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Behind the Scenes of a $50,000(USD) Online Course Launch

May 6, 2020

Ever thought about launching an online course, and want a sneaky peek behind the curtain of a successful online course launch to see how it’s done?

 In the latest Stevie Says Social podcast episode, I break down the recent launch of my signature podcasting course,  Launch Your Wildly Successful Podcast.

In it, I reveal my strategy, the exact breakdown of my numbers and debrief the launch live so you can see what worked, what didn’t and what I’ll do differently next time!

So, let’s dive in!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Here’s what we cover:

  • What my signature online course, Launch Your Wildly Successful Podcast, is and how I decided to launch it for the first time after an earlier iteration proved very successful.
  • A breakdown of my launch process, including pre-launch list building, a training series and a webinar and a seven day cart open period.
  • How I promoted the launch, including what I spent on Facebook Ads and how I 5X’ed my investment. 
  • The most effective traffic sources for my online course launch. 
  • How many people joined my free training, my webinar and how many people bought – as well as a breakdown of the percentages and other stats. 
  • My total revenue and profit margin.
  • My takeaways, including what worked well and what I will look to improve next time around.

Mentioned in This Episode:


Ever thought about launching an online course and want a sneaky peek into how somebody else has done it? In this podcast episode, I’m breaking down the recent launch of my signature podcasting course, Launch Your Wildly Successful Podcast. I’m going to reveal my strategy, what worked, what didn’t, and what I would do differently next time. Let’s get into today’s episode.

Hello, and welcome to Episode 91 of Stevie Says Social podcast.

Today I’m talking about and breaking down my recent online course launch for my signature podcasting program Launch Your  Wildly Successful Podcast. I know that some of you want to create online courses. I get all of the Instagram DMs about launch strategy, about content creation, about course creation, about all of that sort of thing. And that is what I want to give you in this episode.

I also kind of had to do a launch debrief anyway, I thought that I might as well share it, number one for accountability and number two, so that well really just for accountability. Let’s get into basically what I did and what worked and what didn’t. 

This is specifically about the launch of my most recent program. Let me go through a little bit for those of you that weren’t actually sort of following along with the launch, what the program is.

It is my signature podcasting program. It’s kind of version two of a course that I launched at the end of last year, which was more of an action plan, right? It was called Start a Podcast from Scratch.

I looked around the market and I could see that no one had created an action plan for starting a podcast. Really actionable templates, resources, not needing to go through, you know, 30-minute lessons, and things like that. And I thought I’m going to do this. And I had originally intended to create a new blueprint. It was called a blueprint and part of what I had called the blueprint series.

Every six weeks, I’ve since realized that that was way too much in terms of time and resources. And I’ll go through in a different episode, a little bit more of my thinking around that. But, that’s kind of the evolution of the course.

When I decided that I was going to put together version two that had really come from the fact that this course, the little action plan that I created was wildly successful in itself. I knew that people wanted to start a podcast. I knew that they wanted to do it in an actionable way. But I also need that the real kind of action plan that I was supplying wasn’t going to get paid for the wildly successful status, whatever that meant for them.

It gave you the bare bones of starting a podcast. Yes, these are the steps that you follow. But what I realized is that the difference between a podcast that launches and then pod-fades. So people get over it because it’s not really doing much for their business. And a podcast that actually really kind of feels somebody’s business really acts as the top of a sales funnel into a business and really starts to get traction. Not only launches at the top of the charts, if that’s what somebody wants but also continually grows and actually acts as a lead generation source into someone’s business.

I needed to provide more still in a really actionable way. But I wanted to put my own framework around podcasting into a course. That’s what Launch Your Wildly Successful Podcast is.

I decided that I was going to launch this program mid-year originally, then the whole COVID thing happened, right? And what kind of happened is I realized you know what people are at home, they want to start podcasts they’ve had starting a podcast on their to-do list for however long. And finally, with all of the time that they have at home, they actually have time to do it.

And I was getting messages about where my blueprint was? Why it wasn’t for sale? How could people buy it? And I just thought you know what? I’m going to do it now. Plus, I really thought that the ripple effect of you know, 100 people, which was my goal 100 people starting a podcast by mid-year, in a time when you know, things are pretty crappy in the world was gonna be an amazing ripple effect to mention, you know, 100 people all sharing their expertise or sharing their knowledge. And I was like, right, I am going to do this.

