REVEALED: 5 WAYS I IMPROVED MY LAUNCH
Today on the blog we’re revealing the 5 big changes we made during our 2017 launch that massively boosted our results compared to our 2016 launch.
Now this article is kinda techy and detailed, but if you’re doing any size of launch, I think you’ll learn a ton, so grab a cup of tea and read it slowly.
It’s also about the mechanics of launching, not the actual IMPACT on my community, so we’re talking numbers in this post, not the actual living, breathing humans we serve. So it might come across a little dry, but stay with me. These types of posts are important too, and I’m always happy to share the stats and facts too.
First up, why listen to what I have to say on launching?
I’ve been doing course launches since 2009, when I ran my Raw Brides Transformation Plan that had ONE person on it. Next up was the Inspired Life Formula course in 2011 with five people (and one refund). Then my first ever Money Bootcamp in 2012 (with 20 people, then 42).
Since then I’ve launched different versions of the Money Bootcamp at least 10 times (with 4,000 overall students), and smaller courses like the Sacred Money Archetypes and the Manifesting Course.
Basically, I’ve launched a LOT.
So, let me tell you about our last two launches for the Money Bootcamp, in August this year and October last year.
The total revenue numbers were pretty much the same for the two launches $753,570 in 2016 and $755,044 in 2017. So you might think, well, it’s kind of the same.
But this year we did it in half the time, we got over $100,000 more paid upfront and the launch took a third of the time (9 days versus 27 days last year!).
Before we jump into comparing the two launches, a quick heads up.
The big reason I’ve been talking about launches this week is because my launch mentor, Jeff Walker, who literally invented online product launches is about to open up enrolment for his legendary Product Launch Formula program.
PLF 2023 is coming soon!
In August, Jeff Walker will run his annual Live Launch Masterclass and open enrolment for the Product Launch Formula coaching program. As a proud alumni and affiliate partner I offer an exclusive bonus if you join PLF through my partner link. To find out more and get the best PLF bonus join the waitlist here
So what were the 5 key improvements we made 2017 v 2016?
1. Tailored, high quality Pre-Launch Content to boost engagement
We’ll be the first to admit that we rushed our 2016 launch. We found a plot of land we wanted to buy to built our new family house so we brought forward our launch a few weeks.
Nothing like a big goal to motivate you!
The tight timeline meant we needed to use existing videos for pre-launch content and the sales page which worked well, but we knew it all needed an overhaul.
This year we invested in completely new videos, sales page, branding and pre-launch PDF documents and the response was fantastic. I got a ton of comments loving the new vibe.
There’s something about “new” and “fresh” that gets people excited, and the “Reclaim Your Money Power” workshop was awesome. We were really proud of it.
Compared to previous launches we saw more people passing through the full sequence of 3 videos, more comments on the videos and a better response to our Facebook advertising because of the enhanced, slicker look.
Let’s face it, this cost money. Serious money. Across the videos, styling, new videos, graphics, etc, the new look and feel cost approximately $20k.
BUT - this level of finish is definitely not needed for your first launch. The first version of Bootcamp was filmed with an ipad in my spare bedroom, the second version, I hired a hotel room and a video guy. The third and fourth versions were slicker with a pro video team, set styling, hair/makeup etc.
We really felt the new graphics helped take this launch to the next level and were worth the investment. Crucially for our sanity, this also included hiring a copywriter to help produce the sales emails and sales copy for the launch which was somewhere in the region of 30,000 words - this again helped sharpen the messaging and conversions.
Seriously - don’t underestimate the amount of graphics, emails and different messages you’ll need during your launch. It’s awesome if you can think of them ahead of time instead of having to make everything on the fly.
2. Nail the webinar to close $80,000 in an hour
Because engagement was high during the pre-launch period we were able to get over 7,000 people registered for our live webinar. This is the most we’ve ever had and resulted in over 1,000 people dialing in live to hear my talk on mindset upgrades.
