After writing a total of 64,238 words …
Drinking a mountain of sugar-free Red Bulls …
and pushing through a few sleepless nights …
I launched Ultimate Guide System, my first $997 product.
I made 34 sales totaling $36,381 in revenue, at a 0.56% list-to-sale conversion rate. This means that 0.56% of my email subscribers became paying customers.
Not only was this this my biggest product launch to date, I was also able to create a product that my students absolutely loved.
My students constantly talk about my course on social media:
And others who didn’t get to join are waiting in line to do it:
And today, I’ll show 15 key lessons that I learned from my product launch — everything from how I managed my pre-launch anxiety to the process I used to end my frustration while wandering around trying to find an idea that people would actually pay for
I’ll guide you through every step of the way — from finding an idea for my product, to validating it, to creating a world-class product and finally selling it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out with your business or already have 500 or even 5,000+ email subscribers; the lessons that I’ll share with you will help you go from an idea to a product launch faster, develop world-class products, and successfully sell them to your audience.
And because this is a HUGE post, I created a table of contents for you so you can jump directly to the parts that you’re most interested in:
Let’s dive in!
LESSON #1: When launching a new product, say no to all other business opportunities
There are lots of factors that contributed to my successful launch. But I’d like to recognize the choices I made that had a outsized effect on my process.
I decided to focus exclusively on developing and launching my new product, and saying no to everything that wouldn’t help me with the launch for the next three months.
That meant saying no to …
- writing about other topics that I wanted to talk about (like becoming a top performer or connecting with influencers)
- worrying about growing my email list
- podcast, partnership and speaking opportunities that came my way
- connecting with readers that asked for my help
The last one was the hardest by far.
A lot of my readers reach out to me nowadays for help with their business ideas, they invite me to jump on Skype calls with them, or even ask me out for lunch:
While I’m always happy to help others ambitious entrepreneurs, I knew that I couldn’t afford to spend three hours a day answering emails and Facebook messages if I wanted to successfully launch my product any time soon.
Still, even though I knew that I should say no to these requests, actually doing it was a lot harder. I didn’t want to be one of those people who ignore their readers. Wouldn’t that go against my values of helping people around me and making a bigger impact?
I mentioned my dilemma to a friend, and they linked me to this article from Ryan Holiday, which helped me reframe the situation and learn how to deal with people who “just ask for a little of my time.”
Instead of thinking that I’ll make a smaller impact if I don’t help these people right away, I reframed it into making a much bigger impact on a lot more people by developing and launching a world-class product.
Once I truly became committed to focusing only on launching my new product over the next few months, it felt like a huge boulder fell off my chest.
Instead of being overwhelmed by all of the things I could have been doing, I was able to stay laser focused on the things that I actually needed to be doing, and actually enjoy the launch process.
LESSON #2: Always test your ideas with your audience before deciding that they won’t work out
This is a conversation I was having with a friend of mine, after I helped a few online entrepreneurs create their Ultimate Guides:
Look at that screenshot again. Notice the date? I saw that people loved the concept of Ultimate Guides YEARS ago and I knew that they could get hundreds of email subscribers with them.
And yet … I thought that the most I could do with Ultimate Guides was write an e-book about them (which I never actually followed up on).
I never dreamed that people would buy a $997 online course and be happy to pay for it. At the time, I thought that creating Ultimate Guides was easy and straightforward, and that there was only so much I could talk about there.
Boy, I was wrong.
As I started creating Ultimate Guide System I realized that creating Ultimate Guides wasn’t easy for everyone … it was easy for me. I saw that there were actually a lot of things I could talk about when it came to creating Ultimate Guides.
How to pick the right topic and the title, what to cover, how to make it truly stand out from all the other content out there, driving traffic to them, converting the traffic into email subscribers, monetizing, and so on and so on.
And before I even started developing the product, I realized that people are willing to pay a lot more money for help developing their Ultimate Guides than I ever imagined. But the truth is, I never would have come to these conclusions if I didn’t do one critical thing:
I tested my idea.
As I was now older and wiser than two years ago (when I had the above text message conversation), I knew that you should never discount a business idea in your head before actually testing it with your audience.
I decided to spend a week or two actually validating the idea to see if there was something there, before moving on to something else. That same afternoon, I had a conversation with another entrepreneurial friend. He asked me what I was working on, and I said I was looking for some 1-on-1 coaching clients for creating Ultimate Guides.