The problem is that I didn’t give myself much time. Normally with a launch, I’m prepared about three months out, I set a date. I really kind of work backward from now with everything that I need to do, and there’s a lot, right? And then I started to take things off so that when it comes to the actual week of the launch, everything’s pretty much rolling out.

You know, I don’t need to be in my email service provider writing emails, because they’re already scheduled. I don’t need to be writing, you know, social media posts, because they’re already done. But I didn’t have a chance to do that for this launch, because I really started quite late. And for a perfectionist person like me, that was quite tough to get my head around.

It all worked out in the end, but it was a little bit tougher, made easier by the fact that I already have all of my processes in place. This isn’t my first rodeo, right? Let’s go through how I promoted the launch and exactly what the launch looks like.

What I did is I had a list building period where I went into a big kind of frenzy of building my list through all of the strategies that I used to do that, one of which was Facebook ads. It is leading people to a free podcasting equipment checklist. And I knew that if people downloaded that checklist they would be interested in potentially a podcasting course, right?

Then from there, what I did is I decided to create a launch event. And my launch event was my free four-part training series called podcast kickstart where I went through everything that you needed to know to start a podcast.

I went through your podcast sales machine, how to actually create content, not just for content sake, but to have it lead into your business, how to pick a name and how to pick a niche because I knew that they were two things that people struggled with at the outset, and why to start a podcast in 2020.

Then I went into a webinar. A webinar was a free masterclass that basically gave a whole heap of value in a space of an hour. And then at the end of it, I made my offer for anyone that wanted to take the next step and start a podcast.

And I really think that that’s a beautiful way of leading people into something that they want to do providing a whole heap of free value. And then if people want to go free that to the next step, if they want to take it further, and they want someone to help them, they can join the course, or they can DIY it with all of the free value that they’ve gotten. So it’s a win-win both ways.

That is the way that I ran the launch, basically. List building into a free training, and then I open the doors and the doors were open for seven days-ish, I think around about seven days. And then I closed the doors. That’s how it worked.

What I did in terms of promoting the free training, how I got people into the free training. I always set a goal. I will always say at the beginning of the launch, okay, how many people do I actually want to buy the program and my goal was 100 people, right? And I work backward from there and I say, in order to get that hundred people, how many people do I actually need to have in the free training because not everyone is going to buy, right?

And I had a goal around the free training of getting 2,000 people into that free training. I knew I really had to go hard. And I decided to run Facebook Ads, I decided to use organic social media and organic means of getting people in. And really my traffic sources were Facebook ads, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook groups, and collaborations. And that’s generally what I do for pretty much all of my different launches.

What I want to do is break down the exact stats of my launch.

I’m very particular and you need to be right when you know launching is a big part of your business. You need to make sure that you’re keeping a really strong tab on exactly what your numbers are.

In the end, I had, my goal is 2000 remember? I had 1,280 people join my free training or free challenge. And so, I really didn’t hit my goals. My goal was obviously 2,000. And, that’s okay. I’m gonna go through the different numbers. But of that 705, came from what I did organically. And 575 of those people came in from Facebook ads, they were lead from Facebook Ads.

Then the opt-in conversion rate. This is the second thing that I track. When somebody comes to opt into the free training, they have to fill out their email details and then they go through to a thank you page to confirm that they’ve actually opted in.

I always keep a tab on what percentage of people are actually filling that out. Because obviously, if I’m paying for a whole heap of people to get to the opt-in page, and they’re not actually filling out the form, then there’s a disconnect there. There’s something wrong with that page.

I found that 64% of people that came from organic traffic, so from social media, they kind of already knew me, they were in my sphere 64% of people opted in.

From Facebook ads, it was around about 56% of people.

I’m happy with those stats, right?

I know that you know, people coming in from Facebook Ads, they don’t know me, the stats are going to be a little bit lower. I’m really happy with the conversion rate on organic

I knew that there wasn’t really anything wrong with how I was kind of pitching the free training and what that page looks like.

Then I went through the free training and I did keep tabs on things like how many people watch the first training, second training, third training, which emails were opened, etc. I won’t bug you down with all of that detail.

Let’s get into the webinar.

This was the main launch event where I actually opened the doors for my course.

Okay, of that 1,280 I had 275 people attend the webinar live, which was an attendance rate of 14%. This is also less than what I had originally wanted.

I had wanted 30% of people to show up live to the webinar. I was a little bit disappointed with that. Let me tell you in a moment why that didn’t end up mattering so much.

The number of people that actually purchased on the webinars, I had a goal of 10% of people that showed up to the webinar actually purchasing on the webinar, right?

