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Lessons from an $87,000USD Online Course Launch

October 13, 2020

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Love diving into the nitty gritty behind the scenes of other people’s launches? Want an insight into what works, and what doesn’t? Looking for some inspiration for launching your own online course or program?

The recent launch of my Socials That Sell Instagram Marketing Framework was an $87,000USD launch, executed in two parts. In this episode, I’m into a full breakdown of the stats, launch strategies, expenses, wins and failures that contributed to that number.

Let’s dive in!

Launch Overview

The Socials That Sell launch included two phases – the pre-sell phase, and the full launch.

The pre-sell phase was unique, in that it was also a ‘final, closing down sale’ for my very first signature course, Hashtags Aren’t the Answer. That course first launched in January of 2019, and was a full roadmap for social media success. It covered both Facebook and Instagram, with a complete path from branding, to social content, to sales funnels and ads.

As the nature of my business shifted and social media changed, I decided that I wanted to narrow the focus of that program to more specifically focus on Instagram and the three step strategy that was working for me on the platform. And so, Socials That Sell was born.

Instead of simply retiring the course and launching a new one, I decided to bundle Hashtags Aren’t The Answer and Socials That Sell into a pre sale campaign in which purchasers would essentially get the two courses for $100 less than the price of Socials That Sell when it launched.

‘Bundle’ Pre Sale Strategy

The Pre Sale campaign was a very simple one.

It involved a series of emails announcing the bundle to my existing list along with a few social media posts and a podcast episode.

In total, the campaign was four days long – a coming soon email, doors open email, two days of cart open emails and three emails on the final day. The open rate for all of the emails was unusually high for sales emails, ranging from 33% to 20%.

Fun fact – there were also between 28 and 43 unsubscribes for each email, something which really doesn’t bother me (and shouldn’t bother you, either!) If people aren’t interested in your core offer, you don’t need them on your list.

In total, 750 people visited the sales page, 150 people visited the order page and 45 people purchased.

The total conversion rate from the full list to a sale was .45% – which seems low, but keep in mind that an average conversion rate for a full launch is 1 – 2% of a launch list. This was just a few email and very little work, so I was very happy with the result!

In total, 28 people paid in full and 16 took the payment plan, which very interesting. Usually the split is approximately 50/50%.

In total, this bundle pre-sale netted $19,572USD cash collected and $17,000USD in payment plans for a total of $36,572USD (or $50,000AUD).

The best part? There were zero expenses on this portal of the launch, and very little time was spent on it. The entire pre sale was profit.

Full Launch Strategy

After the pre sale, I began working on the materials for the full launch of Socials That Sell.

Because I was really starting from scratch, I need to create the whole she-bang – new funnel, sales page, new course, new marketing materials, emails… the lot. It reminded me of the amount of work involved in the early days of a new course. It’s a lot. The good news was that I had validated the demand for the course with the pre sale, so I know that people would be interested in it.

My full launch process involves a pop up Facebook group, live warm up trainings and a webinar on cart open day followed by a week or so before doors close.

The process is extremely effective at warming up even cold audiences who have never heard of me, and I think it’s a winning launch strategy. Because I have the system down pat and every step documented, it’s relatively easy and straight forward for me to roll it out each time.

Of course, the FIRST time it is rolled out for a new course, it means creating a lot of new assets but the benefit over time is that as you re-launch, it truely gets easier and easier and the results get better and better (as long as you are committed to growing your audience as you go).

What Worked Well

Here’s a summary of the things that worked well:

  • Bonuses: During the launch period, I offered both a fast action bonus for those that purchased live on the webinar, and also earlybird pricing for the first few days of the launch. Both of these strategies have continued to prove extremely effective. These a lot of psychology involved in choosing the right bonuses and pricing, and it absolutely paid off.
  • Webinars: Webinars absolutely work. The energy and excitement of a webinar, and having the opportunity to talk through the framework of the course and overcome any objections live is very powerful. Having the right fast action bonus is also incredibly powerful. 10% of people purchased live on the webinar.
  • DM Strategy: Ironically (and happily!), the very same DM strategy that I recommend inside of Socials That Sell worked incredibly well for us as a traffic strategy. We had 11 sales from our DM outreach strategy, and a 9.1% conversion rate (we DM’ed 900 people, which took around 9 hours of time). This contributed to around $10,000US in sales.
  • Documented Processes: Having documented processes really made the process much simpler to roll out. Everything is documented inside an SOP, which is so valuable and really streamlines our launches. When I think back to the first few launches and the hot mess express they were, it really doesn’t compare. Side note? These are the exact same processes that I will be sharing with you in my upcoming Launchpad program launching very soon.

What Didn’t Work Well

  • Last Minute Changes: The biggest challenge in this launch was my decision two weeks out to completely change the course. Top to bottom. I’d already created it, and creating ALL of the sales page materials. But, something didn’t feel aligned and I decided to rehaul the entire thing two weeks out. When I was solo in my business, this would have been stressful enough but with a staff member it was actually double the stress. Try explaining to a new staff member two weeks out that everything would need to be re-done. Was it worth it? Yes, one hundred percent. I’m truely so proud of this program and know that there is nothing else like it on the market. Was it an insane level of work? Yes, yes and yes.
  • Instagram Updates: Added to the above, halfway through the launch Instagram decided to completely overhaul a lot of things. This ended up being okay; and was in some ways the catalyst for the curriculum changes. I needed a course that would remain timeless despite updates to the platform, but it definitely threw a spanner in the works.
  • Facebook Ads: I spent around $7,000AUD in ads on this launch, and usually this more than pays itself back. However, there were a number of challenges in this launch. First up? My ad account was disabled on the first day of the launch due to suspected fraudulent activity. It was reinstated within 24 hours, but my ad costs fluctuated wildly and were the most expensive they’d ever been. Overall, I didn’t make my ad spend back, and I’m reviewing a lot of my processes to look into this more.
  • Number of People Live on the Webinar: On the flip side to the successes with the people who attended live, I have realised that I need to implement more strategies to get people to show up LIVE to the main webinar. There just weren’t enough people live.

Summary of Live Launch Results

Let’s break down the results from the full live launch component of the promotion.

In total, there were 34 full pay sales and 31 payment sales for a total of 65 sales.

There were a total of 2041 leads generated, and overall the conversion rate from leads in the promotion to sales was 3.1% To break that down further, the ads conversion rate was .4% and the warm list conversion rate was 4.4%.

Even without the ads issues in the mix, this really emphasises to me the value of playing the long game and the positive impact that things like starting my podcast have had on my business.

Here’s an interesting break of the main sources of organic traffic, in order:

  • Email
  • Instagram DM Outreach Strategy
  • Website
  • Instagram – Link in Bio
  • Instagram – DM
  • Instagram – Stories
  • Remarketing
  • Podcast
  • Referrals
  • Facebook
  • Other

This really tells me how powerful an email list is, and also how powerful my DM strategy is!

Summing It Up

And so, there you have it: a complete breakdown of my latest online course launch.

Want to launch your own course? I will be opening the doors to my group coaching experience Launchpad very soon. I’ll be releasing it by application only at a VERY special one time only pilot price to my waitlist soon. To join the waitlist to be notified when it launches in November, click here.

Related Episodes:

Episode 91: Behind The Scenes of a $50,000(USD) Online Course Launch

Episode 94: Why I’m Retiring My Signature Social Media Course (and, what’s next!)

Episode 63: Five Launch Lessons From My Most Successful Online Course Launch To Date

Keep Listening!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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