Five Launch Lessons From My Most Successful Online Course Launch To Date

June 11, 2019

Apple Podcasts

Wondering what goes on behind the scenes of a successful launch?

The good, the bad and, well – to be honest – the ugly, too?

Of course you do.

Why? Because too often, we see just the highlights reel when it comes to the launch of another persons ‘thing’. Usually, though, here’s so much going on behind the oh-so-perfect scenes.

The latest launch of my Hashtags Aren’t The Answer membership program was no different.

So here goes. Five launch lessons from my most successful launch to date.

Launch Breakdown

Let’s start with a little context.

In episode 49, I break down how I created my signature online course, Hashtags Aren’t the Answer. That online course is now the centrepiece of the my signature membership program and it’s launch last month was my second major launch in 6 months – and ever.

The amount of work that goes into the creation of a killer launch is not insignificant. There’s the planning phase, where you’re mapping out all of the bits and pieces. There’s the pre-launch phase, where you are building up the hype and excitement around your launch. There is the cart open phase, which is where you’re actually selling and promoting, and there is the post-launch hangover.

Which is very much a real thing.

I’ll be breaking down the anatomy of a launch in a future podcast episode, but for now? All you need to know is that if you want to do it right, it’s a lot.

And, you guys know me. I like doing things right.

When you nail it, though? It can absolutely pay off.

Both of my online program launches have been very successful for a launch newbie. They were $100k plus launches, and they have completely transformed my business.

I also LOVE teaching my members great social media.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again.

Social media and digital marketing, when done well, can transform your business and your life.

Helping other business owners achieve in their own business?

It’s the ultimate.

That’s the good.

Now, let’s break down the five lessons I learned during the launch of my online program.

Summary of Episode

  • Why a 19 day launch period is far too long;
  • Dealing with copycats;
  • Email deliverability issues and their impact on an online course launch;
  • Rude people and how to deal with them (especially when you are producing free content!); and
  • The risk of burn out and how to minimise it.

Links and Resources

Pin This!

Transcription

Ever wanted to go behind the scenes of a successful launch? Or perhaps just to be reassured that even when everything seems perfect, there’s still lessons to be learnt. And that’s what we’re talking about in this episode.

Well, hello, and welcome to Episode 63 of the Stevie Says Social Podcast. Now, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a successful launch? Not just the good, but also the bad and well, to be honest, the ugly as well. I love digging into the behind the scenes of other businesses, and when they peek behind the curtains or give us a peek behind the curtains into what’s really going on. 

I think that sometimes we just see the highlights reel when it comes to the launch of another person’s thing. But in pretty much every circumstance and definitely in mind, there is so much going on behind the oh so perfect scenes. 

The latest launch of my Hashtags Aren’t the Answer Membership program was no different. So what I thought I would do in this episode is break down five launch lessons that I have learnt from my most successful launch to date. Now if you want the cliff notes version of this episode, if you’re in the car or at the gym, and you just want a summary sent straight to your inbox, make sure you head to steviesayssocial.com/63 and that is exactly what I’ll give you. 

All right, so let’s dive into the five lessons that I’ve learned. 

But before we do that, I want to give you a little bit of context. In Episode 49 of this Stevie Says Social Podcast, I broke down how I first created my signature online program Hashtags Aren’t the Answer. That course is now the centerpiece of my signature membership program, and that’s what I launched last month. If you are listening to the podcast, if you are following me on Social Media, if you are on my email list, you would have heard me talk about that program. That was a live launch. And in the internet business world, what that means is that it was a launch that was carried out live so it meant that you had a designated launch period, a cart open and cart close date and a whole heap of activity during that period. 

And then, it closed the doors. That was the last group intake that I’m doing if the Hashtags Aren’t the Answer membership, at least for this year, you can still access the program. So if you had to steviesayssocial.com/bootcamp. And I do talk about that a lot – you can still access the program, you can come in and you can join the membership. But, I only live launched once. So it was kind of a big deal, right. And let me tell you guys, the amount of work that goes into the creation of a killer launch is, look, it’s not insignificant. 

There is the planning phase. That is where you’re mapping out all of the bits and pieces of the launch. There’s the pre-launch phase, which is where you’re building up excitement and hype around your launch and around the membership and all of the things that you’re offering. And that’s often forgotten, but there’s just as much work in a good pre-launch if not more than the actual launch of a program itself. Then there’s the cart open phase. That’s what you’re actually selling and promoting. 

And then of course, well if you haven’t been through a launch before, you might not be familiar with it. But there is the post-launch hangover, which is very much a real thing. I’ll be talking about that a little bit further on in the podcast episode. 

