Today on the podcast I am super excited for a new format that I hope to do regularly, and that is bringing on the entire Brilliant Business Moms Team: Carlee, Victoria and Ellen! Today we’ll be chatting about the FB Brilliance course launch, and not about the numbers like we did last week on my solo episode, but more about what we loved about the launch, what we want to improve, and how we can give our customers a great experience.
Our Favorite Part
Carlee: We all agreed that our absolute favorite part of the launch was this 5-Day series we did on Facebook Live. People could listen to all 5 days, then we gave a task or homework for each day, which they answered in the comments. We complied the answers from everyone who participated in all 5 days, and those women were eligible to win 1 of 3 full scholarships.
Victoria: It was fun on our end to compile those answers and get to know more people in our community. I enjoyed watching these highly motivated ladies do the work, seeing what they’re thinking about their business, and watching them do the leg-work to be successful. We only had a limited number of scholarships, but as we read them all we wanted to really honor each one, because we saw that they were acting on what we were teaching!
Ellen: I loved this series! There was so much interaction on the videos, and they did so much work! When people couldn’t afford the course, but they got in on a scholarship, they were really motivated to work, which was fantastic to watch.
Victoria: It would be great to circle back and see how they are all doing now!
Beth Anne: We had the 3 winners, and then about 14 more, out of 40 submissions, who took us up on the 50% off scholarship. It would be fun to see where they’re at now. The FB Live series built a lot of buzz about Facebook Ads. As they took action, they could see how FB Ads would work for their business. You guys know I was really nervous about selling a course for such a high price point ($497!), but the scholarship program mitigated that, as we gave some really smart, motivated women a chance to get in free and rewarded the rest with half off.
Carlee: All the hard work they did for homework on the FB Live series–like narrowing down their customer avatar–changed people’s businesses. They were so excited about the homework!
Beth Anne: Yes! That goes back to the core of Brilliant Business Moms: You can learn great things and grow your business whether you ever spend money with us or not. You can still get valuable information that you can take action on.
Victoria: I also loved watching Beth Anne and Ellen develop the quirky, fun, engaging Facebook Ads you guys came up with. They were so creative, and it was so fun to see Facebook Ads for a course on Facebook Ads!
Beth Anne: Yes, and I am so excited for next year, especially as we’ll have some in-person time for the next launch, as I can analyze those ads and come up with more that are fun, engaging, and on brand. I don’t want them to feel like an ad; instead I want them to walk away chuckling.
The Stressful Aspects
Beth Anne: Ellen said in an email, “Let’s not close the cart on a night we are all traveling and getting settled for a conference!”
The cart closed on November 2nd, and we were all traveling. Beth Anne had 2 flights to get to Nashville, Ellen flew in earlier that day, and Carlee flew in and was staying with a friend that night. The cart closed at Midnight Pacific, which was 2 or 3 AM in Nashville, so Carlee stayed up all night answering emails.
We realized too late we should have set the cart to close a day or 2 earlier, so we will definitely be planning MUCH better this year for the cart close dates. It put a lot of pressure on Carlee and Ellen because cart closing is when people are asking a ton questions about the course, and if it will work for them, etc.
Ellen also mentioned another thing that DID NOT work for us: All the Crazy folders we tried for organizing the course in Google Drive.
We were modeling our organization in Google Drive off Amy Porterfield’s system I learned in a course. We thought her amazing folder organization system would be awesome for this launch, but we definitely decided that it wasn’t for us. We are more of an “Organized Chaos” team!
If we have to click through 3 different layers or levels and keep digging down, we are just annoyed!
Carlee: Yes! And that was the issue! It was SO organized, we had to click down through layer after layer, and we found out we were only using the bottom layers that are actually holding our course content–the nitty-gritty, like “Raw Video,” or “Transcript Drafts.”
Ellen: I really like how we changed things for our Webinar course. The folders are organized, and the files are labeled right, so it’s fine to have 15 files in a folder because they are all labeled right. I’d rather have 15 files than click through 15 layers.
