Every September for the last few years I‘ve been pulling back the curtain on how I run product launches and sharing what’s working right now in my biz.
I love sharing the REAL numbers, our wins and giving you my take on the mistakes, challenges and changes I’m seeing in the online marketing space.
Today we’ve put together a behind-the-scenes breakdown of our our biggest EVER launch.
This was in January this year (2019) and this is the first time we’ve shared this info – so it’s super current and reveals how we’re evolving our launches and growing our biz.
We don’t share these numbers to show off – there are so many more people doing bigger and better launches than us, we’re just trying to remove some of the smokescreen from launching.
Let’s get into this… dive in below.
Since 2012 the focus of our business and my main online course has been Money Bootcamp, which has helped over 5,000 women transform their money mindsets – it’s a deep 6-week course, training and community.
This is a well established course and we’ve had open enrollment, evergreen promotions and major product launches at different times over the years. More recently we’ve focused on one major annual launch of Bootcamp – like our first $750,000 launch in 2016 (read our lessons from that launch here).
Since 2016 we’ve done January special offer with a long term payment plan. Initially we offered Bootcamp on a ten part payment plan, then we combined three courses into a special “Money Breakthrough” to give people the opportunity to work with us for an entire year and spread the enrollment costs.
Here’s a breakdown of our January launches for the last four years:
These have been some of our best and simplest launches and it’s so good to kick start the year by locking in 20%+ of our revenue for the year in Month 1.
It’s also awesome for our cashflow as it guarantees us a significant chunk of repeat income each money from payment plans – between $20,000 and $50,000 per month.
We were coming off a busy 2018 including the arrival of our third baby. Denise didn’t have capacity to be heavily involved in the launch and re-inventing or re-vamping the launch wasn’t an option.
[Denise: I also firmly believe in using what we have – Chillpreneur style!]
We knew the launch could help secure a big chunk of our revenue for the year but we didn’t have the time or energy to go all-out.
The plan was to launch a combo package of our Money Bootcamp, Sacred Money Archetypes and Manifesting Course programs including two live coaching rounds of Bootcamp and SMA. Normally when purchased individually the courses would be almost $4,000 so we offered them at $2,497 or 11 payments of $249 – a saving of over $1,000.
We split 2019 into two “Terms” and planned out the delivery of our programs into a year long program:
One of the lessons I teach in Money Bootcamp is knowing your worth and not discounting or competing on price. So why do I offer a discount?
Well yes, everyone who buys into our January package does get the three courses at a lower price, but we look at this as a one-off special offer rather than a discount on a particular course. We don’t offer discounts on single courses.
But, the Money Breakthrough deal is a great strategic launch for our company and it’s super helpful with our audience. We’re giving these customers the best deal – 3 courses for a combined saving and loads of live coaching to help them have a big money breakthrough at the start of the year. But if someone wants to only buy one course we did mini-intakes later in the year for Bootcamp and SMA at full-price.
Defaults happen. So do refunds – that’s business and it’s nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. We definitely work hard to minimise the number of refund requests we get by delivering massive value and support through our live coaching. Plus we engage an external debt recovery company to follow-up failed payments to keep people on track over the year.
We do lose some customers over the 11 months payment plan and we pay a decent management fee to the debt company to chase payments, but once we accepted that this happens to all businesses and we do our best to manage it, we can accept this – not be stressed by it – and focus on the 80-90% of the revenue we do receive.
For us, offering a long term payment is totally worth it. It definitely helps make the courses more accessible and helps us bring in more customers. However, you must have the right mindset and a system in place to manage payment plans – otherwise they can cause a lot of headaches.
We were on the verge of burnout, with young kids, Christmas holidays and Denise’s new book Chillpreneur fast approaching, so we rolled out a launch with:
Compared to 2018, we grew 70% and our profit doubled with half the amount of work. So what helped us achieve our best launch ever?
1. Simple and short launch window
We’ve learnt, that as we have an established product, that is closed for enrollment for most of the year, we can run a short, high-impact launch using a special offer.
The focus of this launch was a webinar with Denise, which we promoted for 7 days prior. We announced the webinar to our list on Monday 14 January and the webinar was scheduled for Money 21 January. The goal was to get as many people registered as possible for the live webinar, then to make the special offer and open the cart for enrollment live on the call.
