Last week I wrapped up the biggest launch of my business so far.
I more than doubled all of my stretch goals, enrolled more amazing students than I anticipated, and tested out a LOT of advanced strategies that I had never tried before.
This launch wasn’t big by accident - it was designed to be.
Everything I did for this launch was bigger, better, and more professional than I had ever done for a launch before.
I had been planning and preparing for this launch for 2 months ahead of time, and creating the content for more than a YEAR. It’s no accident that it was a big success.
$450k in 14 Days
A lot of people love to talk about their launches and numbers, but tend to clam up when you ask them about the details.
How did they pull it off?
How much did they spend?
How stressful was it?
What mistakes did they make?
I’m pulling back to curtain on THAT stuff today, the behind the scenes stuff, because it’s important for me to be transparent and show you what REALLY goes on.
One thing I noticed after talking about my launch on Periscope, was how different people’s ideas about what a big launch like that looks like from the outside compared to the reality.
The reality is that I was still tweaking my sales page 10 minutes before we went live, that my boyfriend and video editor stayed up for 48 hours straight to make that sales video, and that I didn’t spend nearly as much money on the launch as people thought (because I operate lean and mean).
So today I’m probably going to surprise you, burst your bubble, and maybe give you some insight into what I did and perhaps more importantly DID NOT do in order to have an “almost half a million dollar” launch (haha, just wanted to write that!).
I’ll be curious to hear if the reality matched your expectations or not!
5 Things I Did To Reach $450k in Sales
1. Email sequence
I sent so. many. emails. during this launch. More than I felt comfortable with, but that’s the same advice I give my students. If you feel uncomfortable sending out a last call email or a reminder email, you need to get over yourself and send it anyway.
Yes people will unsubscribe (they weren’t your customers anyway), yes some people will comment on the volume of emails. You need to do it anyway.
My sequence for this launch was absolutely my favorite. It is my masterpiece. I wish there were awards for email sequences because this sequence was just insane. I cried writing it. I literally had a rollercoaster of emotions while writing this email sequence - I went more personal than ever before, shared more than I ever have, and gave and gave as much as I could.
If you’re going to invest your time, invest it into your emails. Make them count. Be honest. Get raw. Be yourself and ask for the sale.
Selling isn’t about being sleazy and slimy - it’s about having REAL confidence that your course or product helps people. If you have real confidence in your products and their effectiveness, you’ll never feel weird about selling.
Before my launch, I came up with this idea to do a 30 day Periscope series titled #30CourseTips. My idea was to do a themed mini-masterclass on Periscope each day about a different aspect of creating and launching courses.
To be honest, when I started the series I wasn’t 100% sure I would be launching LYSC and I was definitely not sure about the dates. I just thought it would be a fun series and it would kinda test out my ideas and see if people were interested in this stuff.
I also wanted to be more active on Instagram so I came up with this idea to post a course tip on instagram each day, instead of just trying to come up with some flat lay or quote or something, you know give some kind of useful information in my insstagram posts.
Well about one week into the series, I started getting emails and DMs on twitter from people begging me to create a program about courses. I was thinking “Well, now that you’ve asked! I have something exciting to share!” but I hadn’t even mentioned my course at all yet for the first few weeks of the series.
This was a really strong form of validation from people asking me to create a course on this topic.
Consistency is REALLY effective. Show up. Talk to people. Let them ask questions. Feel it out. I hadn’t 100% committed to launching this program when I started my periscope series, but I definitely thought about it as a lead in to the launch if that did end up happening in the timeframe I was toying with.
Many of my sales came from people who had found me on Periscope. People who had been following along with the series and were waiting with bated breath for me to open the doors to the program.
Webinars, webinars and more webinars. Have I mentioned to you that I am obsessed with webinars and they are really the only thing worth doing in your business? I think I might have mentioned that :)
So I did 3 webinars for my launch, and about 6 total in November. The webinars brought in about $200k of the revenue from my launch.
In my world, webinars are non-negotiable. They are the heart of the launch. They are the climax of it all. Imagine combining connection, urgency, and value into one amazing moment - hello WEBINARS.
I spent more than a month working on the content for my webinar. It was no joke! I put so much energy and time into designing, creating, and promoting that webinar. In the past I had pulled off webinars with a few days notice. This time, I spent a month creating what would become my best webinar yet. Something I am insanely proud of!
Your webinar launch strategy is different from your webinar pre-launch and list building strategy. When you use webinars to build your list, you’re focusing on doing as many webinars with as many different people as possible in order to get exposure to their audiences.
When you’re doing your launch webinars, your main focus is selling to the audience that you’ve already gained.
I did 3 webinars for this launch.
The first was a pre-sale webinar with my friends at Teachable. We decided that the perfect “pre-sale” would be an insane bundle of a year of teachable and my LYSC course - a match made in course heaven.
This webinar brought in $125k in 24 hours. (what!). I’ll be writing more about that in a later post. But yes, it was my first six figure webinar (aww!).
I then did two different days and times of the same webinar, “Have Your First 5-Figure Launch (Even if You’re Starting From Scratch)” on a Tuesday and a Wednesday.
