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Product Launch Strategy: Follow these 7 Steps for a RAPID Online Course Launch

Product Launch Strategy: Follow these 7 Steps for a RAPID Online Course Launch

what does a successful product launch look like I mean what does it really look like because we can all talk about the theory of product launches and we've all seen more nice funnel graphics than we can shake a stick at but what is it like really look like in practice in the real world that's exactly what I'm going to show you in this video keep watching to see this

entire product map that I used for a recent product launch including every email every piece of content and every page involved and you'll discover the seven strategies I employed to make this product launch successful but this wasn't just any kind of product launch this was a product launch based on rapid implementation and you'll see exactly how much of a difference that makes every step of the way so I recently launched an online productivity course

and during the launch 394 people bought this course before I even started creating the product and in total 422 people bought the course within one month before we get into all of the strategies and the process map there's one thing I want you to know about because I made this launch a bit more interesting and a bit more challenging for myself by giving myself some serious restrictions see if you know me you probably

know me as the founder of thrive themes where I have a team of about 70 people doing all kinds of amazing work from developers to testers to support technicians and professional designers and I even have an entire marketing team so if I told you that yes me and this small army of amazing people can put together a good product launch that would really just be me showing off and if my plan starts with

step 1 hire 70 people it's probably not that applicable it's probably not that actionable for you this is why I decided to launch my course acting as a solopreneur here's what that means first of all I didn't launch this course under the thrive themes brand or I have the most brand recognition at the largest audience instead I launched it under a secondary brand on a blog that I've basically treated like a hobby for

the last few years where I have much less brand recognition and a much smaller audience and more importantly I did all of the work that went into creating the course and launching the course myself so every word that was written was written by me every video was recorded edited and published by me there is not a single piece of work in this entire process that I didn't do myself without any help the reason

I did this and the reason I'm telling you this is because I want to be very clear about this everything I'm about to show you is something you can do by yourself as a solopreneur you can do this oh and also I spent almost no money in this process and more on that in a bit as well so let's get into it the very beginning of our process map it starts with an

idea on December 19th I decide that I'm going to create and launch a Productivity course and I'm thinking that the coming new year is the perfect opportunity to launch this course because people are going to be making new year's resolutions about wanting to be more productive and generally wanting to do better in the new year so that's the first part of my plan I decide to have a special offer for my online course

where people can pre-order my online course and if they order it before December 31st so if they order it in the old year they get half off on the course as a pre-order and then on January 4th the actual course content begins I decided on January 4th simply to give people a few days to you know sleep off the hangover from the big party I thought that would give everyone an opportunity to start

the New Year fresh with this plan in place that gives me just about two weeks to pull all of this together so let's get started with the first part of our process map and with strategy number one which is rapid implementation to validate your idea right away on December 19th I sent out an email to my audience asking people to indicate interest in this email I basically say listen there's going to be this

pre-launch for an upcoming course and I'm going to send out some content some tips about productivity are you interested in this if you are click on this link anyone who clicks on this link get a tag in my email marketing system that says interested in productivity and it's as simple as that if you click that link you will get these messages if you don't you want so why did I do this well

this is rapid implementation in action so first of all I take action right away I don't start building stuff and then ask people if they want it right away I ask are you interested and it gives me an opportunity very early on in the process to get validation or to fail because if only like a dozen people click on that link then right away that tells me hold on I need to go

back to the drawing board either the thing I'm offering is just not a good idea or I'm talking to the wrong audience and in either case I would have to pump the brakes and before I put any more work into this go back to the drawing board and figure out how to fix this and this is how failing early can be really useful because right here if I notice basically nobody cares nobody clicks

on that link I'm saving a bundle of work compared to building a whole course first and then finding out people don't want it but as it turned out quite a lot of people clicked on a link so that gave me a green light to keep going and that brings us to strategy number two start by building your sales page yes that's right the first thing I do before I start building the

course is I start creating a sales page although a quick side note here I have been studying and experimenting with productivity for almost as long as I can remember so I already have a pile of notes on things I could put in a Productivity course I already have a lot of expertise and knowledge I know how to teach productivity but I haven't put together an entire course if I haven't started the work of

