How to Grow Your Wellness Business With an Online Launch
Online business differs from traditional, brick-and-mortar studios in dozens of important ways, but there are several old-school tactics, strategies, and practices that can be wildly beneficial to us online entrepreneurs. Our favorite strategy for quick cash infusions? The online launch.
Grand openings and launches may seem like they’d only be useful to boutiques and car dealerships, and it’s true that an actual grand opening with Costco cake and balloons is not possible in the online world. But a strategic launch can absolutely make or break the success of a new online product, offering, or course. So let’s talk about what a launch is, and how to stage one that will guarantee success and profitability!
What is an online launch?
As a wellness practitioner, you follow other luminaries in your field, right? And whenever one of them is gearing up to release a new book, workshop, or offering, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that they spend weeks and weeks dropping hints and ramping up to an official on-sale date. Then they give you a limited timeframe to buy before registration closes or with a special early-bird discount, and then the offering may disappear for several months before it’s available for sale again.
That’s the launch cycle in a nutshell. Here’s a closer look at the four components of a typical launch:
PRE-LAUNCH: This phase includes promotion and buzz-building for several weeks, generating interest and ensuring that readers and fans are talking about a product across multiple social platforms.
LAUNCH: After a calculated series of reminders, previews, and nudges, the official on-sale date arrives and purchases flood in! Registration/purchasing is available for a set number of days (usually five to ten).
DELIVERY: Once customers are registered and the shopping cart has closed, the class, workshop, or product is made available. There may be built-in interactivity for a period of time, which the entrepreneur manages as needed (such as within a private Facebook Group).
FOLLOW-UP: Once delivery is complete and/or a class has wrapped up, it’s essential to circle back with customers. Get their feedback, gauge their interest in future or similar offerings, and thank them profusely for participating. This is also a great time to gather testimonials.
How does this multi-phase launch model benefit a business?
Think about your favorite brand of toothpaste. You may have settled on it after reading an article or seeing a clever commercial, but it wasn’t exactly “hyped.” And you know it’ll always be there at Walgreens, waiting for you in ample supply.
Now think about a movie release. Months ahead of time you begin to see enticing previews, your desire to experience the film grows with each viewing, and once it’s released you know you have a limited timeframe in which to catch it before it leaves the theaters.
The second model is the one we’re using here. An online course or workshop could certainly be offered every week of the year, but creating a sense of urgency and limited supply drives purchasing behaviors. If you know something will only be available to you for a limited time, you’re much more likely to pull the trigger and buy it. That fear of missing out (FOMO) mentality is what makes strategic online launches so effective.
How do I structure a launch?
Assuming the product, workshop, course, or offering itself is already planned out …
Beta test: Before you even consider selling your offering to the masses, ask a handful of trusted friends and colleagues to test it all out for you. Get their honest feedback, incorporate their suggestions, and if you have time, maybe consider beta testing again to a larger group, using the revised materials.
Start with the delivery date: The easiest and most efficient way to schedule your launch is to pick a reasonable delivery date for your course or product, and reverse engineer from that date. You’ll close the shopping cart a day or two before delivery. Then, working backwards, you can figure out when to open the shopping cart for purchases, and how long the pre-launch should last.
Offer free content during the promotional period: If you relentlessly remind your followers that you’ve got a great product coming out soon and they should really, really, REALLY buy it, they will tune you out. Fast. Instead, offer a free introduction that will give them a preview of what to expect from the paid product. A live webinar, Q&A, or mini PDF that becomes available the same day the shopping cart opens is a great way to encourage purchases. And even before that, pushing out valuable, related, FREE content in the weeks leading up to launch builds buzz and increases interest.
Ask for help: If you need technical input behind the scenes, don’t be afraid to hire experts. But also be sure to tap your network as you begin promoting. You can only reach your own audience, but guest posts and shout-outs from friends in your niche will get your offer in front of an entirely new population.
What can I do to make my launch run smoothly?
For starters, be sure to write and proof absolutely everything—from your sales page to every single promotional email—ahead of time. You may need to make some tweaks on the fly, but you do not want to be writing essential content and promoting like crazy at the same time!
Beta testing, mentioned above, can help you catch errors and smooth out bumps. Ask your testers to be honest and thorough, and offer them a generous thank-you gift for their time and attention to detail.
Most launches can roll out over the course of a month: Begin disseminating free content in Week 1, give out more free content and send invitations to the launch-day event/webinar/call during Week 2, Week 3 is launch week when the shopping cart opens, and Week 4 closes the cart and includes the delivery of or access to the product.
You may need to spend an additional month before your launch month planning, writing, and refining the promotional content you need. Give yourself plenty of time to do this. The better your launch kit is, the more likely your product is to reach its intended audience.
If you’ve spent six months building a stellar nutrition course or poured your heart and soul into a new membership program for new moms, it can be so tempting to begin selling it the moment it feels complete. Jumping into sales with no lead-up can actually be detrimental. It takes time and energy to generate excitement, spread the word, and give potential customers a free sample to entice them, and doing so is essential. Think about the concept of a launch: You’d never expect an airplane to jump directly to 30,000 feet without revving up on a runway and spending some time in ascent. Similarly, you can’t expect your online programs to burst onto the scene with no warning and become instantly prosperous. Set yourself up for success by creating a carefully tended runway before launching your vision into the world.
If you’d like to learn more about our favorite launch strategies, check out this checklist with the 25 Things You Need to Know Before Launching Your Next Online Course.