Today we’re going behind the scenes of a $100,000 course launch. We’re going to dive deep and geek out over numbers. I’m really excited to break it all down for you!
I know that when I heard other business owners talk about a $100K launch – or even a $1M launch – it’s really easy to feel like 1) that’s a completely unattainable and unrealistic goal that would never happen to me (Which is how I used to feel!) and 2) that a $100K launch would bring me into a fantasy dreamworld. I thought if this ever DID happen to me, I’d be rolling in cash and everything in life would be perfect. And that’s not the case, either.
I want to give you a realistic look inside a $100K course launch. I want you to see exactly what my team and I did to earn over $100K in course sales during our launch month. You’ll get a firm grasp on the numbers as we dive into questions like:
- How much cash-on-hand did a $100K course launch mean for the business?
- What were our refund rates?
- How much did I spend on advertising to get these students?
You’re going to get all the nitty gritty details so you feel like a $100K launch actually IS doable for you and your business, and so you understand that as amazing as a massive launch is, it doesn’t solve every problem and mean life is perfect.
Time for a quick disclaimer: this episode will be full of numbers, stats, and data. My team will be coming on the episode with me – Victoria, Carlee, and Ellen – and we’re going to chat about what went well and what we’d love to change. That episode will be really fun! And if you’re not a numbers or data person, you’ll really love our team episode. But if you are a numbers person, this episode is totally for you. (I’ve got a piece of paper with so many numbers it's making my head hurt!)
The Big Picture
So the course launch we’re talking about is my Facebook ads course: FB Brilliance. I’m obsessed with Facebook and Instagram ads; they go hand in hand for me. I released a version of this course in the summer of 2016, but I wanted to add more content and make it a better experience. In October 2016 I decided to give FB Brilliance a facelift. We revamped the course content and did coaching calls with students for three months.
Facebook advertising is a beast. I’ve seen other courses where they can break down and simplify a topic and that’s super great if it works, but there is so much to Facebook ads it’s not really something you can just break down and make easy peasy. I wanted a course that covered it all and took my students from brand new to Facebook ads ninja.
We added a bunch of new content and raised the price of the course. FB Brilliance is by far my most expensive product–we charged $497 for it when we opened the doors in October 2016. Previously I had charged $200-$350 for this course, depending on whether or not the customer was using a coupon code.
I knew my students would need extra help to really get the hang of Facebook advertising, so I set a price that would value my time and expertise.
Another decision we made during our course relaunch was that we didn’t want to leave the course open all the time. We learned that anytime we had a new Facebook ads student, they needed lots of help up front. New students needed lots of support, feedback, and hand holding. I realized that I didn’t want to have new students entering my classroom at all different times throughout the year because I couldn’t give them the attention and help they deserved and they wouldn’t get the best experience.
I made an intentional choice to open the doors on Oct 14th of 2016 and close them November 2nd. After Nov 2nd, no one could purchase FB Brilliance. Everyone started class together, and that way I could focus on digging deep with my new students and serving them well. I didn’t have to worry about onboarding new students every week. It was also fun to have people journeying together and getting feedback at the same time.
Before FB Brilliance I never did an open/close launch model. All of my products were available all of the time. I made a majority of sales for my Pinterest course through webinars. During the webinar I might have offered a coupon or limited time bonus; I love doing that to get people to take action. But I had never completely closed the doors before and told customers, “Nope, that’s it. You can’t buy it.”
It was a little scary at first! What if the launch didn’t go well? I was taking a product off the market and wouldn’t have it in my back pocket to grow the business. Looking back, I’m really glad I did the open and close model. It did allow me to have a big launch period, but then focus my time after the doors closed on my students.
If you are an instructor of a course with a lot to it and a lot of content, I highly recommend an open/close enrollment model. My team and I would all say it’s been great to have marketing be one batch of time and nurturing students a separate batch of time.