deciding how do i structure a course what goes in the course how do I design my lessons and so on so I have the knowledge it's not like I'm suddenly gonna be like oh people want to buy a Productivity course I have no idea how to do that I guess that's pretty obvious but I just wanted to be clear about that the rapid implementation system kind of assumes that you can deliver the

thing that you're asking people about so with that said I start building a very simple sales page it explains this is a Productivity course this is a pre-order it starts later and you can get half off by using this coupon I start with a very simple and very minimal sales page like this same principle rapid implementation create something and ship it right away and then improve it later now there is a video on

this sales page and that's the main thing that's the main sales message in the beginning which brings us into strategy number three which is the almost zero budget video setup this is another aspect where I acted as a solopreneur and I didn't make use of any of the fancy and rather expensive video equipment that I have and that I'm using right now for example to record this video instead I used a GoPro

and recorded myself on that in fact here's the totality of equipment that I use to create the sales video and all of the videos in this launch sequence I used a GoPro camera a small tripod and a regular-sized tripod that's it and by the way the most expensive part of this setup which is the GoPro camera wouldn't even be necessary you could film yourself simply using your phone unfortunately for some reason when I record something

on my phone the audio is always out of sync in a way that's basically impossible to fix so I can't use this so for me this wasn't an option and I use the GoPro instead I even used the onboard microphone on the GoPro to record my voice and I recorded everything outdoors in the sunlight so I didn't need any lighting setup either so that's how I kept my equipment to an absolute minimum as

for the content in this video I didn't create a script for this sales video I wanted to keep it very simple and ship it rapidly so I simply wrote down some bullet points about why I'm making this course and what I'm going to teach in this course what the goal outcome of the course is and I simply talked to the camera as I would talk to a friend in order to get

this message across so I really kept this sales video very simple this might not be the best way to make a highly effective sales video but it is much easier to create than a super polished sales video and if you're not used to making sales videos if you're new to this it really takes the pressure off the result of using such a simple setup and such a simple strategy was that I could

create and publish the sales page with the video within one single day next up let's move on in our process and get to strategy number four which I call the lean sales page at this point in our strategy everyone who indicated interest in productivity gets an email explaining that I'm launching this course and that there's a 50% off pre-order offer until December 31st this email comes just a couple of days after my initial

email asking people to indicate interest so people tell me yes I'm interested in this and very shortly after the email comes it says here's the thing I told you about just before at this point people can already buy my course so they're sent from the email to the sales page and there they have an opportunity to make a purchase this is another example of rapid implementation and it is the second stage of validation

so in the first stage a validated the idea and a valid that people have an interest in this in the second stage and validating whether people are actually willing to pay money for it because as the difference between being interested in productivity and being willing to pay for a productivity course at this point my sales page as I've shown you is very minimal and the idea is that I'm going to gradually improve this sales

page over time once again the rapid approach is that instead of creating a big thing and putting it out there and seeing what happens I'm creating a simple thing putting it out there quickly and then improving it over time based on feedback now in this case a lot of people who will see that sales page will have some questions and they'll reply to my email asking here's my situation will this work for

me or do you cover this thing in your course and these kinds of messages help me create a better sales page and also inform me about what kinds of things I should be teaching in the course so this is what the lean sales page is about we start with something really simple you wait for feedback you listen to that feedback and you start improving your sales page based on that this is such

a useful approach that our next strategy goes into this as well strategy number five is what I call the three wins on our process map here's a really important step when someone buys the course right now let's think about what happens next so someone's just giving me some money but it's a pre-order so the thing doesn't exist yet now I want to make sure that this is a good purchase experience I don't want

to just send people to like a generic you know thank you for your money now just wait kind of page that would be really disappointing so what I do instead is first of all I send people to a custom Thank You page once again a very simple Thank You page but I put a video on there so I record a quick video so it's more personal where I thank people for their

purchase and I set clear expectations just in case they didn't pay a lot of attention on the sales page I clearly state this is a pre-order here's when the course is gonna start here's what's going to happen next and then I link them to the next step I link them to a form that they can fill out now again I keep things simple I want to ship this rapidly so I simply put

