159. Your Launch Failed.. Now What?
7 June 2022 | By Salome Schillack
Let's talk about the F word.
Not that F word. I'm talking about failure.
You've spent months creating an online course. You're finally happy with it. The anticipation. The excitement. The adrenaline. Surely this is YOUR moment…..
But instead of hearing "cha-ching" from your bank account, you hear…..crickets.
UMMMM...what in the Zuckerberg is going on?
Before concluding you're a failure and selling online isn't your calling, or worse, that you're better off shutting down your online course, hear me out:
Failure is a critical part of success.
This week on The Shine Show, I get real with you. After years of experience and all the launches I've helped skyrocket to cyber success, a recent launch of mine flopped!
I know first hand how bad failure can feel. It's frustrating, confusing, consuming, and demotivating….but failure means you are one step closer to success. It's simply another way that didn't work!
Even though the results were vastly different to what I was expecting, and at the time I wanted to run away and hide, after unpacking the results I realized it hasn’t been a failure at all.
It’s been a huge learning curve that has opened up doors of phenomenal possibilities and new opportunities to win…big time!
And this isn't some Kumbaya campfire, airy-fairy, woo woo thing I'm telling you to make you feel good. A failed launch is actually a REALLY good thing. It means you have more data and experience, a better idea of where to pivot, and you are closer than ever to reaching success.
There's no need to unpack your results alone!
Tune in to the show and learn how to turn a setback into your greatest comeback, plus all the tea from my recent ‘failed’ launch to help you avoid the mistakes I made.
P.S If you are a committed online course launcher and you'd love to get the step-by-step formula to scaling your business fast, then The Launch Lounge is the place to be. Inside, you'll have access to industry experts, proven strategies that remove the guesswork, and tailored support that will suit your particular business because, as we all know, the 'one-size-fits-all' doesn't work! Ready to fast-track your success? Get on the waitlist here!
When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.
When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!
So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!
154. From Luxury Interior Design To Successful Online Course Creators with Sarah Cates of House Of Funk
Hello, and welcome to episode number 159 of The Shine Show. Today's episode is called, Your launch failed, now what? And at the end of this episode, I want you to feel really heard and seen and know that every feeling about a launch that didn't go the way you wanted it to go is okay. And I also want you to know that there really is no such thing as failing when you really know what it means to build an online business.
Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host, Salome Schillack and I help online course creators launch grow and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you are ready to be inspired, to dream bigger launch sooner and grow your online business faster then tune in because you are ready to shine. And this is The Shine Show.
Okay. You know that I am no stranger to lifting up my skirt and showing you my knickers. This is one of those episodes. I'm going to tell you about a launch that we did being the launch experts that we are - we launched. And yeah, it was a bit of not what we expected to launch, and I'm going to tell you about it. And then I want to talk to you about launches that fail and what to do about it.
So last year at the beginning of the year, so beginning of 2021, we did a launch for A-Lister and it was our biggest launch yet. That was the first month in my business that I made more than a hundred thousand dollars in one month. And it was a huge, happy, joyful occasion for me. And I celebrated the success thoroughly.
What I learned in that launch is something that I teach my students and something that I teach my clients and something that the launch loungers all know, and that is how to work out your most profitable customer journey. And what that means is you do some fancy spreadsheet work that I teach inside the launch lounge, to know where the people came from, who ended up buying your course, because you can be running ads for your webinar, or you could be running ads for your lead magnet until the cows come home. But unless you know, that lead magnet or that webinar actually resulted in people buying your course, you were just chasing cheap leads. And what we noticed was the majority of the people who bought A-Lister in 2021 were people who were already familiar to us. They were in our warm audiences.
So they were already on our email list. And that's great. It's good information to know, because then you can replicate that. So now I knew that what I need to do next is I need to build my list tremendously, and then invite only the people on my list to the webinar. If I want to grow this launch. What I did not take into account was, a) The effect of iOS one year later, b. The effect of the world economy one year later, and c. The effect of something going really weird in our email list and our email open rates suddenly plummeting. There's something else we learned later too, is that all of the lead gen ads that we ran were actually such poor quality leads that also contributed to negative writings on our email, but also in our launch. So I went into the launch this year in March, based on the data I had collected a year ago.
And that data told me, build my email list and launched to my email list and did not take all the other things into account, which I couldn't have known because you don't know these things until the fat lady has sung. And the game is over on your launch and your cart is closed and you are left with results that either meet your expectation or didn't meet your expectation. And if it didn't meet your expectation, we use the F word. No, not that one. Fail, that one. We use the F word, if it did not meet our expectation. Well, the other one may be a little bit too, but we also create negative feelings. We have negative feelings, and that's why we call it failure, is because it feels yucky because we put money into this and we pour our emotions into this. And we set our expectations for the future based on historic performance.