I ended up having 57 people purchase on the webinar, which was a conversion rate of 21% double what I had wanted, right? It didn’t end up mattering that I had less people coming to the webinar, because more people bought on the webinar.

Just imagine if I had have gotten more people to the webinar, it means that the webinar is converting it means that people like it, it means that the offer is good, it means that it’s a really strong webinar and if I could have had more people come it would have been even better in terms of the number of people that joined.

I can definitely improve the number of people that come along. And there’s going to be things that I will look out for the next launch. But I’m really, really happy with the number of people that thought hell yes, I want to start a podcast. This is for me, okay?

Let’s go into the number of purchases. I had in total, during the live launch in that container of the one week period that doors were open, I had 82 people purchase.

My goal was 100, I had 82.

About 50% of those people were on payment plan and 50% were pay up front. I actually love payment plans. It’s great for monthly recurring revenue, which means that it really sustains the business and I actually like having about a 50/50 split. That worked out really well for me.

I actually have strategies in place to, you know, encourage people, both ways and I’m really particular about that. Let’s have a look now at the sales page. After the webinar, I directed people through to a sales page, or I told people about the podcast costs and if it was for them, they would go through and purchase.

1,199 people went to the sales page, and I made 82 sales total. What that means is that the conversion rate on the sales page, the percentage of people that actually purchased from either the webinar or the sales page was 6%. I’m so happy with that, that is awesome.

What you always need to do though, is break down the number of people that are purchasing from Facebook Ads because they’re cold, they’ve never heard about you before, they don’t know you from a bar of soap and your warm audiences. People that have come from, you know, your email list or social media, they kind of know you already and generally they’ll be much more likely to purchase.

Let’s look at the breakdown there. I had an overall conversion rate of 10%. 10% of my launch, the people that actually opted in for the challenge purchased if they were a warm prospect. They knew me, liked me, trusted me, listened to the podcast, all that good stuff. And that means I’m doing the right thing when it comes to what I’m doing organically, right? I’m really, really happy with that.

In terms of Facebook Ads, it was 2%. So much, much lower, right? These people didn’t know me, they only met me the week before. I’m still happy with that though because I ended up making, of that 2% of people, it ended up being just over $10,000 in revenue. And I spent just over $2,000 on Facebook ads.

$2,000-ish in $10,000 out, right? I’ll take that any day of the week. And it meant that basically, I had five times the amount of return on my ad spent. I’m really, really happy with that.

Now one mistake that I actually made and this is a complete rookie error is that when I set up my ads, my budget for my complete launch was actually $10,000. I wanted to spend $10,000 on ads. I especially wanted to do that because so many businesses aren’t advertising at the moment.

Lead cost, the cost that you actually pay for somebody to join your challenge from a Facebook ad was actually really low. In my last launch, it was around $4.50. Overall, $4.50 per person going into the launch. For this launch, it was around about $3.60. It was really cheap.

One thing that I forgot to do, though, and I can’t believe I did this is I didn’t actually check in on my ads very much. I checked it on them a couple of times, but I actually have a limit set in my Facebook Ad account where people when they actually get to it And when I, my ad account gets to a certain amount, when I spent $2,000, it doesn’t let me spend any more until I reset it. I didn’t check that.

What happened is, and I cannot believe that I didn’t do this. And the breakdown really in communication was that I had an assistant tracking all of my metrics. And I wasn’t checking it enough because I had planned the launch on the backfoot. And I was spending time on things like creating the training and I could see the numbers going up, and I was fairly happy with it. 

But I didn’t actually know that they weren’t more people coming into the training series from Facebook Ads. Huge fail, potentially means that I missed out on quite a bit of you know, revenue, especially with the ad costs, how they were something I will make sure that I check for next time, right? That is overall why I didn’t actually hit my targets. I’m not too kind of sad about that. I’m still really happy with how the launch went overall.

What are the stats can I give you? One of the things that I always track that is really relevant is how much what you’re earning per lead is, okay? What that actually means, that metric is essentially, for every lead that you have come into your free training, for all of the people that joined my free training, how much is each of those leads worth, okay?

What I had as my stats on that was, for every lead that came into my free training from a Facebook Ad, they were worth $18, but I was only paying $3, which means that my ads were working amazingly, right?

For people that came in from my email list or from you know, organic, social, or those sorts of things. My earning per lead was $82. It means that all of the work that I’m doing in providing free content, in being active on social media and all of that sort of thing was working a treat and it just goes to show you how powerful content marketing is, right?

