launching marketing strategy

Launching Lessons: 7 Things I Learned from My Launch

blog 10.8

Time and space is a beautiful thing, which is why I’ve waited a few weeks before writing this post. I could have written it right after my launch, but I really needed time to process all of it and to get really clear on all of the tough launching lessons.

I started planning the No B.S. Marketing School launch in January. I’ve spent most of this year thinking about launching, so now that it’s all over and class is in session, it’s completely surreal. But don’t worry, we’re already busily planning our next launch…and I wish I was joking. But I’m not!

Here’s a rundown on all the lessons I learned from the Fall launch of the No B.S. Marketing School:

#1. Launching Doesn’t Have to be Insane

Yeah, don’t hate me. This launch all went pretty smoothly because we planned everything so far ahead and I didn’t want to spend my entire Summer acting like a launch-crazed maniac. Start WAY earlier than you need to so you have lots of breathing room.

Launching by its very nature is going to be hectic, but you get to choose how this goes down. Are you going to be doing it slow and steady or full on pedal to the medal? This launch taught me that it’s 100% okay to take your foot off the gas, and do things with a little more ease and grace. (Which, please note, is SO NOT my style. I’m more of a brute force and die empty kind of chick by nature.)

#2. OMG, So Glad this is NOT Paying the Mortgage

Launching anything has enough pressure, which is why I am SO relieved that there wasn’t the additional burden or stress of having to make a certain amount of money to pay my family’s mortgage.

Going into the launch, I had a clear budget and a target revenue goal in mind so that I knew what my “good” number was for registrations, but at no point was my profit from the launch designated to pay critical bills. And for that I’m immensely grateful.

For those of you that launch under those conditions, props to you. I’m not cut out for a launch-driven business, and I can guarantee there will always be client work and consulting income as the stable foundation for my business.

#3. Over Investing in Your Launch is an Act of Insanity

As I mentioned above, I spent a considerable chunk of change on this launch as I went totally pro on everything possible. That meant big invoices from my designer, and additional support from my team.

Investing in the launch was a conscious choice and not an act of chasing unicorns and rainbows. It’s far too easy to go into a launch thinking “don’t worry, I’ll totally make this back.” You can never 100% guarantee how a launch will go down, so don’t spend money that you haven’t yet made.

If you’re going to invest, make a point of figuring out how long it may take to recoup your hard costs related to your launch. And for the love of launching, please make sure you have a proven concept before you go all in. There’s faith and then there’s blatant acts of delusion where you kill yourself on an unproven idea and waste a whole pile of cash.

[Tweet “Over investing in your launch is like playing black jack. New blog post from @magspatterson. “]

#4. Launching Causes Some Sort of Time Warp

Biggest take away of my launch: My cart open was WAY too long for my liking and that won’t happen again. With the VIP cart open, it was 18 days total.

Which is great I suppose if you’re patient, but I’m not. It felt like a time warp where the days were going by so fast but the 18 days was sooooooooooo long. Makes zero sense, but that was my experience.

Next time it will be much shorter as I’m confident that we can get more done in less time or at least with the same result.

#5. You’re Unlikely to Beat the Odds

What would a launch recap be without some conversion talk? Listen here my special snowflakes – when it comes to conversion rates, unless you’ve been launching for a while or have some superpower, you’re unlikely to beat the odds of average conversion rates.

From the pre-launch sequence, we had a conversion rate of 2.5%. But if you look at how many people actually joined the Facebook group and were actively engaged, the conversion rate is closer to 5%. Which, given the level of content and value delivered that week, is a great affirmation of the content.

Going into the launch we did a considerable amount of list building, adding an additional 1000 people in the 60 days before the launch. That completely messed with our overall conversion rate on the general list, bumping it below 1%. If we exclude the “newest” people as they needed to be nurtured more, we were pacing above 1%, which is about average in our industry.

Lessons by the gallon right here. Starting with: you need to back into your goal for total signups and then build your list and grow your reach to support that. It’s easier to do that going into your launch than to project a conversion rate that may be completely bananas.

#6. You Will Self-Sabotage at Some Point

Let me preface this one with the fact that I typically am pretty good at following through on my plans, and I’d say I stuck to about 90% of the plan.

But I definitely bailed out on some of the list building activities we had planned throughout the year. I knew logically that to get to our “best goal” for the launch, I needed to really push harder and continue to focus on increasing my reach and growing my list.

Somewhere along the way I lost grip on the facts of what needed to be done and then decided it didn’t need to be done. I could make a big list of all of the reasons why, one of which is a need to prioritize existing clients, but the truth is, it was a case of straight up self-sabotage. The sneaky, quiet, rational kind where you justify the shit out of your behavior. It was in no way a catastrophe but definitely a lesson learned so I don’t get in my own way again.