He said he was interested in becoming a client, and asked me what I charged. I said that for $500 I’d help them him develop his Ultimate Guide, from start to finish. No matter how long it took.
He said “send me the invoice!”
So I did:
Later on, I found out that teaching others how to create Ultimate Guides took a lot more time than I thought, and also that people would be willing to pay a lot more for my help. Still, I’m happy that I only charged $500 for this project.
This first sale told me that this business idea could actually work and gave me enough confidence to move forward with the idea and continue testing.
LESSON #3: Get 3 paying clients for your idea before doing a big launch around it
At this point, I knew that the idea had potential, but I didn’t want to go and create a big online course around it just yet. After all, one paying client doesn’t mean I can charge three figures for a course. It means that SOMEONE is willing to pay SOMETHING. A start, but not enough.
Last August, I spent months creating and launching an online course called The Insider’s Club.
It was a product that talked about being the part of the “Insider’s Club” of people that get the best business opportunities, get invited to private events in their industry and get to connect with the people that they admire.
At least that’s what I sold it as.
If the idea seems “meh” or confusing to you, you’re right on point.
I thought this product would work after I wrote a post about becoming a super connector and seeing a critical mass of positive responses. But I should have validated the idea further. The Insider’s Club didn’t connect with my audience well. I actually got confused comments from my readers asking me if this was some kind of a community, when in reality I just wanted to teach my readers how to build authentic relationships with influencers.
I spent months on this product launch, but it ended up being a complete disaster. I expected to make 25-50 sales of it, and ended up only getting 4 sales.
I was devastated.
Not only did I fail to hit my revenue projections, I also felt like I spent months developing a product that nobody wanted to buy. I made a lot of mistakes with that product launch. I didn’t do enough customer research. I didn’t talk to my audience to see if they were actually interested in the idea. I created a product that I thought people needed, but they didn’t actually want.
But the biggest mistake of all that could have helped me avoid all of this was not validating my product before doing a big launch around it.
If I had run a beta test for the idea or just tried to get some coaching clients for it, I would have been able to see that the idea was not as good as it sounded in my head.
From that failed launch onward, I made a new rule for myself:
I would always try to get at least three paying clients for an idea before doing an all-out launch.
One paying client might be a coincidence, but if I could get three people to pay me, I knew I could get 10, 30, or 50 more. So this time around, this was my next step. To get at least two more paying clients and really make sure that more people were interested in it.
After getting my first sale, I sent out a quick message to my existing clients who have joined some of my previous courses.
I let the community members know I was taking on a few 1-on-1 coaching clients for creating Ultimate Guides:
In a matter of days, I got two more paying clients, one for $1,000 and another for a $1,500 project.
As I got excited that more people wanted to work with me, I took it one step further and sent an email to my full list of email subscribers (not just customers) and offered the service to them:
A few more people signed up, and paid me up to $5,000 to help them develop their Ultimate Guide.
This brought the total revenue generated from my new business idea to over $20,000 in a bit over a month. And this is before I even had a product! At this point, I knew that if I could sell a $5,000 coaching package to create Ultimate Guides, I could also sell a $997 online course around it.
With my business idea fully validated with 7 paying clients, the real work began.
LESSON #4: Take the time to know your market better than anyone else
The failed launch of Insider’s Club taught me to always validate a business idea before doing a big launch. It also taught me to not skip customer research because, “I already know what my audience needs.”
With Ultimate Guide System, I really wanted to make sure I created a product that people would actually WANT. I also wanted to create the BEST product anyone would ever create on creating Ultimate Guides, by a large margin.
In order to do that, I knew I had to know my market better than anyone else out there. It was time to do more research than anyone had ever done before on creating Ultimate Guides.
How did I do that? I talked to EVERYONE I knew about Ultimate Guides:
- Whenever I talked to another entrepreneur in person or online, I would bring up the subject of Ultimate Guides
- I exchanged hundreds of emails with my email subscribers to discover their biggest burning pains, fears, desires, questions and concerns related to Ultimate Guides
- I took notes from all of my 1-on-1 coaching sessions as I worked with my clients to create their Ultimate Guides
I lived and breathed Ultimate Guides for three months.
At one point, I had 30 different Evernote notes filled with customer research, and some of them were 5,000 words long.
Eventually, when I spoke with people about Ultimate Guides, I could predict their questions and concerns. I truly felt like I knew my audience better than anyone else, and I could already envision creating the product and writing a sales page for it. I knew I had everything I needed for a successful product launch, so I put the launch into motion.