Okay, so let’s talk about the numbers. What does a $100K course launch look like? Let’s dig in.
Total Sales from Cart Open (October 14th) to Cart Close (November 2nd): $106,066 – no cents! (It would come down to nickels and dimes after payment processing.)
Total Brilliant Business Mom Sales: $97,646.50 (After paying our 1 affiliate, a good friend who hosted me for a webinar.)
Even after coupons and rewards, we sold over $100K of products. That amount felt awesome to me! Before this point my best business month had been $50K in sales. And to reach that milestone took a lot of hustling and Facebook ads and webinars. Bringing in $100K blew my mind, and it still does. My business has grown so quickly, and I’m always looking back in amazement of what my team and I have accomplished.
For me, this would not have been a $100K course launch without 3 awesome ladies working right alongside me. Without Carlee, Ellen, and Victoria doing customer service, creating ad images, and writing copy, I couldn’t have done it.
So let’s break down the sales.
We had 206 total sales. 206 new students who purchased FB Brilliance. I had options to pay all at once for the course ($497) and 99 of my students chose that option. There was also a payment plan (6 payments of $97, and those students ended up paying $582 total in the end) and 107 students wanted to do that. (I was surprised at all the people who wanted to plunk down the $497 all at once.)
If you calculate the math on those sales quickly, you’re going to say, “Okay, Beth Anne, you should have made more than that!!!”
Note that 32 of my students came through an affiliate, and I was only making 50% of those sales.
And I did other promotions. I offered my Brilliant Pin Promotion students $97 off the total price to thank them for being students. They could either paid in full at the $400 price-point, or take $17 off those monthly payments. 12 total Pinterest students took me up on my offer; 6 paid in full, 6 paid via the payment plan.
I also did a promotion with the Genius Bloggers Toolkit (run by the fabulous people at Ultimate Bundles). I offered a mini course called FB Ads for Beginners inside the Toolkit. Since these customers already paid a lot to get access to the bundle, and already had a $97 course of mine inside the Bundle, I offered them a coupon for $97 off FB Brilliance and 4 students took me up that.
The last discount promotion I ran was a scholarship. I knew that $497 is a lot of moolah for my target customer, a SAHM/WAHM on a budget. She doesn’t have $1,000 around to spend on her business. I wanted to give a few hardworking and motivated ladies a scholarship opportunity. I did a five day series on Facebook Live that was comprised of a daily lesson and homework assignment. We invited participants to submit their ‘assignments’ in the comments of our Facebook live video. My team compiled the submissions throughout the week, and anyone who submitted all 5 answers by the deadline was eligible to be considered for the scholarship. We had 3 full-ride spots we could give.
Looking back I am SO glad we offered this scholarship! One student in particular is really rocking and rolling with her business. She works so hard, and is constantly trying to improve. In fact, she’s about to host a webinar, which is super exciting! I’m so happy I was able to give these three ladies a scholarship and they proved me right – that they’re all motivated and hardworking ladies.
For everyone who didn’t win our scholarship, but did do the work, I offered a 50% off coupon. Maybe that’s crazy. We only emailed this offer to people who had submitted all 5 assignments, and I felt great about doing it. I really wanted to reward the hard work of everyone who submitted scholarships. We had about 30-40 submissions who completed every assignment and of those, 14 took me up on my offer; 6 paid in full and 8 went on the payment plan.
I’m really excited to try out the scholarship program again. I know I just spilled a big secret, but I’m deciding not to be too worried. The Brilliant Business Moms community is so sweet and full of integrity, you’re smart and hardworking, so I have every hope that a second scholarship will be met with the same hard work.
The cash that came in the door from people who paid in full was a total of $41,717.50
And the cash in the door from payment plans was $55,929 (divided over 6 months; $9,321.50 each month for that period of time).
The first payment began that first month of sales. I had about $50K of cash in the bank by November 2nd, and have been getting another $9K a month, which will last through through April 2nd.
