Thinking about launching a new course or product (or re-launching an existing offer)? Here’s everything I learned from my most recent launch of my signature course ‘Copy Class’.
In this post, I’ll be going over what worked, what didn’t, what surprised me, and what’s next. Steal my strategies, learn from my mistakes, and see what you might want to implement in YOUR next product or course launch!
Launches can feel incredibly intimidating.
There’s SO much that goes into a launch and it can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you’re a solopreneur doin’ it by yourself. That’s why I’m sharing the behind-the-scenes of what happened with my most recent launch in Jan/Feb of this year – to demystify the process for others out there like me who just want clear, honest guidance!
First of all, it’s helpful to know what I was launching...I just closed the cart on my signature course, Copy Class. (The fact that I closed the cart for the 1st time ever is gonna come up later!).
Copy Class is a comprehensive online course that teaches NON-writers how to write words that sell, without sounding “sales-y”. The core concept of Copy Class is giving entrepreneurs who are NOT professional copywriters the most important tools, tricks, tips, and actionable guidance they need to write words that sell; on their website, their emails, and their social posts. It’s 6 modules jam-packed with knowledge and practical real-world exercises that took me 9 months to make and “birth” (so I literally think of it as my “baby”). In short, I’m SUPER proud of the product itself and truly believe in what I’m sharing!
[Wanna know when Copy Class re-opens? Get on the early bird interest list here!]
OK, so now that you know what I was launching (a premium signature course), let’s go over the pros and cons of this launch…
Highest-ever conversion rate after switching to a cart open/close model
Created a successful pilot affiliate program
Added a payment plan that successfully converted “on the fence” students
Planned well-timed guest appearances on pods & taught at a free Summit (& gave unique codes that successfully converted)
No paid ads; only organic promotion (not really a “pro” per se, but worth talking about)
Confusion about a new offer, ‘Copy Class LIVE’
All the technology I had to learn and implement for Copy Class LIVE
Needed a better pre-launch strategy
Not the best timing (launched right before inauguration on a holiday weekend)
Let’s get into each of these points so you can steal my successful strategies (and avoid my mistakes!)
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you purchase a product using one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps keep all of my blog content free of charge to you. I only recommend tools I’ve personally used & recommend.
First, you should know this is the 3rd time I’ve launched Copy Class…
The first launch was in Dec 2019. At first, I envisioned Copy Class as an evergreen course. I had a conversion rate of 3%, a VERY SOLID CR, but the course was offered at a very discounted “launch” price, which skews this number.
The second “launch” was in Aug 2020 when I decided I was going to switch from an evergreen (always “open”) course, to an open/close cart model. I let people know I was closing enrollment for Copy Class and that it would re-open at a higher price. I got a smaller wave of sign ups at the then-“normal” price before I closed the cart at the end of August, 2020. My conversion rate was a low 1.8%.
I didn’t quite know what to expect with this 3rd launch, but lemme tell ya I am SO HAPPY I stuck to my guns and decided on the cart open/close model! That’s because…
My overall conversion rate for this launch was 4.2%. HUGE. HUUUUUGE!!
My conversion rate for my interest list?? → A WHOPPING 25%!!!
OK, so what’s the moral of the story here? …
PRO: Opt for a cart open/close model & create an interest list to build anticipation!
When you have an evergreen course, there’s not a ton of motivation for people to opt-in because it’s “always there”. I know it seems counter-intuitive and like you’re leaving out people who would buy all year round. BUT if you drive people to an email list with a well-aligned freebie, deliver them value for weeks/months, build anticipation, and open the cart for a LIMITED TIME ONLY…they are WAY more motivated to click “buy”!
I’m gonna write a whole separate blog on how & why I made the decision to switch from evergreen to cart open/close because it’s one of my most FAQs.
PRO: Create an Affiliate Program
I cannot stress enough how valuable creating an affiliate program can be- I wish I hadn’t waited so long to start one. If you don’t know, an affiliate program allows people to sign up to become ambassadors (aka “affiliates”) for your brand and make commissions off of sales that are made through their personalized affiliate links.
It took me about a month to figure it out and set it all up but only because I went “all out” with a dedicated affiliate web page, a login portal, legal disclaimers, swipe copy, video and social media assets, and more. HOWEVER, if you’re a course creator, Kajabi makes it SUPER easy to create an affiliate program!!! I could have easily JUST set up the Kajabi program without all the other support materials and been in business in a matter of days. I’m just an overachiever like that ;).
Affiliate sales accounted for a little over 25% of my total sales this launch! Honestly SUCH a win for so many reasons…
I’m supporting other entrepreneurs by paying them for their time/willingness to share my course.
Affiliates spread the word about your brand to their audiences, thereby growing your reach EVEN IF those new audience members don’t buy…yet.
I’m giving affiliates more free resources to share with their email lists so they can leverage free content to make extra money.
If you’re interested in applying to be an affiliate, click here.
PRO: Add a payment plan that converts “on the fence” buyers
Another easy-to-set-up NEW offer that reaped MAJOR benefits was creating a payment plan for Copy Class. Because I raised the price of the course to $397 (another post for another day on how I landed on that number…and why that number is gonna go up next time), I knew that many students might be “on the fence” because they weren’t able to justify paying a lump sum upfront.
Payment Plan sales made up 23% of my total sales of this launch. That’s a LOT of sales I wouldn’t have had had I not created this new payment plan. I’ll be offering a payment plan from now on for all my signature courses or higher-ticket offers.
