It sucks, you’re devastated, I know—but someone had to say it. #sorrynotsorry

When it comes to the launch game, sorry boo…you are not Beyonce. BUT good news! You can totally use this to your advantage to kill your next launch.

Launching? Beyonce? What?

Remember a few years ago when Beyonce dropped a new album overnight with no marketing, no media, no press interviews, nothing? One day there’s no news about her anywhere and the next she sells over 300,000 copies worldwide.

She essentially did the same thing with Lemonade back in April. Slightly more marketing this time around with a teaser commercial on HBO, but still. No one knew it was going to be an album; it’s Beyonce, the possibilities were endless. Next thing you know, she sells over 500,000 copies worldwide in a manner of 24 hours.

The point is, Beyonce has star power unlike anybody else. She doesn’t need to invest the time, money and energy into the visibility circus that is “pre-launch.”

But we all know we aren’t Beyonce, so why do we think we can launch like her?

In the past few months in the entrepreneurial world, I’ve seen more launches than I can count where they announce one day, open the cart a few days later and then they close the doors a few days after that.

Every time I see this I think, “Homegirl. You are not Beyonce.”

You cannot just drop a course at a moment’s notice and expect it to sell like hotcakes in just a few days. Nope nope nope nope nope.

I get it, though. I’ve done the same thing. I think just about everyone in the online space has. I’ve been so excited about something I’ve created that I just want to get it out there and have people be helped by what I just created. It also doesn’t help that we’re constantly bombarded with messages about “If you don’t get it out there, somebody else will,” so we think we have to launch right away.

And I call B.S.

No one’s going to steal your idea and snatch away your audience in a week. It just doesn’t happen. Don’t risk your income—or worse—your reputation by throwing something out there half-assed or without the time to think through a legit launch strategy.

Or if fear of losing your audience overnight isn’t the issue, maybe it’s just that time gets away from us. We get so invested in our idea; so invested in putting together our idea and excited that this is going to be the greatest thing ever to be put out there in the history of mankind that when we finally come up for air, we realize we forgot to market that thing we’ve spent months creating that we need it to come out tomorrow. Because—you know—BILLS. Then we get upset that our course or service doesn’t launch the way we need it to and we don’t hit any of our goals.

Has this been you in a launch before? I bet it has.

That’s why I want to talk to you about this period of a launch called the “pre-launch” period. It isn’t talked about enough but I suggest we start making it our brand new BFF.

Pre-launch can be the difference between barely hitting a goal and blowing your sales goal out of the freaking water.

To give you an idea of what a killer pre-launch looks like, I’m going to walk you through an example first and then we’ll break it down.

Let’s say there’s this girl called Prudence. (And yes, I totally meant for that to be a Beatles reference.) So, Prudence wants to launch a course on Facebook ads. And this is the Mac Daddy course on Facebook ads. She’s got everything thrown into this sucker.

Thanks to her marketing plan, she knows this sucker is going to launch 3 months from today. And thanks to that same marketing plan, she’s going to lay out 3 months worth of live streams, blog posts, email sequences, a webinar, JV efforts, and maybe some affiliates to get her name beat into her clients’ heads as someone who knows so much about Facebook ads that you have to learn Facebook ads from her.

So, when her course finally launches, it’s a no-brainer. I know that when I hear Prudence’s name, I think Facebook ads and when I hear Prudence has a Facebook ads course I think, “Holy shit, I’m gonna buy it.”

That’s how this works.

Prudence is then able to launch with ease because she gave herself plenty of time for the buildup and she isn’t scrambling to cram everything into the 3 weeks before cart open and the 10 days that the cart is actually open to make the connection between her name and what her course is about.

That might seem like a little bit of a simplification, but that is basically how your launch can go when you have a strategy in place that allows you to see upcoming launches and plan your pre-launch phase according.

Now that we’ve seen an example, let me address the biggest questions I get asked about pre-launching:

Q: “How long should my prelaunch be?”

A: I recommend 2-3 months. It may sound like a long time to wait to start making money, but when you break it down, that only gives you 8-12 weeks for someone to associate you with this one topic to be known for. Just because you’re visible as a social media manager doesn’t mean that you don’t need to focus in on establishing yourself as the go-to person for Facebook ads before you launch that course. You have to constantly make that connection before you can say, “I’ve got a course on that.”

Q: “How does this really affect my launch?”

A: As we noted from the example, it really helped her be able to have a launch she could ease into instead of a clusterfuck of trying to get stuff out there in 3 weeks. Sure, you can decide to launch your course a month from now (been there, done that), but you’ll be running around like a chicken with your head cut off to put the plan together, create all the content, and then realize that once you create the content and get it looking the way you want it to, it’s only going out 2 weeks prior to cart open.

It could be so much better. This is the typical launch that I’ve been seeing from creative entrepreneurs lately. And I’m not saying that a small pre-launch doesn’t lead to sales. You can go about it that way and still make money. However, it’s a stressful period because you’re cramming a ton of content into a small amount of time and you’re leaving money on the table because you didn’t give yourself the time to make the biggest impact that you could.

Q: “How do you create a successful pre-launch of your own?”

A: Really, all it takes is a plan. There is no big secret that anyone’s keeping from you. It’s about sitting down and creating your entire growth strategy for the year and how these are supported with various marketing efforts. It allows you to see when your launches will happen so that you can work backwards in the most effective way possible.

You know your business best; sometimes it’s just about getting your business out in front of you. My favorite way to do this is with lots of calendars and lots of post-it notes. Mix and match things to see where they go and what they lead into.

Don’t have time for this or not sure where to start? Download the launch checklist (fo’ free) below and then go check out the Ready to Launch Template & Workbook in the shop.

BY: Meghan Maydel

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How To Launch The Right Way | Pre-Launch | Creative Small Business Owners | Tips for Entrepreneurs

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