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The word “launch” brings up all sorts of different emotions. Fear, anxiety, excitement. Your reaction will probably vary depending on whether you’ve run a launch before or not, what your results were, and what your energy levels are. A launch that feels fun rather than terrifying might seem out of reach, but there are a few things you can do to bring it within grasp.

If we’re being straight with you (which we strive to be), we used to hate launching. To the point where we declared ourselves to be a launch-free business at one point. But the problem with that was there were aspects of launches we liked. We just got so worn down by the other parts that we forgot.

In Episode 21 of the Leadership Forum, we’re talking about how to launch like a leader.

Catch the replay below as we jam about:

  • The biggest mistakes you can make during a launch {and how to avoid them}.
  • Why our recent Leader Up! membership launch was our most successful yet.
  • How to make sure your message is crystal clear throughout your launch {from your copy to how you show up in livestreams}.

Click the image below to watch the episode:

No time to watch it all? Here’s the skinny:

00:00 – 2:35: Welcome and Introduction!
2:35 – 8:35: Common mistakes in launches
8:35 – 15:00: How to enjoy your next launch
15:00 – 25:00: Leader Up! launch breakdown
25:00 – 29:30: How to make sure your message is crystal clear.
29:30 – 37:50: What is your audience’s journey?
37:50 – 39:47: Wrap up and Leader Up Community!

Common mistakes in launches (2:35):

There can be a lot of different moving pieces to a launch, and any one of them can add stress to your pile. That’s why we’re highlighting a few common mistakes that you can easily avoid when you get ready for your next launch.

Mistake #1: Not enough lead time

As mentioned above, some launches have a lot of moving pieces. Depending on how elaborate you want to get you’ll have to wrangle copywriting for a sales page, email sequence, and training materials. You’ll need a tech person to hook up your purchasing options and make sure your webinar, challenge, or other free material works correctly. Every launch is different, but every launch is guaranteed to require at least a small amount of set-up time.

Which leads to mistake #1: Not giving yourself enough lead time. This is especially true if it’s your first launch. Once you have the system figured out you may be able to throw together a launch quickly, but often that’s not the case. And if you’re working with a team it’s even more important that you give them time to create the materials and put everything in place.

Even if you have everything in place, ask yourself this: Do you have the leads? Have you given yourself enough time to get the leads? Do you even know how many leads you need?

If the answer is no (or a big question mark) you may want to visit them in-depth before you set a launch date.

Mistake #2: Failing to manage expectations

I don’t want to poo-poo on being spontaneous too much; after all, it works like a charm for some people. A warm or hot audience of raving fans may respond well to a spontaneous launch, but don’t expect too much from cold traffic (especially at a higher price point).

At the end of the day, it’s all about managing expectations. If you’ve never launched before, have no list, don’t want to invest in ads, haven’t tested your sales journey, and are testing a brand new offer don’t be surprised when you don’t make a million dollars off your launch.

Does that mean you need to launch a ton, build a huge list, put a ton of money into ads, and create the perfect sales journey to have a successful launch? Not necessarily, but the more time and energy you put into knowing your numbers, understanding your audience, and learning from past efforts the better you’ll be able to predict your success.

Mistake #3: Losing touch with your audience

Remember those leads questions up above? Let’s revisit those.

When you’re launching, it’s to offer a service or a product to an audience. Not just any audience–your audience. Which means you should probably know who your audience is, where they hang out, if they’ve evolved over time, and how you’re going to connect with them.

If you don’t have this worked out from the get-go you risk spending a lot of time (and money) spinning your wheels.

Avoid these launch mistakes by paying attention to…

To avoid each of these mistakes, pay attention to how complex you’re making your launch, where your audience members are coming from, and your general energy levels.

And remember, there can be too much of a good thing. You may give yourself more lead time and find you you’ve actually given yourself too much and it’s exhausting. Be flexible and willing to adjust. You’ll find your sweet spot eventually.

How to enjoy your next launch (8:35):

Caveat: What has worked for us won’t necessarily work for you. There is no gangbusters 110% formula that’s the silver bullet to successful launches. It doesn’t exist. Each business is unique and each business owner has their own preferences.
So with that out of the way, the structure that works for us has always been offering a free challenge that then leads into the launch itself. This method has helped us build our list, launch group programs, and stay in touch with our audience. And, most importantly, we love running them. They’re fun!
While a challenge might not be right for you (maybe you’re more of a webinar person), there are a few things you can do to keep your cool during what could become a stressful launch:

Be willing to experiment from launch to launch

While it’s a good idea to remain consistent within a single launch, don’t be afraid to experiment between launches and find what works for you. Maybe you tried a challenge and found it exhausting. Give a webinar a try. Maybe you’ve had your eye on virtual summits. Maybe you want to do a video series. It doesn’t matter: Just be willing to play around and try different things. You may land on something you never realized you’d love.

Lean in to the FUN!

I know. Some of you are looking at me putting “launch” and “fun” in the same sentence like, “Girl, you cray.” But it is possible to have a fun launch if you set the intention from the get-go. We’ve done this in a few ways. We celebrate small victories, we make sure our entire business doesn’t ride on the success of a single launch, we practice self-care during downtime, and more.

Make it fun. Celebrate stupid stuff. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Look back on your past work

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every launch. Look back on past launches and content and see if there’s anything you can repurpose and reuse. It definitely takes the load off. And don’t worry about sounding like a broken record. These days, you have to if you want to be heard.

