Ep. 29: The Launch Process - The Leveraged Practice

Ep. 29: The Launch Process

Ep.29

Have you wondered what exactly is a launch?
And if it’s necessary to even have a launch?
Did you know there are four phases in a launch?

I’ve found that most people have those questions and aren’t sure what is all included in a launch. So please know that if you’ve launched before and no one bought, that’s okay. 

It’s probably because you didn’t know what a launch included, and maybe it was your first one. That’s okay. I have you covered in this episode, which is ALL about the Launch Process.

Here’s what I talked about:

  • Why a Launch is important (Yes, even if it’s your first online program launch!)
  • What a Launch even is (and why we need to build up a launch process)
  • Examples of my past launches (it’s true that we learn through our ‘failures’!)
  • The 4 phases of a Launch (including what to do during post launch!)
  • Behind the scenes of how I launch my program, The Leveraged Practice Workshop (also why I launch it the way I do!)

Launch are so important since most of the time, people don’t just hear about you and buy from you. They can often be a little scary and overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. 

With a proper launch process in place, you’ll be building up your customer journey, learning from each launch and tweaking as you go, so you can get your program in front of more people, make a bigger impact and grow your practice!

 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes where other health professionals and I talk about launching their programs:

Ep. 08: How to Pre-Sell Your Online Program with Erica Julson
Ep.16: Two Years Teaching Online with Shawna Melbourne
Ep.18 Get it Out in the World with Martha McHenry

Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below


What is a launch? That is what we’re going to talk about today. On Instagram yesterday, I shared with people that I was working on the launch workbook for The Leveraged Practice Workshop for all of my clients. I asked my audience, that includes you, how many phases you thought were in the launch process? And the answer was four.

The crazy thing was on the next Instagram post or Instagram story, I said, the answer is four phases and put options like, ‘I knew that’ and ‘I had no idea’. 100% of people said that they had no idea a program launch had four phases. So it got me, I don’t want to say it caught me off guard, but it caught me in my tracks and I said, “Well, let’s talk about this.” So this episode today is all about the launch process.

Now, let me give you a disclaimer and let you know that when we do launching in The Leveraged Practice workshop, we spend at least two to three workshop sessions which are 90 minutes, talking about launching. The launch phases, launch calendar, launch content, strategic content for each phase. We talk about pricing, positioning, all kinds of things that come into planning out a launch.

So please know that if you’ve launched before and no one bought, that’s okay. It’s probably because you had no idea what a launch included, and maybe it was your first one. And we often fail when we’re trying things. And that’s okay. There’s no worries with that. If you are someone who wants to learn more about the launch process, send me a message, and let’s get you into the workshop.

Why a Launch is Important

 

For today, I want you to understand the four different phases of launch. I want you to understand why a launch is important and why you should do one at all.

I’m going to share with you a story about when I did not launch. My first launch was a total flop because I didn’t actually launch. I just put it out to my email list and was like, “Hey, buy this thing!”

Sorry, if you are listening, and you have done that, or you think you’re going to do that- do not do that. I watch people continuously not take my advice. Sorry, but it’s true. Like not, not take my advice, maybe not even knew about this advice. So, come on over to this podcast episode, this advice is for you.

I continuously watch people just put something out on the internet and say, “Hey, buy this thing!” And no one buys it, or one person buys it or two people buy it.

There’s more to your customer journey, especially in a launch that you need to show up and support people with. And give them great information so that they can make an informed decision, rather than just putting things for sale on your Instagram account in the links in your bio. That doesn’t work.

So, this is for you, friend, if you have no idea how to launch, if you want to launch an online program, if you’ve already launched or maybe you have a program always available and no one’s buying it.

Let’s start by talking about the four phases of launch so you can understand that there are different things that your customer or client is looking for from you. And you can at least get a sense of this overview and what not to do. Like I said, if you need more help just message me.

What is a Launch?

 

So first of all, what is a launch? Okay, if you’re new to all of this and it’s a little scary and overwhelming for you, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be.

