When I surveyed my audience about creating and launching courses and memberships, there were a LOT of questions about tech, so I want to help launch and get your product or service out there without tech getting in the way.
Let’s dive in!
In my recent survey, over 25% of respondents mentioned technology as one of their biggest challenges when it comes to creating and launching their course or membership.
I am with you!
Technology can be a hair-pulling pain in your rear when it comes to getting that product out and inviting people to come and join you.
It seems like every time we turn around, there’s a new best practice, a new fancy app, a new portal tool, or something else that we must have in order to create and launch our course or membership.
First and foremost, I want you to take a breath.
Breathe a huge sigh of relief, because you can absolutely launch without tech getting in the way.
In fact, the first time around when you are creating and launching your course, you actually are better off skipping a bunch of the tech headaches.
In five easy steps, I’m going to walk you through how to make sure that you have the tech that you need, none that you don’t, and can launch without tech getting in the way of your getting your product or service out there.
1. Mindset check-in
Do you really need that fancy tech platform and those amazing recorded videos that are edited within an inch of their life? Do you really need that 14-email upsell sequence? Is it really necessary to have all that tech?
Or is it that you feel like the more you put into those tech tools, the fancier you’ll look and the more successful you’ll be because you’ll be able to charge more?
This can sometimes come from corporate days, or detoxing some of those masculine beliefs about what it means to be legitimate or what it means for something to be valuable.
At the end of the day, people are buying your course or membership because they think it’s going to get them from where they are, to where they want to be.
Regardless of whether you get them there with a fully tech automated system or a bit of extra hand-holding, the ultimate decision maker is not the tech.
The decision maker is the outcome.
I think it’s important to check in with the mindset about what tech is actually needed, and what you’re trying to get tech to do for you.
Another reason why people get themselves all caught up in a messy nest of technology challenges is that they don’t want to be confronted by someone saying that the program’s not for them, or having to show up and make a sales pitch.
Instead of having a conversation with the six people who are interested, they will instead try and use technology to help them write a 15-email sequence and the world’s best sales page.
They’ll then pre-record little welcome videos or objection handling videos (which is the thing that I’ve seen most recently).
All you’re trying to do is avoid the human-to-human part of making the sale.
In fact, in your first few launches, that human-to-human connection is critical at telling you:
- Do people want the outcome you are promising?
- What are their objections or questions?
- Has your copy and the way that you’re pitching it actually reflected the value proposition?
- How do you need to pivot and adjust your messaging, copy, emails, etc., so that you can make sure it converts really effectively next time you launch?
In a lot of cases, people use technology as a way to distance themselves and automate everything.
Especially in the first few launches, that’s actually costing you something.
That’s costing you feedback, insight, information, and the ability to turn your product into a high-conversion one, rather than having to resort to thousands of emails because you don’t actually know which email got the message across.
2. Proof of concept
Your first launch is getting proof of concept. It’s not getting proof of concept that people like your technology platform, it’s getting proof of concept that people:
a) Want the thing you’re selling (the outcome that you’re selling, NOT the technology platform)
b) Are willing to pay for it
c) Get the outcome by doing the program
In most cases, your first time around, you don’t know the exact copy to put into fancy tech sales strategies and fancy tech delivery systems.
You also need to be connected in the delivery of the first round of your course or the first few months of your membership to ensure that people are engaged with it, they’re getting the results, and they understand what it is that you’re presenting.
The one thing you don’t need proof of concept for is the technology platform.
That gives you a giant permission slip to launch without worrying about fancy tech stuff the first time around.
When it comes to creating and launching courses and memberships, my recommendation is to do a manual workaround first.
Do some personal connection first.
For most people, the reason why they want to create a course or membership is because they want to be more leveraged in their time. They don’t want to necessarily have to handhold everyone along the way.
I’m personally big into the connection part. I have group mentoring and Facebook communities in my course because I actually don’t want to disconnect in the delivery part of the process.
I know that a lot of people want it to eventually be passive, or they want it to eventually be super leveraged, and they don’t necessarily want to be putting a lot of time into it…
But if I told you putting a bit of extra time into it in the first couple of rounds will take you from a 1% conversion rate in your launches to a 10% conversion rate in your launches, do you think that would be worth putting that time and energy in the first couple of times around? Absolutely!
