Hello friends! So. Let’s chat. I’m equal parts squeamish and excited to hit publish on this post, but I wanted to talk about the recent launch of my e-course, Blog to Biz Hive because I think I have some ideas that could help you for your own launch. Selling e-courses is a nerve-wracking business, y’all. I remember when I sent my first email to let my subscribers know about the new course…and then waited in fear to see if anyone would purchase it.
To give you a mini overview here, I launched my veeerrry first course at the end of 2013 (in my first year of blogging). I co-hosted it with another blogger and altogether we made around $1,700. Then, I switched gears and worked as a web and blog designer for almost two years. Then, I switched things up again and launched my e-course, Pinfinite Growth, in August of this year (about 3-4 months ago). That launch was a bit different, because I never “closed the doors.” The course is still available for purchase. I’m not sure of the exact totals, but that course has earned arrrrround $80,000 since it was released four months ago, which would be about $20,000 on average in monthly sales.
You can read about that launch here: Exactly How I Launched and Marketed My First E-Course
This time, I wanted to try something different. I wanted to create a launch with a specific “cart open” and “cart close” date. I felt like having a group of students who will go through the course together (without new people joining throughout) would create more closeness among the members and also allow me to get to know them.
My super crazy goal was actually to hit $100,000. I didn’t honestly think I’d hit it, but I thought it was possible and I’d rather dream big than lowball myself. In the end, my launch brought in about $110,000. Totally insane to me. In this post, I’m going to walk through all of the factors that helped me reach my six-figure launch goal, including things I’d change for the future. Let’s do this, yo.
One of the most important parts of my launch (any launch!) was my email sequence. Altogether, I sent out 9 emails to my entire list during my 14-day launch and 3 emails before my launch (in order to advertise my pre-launch webinar). That doesn’t include the emails I sent to people who watched one of my webinars, which varied between about 5-6 additional emails depending on when they signed up. It.was.a.lot.
I was nervous about sending out so many emails and annoying people, but normally I keep my emails to about one per week, so I knew it would just be two weeks of insanity and then things would simmer down. I also knew that…HEY…I spent so much time growing my email list by providing free value that taking two weeks to promote my new product was not much to ask for. As expected, I received some unsubscribes, but nothing really out of the ordinary. One 82-year old man emailed me angrily, but aside from that, instead of angry emails, I was getting messages from people thanking me.
It was kind of nuts to me because I felt bad about barraging everyone’s inboxes, yet people seemed to like it…or at least, the people who emailed me did. 😉 I got some really sweet responses from people who said that my emails resonated with or encouraged them. I saved them all into a “Sunshine” folder I keep on my desktop, full of warm-hearted emails and messages from people. 🙂 Even when I’m promoting something, I try to keep my emails valuable and personable. It’s rare for me to send an email that’s straight up salesy, which is why I think (most of) my audience still enjoyed the emails.
I grew my email list
When I launched Pinfinite Growth in August, my email list had about 8,000 subscribers. When I launched Blog to Biz Hive in December? It had 20,000. It’s kind of bonkers how quickly my list has been growing, but I can attribute that to content upgrades, Pinterest, increasing my traffic, and webinars. I honestly don’t actively promote my list a whole lot (I should do that more!), I just have a system in place to help it grow by itself. That system generally involves increasing my traffic and adding content upgrades.
Undoubtedly, this larger list helped me to reach more people.
I hosted four webinars
I did FOUR webinars during my launch. Holy hell. It was exhausting, but I knew they were necessary. Three of the webinars were basically identical, with small tweaks along the way. The first three webinars were titled, “How to Earn $1,000 From Your Blog in the Next 60 Days.”
The first webinar happened a few days before my launch officially started and was my biggest one by far — it brought in about 1/3rd of my total launch revenue. Then, about a week and a half later, I hosted my second two webinars on Wednesday and Thursday.