Beth Anne: I do want to share how we are organizing course content these days. We have a Google Drive folder, so right now it’s “Webinar Course.” And then we have folders in there to hold each type of content. “Raw Videos” where I put my raw footage for Ellen to edit. Then “Promo Images and Graphics,” “Bonus Documents,” “Webinar Guide” which is our email freebie, “Final Videos,” and “Transcripts and Worksheets.” I’m with you guys–if you go into the Transcripts and Worksheets folder, there are 20 files, but they are so well labeled, it’s super easy to see what’s what.
Victoria: Beth Anne mentioned transcripts, and I wanted to share about that for a minute, as something we’ll do better next time. We love to provide the written content to go with the videos we provide, like show notes or transcripts. That was a task assigned to me, and I pulled in Carlee (because you know, it’s better to have a friend come along to help). We found the work was tedious and was getting pushed to the back burner, but we held on to it for too long. We did eventually say, “Hey, this isn’t working well,” and we outsourced it, but we held on too long. I learned that I needed to say: “Hey team, I can’t do this!” and then it was much better for everyone. We need to be quick to admit when something isn’t working and make the change that makes it healthier for everyone.
Beth Anne: When you guys came to me and said you have someone who does transcripts and she’s fast, can we hire her, I felt so bad! I don’t want my team to be stressed out when there is a solution for the issue! But I totally understand the temptation to think, “No, I’ve got this! I can do everything. I’m super team member!” I loved that you guys came to me and said this isn’t working. Now we have someone who does those transcripts and it’s great!
Carlee: I think in the end it was a good team building thing. I was still new, Victoria was still pretty new, and we didn’t know each other. I had only gone through the Planner Kickstarter and then the FB Brilliance launch–it was trial by fire! As hard as that was and as much panic as it caused for a moment, it revolutionized our communication. We learned Beth Anne’s style and how she loves to lead our team, and we learned how valuable our opinions and voices are on the team, and now I don’t have any problem saying, “That is so not my strength, and someone else needs to do that!”
Beth Anne: As the ‘Team Leader’ I want you all to have a great working experience! I want you to love your jobs, and I want to keep you on my team! Hopefully, now you all know you can come tell me when something isn’t your strength and we can make it work for everyone.
Carlee: And for a launch as big as this one (the biggest one any of us had ever done!) we learned the communication we need, and it translates over. For instance, the podcast is a big job with a ton of moving parts, and we each have to do our job. It’s so easy to communicate now! If someone doesn’t do their job, or something’s not right, it’s easy to talk about it and we have each other’s back and we look out for each other.
Victoria: This thought just crystallized: when we admit our weakness, it actually makes us stronger. Admitting you’re struggling with something makes the team stronger. It’s my tendency to want everyone to think I’m capable, and I think I’m going to let the team down if I don’t keep this task, even if it’s not something I’m good at. But actually, it’s letting the team down to hold on it and not ask for help. The intensity of the launch, that pressure cooker situation, helped us run through all these things quickly because there wasn’t time to let things linger. Holding on to a weakness of yours doesn’t make things stronger.
Ellen: I felt that way last summer regarding customer service. I told Beth Anne, “No, no, I want to help you, Beth Anne. I can do customer emails, I’m fine.” And Beth Anne realized I wasn’t fine. We brought Carlee on to run customer service, and having her here for customer service during the launch made all the difference. We’re learning our strengths and playing to those in the business.
Beth Anne: I agree. I noticed a huge difference when we brought Carlee on. I do love being in the inbox, and answering emails, but I realized that was keeping me from doing the core work of the businesses. So I brought Ellen in the inbox, but then I realized a few weeks later that she wasn’t having time for her work that falls within her core strength, like creating landing pages, learning new tools, and ninja tech work behind the scenes.