LESSON #5: Speak the language that your audience understands
As I was beginning my product launch, I took a trip to Cancun where I attended a friend’s business mastermind.
It was in a beautiful location, in a penthouse overlooking the sea, and it was the perfect setting for some great business conversations.
On the first day, we were going around the room and introducing ourselves. When it was my turn, I said something along the lines of:
“Hey, I’m Primoz, I help entrepreneurs develop epic guides and create the best pieces of content on the internet”.
One of the other attendees said something along the lines of, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat it?” So I did, but for whatever reason I used the word “Ultimate Guides” rather than “epic guides.”
And then they said, “Ahh, I get it now! You help people create Ultimate Guides!”
At that point, it hit me.
Before this moment, I often used the phrase “epic guides” when I was doing research and talking to people because that was the term I was used to. A lot of my readers told me that the guides I wrote were “epic,” so it made sense for me to actually call them that.
What I didn’t know is that outside of my little bubble, people weren’t really familiar with that term. But what they did know was the term “Ultimate Guides.”
So from then on, I introduced myself as the “Ultimate Guide Guy,” and I’ve never had to explain myself to others again.
This also changed the title of my online course.
At first, I was thinking about calling it something like “Create Epic Guides,” but it didn’t really sound that great. But as soon as I had that conversation in Cancun and decided to go with “Ultimate Guides,” I knew I had the perfect name for my course — The Ultimate Guide System.
This experience taught me to always use the language that my audience uses in everything I do, and especially as I introduce myself to others. If people don’t understand the terms that I use, that won’t peak their interest — instead they’ll likely get confused, not understand me, or just stop paying attention to me.
When you use a certain term and someone says, “What do you mean?” or, “I didn’t catch that”, it’s a great sign that you can change that term to something that will be easier to understand.
And when you have a term that’s super clear (like Ultimate Guide System), your course will be much easier to sell and talk about than something that’s vague (remember The Insider’s Club?).
LESSON #6: Talk about what your audience WANTS, instead of what they NEED
As much as I personally love Ultimate Guides, not many people wake up in the morning and think, “I should really write an Ultimate Guide!” And no matter how much I felt that everyone should be writing Ultimate Guides rather than regular blog posts, not everyone would agree with me.
Ultimate Guides are something that people NEED to do in order to grow their online business, but they aren’t what they necessarily WANT to do. As I began writing emails for my launch, I knew that I had to connect Ultimate Guides to things that my readers actually wanted.
The main audience that I targeted with this launch was people who have already found an online business idea, but struggled with actually getting their business off the ground, getting to 1,000 email subscribers, and making their first few sales.
I connected by mapping out their desires, which looked something like this:
- A lot of my readers say they want to have a bigger impact and create something meaningful that helps a lot of people
- In order to do that, they want to build a successful, scalable online business
- In order to do that, they need to create a great product that will attract hundreds of paying customers
- In order to do that, they first need to get their online business off the ground and make their first few sales
- In order to do that, they first need to build an email list of around 1,000 people (that’s the magical number for a lot of them)
- In order to do that, they need to bring enough traffic to their website, and convert that traffic into email subscribers
- In order to do that, they need to create one or more Ultimate Guides
I took this map of desires and thought about how I could position my Ultimate Guides as something that people needed to do in order to get something that they wanted. I knew that Ultimate Guides could help with all of these (plus a few other things), but since I wanted to make my messaging as clear as possible, I only focused on a few of them.
This is how I did it:
- I focused on the “impact” desire in the beginning of the launch to warm my audience up and connect with what many of they wanted (to create something remarkable, and make a big impact in the world)
- In the middle of the launch, I focused on showing my readers how Ultimate Guides can help them get more traffic, email subscribers and sales through different case studies.
- On my sales page, I talked about how Ultimate Guides were the BEST way to get to 1,000 email subscribers and get their online business off the ground.
This directly correlates to the map of desires above. I chose to focus on 1,000 email subscribers because that seemed like a common goal of my readers, which would show them that their business was real, and allow them to create and sell their first product.
A lot of them said they wanted to “get their business off the ground,” so that’s the phrase I ended up using.
I decided not to focus so much on the traffic because traffic in itself is meaningless if you can’t convert it into email subscribers or sales. I also decided not to focus so much on the sales, as many people had a hard time connecting an Ultimate Guide with making their first sale, especially if they didn’t have a product to sell yet.