#7. Some People Aren’t Going to Like Your Launch

Launching means you’re putting yourself out there, and that always means some people aren’t going to like your launch.

Reviewing post launch numbers, it was a bit sobering seeing unsubscribes along with a few spam complaints. (Speaking of which PSA – it’s not spam if you sign up for it and I can tell you when and where you subscribed.)

The truth is, not everyone is going to want to buy, and people leaving my list and moving on is ultimately a good thing. Maybe they’ll come back, maybe I’ve utterly offended them – no matter what the reason, it’s way better to have an engaged, active community via email than a big old list of people who are only tolerating you or have you in their

[Tweet “7 launch lessons you don’t want to miss from @magspatterson. A real look at what it takes to launch.”]

There you have it. 7 launch lessons, and the start of many, many more to come. Now, I need to get back to my launch timeline for the Winter 2016 launch and planning a special event later this month that will get you in our next class with a sweet, sweet deal!

If you’re launching anything, you’ll want to grab a copy of the Launch Tools & Tech Cheat Sheet that shares everything I used for my launch and some awesome alternatives: 

launching marketing strategy tools

Launching Lessons: Tools & Tech for a Successful Launch

blog 9.17

Earlier this week we wrapped up the launch of the No B.S. Marketing School, and I’ll be sharing nitty gritty details and everything I’ve learned from going through the process of creating and then launching this program.

When I decided way back in January to develop and design this program, I made a special note to self to pay extra attention to everything we went through along the way. Let’s face it, it’s easy to look at a launch from the outside and think “wow, that was easy” or “look how much money they made”.

Oh, my friend, launching is so NOT what it looks like on the outside. It’s exhilarating and messy and OMG, stressful at times. The good news is that as I was going through the entire thing, I was able to keep my stress seriously in check thanks to good planning, my amazing team and having the right tech and tools in place.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is my first “big” launch, but this is by no means my first rodeo. I’ve been launching things my entire career – from Microsoft Office 2003 and assorted servers that went with it to new startups to solopreneur’s signature programs. Launches are just just part of what I do in marketing. So I totally have an unfair advantage.

Launching anything takes bucket loads of time and a serious helping hand from tools that can make putting all the pieces together so much simpler.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Pro launch tips and a killer list of tools and tech for your next launch” quote=”Pro launch tips and a killer list of tools and tech for your next launch”]

Here’s a rundown on all the tech and tools used for the No B.S. Marketing School launch:

Email Marketing: Infusionsoft

Launching = emails. A metric shit tonne of emails. For the launch alone we had at least 15 emails, and then there were thank you emails and all the emails for our pre-launch event, Orientation Week.

We’ve been running on Infusionsoft for close to two years, and I have to say it was a relief to know that getting the email piece of the launch under control wasn’t going to be a huge thing. Melissa and Brittany took care of setting up the campaigns and we did a lot of testing ahead of time to ensure everything was all set.

Pro Launch Tip: Right before your launch isn’t the time to tackle Infusionsoft as it has a steep learning curve and you don’t want to botch it. If you’re going to upgrade your system pre-launch, do it far enough in advance that you’re not trying to learn as you go.

Also, pay for help. If you’re going the Infusionsoft route, having a team from somewhere like Foundation and Flow is a must.

Sales Page: WordPress

The No B.S. Sales page was designed by Amanda Genther, and then coded for WordPress by Alison over at tiny blue orange. Don’t ask me what they did with pixels and all that, but we started this project well in advance to the point where when I had to write the sales copy in early June I could barely wrap my head around it. But having that done early and the page designed made everything real. And I couldn’t turn back when I started feeling super lazy in July and didn’t want to do any work.

Sales Page

This was my first pro sales page for a launch and it was worth every penny, and the Orientation Week opt-in page/site was also designed for WordPress using OptimizePress. (More on investing in design for the launch in a future post.)

Member’s Site: WordPress + Access Ally

Amanda and Alison also created a custom WordPress-based member’s site for all of the course content, including my very own theme called Cut the Crap. The member access portion was set up using Access Ally which is Nathalie Lussier’s InfusionSoft Membership Site Plug-In.

members site

The plug-in is letting us handle member management, timed releases of weekly lessons and more. Brittany setup this integration, and I have exactly no clue on the tech details. (Which is challenging for me as I like knowing the details – but when you’ve got 8 modules of content to create, something’s gotta give!)

Coming Soon Page/Opt-in Page: LeadPages

With so much custom design and coding, we opted for simplicity and used my LeadPages Pro Account for the “coming soon” page, as well as two opt-in pages used to run Facebook ads for Orientation Week.