PRO: Plan strategic guest appearances
Though I could have done a better job during my pre-launch (more on that in a sec) I will say it was an excellent decision to say yes to being on a handful of podcasts and presenting at a high-value entrepreneur summit, all of which went live right around my “cart open” window.
One big takeaway: make the podcast or summit hosts an affiliate and give them a unique code (again, SUPER easy through Kajabi) so they can offer sign-up bonuses to drive sales if they want to!
PRO(ish): No paid ads; only organic promotion
Again, this isn’t necessarily a “pro” but it is worth talking about…
Because I was doing three BIG new things with this launch (affiliate program, payment plan, and the optional Copy Class LIVE add-on), I didn’t want to mess with ALSO learning how to run ads on social media. Every single sign up I got came from organic promotion via my own social media, my affiliates, or my email list.
That said, I will probably look into running ads as I grow and scale…but honestly it just seems daunting right now and also I’m doing extremely well with 100% organic promotions. If it ain’t broke, right??
Alright, that was everything that went WELL for this launch…now let’s talk about what I’ll be doing differently next time…
CON: Confusion about my new offer, ‘Copy Class LIVE’
When planning this launch, I wanted to create a NEW offer that would re-engage students who had already taken Copy Class back in 2020. Most of my students came from a “Business Course Bundle” I took part in last June and I was trying to think of a way to re-target them and get them excited about the bundle they’d purchased the year previous.
I decided to create an add-on called ‘Copy Class LIVE’ where students could show up to live office hours over zoom where I’d offer 1:1 guidance as well as extra bonus material I couldn’t fit into Copy Class.
It was a nice idea, and I actually have been LOVING my work with my ‘Copy Class LIVE’ (aka ‘CCLIVE’) students…but I don’t think I’ll ever offer it again. Here’s why…
It was too confusing to market. I found myself constantly clarifying that ‘Copy Class LIVE’ was an add-on to the existing signature course, not a whole separate course in and of itself.
Plus, it didn’t re-engage previous students, as I’d envisioned. What ended up happening was the people who signed up for CCLIVE were NEW Copy Class students (rather than old students who wanted a refresher). Which was great because they were SUPER fired up and invested, but also made me think…
Next time, I should just raise the overall price of Copy Class and have a live element available for everyone. Full disclosure, I don’t know if I’m gonna do a live teaching element ever again. It was SO MUCH WORK to create a whole new offer/product and set up all the technology needed to teach ‘live’.
We’ll see what ends up happening but the takeaway here is that I wish I’d done better market research, wish I’d surveyed my old students to see if they even WANTED a live offer, wish I’d done better pre-selling/qualifying, etc.
Don’t create a new offer without doing market research, EVEN IF you think it’s a “no brainer” offer.
CON: Needed a better pre-launch strategy
Because I took on so much with creating my new affiliate program, reaching out to potential affiliates, and creating all the materials needed to support those affiliates to the best of my ability…I didn’t have a whole lot of creative energy left for my own pre-launch.
I will say, the couple of things I DID do (3 podcast interviews and taught at a high-value Entrepreneurship summit), definitely paid off. And of course, I wrote my launch emails ahead of time (have you seen my launch email templates?).
The one thing I really wish I’d figured out for my pre-launch was webinars. I have yet to do one and I know Kajabi has a built-in webinar thingy, but I haven’t had the energy to a) do the market research necessary to find out if my audience even WANTS to watch a free webinar, and b) actually figure out how to run a freaking webinar.
I also had plans to create a new freebie and ran out of time/energy. C’est la vie, we can’t do it all, right??
CON: Not the best launch timing (launched right before the inauguration on a holiday weekend- DOH!)
So here was my thinking when I planned my cart open/close dates…I didn’t want to open RIGHT at the beginning of January because it still feels like you’re on holiday break and you don’t feel like taking a career-oriented course. BUT I still wanted to take advantage of the energy and conversations happening around New Year’s Resolutions…
I looked at the calendar and saw that Feb 1st was on a Monday. Feb 1st is a REALLY easy date to remember, so it would be easy for people to remember that the cart was going to close on Feb 1st! I gave myself 2 weeks for the cart to be open…just one problem…(OK 2 problems)…
Jan 18th (the day I opened the cart) was a National Holiday. MLK day, to be specific. I did NOT want to hijack necessary conversations about race and history by talking about a course launch. Totally avoidable and I just freaking missed it.
Three days later, it was the inauguration. Due to the storming of the capitol on Jan 6th, there was a LOT of nervousness and noise around how the inauguration was going to go. Thank God everyone was safe and everything went smoothly, but NOT an ideal week to open the cart of your online course, lemme tell ya.
Next time: I will be referencing THIS 2021 content planning/publicity calendar from Selena Soo and triple-checking holidays and other major events that could potentially detract from my launch!
Are you a course creator? Wanna apply to be a beta tester for my next class??
I’m doing market research for a new offer I’m releasing later this year: how to write and promote your course in 30 days or less! Because you can have the best idea for an online course in the world, but if you don’t know how to actually write the course, you’re gonna be stuck staring at the blinking cursor of death, or verbal vomiting unorganized thoughts for months.
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, don’t love that journey for you (thanks, David Rose).
I’m in the beginning stages of figuring out exactly what this new class will be and I want to talk to YOU about what would be most helpful to you as a course creator! If you’re selected as a beta-tester, you’ll be part of an elite group who gets to help shape the class (and take it for free when it gets released- a $400+ value!)
To apply to land one of the beta-tester spots, simply answer a few questions on this Google Form about your course creation journey.