This was a big “pre-sales” conversion opportunity at the very start of the launch, actually before the cart had even opened to the general public. But I’ve never really been very good at selling from a webinar in the past and knew I needed to do something different to get people to join immediately.
I asked my friend Victoria Gibson for help creating my slides (always my biggest pain point) and an actual structure (instead of winging it), and it was awesome!
We also created a specific Webinar Bonus for anyone that bought in the 4 hours following the webinar. (It was an extra webinar on money blocks for different industries).
Plus, I offered a fast action bonus of a group coaching all with me for the first 30 people who joined - these slots went in 10 minutes on the actual call! That was so motivating for me!
Lesson - People need deadlines and motivation!
We had 51 people join Money Bootcamp during that live webinar, worth $80,000 and the launch had hit over six-figures before we opened the cart the following day. So motivating!
Compared to three webinars last year which combined brought in around $40,000 - this was a big improvement and it was down to having a defined structure for the webinar, a specific bonus with a short deadline and an incentive for people to immediately join on the webinar.
Obvious lesson is obvious. Don’t just wing it!
We’ll be sharing the recording of all the pre-launch content, including the webinar replay as part of our PLF Bonus. Click here to join the notification list for the Oct 2022 round.
3. Make it shorter!
We cut the over launch schedule by two-thirds. 9 days in 2017 vs 27 days in 2016.
I really pushed for this, and was almost overruled by Mark many times. He thought it was because I didn’t want to prolong the pain of launching (true), but the other real reason is that I think people’s attention spans are waning right now, mostly due to the oversaturation of the personal development market. The online world is very noisy right now.
I also thought that since so many of my audience know and trust my work, we could reduce the overall launch.
We condensed a 27 day launch window down to 9 days:
Day 1 - First pre-launch content video
Day 3 - Second pre-launch content video
Day 5 - Sales webinar
Day 6 - Open cart
Day 7 - End early bird price
Day 8 - Launch extended payment plan
Day 9 - Cart close
It took a lot of preparation to be able to pull all of this together in 9 days and it required a lot of communication and emails, between our team, to the newsletter list and to the affiliates.
It felt like we sent a million emails!!
Stats wise - 18,355 people opted in to the pre-launch “Reclaim Your Money Power” workshop, of which 48% were completely new leads.
The overall conversion rate from this pre-launch list was over 2% which is HIGH versus industry averages that are normally closer to 1%. The sales page itself converted at over 5%, which is our best ever conversion.
I really fought for a streamlined, clean and simple looking sales page, compared to our previous design heavy (but sexier) ones. Simple converts way better than sexy!
4. $100,000 more in the bank by revamping Payment Plan
In 2016 I offered three payment options; Pay In Full, 5 Instalments or 10 Instalments at different times during the launch. There’s no right or wrong, but there’s definitely big implications to offering a payment plan, so make sure you have some customer service support.
Dealing with default payments takes a LOT of time for my team (and not always the most pleasant task either). This costs actual money to administer which is why the payment plan option costs more.
Stats: 54% of 2016 customers paid in full and 46% paid in instalments which means we received 55% of the money upfront (about $417k out of $753k).
So for our 2017 launch we revamped the payment plan options and drastically improved the result.
Firstly, for the Early Bird price where people could save $500, we only offered full pay or 2 instalments.
We offered a 4 part payment plan as part of an Abandoned Cart sequence for anyone that failed to complete an order form and this won back 9 additional sales.
Second, when the Early Bird price ended, we then offered a 6 part payment plan but only for 36 hours and the price had increased.
I’m always happy to offer discounts and payment plans but I like putting boundaries in place around it. Humans need deadlines. I know there’s a ton of debate about inducing FOMO and scarcity but overall, it’s a common trait for entrepreneurs to procrastinate, even on things they know they should do.
Let me be real for a second here. We could have had a million dollar launch (on paper) if I had offered a long payment plan. And lots of big marketers are doing 10 and 12 part payment plans.