The other thing that I want to mention is my profit margin. A lot of the time when you hear about a really successful launch, right? People have spent a whole heap of money on Facebook Ads, and that actual profit is a lot less than what you would think it is because they’ve spent so much money on expenses.

Because I didn’t spend too much on Facebook ads of my own, you know, really, that was my own fault. My profit margin on this particular launch was 96%.

Amazing and I think that if you’ve ever thought about, you know, online courses as something that you might potentially be interested in, that should speak to you. I know, for example, I’ve got my brother is in, you know, a solar company and his profit margins are nowhere near that. And it just goes to show you how powerful this particular type of business model is.

But I want to give you my takeaways, okay? A few different takeaways. Number one is that webinars convert really, really well. If you have a great webinar, it is a great tool for getting people educated, getting them to know you, like you trust you, and then providing that kind of urgency and scarcity that people need to take action, okay? And definitely, you know, it’s important to make sure that you have a great webinar before you do things like pouring a whole heap of Facebook ads into what you’re doing.

I actually did take a little bit of a risk. I hadn’t tested out my webinar, but I was very lucky that it worked out really well. The training series is really good for warming people up. I don’t know what would have happened if I had just had the training of that just had the webinar without the training series. I think providing value over that period of time worked really, really well.

I think my fast action bonus, I had a fast action bonus, which I really kind of did strategically. And I won’t go into the strategy behind that. I might save that for another podcast episode. But I think that’s a reason why so many people were so excited to purchase during the webinar, and launching in general absolutely works, okay?

The other things that I did well, I also want to break down just quickly some of the stats around my different traffic sources and what worked well and what didn’t.

I actually tracked where people came in on so around about so just over 500, I think came from Facebook Ads, but I also break down where everybody else came from. One thing that really I already knew, but just stood out to me, I have an email list of about 12,000 people, right? Of that email list, I sent out invitations for people to join the podcast training and not everyone would have been interested in it, right? Because not everyone wants to start a podcast.

But I had around, let me just add it up, 450 people joined my email list.

Now let’s compare that to social media. I have 46 people joined from Facebook and this is after a really kind of heavily pushing it on Facebook and Instagram. I had 27 join from my website, I had quite a few join from collaborations. Kate Toon, I have to thank for 23 people directly coming straight over, a couple from LinkedIn, even though I posted on LinkedIn quite a lot, and Instagram organic I had from my LinkedIn, my buyer, I had 120 people and also interestingly 120 people using the swipe up feature on stories.

Really what worked for me was email, Instagram, I also tracked the podcast but a lot of people I think would have come to the website and then opted in from there. It just goes to show the power of an email list. I talk about this a lot but my gosh, this is just the ultimate example of it.

What didn’t work well? I forgot to check my Facebook Ads. I won’t do that again. I cannot believe that I did that. I didn’t have enough people in the webinar. I need to be better at actually getting people into the webinar and looking at my strategies around that.

Email list converts the best, I really need to focus on that and make sure that it is on lock. I had a little bit of a lull at the end. A lot of people purchased on the webinar, but a lot of people didn’t purchase afterward. Maybe I’ll do a second webinar next time. I was rushed. I didn’t give myself enough time.

I had a whole heap of materials to create even after the cart closed. I gave myself about a week for that. It was a very, very stressful week. On top of some other things that were happening, if you listen to last week’s podcast episode, it was like the perfect storm.

Definitely give myself longer. I’m really lucky that I had a list of templates and processes in place. It was really just going through all of that. But I need to get more help.

What I have realized is my profit margins are probably too high, I’m doing too much myself. And I really am in a position now where I can afford to bring people on to help me so that I’m not doing it all myself.

They are the takeaways from my launch debrief and the breakdown of everything that I did. I hope that’s helpful. I know that I threw a whole heap at you.

I was talking fast because I absolutely love this stuff. But what it kind of shows to me is number one, that online courses are so powerful. Number two, you need to have a strategy. And number three, that it can be so so powerful to actually look at what works and what doesn’t and really, the numbers will tell you everything there. That is why I always do this after every launch.

Guys, I hope that was helpful. If you did get value from today’s episode, make sure you send me a DM, post it on your stories. You listening to the podcast episode, send me a DM, let me know if you’re interested about you know, maybe creating your own online course and make sure you download that checklist as well. So with some more information.

Alright, I will see you in next week’s episode. Until then, bye for now.

Keep Listening!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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