When she launched her program, nobody enrolled. (It was rough. The crickets didn’t even bother to show up.)
We had just worked around 80+ hours over the past thirty days -- the equivalent of around $4,000 -- to create this thing and now that it was finished, it turns out that nobody was interested.
My client was crushed. When the idea for the new program had come to her, she had been so excited that she had gone full steam ahead without slowing down to wonder whether her audience even needed what she was creating.
But that’s not where the real problem began. Since there was so much effort being put into the creation of the program, there was very little time and energy left over to put effort into thinking about how we would position and launch it.
We both made an expensive mistake, which was not slowing down to ask ourselves questions that would have given us a very different and much more profitable outcome.
While it was a really sucky experience, it’s one of my favorites for highlighting how critical it is to build the skill of asking questions as a business owner.
And after launching several digital programs, products, group coaching programs, and marketing campaigns, I’ve learned a thing or twelve about which questions can make the most impact on your bottom line and your sanity.
Here are four questions that will definitely improve your next launch.
Questions to Improve Your Next Launch
1) Why have I decided to launch this thing?
A client of mine had decided to create and launch a group program, so we set out to figure out what it would look like. But after almost a month of her not doing anything around it, I asked her a variation of the question above.
Turns out that she had been pushing herself to create this group program because she really wanted to have one (because all of the other successful coaches did) and not necessarily because it was what her clients needed or wanted from her.
However, you might get a very different answer to this question that reinforces your decision to launch your thing. When I asked myself this question about an upcoming offering, I had answers like, “Because it’s a low-risk way to be introduced to my offerings, it’s another level of accountability for the student, and because my students have been asking for this exact thing for the past two years. Oh and because I need a place to keep the archives since I’m leaving Mailchimp.”
It fulfilled profitability, needs of the student, desires of the student, and practicality.
Just writing it out made me feel more confident about my decision.
2) What are my expectations for how this launch will go?
When we start creating a project or planning a launch, we all have expectations of how we think it will go (and if you’re like me, they ping pong between wildly optimistic and uber-depressing).
My initial expectations for a launch I just started working on was, “I’m pretty sure this offering is going to make me a recurring $5k a month and everyone will buy it right away and I’ll feel super successful and everything will be perfect.”
Once I realized that I had this very high expectation, I could sit down and measure it. You know what happened when I did? Well, only around 75 people (instead of my projected 900) were interested. Not quite the $5k-interest I expected.
3) And speaking of expectations, what are my goals?
Typically when entrepreneurs create goals for their launches, they do something like this:
“I want 20 people to sign up for the first level of this offering and 15 to sign up for the next level. I also want to build my email list by 100 people during the launch period.”
Sometimes, if they’re really into goal-setting, they might say something like, “You know, just to be conservative, it would be good to have 10 people sign up, it would be better to have 15 sign up, and it would be great to have 25 sign up.”
(Yep, I’m guilty as charged. Very, veryyyy guilty.)
However, this system of goal-setting completely moves the ball out of our courts (which is, ahem, not where the ball should be).
Here’s what to do instead (and props to my favorite business witch, Carolyn Elliott, for this tip): figure out what you want your outcome to be, then triple it, and choose a task that you have agency over to reach it.
For example, I want 200 students to take me up on this offer, which is 1k in sales. That means I need to ask enough people to make 3k in sales. So I need to offer this to 600 people instead. Considering I have a list of around five thousand people with a 40% open rate, this is a very possible goal.
4) Why might this launch fail (to meet my expectations)?
This is one of my favorite questions because it’s makes me the most uncomfortable. It’s not always fun to think about why what I planned might totally suck.
But I also can’t afford to not ask myself this question. Because the most essential pieces -- aka the areas where I need to be spending my time -- of the launch are highlighted.
The copy might not be compelling enough. I might not do enough consultation calls. I might spend too much time on Pinterest. My strategy might not be the right one.
So now I can make a point to stress-test my copy and to allot blocks of time in my calendar for consultations.
These four questions are meant to disrupt your routine, and I hope they’ve done just that. Because after all of the hard work you’ve put into creating your thing, you deserve a launch that exceeds your expectations, that serves your clients, and that puts money in your bank.
And when you’re done with those? Find new questions to ask.