How to launch during Covid
I just wrapped up my second pandemic launch for our Live Uncage Your Business program and whew — I’ve gotta say, it was tough.
Back in March, we had just started our pre-launch content when Covid hit and everywhere went into lockdown. I assumed the launch would be doomed. Everyone was losing their jobs — who was going to spend money on programs!?
Turns out — lots of people. People had more time on their hands. AND it was becoming more apparent than ever that NOW was the time to start their online business! We did surprisingly well considering the circumstances.
Fast forward 6 months later and we are STILL dealing with this pandemic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt pretty good going into it knowing that our launch content was solid, and that if we could do it at the most uncertain time of the pandemic back in March, surely we could do it now.
I was sort of wrong… and sort of right.
We DID do it — for the most part. We didn’t hit our launch goals (which now that I look back, were actually stretch goals in the first place since we had never enrolled that many students before at our new price level). But we did end up with the same number of students as last round, AND at the higher price point. So that is a huge win!
BUT — damn. It felt like a struggle. And for most of launch week, I wasn’t sure that we would even hit 50%of our goal. Which, when you have a team to pay, and endless business expenses — is pretty scary.
Success in a launch isn’t just all about me making bank and taking home a huge pay check — it’s about making sure we have the revenue to cover ALL the costs of running the business (at least 30% of revenue goes to expenses and that DOESN’T INCLUDE my team, which is another 20-25%). Plus those damn taxes!
Shit gets real when you grow your business.
And while people think the launch model is glamorous and a no-brainer easy way to make big bucks, in reality it can actually be quite stressful and many people decide NOT to run this business model after trying it, because SO much rides on it and if you flop well, you’re screwed and need to figure out plan B )and most people don’t have a plan B… myself included lol).
Luckily, I have always loved launching! I only do it twice a year and I am SUPER involved in the launch. Because I am so involved in our Live Uncage Your Business program, it’s important for me to model that during the launch. I want people to see and FEEL that I mean it when I say I show up for them in the program. Plus, it means I get to really vet all the students who join, and make sure that they are a good fit for the program, plus I get excited about getting to support them over the next few months!
While I always hustle and go above and beyond during launches, this one felt, well… harder.
I still pulled out some of my favorite selling tools, but I had to do a lot of extra nurturing and follow up to get people over the hump to signing up.
So I wanted to share some of my launch sales strategies with you. Because in the time of Covid and all the shit that is happening in the US with that asshat Trump, whether you’re launching a program or just trying to sell one on one spots, your sales strategy may need some tweaking, People are overwhelmed, exhausted, full of anxiety, and generally distracted. They often still need whatever you’re offering, but reaching them, keeping their attention, and getting to ‘yes’ that feels good for you both, is going to take more work. So best to be prepared!
My favorite selling tools during Covid (and always!)
1. Offer an extended payment plan
People want you to help them (or else they wouldn’t be reading your emails or following your content). But sometimes money really is a factor. I HATE when coaches say that money is just an excuse and if people really wanted it, they’d spend the money. That is simply NOT always true (it’s only 99% true lol). But there is still the 1% for whom money really IS the limiting factor, especially during Covid when the future is SUPER uncertain, it’s even harder for people to part with their cash.
To help you sell to those folks who either just can’t afford it (but who you KNOW need it), offer an extended payment plan.
Many coaches will disagree with this and I know some who do not do ANY payment plans. But I have a value around making it easy for people to get the help they need and for my audience (you! hi!), who are starting businesses but not making money from them yet, investing can be scary. Giving people a flexible way to pay helps make it a no-brainer to say yes.
I open up an 18month payment plan for Uncage Your Business when I launch live. Yes — a year and a half! For a 5 week program! Crazy right? Maybe.
It costs the business a lot of money to offer these payment plans, because people’s cards expire or decline, people miss payments, or default altogether. A large chunk of my VA’s job is following up on payment plans, updating people’s cards, and keeping payments up to date. But offering this option means we get to help more people get started in business sooner, and it is worth the risk to me.
And, when we open up this longer plan, we usually get 10-15 more sales than we would have otherwise – cha-ching!
Hot tip for payment plans: I always add an integrity disclaimer with my payment plans. This is what it says:
I offer this extended payment plan because I want to make starting your business EASY for you. A lot of people in my industry told me NOT to offer long payment plans. Why? Because
in other programs, some people take advantage of these payment plans and then “default”. Meaning they do the whole program and then stop paying after the
program is over, even though payments are still owed (womp womp).
BUT, I’m offering this, despite those warnings, because I trust in your integrity – as a business owner yourself, I am sure you can imagine what it would feel like
to have someone sign up for your program, take advantage of the material, and then cancel and not pay you. I know that as a biz owner you understand the value
of honoring your commitments, just like I show up 100% for my commitment to you by delivering you my absolute best when I deliver this program to you.
