Today’s blog post is one that has been HIGHLY requested–I’m pulling back the curtain and showing what went on behind-the-scenes of my recent service launch.
What I launched: My done-for-you website copywriting service
How I did it: A waitlist strategy + Instagram + updated sales page
A “launch” is essentially a marketing campaign set over a short period of time that has a deadline people have to meet in order to buy from you or apply to work with you.
While launches are commonly seen for courses, group programs and memberships, we don’t usually see many for services, which is likely because services are typically open for booking all year. But in my opinion, promoting services is easier than selling digital products, especially if you have experience in your field. Why? People are paying you for your time and expertise so that they don’t have to think about or do something. It’s trickier to convince someone to learn how to do something themselves.
The idea of live launching my done-for-you service was born simply because I wanted to experiment. I also love the idea of going all-in on marketing for a short period of time, then resting and serving my clients for two or three months before ramping things up again. The marketing output and content creation mode are intense for sure, but it’s worth it when done strategically.
Of course, there were a few challenges that I encountered, but lucky for you, I’ve identified some solutions so that you know how to approach them when you do your own launch!
Challenge #1 People are generally not familiar with, and might not understand, the idea of a service launch.
Like I said, we see a lot of product launches, and the market is now sophisticated enough that people understand that if they miss the deadline, they will have to wait until the next time sales reopen. But the market is just not familiar with the idea of a service launch. People typically think that they can just reach out or sign up anytime as long as there’s availability.
True story: I THOUGHT I had made it very clear that applications for my service would close on a specific day, but on the last day, I had someone DM me telling me that they would let me know if they were interested on the following Monday.
Clearly communicating how your launch works and what’s happening is key. Your audience will need to be reminded over and over again that there’s a DEADLINE for applications.
If you do end up in a situation similar to mine, you can graciously acknowledge the individual’s willingness to consider working with you and remind them what the deadline is. Stick to your words–don’t change the deadline just for them! Which leads me to my next point.
Challenge #2 You might want to extend your deadline for certain clients who say they need more time to make a decision. DON’T. Integrity is everything.
Do you ever add products to your Amazon wishlist, but never actually purchase them? As service providers, one of our challenges is that people think they can wait. They think there’s no reason or urgency to take action now because things will be “open” 24/7.
I knew that there were people in my audience who were consuming my content, but never taking action, so I decided to create an environment in which it would be easier for them to make the decision to work with me by adding bonuses and making it clear that my rates would be increasing after the launch.
It is SOOOOOO important that you value integrity and honour your words. Do what you say. If you say the bonuses are only available during launch week, stick to that. If you say you’ll increase your rates, do it. If you say applications will close at a specific time, take down your sales page right away when you hit that deadline.
This is NOT about manipulating people to take action, it’s about creating an environment for your audience to make an informed decision. You’re the guide. Your people are looking up to you to help them decide what is best for them. If you think this is sneaky, I really want to challenge you to change your mindset. Ask yourself, What would happen to your audience if their problems remained unsolved for an even longer period of time? It’s your responsibility to educate them and invite them to make a change now.
Challenge #3: Figuring out exactly how tolaunch a service that you offer year-round can be difficult.
To launch an existing service like it was a new thing was mentally challenging for me as a marketer. I knew that I couldn’t have a successful live launch if I didn’t make a buzz about it, so I approached it like it was a REALLY EXCITING new and improved service that would be only available to a handful of clients.
I made it SUPER clear that I technically accept clients all year long. You can reach out to me anytime you want, but you won’t get all the special perks I had during the promo period.
To jazz up the whole thing, I created a waitlist and two bonuses. As I said, I couldn’t do the launch without throwing in some exciting elements. Otherwise, why would people care? Why would now be the right time to work with me? I invited people to join my waitlist two weeks before applications opened. I also announced my bonuses a week in advance to keep the hype going.
Bonus tip: Don’t discount your services. I have never discounted my services because I truly believe that you can do a really great promotion without giving discounts. Instead, add more value to your normal service and make a limited-time offer so that there is a reason to take action immediately.
So should you live launch your services?
Do you need to live launch in order to sell your services? No. BUT it is nice to book five or more clients at a $3500+ price point and get them to sign contracts and pay deposits in less than five days without any sales calls 😉
A live launch is definitely not necessary for service providers, but it can ease your mind and create a big cash infusion. Again, I think my favourite reason is that it really creates the perfect environment for your audience to make a decision. I’m pretty sure that some clients who signed up with me would have never taken action if the launch didn’t happen.