Coming Soon Page

I hear a lot of complaints from my clients and community about the lack of customization in LeadPages, but that’s actually a good thing. It makes it super simple and means you’re using a proven layout which is more likely to convert. Unless you’re very familiar with what types of pages convert, you can be your own worst enemy. Also, the pro account lets you set up A/B testing which was super helpful when we were running Facebook ads during the pre-launch. We were able to test different page layouts and copy variations.

Social Media Scheduling: EDGAR + Buffer

Launching means you need to be out there, so we used EDGAR to schedule posts to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Pinterest posts were scheduled using Buffer. My social media strategist Melissa took care of creating a schedule and getting content out there.

edgar screen shot

During the launch, I also was active in my group and other channels in real-time, and we intend to keep that level of activity up especially on LinkedIn, Pinterest and my newly minted Instagram account.

Project Management + Communication: Basecamp

My entire business runs on Basecamp. I could write an entire post on how much I love Basecamp. While this particular project management system may not work for you, the key is that you have one. Whether it’s you or there’s a team you’re working with, all those launch tasks need to go somewhere.

Leading into the launch we had a number of projects including the Conversions Challenge in April, the Surprise and Delight Guide in June, Orientation Week in August and then the launch itself. Every one of these a Basecamp project and task lists associated with it.

Basecamp Screen Shot

The thing that works best for me with Basecamp is the visual nature of everything along with the fact that all communication and files are in one place. (Because hello, I get enough email and this keeps me out of my inbox.)

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Document Management: Google Drive

At last count, I have at least 50 documents on the go so far for the launch and the course itself including a project planner, content grid, module worksheets, all the launch emails and much more. I love working in Google Drive, so we opted to use that for everything launch-related. There’s so many documents that they needed to be put into a easy-to-use folder system where all content can be easily found for the next launch. Google Drive Folders As an alternative, you could use Dropbox, but for the love of your documents, don’t just save everything on your trusty MacBook and hope you don’t have any issues. Back those babies up!

Presentations: PowerPoint

PowerPoint is getting a workout of epic proportions as course content and other training materials are created. Amanda created a series of templates for PowerPoint that made putting the lessons for the No B.S. Marketing School and Orientation Week together fairly straight forward. Armed with my notes that planned out each lesson, putting them into this format helped ensure lessons are bite-sized and not boring as get out.

Screencap Videos: Quicktime for Mac + ATR 2100

All those PowerPoints need to be turned into something, so I just use QuickTime for Mac which came with my laptop to record. I’ve experimented with different programs over the year, but QuickTime is insanely simple and I’ve yet to have issues exporting the video. For good quality audio, I used my ATR 2100 Microphone so my voice is crisp and clear. This is a small addition, but having  a mic makes a big difference. People will tolerate video that’s not super pro, but audio is a no go, so add a mic into the mix. All my videos were edited by Emmy Wu and she created the No B.S. Marketing School animated intro too. For me, outsourcing editing was a sanity saver, as while I can edit them easily, it doesn’t mean I should. Pro Launch Tip: Figure out the thing that’s likely to send you over the edge and outsource that. The time to upload videos to Vimeo alone made investing in editing worth it.

On Camera Videos: Canon HF G20 + Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit

For the sales page video and other promo videos, I shot them DIY-style in my basement studio. I’ve got some great equipment from my papercrafting days including a super sweet Canon HF G20 video camera. I will be the first to confess this camera is likely overkill for what I need. What’s more important than the camera is your lighting. I use the Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit and a hair lamp which hangs over head. My basement is dark so that hair light makes a big difference. The background is a pop up one, but mine is WAY too big. Get a smaller one like this one.

Order Forms: Infusionsoft

All of the order forms were created using Infusionsoft, with Amanda creating graphics and Melissa setting them all up. Being able to customize them helped us keep things consistent as people went from the sales page to the order form. Order Form

Payment Gateway: PayPal

All payments, including credit cards, were processed using PayPal Flow with reference transactions set up. This required me to upgrade my account, but I opted to go with PayPal as I’ve used them without issue for more than 5 years. I did assess a number of companies for Merchant Accounts but they really didn’t make sense for me at this point in time. PayPal has worked fairly seamlessly with a few minor issues. Pro Launch Tip: Be ready for payment issues and have someone around to fix them when you’re closing your cart. There you have it, my big old list of all the tech and tools used to launch the No B.S. Marketing School out into the world. If you’re launching anything – from an ebook to a service to a signature program, you’ll want to check out this Launch Tech & Tools Cheat Sheet I’ve put together for you with all of my picks plus some trusted alternatives.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Grab your pro list of tech and tools for a successful launch now” quote=”Grab your pro list of tech and tools for a successful launch now”]

Note: I’m an affiliate for several of these tools and I will receive a commission should you purchase them. That said, it’s important to me that you pick what’s right for you and I’m just disclosing this so we’re on the up and up.