together a little survey in Google Forms and I link people to that survey no custom designs no special integrations nothing needed just link to a Google Form the questions in this form are designed to get people thinking about their goals and get people thinking about why they struggle with productivity and what kinds of mindset shifts might help them do better in the new year answering these questions is a useful introspective exercise it gets you thinking

in the right kind of direction it gets the gears turning and you already benefit from having some more clarity and some more insight and it really sets people up for success for when they actually start with the productivity course and here's why I call it the three wins win number one is that you as the course creator get paid before you even need to start working on your course when number two is

that your customers get something to engage with get something to do and receive a benefit right after they make the purchase even though it was for a pre-order so we're not leaving our customers hanging we're giving them something to do and we're giving them a positive experience a win number three is that you as the course crater get to see the survey results you get to see how people answer these questions and so in

my case I got more insight about what goals people have how they think about their goals how they struggle with productivity and so on this is an absolute goldmine of information this information is what I can use to gradually build a better and better sales page and it's also how I can start really going through my notes about productivity and really customizing tailoring a course that really addresses these issues that people are now

telling me about in this part of the process you can start seeing that what I'm doing with this pre-launch is it's not only helping me get paid and validate my business idea it's also something that actually helps me build a better product over the next few days I use what I learned to gradually expand the sales page so that goes back to the previous strategy the lean sales page I keep adding things I

keep making sure that I answer questions that people are sending me and gradually the sales page becomes this now even at this stage I keep it as a copy only sales page there's almost no design stuff going on here it's mostly just text it's very simple and all of those I've inserted a couple of generic icons it's really like the only graphical thing going on here here's a little bonus insight before we

move on to the next strategy it's deliberate that I'm asking my customers to fill out this survey and not just everyone see this way and getting insights from my ideal customers who people who are responding to what's on my sales page who want my product and who are willing to pay for it and this is much more effective than like the shotgun approach of just trying to get inside from everyone doing that sure

you can get more people to fill out your survey but all this data is just gonna be chaotic and messy and it's much better to get fewer deeper insights from just the right people so showing this survey to your pre-order customers is really perfect now let's get into one of the main parts of this launch process which is strategy number six the non sales e launch sequence three days after the previous step I

send the next email and this email simply links to some free content so this here is the payoff for everyone who said yes I'm interested in learning about productivity this links to a blog post with a video that talks about one of the main causes of procrastination and how to deal with it and this is simply a blog post right it's a blog post it's not a special landing pages no special launch

sequence stuff going on here I'm simply sending people to a blog post on a normal blog it's a video there's some text or some links and there's a comment form and like I said in the video I simply provide some useful advice about productivity now there are two types of marketing secret sauce that I had to this to make this an effective part of my launch sequence the first day is that on my

blog and in fact all across my website I display a sticky ribbon at the top of the screen so you'll see that it comes in after a few seconds and it stays stuck at the top of the screen and it simply says hey there's a pre-order going on for an upcoming productivity course click here to learn more and when people click on that link it takes them to the sales page where

they learn more about the product and they have an opportunity to purchase so everyone who clicks on that link in the email and goes to visit my blog post not only gets my productivity advice but they also get a reminder that this offer is going on and they get an opportunity to make a purchase and this is all without it being like in-your-face or super invasive it doesn't take up a lot of screen

space but it's also impossible to ignore so my main objective here is I want to give people some value and I want to make sure that everyone's reminded hey this special offer thing is going on the second marketing piece here is that I ask people to leave a comment that's my main call to action on this blog post is leave a comment and I ask questions or a prompt people to tell me

certain things and this is again to gather more information I want to start a conversation with my audience to really learn how do they think about their goals how do they think about productivity what do they struggle with because I want to make a better sales page and a better course then on our process map the next steps are basically twice more the same thing so a couple of days later another email again

it sends to a blog post with a productivity tip a couple of days later another email and again a blog post with more productivity advice that I simply give for free and each time that ribbon is there to direct people towards my product towards my sales page if they're interested so this is how I do a product launch without being like overly sailors II or pushy or kind of in-your-face with oh my