Even after subtracting out my affiliate sales from the total sales, things are looking really good.
But of course, I had to spend money to make this money – especially, as you might guess, on Facebook ads.
To generate over $100K in sales I spent $23,590.31 on Facebook ads. So after paying my affiliate and paying for my Facebook ads, the total profit to Brilliant Business moms was $74,056.19, and the rest of that amount came in the 5 months following the launch.
Ending the month with $50K in the bank, after paying for $23K worth of Facebook ads, and an additional $9K coming in each month felt great.
Thanks to my students on payment plans, I was able to take the rest of November to focus on finishing out final modules for course content, hosting weekly office hours, and answering questions. I was fully able to help my students succeed!
And, of course, it allowed me to prepare for planner season. Our Brilliant Life Planner sales season ramped up in December and January. It was really nice to only market one product at a time!
We gave 8 total refunds for FB Brilliance. I gave people 60 days to return the course; if they did the work and weren't happy with their results, they could get a refund. But I was very clear to say, “You’re not getting a refund just because you changed your mind!” That’s wouldn’t be fair at all, right? And with a digital product, how would I know what the user’s end purpose was? It’s so hard to oversee.
We thought the 60-day window was a generous time frame and let people really dig into the course. Out of 206 students, only 8 were refunded. Our total refund rate was 3.88%, which is pretty good! I’ve been told to expect a 5-10% rate.
And of those who asked for a refund, it wasn’t because Facebook ads didn’t work. We had one student who realized their MLM was strictly against Facebook ads, for example. So we dug into the policy and, sure enough, that was the case. Another person was having lots of trouble getting the pixel installed; we didn’t have time to cater to all the different platforms this person was using and help them out – so a refund was easier to offer. Some refunds were due to hard life circumstances, like having to close their business and go back to a day job. To be honest, most of our refunds fell outside of our return policy, but we tried to be kind and understanding. It’s really a tricky thing to manage! I’ve seen some business owners be super strict with their policy and we want to have the highest integrity possible; it’s not fair to give someone a refund 6 months later just because they changed their mind. But it's hard to always know when to give a refund and when not to.
But we’ll dig more into this at a later time!
Reality Hits, But It’s Still Awesome
I used to think that a $100K course launch meant that person went out and bought a Ferrari or something. That was not the case at all for me! It was more like me looking at the launch and saying, “Awesome! I’m happy to teach these students, and I can keep paying my team and expenses.” While it was great to have that big launch, the amount of cash I received at the end wasn’t necessarily this huge life-changing thing.
Hopefully, you can see that through my story.
With that said, a $100K course launch truly was awesome!
I want to see more of you do big product launches! Shoot for the moon and hit those great big goals!
Now, I’m going to break down for you exactly what we did in terms of marketing to earn those 206 students.
We primarily got these customers through selling on webinars.
I love webinars! I’ve been blown away by doing a well-crafted webinar to allow me to build relationships and knock the socks off my customers with the value. I enjoy selling in a way that feels authentic and encourages people to get off their behinds and take action. If you want to learn more about how I sell through webinars, have a course Craft Your Brilliant Webinar.
This course will help you hone your message and show how your product solves a problem. It will refine how you relate to your customers and provide value. Once you do all of that, your potential with Facebook ads is crazy.
This crazy business growth I’ve experienced has mostly been through webinars. This course launch I can attribute to doing webinars. I did 4 webinars, 3 were to my audience + new subscribers via Facebook ads, and 1 was an affiliate webinar.
The webinar dates were:
October 27th (affiliate webinar)
October 28th (my last webinar)
The total number of webinar signups I see now is 7,513. That number was bigger initially, but since then a few people unsubscribed. It was more like 9,000 at the time of the launch.
I was getting enough sales throughout the month that I knew my Facebook ads were paid for. Of course, I wasn’t going to plunk down $20K in a week and cross my fingers that it would work! I scaled advertising as I saw the sales coming in. Even with me feeling confident on how to use Facebook ads, you never know exactly how a promo will go.
