I’ve been blogging a lot lately about why list building is important and how you can take someone from cold lead, to subscriber, to customer and why this is important if you’re trying to build a business online.
I think we’ve all heard about the importance of list building so many times that you might think it’s all just a bunch of hype. Especially if you’ve slowly been growing your list and don’t have a lot to show for it.
In this post, I want to talk about the recent launch of my new small group program, the FB Ads Incubator. I think it serves as the perfect example of how powerful building a list can really be, and hopefully you can learn from it. To call it a “launch” seems like a stretch though.
It was the least “launchy” launch ever, and I couldn’t be more happy about that!
When I started my business in earnest at the beginning of 2014, I had a business coach that was all about launching and being visible. Being the good student, I pushed hard to launch two group programs in the first few months I was in business. In some ways they were a success. My first launch brought in a much-needed $6k and my second was half that. Not too bad for a new business, and while the groups were very small (4 and 2-people groups respectively), I learned a lot and really valued the experience.
I will say it totally burned me out on launching, though! Between those groups and the launch of my Power Editor Master Class, I felt like I was constantly launching something for the first 6 months of my business. I felt a lot of pressure to be as highly visible as possible and thought that the only way to launch a program was to do countless webinars, telecalls, and videos for Facebook.
At the time, in my mind, Launching = PUSH PUSH PUSH!
I hated it! It might be what my coach (and everyone else) preached as the way to do things, but in a rare defiant streak I said, nope, no more launches, I’m done! I knew there had to be a better way.
The one good thing about being so visible for so long, was that I wasn’t just out there selling all the time, I was providing TONS of value and people took notice and appreciated it. I started getting requests for 1:1 coaching and when I started taking clients the referrals started rolling in – at first slowly and then to the point where I could hardly keep up.
I eventually decided that I needed to build up my passive income more and better scale my time. But I still wanted to avoid anything resembling launching!
Step 1 was list building. While I had done some list building in the past, it was pretty limited. After more than a year in business I had less than 1000 people on my list because I never had a plan behind it. I got sign ups when I was promoting my webinars like mad, but my budget was so limited that the numbers were small. I had an opt-in offer that brought in the rest of my leads, but it was honestly a terrible topic choice. It was NOT the point of invitation that I spoke about in last week’s blog post.
So if you’ve been reading along in this blog series and thinking I had this figured out from the get-go and your list building is a hot mess in comparison, I can assure you, I learned much of this the hard way. 🙂
So what have I learned along the way and how did my efforts pay off big time with my recent (un)launch of the Incubator?
I learned that you have to earn your right to sell.
During my first two launches, I absolutely busted my butt promoting and got very modest results in return. I was brand-new to the market and getting people to go from watching a webinar to buying into a $1500 group was not easy. (Plus, in retrospect, those programs were not REALLY what people needed, but that’s a post for another day about creating programs that people really want.)
Many coaches act like anyone can put a webinar out there and sell out a huge group program for $5-10k a pop, no problem. Quite frankly, that’s rarely the case. If you can, kudos to you, you’re one hell of a saleswoman!
The good news was that because I was providing so much value, I did get some sales and I did start to build a loyal following. Even when I was done with “launch mode” I continued to provide value to my audience – on Facebook and via email. I kept connecting people with my weekly blog feature and I kept putting out helpful content.
All of the hard work paid off when I was ready to launch the first round of the FB Ads Incubator in October. I had been wanting to start the group for months, but my full 1:1 roster was keeping me busy and, quite frankly, I had some mental blocks around launching another group.
I had this story in my head that launching was hard and that I couldn’t fill a group of 10. I had not gotten more than 4 people before with heavy promotion, and I just plain refused to do a big launch. So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Well, #1, I had to get over the bogus story I was telling myself, and then after that, I had to decide what I was going to do instead of a big launch. In the end, I decided to do the world’s most basic launch. I sent 4 emails to my list and ran a Facebook ad to my fans and subscribers. That’s it. And in 10 days I had a sold out group.
What the what?! So why did that work when my big, fat stressful launches bombed 2 years ago?
I think it had to do with 3 things….
1. In early 2015 I started focusing on list building. I created a new opt-in offer that met my ideal client at the point of invitation and I built out a funnel that would nurture those leads into sales. It took two tries to get the opt-in right and plenty of testing on my funnel, but it’s now converting at 10% or better like I wanted.
