Lemme know if THIS is what one of your typical launches looks like:
✅ Stress for a few weeks to get your offer ready…
✅ Once your offer is set, you send out your official “cart open” email…
✅ You throw out a few hype posts on your Instagram to remind your followers you exist and then cross your fingers that it’s enough to get them to make a purchase…
✅ Mayyyyyybe wrap up the week with a “last chance” email reminder before the cart closes…
Did I nail it?
If you’re nodding along and already thinking, “oh sh*t, where am I going wrong???”
Don’t worry, my sweet beautiful blog reader. I’m not here to roast ya, toast ya, or make you face the ghosts of launches past.
Just the opposite, actually. Because now that you’ve come across this value-packed blog post (more like ultimate guide from the gods, if I do say so myself), there’s no reason you should ever have a less than stellar pre-launch again.
Now, let’s dive in!
3 Phases of a Successful Launch
Before we hit all the different pieces of content you should be creating for your next launch to make it rain like never before, let’s quickly cover the three phases of any successful launch: pre-launch, active sales, post-sales.
A successful launch timeline looks something like this:
1. Warm up your audience with a pre-launch campaign.
2. You officially launch (the cart opens).
3. Your active sales campaign lasts the duration of your launch (as long as your cart is open).
4. The cart closes.
5. Your post-launch content or campaign begins.
(And, for all my visual learners, peep the graphic below.)
So what even is pre-launch content?
All those social media posts, emails, blogs, and other pieces of content you write prior to your launch that warm up your audience to eventually make a purchase? That’s your pre-launch content.
A pre-launch campaign is meant to prime your ideal clients and customers for the release of your new offer (aka your launch) so they’re ready and willing to buy, buy, buy!
Ideally, this phase of launching will move your audience from unaware that they have a problem (the one your product or service solves) to totally aware that they have this issue and able to recognize why they would need your offer.
This launch phase should also be used to generate buzz, anticipation, and excitement. (The hype before the launch has a major ability to drive sales!)
A successful pre-launch campaign will accomplish all of the following:
- Help your audience become aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved.
- View you as a trustworthy expert and authority on the topic.
- Get excited about the launch/what’s to come.
How long should a pre-launch campaign last & how much content do I need?
How long your pre-launch phase lasts will depend on your content-expert association.
Content-expert association = your audience’s recognition of you as an authority or “expert” on a particular topic.
For instance, say I’m launching a website copywriting course. I would want my ideal customers to view me as a knowledgeable, experienced leader in the specific subject of website copywriting. If they do, I would have content-expert association.
To determine how long the pre-launch phase of your launch should be/how much content you should be creating, ask yourself…
“Do I talk about/my knowledge on this subject regularly?”
“Does my audience know I have experience in this particular field?”
“Does my audience automatically associate me as an expert on this topic?”
4 Pieces of Content You Need for Your Pre-Launch Campaign
1. An Opt-In Incentive (Your Freebie!)
Your opt-in incentive, also referred to as a “freebie” or “lead magnet,” is a free offer that you (virtually) hand out in exchange for a person’s email address. Basically, someone will “opt-in” to your email list to receive the free goodie.
Your opt-in incentive should lead to your paid offer by priming your audience, demonstrating your expertise, and building interest in what’s to come (what you’ll be selling during your launch).
There are two goals for a pre-launch opt-in incentive:
- Collect emails – Adding more email addresses of potential clients/customers to your list will allow these leads to start receiving your warm-up emails. These guys will also be in the loop when you officially launch/send your sales emails.
- Pre-qualify leads – Those who opt into your freebie have already identified that they have a problem that needs a solution. Basically, this awareness means they’ll be easier to prime to make a purchase and to eventually sell to.
When I was launching my sales page copywriting kit, the Sales Page Action Pack, I focused, first, on heavily promoting a freebie I had centered around another common aspect of launches—launch emails.
I’d already previously created The Ultimate Launch Email Cheatsheet and received mad love for it, so this worked out well for me. In the pre-launch phase, I used the cheatsheet to get prospects on my email list to warm them up for the release of the actual sales page kit.
