Any time you try something new, you are going to make mistakes. In fact, the familiar term “rookie mistake” comes from the very idea that someone new to a process is going to make mistakes that people with experience just don’t make.
What is an Online Launch?
Before we start talking about the mistakes first time online launchers make, let’s be sure we’re on the same page. When I talk about launching, I mean the process of announcing the enrollment or sale of your digital product to the people who most need it via a series of emails, videos or a webinar.
Let’s look at the rookie mistakes that commonly get in the way of a successful online launch.
Common First Launch Mistakes
Learning to launch online is like learning to ride a bike. There are a whole lot of steps you have to learn about and use at the same time in order for the launch to work. No one is born knowing how to launch and, in fact, most of the skills you need to successfully complete an online launch are going to be brand new skills or require you to do things you didn’t even know existed.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes of first time digital launchers:
1. Lack of an Engaged Email List
Online launches for businesses, courses and memberships rely heavily on email marketing. Email is THE way you will communicate regularly with the people you will ultimately sell to and it’s important to develop a relationship with those people before you ask them to buy anything.
When you provide the people on your list with solid content that teaches them new skills, exposes them to new ideas or helps them in some way with their business, they are more likely to learn to know, like and trust you. This know, like & trust factor is the best way to get them to buy from you in the future.
Too often people build an email list of people they’ve worked with in the past and then don’t do anything with the email addresses they collected until they want to sell something. That’s called letting your list go cold and a cold list rarely converts into sales.
In order to keep your list warm and engaged (and anxiously waiting for whatever it is you have to offer them), you need to be emailing them consistently and giving them Calls to Action (CTA) to follow. This gets them used to responding to you. You develop a rapport with them and they become engaged.
An engaged email list can be expected to convert to sales of a well-placed offer at a rate of 3-5%. A cold list will convert at closer to 1%. It pays to keep your list warm and engaged.
For more information on why your email list is so important, check out Why You Need an Email List to Have a Successful Launch
2. Failing to Email Your List Daily During the Launch
If you want to maximize your sales during a launch, you must email your list daily while your cart is open. Many people balk at the idea of sending so many emails, thinking the people on their list won’t like it and will unsubscribe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told someone’s audience won’t like receiving that many emails and will unsubscribe. It happens nearly every time I assist someone with their launch.
The truth is most people aren’t paying close enough attention to their email inboxes to even realize you’re emailing them daily. In fact, testing has proven that most people don’t unsubscribe when you email them daily if it’s for a brief period of time. Since most launches run about a week, people will tolerate the extra emails.
If you are still worried about sending too much email, there are a few things you can do:
- Set up your tagging system so that people can opt out of your launch sequence while still remaining on your list. Give them the option of not receiving more emails about your paid program.
- Make sure each email is well written, concise and covers a different pain point, question or other topic they are interested in. Don’t just send email to send email. Each email during open cart should have a specific purpose.
3. Believing Social Media Engagement Will Take the Place of an Engaged Email List
Unless you’re a Kardashian, it’s not likely you’re going to convert your social media followers into paid customers. There are two main reasons this is true:
- Social media followers are used to getting their content free. They can scroll for hours passively taking in far more content than they can absorb without paying a cent and they are often taking in that content when they are no where near their wallets.
- Social media platforms decide when and to whom your content will be shown – this means that during your launch, you are at the mercy of the algorithms to determine when, and to whom, your content is shown.
The best way to maximize your online presence is to periodically offer your lead magnet to the people who like and follow you on social media. This will get your followers onto your email list where you can engage them.
Whether you have a strong following on social or not, be sure to use your accounts to let your followers know you are launching and to give them opportunities to opt in to receive your launch trainings and offer. Just don’t rely solely on social media for your sales.
4. Thinking You Can Launch Without Help
No matter how much of a DIYer you might be, there are a lot of pieces involved in launching and most of them are going to be things that are completely new to you.
While some of them, like learning how to send out emails using your email service provider, are things you need to learn because you’ll be using them daily in your business, others are things best handed off to someone else.
If you are preparing to launch your online course, program or membership and you find there’s a skill you need but don’t have, seriously consider if it wouldn’t be a better use of your time, energy and money to hire someone else to do that work for you.
Video editing is a good example. If you’re doing a video launch, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to have your video edited. If you don’t have the software and equipment to do so, you also don’t likely have the know-how. By the time you figure in the cost of buying the necessary software, and the time it will take you to use it, you’re likely better off finding a contractor on a site like Upwork and asking them to do the editing for you.
Paid advertising is another area where it’s almost always better to hire someone else to help you out than it is to try to do it yourself. There’s no faster way to burn through money than by putting it behind ill placed ads.
If you’d like more info on setting up a launch team, check out: Who to Have on Your Launch Team
5. Not Setting Up a Solid Launch Plan
Like most things in life, if you want to launch successfully online, you need to have a solid launch plan that covers both launch tasks AND launch strategy. Keep in mind, a launch plan is not the same as a plan to launch.
If you ask an online course or membership creator how they will sell their offer, most of them will tell you they plan to launch. And there are lots of courses and even memberships out there that will teach them how.
When that plan to launch doesn’t turn into a solid launch plan with tasks, due dates and calendar items, the launch doesn’t happen. When you plan your launch, there are so many things to take into account, yet most people open their calendars, choose a few empty dates and decide that will be their launch. They fail to take into account everything that needs to be done before then. They fail to plan, so their launch repeatedly gets pushed back until they get frustrated and give up on the idea of launching altogether.
If you’d like help planning your launch, be sure to check out my Online Business Launch Planner. I will walk you through the process of thinking through the things you need to consider when deciding on your launch timeline and setting up your plan.
6. Not Following the Launch Plan You Set Up
Setting up a launch plan is one thing. Following it is something else entirely. Once you have a plan in place, it’s imperative you stick to the plan.
For your first launch, keep it very, very simple and remember that things can always be changed and added to later. Keep a list of things you hear about that you’d like to try for future launches so you don’t forget about them, but don’t try to incorporate them into a launch already in progress.
As tempting as it may be to add in fancy options and ideas that are working for your online friends, each time you add something it sets the launch back. Often sequences need to be changed, scheduled get off track and, before you know it, your launch date has passed and you’re still trying to create and implement pre-launch pieces.
If you are in courses or groups with other people who do launches online, resist the urge to add something they say is really working well for them on your first launch if it wasn’t part of your original plan. Most often people who are adding bells and whistles already have a few launches behind them and are adding to the pieces they know have worked for them in the past.
This tendency to want to keep adding to your launch based on what others are doing or teaching is so common it’s called Shiny Object Syndrome. It actually has a name – and it will derail your launch.
7. Waiting to Launch Until Everything is Perfect
Nothing in life is ever perfect. You know that, right? So why would you try to make your launch perfect?
Even the biggest marketers out there have had major issues during their launches. It happens and there’s not a thing you can do about it. So if you keep putting off your launch because you’re worried about how your website looks, you need a new logo, you don’t like your branding, your email wording isn’t perfect or your hair looks funny in a video, you need to stop and just get the launch finished. Every day that you delay your launch there are people out in the world wishing someone like you could help them.
Keep this in mind: An imperfect launch that is executed and completed, is a far better measure of success than a launch that attempts to be flawless and never gets off the ground.
Completing a successful online launch can be a complicated and time consuming process if you let it. Keep things simple, stay focused and work to avoid these common mistakes launchers make and you’ll be well on your way to a completed digital launch you can be proud of.