Now, I’ll also be breaking down the anatomy of a launch in a future podcast episode. I did promise it way back in Episode 49 is part two to the creation of an online course. And yes, it is still coming guys. But for now all you need to know is that when it comes to launching and definitely when it came to my launch, if you want to do it right, it is a lot. And you guys know me I like to do things right. Now when you nail it, though, it can absolutely pay off.

Both of my online program launches – the original launch of the Hashtags aren’t the Answer Course and then this most recent launch of the Hashtags Aren’t the Answer membership have been really successful for what I would consider myself to be a launch newbie. These are my only two online course launches, right?

 Sorry, in terms of revenue, they easily cracked the six figure mark, and they have to be completely honest. And it’s something that I’m completely grateful for. 4

They’ve completely transformed my business. 

Now, what it means is that I can teach my members great Social Media. 

I’ve said it before, I will say it again, social media and digital marketing, when you do it, will absolutely transform your business, it will transform your life, right. And the fact that through these launches, I now get to help other business owners achieve similar things to what I have done in their own business is the ultimate. So, I’m not complaining, I want to preface this podcast episode with that. That is the good side. But especially when you’re kind of doing things for the first time and launching is, well, it’s six months old for me. There are always going to be lessons to learn. And boy have I learned some lessons over the last month or two. Let’s break down what they were.  

So number one is that when it came to my Hashtags aren’t the Answer live launch, it was way too damn long. It was 19 day live launch window. 

The doors open on one day, 19 days later, they closed. Now there were reasons why I did this, I had a few guest podcast episodes that weren’t coming out until a couple of weeks after I wanted to open the cart. There were definitely reasons for doing it. 

But if I had my time again, my number one launch lesson is that no way in hell, what I launched for 19 days again, the pattern during that time was something that I’d heard about from other online course people right, I’d let that that will be a massive spike in sales on day one, there will be a massive spike in sales on the last day. And unless you’re doing things to really push the momentum along, it will pretty much be crickets for the period in between. 

Now, I should know this as well, because my previous launch was shorter than 19 days. And it followed a similar pattern. But I decided to do the 19 days – I don’t know why. And, it was one of the most mentally stressful times ever! What it meant is that I opened the cart I had some really keen beans jump on board straight away. 

And then just as everybody says, just as I had experienced before it was crickets. Now I have stats web basically, at the end of every launch, I do a complete detailed report on the success of the launch. And there were a lot of days where there was zero sales. 

And let me tell you guys that plays with your head, you start to wonder whether you’re selling the offering, right, you’re starting to wonder whether all of the launch promotion that you’re doing is enough, you start to basically second guess yourself when really it is completely normal. 

This is how launches go and it is something that I need to learn.

So I’m going to make sure that the next time that I launch, anything, the window is a lot shorter. 

I think I’ve got this sweet spot sorted in my mind in terms of the number of days you need for cut open and cut close. And it’s not 19 days, and I will be sticking to what I think is the right way to go about things because it’s just not worth it, especially for your mental health. But also for the amount of work and the amount that you need to talk about your program during the period that the launch is opening. I literally  was going on about hashtags aren’t the answer. So for 19 days straight by the end of it, and this program is my baby, I am so proud of it, guys, I was sick of talking about it.

So I can only imagine that anyone that was following me might have been a little bit over it too. If it wasn’t the right time for them. It also meant that I had to do things to keep up the momentum and to my email list. And it is completely normal to be sending more emails during a live launch than you would at other times, especially when you’re providing value to your list. 

And you’re, you know 99% of the time emailing them respectfully with value. If you use your live launch period to respectfully tell them about your program, that’s completely fine. But when it’s 19 days, and it was still the same amount of emails that I would have sent in a smaller period of time,it can just seem a little bit too much. 

Or at least that was my thinking on it. So, my first lesson 19 days is way too long for a live launch. Not good for my sanity, not good for my productivity because it constantly meant that I had to be on I had to be completely focused on the launch and other things kind of fell to the wayside. Not something that I will do again. Okay, so number two is a little bit of a controversial one, Copycats. Now, I have spoken about copycats before, if you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I’ve had a few situations where I feel like other people in the industry have probably gone a little bit too close to the line when it comes to basically doing things too closely associated with the way that I do my things. And I’m picking my words carefully here. 

Because what I want to be really mindful of is not discouraging people that are new to the industry, people that are learning from and being inspired by, you know, the Social Media information that I freely put out there. And I do that voluntarily. Because these aren’t the people that I’m talking about what I’m specifically talking about a two copycats that popped up during my live launch.

