Profile photo of Jenn Herman
Jenn Herman
March 10, 2016

8 Lessons Learned From My Launch That Can Help You

One of the things I love to do with my blog is to share my real experiences with things that you too are likely to encounter. And that’s what this post is all about!

You likely know by now that I recently launched a new Instagram marketing community, called Jenn’s Friends. And this was honestly the first time I ever really launched something. Yes, I’ve written books or added new services in the past but I kinda just put them out there. I might have teased their release a little and done a little promotion, but there definitely wasn’t a strategic campaign plan to alert the world to my newest venture.

This time was different. And, wow, did I learn a lot! But before I tell you all about my first real launch, let me tell you more about why I did it. Because this is important too.

So, obviously, I’m trying to run a business here and I’m looking for ways to scale the business and make more money. I LOVE doing one-on-one work with clients for a lot of reasons. But as many business owners know, this isn’t always practical and it significantly limits the amount of customers you can have. And, let’s face it, at my rates, it would take a LOT of hours in the day to make the big bucks ?

That’s why I came up with Jenn’s Friends. It’s my chance to still offer highly personalized support, training, and interaction with my clients, but in a much more scaled way. I can create the content each month ONCE and share it to all the members of the community. I can have group spaces to interact with everyone but they can also interact with each other, offering new levels of support and guidance that even I can’t manage alone. So, it’s a time saving way to get more value to my clients – that’s a win-win!

And I have put a LOT of heart, thought, and work into this program. I am passionate about it and know that it can help my customers. And I want to scream it from the roof tops so that everyone can see how awesome this could be for them.

You see, this is important. Because a launch will wreck you. So you need to love what you’re promoting. You need to wholeheartedly believe in it and want to share it with the world.

This leads me to my first lesson to share with you…

1. You Will Want to Give Up

Ask anyone who’s executed a full launch and they’ll tell you, at some point along the way, they wanted to throw in the towel.

It’s pretty much inevitable. The amount of work, chaos, challenges, emotions, and more that you go through will nearly break you.

But, if you really believe in what you have to offer, you’ll forge on. And it will be worth it.

2. Get Help

Oh. My. God. Get help!

This should be the one and only real lesson.

Whether it’s people on your team or someone you can contract to help you, trust me, they will become your saving grace.

For me, it was my wonderful web designer. [Unaffiliated plug: Leah at Loop Digital is freaking amazing!]

Seriously. I emailed her and said, hey, I’m doing this launch, can you help me? I gave her some insight into what I wanted to do and what I needed her help with. She, of course, had all the answers, told me how much it would cost. And for the first time in my business, I didn’t second guess the expense. I said yes without question. Best. Decision. Ever!

She seriously did all my backend work. Set everything up. Answered every email and question I had. Some of which were at 10:00 at night. And on the morning of the launch, she hovered nearby, in the background, to make sure it all went smoothly. Like I said – freaking awesome!

But there is NO WAY I could have done this launch without her. The amount of work and expertise she brought to the project was worth every penny and more. Because it saved my sanity. No joke, this would have taken me a year if I had been silly enough to do it all myself.

So, please, find someone to help you. In whatever capacity you need it. Know your limits, know what you need help with. And don’t be afraid (or too cheap) to get the help you need. When all is said and done, the money you make from your launch should cover your costs to get it up and running, and then some.

3. Give Yourself More Time

You think you can pull off your launch in one month? Give yourself at least two more weeks! Think you only need a few hours a day? Ha! You’ll need more than you estimate.

Time is a commodity you will lose when you prepare a launch. It will fly out the window faster than you’ve ever experienced. So do yourself a favor and budget extra time into your launch schedule. You can thank me later.

4. Make Sure Everything Is Ready

Oh, not only will time flutter away taunting you as you try to hold on, but something will definitely go wrong.

This is the world we live in. We rely on technology in ways you don’t even know until you launch something and it’s pretty much a guaranteed bet (I would put Vegas odds on it, seriously) that something won’t go as planned.

Me? Oh yeah. We were supposed to launch on a Monday but PayPal was having problems processing my payment buttons (for recurring payments – btw, this was a whole other catastrophe trying to figure out!) and we literally weren’t going to be able to collect payments. Kinda hard to launch when you can’t get paid! So we pushed the launch to Wednesday in order to give some extra time to make sure everything was running and we could test everything.

You notice I said test… yes, test. Test everything. Sign up with every email you have to every option you have for purchase. Run every category. Try doing it wrong on purpose to see what happens. Read every piece of copy over again. Have someone else read your copy and instructions – does it make sense?

Like I said, make sure everything is ready.

5. You Have to Promote – A Lot

Think one or two emails letting people know your launch is open is going to seal the deal? Nope. Not even close.