And we think we're very smart and we think we know a lot. And then entrepreneurship happens and it is not pretty. What ended up happening is I was so confident that this plan of mine is going to work, that I spent $30,000 in the first three months of 2022 on list building. I went hard on list building, and I used conversion ads, like I teach you to do. And I used lead gen ads, like I teach you to do. And I was willing to risk the Lead Gen ads, not being quality ads, because I wanted top quality leads because I wanted to taste it. I wanted to see because for some people in some niches they're great, for others in other niches, they're not. So I dropped my 30K and then our email open rates started dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping steadily.
And I wasn't paying too much attention to it. I was busy with other things. And then we sent out webinar invitations, and we had about a third of the registrations we required. And we had about a third of the webinar registrations proportionately that we had a year ago. And we hosted the webinars. And I don't know if you've been on my A-Lister webinar. If you've been on my A-Lister webinar, send me a DM and tell me how much fun my A-Lister webinar is. I mean, I can honestly say, I don't think there's anyone else who dresses up in feathers and who is as entertaining as I am. I can claim that when talking about Facebook ads, maybe when talking about marketing in general, I pride myself on how entertaining my webinar is and what I love about our webinar is people stay until the end. They stay all the way through. They love the A-Lister webinar. They stay and they stay and I'm waiting for them to buy and they're not buying.
And they send me messages and they say, they love the webinar, but they don't buy. And I'm not sure what's going on. And my emails don't get opened and my messages aren't landing with them and they're not clicking. And it's this weird cyber quiet that you would never expect in the middle of a launch, just this weird cyber quiet. And at the end of that launch we did a few things to increase the sales and pulled a few hats out of rabbits, rabbits out of hats. And I genuinely believe that the students who should have been there are there and the ones who shouldn't isn't. And I know in my heart of hearts, that it is exactly the way that it should be, but I had to take a moment to get to that place to say, hold on. This is exactly the way it should be, because my expectation was that it was going to be different.
My expectation was that it was going to be financially a different outcome. And so I had to very quickly adjust my expectation, which goes along with adjusting my plans for growth in the business for 2022, which goes along with suddenly a lot of things I thought I was going to be able to do. I can't do anymore because the cash just isn't there, or I have to find the cash somewhere else. But the bottom line is I had a financial expectation and my expectation wasn't met. I ended up making my 30K back, but I didn't make any profit. Who else? Tell me one other online course launch marketer teacher, who would tell you that. I want you to know that because I want you to know that I get real with you. And even with all the years of experience, this happens to us as well.
Now, since then, I've spoken to a whole bunch of my friends and a whole bunch of colleagues and a whole bunch of other smart marketing people in the industry. And it seems it's a bit of a... I want to call it a pandemic going around for people like us. People who sell on... I call it like vague online marketing niches. We teach you that the riches is in the niches. And then we build businesses on building online course. And it's not a niche at all because I have clients in the interior design space whose launches for creating a business has done tremendously well, we have a student in the launch lounge who teaches people how to start a business as a doula. And she has done it tremendously well. People who teach people how to start businesses selling flowers, do tremendously well.
People teaching people how to create businesses, turning their art into sellable things, digital things they do very well. It's these double niches. It's not just create an online business. It's create an online business in a specific niche. They're doing very well, but us general, start an online business, start an online courses business. I believe that it's because we're not niche enough. And it's also because I've heard this from all of us in the same sort of space, but the evidence suggests that those who are in niche specific industries, they are still doing really well. So why do I tell you this? Because I want to reframe what failing really means. I want to share with you what data you have to look at and learn from before you throw the baby out with the bath water, which I see so many people do.
It's tempted when you have that feeling of disappointment to just go, "Oh, this is just never going to work." And then throw the baby out with water or to suddenly make such a large pivot that you have to basically start from scratch or like me, like what I did why back in 2016, go back to your day job. Yeah, we don't want to do that. I want to explore with you in this episode, what you are going to do now, if your launch failed to meet your own mental and emotional needs and the financial needs of your family so that you can move forward with joy, with lightheartedness, with fun and with playfulness as you continue to explore your journey and how that unfolds. So let's talk about what does failing really even mean because as far as I'm concerned, when I think back about where I learned the meaning of failure, I think about school.
I think about sitting in a classroom for a year and being taught, let's say 12 or 13 or 24 chapters from a handbook. And let's say every month I had to memorize the content of a specific chapter. I don't know why I'm specifically thinking back at my biology class, but I'm thinking about biology and how one semester was all about cells. And I remember the mitochondria and all the things. The nucleus and all the things in cells. I literally remember memorizing these things like a parrot. And then you get to the halfway mark of the year and they test how well you've memorized these things. And if you've done a great job memorizing things, you either pass the test or you fail the test.