Following the webinar, the cart was open for 3 more days with enrollment closing at 9pm ET Thursday 24 January. Here’s a snapshot of the calendar:
14 Jan – Announce Webinar
15-19 Jan – Warm-up video content
20 Jan – Webinar Reminder
21 Jan – Live Webinar and Webinar Special Offer to open Cart
22-23 Jan – Open Cart (focus on the offer, testimonials and answering questions)
24 Jan – Close Cart
Instead of following a traditional Product Launch Formula sequence of 2-3 videos before making the offer, we used the Webinar as the main lead magnet to hook people into this launch and then delivered warm-up videos following registration for the webinar. These videos helped build the “know, like and trust” factor while also planting seeds about their goals and challenges for the year ahead.
People have shorter and shorter attention spans so we’re steering away from long launches. In 2017 we cut our launch period from 27 to 9 days and we’ve gone even shorter (here’s a review of how we’ve been improving and changing our launches each year). In January most people are looking for something to make the new year different. The big promise of this package was our support in having a major money breakthrough in 2019, but we weren’t asking for a big up front investment (as money is often tight for people after Christmas).
2. Know the numbers
As the core mechanics and content of the launch was largely the same, we focused on the numbers and tracked performance versus the previous year.
In 2018 we had 8,756 people register for the webinar and opt-in to the launch list. About two-thirds were already on our list and roughly 3,000 were new leads acquired through social media and ads.
The 2018 conversion rate of total leads to sales was 2.17% (190 sales / 8,756 leads) which equalled $482,891 in revenue.
[Denise: This is excellent conversion – I aim for at least 1% – and that’s normal)
So when planning our 2019 launch, we set the following targets:
$500,000 total revenue
10,000 leads / webinar registrations
2% overall conversion rate
When you have a revenue goal, it’s easy to work backwards and calculate how many sales are needed, and therefore how many leads you need for a launch.
If you do not have a good size list, affiliate partners or a decent advertising budget to capture the leads, you will need to revise your revenue target. The conversion rates on our launches range from 1% to 5% of leads – it is certainly possible to achieve higher but you need to go into a launch with your eyes open and a realistic picture of how many leads you need to hit your targets and where you can get the leads from.
Obviously not all of our leads stay engaged to turn up live on the webinar, watch the replay or even see the sales page. People are busy and the online world is noisy!
As a guide, we work on around 20% of people engaging with the webinar and actually seeing the offer (2,000 people in the above scenario) with the sales page converting at 5-10% for live launch (this is high).
Here’s the actual numbers of where we ended up for January 2019:
* We ran a tailored offer for Australians and existing customers that generated the additional $136,000. See below.
Approximately 80% of customers purchased on the payment plan, so we received about 20% of the revenue in month one with a further $65,000 per month for the remainder of the year (less defaults).
While leads were virtually the same year on year our conversion rate was almost 50% better and our revenue was up significantly. Here’s some more detail that contributed to the improved performance:
3. Increased Ad Spend
If you’re just starting out, you may not be able to invest heavily in advertising, especially given the cost of hiring someone to manage and run your ads.
We’ve struggled in the past to know how much money to spend up front on ads and also how to make a launch or evergreen funnel profitable once the cost of an ads manager is factored in.
So we decided to bring the ads management in-house and now Mark runs the ads as well as the overall launch and email campaign. This is quite a lot of work at launch time and there’s no doubt an expert ads manager could probably do a better job, but we’ve found our ads work well enough to get people to get cost effective leads and get people to the sales page. There’s nothing over complicated about our ads but we used largely the same ads from previous launch but increased our spend this year.
We had confidence in the offer and knew the rough projection for revenue based on last year’s stats.
We planned to spend 5-10% of projected revenue on ads for this launch, so $25,000 to $50,000 based on us hitting the $500,000 target. In 2018 we spent about $28,000 on ads which was 6% of revenue.
Actual ad spend for 2019 was as follows:
Next launch we will further increase the “Sales” retargeting phase of advertising to get people back to the sales page and focus on testimonials and the time-sensitive special offer.