So, to give you some context, I’ve already been you some I was in the middle of a 90 day launch, I was completely focused on the success of the launch, there was a lot of days where I was wondering whether I was doing the right thing. And then in the middle of it all, two copycats completely popped up out of nowhere. Now, both of these people were kind of brought to my attention by other people’s so students that were going through my free boot camp, which I was running in the lead up to the opening of the doors of my hashtags aren’t the answer program, they came to me and they said that the material in another boot camp that was running, and then also another girl that was doing something completely separate was very, very similar to the material that I had within my own boot camp.

When I went in and I checked it out, it was very, very, very similar. So the topics were pretty much the exact same topics that I was offering, the way the tone of voice and the wording that was used was very, very similar. And when I was actually given access to the content, the content pretty much mirrored the content that I was offering within my own bootcamp.

Now I give a lot of things away for free. And I need to expect that at times, perhaps this is going to happen, right. But it was just a really tough thing to deal with, especially in the frame of mind that I was in, going through my live launch, it was just a tough one. So, there’s a way that I’ve decided to approach this. And to be honest, maybe I’ll record a full podcast episode about it at some stage. What I will say though, is that, especially if you are going to be giving away a lot of free value to business owners. And I always recommend that you do that because I think that it is one of the very best actually scratch that it is the best way to run a business. It makes you an attraction business. It makes people realize you know what you’re talking about and want to come and work with you. It’s made me realize that it really does put a target on my back for these people that really disrespectfully take that content, make it their own and sell it essentially to the same people that I am so look, the lesson from it is that you can’t get derailed by these things, especially in the middle of a launch. They’re likely to happen at some stage. And in terms of the way that I’m dealing with it. Well, I’ll keep you posted on that. As I said, maybe it’s a topic for a future podcast episode. 

Okay, so the third launch lesson from my most recent launch, is that even though email is the holy grail when it comes to marketing, it converts better than pretty much any other marketing medium, you also can’t rely on it. Now, for those that aren’t in the live launch, no, email lists are really damn important when it comes to online business. So for context, generally around one to 3% of your email list will opt-in to whatever offer you are basically serving to them. So the more engaged email subscribers do you have on your list, the higher chance there is of basically making more sales for your offering, if it’s a good offering, and you market it? Well, that was the issue that I had during this particular launch. 

Now I have a really healthy email list at this point. If you follow anything that I do, you will know that I always maintain that social media is a conversation starter, it is not a deal closer, and that you really need to be funneling people into an asset that you own in which is your my list in order to sell to them. Now, that’s all well and good right on paper, it makes complete sense. What happened to me halfway through or really it was at the beginning of this particular live launch, is that I had all of my emails lined up, I had a really healthy email list. And I sent out my first email. Now the way that I structured my live launch is that I had a free boot camp that people opted in for and it was a series of three video trainings that was sent directly to the inbox of the people that were participating in the training. And so it was pretty important that they actually got the emails, right, because the emails were the training. 

Now I need that was an issue when I sent the lesson, one email out and my delivery ability was Pola. Not only that I had over 200 emails from people that were going through the video training, saying that they hadn’t received the email from me. So they were emailing me directly to my email address, because I had previously sent them emails. And I was saying Stevie, I haven’t gotten the training, I’m not sure what’s going on. And I was looking into my email account. And I could say that that was only a small percentage, or so that only a small percentage of people had actually received the training, I was going into individual contacts. And I could say that the emails were bouncing so that were coming up with a yellow bounce signal they weren’t even making it through to inboxes. 

Now, delivery ability can be a little bit of an issue these days, you know, inbox is really flooded. There’s things like the Gmail promotions tab, which means that not all emails make it into the primary inbox, there can be issues with people receiving emails, but I knew that this was more than that. And I knew that I hadn’t done anything to compromise the quality of my email list or to have my emails not get sent. 

So I was wondering what on earth was going on, when I contacted my email service provider, they looked into it after a two or three day period wait, which in my opinion, is completely unacceptable, especially when you’re in the middle of a live launch. And they basically came back and they said that the way that emails work. So if you’re with one of the larger email service providers, whether it’s you know, I’m not naming names here, but whether it’s you know, MailChimp or Convertkit or Active Campaign or any of those, basically, what happens is that they put you on one of a number of email servers, and there’ll be hundreds and hundreds of accounts all sending emails from that one server, right? 