I connected with their biggest burning desires. Then I connected with the practical results they wanted to achieve. Then I showed them why what they’re doing isn’t working and introduced them to a better solution. Finally, I made a case for why Ultimate Guides were the best solutions for them and asked them to buy.
This is what the entire funnel looked like (with the subject lines I used):
[It’s a lot so click here if you’d like to skip].
Email #1 – The year of making a bigger IMPACT: I talked about how I wanted to make a bigger impact in 2017, what making a bigger impact meant to me, and how I’d help my readers make a bigger impact this year (without even referencing Ultimate Guides). I also asked my readers what making a bigger impact means to them.
Email #2 – 3 lessons that World’s Strongest Man can teach you about making an impact: I shared a story about how one strongman focused on just one big goal, pursued greatness, and influenced millions of people over the world with his 500kg deadlift. I asked my readers to name one remarkable thing they’d like to be known for.
Email #3 – How I learned to look really f*cking good (and saved my relationship): I talked about how a friend of mine taught me to dress better exclusively through his Ultimate Guides, and how that one guide helped me do what reading hundreds of articles about men’s style didn’t. This email started planting the seeds for how impactful Ultimate Guides can be.
Email #4 – How a scammy taxi driver made my day: I wrote a story about how I rented a sports car after a taxi driver in Cancun almost scammed me and had the best day of my life. In the email, I also shared my personal goals for 2017, and hinted that one of my goals was to become the go-to expert on creating Ultimate Guides. This set me up for sending out the first of the launch engagement emails.
Email #5 – How I 10X-ed the traffic from my blog posts (never revealed numbers & strategy): In this email, I walked my readers through how one of my Ultimate Guides got 10 times the traffic of a blog post that I published around the same time. I included the real data from Google Analytics to back up my claim, and made another case for how powerful Ultimate Guides can be.
Email #6 – Your free copy of my 13,000+ word Ultimate Guide Checklist is finally here!: After the first few engagement emails came the big punch — I wrote a 13,000+ word Ultimate Guide Checklist where I walked my readers through different ways in which they could use Ultimate Guides to grow their online business, as well as the exact process I used for creating them. More on that in the next lesson.
Email #7 – The single piece of content that helped me build my first online business: I shared a case study about how I used just one Ultimate Guide to build a 6-figure coaching business. The emphasis was on showing my readers that Ultimate Guides can actually help them get paying clients or freelance work (and make more money with their business).
Email #8 – How working with Ramit Sethi transformed the way I run my business (+ Ultimate Guide AMA): I talked about how (GrowthLab publisher) Ramit Sethi taught me to always strive for excellence in everything I do, and about how I was planning on creating the best online course on creating Ultimate Guides. I also hosted a 24-hour “Ask me Anything” where I would answer all the questions about Ultimate Guides that came in from my readers. I did this to add even more value to them, and to see what questions they would be asking me after they read the Ultimate Guide Checklist.
Email #9 – Ultimate Guide System is here! (my brand new program on getting 1,000 email subscribers): This was a quick email where I officially opened the cart for The Ultimate Guide System, shared how Ultimate Guides helped me get from 0 to 2000 email subscribers within the first year of running my online business, and positioned Ultimate Guide System as the best course for getting to 1,000 email subscribers and getting your online business off the ground. This was also when the first few sales started to come in:
Email #10 – The surprising truth about getting your side business off the ground:In this email, I shared a personal story about how challenging it can be to make progress with your business if you’re working on it on the side together with a regular job. I talked about how if you create Ultimate Guides, you can stop doing everything else in your business and just focus on creating one Ultimate Guide, which would make starting a side business a lot easier, faster, and less overwhelming. I also painted a picture of how different your business can feel if you focus on just one thing, rather than trying to do everything at once.
Email #11 – “Can I create an Ultimate Guide if I don’t have a clear business idea yet?”: I addressed a common question from my readers, and went over the pros and cons of writing an Ultimate Guide if you don’t have a fleshed out business idea yet. I wanted to make sure that the RIGHT students joined the program, which ended up working really well, as I got to work with an absolutely incredible group of action takers.
Email #12 – This Wednesday FREE Live Class on Getting 1,000+ Email Subscribers With Ultimate Guides: I announced a live webinar that I was doing in a few days, where I shared specific strategies for creating Ultimate Guides that I never revealed before. Ideally, I would have done a webinar at the beginning of my sales window, but as the sales page took a bit longer to create than planned, I decided to do it in the middle of it, which still worked well.