You need to promote until you are so sick of hearing yourself talk about it that you do not want to send one more email. But then you have to send one more email.

In fact, your promotion should start way before your launch. Start teasing it to get people excited about it. I started teasing Jenn’s Friends months before I went live. I teased it when it was literally just an idea in my head. Nothing built, nothing on paper, no website, no social media groups, nothing. But I was already talking about it.

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And then as you get closer to your launch, you can start with your strategic campaign. Through emails and social media and whatever other methods you want to use (video sequence, webinars, etc.), start promoting your product or service. Over and over and over. If your launch has a closing date, you need to continue to promote all the way through that enrollment period and have a last hard push as you get ready to close the doors.

You may think people are tired of hearing about it. And they may be. But if you craft your marketing messages properly, you can provide new content, and different value in each contact so that they don’t get tired of hearing about your new launch.

For me, I did this campaign exclusively through email and social media. I opted not to do a more advanced launch with a webinar for my own strategic reasons. And because, I just quite honestly didn’t have the time. Next time, now that I’ve got a better handle on how to do everything else, I will probably offer a webinar.

I had a series of emails that went out to my whole list weeks in advance, all the way up to the day of the launch. And then I had a follow up campaign segmented for those who opened the launch announcement email but who didn’t register and another email for those who didn’t open the launch announcement email. This allowed me to target the message to the different audiences to boost responses.

6. Know Your Customer’s Why

This is super freaking important to your whole marketing campaign.

If you don’t know WHY your customers want it, how are you supposed to promote it to them? You could yell it at them until you’re blue in the face but if it’s not what they want, they’ll never buy.

So, before you even start promoting – heck, while you’re actually developing your item, you should be thinking about and figuring out your customer’s WHY.

Why would they want this? Why is it beneficial to them? Why would they spend money on it? Why would they be hesitant? Why do they need this now? Why would they want it from you?

That’s a lot to figure out! But each answer gives you that much more content to promote what you have to them!

How do you figure this out? Ask them! There are a variety of ways to ask, get creative.

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For me, I ran this one post on Instagram as I approached my launch as a way to find out what people struggled with most. I got a TON of answers which helped me craft my marketing campaign to their exact needs. I also turned to social media messages and emails that people have sent me – pulling out their exact wording for their challenges and reasons to want to work with me.

7. Buyers Range the Spectrum

Even if you know the answer to every WHY, even if you have the best promotional campaign, your buyers are all over the map.

Some will be ready to buy at the very first mention of your launch. These people are awesome, btw! Some will be ready after reading your emails or catching your webinar. Some will need even more convincing. Some will wait until the last minute. And some just won’t commit… but you might get them next time.

8. Be Readily Available

If you have something to sell and you’re offering to help your clients, then you’d better be ready to help. And that includes with the purchase process.

Those who aren’t ready to buy at the first mention will need your attention. Email. Phone. Social media comments. Direct messages. Telepathy (if you’ve got that working for you ? ). Seriously though, you have to be available to answer questions, help with the decision making process, and be there IN PERSON to welcome them when they do purchase. Yes, you should have an automated email campaign that triggers the moment someone purchases. But go beyond that. Be there in the live chat or in your social media group or on your social media account/page or wherever it is your new customers are going to be. Be there. Welcome them. Talk to them. Let them know this was the right decision.

Wrap Up

So, those are my key takeaways. I learned a lot! And I hope this helps you too. Launching something is a real commitment and if you’ve heard how easy it can be or how quickly it can be done, I beg to differ. Yes, there are a lot of tools and resources that can make the process easier, that I won’t deny. But a launch is a real pain in the ass!

Are you wondering how my launch went, now that I’ve shared my lessons? You know I’m all about transparency, so here’s the truth. It was ok. I firmly believe I made one crucial mistake.

I am a solid believer that you get what you ask for. It’s happened to me over and over again. When I “need” to hit a certain number, I almost always hit it perfectly. And I lost confidence on this launch. I knew (know) how awesome it is. I’m proud of it. But I questioned my ability to sell it to enough people. I kept saying “as long as I cover my costs” even though I knew I wanted much more than that. So, even though I had a number I wanted, I knew the number I needed. You know what number I got? The number I needed….

Well, I got a little bit more than that. But not nearly the number I wanted. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed because I believe everything is a learning experience and I’m still proud of my product and my launch. And those who enrolled in Jenn’s Friends are awesome! I’m loving getting to know them and working in a smaller, devoted community. But I will continue to promote the group (see the links throughout the article?) and I will do another “launch” again later this year (enrollment never closes). And I will hit the number I want on that one. That I can promise you.

So, there’s your bonus lesson… tell the universe what you need, and that you will get.

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Profile photo of Jenn Herman
Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.