That’s fine. But what happens when there’s one person on that particular server that is being extremely spammy? Well, that’s what I found out at the beginning of my live launch, because what happens is that it blacklists that entire server, and it affects the delivery ability of everybody on that server. So what has essentially happened is that somebody else on my server had just been completely spammy, a bad email, internet citizen, sent out some really spammy emails and all of the email service providers were basically blacklisting any of the people that were sending emails from that particular server. Now, it was just my bad luck that this happened to happen at the beginning of my live launch. To put it in context, this was extremely frustrating because I had spent thousands and thousands of dollars on Facebook ads in order to get email leads into this particular boot camp, and a lot of you would have been in this boot camp. 

So you might have come through from a Facebook ad, and you might know what I’m talking about. But I had paid for those people to be on my email list. And then they weren’t receiving the emails. And not only that they were bouncing back. And the email service provider was basically saying, No, these are bad emails. And so I was relying on that one to 3% in terms of a conversion rate from an email list, but people weren’t actually getting the email. So, it was a little bit of a nightmare, right? did it affect my launch? Yes, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Now, how much it affected my launch, I will never know. What happened is that eventually the issue got resolved, and email started sending. 

But it didn’t happen for a little while. So I sent out the second lesson, email even more bounced, even after I’d gone to a new server. And there were reasons that I don’t even understand that, although my email service provider did try to explain it to me. And they started sending again, after that, it was a little bit of a nightmare, I am not going to lie. The lesson that I’ve learned from that story is that you can’t have just one way of contacting your people. So this has always been particularly relevant to me in the context of social media, especially with the algorithms changing and it’s getting more difficult to get in front of your people, right. 

I’ve always maintained that you need to get people off just Instagram or Facebook, and you need to get them into assets that you own. For me, that was my email list. What I have learnt from this launch 30 is that you actually made multiple touch points for your people. Now, I was really lucky because I ran a pop up Facebook group for this video training. I also had a Facebook comments section. underneath all of the trainings, a lot of people were already connected to me on social media, people were able to email me even though that was a customer service admin nightmare within itself. 

But there were ways I could contact people, I could still get the training to them. Even though I was having email delivery ability issues. The other thing that I was able to do was to remarket to all of those people with Facebook advertising. So I put some budget into doing that. So I basically served the video lessons by uploading the email lists into Facebook, and basically would serve the video lessons to people that way so that they knew that they were still going out and inviting them to join the Facebook group as well. So that was a big one. It was definitely something that I’ve learned a lot of lessons from, but it just goes to show you that anything can happen during a live launch, right, and you need to be prepared for it. 

So, that was the little or big hiccup that happened for me. Now, the fourth launch lesson is kind of related to this email delivery ability issue. It’s not really something that I’ve dealt with before on a really large scale, and so, it really not to me around. And that is really rude people. Now, I’m not sure if this one was intentional, or maybe it’s just how people treat those that they haven’t dealt with before on the internet. But when my first video training wasn’t going out, I understandably had people emailing me and requesting it. So basically, the emails that I got really ranged from super polite emails where they were asking for the video training.

And that’s completely fine, I would have done the same thing. But they ranged all the way to really rude emails from entitled people expecting their free training yesterday, and getting very, very righteous about the fact that it wasn’t in their inbox yet. Now, for context, I was dealing with hundreds of emails, and it was a very, very small percentage of people that basically had any issue. And some of those people were just very, very short with the emails and probably just hadn’t put any thought into the way that they crafted it. 

So it probably came across as unintentionally a bit abrupt. But there was definitely a small percentage of people that I was reading out to my partner as the emails were coming through. And we were both just completely floss by the way that people can react and treat situations when Yeah, it’s probably not the right way to go about it. safe to say that they were not the people that were at the top or even on my priority list at all. So I don’t know at the end of the day, I find those things probably inappropriately funny because I just can’t believe that people can be so rude or email about such an insignificant thing. 

Anyway, if that was you, perhaps a lesson to learn from this is to remember at the end of the day that you are receiving free content, that there is another person at the end of your emails, and perhaps they’re not going to do what you want them to do if you’re really abruptly rude in the way that you approach them. Anyway, I’m sure that that’s nobody listening to this podcast. So Let’s move on. Hey. 

Okay, so the fifth launch lesson that I learned from my most successful launch today is that a burn-out is a real thing. Now, it probably had something to do with the fact that it was a 19 day launch, it probably had to do with the fact that there were some issues during the launch, it probably had to do with the fact that I was dealing with a small percentage of really inappropriately, brain people. And it probably had to do with the fact that I had spent months preparing for this really kind of concentrated hive of activity. But and I should have known that it was coming because it definitely came up to the last launch as well. I had a launch hangover after this most recent launch, it was a lot. And I’m the sort of person that generally pushes and pushes and pushes myself to the limit, I’m just starting to realize that it’s probably not a sustainable way to go about things when it comes to business. And a lot of that comes to just the way that I was feeling at the end of this launch.