3. There’s nothing wrong with doing it manually at first
I remember how much time, energy and money I put into all of the tech automations when I created my first course (the Take Off program).
Ultimately, that technology became obsolete 12 months later, and I ended up moving over to a teaching platform called Thinkific (which I’m not on anymore).
I spent so much time doing all of that… and I made 13 sales.
To save myself the effort of seeing a sale come in and then sending a welcome email 13 times, I paid $2,500 for a VA to do all the setup for me, for a WordPress website plugin, and for Zapier to zap the cart to the platform plug-in.
I could have solved that with one manual email per customer.
It might have meant that if someone joined at two o’clock in the morning, they wouldn’t have gotten their welcome email until I got back to my desk at 7:30 the next day. But the odds of that happening are very slim.
Most people who join me are in a time zone that works for me.
Even if it does happen, what’re a few hours wait?
You can even say on the sales page where they make their payment, “Once you join, I will personally send you a welcome note. It may take a few hours to arrive because I’m sending it manually.”
You can let people know that on the sales page if you needed to.
Ultimately, isn’t it lovely, personable and connecting to send a personal outreach welcome email anyway?
For most people’s first launches, they’re not going to have thousands of people joining. Therefore, it often will take less work to do a manual something for each paying student than it does to set it up automated in the first place.
You can always automate it later.
I am a big fan of just doing it manually in the first place.
I had a client that I was working with a few months ago who ended up creating her entire course inside a Facebook community.
When people purchased by her sending them an invoice manually, she sent them a beautiful welcome note with a link to the group and welcomed them in.
It was such a beautiful high-touch event.
When she did her feedback at the end of the course, three out of her thirteen paying clients said that they loved how she welcomed them in. They said it felt like they were being guided in and it made it easy for them to find their way around.
You would sometimes make the assumption that having to wait for a welcome email and to be welcomed into the group would make people frustrated. But for most people – especially if it means they’re getting more access to you – they feel like they’re being treated like a customer, not a number.
It’s actually a lovely surprise.
There is nothing wrong with doing things manually your first time around.
Another quick thing I want to mention is that there’s this concern that people have once they start charging more that they should probably automate it more for people…
To that I say that my highest-ticket group program is the Heart-Centred Business Accelerator. As of recording this, the Heart-Centred Business Accelerator is AUD $19,995 to join.
It does not have a sales page. It does not have an automated checkout. And it does not have an automated welcome sequence.
It is a high-touch VIP program.
If people want to join the Accelerator, they have to email the support desk to get the prospectus.
(By the way – if you want to join, you can reach out here: CONTACT)
It’s a one-year VIP mastermind experience, and it’s critical that people have a deep understanding of what’s included, who it’s for, who it’s not for, what the investment is, and what specifically is covered throughout the year, so we send a full prospectus.
The way that people learn about the Accelerator and join it is by requesting that prospectus. If they like what they read, they book a call with me to discuss it.
If on the call, we both think it’s a good fit, I send them their invoice either to pay upfront or for their first payment on a payment plan.
Once their payment comes through, we manually tag them, send them a welcome email, send them their links (because they get VIP one-to-one sessions with me as part of the Accelerator) and invite them into the Facebook group.
When they join the Facebook group, we welcome them in one-by-one and do a welcome post for them.
It is completely manual and it’s my highest ticket product.
The high-touch version of selling a group program feels more luxurious to me. It feels like people are being nurtured.
At this point in time, I’m not interested in having a random sales page on the internet for the Accelerator. It’s very important to me that I curate the group of people who join.
The people who join appreciate that I’ve created that curated experience for them and that it’s not just going to be joined by some random person on the internet.
They appreciate that I’m taking into consideration the group dynamics, the level of business that people are up to, and the types of business that people have before welcoming them into the Accelerator.
(As I said, if you’re interested in finding out more about the accelerator, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the prospectus.)
That’s my third tip on how to launch without tech – it doesn’t have to be automated. Manual can be amazing and it’s a great way to get started the first time around.