But seriously. Don’t be an ass and sign up for the payment plan if you don’t intend on paying. It’s a great way to set yourself for some bad business karma of your own,
and I don’t want that – I want you to have a roster full of amazing, paying clients that love you and make your job easy!
^^ Does this work? Had to say, but I don’t tend to have a lot of people who default or just cancel (around 1-2%), so I’d say it can’t hurt!
2. Follow up. A LOT.
One of the BEST things you can for your sales at ANY stage of business is follow up with people. This means if someone emailed you, DM’d you, or messaged you anywhere about your service, you make a note somewhere that reminds you to follow up. I can safely say that over 50% (probably more) of the sales I made in Uncage Your Business were because of following up.
I also like to make my follow ups personal. When someone emails me a question, I reply with a recorded voice message. You can even send a personal video if you use a service like Bonjoro, or Loom (I don’t do this because most of the time I’m in sweats and my house is messy and I have probably been picking at a zit on my chin and no one needs to see that).
If someone doesn’t reply, I follow up again in a few days (if you’re not in a time sensitive launch, you might want to wait a week). And I even follow up a 3rd time if I hear nothing back from them.
This might feel pushy to you if you are not used to it, but here is the truth – people are busy and distracted and if they catch your email at a busy time, they may read it and mean to respond, and don’t and then forget (it happens to me all the time! I LOVE when people follow up, and if I was on the fence about something, it usually bring it top of mind again and I usually end up purchasing). or people just miss your email in the first place, but might catch the second one you send.
Who do I follow up with? EVERYONE.
- anyone who has sent me an email during launch
- anyone who emailed me with questions about the program before launch
- anyone who commented on a FB or Instagram post showing any interest at all in Uncage Your Business
- anyone who was on the webinar and commenting a lot in the chat (I find their email from our system and send them a thank you note)
- anyone who shows up to our free coaching calls (more on those below)
- anyone I do a consult with
Basically, as many people as I possibly can. Sometimes I am directly checking to see what questions they have about the program. Sometimes I am inviting them to come to my free coaching calls. Sometimes I send a website review. Sometimes I am calling them out for saying they were signing up last night and then they didn’t – so I gently check in on any fears that may have popped up and address them.
I keep this simple and don’t use any fancy CRM systems. I add a star in Gmail next to their email. If it was outside of email, I put their name in my notebook with a note about what we were talking about and where we last communicated (ex: Jamie – life coach who just finished certification with CTI – FB messenger).
By the end of launch I usually have around 30-50 emails with stars, and a list of 20ish people in my notebook and on the last day, I email them ALL one more time as a courtesy to let them know that enrollment is closing,
When I started my business I probably would have thought this was pushy or WAY too salesy for me (that’s a whole other blog post!), but after YEARS of doing this, I have received countless emails thanking me for being persistent and showing that I actually care and answering all of their questions and taking the time to follow up. It take me HOURS each day during launch. But I don’t care. I love it, it feels great to have that personal connection, and it works.
Follow up is kind, not pushy. Make it part of your repertoire and see your sales soar.
3. Do as much LIVE stuff as you can
Whether you’re selling one on one or a program, the more people see of YOU doing your thing, the more they are likely to trust you and buy from you. Especially in a time when anxiety is high. People are craving human connection.
For my launches, I do a few things to keep this connection strong:
- Facebook lives weekly (or bi-weekly) leading up to the registration period
- 5 days of free coaching the week before we open – this gives people a chance to literally work with us for FREE and see how much value they get. I don’t hesitate to tell them to join UYB if I think they are a fit, but these coaching calls are mostly about giving value and helping people get to know my co-coach and I Erin. Value first, selling second.
- Live webinar the day cart opens — this lets me cover all the main pain points my clients have, show people a new viewpoint on WHY they are struggling, and offer them a different solution than what they have tried before. I also talk about the program in this webinar. If someone watches the webinar and really resonates with it, I know they will be a good fit for Uncage Your Business.
- Personal voice memos on Instagram, Facebook, and email (I just record a Quicktime audio and attach it to the email). People love knowing that it’s really ME that answers their emails, and this method of communication is actually easier for me as it lets me fully share what I want to share with them without the limitations of trying to type it all out.
- Website reviews — I offer free website reviews in my Facebook group. By looking at someone’s website I can very clearly see whether Uncage Your Business would help them (or not). I use Quicktime to record my screen and talk through my thoughts on their website,
ALL of the above methods convert extremely well into paying clients. The more of YOU people can see and get to know, the more they will trust you with their money,
All these marketing strategies work because they show people that you are actually listening to them care about them, and that there is a real human behind your business. Doing the things that do not scale is one of the best strategies you can adopt in your marketing.
Fuck automation. I vote for personalization.
Next time you launch something, whether it’s a huge group launch or just an email to your list announcing that you have spots open for a service, try these! And be sure to check in and let me know how they work for you.
PS. if you missed the live class, Uncage Your Business is also offered as a self-guided program! Get all the amazing clarity and confident you need – on your own time and schedule. Learn more here.