I wasn’t myself, my head was really cloudy, and I didn’t feel happy or excited. I’ve learned that that is the definition of burnout, I have learned that I can’t do that anymore. And I have learned that I really need to pace, pace is going to be the catch cry of the second half of this year for me, because I think that especially when you go through something really big in your business, a really concentrated burst of activity, whether it’s a live launch for you or it’s coming up to something else, you really need to understand the amount of energy that it takes. And you need to offset that with downtime, you need to offset that we’ve even though I hate the word, self care, but basically looking after yourself, right? 

It’s not rocket science. Now, the way that I treated this launch is that I did the launch, it ended on the Friday and I opened up the membership on the Monday. Now I was completely prepared, everything was sorted for the membership. But I probably should have given myself a week in between just to reset, to reframe, to have a goddamn glass of wine. And just to celebrate my wins and my successes. It is something that I’ve learned, it’s probably the biggest lesson that I’ve taken from this particular launch. And as I said, I’m not complaining in any way, shape, or form. Trust me, I pinch myself every single day that all of the hard work that I put into my business is allowing me to live a life that I genuinely love. But I think that you should always reflect on you know, big things that happen in your business and what lessons that you can take from them. So for me, those were the lessons that I took away. 

So to recap, the five big launch lessons that I took away from my live launch number one, during have a really long live launch, it is not necessary or good for your sanity. Number two copycats are a thing, they are going to be a thing as long as you are putting out free content as long as you are, you know really kind of being free and open with the value that you provide. I’m not going to go into too much detail, as I said with that one in particular. But it was a tough time during that launch. And there’s definitely lessons that I have learned from it, perhaps a future podcast episode. Number three email deliverability. So you can’t rely on just one medium or just one platform for the success or otherwise of your launch. Also, things will always go wrong. For me that is what went wrong. It was a bit of an epic fail that was completely outside of my own circumstances, or my own control probably is a better word for it. But I’m really lucky that I had mentioned in place that basically gave me the opportunity to still communicate with my people, even though my primary form of communication wasn’t working. Number four rude people. The lesson is that they exist. The lesson is that there’s such a small percentage of people but they really get under your skin. And number five, burnout, it is a real thing I have learnt from it, I will not do that. Again, it is my number one learning from this particular launch. 

Now, I hope that it’s been useful to hear a little bit about the behind the scenes. I know I always appreciate it from other business owners, the good stuff and bad stuff, right. I think it’s really important to realize that the results like the ones that I currently see in my business, they don’t come without a truckload of hard work. And without quite a lot of bumps behind the scenes. It’s, you know, producing podcasts for free weekend week out, it’s working on my socials every day, it’s investing my business spending my weekends learning, it’s spending money on marketing and Facebook ads. 

And at the end of the day, it’s creating something that you’re really, really proud of. Now, my only point with today’s episode is that that comes with a few bumps in the road. And I think that the important thing is that every time you go through a win or a success, or you go through a big kind of period in your business, you need to sit back and you need to think about the lessons that you learn from them. And they are the lessons guys that I have learned. Now if you want the Cliff Notes for this episode, as I said head to steviesayssocial.com/63. And do it now steviesayssocial.com/63. And you can download them and get them sent straight to your inbox in the next episode. If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about LinkedIn video and building a personal brand on there. I have got a very exciting episode coming your way. So you’re going to want to make sure that you hit the subscribe button to be notified the seconds that it drops. Open the app now hit the subscribe button, do it.

And finally, if you need some more help with your socials, I highly recommend I’ve mentioned it a few times in here but you check out my free social media bootcamp. It goes through my complete roadmap for social media success. And if that sounds something that’s pretty good to you. You’re going to want to head to steviesayssocial.com/bootcamp to get your hands on it. Alright guys, until next time, I will see you then.

Podcast

If you’ve got big business dreams but you’re stuck when it comes to all things digital 

subscribe
now

leave a 
review

Reviews are like PODCASTER GOLD. If you leave a rating + review on ITunes, screenshot it to me via Insta DM for a Instagram shout out on my stories [just my way of saying a HUGE thank you!]

Leave a rating + review

X

Reply...

X

check out the shop

WANT TEMPLATES AND RESOURCES TO MAKE your SOCIAL MEDIA LIFE EASIER?

You need to check out The Social Shop.  Swipe our templates [ones you KNOW will work and make your life easier], use them and get back to focusing on the stuff you do well.