Honestly - it’s such a big administrative burden, we decided that we just couldn’t do it. I know when something becomes standard like a long payment plan, it seems unfair to not do it, but I just didn’t want to sign our team up for almost a year of dealing with the default issues.
Truth talk - defaults happen, and they take time to deal with. You can only automate it so much, someone has to deal with the back and forth and to help with each individual situation. My team of lovely ladies does this, but if you’re starting out, this will be YOUR job.
So what happened this year? 76% of people paid in full (compared to 54% the previous year) which meant we received $556k upfront compared to $417k - that’s nearly $140,000 more in the bank for roughly the same total sales number.
This also means that going forward we have 104 people on payment plans compared to 198 from last year and they will pay off their enrolment in 6 months rather than 10.
There’s a few more tweaks we made here about one-click upsells and drip feeding training content which we’ll cover in our launch debrief that will be part of our PLF Bonus.
5. I set boundaries around my Money Back Guarantee
Ok - there’s some more truth talk here. Refunds happen.
Refunds are just part of doing business and I’m not triggered by genuine refund requests at all. If someone joins Bootcamp and they try the first few weeks and are not happy then I’m happy to part ways and give them a full refund. No questions asked. Honestly.
However, there has been times when my refund policy has been abused. And it started annoying me.
I used to have a really generous 60 day refund policy and I’ve seen people join up, download the full course and then ask for a refund the next day or join the program, take part in live calls, interact in the community, complete the six weeks of core modules and then ask for a refund on the 59th day…
And this really upset me when the 59th day last year fell on Christmas eve.
So technically, it was all “legal” and proper to do that, but honestly, it was the shittiest Christmas present ever. It wasn’t about the money at all. It was that women had deliberately marked their calendar to get maximum value from me, the community and my life’s work, and then asked for a full refund, just because I had a generous Money Back Guarantee.
After six years of creating programs, serving women and gracefully refunding anyone who didn’t like it, I knew I had to change it.
I firmly believe that if you take a course and get value from it, then it’s out of integrity to then ask for your money back. It literally is taking money out of my pocket.
I consoled myself that the multiple women who asked for their refund just before Christmas needed the money more than me, but going forward, I felt like I needed to set a new boundary.
I changed to a 14-day refund period. This is still more than enough time for someone to check out the course, engage with me and the community and make an honest decision about whether it’s right for them.
It is still generous, non-arduous and we generally are not triggered and give refunds smoothly for genuine requests. But I want to make sure I don’t give away EVERYTHING to the small percentage of people who take advantage (or the person who set up an identical program, including my whole sales page virtually word for word).
I changed the course delivery so the content is drip fed over a six week period to stop someone joining then immediately downloading the full course.
This wasn’t the only reason. When we analysed why someone was requesting a refund, most of the time it was because they felt overwhelmed by the amount of content. Drip feeding it means that people aren’t tempted to binge out of FOMO and they actually get better results.
Now, as I said, refunds do happen. We could be a lot harsher with our refund policy (I know a lot of people who do NO refunds, or request a ton of homework - there’s no right or wrong here) but with these changes we were still able to reduce our refund rate by about 40%.
Plus the fact that we had less people on payment plans also allowed us to cut our default rate for payments as well. We still have work to do here but the vast majority of our community are very happy (boot)campers!
Launch resources for you
Trust me, there’s still a lot of mistakes we made during this launch and things we want to improve in the future. I want to simplify and automate more next year but learning about Jeff’s Product Launch Formula really kick started this journey for us and has seen us take Money Bootcamp and our business to the next level.
I know some of this sounds like strategy overload and yes, it’s a super confusing process, if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s kind of the “sausage factory” behind the work. And honestly, it’s so much easier if you follow a process.
Let me know your launch experiences and plans!
Sending you the best launch luck.
Denise and Mark
Product Launch Formula
Jeff Walker will next run his annual Live Launch Masterclass and open enrolment for the Product Launch Formula coaching program in August 2024. As a proud alumni and affiliate partner I offer an exclusive bonus if you join PLF through my partner link. Join the waitlist here
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