I wasn’t sure if my audience was big enough to justify having two webinars, but it turns out that promoting it for 7 days worked really well. We had 944 people register for the first one and 800 people register for the second one, which tells me there is definitely room to offer multiple webinars at various times. Remember, you might have people in different time zones too.
You can have an entire launch based on your webinars. It’s the main event of your launch. And webinars combined with a killer email sequence is the perfect recipe for huge success.
4. Build hype
So one of things I did differently with this launch was build hype instead of doing a presale.
This was one of the scariest decisions I had made in my business.
Usually, I pre-sell for 30 days before launching in order to validate my product with cash in hand, and make sure people want what I am selling.
But this time, I didn’t let them pre-buy. I like to think of this as like the blue balls of marketing.
In my mind, It’s like leaving money on the table for you to mention something and not let people buy it as soon as they want to.
A lot of people asked me why I didn’t pre-sell for 30 days even though it’s what I recommend first time course creators do.
For one thing, I kinda “knew” that enough people would be interested in my course. I had put up a landing page and more than 2,500 signed up to get notified about my launch, which told me there was significant interest.
But I always say that opt ins are not validation like cash in hand.
However, at a certain point, I think you know that you are going to sell a certain number of courses based on your historical conversion rates and sales numbers.
So for me, I had 8 months of launches and numbers to base my estimations on. I knew I would sell a certain number of courses based on that data.
I had people emailing me before my launch saying “I have my credit card out! I am ready to buy please let me buy your new course program!” Obviously it’s hard to say no, you have to wait, to that!
A part of you wants to start taking orders right away because #money.
But I decided that I would try a really strict open and close launch, and the fact that people COULD NOT buy my product until they had waited for it made them even more excited to buy it on launch day.
Even if it sounds cheesy and weird, you need to build hype about your course as if it’s this major event in people’s lives.
If there’s one thing to learn, it’s that treating your own business like that is what makes other people treat your business like that.
So build your hype, make a big deal about it, and make them WAIT. It gets everyone all hot and bothered.
5. VIP list/ Tagging and segmenting
So one of the stresses before we launched was that I wanted to start the launch on ConvertKit (we were previously on MailChimp), and that meant migrating on a really tight timelines (sorry Megan!)
It was important to me that we tracked our subscribers during this launch to create a more personalized experience.
We tracked each person that clicked on the sales page, and targeted extra emails to them.
We created a Vip “pre-launch list” of leads that were interested in the course (because they downloaded the 90 day course launch checklist.)
All in all we had about 3,000 people who had downloaded the opt-in, and visited to sales page during the launch. I tagged everyone based on what webinars they attended, which links they clicked on, and even when they bought.
Being on ConvertKit was a huge part of the success of the launch. Being able to segment out people who had already purchased from the launch emails, so they weren’t getting the marketing emails, was a nice touch.
We were also able to really target the 3,000 (out of the 10,000 at the time) on my list who were more interested in the course, and send them more targeted emails with extra reminders and bonuses just for them.
BONUS: The 6th Thing I Did That Made a Difference
Okay so you guys know me, I am not into “mindset” stuff and “manifesting” or any of that. I believe HARD WORK and DISCIPLINE is what leads to positive results.
That being said, I had the right MINDSET for a $500k launch going into it, and I think that’s part of why I pulled it off.
I KNEW that it was possible. I did not doubt my abilities or the possibility of a big success. I felt like it would be the natural next step in my business. I had created really challenging and optimistic goals, and truly believed that I would reach them.
I think a lot of people are missing CONFIDENCE when it comes to selling. It doesn’t come from feeling like selling is sleazy, or marketing is scary, or not wanting to be pushy: It comes from a very deep lack of confidence in the product itself. That fear and lack of confidence starts way back at step 0 at the product itself.
If you truly believe that your product has value and helps people, you will never feel bad about selling EVER. That’s what I’ve found to be true in my businesses. All the stress and confusion around selling melts away when you are just genuinely positive that your course is helpful!
5 Things I DID NOT Do, and Still Had a $450k Launch
1. Twitter or Instagram
So I basically just did not have time to use Twitter at all during the launch. I was so busy with the emails and webinars, that I kinda forgot about social media!
Usually a really big portion of my traffic comes from Twitter, so I probably should have utilized it more.
But I think this is an important lesson in that even if you don’t do EVERYTHING you think you SHOULD be doing or COULD be doing for your launch, you can still be really successful. It’s more about the high-impact activities like the emails, webinars, and affiliates than doing all of the tiny things that tend to fall to the wayside in crunch time.
I am not very good at Instagram either, so I neglected that platform as well.
Maybe if I had used social media more during my launch, I would have made a few more sales? It’s hard to know. But what I DO know is that statistically speaking, social media (twitter and insta) have the LOWEST conversion rates of any of the marketing channels, and email and webinars have the HIGHEST conversion rates, so my time is best spent on those high ROI activities, not tweeting and ‘gramming.
Here’s the BIG reveal. And something that I am DEFINITELY bragging about (ha!).
I SPENT $0 ON ADS AND HAD A HALF A MILLION DOLLAR LAUNCH.