Let’s simplify it. A launch is really when you open up enrollment to your program. So it doesn’t matter if you have an evergreen program, meaning someone can buy all the time, or you open and close the doors to your program, where people can enroll, people can’t enroll, you need to build a launch process for either of those frameworks. If the doors are always open, people can buy your program anytime, they can enroll anytime, you still need to be building in a customer journey to help people get information and sign up. Now, there are different phases. So let’s go over those in a second. So again, what is a launch? A launch is when you open enrollment and you let people in your program.

Why do we launch? It’s because people need to have information. They need to get to know you, they need to understand if they like you, if they trust you, if they want to buy from you. They also have questions about your program and the results that it gives.

A launch and all the four phases of a launch allows people to work through, in marketing what we call the customer journey, which is where people hear about you or know you, then they get to like you and trust you – and then they decide to buy from you.

Most of the time, people don’t just hear about you and buy from you. That can happen if you have amazing referrals. That can really happen. But a lot of the times we have to build in these opportunities for people to get to know us, and like us, and trust us. And then they can make a decision to buy. So you need to build this out and that’s why we do a launch.

What I’ve Learned Through My Launches

 

Let me tell you, I didn’t always know all of this stuff. I’m a dietitian and have a master’s degree in health science. I help people you know, eat well. But over the years, as I built up my business and my practice since 2011, I’ve had to learn a lot of things. I’ve failed a lot of times along the way. And there’s nothing wrong with failing. It teaches us SO much.

My goal with my business, my workshops, this podcast is to help save you a little bit of time by sharing some of my lessons and some of my failures, just to cut that learning down for you. So you can get there faster than I did, and a little less painlessly and maybe a little less expensive, like a little less money.

And so since 2011, I’ve been taking sales programs, I’ve hired coaches, I’ve taken courses, I’ve joined memberships, I’ve read so many books, and I’ve just continued to learn and implement, and evaluate and tweak and do it again. Right, sounds normal?

We learn, we create a plan, we implement, we evaluate, we do again. We learned this in school and in any health program you were in. That’s how health programming works. That’s how marketing works too. You learn, you try it, you see how it goes. So, I have failed a lot of times, so just know, it’s totally normal. You’re gonna fail a lot of times, maybe you failed a lot of times already.

For me, one of them is in launching. So the very first digital product I created was the IBS Master Plan, which was a digital program. It included three PDFs. One was a meal plan. One was a meal planning tool. And then one was a cookbook. I put it for sale on my website. I think I had an email list of like 5000 people when I did this.

So I thought, all I have to do is create this digital product, which some of you and some people out in the world are thinking, “All I have to do is create this online course and then I’m going to make tons of money and tons of passive income.” That’s what I thought. I don’t even know what year this was in. It was very early on. It was a long time ago. So it’s very early on, I created this digital program, put it for sale on my website, sent an email out to 5000 people and was like, “Hey, this is exactly what you need and what you’ve been looking for. Here it is. Come and buy it.”

One person purchased. One person. And I was so disappointed. I really thought I was going to make so much money by having an ebook or a digital program. This is what the internet was telling me and it didn’t work out that way.

And so I stepped back, failed and I said, “Well, I’m not giving up. I still want to do this. I still want to pivot my business to help more people and make more money in a different way besides one to one.” So I don’t even know how long it took me, probably six months or a year, a little longer, I then released a different program.

With that program I actually learned about launching this time around. I learned a little bit more about marketing and selling and launching. I took a couple of courses. I invested, trying to think of all the courses, I probably invested about $4,000 to $5,000 in purchasing a few courses because I realized I had a gap. Right?

I thought, “I know nutrition, I know dietetics, I know IBS. I know how to reduce symptoms from IBS. That’s the skill I have. I’m damn good at it, but I do not know how to get people to buy my program. I do not know how to share with them how great this program is.”

And so I learned about marketing and selling, invested that money and relaunched my next program. I did a little launch, not a big launch, not what I do now, but like a little tiny launch. I 10 x my first try. I got 10 sales, and I was super proud of myself from going from one to 10 sales by making a few changes.

