’re not ready to launch anything yet this is still the perfect time to create your opt-in and focus on growing your list. Then when you want to launch something it is easier to get the word out because you won’t have to begin from nothing.
Consider your launch trigger
Having one event to officially open the cart and launch your product is considered a great launch strategy to encourage sales.
A webinar is by far the most popular way to do this as you will have seen many others do in the past.
Now, whilst webinars and free training sessions are great, they can be a lot of work. If you do not have a big mailing list then it can drain your soul to see subscriber numbers really low and to see your money wasted in ineffective Facebook ads. (Been there my friend and it sucks!)
There are 2 solutions to this;
- You go for it anyway!
Save this guide to refer back to and seek advice or find more resources to become confident at promoting your webinar. Chances are with your network of contacts you will have people register for your webinar so you probably will never have zero attendees.
- Find another way!
I believe there are ways to promote your business to suit all personalities so if you absolutely fear these type of activities then don’t do them. There are other ways to open the cart of your program so don’t worry.
When you host your webinar this is when you mention your offer. You may decide to give people joining you live a discount or an extra bonus. This does entice webinar attendees to stay until the end to hear what you’re planning so it’s definitely worth considering.
Use social media
As I mentioned with using emails before to tease your audience of what is to come, you can do exactly the same with social media.
Use your personal and work social media channels to share your market research, share pictures of you working on your program… just do anything you can to make your online connections feel a part of the journey with you.
Much like when actors take selfies while shooting a movie. It’s teasing the crowds of what is to come. It’s the same strategy here too!
The launch & cart open time
Once you are in launch mode this is when your cart is open, so however long the doors are open to buy. This could be an evergreen product but a lot of people opt for opening the cart only a few times a year to create a sense of urgency thus enticing buyers to buy immediately and not wait.
You will need to send emails to your mailing list and post on social media. I highly recommend scheduling these advance. The open cart part of your launch is a very busy time and you will potentially be answering queries from your audience so your content will be rushed if not thought about in advance.
Do not wait until your open the cart to start connecting with your audience too. If it is new to people they will need time to understand it and see if it is right for them. Throwing it upon your following at the last minute won’t allow them to feel part of your journey like teasing them pre launch and allowing them to have a say in the content.
As well as your scheduled content I recommend looking through your old clients and people you have connected with and sharing your program with anyone who you think it would be perfect for.
Maybe last year you hosted free coaching calls and most people said they were struggling with the topic your program now covers. Send out personal emails to them and tell them about it or invite them to have a call with you to hear more.
After your launch
As with any project it’s a good idea to evaluate your launch. Look back at your website, social media, email stats, and of course, sales. You can either keep tabs on this as you go or put it all together in one go at the end.
- Were there any Facebook posts that got an unexpected huge amount of likes and shares?
- Was there 1 particular blog post that brought loads of visits to your website the day it was published?
- Did you get significant new followers on Twitter after you told a story relating to your launch?
- How many sales did you make?
- How did your affiliates program do? How many sales came from affiliates?
- How many sales came solely from the webinar?
- When the sales happen – after a specific video, a personal story on Facebook post, your webinar, after people downloaded your opt-in?
- How many subscribers did your new opt-in bring to your mailing list?
- What was the reaction from your audience? What were the common objections people had that almost bought? What do you think could have persuaded them to buy the program?
- What worked that you’ll do again next time?
- What didn’t work and what will you not repeat next time you launch?
This information is crucial to evaluate the success of your launch. Even if you don’t sell out the first time, it’s ok! This can take a few times for it all to make sense and for you to find a rhythm that works for you.