I was worried about hosting the same webinar three times — would enough people even register? Again, the first webinar had the most registrants — about 2,000. The other two were closer to 1,000, which is what I predicted since most people had signed up for the first webinar. BUT despite my fears, it was interesting to me to see that even after I did that first webinar (without telling people that it would happen again), there were still 2,000 people who signed up for the second and third webinar.
To me, that means that there will always be people on your list who either can’t make the time of your initial webinar, don’t see your webinar email soon enough, or just need a little convincing. For future launches, I will definitely do multiple webinars again.
Finally, I did one last “webinar” on the day my cart closed, which was a casual Q&A. This idea was suggested to me by my friend, Mariah. The Q&A webinar didn’t result in tons of immediate sales, but it DID help me to connect with my audience more easily than my first three “formal” webinars and allowed people to ask me about creating e-products, growing their audience, and Blog to Biz Hive. It was a lot of fun and I plan to incorporate more no-pitch, casual Q&A webinars in the future, just for funsies. 🙂
I tried using Facebook ads
I’m not a big Facebook ads user, though I think it’s a smart strategy to try and learn. However, since I was worried that people wouldn’t sign up for my second and third webinar (described above), I tried using ads only targeted at my current subscribers. Typically, ads are used to grow your email list or help new people find you, but in this case, I uploaded my email list to Facebook and targeted only the people on my list. The reason I did this is because I only gave my email list about four days of notice when I told them about my second and third webinars. I wasn’t sure if they’d see my email and sign up in time, so I created Facebook ads to remind them about the webinar and encourage them to sign up.
These were two of the ad visuals I used:
You can’t always expect people to see your promotions in one location (for example, only advertising your webinars through email), which is why I used Facebook to reach them in another location. It worked really well! Since I was targeting my own list (as opposed to random people online), the cost was fairly cheap and I didn’t have to spend very much on this method, but it got more of my audience to sign up.
To be honest, I didn’t put very much energy into using affiliates for this launch and definitely plan to up my game for next time. For this launch, I literally sent an email the night before the cart closed, and asked a few business friends if they’d be willing to send an email to their list. They were all down to do it (which totally made my heart feel happy!), and sent out an email (or tweet) on the final day of the launch.
Overall, 12 new people enrolled via my affiliate partners. That ended up being about $6,000 in additional sales and $3,000 in affiliate fees. So, about $3,000 in my pocket. It was my first time using affiliates during a launch, so my strategy here was pretty minor and laid back. In the future, I’ll probably reach out to affiliates a couple weeks earlier. I’ll also encourage my students to be affiliates (which I didn’t do this time).
Blog Post Content
For 4 weeks leading up to and during my launch, I planned my blog content around my upcoming e-course. The content didn’t really share anything that was in the course, but it did help to put my readers in a state of mind where the course would feel relevant to and empowering for them.
Let me explain.
Blog to Biz Hive, the course I released, is all about growing your traffic, audience, authority and email list so that you can successfully create and sell your first e-product. Here were the topics I posted about in the four weeks prior to and during my launch:
- How to Create a Bangin’ Blog Business Plan (Workbook Included!) – 2 weeks before launch
- Monetize Your Blog: 11 Ways to Successfully Turn Your Blog Into Your Job (Including Two to Avoid) – 1 week before launch
- 7 Mistakes People Make When Trying to Monetize Their Blog – during 1st week of launch
- How to Earn $1,000 From Your Blog in the Next 45-60 Days – during last week of launch
You can see that these topics get people interested in blogging as a business and helped my readers to think about their blog in new ways. The final post advertised my upcoming webinar, too. Altogether, those posts received 176 comments, which also showed me that my audience was interested in my course topic. *happy dance*
Periscope and Instagram Series
For the 14 days prior to my launch, I hosted a daily Periscope and Instagram series where I did mini masterclasses each day on a variety of topics. The topics were all related to my upcoming course. These two series were SO FUN. Also, SO MUCH WORK. I honestly loved connecting to my peeps everyday and it was neat to see the same people show up again and again and really gain value from it.
