It’s a common fear among launchers… what do you do if your online launch doesn’t work? If you don’t make the sales you’d counted on? Take a deep breath as I go through a few launch strategies to consider to decide on your next step.
What Determines a Successful Digital Launch?
Launch day is one of those days when you experience all the emotions. Excitement that you’re finally selling your digital product, relief that you finally got everything done, and fear that no one is going to buy.
Let’s address that fear. When we plan out a launch, of course we want it to work the first time. All of us secretly dream of being the exception to the rule when it comes to launches and having our very first launch break the five or even six figure mark.
Launching is a numbers game, pure and simple. Of course there are exceptions, but lots and lots of data collected by big online marketers doing multi-million dollar launches has shown that the conversion rate for a warm email audience will convert into sales at a rate of 3-5%.
That means that if you plan to have 20 buyers for your program, you need to have 500 engaged people on your list.
If you do have 500 engaged people, your marketing message is spot on, and your offer is something they are anxious to buy, you can anticipate 15-20 people purchasing your course, membership or other digital product. That is considered a successful launch. So don’t get too down on yourself if your cold list of 300 didn’t result in any sales. Don’t worry, there are so many things you can do to improve your numbers next time.
Ways to Improve Your Next Online Launch
1. Ask the people on your list what they want
Right now, while people still remember you and your marketing ideas are fresh in their mind, send them a quick survey. Two questions only – you don’t want to overwhelm them, you want them to feel like they can give you a quick answer. Ask them if they’d seen the emails about your product and if they would mind sharing why they decided not to buy.
Use a long form text box for them to fill in. You can also ask them if they’d like you to follow up with them and give them an optional spot to enter their email address. This could result in some great 1:1 conversations that give you insight into how you might have missed the mark or what they would like to see you offer instead. Maybe you could even offer them 1:1 services while on the call.
It’s important not to just ask them to “reply to this email.” Surveys can be anonymous and are perceived to be quicker to fill out. You’re more likely to get a response to a survey than an email.
Then, you’ll want to survey your list again, right before you are ready to launch. Make sure what you’re planning is what they are looking for. It’s possible to be really close and still miss the mark.
For example, your audience might be full of bakers. You know they love to decorate cakes. So you create an entire course all about decorating cakes, but no one buys. In your survey you find out it’s because they don’t know how much equipment they’d have to buy, or if they have enough experience to take the course. By doing a survey after the fact some of these small details you may have missed can be addressed in your next launch.
2. Examine your pre-launch content
Did you offer people so much information prior to your launch that you solved all of their problems for them? Be careful not to show them your expertise in such a way that it solves all of their immediate needs and allows them to think that they got enough information for now.
Often people like to give so much value in the events leading up to a launch that the people taking in the content can’t even absorb it all. When this happens and you open up the doors to your online program, the people you’d hoped to sell to are thinking, “Wow, I still haven’t used all of the free things she talked about this week. I’ll see if those things solve my problem first and if not, I’ll buy from her next time.”
Yes, you want to provide value and give people a quick win so they can get transformation, but you don’t want to give them more to do or think about than what they can get done prior to you opening the cart on your full offer. Be careful not to overwhelm them.
3. Investigate your email list
If you didn’t get much interest or engagement in your offer, think about the people who are on your list. How did they get on there? Did they ask to receive a freebie that isn’t really in alignment with what your offer was? Has your business or the topic of your offer shifted slightly from the original list you built?
Look at the emails that receive the most engagement when you send them out. Which topics are interesting to your readers? Which ones get ignored? By digging into the habits of the people who are on your list, and looking to see what they’re interested in, you may realize your offer isn’t something they are going to want to buy. You’ll need to come up with a new offer.
If that’s the case and you really want to keep the same offer,, try creating a new lead magnet (freebie) that is tightly aligned with that offer and see if that attracts fresh people to your list.
If you’re using paid advertising to bring people into your offer, please realize that is considered cold traffic. You are asking people who hardly know you to buy something from you. While that can work in some cases, for online products your launch success increases greatly if people know, like and trust you before you ask them for money.
This means that if paid ads will be part of your strategy, they will work best if you start those ads running weeks, or even months prior to your launch to get people on your list where you will nurture them. Get them to know you. Offer them amazing content and then ask them to buy from you.
Remember how I said an engaged email list is likely to convert at 3-5%? Launching to a cold email list will bring those stats down to 1-3%.
Preparing for Your Next Online Launch
When you’ve poured your heart and soul into an online launch for a course or membership and the results aren’t what you had hoped, it can be really discouraging. The thing you need to remember is that every launch after a first launch will get easier and the data you collect will make each launch better. I often frame the first launch as a learning launch for my clients. It’s when you figure out how all the pieces work together, how much time everything takes and what you’ll do differently next time. The first launch is putting all of your launch strategies into action. It’s a lot to do, and it won’t be perfect, but even if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d hope, know that you’ll just keep improving each launch to make your results better.
If you’d like an extra set of eyes to look over your past launch and put together a report for you, I provide Launch Audits and Debriefs. You can find out more right here.