The cheatsheet walks readers through writing allllllll the emails they needed to have a successful launch, which is a perfect way to set them up for the sale of my Sale Page Action Pack since having a baller sales page is another critical piece of any successful launch.
Pro Tip: Add CTA buttons to prompt the audience to get on waitlist/ opt-in for updates Etc. Consider using pop-ups in addition to embedded forms.
After the kit became available for purchase, I added a new final page to the free cheatsheet (a PDF packet) with a promo for the Sales Page Action Pack.
How to Create Your Freebie
1. Choose Your Topic
First, you’ll need to decide what topic you should center your free offer around. Choosing your opt-in/freebie topic should look something like this:
- Take a look at your existing content categories. (What do you already create content for social media, your blog, or your emails about?)
- Choose the category that your launch offer falls in. Then, break that content category down into subcategories.
- If possible, break those subcategories down further into individual titles or more specific topics or ideas.
- Lastly, choose a final subcategory and title for opt-in.
2. Determine What You’ll Teach
In addition to deciding WHAT you’ll teach in your freebie/what types of info you’ll cover, you’ll also need to determine your end goal for your reader.
Determine an actual outcome, lesson, or goal for your freebie.
Here are a few examples of ways to teach your audience:
- Tell or show them how to do something.
- Walk them through a process, method, step, or framework.
- Provide a template or a swipe file.
3. Decide How You’ll Deliver the Content
Now, think about how you’ll actually deliver the content you create. What format will your freebie be delivered in?
For example, you could create a PDF or a Google Doc, shoot a video, set up a spreadsheet, or even create a quiz (just to name a few).
4. Validate Your Freebie
Finally, you’ll need to validate your opt-in. To do this, ask yourself the following questions BEFORE launching your new free offer:
- Is it easily consumable?
- Does it provide instant gratification?
- Does it fall in line with the topic of your launch/what you’re selling?
To be successful, your freebie should be able to check off all of the above.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget, another piece you’ll need to write for your pre-launch phase is the landing page for your opt-in incentive or freebie along with the thank you page and the confirmation/delivery email.
2. Meaty Content Pieces
No, I know. What the actual eff is a meaty content piece??
It honestly sounds like the title of a horror movie about a butcher and a blogger who—under unfortunate circumstances—Frankenstein into one single beast. Not cute.
I’m not a fan of the term either. BUT, it’s the only way I could think to describe this part of your pre-launch campaign, so roll with it.
Before we dive into meaty content pieces, check out these stats…
- Blogs: 77% of people regularly read blogs, according to First Site Guide. Not only that, but 61% of US online users have also actually made a purchase after reading a blog.
- Podcasts: 104 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. Sixty-eight million Americans listen to podcasts weekly.
- Video: 85% of all internet users in the US watched online video content monthly. Not only that but the demand for video is increasing—54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support (HubSpot, 2018).
Ok, now that we’ve covered the mega value and opportunity various types of content hold for us in biz, let’s dig in…
So, WTF is a “meaty” content piece?
Well, let’s start with the content part. Content pieces can be in the form of…
- Blog posts
- Audio (podcasts)
And by meaty, I mean substantial. So those blogs, videos, and podcasts that really dig into a subject, explore a topic, opinion, or fact, or teach something new.
The goal of your meaty content pieces = to help build your credibility and expert authority for the topic of your upcoming launch.
How to Create Pre-Launch Meaty Content Pieces
Since the goal is to help position you as an expert in that topic, the meaty content pieces you create will depend on if you have content-expert association with that topic.
If you already have existing content pieces that cover this topic, you don’t need to create new ones. Instead, promote those that you’ve already spent time creating.