Oh my gosh, imagine we could just keep doing that over and over again. Instead of 10, you get 20. Instead of 20, you get 40. Instead of 40, you get 80. Hey, that’s real life. That’s how you grow a business. You do it over and over and over again. You learn, you track and you do it again. My friend Katie Momo, an incredible copywriter says, “You launch and you learn and you do it again.”

So you know, I learned a lot of things from launching over and over again. You may have heard me say in previous podcast, I have launched over 70 times to date of this podcast. I launch all the time and so that number continues to grow.

I’ve learned a lot of things and even recently, I’ve learned a lot of things. Like, I remember working with a sales coach once and we planned out this launch, that we had a free class. Okay, so the launch was to all my social media, to my email list, to everybody. We had a free class and we took the class right of my membership. I was running an online membership program.

So we took a class out and we let people go in it for free for 48 hours. They got two or three days access to this free class. Blasted it out, people signed up and they did the class. Then after they did the class, I gave them an offer – sign up for the membership for this special offer. Some people bought.

The cool thing about this launch that I did, was it was kind of like what I like to call a double launch. For anyone who did the free class, let’s call it 500 people and let’s say 20 people purchased, the 480 people who did the class had expressed interest. They’ve already been nurtured by me. They’ve already seen I know what I’m talking about. But they haven’t bought yet.

I then did another thing, another valuable thing, which I think at the time was a webinar or something like that. And then I put all those people into there. And then from the people that signed up for the webinar, I gave them another offer. I think that one was like a $1 free trial and this was a membership program.

So that’s why that offer worked there, and then converted a whole bunch more people. So it was like a double launch. I had never done that before, Normally, I don’t hear that a lot, you just run a webinar and then people buy your program. And like, that’s it.

But this double launch was so cool. And I’ll tell you that when we looked at the numbers, by putting those really warm people who did the class but didn’t buy it into a webinar, we doubled the sales that we got from just putting them in the first thing, right?

So some people will buy from you just with like one touch point, a class, a webinar, freebie, like whatever it is. But then other people need more from you. They need more touch points from you. And then even more people will take you know, a couple of months, a couple of years to even buy from you. So having this four phase launch process in place is important.

I can tell you from tracking the data of running an online program for years, but the same online program for over two years in the same version. I won’t get into too much detail. But just tracking for 2019 and 2018 that I’ve been tracking, so almost two years of data, I can tell you that there are people that are buying now that have been on my email list for 24 months, 28 months.

I have people who are buying who have been on my email list for a couple of weeks. There are these different customer journeys that people will take to purchase from you. You need to build in processes, and all kinds of pieces that continue to love on them in this launch process and give them the information that they need.

The 4 Online Program Launch Phases

 

Okay, so let’s dig into the four phases of The Leveraged Practice launch process so you can understand the framework that you need to build when launching.

So the first phase is a pre-launch. So this is the two to eight weeks, so this is a couple of weeks to a couple of months, leading up to the day you actually open enrollment or open the doors so people can register for your program. So you’re going to create specific content in this pre-launch phase that is getting people ready to actually buy when you open the doors,

Then the second phase is the launch phase. The launch phase is the period of time when enrollment is actually open. So you’ve launched, like you’ve launched the rocket, the rocket is going up into the sky. The thing has happened, you’ve opened the doors. And there’s all kinds of launch periods. It could be three to five days. It could be two to four weeks. We won’t get into the amount of time but just know that the launch is the period of time when people can actually enroll, or you’re actively inviting people to register.

Then there is post launch. So this is the doors are closed, enrollment is closed. You aren’t pushing people or encouraging people to purchase anymore. This is a couple of weeks, I’d like to say, that is following your launch. We are collecting key metrics, and you’re evaluating your marketing and sales efforts. This phase is super important for you to grow. If you have not built in a post launch yet, please send me an email right away, find me on Instagram, find me in the world. Let’s talk about this, the post launch.

Building out the four phases of your launch is the most important thing for you to continue to grow. You have to track your metrics, evaluate your efforts, do more of what’s working, and do tweak and change the things that aren’t working.