Carlee: And during the FB Brilliance launch, that inbox was insane! I don’t know how to accurately represent what the inbox looked like. Easily 150 unopened emails in a day, and when the bonuses ended, which was our biggest day, we had a couple hundred emails in one day easily. It’s a huge task. I never would have known that when you launch a product or project you get that many personal emails to answer.
Beth Anne: Yes, and when it’s a big purchase like FB Brilliance, they want to know it’s a good purchase for them. People want to make sure they are making a good decision, so they need a little more personal help and guidance. I am already thinking that with our really big goals for September 2017 if we’ll need an extra person in the inbox for the next launch.
Carlee: Yes! And because I was so new last year, I didn’t take advantage of Google’s canned responses for the answers that don’t need to be personal (like, “How will I get my bonuses?”).
Beth Anne: We did start to do some structured responses when you’d notice the same question coming in over and over, and you’d ask me if you could turn it into a structured reply.
Carlee: We did learn! There are definitely things we could do better in the inbox, with the potential of a couple hundred emails in the inbox every day.
Beth Anne: Speaking of stressful things, that I do to myself, and we WON’T be doing next year…. FB Brilliance was already a course we had, but I wanted to rework it and make it bigger and better. This always ends up happening to me, I just think I’ll change a few things and it won’t be a big deal, but I ended up doubling the course.
Ellen: We had to redo a lot of videos, too, because Facebook had changed so much of what it was before.
Beth Anne: One thing that bums me out about social media courses is that it all looks different. It’s like, “Ugh! Did you really have to totally change the way Power Editor looks?” Understandably, new students will freak out if their screen doesn’t look exactly like it did on the video. They want to make sure they’re in the right place. A ton of videos and new content had to be revamped. So, of course I was creating all of that…during and after the launch, while also having 200 new students who needed a lot of help and support.
We opened the doors October 14th and closed them November 2nd. So that was a stressful three weeks of marketing and course creating. November and December were stressful because I was still creating videos and passing them to Ellen for editing. Plus we had transcripts and worksheets to create, weekly office hours to hold – AND the Brilliant Life Planner to launch!
I do think a couple months of weekly office hours is something I want to do for my new students. But thankfully this time around we won’t be creating hours and hours of content.
Carlee: As much as it was stressful – we felt bad for YOU, Beth Anne. It was a lot of work for you.
On the other side, we set it up as a drip course – meaning that we only released a module or two a week. I felt like that was so good! Even with a drip course, sometimes students skip harder modules, especially the techy modules. If they had moved on too soon, it would have been bad. As hard and stressful as it was, having it structured as a drip course ended up being positive.
Releasing a Course In Production
Victoria: I have to admit this is one part of the course that made me nervous! Would people be mad they purchased a product-in-progress? What would people think? It worked out really well because people got the course in a paced way.
And it gave me the confidence that if you’re the course creator, you can tell people how your course is going to go. We were always upfront, and students knew the modules would be released slowly. It’s really freeing! It’s your course, and you can call the shots. Turns out, you really can sell something that isn't complete!
It was unconventional but proved you can run your business exactly how it works for you. In retrospect, there wasn’t any other way we could have done the course launch. We’re all busy moms, and you couldn’t, like, go off to a cabin in the woods for month and record.
Ellen: That paced release really kept the excitement in the private Facebook group up! People were asking for the course modules, or bonuses or whatever, and they were invested, and that kept the momentum going.
Carlee: There was a core group completing the lessons as we released them, so that group was at the same place, so they helped each other. And those participating in office hours were often in the same spot, with the same questions. That was a positive aspect of the paced release.
Beth Anne: I’m still debating how to release the course next year. For the few over-achievers who want to jump in all at once, it’s nice. But part of me does get concerned because if you jump around too much and don’t get the foundation, it won’t work. If you want to do a video ad campaign, but skip how to write good ad copy, it won’t work for you. We’ll have to mull this over – how to give the students the best experience and grasp the most they possibly can.
Carlee: It’s not conventional, but it is the new thought in marketing. Rather than creating a product and trying to find people who will buy it, marketing like crazy, instead, you create the product, put some out, then test and tweak. We got feedback on the first modules and changed things on the following modules.