Crunch some numbers, yo

When I majored in English I thought I was done with math for good. Hah. That one blew up in my face. Luckily, I surprised myself by actually finding I enjoy crunching numbers… when they’re tied to our launches. It’s real data, living in the real world (not some abstract word problem), with real implications.

If you’re not looking at your numbers it’s easy to set unrealistic expectations for yourself and your launch. Know your conversion rate, know your ad spend (if you’re running ads), and know how many leads you need in the door to get the number of buyers you want.

Leader Up! launch breakdown (15:00):

At the end of the day, it’s not about the mechanism. It’s about the customer experience and clear messaging. That’s what sells.
Our recent launch was incredibly successful. Here’s why:
  • We practiced a healthy amount of detachment. Yes, we had goals. But our business wasn’t hanging on them. So when we hit our goal it was a great celebration (but if we hadn’t, it wouldn’t have wrecked us)
  • Shorter challenge. We’ve run 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day challenges, and in our experience shorter is better. You guys are busy and so are we. You want quick, actionable takeaways, and that’s what we want to give you. By limiting the free challenge to 3 days we were able to deliver without overwhelming.
  • Shorter cart period. And honestly we may shorten it even more next time. This last launch we kept the cart open for 7 days (down from 2-3 weeks in some past launches). It was great knowing that we weren’t hanging on an open cart forever. But next time maybe we’ll try 3 days. 😉
  • We supported one another. Okay, we have an advantage (sort of) in that there are two of us. We both committed to showing up and held one another accountable. But even if you’re riding solo, you can do this. Reach out to a biz bestie or your team (if you have one) and let them know that you’re getting ready to launch and could use some support.
  • We worked on our mindset. Mindset is a mindf*ck. It really is. But it’s so freaking important. During this launch we spent a lot of time making sure we were in the right frame of mind throughout. This meant lots of tiny celebrations throughout, so we didn’t feel like everything depended on cart close.

How to make your message crystal clear during a launch (25:00):

Alright, time for our favorite topic. You guessed it — messaging! You won’t be surprised to hear me say that messaging is the most important part of any launch (or anything, really). Without a clear message your audience won’t know what they’re being offered, why they want it, or how it will help them. Which means they won’t buy.

Which means no bueno for you.

So here’s how you make sure your message stays crystal clear throughout the launch process:

Know who your launch is for

Is it for your entire audience, or just a segment? Is it for a new audience that your building (and if so, what do they look like?). Who are your target audience members and where do they hang out? What are they frustrated by that you can help them with?

All of these questions will get you on the right track. To have a clear message you have to know who you’re talking to. After all, the function of a message is to connect your business with your audience’s needs. How can you do that if you don’t know what they need?

Work backward to find your offer

Not sure what to launch? Work backward. Not sure how to launch? Work backward. Not sure where to start? Work backward.

Sensing a trend?

Back in my teaching days, we had a rule. You begin with the end in mind. Every lesson plan, test, homework assignment, and daily activity was engineered to reach a common goal (the learning outcome). If something didn’t fit, it got canned.

Same dealio here. What does the end result of your audience member’s frustration getting fixed look like? Is it a shiny new Instagram feed that converts into clients? Is it a healed relationship with tools for better communication? Is it an endless supply of yummy recipes that can be made while doing the 2384924 other things on your to-do list?

Whatever the end result looks like, that’s your goal. Every other thing should work to meet that goal in small, incremental steps.

Which leads us to…

Know how to prepare your audience

If you’re working backward, you’ll eventually get to where your audience is now. Your starting point. The trick is to provide them with a little bit of content that will help them take the first steps towards resolution. You don’t want to give them too much (hello, overwhelm), but you don’t want to skimp either.

If you know your person and you know how you will help them, think about what the journey will look like. Are you drawing a half map or are you totally clear?

For example, in our recent launch we hosted the Evolved Entrepreneur Challenge, where we helped participants do an audit of their content and figure out where it wasn’t reflecting how they’d grown as business owners.

By the end of the challenge they had an idea of what to update, what to delete, and what to create. But we didn’t throw them into the creating stage. That’s what the membership is for.

By offering something you know they need in the free content, which naturally leads to the paid content, your audience is able to experience how you can help them. Ultimately, you build a bridge between your offer and your audience.

Don’t mince words

Don’t be cute. Don’t be coy. You can help your audience and you know it — so tell them. When you beat around the bush, you cost yourself valuable sales (and your audience valuable help). Now that doesn’t mean you need to sound like a used car salesman. You can lead with integrity and honesty and ask for the sale.

Be clear. Be confident. You’ve got this.

What is your audience journey (29:30):

Let’s quickly revisit the whole audience thing. I mentioned above that it’s important to know who your audience is. But that doesn’t mean you need to be totally responsible for them.
  • Don’t attach yourself to your audience’s decisions. They’ll buy or they won’t. You can lead them to water with epic content, amazing offers, and compassion for their pains… but at the end of the day they need to do the drinkin’. True leaders don’t force themselves upon others.
  • Empathy is your friend. At the end of the day, someone in your audience may not buy this go-around… and that’s okay. They might buy next time. They might refer someone to you. They might just appreciate you. When you run a launch with compassion and integrity there’s room for all of this and the people who commit with their wallets.

And that’s a wrap for Episode 21: How to Launch Like a Leader! Thank you so much for joining us (live or via the replay). We’d love to know about your launching experiences. Leave a comment and let us know.

Catch the Leadership Forum when it goes live! Head on over to the Thought Leaders Think Tank on Facebook and request to join.

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