I’ll tell you right now, in The Leveraged Practice, all of my members are invited, all of my clients who have gone through our workshop are invited to quarterly debriefs. So that means every quarter that we launch, some people I know launch quarterly, some launch monthly, some launch annually. But the point is that I hold them every quarter and in that debrief, launch debrief, we go over this.

So I walk them through their efforts. We look at metrics, and we talk about what we want to tweak and change and test for next time in order to grow. That’s how you grow. That phase is most important. Please let me know if you need help with that. If not, figure it out, get it done. And that’s what I do anyways, in my business, because that’s how I really want to support people,

This is the most important thing. If I just taught them how to create and launch an online program. And then I was like, see you later have a good time, people would maybe get stuck and be like now what do I do? I got 10 people in, how do I get 20 people in? How do I get 50 people in? And so we do these debriefs and I teach how to do the debrief, so that people can continue to do it. So please make sure that you know how to do that. And you’re doing yourself or you have someone to help you with that phase. So that’s the next phase you need to figure out.

Then there’s a phase that I call the in-between. This is a phase that describes the period of time between launches, when you aren’t actually promoting your program and encouraging people to buy.

So there’s the pre-launch, which is before you open enrollment. There’s the launch where you open enrollment. There’s the post-launch couple of weeks after where you just look at the metrics and you debrief on what worked and what you need to change for next time. And then the in-between. The in- between could be a couple weeks, a couple months. It could be six months. It could be whatever. This is that time when people aren’t buying, but you don’t want to not talk to them.

Like I said, from my own data, people are on my email list for 24 months, 28 months, five months, five weeks. For some people, this large group of people, they need more from you. They want you to be top of mind, your job to be top of mind. They want to continue to get to know you, your job to show them who you are. They want to trust you. And in order to trust you, they want to see what your clients are doing, what your clients’ success are, what people are accomplishing, what’s possible for them, your job to figure out how to share that with people.

I know that’s tricky in the health space, but you got to figure out how to do it. That’s what people are looking for from you, in this in-between. And so there needs to be some ongoing content that continues to come out for people to help them, to help you nurture them and help them until they’re ready to buy. Does that make sense? I hope that those four phases make sense to you.

Like I said, I teach this, I continue to help people through this. I’ve done this a lot of times, and a lot of it is just getting out there and planning a good launch. And then evaluating the metrics. But making sure that you have pieces for each of these four phases, and not just putting a post up and saying my program is open, enroll in it, I know you need it.

Listen, even if people need it, even if your program delivers incredible results – because I bet it does. I bet it’s great and I bet you’ve had a lot of impact on your one to one clients already – we still have a job that we have to do to let people know that. To market a little bit, not a spammy gross way, but in a way that gives them the information they need. So that they can trust a stranger to actually give them money and change their life. It’s a big deal. So those are the four phases.

An Example of an Online Program Launch

 

I wanted to just give you some examples of the four phases. So I’m just going to give you The Leveraged Practice launch process because you’re a part of it by listening to this podcast. And right now as this episode comes out, we are at the back end of a launch.

So as you may have heard me say before, I open enrollment for The Leveraged Practice, and we run workshops on a quarterly basis. I don’t do that for myself. I do that for you and for my clients because there are some ideal times for you to actually create your online program and launch it.

So for example, right now we just had a September launch. We are at the end of September launch. We are closing down the doors in a couple of days and starting the program. So I open enrollment in September, because then I run my workshop October, November, and I get those clients ready to do either a holiday or New Year launch. A holiday is a great time to launch. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve tested it, or January beginning of the year can be a great time to launch. Now it does depend on your audience. We talk about this a lot in the workshop, your audience, your current traffic, all kinds of things. But this is a great time.

I run another program in the beginning of the year, January, February, because early spring is a great time to launch. I run another program in the spring because for some people, June is a great time to launch.

Then I run a summer program, you know, I’d love to take the whole summer off, but you and my customers and clients need me to get them ready for an incredible time to launch, which is September. So that’s why we just had a program in July and August and people committed some of their summer hours to work with me in the workshop to launch their program. Because September, middle end of September, even early October, is a great time to launch a program.