Transcripts, Worksheets, and Learning Styles
Carlee: We found out that people loved worksheets. So we made sure people had something tangible for every module, if not every lesson, because of that positive feedback. It’s a service to our customers to be creating at the time they’re in the course. It’s like instant feedback.
Beth Anne: In the future, we may even do something like road maps; like ‘here are the lessons you must watch if you’re an Etsy shop owner.’ We’ll have more roadmaps for each niche, and things like worksheets and checklists. We want the content to be presented in as many ways as possible to ensure the best support for our students.
Carlee: FB Brilliance hits everyone at their learning style. We got an email from a student who loved our transcripts because those acted as notes. And it was great for the student because they didn’t have to write anything down. Some people will just use the videos, and some will use just the transcripts…so the more we can hit different learning styles the better.
Beth Anne: And Ellen can you talk about your idea for a guide?
Ellen: In the group, especially as the modules started coming out, we would have students watch the videos but have time in between viewings that they could forget necessary pieces of content.
I think it would be great to have a condensed guide directing people to the right spot. (ex. ‘Hey if you wonder X, go to Y module.’) Since the course is 13 modules with so many videos, reference documents would be really helpful. You could quickly pop back to the video and know exactly how to do a lead ad, or why you should use unpublished page posts.
Beth Anne: There’s just SO much to Facebook ads it cracks me up when people say to make your course an easy path from A to Z. The problem is we DO want to get people to proficiency quickly if you can, but there are 20 different ways to go from A to Z with Facebook ads. I feel like I’m doing a disservice to my students if I don’t cover all of those ways. The other thing with Facebook ads is you do not know what will work until you try. A strategy that worked for me in my business may not work for others. You just have to try it out. I feel I have to present these different options to students, which means there is so much content in the course.
Victoria: Our saying around here is, “There’s a module (or lesson) for that!”
Beth Anne: You all had a great knowledge of what’s in each lesson between creating the slides, watching the videos and working on transcripts. That became really helpful in terms of answering questions about the course. It was nice that we didn’t have to write out 5 paragraph answers, we could just point people to the lessons. You guys are like my course concierge!
How the Team Handles Questions
Carlee: Since FB Brilliance launched, Ellen and I have done a lot with Facebook ads ourselves. It’s nice to be able to have that intimate knowledge of the course so we can answer more questions.
Ellen: Even just dabbling a bit myself, and helping you Beth Anne, it’s so much easier to answer questions. I haven’t just watched and edited the videos, I’ve done the work and know the ins and outs. Knowing the tips and tricks first-hand makes it so much easier to answer questions – plus we don’t have to ask you all the time, Beth Anne!
Beth Anne: You guys bringing personal experience to the table is so helpful. On maternity leave, we’re working on ads funnels to be running all the time to bring in more product sales. I’m going to hand off that to Ellen, and we will work on learning how to scale up or turn off. I’m excited for you to dig into Facebook ads, Ellen!
Ellen: I’m excited, too! Carlee made another great point: not only have we gained experience but we have an amazing group of women answering questions really well who have experimented with their own ads. When someone comes along who isn’t that experienced, those ladies can provide answers.
Beth Anne: It’s fun to watch people move through the course and be successful. The way we frame the group during this launch will be different and this goes back to acknowledging what isn’t a strength. Anything that I feel like I have to do every day immediately becomes a dread for me – and I put it off. When we launched this past year, I ensured people knew they’d get the weekly office hours, but I over promised my involvement in the Facebook group.
I am going to be 100% honest right now (Maybe a little TOO honest!). I don’t love Facebook groups! They can be helpful, but I do not love that constant back-and-forth that’s required. I’d much rather do an office hours call. I’m an all or nothing person: I’d rather take 2 hours on a Friday and answer all the questions at once. But that’s my strength! I know I give the best possible level of support through office hours, not by being in the group every day. I’m getting to the point of knowing when to say, “I’m not going to do this – but my team will.”