god buy my thing right I'm simply providing this content on normal blog posts no special technology needed but still it does drive sales and it is a marketing strategy and apart from anything else I just love working like this because yes you know doing sales and marketing stuff can be fun but what I prefer is just creating good content teaching having a conversation with my audience and this allows me to focus just on that

right I simply focus on creating good blog posts that are helpful and the marketing is kind of taken care of also I'm on a really tight schedule here and I didn't create like a you know deeply thought out plan of exactly how do i structure this content so instead I made a video with a tip about productivity I invite the people to comment and based on the questions and comments I decide what

to put in the next video these vlog videos also I simply record on my GoPro I was even traveling during this time so one of these videos I recorded in the hotel hobby where I was at the time and none of it was like perfect production quality or anything like that but what matters is the value and that I could rapidly shape these videos this brings us to the last few components in our

launch map and strategy number seven which is simple segmentation now if you're using an advanced email marketing system there's all kinds of segmentation stuff you can do you can tag people and put them in automations and all kinds of stuff and this is great but for a rapid launch like this I like keep it very very simple whenever someone makes a purchase I make sure that they are tagged in my email marketing system as

a customer and this is used in two ways first of all on my second email there is a PS notice at the bottom of the email that says hey by the way there's this pre-launch offer going on in case you missed it until now click here to get it and that sends people directly to the sales page so this is in case the topic of the email the blog post might not

be interesting to someone so there's a reminder that it says hey by the way even if you don't go to this blog post check out my special offer but I make sure that this PS message is only shown to people who are not yet tagged as customers because I don't want to take up people's attention if they've already bought from me with something that's not relevant to them the second way in which

I use this simple segmentation is on the final email I sent this is about 24 hours before my special offer expires here I send a reminder email which is simply an email only about the course so this doesn't go to free content this isn't for a blog post this is just a message saying hey listen 24 hours or less left here's what you get in this course here's what this offer is about

click here to get it this links directly to the sales page this is basically the most sales e email that I send and this too is only sent to people who have not yet purchased because again I don't want to annoy people with messages that are irrelevant to them and that's it that's the simple segmentation that I used in this launch and in general I didn't use any advanced automation or marketing tools

or anything like this for this launch I have a countdown timer on the sales page but once that reaches zero I simply manually update the sales page and change the purchase buttons I don't have any automation setup for that on the ribbon I also just manually changed less than 24 hours left and I didn't put any automation or anything like that in place now this isn't to say that automation or advanced marketing stuff is

bad in fact this stuff is great and it can be super super valuable but it's great for when you've gotten something going when you have a launch done and now you're working on optimizing your sales page optimizing your funnel increasing your conversion rates then all of these tools amazing but it's important that we don't let advanced tools and features become obstacles for us in the early stages right in the early stages it's important to

get something out to make something happen and then as we keep growing and as we keep optimizing that's when more and more marketing automation advanced features and so on that's when they become really helpful so there you have it that is the total behind-the-scenes look at my entire launch sequence that I put together for an online course and like I said I did all of this acting as a solopreneur so the point

of this whole case study was not to kind of show off and you know put together the biggest launch I can and try to impress people's oh my god look we had a million-dollar launch or something because I honestly think that for most solopreneurs for most entrepreneurs that's just not very relevant of course it's exciting and we all want to do million-dollar launches but it takes a lot of time to build up an

audience and build up the skills and so on to get to that point and doing rapid launches like the one I just showed you that is how you get there that's how you build the experience and the audience and so on - in the future be able to do really spectacular big launches so this is a launch and the case study that shows you what you can do by yourself on a

relatively small scale now here's my question to you which of these seven strategies was your favorite strategy which one did you find most surprising and which one are you going to use for your next product launch also let me know if your next product launch would be your first one or if you've done this before I'm really curious to hear from you.

Creating Product Launch Strategy

Product Launch Strategy: Follow these 7 Steps for a RAPID Online Course Launchwhat does a successful product launch look like I mean what does it really look like because we can all talk about the theory of product launches and we've all seen more nice funnel graphics than we can shake a stick at but what is it like really look like in practice in the real world that's ...