The truth is while 6-figure and 7-figure launches DO happen (I’ve written for several of these!) there are also the launches that leak sales, cripple conversions, and slowly fade into oblivion.
But no one ever brings this up.
Because no one really wants to talk about… Failure.
It’s way more glamorous to sell the vision of wading in cash-filled pools, toting Vanderbilt loafers, and Gucci glasses.
But as someone who’s seen the wart-filled underbelly of launches and online marketing, let me ask you this…
Wouldn’t you want to know exactly what to do so you can plug conversion leaks and prevent your launch from imploding mid-way?
Sure, you want to know the sales strategies for selling your course on evergreen but don’t you also want to ensure you know WHAT warning signs to pay attention to so your launch doesn’t go up in flames?
Since you’re still reading, I’m guessing you do.
So, let’s dive right in.
Launch Alarm Bells for Online Course Creators: Signs Your Launches will Crumble and Crash in 2021
Whether you’re launching an online program – an eCourse, a retreat, a mastermind LIVE or evergreen…
… keep an eye out for these 5 warning signs so you can skip those sales-stumbling blocks and instead steer your launch towards success.
1. Launch with an Unvalidated Idea
The days of just flinging a course together, slap fancy marketing on it, and seeing people line up wallets in hand are long over.
Your online audience is savvier, smarter, and deserves much better.
This is why before you hurtle towards launching your program, press pause for a bit and ask yourself:
“Have I validated this idea?”
In plain speak; have you tested the idea to see if there is a market and a need for it?
An unvalidated idea often leads to crickets at the time of conversion because there isn’t enough need for it or the messaging and positioning are off the mark or it simply isn’t strong enough. #truth
Yes, creating a product because you want to is not a good enough reason to do so!
So, validate before you do anything else.
How do you validate your idea?
You go where your audience is and you pay attention to what they’re talking about.
Remember: Attention is currency.
Some popular places to scout for what your audience really wants include:
Yelp: This is a little-known goldmine for those looking to create courses for service-based businesses.
Check out the reviews for different service providers and filter by Lowest Rated to find gaping holes and pain areas. You can then tailor your program to help service providers fill those pain areas.
Udemy: Dig into the reviews for courses that are similar to your subject. See what people wanted more of or less of, what overwhelmed them, and what excited them.
Quora and Reddit: These two oft-overlooked communities are a hotbed for product validation. Simply join sub-communities that cater to your niche and dig into questions being asked about your topic.
Amazon: Check the 2-star and 3-star reviews for books on your topic or in your niche. What is it that people want more of?
Facebook communities: There are loads of FB groups for pretty much every interest, niche, and audience. Joining them and scouting threads will give you a goldmine of insights.
BONUS TIP: You can also use good ol’ Google Search paired with a keyword tool to see HOW many people are looking for a particular solution. I use Keywords Everywhere but I’m sure there are others you could use as well.
Finally and most importantly, review your own authority and credibility.
To do this, consider questions like:
- What questions have your clients or readers been asking you over and over again?
- What are some of your hottest services or one-on-one offerings?
- You can also survey your audience or get on short Zoom calls to understand whether there’s a need or demand for what you are planning to offer.
Word of advice: Sometimes, your audience may not know what they NEED. But they’ll always know what they want.
Dialing this in will help you position your offer accordingly so you can help them and sell to them as well.
2. Launch without a Plan
The truth is…
Your launch has the power of taking over your entire life and becoming as demanding as a hangry toddler.
While you can’t toss Cheerios at your launch, you can fuel it and manage it before it wreaks havoc on your life.
You do this with a plan for the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch stage.
THIS is exactly why when I work with copywriting clients, we have dedicated calls to discuss launch strategy and post-launch optimization as well.
But even if you don’t have a launch strategist and copywriter on your team, you still want to spend time creating a robust timeline and action plan for your pre-launch and launch schedule.
Not only is this great for your sanity but it’s also perfect for positioning your offer and priming your audience so you don’t just plonk your program without any thought to it.
You also want to look at post-launch and time it so you don’t end up disconnecting entirely from your audience after your launch.
3. Complicate and overthink every element
On the flip side of planning your launch is overthinking every element and using perfection to procrastinate over releasing your program and sharing it with the world.
You mess endlessly with the marketing plan, fine-tune the color palette, spend hours hunting for the perfect slide templates, get on calls to speak with launch managers, copywriters, ad managers, and 12 months later… you have the best plan but no program to speak of. 🤦🏻♀️
Planning is important but don’t let your plan become a crutch for procrastination.
I’m a huge believer in leveraging the “launch of least resistance“ when it comes to launches.
We’ve launched several programs, including our signature strategic-consulting mastermind hybrid- Momentum Mise-en-Place, without so much as a sales page.
Your “launch of least resistance” plan can include:
- Validating the idea – this is non-negotiable for us.
- A Google doc outlining the key outcomes, the best people, your credibility, and mastery ethos and investment.
- Sharing the doc with 5-10 trusted colleagues or peers and inviting them to share it further.
- Sharing it on your choice of social platforms.
- Sending it to an email list.
Mark Cuban is famous for saying, “Sales cures all.”
Validate, prep, launch.
You can fine-tune and finesse the smaller details later.
Is this the BEST way?
I don’t know.
But I do know that overthinking and complicating every.single.element will only lead to decision overwhelm, emotional fatigue, and an unwieldy launch.
At the end of the day, launch success isn’t only measured by the number of sales.
It’s also measured by the sentiment around the launch.
4. Launch solo
This one is a little tricky. See, you don’t need an army to help you launch but you also don’t want to do it all by yourself.
At the very least, you want some assistance when it comes to tasks and elements that give you stress ulcers.
For us, it was design and tech.
For our clients, it’s copywriting and strategy.
For you, it could be something totally different.
Even if you’re launching for the very first time and are on a wafer-thin budget, you can (and should!) have support around self-care, mindset, and strategizing.
This can be as simple as reaching out to an entrepreneurial friend who has launched before and can be your “sales sounding board”. Let them know you’ll want them to be brutally honest and yet, genuinely caring. #toomuchtoask
Seriously though, get comfortable with the fact that launching isn’t Solitaire.
5. Swipe everything
Somehow, we live in an age of “swipe files” and “steal my templates”.
And while I love a good swipe file and have several folders that attest to that, swiping everything that may work for one entrepreneur isn’t the smartest call to make when launching.
Because here’s the thing.
Cookie cutters work on cookies. Not humans.
Please don’t apply cookie-cutter templates on your launch.
Take frameworks. Turn them into your own.
Take patterns and principles. Use them with your unique spin.
Take your swipe file and use it for inspiration. Not identical implementation.
This is the reason when I open Ready-to-Sell – my signature launch copywriting and strategy program… I will give you “frameworks” aka “recipes” that you can make your own.
I’ll show you how I’ve done it but then, you’re free to play chef and create your own masterpieces.
Drop your details below to be the first to know when doors open.
All of this to say…
Launches may feel like a furious, multi-headed Fluffy (had to slide in a Potter reference) but now that you know what to keep an eye on, you can have the confidence that you’re launching smartly.
And with that, remember to…
Believe in your offer.
Believe in your value.
Believe in the impact you will make.
It’s important because your mindset will shine through in everything that you do and it will impact whether or not your launch is exciting and successful or sadder than a soggy tortilla.
Now that you know what guideposts to set up and what signs to watch out for, it’s time to go forth and launch fearlessly.