Ads I test still involve a few thousand dollars, but I’m not going to plunk down more than that until I saw profits.
I taught the same webinar each time I hosted it. I do want to change that up next year, but this year I was honestly revamping the course and in the middle of a launch, so there wasn’t time.
I sent out a post-webinar email sequence following each session. I would provide the students with awesome value, and after class I sent the replay and an ebook on 20 Brilliant Optin Offers they could use to build their lists. The main way I used Facebook ads was to build my list, and from there make sales. I gave ideas for freebies in this ebook, and guidance on how to use them.
Another post-webinar email I sent was titled ‘What’s the Facebook Pixel and Why Should I Care.' This was basic information a customer needed to know and I made it really exciting but also told them it can be tricky. And I ended that email with, “Don’t stress, I have training in my course.”
As I mentioned, each email sent a link to the replay along with a link for the next live webinar. And, of course, I linked to the full course to purchase.
The other thing I did for all my webinar customers was to offer limited time bonuses. It did get tricky to manage these bonuses with multiple webinars! I told everyone they would have four days to grab the bonuses but I would have the same people attend multiple webinars and get confused about the bonus limit time. What we ended up doing was telling everyone they could grab the bonuses through October 29th. And from that point forward it was a few more days until the cart closed completely.
I actually have a fun table that Carlee on my team made to show how effective the bonuses were. Looking at the sales day-by-day, for the last week the cart was open we had more course sales come in on the Saturday when the bonuses closed than when the cart closed! (And this was after I told people the course wouldn’t be open again until September 2017!)
We had 40 new students enter the course on cart closing day, but on the fast action bonuses day we had 70 new people come into the course.
You can see by those numbers that momentum really builds with the course. When you launch a course, have faith that the majority of sales will come toward the end. Of course, you want to see sales along the way, and it was great to know I could pay for those Facebook ads, but the last week of the promo was huge.
Facebook Ad Stats
My total spend on Facebook ads was $23,590.31.
Where did all of that money go?
The vast majority went on my webinar signups campaign. Essentially, I showed people an ad to my free class all about how to make a profit with Facebook ads, click here, signup, and attend my free class.
I spent $21,965.97 on that campaign. That campaign led to 7,168 email subscribers. And again, when I look back at what ConvertKit says now, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a couple thousand subscribers from that promotion.
Some of my Facebook ad campaigns were to people on my list. I did run ad sets to my site visitors and email subscribers since they’re people I can get to signup at an affordable rate and they’re likely to buy my product.
I have no problem spending money to get people into a free class because I want to make sure they get in the door and don’t miss it.
My average cost per email subscriber was $3.38. But broken down, I can see that when I targeted my ads to my email subscribers, it only costs about $1.29 to get those people to sign up. Ads targeted to my website visitors were at $1.69 per lead. The investment is totally worth it to me because those people bought the course.
With that average spend per lead, I will say that my general bench mark is $2 per lead
I’ve heard from other Facebook advertisers that this benchmark is really low. But generally, I’m able to get people for that $2 a lead.
In this case, I was intentional with my ads in that knew I was offering the course at a higher price point. For some of my audience, it was just outside their budget. So I did target not just by interest, but also household income level.
I didn’t want a bunch of people to attend my free class and get excited, then cry at the end when they saw the course price!! That’s a bummer for everyone. I didn’t want to get people excited but have them walk away.
And it doesn’t make sense to pay $2 for a lead if that person cannot afford my product. Seeing the end result of about $3 per lead, but making sure it was inside their budget and they could afford my course, was worth it.
While the vast majority of my $23K spend was acquiring signups, I also spent money on class reminders – just for my October 27th webinar.
To those people who signed up, I showed them an ad that read ‘Hooray! Class is today!’ The way in which I used this ad, I didn’t get a lot of clicks but I did get a high reach.