Email #13 – I couldn’t believe what happened to my friend…: I shared a story of one of my friends who relied on guest posting as a main strategy and spent months waiting for a guest post to be published, that never actually got published. I talked about the pros and cons of guest posting, how Ultimate Guides allow you to be in full control of your results, and how they’re a better alternative for getting your online business off the ground.
Email #14 – I have the BEST students ever! See why they joined the Ultimate Guide System: Since a lot of my students had already joined the course at this point and I didn’t have testimonials for the product yet (since it was launching for the first time), I shared the stories of some of my new students and why they joined to build up social proof for the course.
Email #15 – “Is Ultimate Guide System Right for me?” + Answers to ALL of your questions about UGS: This was the first of the three emails that I sent out on the last day of the launch. I wrote an incredibly long and detailed email with answers to top 23 questions my students had or might have about Ultimate Guide System, to make sure I really removed all of their barriers towards joining the program.
Email #16 – How a late night conversation with my friend changed her life: Instead of going for a hard sell email, I decided to connect with my readers emotionally by twisting the knife and painting a picture of a better world for them. I did that by sharing a story of the first client that joined Ultimate Guide System. I talked to them about how she’d been overwhelmed and frustrated with her business because she had a lot of things on her plate that she “should” have been doing, but she didn’t actually do anything. Then I talked about the contrast of how she felt liberated and excited to create an incredible Ultimate Guide for her niche, and I invited my readers to do the same.
Email #17 – Last call: Ultimate Guide System closes TONIGHT: The last email was a quick reminder email that was sent a few hours before the launch ended, to remind my readers that they needed to make a decision and make sure that they signed up on time. No hard sell, just a quick and gentle invitation to sign up if they want to.
Whew. That’s the whole sequence.
You can see how I went from the emails that talked about what people WANTED towards the emails about the things that they NEEDED to do.
That’s ok because at the end of the funnel, people already KNEW that they needed to create Ultimate Guides if they wanted to get to 1,000-plus email subscribers and get their online business off the ground in the fastest possible way.
I also focused on adding a lot of value to my readers before going into sales mode, which made the sales process a lot more effective and easier to execute on. Now that we looked over the entire sales funnel, let’s look at a few specific elements of it and the lessons from them.
LESSON #7: Meet your readers where they are, and address their biggest concerns and objections
When you’re launching a product to your email list, it’s important to speak to people in all phases of the buying process. The ones that are already going to buy your product won’t need to be sold as much (and some of your readers might buy anything that you create anyway).
Others might not be as convinced yet. Perhaps they won’t even know that they’re struggling with the problem that they’re struggling with. Or they do know that they have a problem, but don’t know that you offer a solution for it (or even know if your solution is the best one for them). The key is to meet your readers where they are, and take them on a journey from “mildly interested in your product” to “ready to buy.”
As I did my research for The Ultimate Guide System, it was clear that my audience was split into two groups:
- The people that knew how valuable Ultimate Guides were for their online business
- The people that knew what Ultimate Guides were, but didn’t really see how they could help them grow their business (and considered other solutions instead)
The first group of people (who knew how valuable the guides were) would ask me a lot of technical questions like:
- “I’m not sure how to pick a niche topic for my guide”
- “How do I get related quotes from experts/successful people to include in my guide?”
- “I don’t know if I should split the guide into multiple parts/blog posts”
And when I talked to people in person about Ultimate Guides, the #1 question I would get by far was, “What is your process for creating Ultimate Guides?”
Every time I walked someone through my process, they were wowed by my process and mentioned that there were a lot of things that they didn’t even think of. I knew I needed to share this with my whole audience, so I started thinking about a “checklist” that my readers could use to create their own.
The other group of people, the ones that didn’t know how Ultimate Guides could help them grow their business, had different questions. They would email me things like:
- “I don’t think writing a guide generates a lot of traffic. I don’t think it’s that valuable.”
- “I don’t think writing a guide is the most important thing that would grow my business.”
- “Writing a guide won’t make me money.”
- “I don’t think writing a guide will help me get more coaching clients or speaking opportunities.”
- “Writing a guide is not a top priority for me at the moment.”
- “I think guest posting/writing blog posts is better for traffic than ultimate guides.”
As I read these (actual) objections, I knew two things:
One, they weren’t true. Two, if I was getting a lot of the same objections, I knew I needed to address them.