4. Pick easy
Go for a minimum viable product. Just pick easy.
You only need your technology to allow four things:
1) A way to promote the product or service
You could promote with a Google Doc, a sales page, a prospectus, sales emails, or social media posts.
You don’t need to have a fully integrated shopping cart and sales page.
2) A way for people to pay you
Once they’ve made their decision that this product or service is for them, how do they pay you for it?
It could be sending them an invoice, sending a paypal.me link, having an integrated payment button, or having a full-on shopping cart with automations.
Choose the easiest for you and go for a minimum viable product – especially the first time around.
3) A way to welcome and onboard people
It could be manually sending them a welcome, having an automated email that welcomes them, having a thank you page that gives them instructions once they pay, or having a 12-email sequence over 12 weeks.
It can be as simple or as complex as you like.
If you choose easy and go for a minimum viable product the first time around, you’ll stop yourself from letting the technology get completely in the way and tie you up in knots. You’ll be able to launch without frustrating tech.
4) A way to deliver
You could deliver by doing live Zoom classes, by pre-recording your videos, posting them privately on YouTube and embedding them onto a secret page on your website, or you could deliver by sending an email every week.
The first few online courses that I did were delivered via email.
There are a few people who have amazing email courses still to this day. The course is actually delivered directly to your inbox.
There’s literally a link to a video in the inbox or it’s a PDF that is delivered to your inbox.
You can deliver in a Facebook group.
Facebook groups are amazing these days because you can have guides in the group where you can release modules. You could do Facebook Lives as your calls, or you can do Zoom calls and then have the recording go into the Facebook group.
As I said before, I’ve had clients where everything is done in the Facebook group.
It’s so simple for them. Their clients are hanging out on Facebook most days anyway so it gets the most engagement from their clients.
It’s a really beautiful way for them to deliver.
You can also deliver through an integrated portal where everyone has their own password and can log in…
But let’s just prove that people are going to pay for the outcome that you deliver, and that the way that you thought you could deliver that outcome with a group is real and that it works.
That’s my fourth tip on how to launch without tech getting in the way… Pick easy and go for your minimum viable product.
You just need a way to promote, a way for people to pay you, a way to welcome and onboard, and a way to deliver.
5. Hire someone
Use your first launch funds to hire someone to do the tech for you from there.
Do your first launch, and use that to fund hiring a person and buying the technology platform that you need.
How amazing is that?!
If you just go with the easiest thing for now, you will maximise the chances that you actually finish it and get it out there.
The sooner you launch, the sooner you can start snowballing that into your big second launch, and into your even bigger third launch.
I was on a retreat once and we were in a little circle with someone talking about the different options she had for a course. She wasn’t sure which option would make more money.
And someone else said, “You know what? I think it would have made more money if it existed.”
That is exactly the case for your course or your membership.
It will make far more money if you just got it out there and did a bare-bones technology version of it for the first launch.
Give it a trial, practice getting on message, practice launching it, practice encouraging people to join, practice welcoming people in, and practice your delivery.
You could spend the next six months faffing about trying to create the perfect technology solution and waiting until you can afford to hire someone to do the technology for you.
Or you could spend the next six months launching your thing multiple times, getting a bunch of people in, and improving it time after time.
Those people are paying you to learn how to deliver it.
They’re paying you to build the thing!
You are able to grow and snowball that program or that membership way faster if you get it out into the world sooner and launch without letting tech get in the way. So let’s launch your program or membership without tech holding you back!
If you’re reading this when it’s released, I am about to run a live workshop called the Quick Course Launch.
In this live workshop, I’m going to walk through how you can build and sell your first or next course or membership in two weeks.
This workshop is totally free for you to come and attend. Just register here: CLICK ME
Let’s build your Quick Course Launch and get it out in front of your audience sooner rather than later.
Launch without tech getting in the way, go for your minimum viable product, and remember: this is a snowball that you’re building.
No great course was built on theory. No great tech decision was made on theory.
Let’s start with something simple and effective that allows you to get it out straight away. Then you can improve and add more technology and complexity along the way as you see fit.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast!
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.