If you don’t have existing content pieces showing your expertise on the subject, try writing about any of these topics:
- Mistakes or myths
- How to’s
- Case studies
Here are a few examples:
Mistakes or Myths
- If I was launching X, I may write about any of the following: “9 Marketing Mistakes That Sabotage Your Business Growth”
- “12 Money Myths Hurting Your Success”
- “3 Reasons Your Poor Posture is Detrimental to Your Health”
- “25 Smart Ways to Increase Your Daily Productivity”
- “3 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Credit Score”
- “How to Lose Belly Fat Quickly Without Sacrificing Sweets”
Lastly, you can either create pieces about your previous successes and present them as case studies, or find another way to highlight your experience with that topic in a meaty content piece.
Pro Tip: If you opt for writing a few meaty blog posts, include keywords that your target audience may be searching for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. (This will allow new prospects to find you via search engine and therefore, get eyes on your launch you may not have reached otherwise.)
3. Social Media Posts
Check this out: A whopping 75% of online shoppers say they use social media as a part of their buying process, according to Social Media Today.
And because people typically need to be exposed to an offer or a brand numerous times before they move forward with a purchase, having your own space to nurture your audience online is powerful AF.
Y’all know I like to keep it real with ya, and I’m no social media pro (just writing the actual copy for it). So, I’ve gotten all the best insider knowledge from my friend, Kiley Baker—social media extraordinaire, organic marketing expert, and the founder of Maxine Social Co.
Here’s how Kiley explains the importance of pre-launch social media:
“Rather than ‘borrowing’ other audiences for all of your pre-launch content/sharing—like posting in someone else’s Facebook group—we ideally want to have 1-3 dedicated spaces to build these online relationships.”
Planning & Posting Your Pre-Launch Social Media Content
Though it depends on the type of launch, when it comes to your pre-launch social media timeline, Kiley typically recommends you start posting your pre-launch content 30 days out.
“You can start small for the first two weeks,” Kiley says. “This means starting conversations and mentioning your offer on a casual basis. Then, really hit the ground running with regular, intentional content in the two weeks leading up to the launch.”
Before you even think about posting, Kiley recommends sparking conversations with your ideal clients/customers around the topic of the offer you’ll be launching.
“For example, ask your audience what they’re struggling with in relation to what you’re launching,” Kiley says. “What does solving this problem mean for them? What feels hard about trying to solve that problem on their own?
“For instance, if I was launching a course about Instagram, I would ask my audience what they struggle with most on Instagram (engagement, reach, etc.), what growing their audience on Instagram would mean for their business, why visibility on Instagram feels hard, etc.”
Next, Kiley recommends we start posting “teasers” to both our feed and our story.
“Hype content is also key to a successful pre-launch campaign on social media,” she says. “Whether you want to formally open a waitlist or simply start to warm your audience up to the idea that you will be launching a brand new offer soon, mentioning it throughout your content will get your audience excited for what’s to come.”
“We have to remember that people need to hear about something at least eight times before actually taking action—so these are just simple ways to casually expose your audience to your offer and build that hype”
Finally, our girl says to speak to past client results and/or share any third-party validation. Take a look at client wins and any publications or features where you’ve been presented as an expert (think speaking events, podcast interviews, etc.).
“If you have testimonials and client success stories to share, these are not only going to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, but also prove that you have had real successes with real clients in this area in the past,” Kiley explains.
Don’t have results from previous clients you’re able to share yet? No worries. In this case, opt to showcase your own brand story and your own journey or transformation in this area.
“You can share your own story and how your process (or whatever you cover in the offer you’re launching) helped you reach your own personal goals,” Kiley says. “Sharing that storytelling piece and showing how either you or a client got from point A to point Z through your program/process is so impactful.”
“Really allow people to see what life could look like ‘on the other side’ of working with you,” she explains. “This gives them a better sense of confidence in what you’re offering!”
Pro Tip: Even if you’re not hosting a pre-launch event like a challenge or a webinar (and therefore, don’t need to be promoting it all over social), you should still be taking advantage of your social media platforms during your pre-launch. Instead, use your social posts to direct people to your opt-in incentive. This way, they’ll still end up on your email list and will start receiving your warm-up emails!
Thinking about skipping the email portion of your pre-launch campaign? You may want to rethink that approach.