And so there's a degree of understanding principles that were taught to you in math and science and a degree of memorization in history and biology, you just have to memorize the stuff and regurgitate it. And if you're like me and you can cram a whole lot of information into your head in a really short time, then you pass. Even if you go on a coffee diet and don't sleep much two days before, like I did in my final year of school, but you can clearly see, I don't remember much from biology.
I have blocked everything from science out, but in school we learn that there is such a thing as passing or failing and the passing or failing is determined by how well we can memorize something compared to our peers. This is important. You pass or you fail based on how well you can record regurgitate, remember, and action compared to your peers. Think about that for a second. Think about that when you are in an online course or a membership like the launch lounge, and you feel you are behind, or you feel you are just not as good as insert star students name, or you feel you want to hold back. Because the question you want to ask might be not such a smart question.
It comes from school when we were compared to our peers, when we were told there's one straight line towards passing and that straight line is determined by how well we do the things that someone else tells us to do. And I want to challenge that today. I want to challenge that belief because so many of us start off with a great idea and we think we should set a goal to help us achieve that. And maybe that goal is to grow our lists to a hundred people in 10 days, or maybe the goal is to sell 20 coaching packages in this launch.
And those goals become kind of passing the exam. If I hit my goal, I've passed the exam, which also means that if I didn't hit my goal, that must mean I failed and therefore I must be behind, but how can anyone else be competing in the same game as you? How can anyone else be on the same pathway as you? How can anyone else even remotely be the person who gets to decide whether you're far enough into deep enough onto all the success measures? Every milestone, every ruler, every parameter we use that has that dichotomy of pass versus fail on it.
How can anyone else impose parameters like that on us? And how can they in any way, shape or form have the same parameters as us? Because no one does, nobody, not the person who's in the same niche as you, not the person who is also single mom, not the person who also has three jobs, not the person who also has nine kids, not the person who also is sitting in a day job still because none of us have the same gifts. None of us have the same creativity. None of us have the same brain capacity. None of us have the same imagination. None of us have the same desire to make this very specific change. The very specific impact that you want to make. And so therefore I want you to consider for a second, that what you learned in school is failure has absolutely nothing to do with your journey. As an entrepreneur, it is impossible to fail at this.
There is nothing that you can lose and yes, I mean money by that as well. There is nothing that you can lose because you cannot lose when your goal is to explore how this works. You cannot lose when your goal is to explore how this will spark joy for you. You cannot lose when your goal is to see how many people's lives you can impact and change and help. You cannot lose when your goal is to see how many people you can connect with and move them to a space where you can help them. You cannot lose at this. It is impossible. When we feel like we've failed, it's because we have a comparison to that preconceived expectation. It's a black and white, there's a score we get. And when we hit the goal, we set out to hit, we pass. And when we don't, we fail. The trick here is to know you are on a journey. And to know that the results you get in your launch is only an indication of where to go next.
All right, now I want to change the tone a little bit, because now that we know that nothing is lost, nothing is gained. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong, nothing is broken. It's all just one giant game. Let's turn our attention to what to do next. Inside the launch lounge, I teach our students that there are many variables that they need to consider when they're launching their courses. There are different ways of tasting your product. There's different ways of tasting your message, your offer, your audience and your market. We don't just swap and change and stop and start without actually analyzing the data from our launches. Because if there are 10 data points that you need to track, because there are 10 different actions people needed to take as they move through your launch or as they move through your funnel. And five of the data points were executed exceptionally well.
And your data hits all the points that you needed it to hit. And five of the other data points did not. Then you have at least half of places in your funnel where you can do different things and half that you need to keep the same, that you should not change because they already work. And it could be that just one of those five makes all the difference suddenly if you get.
If my email open rate was higher in that launch lounge, in that A-Lister launch, if my email open rate had been higher, then I would've had more webinar, registrants and more webinar registrants. If all things stayed the same, would've made more sales. So it could be one place in your funnel where you lost most of your traffic. And that can make all the difference. Now, if you throw the baby out with a bath water and you decide, well, it failed. And so I am not going to do anything else about it. Then you deny yourself the joy of seeing what actually worked and just because it didn't result in money, doesn't mean a lot of things didn't go really well. So if we consider that there are three main things in every launch that needs to happen. You need an audience, you need traffic.
You usually get that either from social media or from ads or from your email list or a combination of the three, you also need an offer. You need to have a compelling offer. Something that somebody really wants and is willing to part with the amount of money you're asking for it, willingly and joyfully and a sales page and email copy that goes along with that offer. And it needs to be good. And the third piece that you need, that needs to be... I want to use the word say funnel appropriate is a launch mechanism. And what do I mean by that? I mean, a webinar, a video series, a challenge, a live event, a workshop, something, it's the thing that you invite people to where you take them on a sales journey. And at the end of you say, "The cart is now open." Now some of those mechanisms are more expensive to fill like webinars. So it doesn't make sense to run ads to a webinar. If you're selling a $27 product, does make sense to send them to a prerecorded video on a sales page.
