Five lessons I learnt from launching

A membership community had been on my mind for years.

Looking back through my notebooks, it consistently popped up in my jottings, but I was so busy working "in" my business that I never had - or more realistically, never "found" - the time to properly explore the idea.

That changed, when this year I knew it was time to play a bigger game. I knew I didn't want to do this by expanding our already full client list and growing my team to deliver mainly one-off projects.

Instead I knew that evolving my business meant taking part of it online so I could support, teach and help more business owners with their marketing on an on-going basis.

So in late June 2018, after completely immersing myself in membership education - podcasts, blog posts, speaking with those who have created their own and researching other membership models - I knew it was time to actually DO it and create my own.

Right or wrong, I am generally someone who makes a decision and moves fast, so a month after committing to the decision, I opened the doors with my first launch (in late July).

I am also someone who goes by the notion "done is better than perfect" - and I prefer to learn as I go, rather than wait and try figure it all out beforehand. This means I have a few learnings I can share with you about launching!

So here goes:

1. The prelaunch period is just as important as the launch period

My initial launch strategy could be best described as minimal! I planned on letting my current audience know that doors had opened - and ASAP. [Have I mentioned that I'm not very patient?!] However, after a discussion within my Mastermind, I decided to do a pre-launch promo, rather than just 'open the doors'. 

I ran a promo for 1x week letting my audience know about a free Instagram Training I was offering, then I delivered this free training content over the following week, ending with an invitation to join my new Membership Community, where I had doors open for a further week.

This prelaunch activity doubled my list size, which meant I had double the number of targeted people to share the message about my membership to.

Next time, I plan to extend the prelaunch period to much longer than one week.

2. You will (and should) get outside your comfort zone

I am an introvert at heart - so filming Facebook and Instagram live videos isn't something I wake up hanging out to do! But after the first couple of live videos, I can honestly say I had fun doing them! And they helped me connect with new people - now members. There's nothing like showing up and being there raw and real to create connection.

3. It’s more work that you think

Look - it's a little embarrassing to admit this, but I naively thought that launch week would just involve me sending a few emails to my community. Um - no, Emily!!

I had an influx of people contacting me on alllll the different platforms with questions; new members to welcome; more content to create; technology to set up (and fix!)... it was a whoooole lot more work and energy than I had expected (despite warnings from others!).

4. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions

Yep! The first day or two and the last day or two is when the most people tend to sign up to things (programs, courses, whatever!). And those days in the middle?? Well you wonder if anyone else is going to join - and you can psych yourself out. Hang in there! Just after I opened the doors, I learnt that we can expect 5% of people from our community (whether that is our Facebook group or email list) to convert / buy. It was a huge help hearing that as it allowed me to check my expectations, while giving me a solid indication as to how many members I could expect.

TIP: Consider offering a fast-action bonus to encourage more sales in the first 24 - 48 hours

5. It’s an analytics heaven

There is SO much to learn during and after a launch, like discovering what copy or messaging people respond to most, which Facebook ads convert best, what your average conversion rate is on sales pages... and I can’t wait to do it all again in a few months’ time, refining what I learnt.

So there you have it - the five lessons I learnt from launching. Can you relate? Have I missed anything that you learnt? Let me know in a comment below!