When Should You Launch? Four Big Decision FactorsJun 01, 2021
I’m constantly amazed at the new courses and programs coming out each month. There’s literally something for everyone!
If you’ve got a course idea up your sleeve but aren’t sure when you should share it with the world, I’ve got you covered with some simple points of consideration to give you clarity on timing.
Before we get started, let’s assume you’ve already validated your idea with some ideal customers and they absolutely love what you presented. This is an important precursor to any promotion or launch, so please be sure to validate before you launch.
With that said, there are four big factors I’ve observed when helping my clients launch their programs. Like pieces of a puzzle, when all four come together, something magical happens.
Read on to see if these factors are aligned for you.
The Cycles of Your Industry
In Canada there’s no escaping the four seasons each year, even if you’re in provinces with more mild weather. Winter is still coming. Your industry is no different. There will be times when it booms and other times when things slow down, so understanding the ebbs and flows allows you to ride the highest waves. In the world of accounting, there’s tax season and end of year reporting. Ski instructors do most of their teaching when there’s snow on the ground.
Financial investing thrives in the first quarter. The list goes on. Getting a firm grasp on your industry’s cycles means you’re in the best position possible to serve your customers when they need it most. I would jump at the chance to learn how to be a better gardener in the springtime, but if you share that offer with me in winter I’ll pass. It’s just not relevant or urgent enough.
Start Early, Save More
Believe it or not, there are actual launch “seasons” for online courses of all kinds, regardless of industry. Because so many courses have personal development components, they often align with New Year’s resolutions and tend to be promoted in January and February. Once launched, the next few months are spent delivering the courses, so launches die down in April and May. Things are quiet over the summer as we get ready for the September launch season, and so it continues.
Here’s where I get to share some behind the scenes info that you may not hear anywhere else. Those launches in January/February and September? They started building momentum at least 8-12 weeks before then. So if you’ve got your heart set on a September promotion and think you’ll lay the groundwork in August, think again.
When you reverse engineer the launch process that someone like me may be involved in, you’ll see that my schedule looks something like this:
May-June: Finally able to breathe
July-December 15th: Slammed
I’m not sharing this to show you how busy or not busy I am but rather to point out a few things:
Supply and demand: When it’s launch season, I can only manage so many clients and won’t be available to help clients who didn’t book well in advance. The “first booked, first served” philosophy is the only way I can fully honour my clients’ projects and give them the VIP service they deserve. It’s common practice for Kajabi experts to schedule all their other projects around launches and website builds, since they’re so much work. Keel that in mind if you’re looking to hire someone to help with the tech side of your business.
Surge pricing is a real thing in the online business support sector: Setting your website, offer, and products up for a successful launch takes time and a certain skill set. You can expect to pay up to 25% more if you’re scheduling your launch when everyone else does, unless you lock in your project months ahead of time.
This goes back to the supply and demand point, not only because Kajabi experts book up quickly for launches but so too do VAs, graphic designers, and copywriters. Everyone is in higher demand so the price of service goes up. Kinda like the price of toilet paper in a pandemic.
There’s no downside to starting early: Even if your course doesn’t go live until September 1st, it’s still a very smart move to warm up your audience 90 days in advance and develop a robust launching system you can use over and over again. Once you’ve got a system that works for you it won’t be such a heavy lift the next time. You’ll have templates in place, sales pages that only need small tweaks, and webinar scripts that can be dusted off.
All this to say, the early bird really does get the worm, so if you know you want to launch, now’s a great time to start!
This is probably the most important factor in predicting a (financially) successful launch, and it’s not just the quantity of traffic you have coming to your site that matters.
You could have the best offer in the entire world but if no one knows about it, it’s all for nothing. This is where website traffic comes in. You want to have a good amount of people to share the offer with and you need to be realistic about your conversion rates. Ask around to see what others in your industry typically get or make an educated guess. That will tell you how many people you should be talking to if you want a specific number of sign ups.
In her amazing book Chillpreneur, Denise Duffield-Thomas estimates that about 1-2% of those she emails will convert into purchasers of her online program. If that seems low to you, fear not! It’s just data. This actually puts you in a brilliant position to know how big your email list should be to get the desired number of sign ups.
Your email list is a huge asset because it’s full of wonderful people who want to hear from you about things that are important to them. If you’ve laid the groundwork and provided lots of value to them over the past months (or years), you’re in a much better position when it comes time to share your digital course, product, or membership with them.
Whether you pay for ads to drive visitors to sign up for a cool freebie, or you have a social media following you’ll be engaging for the launch, just know that no one likes to be sold to...especially when they don’t know you yet.
Treat your email subscribers like best friends, not potential sales.
Know Thy Niche
I once consulted with someone whose launch should’ve been a slam dunk, at least at face value. But once I got into his email list and discovered he’d been holding onto 10 thousand subscribers from a previous business that was totally unrelated to this new program, I realized the launch would be an uphill battle.
Numbers matter way less than the type of people on your list. If they’re not in the same niche that your product or course serves, count them out. We’re going for quality over quantity here.
Promoting and launching a digital course can be really exciting if you’re prepared for the ride. There are a lot of moving parts, so spend a little time considering the factors above before you get started. You’ll be way ahead of the game and have a much smoother experience when you do.
Want to make sure you’ve got everything you need to launch? Grab my Launch Prep Checklist! This and so many other helpful resources are included inside The Club. Click here to learn more or to join now!
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