Maybe it makes sense if you're selling a $2,000 course to create a three part video series, maybe if you're selling a two $97 thing to create a five day challenge, see the launch mechanism that you use is determined by the price point and the price point again has an impact on the size of your audience. So you can see how these three things, your audience, your offer that has a price attached to it. And your launch mechanism are really kind of forms a vein diagram. And the three things need to work well together. And unless you have the support of someone like me or my team, then it might be harder for you to figure out which one of those three things worked, which one didn't, which parts within the three worked or didn't. So metrics that I want to share with you here. So you can start working on this right now that you can analyze and use to analyze your data.
When you're looking at your launch, results is number one. Did you get enough people to your launch event? Number two, did they show up for your launch event? Number three, did they actually hear the pitch? Because it's possible that they showed up for two thirds of the webinar or they opened the first two of the four videos, emails that you sent, but they didn't actually open video number three and number four. So did they actually hear the pitch? Did they see your sales page? A lot of people come to me crying because they didn't make any sales. And I say, "Well, how many people did you have on your sales page?" And they say, "Oh, there were eight people on my sales page." And I go, "That is statistically insignificant."
We need statistically significant number of people on there. Because if the rule of thumb is that 10%, 20%, 5%, 2% of people on your sales page are going to convert. Then eight people's not going to get you there. And the last thing I ask everyone at the end of a launch who feels dissatisfied with their results is, did you survey them to find out why they didn't buy? Definitely send out a survey to all the non buyers, find out why they didn't buy nine out of 10 times it's going to be money or time. Money or time is never really a reason. Only rarely a reason. If they say money or time, then there are always things you can do to help them see that your course is worth their money and their time. So it kind of comes back to your offer when they say money or time.
I want you to know that not many people. In fact, I think in all the years that I've been doing this, I have maybe come across one or two people out of thousands and thousands who were fortunate enough to have a great idea for a course, set up some ads and make a great profit right from day one. They are unicorns. Probably best for my and your sanity that we accept. We are not unicorns, but there's so much joy in the journey. And if all this is feeling it's too much pressure for you and you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, please know that it's okay and you are okay.
You, your life, your business, it's all a journey. It's all a game. It's all an experiment. When our babies are learning to walk and they fall down, what do we do? We don't tell them to quit. We tell them to keep trying. We play games with them. We encourage them. We go stand a little bit further. We find a bright colored toy. We nurture them every time we they fall, we tell them it's okay. We give them the courage to stand up and know that it is still safe. It is still safe to learn to walk. Even if you fell down and they naturally keep getting up and eventually they're running all over the place and you are exhausted for a whole nother reason.
So why can't we give ourselves the same love, the same patience and the same understanding of that learning cycle. Our mental health is so important in every aspect of our lives, but even moreso when we feel what we want to achieve, isn't working. I know it's cliched and I know I've touched on it already, but we need to remember that quote that Oprah says, "There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction." It's just life trying to move us in another direction.
I want to actually expand on that and say, failure is just life trying to move us in a better direction. And we just can't yet see what is better because we haven't been there. So go gently in another direction, explore your mental and emotional needs and the financial needs of your family so that you can take responsibility and do what you need to do to make sure you are providing for your family. While you figure this thing out, give yourself the love and the patience and the kindness that you need so that you can move forward with joy, lightheartedness, fun, and playfulness.
And remember that you decide how your journey will unfold. Not your peers. You don't have peers. There are no peers because no one is on the journey you're on. And after you've analyzed your data, after you've looked those numbers in the eyes, be kind to yourself and try not to let the heaviness take over. The lighter you can feel the better you'll be able to pick up and move on in a new positive direction with renewed energy and hope and with a new sense of creation, because that is what you're doing here in the first place you're using your creative energy to create.
And that creation that you are going to sell to other people is going to spark new joy, spark new things for them. So hold on to that and know that there is always hope. So I think you will see if you're paying attention to the things that I'm doing and to A-Lister. I think you'll see that we are having fun with it. We're playing with it. We're trying to really listen to you, to anyone else who is wondering about it. We're really trying to hear what it is that this new space that we find ourselves in, what it is that we need to hear in order to bring a product that is a phenomenal product to more people in a way that they can see that it is a good thing that will serve them. So keep a lookout at what I'm doing. Feel free to send me an email, feel free to send me a DM.
I would love to hear from you and go lightly my friend, be kind to yourself. If things aren't exactly where you want them to be, have a great week. Bye.
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