We’re not saying you need to spend $40,000 on ads to make your launch a success. But if you look at your expected revenue for a launch and you can justify investing in ads then we recommend splitting your spend between getting new leads into the launch funnel then getting your existing list and launch list to see the sales page.
4. Tailored offer for local market
We live in Australia and want to help Australian women create lives of freedom and abundance. As an Australian business we have to charge Aussie customers local tax and they have to pay in US Dollars which over the last year has increased a lot.
To kick start the year, we gave a limited (3-day) offer for Aussies to buy the Money Breakthrough package of courses and pay in Australian dollars. This worked out to be a lower price that the main launch, but we this was a targeted promotion to our home market for a short window – it worked great.
Before starting the main launch we had 56 Australians join generating $119,000.
5. Focus on Profitability
The industry secret behind big seven figure mega launches is that they’re normally some of the least profitable parts of a “guru’s” business.
We’ve been there as well. In 2016 and 2017 we ran big launches with affiliate partners involving hundreds of partners promoting our course and us paying out close to $1m in affiliate commission.
After this commission (40-50%), affiliate prizes (another 5-10%), ad spend (10%), increased defaults and the hours involved in managing and motivating affiliate partners most large launches (ours included) would net under 30% of revenue as profits.
We decided to simplify our business and redirect some of the commission spend towards an increased ad spend so that we could focus on profitability.
For this launch, as most video, copy and promotional items were reused and because we managed ads in house our coats were relatively low. This takes away a lot of the pressure of launches – they can feel so stressful if your worried about how the offer is converting for your key partners and worried about covering all the money you’ve paid out for video, web development and ads.
With ad spend, a small amount of operations and customer support our costs were around $60k for this launch. Even when the salaries of our launch manager, business manager, payments company and defaults are factored in this launch is way over 80% profit! ($700k+ – that’s more than some $2m affiliate launches would net).
Launches are major events in your business calendar and take work and mental effort – make sure you set them up with a big focus on the numbers – and PROFIT is the most important number.
The biggest lessons from this launch where that we could be flexible within the PLF formula by incorporating a webinar and using videos as pre-webinar warm-ups and that with a small amount of updating and tweaking we could roll out a previously successful launch and achieve even more.
The beauty of investing time in creating great pre-launch or sales videos and writing launch emails is that they can be re-used and reworked and can generate revenue multiple times. For the 2018 launch we spent money on updated videos and on a new sales page and these resources have been used for multiple launches!
Even though this launch was a big success (actually better than we expected), launching is still one of the hardest things about our business model. It does work and can be stressful – coordinating launches with your significant other comes with its own unique set of challenges!
We’ve got one more launch planned this year and we’re already excited to be trying a few new things in 2020 so watch this space.
What do you want to launch this year? Could a product launch help get things moving in your biz?
Luck and abundance
xx Mark & Denise
P.S. An opportunity to learn from my launch mentor, Jeff Walker.
Over the next few of weeks, along with my launch manager (and hubby) Mark, we’re going to be sharing loads of launch and marketing related info with you – reviews, free training and honest articles.
Our goal is to take you behind the scenes of our business and our product launches to help you find just one thing to improve your next launch – whether it’s your first or tenth launch and whatever stage of biz you’re at.
Even if you’ve never launched, don’t have a biz yet or if you hate the idea of launching I recommend you stay tuned because I want you to know that it’s possible to launch in your own way – with integrity and without bro marketing.
The world needs your message and people need your help and trust me when I say that learning how to launch can take your biz to the next level so you can help more people.
During launch month we’ll also be sharing info from our launch mentor, Jeff Walker. We have studied and implemented Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula in our business over the last three years including attending conferences and masterminds with Jeff – I’m not exaggerating when I say he has changed our business and life.
Using the Product Launch Formula (PLF) we’ve generated over $5m in revenue across 11 product launches and we’re now one of the top affiliate partners who work with Jeff on his own annual launch.
Once a year Jeff Walker runs a massive free online Live Launch Masterclass and opens enrollment for his game-changing Product Launch Formula program and this year it all starts in September 2020.
PLF is the exact launch process and system I use in all my launches and is essential for anyone considering launching a product, service or even an entire new business.
Sign up to be on my notification list for the PLF September 2020 launch. You’ll be among the first hear about Jeff’s free LIVE Launch Workshop.
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