I’m also really glad that I was consistent in doing it on Periscope AND Instagram every single day. Even though the topics I discussed were nearly identical, I still had great attendance on my Periscopes and lots of comments on the Instagram posts, which tells me that most people viewed one or the other. This reminded me that my audience hangs out where THEY want to hang out. Just because I do a Periscope series doesn’t meant that my entire audience will be there. People want you to come to THEM. I know that Instagram is a favorite among my peeps, which is why I wanted to do the series there, too.
One other thing…putting together and hosting both of these series took a whole lot of time.
Here’s the estimated breakdown:
- Hosting each Periscope broadcast: 40 minutes
- Writing each Instagram post: 15 minutes
- Creating each Instagram graphic: 5 minutes
- Brainstorming each day’s content: 10 minutes
Now, multiply all of that by 14 (the number of days I did the series) and you get 980 minutes, or a little over 16 hours of work, which is on the modest end of the spectrum (it was probably closer to 20 hours). Personally, I feel like it was worth it. Even if it wasn’t leading up to the launch of a product, I’d still do it all over again. I really enjoyed connecting with everyone, and it also made me feel better about being in “promo” mode for two weeks afterwards since I’d just given a ton of free value.
And on the even awesomer side? It got my audience hyped about my launch. People were asking me when my course would be available before the launch even started — they were stoked!
I created a higher priced product
When I launched Pinfinite Growth, I initially sold it for $177. Then I increased the price to $197. Now, the price is $297 — almost double where it started. Honestly, I realized down the line that I was undercharging myself, especially because I know the material in that course can grow someone’s audience quickly. It is valuable.
Even though I earned a good chunk of money during that launch, it showed me that you need to price your products based on the value you’re giving people if you want to earn more and attract people who will really invest their time into the course. My new course, Blog to Biz Hive, was a $497 investment, but I know that the material in the course is insanely valuable and would be worth it for the people who enrolled. Overall, having a higher-priced course will help you reach bigger monetary milestones because you need less enrollments to meet your goals.
Things I would do differently next time
Even though I am really happy about and grateful with how this launch turned out (and it honestly felt so much more organized than past launches!), I know that there are things I could do to improve in the future. Here are a few…
1. Contact affiliates earlier
Like I mentioned, I emailed some potential affiliates the night before my launch ended. They then emailed their lists on the day the cart closed. I am seriously grateful that they were willing to email their lists on such short notice! In the future, I will contact them sooner and reach out to more people, including past students. That way, I’m giving my affiliates time to email their lists before the final day and I’m also giving my students the opportunity to promote the course and earn some cash.
I didn’t do any affiliate webinars, but that is a strategy I may try in the future, too.
2. Continue my Persicope and Instagram series during my launch
Want to hear a ridiculous joke? So, this girl walks into an office, spends 16 hours planning and hosting a daily series, and then totally falls off the face of the earth.
Oh, wait. That’s not a joke. That’s what I actually did.
I spent a lot of time on my series, but then got so busy (and tired) during my launch that I didn’t do a single Periscope after the series ended! I did post on Instagram a few times during the launch, but should have made a better plan for both platforms that continued into my launch instead of stopping right before it.
3. Track all sales
I’m kind of a numbers freak. I like data. I like analyzing things. I like knowing which platforms are performing the best. Yet, I didn’t track each sale very well. By “tracking each sale,” I mean creating unique links for Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, email, webinars, and the blog. That way, I could see where most of my sales were coming from and which platforms were performing well. If you know which platforms are bringing the most sales, you can put a stronger focus on them, too.
Well, m’friends. I hope this post helped you in some way. Even though this launch took a lot of time and work, I really felt “in the zone” and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. 😉 And if you enrolled in Blog to Biz Hive…well, I can’t freakin’ wait to get started with you. 🙂