Carlee: And for the record, the team loves being in the Facebook groups.
Beth Anne: I do feel guilt around my random presence in the Facebook group, but I have to do what will work for me. Weekly office hours works for me.
Carlee: Here’s the thing – if anyone hasn’t been to office hours, you’re missing out! They are amazing. You get to pick Beth Anne’s brain and get live feedback on your ad or images or copy. Her office hours are more valuable than a group, but it's not instant feedback. You have to wait until Friday.
Victoria: And your time is valuable! Like we mentioned last week, you spent a lot of time learning the information that you know – and because of that, we sell a premium course. It goes hand and hand.
You’re not setting yourself up to be a Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, but your time is valuable and the hours you put into your business are limited so that means they’re of high value. Our course is charged fairly, and it’s super fair that you hold office hours. I think it’s cool how our Facebook groups naturally develop, but don’t feel guilty at all about not participating every day! It preserves the value of the course that our business is trying to sell.
Carlee: Our team is in the groups regularly answering questions. It’s a benefit that you give your students access to your team, even if there’s not access to you all the time.
Victoria: Yeah, and there’s boots on the ground. We’re good about getting people to you quickly if we don’t have the answer.
Beth Anne: And I’m so thankful! We CAN give people a great experience because it’s not riding on me! I think about this all time: How cruddy would my business be if it was just me? It would be a mess. I’m glad you guys are in there and giving support. I can focus on my strengths, which in this case is showing up Friday mornings and giving live feedback. And my team does a great job handling the day to day.
Limited Time Bonuses vs. Discounts
Carlee: So what I learned with this being my first launch, and I learned it about Beth Anne and from Beth Anne, is what it looks like to give incredible value in bonuses.
(Our bonuses were Brilliant Pin Promotion, the printable Brilliant Business Planner, Case Studies, and Craft Your Brilliant Webinar Course)
When you give a discount, it sets the standard that your products can always be discounted. A bonus sets it up to reinforce that you buy something, but you also receive all these extra goodies. For someone who is selling a course or a product, think through what bonus you can offer – and keep in mind a digital bonus won’t cost you anything. Bonuses keep the value and integrity of your product that much higher, and you give your customers or students so much more value.
Beth Anne: And we saw first hand that the day we closed the door on the bonuses was our biggest day of sales. People did not want to miss out on those bonuses!
Carlee: And we got emails at 1 or 2 AM where people were panicked that they missed the bonuses.
Victoria: Were we really strict on those? Did the 2 AM people get the bonuses?
Carlee: No, we were pretty strict.
Victoria: Because Carlee’s the general!
Beth Anne: I am so thankful that customer care is Carlee’s job. I just want to give everything to everyone, but it’s an integrity issue! I gave my word that the bonuses ended at midnight.
Acting with Integrity
Carlee: It really is an integrity issue. Another example is that we were headed to the Business Boutique right after the cart closed. Everyone was telling us, and it sounded good at the time, that we should sell FB Brilliance at the Boutique. We honestly could have made a lot of sales! But Beth Anne said she had to stick to her word, and we all agreed. It’s the same with the bonuses–when you say there’s an end time, while you can give a little grace, to overextend grace cheapens our word.
Beth Anne: It also felt like it would be an insult to my core audience to sell it at the Business Boutique. They knew for 3 weeks there was an end date to the launch. To give away something special to this new audience, when really my core audience should get my best, felt wrong. So we didn’t sell it there.
The bonus situation came up again with the Brilliant Life Planner. Everyone who purchased got the digital business planner, Time Management Mama, and access to Planner School. We did have people reach out and say they loved the planner, but it was pricey, so did we have a discount code? We just said ‘No’ to all those requests. The price is what it is (there was a $5 off coupon for affiliates, but that’s it) because we had the confidence to say: Over 1,000 women paid full price, so we don’t need to discount our product. I am so glad we stuck to our guns and didn’t just give discounts. We sold out!