LESSON #8: Optimize for learning, not for revenue
A big lesson that I got from Ramit Sethi’s Zero to Launch was that you should optimize for learning before optimizing for revenue when launching a new online product.
In this specific case, that means making decisions that might make you less money, but give you more information about your readers. I see a lot of people doing 17 different things on their first product launch just to boost their sales. They do webinars. Early bird bonuses. Upsells. Downsells. Three different pricing tiers.
And while some of these launches might work out, a big problem with them is that you don’t really know what worked and what didn’t, because you had so many different variables in your launch. I have to admit, I also had a lot of ideas for my launch.
I had an idea to do a webinar, offer early bird bonuses, etc., but as I was talking to Zero to Launch coach Marc Aarons, I quickly realized that I was over-complicating my life.
I was spending hours and hours thinking about what kind of bonuses to offer, when to offer them, when they should expire … and just thinking about how I could maximize the revenues from my launch. Marc eventually straight up asked me the question, “What’s more important to you right now: learning or revenue?” I knew then that I was making my life way too difficult.
So while I kept the webinar idea, I scrapped almost all other marketing tactics. No bonuses. No tiers. No upsells.
Now I know EXACTLY what my base conversion rate for the program is because I didn’t use any bonuses or marketing tactics that would skew the numbers.
In the future, I can test different tactics to see which of them work and which don’t. This also made my life so much easier as it removed all of those decisions around bonuses, and made me feel way less overwhelmed.
So if you’re running a first product launch of your new program, resist the temptation to throw everything and the kitchen sink in it, as hard as it might be. Keep the product simple and see how it sells on it’s own without the marketing tactics. Then, once you see it sells well, absolutely go all out on it.
LESSON #9: Create ONE experience to start
As I started creating Ultimate Guide System, I actually expected it to be a $500 course and I planned on doing a simple eight-week course, and that was it. But then, I started thinking about other things that could be useful to my students.
I thought about master classes I could record with other successful business owners that have created Ultimate Guides. I thought about recording some case study interviews of successful Ultimate Guides. As I would be adding more and more information to my program, I thought about adding another tier to it at $1,000.
The extra tier would include all the extra bonuses and make the program a lot better, for those who wanted to really go all out on Ultimate Guides. But something just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right to include all of these extra resources to just a portion of my students, as I knew how instrumental they would be to their success.
It almost felt like the $500 version of the program would be incomplete.
I decided to create just ONE tier (originally priced at $1,000), that would include EVERYTHING my students would need to succeed. I wanted to make this the FIRST and BEST online course on creating Ultimate Guides. I stopped thinking about what I wanted to do, and instead put the focus on my customers.
- How could I design a program that would put THEM first and really help them succeed?
- What are the most common challenges that my students would run into? How could I help them overcome them?
As I was thinking about that, I realized that creating really long content like Ultimate Guides is incredibly HARD for most people. It would take them months to create them, and I didn’t want this program to be another program that they would start but never finish.
I wanted to turn them into incredible case studies for my business, and I designed a program that would help them get there.
The final version of the program looked like this:
I put my students’ success first. I would take care of them, and make sure they’re successful.
- For the first 10 weeks, I would guide my students through every step of creating Ultimate Guides through the “10-week intensive training.”
- Then, AFTER the first 10 weeks, my students would get a monthly expert or a case study interview to help them deepen their knowledge and get more ideas for creating their guides.
- They would also get access to a monthly alumni call with me, where we would continue to work on their old or new Ultimate Guides.
- On top of that, they would get access to the Ultimate Guide System community, where I would continue to support them in creating their guides. This way, even if students fell off track or started the program later, they would still be able to get the full benefits from it.
This felt like the RIGHT thing to do, and helped me create by far the best online course on creating Ultimate Guides that anyone could ever create.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the tactics while ignoring the larger picture. As you’re creating your next online course, think about how YOU can put your customers first like this.
What would make them most likely to fail with your program? How can you tweak your program to prevent that from happening?
Answer those questions, and you’ll be able to stand out from your competition, and create an incredible program that your students will rave about.
LESSON #10: Get feedback through every step of the process
Another big mistake that I’ve made with the failed Insider’s Club launch was that I didn’t get feedback on it. I didn’t get any feedback on my table of contents. I didn’t get any feedback on my positioning. I didn’t get any feedback on my sales page. I didn’t go out and get feedback because I was afraid that people would tell me that my program was crap, and that nobody would want to join it.