So that’s why I have planned out my launches in that way and then teaching my program in between, because it works really well for my clients. I know that your online program and your practice and your business is about you too, and it has to work for you. But if you aren’t creating programs and launches and experiences that work for your clients, then you’re not going to get clients. We have to think about our clients.

So now that we’re at the end of September with this podcast, you may have experienced our launch process. So in August, I started to let people know that we were going to open the doors soon for enrollment. I started to put out information about The Leveraged Practice, and also that you could hop on a call with me to chat about if the workshop was right for you.

So even though enrollment wasn’t open, that was my pre-launch time when I put out some content, and some requests, and some opportunities, and some reaching out to people to say, “Hey, if you’re interested in this, let’s talk about it.”

I also had a waitlist and I reached out to my waitlist and talked to them about getting on the phone and chatting more about the program and a few others things. And then launch opened for me at the end of August, beginning of September. And I have put a process out during our launch to increase enrollment.

Now I have a long enrollment period. That’s because I have professionals. So it’s not like a, “Hey, one week to register and then it closes.” Because my audience is health professionals, I have a longer launch period so they have some time to think about it, to look at their budget, to talk to their business partners, to look at their schedule, that kind of thing. So we do a bit of a long launch right now, which is four weeks. That doesn’t work for everyone. That’s what we’re doing right now.

Throughout this process, we’ve been collecting metrics. Then next week into the beginning of October, I will start to work really closely with my new clients. And at the same time, my team and I will review metrics and understand why people actually bought this time around, what we did that worked and what we did that maybe we could change for next time.

Then the in-between for me is this podcast. An opportunity to connect with people on a weekly basis, give you great value, continue to support you whether you buy the workshop or not, whether you ever work with me or not, the podcast is my opportunity to just support you and support other people out there who want to do this. It helps for people to get to know me in case they do want to work with me. But it also just helps people which is great, and also helps people get to know me. You never know who listens to the podcast and refers a friend and then that person comes into the program.

So this is my ongoing in-between content to continue to love on people, whether they buy or don’t want to buy, but for some people, they do want to get to know me a little longer before they invest or they’re not ready to create an online program. For some of us in the health space, they’re not ready to get healthy, they’re not ready to commit to anything, but they want to still stay in the loop with you. So that’s right here.

Also, for me, I do speaking, I do conferences, I do webinars, I do guest podcasts, and I do all that kind of stuff just to get myself out there and continue to to chat with people and connect with them. I’m on Facebook groups, all that kind of stuff. So that’s is my in-between.

Since you are a part of The Leveraged Practice just by listening to the podcast, I wanted to go over that with you. So it made sense to you and you could kind of track and see on a quarterly basis, I do open and close the doors. On a quarterly basis, I do have ongoing podcast content. On a continuing basis, I do ask you if you have any questions to drop on the phone with me if you want to join or you want to talk about it. So you can kind of see that there are these different phases to my launch.

I really, really hope that this overview has been helpful for you. I would love to see more health professionals doing an incredible job teaching people with online programs. There are so many people out there that aren’t doing a great job. They have a program that actually doesn’t work, or there are spammy salesy marketers that just want to make money. I would love to see more amazing, brilliant, helpful health professionals helping more people. The way we do that is we create leveraged products or programs, which can be an online group program. We learn how to market ourselves, we learn how to launch, we learn how to connect with people, we learn how to have the conversations they need to have with us so they can know, like and trust us. So I really, really hope that this episode was useful.

If you have friends who are health professionals that would benefit from understanding the launch process and what it takes, please share this episode with them. I’d love if you share it on Instagram with your colleagues in a message or an email, whatever you want to do. I think this is one of the best episodes that can be most helpful.

And of course, if you need any help with your own launch, or your own product development, delivery – there’s so much that goes into an online program so that it gets great results for people and there’s a lot that goes into the marketing and sales of it – so if you need any help with that, you know, I’m just an email away or a DM away. Find me on Instagram or on my website and let’s have a chat about how we can get your program in front of more people so you can make a bigger impact and grow, grow, grow. And I’m a big fan, so keep doing the things you’re doing. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just take it one step at a time. You’re doing well so far. All right. I will see you back here next time.

 

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