Launching is stressful — we all know that. And it’s stressful because we know that the launch might “fail”…
But why do launches fail?
When we look at the data, it’s easy to chalk it up to numbers problems.
I can look at the numbers a business went into a launch with and show them where their launch “failed.”
Maybe they didn’t have enough people in their audience.
Maybe they had a particular piece of content (like a landing page, sales page) that wasn’t convincing enough and therefore didn’t convert people well.
Maybe they didn’t have enough emails, or the emails weren’t compelling people to buy.
But those are actually symptoms of a deeper problem — that might be surprising to you.
1. They haven’t established their thought leadership.
What I see is that often when people try to launch and are unsuccessful, it’s actually because they’re not established enough yet in their own thought leadership.
Usually that means the person isn’t clearly conveying WHAT their program will do and WHY it’s the right solution. They haven’t established themselves as a leader through their content and marketing before they tried to launch.
Everyone thinks their program is unique because they understand in their head how they will deliver it and why it’s different — but it’s not getting across in their marketing.
And that goes back to some very fundamental work that you need to be doing first.
Developing your own thought leadership — internally first, for yourself, and then sharing it with your audience and the world — helps you overcome that blind spot and get crystal clear on both what you offer and how you talk about it.
When you get this right, your program, product, or service is on track to become a household name in your industry. Your ideal clients will understand exactly what they can achieve and why it’s important. And you will have crystal clarity around how to speak about yourself, your business, and your product.
That means, the next time you launch, things are much more likely to be successful.
Your thought leadership content will attract the right people to you — and you can as much as 3x your organic leads.
You will need less launch content overall because you’re already well known for what you do and what you help people achieve — which can save dozens of hours and thousands of dollars of work during launch time.
And your conversion rates will go up — our clients have seen conversion rates on webinars as high as 26% when they are established thought leaders, miles better than the 5% industry standard.
2. They haven’t nurtured their audience between launches
I remember when I first started working on launches for clients, many of them wanted my advice and input on why a launch failed or was lackluster.
Was it their emails? Their sales page? Something to do with their webinar?
I remember trying to educate myself, and there was plenty of advice and information and data out there about what standard conversion rates are, or what types of headlines get people to open, or even what color the buttons on a sales page should be (as though the right hex codes could magically make people want to part with their money).
And yet sometimes, even when it seemed like the business owner had done everything “right,” their launch results still weren’t what they wanted.
What I’ve learned since then is that all those launch tactics (like optimizing button colors and A/B testing subject lines) actually aren’t necessary when you have good content habits in BETWEEN launches.
We worked on a launch for a client who saw a 26% conversion rate on their webinar — and had their most profitable launch EVER — because they were selling to a very warm, well nurtured audience.
And when they tried the exact same webinar, pitch, and offer with cold traffic driven by Facebook ads, their conversion rate plummeted.
So interesting, right?
I’ve realized that these granular marketing tactics designed to “optimize” everything about a launch are often used to try to compensate for the fact that the company hasn’t done its work growing, nurturing, and priming their audience BEFORE the launch.
Our clients spent quite a bit on ads to drive up the numbers for their launch by adding new people to their audience, but when they analyzed who actually bought, the vast majority had been with them for a while, and had been well loved and nurtured long before they made an offer.
This of course led them to realize two things:
- They can still use ads to build their audience — but they need to do so many MONTHS before open cart.
- And they need to spend the intervening time producing valuable nurture content that prepares their audience to say “Hell yes!” when the offer is made.
And that’s when optimizing a sales page or tweaking an email subject line can have real, measurable results.
But what I’ve learned is that you can’t compensate for a lack of nurturing with a few technical tweaks and optimizations.
I think that’s why Thought Leader Lab and our retainer services allow business owners to first develop their unique thought leadership thesis and communicate it with crystal clarity, and then helps them spread the message with done-for-you content.
We’ve helped clients have mid-six-figure launches, consistently fill their membership programs, and even land $300k in funding from a single email with powerful, consistent thought leadership content.
3. They don’t have the confidence to speak truth.
When you want someone to spend money with you, it’s incredibly important to be YOU.
(I’m deliberately avoiding the word “authentic” because I think it’s been watered down and co-opted a lot lately…)
When you follow a prescribed launch “formula” or method, it’s going to tell you to show up and act in a specific way — use videos, do a challenge, offer a webinar, make a pitch, follow a script, whatever.
And what I’ve seen happen many times is that when people try to shoehorn themselves into those formulas, they often find it frustrating and exhausting.
It also doesn’t necessarily work.
But they continue to try different methods, different formulas, looking for the one that will finally be a fit…
Because they don’t have the confidence to really say what’s on their mind.
They don’t have the confidence to find their own way.
A while back I realized that when you look at the most successful launches, they are crystal clear on what they believe, what they offer, and what they stand for — a.k.a. they are thought leaders in their space — and their launches reflect that.
If a business owner is just repackaging and regurgitating what’s already being said in their industry — because they aren’t confident enough to say what they REALLY think — their marketing reflects that, and their profits start to suffer.
They get relegated to just being part of the noise.
But when someone has found their unique thought leadership thesis, when they’ve gone all in on what they really believe and have discovered the thing at the root of all their offers, they stand out.
They’re just magnetic.
Their views, engagement, organic traffic skyrocket.
They get interviewed and featured all over the place.
And — not surprisingly — their launches are much more effective.
The difference is that they’ve put in the work to establish themselves as thought leaders in their space BEFORE they open the cart.
If you’re interested in developing your OWN thought leadership thesis and message, I’ve got an early enrollment deal for the next cohort of my 6-month Thought Leader Lab program, which focuses on helping business owners develop and hone their thought leadership in order to go from launch panic to launch profit. We help business owners discover and develop their thought leadership ideas, workshop their messaging, create concise models and systems from their intellectual property, develop great content habits, and nurture their audience so that they will get a “Hell yes!” as soon as they make an offer.
For those of you who have big plans for next year, this incubator will actually help you develop the kinds of skills that we have seen over and over again that are what makes someone so successful at these big launches that just keep growing every time they open the doors.