My ad reached 442 people, though only 8 people clicked. And I only paid about $2 a click. So about $15.64 total, but I was able to show up in 442 people's newsfeeds. (Of course, I’m sending reminders to students via email, but the more places I can show up in front of someone the better!)
The other strategy I did to fill my classes was retargeting. So to everyone who signed up for the class, I sent an ad that said, “Don’t miss out on the bonuses and growing your business with Facebook ads.”
The cool thing with retargeting campaigns is you can get great results with not a lot of money. I got back in front of about 7,000 – 9,000 people to remind them of my awesome product. I spent $130.30 on that retargeting campaign.
I did experience a HUGE bummer that I’ll never let happen again. Here’s the story. I work with an awesome guy at Facebook who helps me with my ads. I hopped on the phone with him and set up a custom purchase pixel for Teachable. We set it up, it was working, and we could see who purchased on Teachable vs. Shopify.
It turns out we had to do one extra thing, and because of that oversight my sales weren’t showing up inside Power Editor! The sales were coming through, and I knew the ads were profitable, but the bummer was I couldn’t go back to those campaigns and say, “Awesome, this ad set purchased FB Brilliance this many times,” or, “This was an affordable campaign to get webinars, but not for sales.” I was bummed to not have that data!
This glitch had since been fixed, so I can now tell you which ads worked best and which audiences brought more money.
So I did a replay reminder campaign, and to all the people who signed up for a class I said, “Hey, you missed the class but grab a reply.” Sure I was emailing them, but I wanted that other touch point. I spent $971.87 on the replay campaign, and I had 605 link clicks and spent $1.61 per each click. It was a great use of ad spend because I know when people show up live, they’re more likely to buy.
It’s easy to put off watching a replay. And when people don’t watch the webinar, they don’t know what kind of teacher I am and the value I can offer. It was valuable to get as many people as I possibly could together live.
For cart closing, I did a Facebook Live session, but the post didn’t turn into an ad until after the session. I spent $300 on that ad.
People who watched the video for 3 seconds – 4,104 ($0.07 per view)
People who watched the video for 10 seconds – 1,011
17 people watched 20% of the video, and only 1 person watched 100% of the video.
Man, looking back those stats aren’t great! It would have been better to get people on the replay page.
The other post I boosted was to announce my scholarship. I let people know about the 5 Day Video Series, and how it worked. (Our scholarship was a Facebook live session where I introduced the program and explained how it worked.)
I boosted that post for $200. I got 12,000 impressions, and 3,027 video views. Only 761 viewed the video for 10 seconds. Only 28 people viewed 25% of the video. And on down the line, only 9 people watched the full video.
Now, these numbers don’t include organic reach. A better use of time an ad spend would have been boosting after the fact, and giving lots of incentive for people to join and engage live. (The more interaction in the moment, the more free reach.)
I’ve boosted posts more recently, and my goal was to get viewers to sign up for the free guide. The link for my guide was right in the description, and it’s so much easier to get a subscriber with a great freebie.
Facebook live is a beast. It’s great for free engagement, but not for paying.
Lesson learned, huh?
So to recap, I ran 4 webinars and promoted limited time bonuses – expiring a few days before cart close. The cart closing was also a motivator.
People who bought the course knew they would have weekly office hours to get live help with the content.
I sent lots of followup emails and was not being shy with those reminders!
Hopefully, this episode wasn’t too tough to get through! My team and I will be on next week to dig deep on customer service, strategies we used, and the ways we’re excited to make next year’s launch even better
(For those wondering, the doors to FB Brilliance will open again in September of 2017.)
I’m excited to keep the transparency and continue to share what I’m learning at this stage of business. I love sharing the nitty gritty, and hopefully, you love hearing it!
If you’re interested in learning how to use webinars to grow your business, we have a new course called Craft Your Brilliant Webinar that will get you on your way.