I created a launch debrief for my private clients, which breaks down all the details about my launch, including what worked in terms of strategy, what didn’t work, where clients found me, which specific pieces of content resonated most with the newest members, why clients decided to join, and more. I thought it would be great to share some of my findings with you.
Here’s the behind-the-scenes of my most recent launch of the Group Program and filled up 6/6 spots, even though I was on “business vacation” for two weeks.
This launch was a 15k launch using my signature soft launch method, instead of the traditional launch approach with pre-launch and launch phases involving cart open and cart close strategies.
It was my third launch of 2021, and I want to review what worked and what did not work for this particular launch, as well as lessons I will consider for future launches in 2022.
Additionally, I want to discuss how, during two weeks of this launch, I was on vacation and barely posted anything business-related on my Instagram.
However, we still signed clients during that time period and had new inquiries or discovery call bookings for after I finished my vacation.
Episode 41: How I Had a 10k Group Program Launch (Without an Actual Launch) discussed my previous launch in detail. We talked about how we created a 10k launch for Cohort 2 of my group program without actually doing a launch.
My goal was to enroll four people, and we were able to fill all four spots before the initially planned launch date. As a result, we ended up closing enrollment early without doing a launch at all. If that sounds interesting, please check out Episode 41: How I Had a 10k Group Program Launch (Without an Actual Launch).
For this launch, which was for cohort 3 of the group program, my goal was once again to enroll 4 people, but secretly I was hoping for 6. The thought of having 8 clients in the group program felt overwhelming to me, so I decided to close enrollment once we hit 6 people. And that’s exactly what happened.
The group program was scheduled to start on October 4th, and we filled the 6th spot by October 2nd. We had a kick-off welcome party during the week of October 4th, and we will officially start the group program and coaching calls the following week.
In terms of the structure and logistics of this third cohort, it’s a 4-month program that includes weekly group calls, just like the first two cohorts.
I experimented with both biweekly and weekly coaching calls and found that weekly calls work best for my program and clients.
Members of the group program have access to our client portal, which includes resources, trainings, and workshops. They also have access to a private Slack community where coaching conversations can continue between calls. Members can ask questions, share their successes, submit their work for review and feedback, and more.
My philosophy is that coaching and planning doesn’t have to stop just because we’re not on a Zoom call together.
Finally, starting in late October 2021, we will be hosting monthly live workshops throughout Q4 2021 and into Q1 2022.
The topics planned for Q1 2022 will include my new signature framework called the “Simple 2×2 Business Method.” I have reverse-engineered what I’ve been doing in my own business and have broken it down into a 2×2 framework that I’ll be sharing with my clients.
This framework will be the basis for the rest of the workshop series, where we’ll dive deeper into topics such as thought leadership, soft launching, identity, and much more.
For this most recent round of the group program, the investment remains the same as the past two cohorts: one payment of $2500 USD or three payments of $900 USD.
Early bird bonuses were also offered, including bonus 1:1 calls where an entire action plan is mapped out for clients to start implementing before the program officially begins.
Honestly, I repeated what I did for the previous launch.
This means that instead of doing it the typical way other coaches do it, planning for a pre-launch period and a launch period involving an open cart strategy and a close cart strategy, I just stuck with what I knew best, which was soft launching.
I started the soft launch on August 11, 2021, which was roughly two months before the start of the program. I stopped promoting on October 2, 2021 because we filled our 6th spot that day.
I went through my content to see how often I shared about the Group Program during this soft launch period.
First, on the podcast, I mentioned it in four episodes: specifically, Episodes 46, 47, 49, and 51.
On my Instagram feed, I shared six entire posts that were solely focused on introducing the group program. Two of these posts were typical selling posts, while four were a Q&A series about the group program. I also mentioned the Group Program on 11 feed post captions, so on 11 other posts besides the 6 posts I mentioned earlier.
In addition, I made a call-to-action (CTA) for the Group Program inside eight carousel posts, which means I embedded a CTA inside the actual slides themselves (again, besides the 6 posts mentioned earlier).
As for how often I talked about the Group Program on Instagram stories, I currently do not have that information because I have yet to create a deep dive analysis of all my content.
I’m creating a report for my private clients on my Instagram content and podcast content for this launch, and I will be analyzing it to try to draw patterns and dissect what worked and didn’t work.
However, this is a huge task, so I currently do not have this information to share for this episode yet. But, if I had to give a rough estimate, I think I mentioned the group program maybe three or four times a week in my Instagram stories.
If you listen to Episode 41: How I Had a 10k Group Program Launch (Without an Actual Launch) where we discussed the launch for the previous group program, you will notice that I made a lot more calls to action and offers compared to this launch.
However, on a strategic level, I am not certain if the increased CTAs made a significant difference or contributed to the launch since I don’t have clear data to prove it.
That being said, I don’t plan on intentionally increasing or decreasing how often I add a CTA or make an offer since I don’t have a set schedule or weekly quota for doing so.
My approach to soft launching is to make an offer when I feel called to do so. For me, this usually happens quite frequently because I am passionate about the work I do and believe in the messages I share. This excitement often results in me sharing about my program frequently on platforms like Instagram.
One thing that played a significant role in this launch was my energy and thoughts about the launch.
Coaching yourself is crucial, regardless of whether you’re conducting a soft launch or a more traditional one. When you’re running a business and have an offer to sell, it’s really easy to let your thoughts spin you out and literally kill the entire vibe of the launch, and as a result, discourage you from showing up for your launch.