One thing you need to consider is if you have the capacity for a live launch, because it requires you to REALLY be in the game. You can prep a lot of content ahead of time, but you never know what’s going to happen during the launch. My first launch, I booked five clients in the first 48 hours. My second launch, I had most clients sign up in the last 18 hours before applications closed. You need to keep showing up even if you have no sales on the first day.
Another important factor to consider when deciding if a launch is for you is whether or not your messaging is on point. If you want to live launch your service, you MUST have a killer sales page. This shouldn’t be the same as your normal services or work with me page. It should be more robust, letting someone know everything they need to know in order to say yes right then and there.
I kept most of my sales page copy pretty much the same, but added some sections on bonuses, my work process, the application process, FAQs, and common objections. People need to be able to know and trust me without talking to me. If my sales page is not 100% dialled in, a live launch would be a waste of time.
And now the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here’s the breakdown of what I did for my recent services live launch.
- Prepared my audience with pre-launch content.
My pre-launch period was only four weeks. I typically recommend eight to 12 weeks for digital products, but knowing that I can still book clients and talk about my services after the launch, I didn’t need a long runway to prime my audience.
Most people think that pre-launch content is just teaching and giving information. However, your pre-launch content should instead focus on helping your audience remove anything that’s not serving them or that they need to let go of. Then they will be more likely to accept your invitation and listen to what you have to say.
When I’m in launch mode, I never, ever do how-to or step-by-step content, because that’s not what people need in order to achieve transformation. I could definitely do blog posts on how to do XYZ, but then what? To gain their trust, I can’t just be another expert telling them to do more stuff. I want to inspire them and prove to them that there is a better way to do things. To do that, I need to remove any roadblocks that stop them from taking action.
Your pre-launch content should prime your audience to have the right frame of mind, ready for your pitch. It should change perspectives, challenge old ways of thinking, and introduce an opportunity.
4 weeks out: Empathize with your audience and show them why things are not working.
3 weeks out: Start teasing what’s coming. Position it as what your audience really wants and explain why they’re getting it.
2 weeks out: Introduce your unique framework. If people are sold on your framework, they don’t really care about what’s included in your package, they just want your intellectual property. This is the reason why I only have one package at one price point.
1 week out: Set the stage for taking action. Show your audience the opportunity and the resulting transformation. Prove why they need you and your offer to fix their problem.
2. I implemented a waitlist strategy and a simple, streamlined email plan.
I 100% recommend you have a waitlist because, at the end of the day, this is a numbers game. Waitlists are a helpful way to measure how well something is working and what you should enhance for the next time you do a live launch. A typical good conversion rate is 3%. Every single client who applied to my service was from my waitlist.
My number one goal was to encourage warm leads to finally take action rather than turning cold traffic into clients (although I did have a few clients sign on who just found out about me one or two weeks prior to launch day), so I didn’t have a full-on email sales sequence. I only sent a few emails (three for my first launch, eight for my second).
I also knew that my ideal clients who would invest in high-ticket services were extremely busy. They had no time to attend a webinar or they couldn’t care less about downloading freebies, so my email marketing strategy was very simple and “invitation” driven.
It’s all about who you’re speaking to and the price point of your offer. Do what makes sense! Just because some experts tell you to do a challenge or webinar doesn’t mean that you should.
3. I learned to love to sell my service through Instagram DMs.
I’ve only live launched my service twice. I didn’t offer the option to hop on a call with me for my first launch, but added it in for my second. There were no sales calls for both launches. Interesting, right?
I did, however, sell a few spots through Instagram DMs. I never cold DM people and don’t recommend that you do unless they have raised their hand to show you they are interested. I constantly encourage people to DM me, but I would never send a random sales pitch to a stranger.
I love selling via DM. I only had three or four sales calls this year and the rest of my clients were either from DMs or from applications submitted on my website.
The key is to ask questions and find out their dominant buying motive before you make a pitch. Even if they’re interested in your stuff and want more info, I almost never give them a straight answer without first asking a few questions about them and what they’re looking for. Ask them questions and be genuinely curious about them and their goals.
I also don’t try to ask them to hop on a sales call if they send me a DM because the customer purchase process has changed a lot over the last couple of years. There’s NOTHING wrong with sales calls, and I’m happy to do them, but we need to be able to adapt to consumer behaviours and be good at selling wherever and however.
So…are you considering live launching your service? Leave a comment or any questions below, I’d LOVE to hear from you!
Oh…the waitlist is open for my 2022 client spots. If you’re interested in giving your website copy a makeover, get on the list here so you can get some special perks! Applications open November 1! This is the LAST CHANCE to secure our current pricing and snag all the bonuses! If you want to work together before 2022, send me a quick DM and I’ll see what I can do for ya!
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