Well, as that actually ended up happening, I learned a hard lesson and decided to ALWAYS get feedback on what I was doing.
This time around, I made sure I would test my table of contents with my friends and my audience BEFORE even writing the sales page, to see that I was on the right track.
I wrote up an extremely fairly detailed, 4,000-plus word table of contents and sent it to some of my friends and clients:
Once I sent it out, I watched to see their reactions.
Thankfully, they gave me responses like this:
As I saw them, I knew I was on the right track, and I could continue to move forward with my launch, knowing that my program was something that people actually wanted.
Whenever you’re in doubt whether the program you’re creating is REALLY what your potential customers want, send it over to a few people in your audience — it can be past clients or potential clients.
You can create a table of contents for your program, send it over to them, and ask them to give you brutally honest feedback on it. If the response is great, keep moving. If not, ask them what seems off or what you can improve, or even jump on a call with them to figure it out.
You’ll want to do this before you create the actual sales page, so you can make sure your offer is good. And once your offer is good, you can move on to the next step.
LESSON #11: On your sales page, speak to just ONE audience
As I was writing my sales page, I had a time when I was really confused about which audience it should be geared toward.
You see, I knew my online course could help three distinct audiences:
- New online business owners who wanted to get to 1,000 email subscribers and get their online business off the ground
- Rising stars who have already created their first online course and wanted to get more email subscribers and sales for it
- Established business owners who wanted to create a new organic stream of traffic to massively boost their revenues
But the problem is that each of these would have wildly different burning pains and desires. The copy that I wrote towards a beginner wouldn’t resonate well with someone who had an established business.
As I started writing the sales page, this issue became very real. In fact, a lot of issues with your targeting will come up when you start to write copy. I felt frustrated, so I reached out to a mentor of mine to ask them what to do about it.
They replied to me with one profound question:
“Do you have more people on your email list that have less than 1,000 subscribers or that have more than 1,000 subscribers?”
Sheepishly I replied, “Well, of course there’s a lot more people that have less than 1,000 subscribers on my list.”
Then I felt stupid because I felt like I should have figured this out myself. The solution for my problem was very simple: Focus 95% of my copy on the audience that represents the highest % of my email list.
I still included the different audiences in, “Who is the Ultimate Guide System for?” so the right people for my program could still join it:
Some of the other people might feel alienated and leave the sales page before they get to that part, but that’s ok since I could always create a coaching program that specifically targets them in the future.
And in the end, a handful of people with bigger email lists did end up joining the program anyway, so I guess they weren’t that alienated after all.
If you’re getting stuck on WHO you should be writing for, just write for ONE audience, which should be the audience that is predominantly on your email list. You’ll see how writing your sales page will instantly become 10x easier!
LESSON #12: Your sales page is ready when it’s ready — don’t rush it
There were many times when I thought to myself, “This should be finished by now … I could just quickly wrap it up and release it.”
But then I stopped myself and repeated the same words to myself over and over again: “When it’s ready, it’s ready.” And I kept chugging along.
Now I have a sales page that converts well and that I’m proud of, and if I went back to write it again I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you’re working on a sales page, don’t rush it. The last thing you want to do is to rush a sales page and mess up your whole launch because of it. If you’ve taken the time to write the engagement emails and the sales emails, and to build a great product, take the time to create a sales page that will be on the same level as your product.
And the same thing goes for writing things like guest posts, blog posts, or Ultimate Guides. Don’t cut corners just to publish it two days earlier. A year from now, nobody will know when your post was published — but they will see if you quickly wrapped it up and cut corners.
The most frustrating part of writing a sales page for me is that if you mess a part of it up, you might have to throw it all away. If your hook doesn’t hit well with your audience, you’ll have to rewrite it. And boy, I wrote and rewrote my hook for the sales page plenty of times.
Let me show you a few examples. Here’s the first version of my hook:
The second version:
The third version:
And the final version before editing, that actually made it to the sales page:
Going through this process felt very similar to finding a business idea. Just writing the hook of the sales page took DAYS to get it right.
This means that every day, multiple times per day, I would write something up and then throw it all away. It felt like killing my baby every time I did it. But ultimately, this is what it takes to come up with something great.
So when you’re writing your sales page, remember: you only get one shot at it, so make sure you get it right. And if it doesn’t hit well with you or with your audience, change it up until it does.
When it’s ready, it’s ready.