High fives? Anyone?
I have NEVER spent a penny on ads. Funny, but my friends at Teachable actually sent me a couple hundred bucks to spend on ads because they wanted me to TRY it out so bad.
However, I still have never spent a penny on ads. To be honest, I haven’t had TIME to!
It is REALLY unusual for someone to have such a huge launch without spending ANY money on advertising, such as Facebook ads.
It’s really unusual for anyone to grow a six figure business, much less a $800k business, in less than a year without spending LOTS of money on ads.
Most launch strategists will tell you you need to invest thousands into FB ads in order to launch. Not only is this a huge barrier to entry, it’s also just flat out not true.
I’ve had many 5 and six figure launches without spending a PENNY on ads.
Most “launch experts” will tell you that if you don’t spend $XXXX on ads, you don’t deserve to have a big launch, or you “don’t want it enough to invest”. That’s just total garbage.
My experience: you do not need ads to have a huge launch. I have never used ads. I’m not saying I won’t ever, I’m just saying that instead of relying on ads that put you in someone’s feed with no context or introduction, focus on building REAL relationships with influencers and affiliates and joint venture partners for your launch. What’s better? An introduction from a trusted friend? Or a blind date or tinder swipe (ad)?
So this is one of those things I’m extremely proud of, and I feel like is a testament to the strategies and the power of building RELATIONSHIPS in your business, as opposed to showing up in the sidebar of Facebook with no context.
I explained this one above, but it was REALLY hard for me to decide not to do a pre-sale. I always pre-sell!
It turned out to work out great, and even though it was scary to start the launch with no previous hard-cash validation, it was worth it!
I DO recommend that if you haven’t launched before, you do spend 30 days pre-selling in order to make sure people will buy your course before you start making it!
In the past the majority of my sales have come from the pre-sale period, so I wasn’t sure about this strategy. Glad that I tried it though.
I usually launch with at least 5+ affiliates, and I am such a big proponent of launching with affiliates for your first launch and beyond. Affiliates are going to boost your exposure during your launch, and can add much more revenue to your launch than you could alone.
However, I was so 100% focused on my own audience for this launch that I didn’t even have time to manage an affiliate launch too.
Of course I COULD have asked some affiliates to promote it at the last minute, but I decided that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to FOCUS on my audience, my emails, and my webinars and not try to spread too thin.
You can always add affiliates to the mix after.
I am used to managing 5 or more affiliates for my launches, but because this one was about 10x more complicated and involved than any previous launch, I decided not to for this round.
My plan for next time is to set up our affiliate management far in advance. We have systems in place for affiliate management that we normally use, and we’ll use those again.
But it felt so good to know that I myself was responsible for 100% of the sales, and that it all was self-sustaining. I am always cautious of becoming “dependent” on affiliate launches from previous experience, so this was awesome!
5. No Price Increases or Discounts
I will be 100% honest with you: The biggest thing that was stressing me out about this launch was the TIMING of trying to figure out how to execute price increases in my launch.
In the past, price increases had been a form of urgency I had used while launching that lead to HUGE bursts in sales. It really is my favorite type of urgency, and I felt like if we DIDN’T do a price increase people wouldn’t buy.
But I was SO stressed out about trying to figure out the timing, the different prices, etc, that I finally decided the only solution was to give up on the idea of price increases altogether. At the time, this felt really risky - like I was leaving money on the table by abandoning this strategy I KNEW worked so well.
But you know what? We didn’t need to do price increases or discounts.
Because the course was valuable and awesome at the real price, and I didn’t need to use any sort of price gimmicks to make people see that.
And if we’re being REALLY honest, my fear of not using price increases or special timely discounts was coming from a fear of using premium $997 pricing.
I think I felt like “oh gosh, no one is going to buy this at this price! I must work up to that number slowly!” but once I made that FIRST full price sale, I KNEW I had made the right choice but NOT using price increases or discounts.
Because I was saying: “This is the course, this is what it costs, it is worth every penny.” I think people knew that I valued my own work at full price, and that signals that they should too.
Whew! That’s a lot to absorb.
Those are the five things that I did, and five things that I DIDN’T do, to have the most successful launch of my business so far!
One thing I want to point out is that I started this business, Femtrepreneur, in January. So I went from $0 from this business, to $700k+ in about 9 months! Crazy town. I didn’t monetize Femtrepreneur with products until May of this year. So that’s more like...7 months?
It’s a good example of how quickly things can happen when you hustle and FOCUS! “Focus” was my word for this year and it paid off in spades.
Instead of offering services, consulting, eBooks, and everything else - I focused on launching REALLY high quality courses. And I’ve built a reputation for producing the BEST courses on the market, and I’m extremely proud of that.
On the other hand, I’ve been running my online businesses in so many different niches and business models for SEVEN years before starting this business sharing those experiences.
So it’s not like an “overnight” success by ANY means.
I have had 7 businesses in the last 7 years of being a self-employed entrepreneur - design, consulting, public speaking, writing, curating, high end vintage clothing - so many things I tried and eventually fizzled out after being replaced by courses.