A Launch Without a Team — Yes You Can!
Beth Anne: If you’re getting ready to launch a product, and you don’t have a team, or even one person helping, don’t be discouraged!
When I launched Brilliant Pin Promotion, the course was ready to go, out the door. If you don’t have a team, make sure you do all the course content before you ever start into marketing and launching.
Also, create a detailed outline, then create the slides for your course, and record your screencast video with those slides. You might need a little editing, but it will be pretty polished!
Looking back, I would choose not to have a private Facebook Group if I didn’t have a team. I am not able to give tons and tons of support in a Facebook group! You can launch a fabulous course, with great content, and no private Facebook group. I would think long and hard about whether or not to add that group if it’s just you.
Ellen: And same with Transcripts and Worksheets. I really wanted to create a guide for Brilliant Pin Promotion, but I didn’t have the hours to do that on our budget. If you’re doing your first course, you can cut those out and save time.
Carlee: One option is to hire someone who is really fast and really high quality at a job that you aren’t good at. You can hire someone off Fiverr or Upwork to do that one job.
Victoria: Or, find a partner! If you have no extra funds, find someone to barter or share jobs with. Brand new people might work for free or low cost in exchange for a testimonial, or they might agree to be paid after your launch. Be upfront and honest in your business transaction, but I’d love to see women helping other women in business. We need to get rid of the scarcity mindset, and instead have a mindset to help each other!
Beth Anne: I totally agree! There are always ways to barter and trade services. Get creative! I don’t want anyone to feel like because they don’t have everything in place they can’t do this–that’s the last thing I want you to walk away with! You can go for it! You will improve your product, customer service, content, and marketing over time.
The FB Brilliance launch was huge–we’ve never done anything that big before–and it was an improvement on things we’ve done in the past, but we are sitting here thinking of how we’ll improve the next one! Welcome the room for improvement!
What We'll Do Differently Next Time
Ellen: One thing I am excited about is our plans to be together and do much of our launch work in person next time. We work well together as a team remotely, but when we are together it’s so much easier to bounce ideas and get instant feedback. Sitting next to each other is so much better than messaging or email. I think that is going to make such a strong launch to have that week together to get those details worked out and get FB Brilliance ready to go!
Beth Anne: Yes! I love it when we all get to be together in person. You are all so smart and creative and I love sitting down with you and hearing your thoughts and ideas.
And, we are giving ourselves so much more time to make this launch! Last year we did the planner Kickstarter from the end of Aug to end of Sept. Two weeks later–Tada! Here’s the Facebook course. This year we’ll meet at the end of July, then all of August is to create fabulous Facebook content, and we open the doors in September. We will have space to let this grow and build. And as a marketer, that gives me so much time to plan out different ways to market the course – and to do more fun marketing.
Victoria: I am amazed how big this launch was. We really turned this one on a dime! What will it be like when we have more time!?
Beth Anne: One thing I’ve found is the most effective way to bring in sales is webinars. For the past launch, we did 4 webinars. But if I don’t have time to scale my FB campaigns, we don’t get webinar sign ups. We had about 10,000 webinar sign ups, but this time I’ll get to dig into my Facebook ads campaigns without having to do all these other things.
That wraps this episode up! I hope you all learned a lot and got a peek behind the scenes at what works well and what we hope to change. I hope it’s getting you thinking about your own products you are creating or getting ready to launch.
Comment below or email us at brilliant business moms (at) gmail (dot) com if we can answer any other questions!
And now, it’s time to announce our Podcast Relaunch Giveaway Winners! There were 4 great prizes, and to enter people just had to leave a rating and review on our podcast. Winner #1 will get to pick from our 3 fabulous prizes, and then Winner #2 will pick next, and so on. If you are a winner, email us at brilliant business moms (at) gmail (dot) com
Winner #1: Emily Counts
Winner #2: bycbabie
Winner #3: Emily Bends
Winner #4: Linzi900
We look forward to hearing from you!
Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!