Because here’s the deal: For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42, according to Litmus’ 2019 State of Email Survey.
Ya see, your pre-launch warm-up emails will provide your audience with the types of info and content that they need to become aware of their related problems and pain points. Without becoming aware of these struggles (the ones that your offer helps them overcome), your audience will not—I repeat—they will NOT be ready to make a purchase when you launch your offer.
The goal of your warm-up emails = To build anticipation while also helping your audience realize the importance of the solution you offer AND viewing you as an expert on the specific topic.
How to Create a Pre-Launch Email Campaign
The number of pre-launch emails you send will depend on the level of content expert association you have.
If you DO have content-expert association, you should be sending 3-4 emails during your pre-launch campaign.
If you do NOT have content-expert association, you should be sending 5-7 emails during your pre-launch campaign.
These emails should be sent in the 3-4 weeks leading up to your launch/the official cart open reveal.
Here are a few types of emails you can use to warm-up your audience:
- Mistakes related to the topic
- Why your approach toward the topic is different (and why it matters)
- Small how-to’s
- Links to a related blog, podcast, or other “meaty content piece”
- Pre-launch event/experience promos
- Waitlist announcements/updates
For your first pre-launch email, you can either…
- Send a value email pointing out common mistakes related to the topic of your launch or…
- Send an email explaining why your approach toward the topic/problem is unique AND why it matters.
For example, let’s say I’m selling my sales page copywriting kit for coaches and consultants, the Sales Page Action Pack. I might write about…
- 5 cringeworthy copywriting mistakes most coaches are making on their sales page
- The real reason you didn’t sell out your latest launch: 5 common sales page fails
- Why I NEVER include an FAQ section on my sales pages
Pro Tip: If you have a meaty content piece that covers this subject or any individual mistake in more depth, include a link to it.
(For instance, if you choose to write an email about the first topic listed above, 5 cringeworthy sales page copywriting mistakes, link to a blog you have about how to fix each of those common mishaps.
“Small How-To” Emails
For the second email in your pre-launch email campaign, cover a small how-to related to the subject of your launch or teach your audience through a relevant “quick win.”
Let’s use the same example from the “mistakes” email. Say I’m preparing to launch a sales page copywriting kit. I would NOT write a lengthy email about all the steps to write an entire sales page.
Instead, I would perhaps teach my reader how to write their sales page headline or provide a few high-converting sales page headline formulas.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while writing this warm-up email:
- Give your reader a small win related to their pains/troubles BUT leave them needing more to completely eradicate the issue as a whole.
- Empathize with your reader’s struggle or pain.
- Relinquish self-blame and judgment over past failures they may have had when working through related problems.
Pro Tip: If you have one, link to a relevant freebie/download of yours. If you do this, also include…
- Why you’re excited to share this free download.
- How this freebie will help them/why it’s important in their journey to overcome their struggles.
Aaaand Another Pro Tip: Include a PS & hint that you’re working on something behind the scenes.
Your teaser email(s) will let your readers know something exciting is coming. Use this email to hype them TF up and build the anticipation for what’s to come!
In your teaser email, address the following:
- What have you created & WHY did you create it?
- How has what you’ve created changed your own life/made things easier/given you a win? (This is an ideal email to include a personal story or experience in!)
- Why should the reader be interested in what you’ve created?
Make sure to end the email letting them know to keep an eye out for your official launch announcement.
Here are your three next steps to put the info we just covered into action:
1. Take a look at the content you already have. What blogs, emails, social posts, etc. do you already have that are related to the subject of your launch?
Consider repurposing any bomb pieces you’ve already created or spicing up those that may need a little extra help before being distributed.
2. Next, plan out what you still need. Refer to this ultimate guide to walk you through not only the freebie, individual emails, content pieces, and social posts, you need for a successful pre-launch campaign, but also for insight on how to actually create each.
3. If you need a hand with either of the steps above or if you just want a professional copywriter to take any of the writing off your hands, hit me up! Reserve a free Copy Consult call and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work together.