Pin me baby one more time!
No matter what kind of business you run, it’s pretty likely that at some point, you’ll want to launch something. The allure of online courses and programs is inspiring entrepreneurs and freelancers to dive into their first launches. But that doesn’t mean you should simply throw something together and hit the go button.
Are you thinking about launching soon or in the future? Take action with this no-fluff guide and launch strategy template for creating a successful launch.
1. Set Realistic Launch Goals
The only way to truly know if your launch was successful is to compare the numbers before and after your launch. Setting your launch goals based on real numbers and current stats are the best way to gauge what works and what doesn’t. So create a simple spreadsheet, date it, and then jot down numbers like:
- # of email list subscribers (even if you don’t have many just yet)
- # of social media followers and fans across platforms you’re currently active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- # of monthly website visits (found in Google Analytics)
2. Create a Launch Budget
If you have grandiose ideas about how much you’ll sell during your launch, it’s safe to say you’ll be pretty disappointed if your actual numbers don’t match up. Plus, it’s all too easy to go wild and overspend on things like tech and design.
That’s why you MUST do a practical budget for your launch. Turning a profit means getting your sales expectations in check now. Here are the three sets of sales numbers I like to create:
- Break Even
- Dream Goal
- Actual Sales
You’ll probably have to play with numbers for sales goals,pricing and expenses until you find something that sits well with you.
You’ll also want to account for any special items you’ll need to buy, including:
- Tech Help
- Affiliate Commissions
3. Plan Out Your Launch Calendar
After you set an official launch date, you’ll need to work backwards to plan out everything on your to-do list. Don’t try to rely on memory alone – if it’s not in your calendar, it’s not going to happen.
Having timelines in place will keep you sane and on track. Here are some key dates you’ll want to include:
- Launch date and the # of days your cart will be open
- Writing and designing your sales page
- Hosting live webinars (including landing pages and replay availability)
- Publishing blog posts and social media promos
- Sending launching emails to your list(s)
- Facebook ad and/or Instagram ad run time
4. Recruit Team Members & Supporters
Want fewer face palms and more fist pumps during your launch? Calling on the support of others is the best way to make it a success. That doesn’t mean you need to shell out a fortune for a small army– seek out the support of friends, family, and fans in addition to your existing team (if you have one).
Reach out to 10 people to let them know exactly what you’re doing and why. Next, ask how they can help you during your busy times (even if it simply means being understanding during the chaos). Figuring out who takes care of what now will save you lots of time (and keep your head from exploding).
5. Create a Marketing Plan
Revisit your launch goals and think about what helped you grow these numbers in the past. Did something work well for your existing products/services? How can you build on this strategy for your launch?
While you’re at it, think about things you can add to your marketing mix. You may want to try having 1:1 conversations (online or face-to-face), or personally inviting clients and others who’ve expressed interest in your offering. These old school strategies are still very powerful for boosting sales!
6. Be Prepared for Anything
It’s inevitable that things will go wrong. No launch is ever perfect. That’s why you gotta leave extra time in your launch calendar for the unexpected. I’ve experienced every webinar tech issue out there, affiliate center disasters, and even cease and desist letters from lawyers. You can’t prepare for all the surprises that may come your way, but you can save your butt by having your support team in place and keeping a good sense of humor about it all.
7. Build on Your Success
Now that your launch is over (and you’ve recovered from the process), take time to evaluate your success. Look at the numbers and compare them to your goals: units sold, email list subscribers, social media followers, and website traffic. Be sure to track these numbers in your launch goal spreadsheet. Having a clear picture of what worked (and what didn’t) will set you up for eternal launch success.
Let’s Make it Launch!
Get everything you need to build your launch and stay on track. It’s all laid out for you from A to Z in this handy launch strategy template. Download your copy here.