Mastering the Art of Launch Planning: 6 Steps for a Successful, Stress-Free Live Launch

by | Jun 7, 2024

Live launching. 

Two words that can strike fear, a barrage of emotions, dopamine hits, and multiple “when-is-this-going-to-end?” moments, all at once.  

One of the ways to slow down the rollercoaster of emotions and a slew of (not-so-nice) surprises that are part and parcel of live launches is to plan for them WAY in advance. Before the pre-pre-pre launch wheels are set in motion. 

Note: The “pre-pre-pre” is not a typo. 

If you plan for a live launch this fall, I recommend you start three months in advance, especially if it’s a high-ticket offer. 

Here are the steps you’ll want to take. Please note that this isn’t a strictly linear process. The steps outlined below build on each other, but you’ll find you may need to back up a step or two as you get more clarity or need to make changes.

Step # 1  Master the Foundation: Set the Stage for a Seamless Launch by Listing the Basics

  • Your offer (is it a new or an existing offer).
  • Sales dates: list open and close cart dates. Consider team members’ schedules and seasonality. For example, if it’s a summer launch and your sales are typically low, you’ll want to avoid this period. 
  • Offer price, payment plans, unique value proposition, and money-back policy.
  • Audience: are you targeting more than one audience type for this launch (For instance, do you want to sell this to beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners?)?
  • Audience invitation plan: paid ads, social, IG stories, podcast mentions, etc. 
  • Downsells (i.e., cart close sales strategy) and upsells.
  • Surprise bonuses (usually not advertised on the sales page): will you offer an open cart, fast action, mid-cart, or early enrollment bonus? 
  • Offer bonuses: These are bonuses that you’ll share on your sales page from the get-go. 
  • Launch style: what mechanism are you using to convert leads into sales? Webinar? Challenge? Quiz? Paid workshop? A combination? 
  • Create a launch flow using funnel mapping software. This flow encapsulates the priming, pre-launch, launch, and post-launch phases. 
  • Lead-to-customer journey: Map out the customer journey for your audience as they go through your launch flow.

Let’s assume you’re launching an existing offer (open and close cart style). Here’s what you do next… 

Step # 2  Set Clear Objectives: Drive Success with Targets by Determining Your Launch Goals 

  • Pull out the most recent launch debrief for your offer. Study the numbers and what tactics worked well and what didn’t. 
  • Establish your new launch goals (i.e., good, better, and best).
  • Determine the audience size needed to meet your sales goals. 


At this point, it’s a good idea to revisit Step 1 and make sure you’re in alignment with the list of basics outlined, particularly the audience aspect. If a certain marketing strategy or tactic worked well in a previous launch, it might be worth repeating it in the next launch.

Step # 3 Expand Your Reach: Fuel Engagement and Grow Your Audience by Creating an Audience Growth & Engagement Plan

  • Organic efforts (this will correspond with your priming and pre-launch phases. What top-of-funnel content will you create to increase the number of interested humans in your launch pipeline?)
  • Paid efforts: Consider audience exclusions. Are there any sections of people you do not want to serve the sales ads?

Before you start circling launch dates and creating assets, it’s a good idea to check in with your team and revisit steps 1, 2, and 3. Is there anything that’s “nice to have” versus “need to have” on it?

Launch debriefs usually have a list of improvements and recommendations. Improvements  that are quick (i.e. low hanging fruit) don’t take up a lot of your team’s resources. Action right away! 

Ones that have more complexity, cost, and time involved need to be weighed against the benefits to your audience.

Step # 4 Plan Meticulously: Align Your Launch Timeline for Optimal Results by Getting a Calendar and Circling Dates for all Launch Phases

  • The Priming phase: A.K.A. “pre-pre-pre” launch 😀 This could be a 1-2 week period. 
  • Pre-launch phase: Anywhere from 2-3 weeks .
  • Open cart phase: anywhere from 4-10 days.
  • Close cart phase: Up to 3-5 days. 
  • Mark the dates when the ads will turn on. 

Note: The durations for each phase are approximates. You can decrease or increase the length that works best for you. Please factor your business’s seasonality, audience buying patterns, and engagement levels with your leads to inform your decisions.

    Step # 5 Build Your Arsenal: Equip Your Launch with High-Impact Assets by Identifying the Sales and Marketing Assets You Need, by When, and Who’ll Own Them

    • Need to burn down your entire sales page or make some tweaks? 
    • Need to add a single sales email to the funnel? 
    • Test a new video for the webinar registration page? 
    • List the names of team members responsible for the assets.
    • Don’t have a non-buyers survey in place? Create one. 

    Note: You can use the same sales and marketing assets for a “repeat” launch, especially if they converted well for a previous launch and if they’ll be used for a “new” audience. Audit the copy to make sure the messaging, offer, and audience are still relevant.

    Step # 6 Streamline Operations: Empower Your Team for Peak Performance by Assigning Appropriate Resources and Team Members

    Depending on the size of the launch; you’ll want to delegate resources and responsibilities to team members. Launches are definitely not the time to run things solo! 

    Now that you know the assets (Step 5) needed, you’ll want to address your team’s questions or concerns so they encounter minimum (no such thing as zero) obstacles in order to create the assets for the launch. 

    Here are the resource categories that I like to use:

    1. Copy 
    2. Tech/automations/email segmentation
    3. Design
    4. Video
    5. Live chat questions/scripts
    6. Social Selling questions/scripts 

     

    And for each category, I’ll anticipate the questions the team may have or potential obstacles along the way. Here’s an example:

    Category Questions
    Copy

    1. Do we have Voice of Customer data to inform the messaging?

    2. Do we need to refresh our testimonials, add more relevant case studies, or social proof for every launch asset?

    3. Do we have reasons why our students bought from us (i.e., previous round of intake questionnaires)

    4. Have we updated our brand voice guide since the last launch? Anything we want to include/avoid?

    5. Do we need to hire a copywriter, editor, or market researcher to help on this project?

    Tech/automations/

    email segmentation

    1. Do we have our “launch list” ready? 

    2. Do we have our software up and running?

    3. Do we need backup tools/platforms in case one fails during the launch?

    4. Do we need to turn off any automations while we run this launch?

    Design 1. Are we using existing brand guidelines or is this completely new branding?

    Overall, the most important thing you want to nail during a launch planning session is the scope. Particularly when it comes to:

    Offer: The name, price, content, and who it’s for cannot change once the launch is activated. Notice I didn’t mention bonuses. These can change, as long as they’re relevant and in alignment with your core offer. You may have three surprise bonuses and may end up using only two. 

    Audience: If you’ve identified advanced learners for your core offer because data tells you that it works best for them, you don’t want to include beginners and intermediate learners too to see if they’ll bite. Remember, more than one audience means different messaging in emails, and most likely different pre-launch content. It’s not impossible to do it, just that it needs to be planned in advance.

    Wrapping up….

    While there’s so much more you can include in the planning stages of a launch, I’ve limited it to these six steps. 

    Launches are a beast in and of themselves. 

    Planning for a successful launch, as well as for contingencies and pivots, is the name of the game. And the more you can refer to a proverbial launch “drawing board” – the better you anticipate what’s to come. 

    Need help planning an upcoming launch? Let’s talk!

     

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