LESSON #13: Take care of yourself to avoid going insane mid-launch
When you’re writing a sales page in the middle of a product launch, it’s really easy to burn yourself out and hate your life. And that will probably happen in any case, unless you have a team working for you. In some cases, you’ll actually have to “push through it” and suck it up for a few hours or days.
As I was working on my sales page, I definitely had a few days when I would write from dusk until dawn. I spent hours writing in the evening where I had complete brain fog, just so I didn’t have to wake up the next morning feeling like I was starting from scratch.
So yes, there will be times like that. But the thing is, you don’t have to feel burned out ALL the time.
When I’m in the middle of a product launch, I make sure to do a few things differently than normal:
- I make rest a priority, more than even before
- I make sure I get 8-9 hours of sleep per night
- I make sure I work out every day
- And I make sure I take some bubble baths to really recharge
I call this, “An entrepreneur during a launch.”
This is what helps me stay sane during the launches, manage burnout as much as possible, and continue putting out great work. Next time you’re launching a product, think about how you can really recharge to stay at your best, then put specific activities that will help you recover into your calendar.
You’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll feel during the launch!
LESSON #14: Schedule a 1-on-1 call with EVERY new student that joins your online course
The program sold well, the launch went fairly smoothly, and I got a great caliber of people in my new program. I knew this would be a lot of hard work, but I was also super excited about it.
This was an opportunity for me to work with some incredible people, help them make their online businesses come to life, and turn them into raving fans and case studies for my business. Because I would be spending the next year working with my students, I wanted to make sure that I knew and connected with each and every one of them. That’s why the first thing that I did with every new student that joined was to schedule a 15-minute 1-on-1 call with them.
During this call, the purpose was to officially welcome them to the program and make them feel special, help me get to know them and their businesses better, and provide me a chance to answer any of their questions about the program.
I wanted to put a face to their names and build lasting relationships with them, and not just treat them as people that I worked with for a few months and then moved on. Doing this took a lot of time, and in one week I had 30-plus 15-minute calls, which was definitely draining for me.
Still, it was worth it. The students felt special, I got to meet them and remember them, and I think this set the stage for the whole program.
Because I already knew the students by the time we jumped on our first call together, it felt like we already knew each other. This helped us create a really connected, tight community of students working together, which made it easy for students to keep moving forward through the program.
When you’re launching an online course, jumping on a welcome call is a great way to go the extra mile for your students and create a lively community.
I definitely recommend you to try it out!
LESSON #15: You don’t just have new customers — you have a community
The welcome calls were just the first of many ways in which I went above and beyond for my students.
I said before that I wanted to make Ultimate Guide System the BEST online course on creating Ultimate Guides, and I like to believe that I’ve been very successful at doing that.
Here are just a handful of things that I did to really go above and beyond for my students:
- I designed the program in a way that it’s a year long, rather than just eight weeks, because I know that writing Ultimate Guides takes time and I want to be there for my students every step of the way. If they fall behind, I still want to help them follow through with their guide. If they want to create more guides, I’ll happily help them with that as well.
- I extended the first part of the course from 10 weeks as originally planned to 14 weeks or so, to prevent students from being overwhelmed and falling behind when the writing phase began — so I’m pacing the course based on their progress.
- When I launch a new cohort for the course, my old students will have a chance to attend all the live calls etc. again, so they can create their next guide or restart working on the first one if they fell off track.
- I welcome every student with a 1-on-1 call, to get to know them and build a relationship with them. I know more or less all of my students by names, the guides that they are working on, their business ideas, etc. This makes them feel special and helps build a really strong community.
- I go out of my way to leave feedback for my students on their guides. I review their guides in google docs, give them step by step feedback, help them rewrite some of their copy, etc.
- I also jump on 1-on-1 calls with them if they really get stuck or need my help.
- I make sure to always encourage them and celebrate their wins with them, no matter how big or small they might be.
- I’m happy to go over time with our 90-minute calls if we need to, in order to help every single student with their guides.
- I’m playing with the idea of scheduling 1-on-1 calls with all students that have started creating their guides over the next few weeks to help them finish their guides and get them over the finish line
- I’ll go out of my way to promote their guides once they’re written (of course!).
As you can see, I really try to do everything that I can to help my students become successful and they notice that. They talk about the course with their friends. They thank me for putting so much care into the program. They’re becoming my biggest raving fans.
I know that when I launch my program the next time, I’ll have a ton of amazing testimonials, and my next launch will be a BIG success.
And that’s the last lesson for you today. Take care of your students, and they’ll take care of you.