2. I nurture my list. A big mistake I see many entrepreneurs making is that they start building a list, but then they don’t do anything WITH that list. What’s the point of having 10,000 people on your email list if you’re not emailing them?!
Don’t just promote a freebie, send it out, maybe try once to sell to them and then drop off the face of the Earth. And don’t make everything about sales either. When you opt-in to my freebie “The 4 FB Ads Every Entrepreneur Should be Using”, you get put into a funnel that introduces you first to my $10 Facebook ads starter class, then to the Power Editor Master Class, and then to my 1:1 coaching.
Yes, I’m making offers and selling via email (this is a business after all), but I’m not JUST selling. I have a welcome series of emails where I tell a little about myself and ask how I can help you. I send out helpful blog posts and guides. I educate subscribers on topics that matter and on why they matter. I genuinely want to help entrepreneurs succeed, and that’s the guiding star for everything I create.
Without beating them over the head with offers, I provide value on a consistent basis, but I’m also not shy about making those offers. After all, if you have a solution that can help with a problem someone has told you they have, I believe you have a moral obligation to offer your services.
3. I took the time to create a program that people really wanted and needed. In retrospect, I can see that one of the issues with my previous launches was that they missed the mark somewhat. They were what I thought people needed and they were what I thought I wanted to teach, but in reality, they weren’t the right offerings. So while I provided a ton of value and did get some sign ups, they weren’t really meant to be.
This time around, after coaching hundreds of clients 1:1, I knew exactly what people not only want, but what they actually need. I crafted the perfect offering. And then, rather than promoting like a mad woman again, I turned to that group of fans and subscribers that I had nurtured for so long and talked to them like a regular person.
No hype, no fluff. I just laid out what was in the program, how it would help and who it was for. And because they had come to know, like, and trust me, and because I had created a program that was EXACTLY what so many of them needed, it was a breeze to fill my group in just a few days with a few emails. (And it’s an amazing collection of women too. I couldn’t have hand-picked a more intelligent, hard-working, supportive group of women!)
And THAT is the power of list-building.
When it’s done right, it doesn’t feel sleazy and it doesn’t feel difficult. You attract the right people. You build your tribe. And when you’re ready to launch something, you feel in control of your business destiny instead of desperately scrambling and begging anyone and everyone to join your program.
If you want to learn how to build your email list with the perfect opt-in offer, how to nurture those leads with an elegant follow-up series, and how to create a series of offerings that perfectly align so that the sales process is smooth, check out the FB Ads Incubator.
The doors are open just four times per year and class fills up fast, so join the waitlist for the next round! Check out the FB Ads Incubator >>
Testimonials from FB Ads Incubator students
“I have loved this course. It gave me the push to create a new opt-in that is much more in line with my ideal client. You were so engaged and present in the group throughout the program, more so than any other program I've been part of. You answered all of our questions and then some.
I had been nervous about doing FB ads again for some reason, and I just wanted to feel comfortable and confident in creating them. I plan on using them throughout 2016 as part of my marketing plan. So it was imperative that I know how to do them.
I am confident in what I have learned and can continue to create FB ads thanks to this course. I have so much information and can go back through the videos whenever I want. I have loved this course and am so grateful it came into my life when it did. Divine timing I tell you. Thank you Julie for being a fantastic coach and teacher. You seriously are amazing at what you do.” Thank you.”
– Brigid Ward, brigidward.com
“The opt-in process is critical for online businesses, like mine, and Julie taught it wonderfully and super simple. I very much appreciated it!
I signed up for the FB Ads Incubator because I really wanted to use Facebook to start testing topics because I have a lot of content. I tried running ads on my own and looking at other instructional support, but I realized I needed to understand, not just how to use Facebook ads (the software), but how to grow my business with the ads.
Now, I'm not concerned if my ad isn't doing super well because I understand how to look at the ad statistics and what to do to tweak and test the ads and my content. I feel very confident using Facebook ads to reach my audience, provide value and grow my business.
Super loved this program. Thanks, Julie!”
-Amanda Russell, utdu.info
“HIGHLY, HIGHLY worth it. I can't say enough GOOD about Julie’s expertise, style, and value given. She is a gem and smart as a whip when it comes to FB. The course is half lecture/learning, half implementation and doing. I am getting SO MUCH GOODNESS from this on so many levels. Supportive, interactive, and CHOCK FULL of info…do it!”
– Chariti Gent, charitigent.com