Some common negative thoughts that I work through a lot include: “No one wants to work with me,” “My content is basic and isn’t unique,” “I’m not a thought leader,” and “Other business coaches are better than me.” I’m sure many of you also experience these thoughts.
That’s why I constantly work on my mindset. It’s non-negotiable. If I want to show up as my best for my audience and deliver incredible value via my free content, I cannot let my own mind drama, self-pity, self-doubt, or comparisons interfere with delivering amazingness for my audience.
For anyone currently selling something on the internet, it’s important to do your own self-coaching, be aware of the thoughts you think in relation to your business, and get coached by someone who can help with both mindset and strategy.
With this particular launch, I coached myself a lot in the first two weeks to be okay even if nobody joined. Why would I coach myself on that? Because it doesn’t matter. Even if no one joined by the initial start date of the program, it wouldn’t reflect on my abilities and quality as a coach.
My coaching has helped clients achieve incredible results in their lives and businesses, so even if no one joined this round, it wouldn’t mean anything about me, my coaching skills, or my thought leadership. I know the value of my content, that I create value in my content, and I have unique thoughts that I am committed to sharing.
Lastly, I know the quality of my coaching. And let’s say the launch flops, it’s not like I’m going to quit my business, right?
So once I really cleaned up my thoughts about “is anyone going to join” and focused on soft launching, doing my thing, being a fantastic coach, and a fantastic content creator, the launch felt so much easier.
The remaining weeks of the launch became lighter, and we ended up filling all six spots in the program.
In addition to the mindset piece of the launch, there were two other elements that contributed to its success from a strategy standpoint:
1) Continuing to create new thought leadership that is unique to me and creating content that reflects this thought leadership.
2) Showing my clients’ wins and results rather than simply saying how I can help.
Let’s discuss creating your unique thought leadership and content that reflects it.
The most important thing here is to stick with your honest opinions, perspectives, experiences, and so on, and to create content on them regularly.
Your unique thought leadership doesn’t have to be brand new and groundbreaking. What matters is that it is authentic to you and means something to you.
Honest marketing always wins. When your intentions and beliefs shine through, it amplifies the impact of your message. This means that it’s a combination of the ideas in your brain and how much you believe in those ideas, as well as how often and in what energy you share them.
That’s how I would describe sharing your unique thought leadership – it’s simply leading with your thoughts and being committed to sharing them over and over again.
One example of content that I feel is reflective of my unique thought leadership, is my post on August 30, which is when I made a meme of my boyfriend and I, and then shared some life lessons that can be translated into business lessons.
Specifically, I shared three things I learned from being able to see the boyfriend after 18 months (well, in total it was actually 19 months), and how these lessons can apply to your business or the way you think about business. Like, literally. I can’t copy someone else to create this content. These are literally things from inside my brain and they’re my lived experiences.
Another example is a post from September 20, where I shared an overview of a new framework I’ve developed called the Simple 2×2 Coaching Business Method.
Essentially, I spent some time thinking about my own business and what helped me create success. I realized it was:
1) having both an action plan and a belief plan and
2) thinking about what the business needs from me and what my clients and audience needs from me.
Then, I was able to map it out on a diagram or create a visual representation of this, and this is something I’ll be teaching my clients moving forward because this is literally what I have been doing, but now I have a much clearer way of explaining it. This is another example of unique thoughts that came from my brain.
Overall, much of my Instagram and podcast content reflects my unique thought leadership. I leverage what is already inside my brain, things that have meaning to me, or topics I feel strongly about, and turn them into content that’s relevant to my audience and ideal clients.
This is a skill that I teach my clients, and I believe any entrepreneur or coach can learn it and improve with practice.
We each have unique thoughts, but where many people struggle is in identifying the specific thoughts that are honest and relevant to their ideal clients, and then strategically positioning them within their content. That is one of the key skills I help my clients develop.
Another strategy element of my launch was showcasing my clients’ wins and results, rather than just making claims about my program. Instead of just stating my “I help” statement, like “I help you build a coaching business that makes 5k+ months while still excelling in your career and make time for what matters most by doing the bare minimum” or the program promise, I talked a lot about my clients throughout the entire soft launch period.
Even while I was on vacation, my clients shared their wins, such as signing high-ticket clients, providing me with ample social proof to showcase on my Instagram.
I am confident that this played a huge role in the launch’s success. The amount of social proof I shared during this launch was noticeably more than the previous launch, with more frequent and consistent sharing of client wins on Instagram stories.
The reason is that we are constantly getting better at coaching our clients. As long as you don’t stagnate and remain the same as a coach, you’re continually improving your coaching skills and thus the quality and consistency of your clients’ results.
This, in turn, feeds back into your marketing and serves as social proof.
That’s why I also work extensively with my clients on their coaching skills, as making money in your business does not necessarily mean that your coaching skills match up or you’re fully delivering on your program promise.
I took a two week business vacation between September 12 to 26, when my boyfriend was finally able to come to Hong Kong. If you’ve been following my IG stories, you’d probably know that for the last two weeks in September, I paused my coaching business.
I wanted to be completely present during my boyfriend’s visit because we literally haven’t seen each other for 19 months, and these two weeks meant so much to us.
We basically paused our coaching program for my clients but we still had some light messaging support and they still shared updates and wins with me, but we didn’t do any coaching.
I also still had my normal PhD and work responsibilities going on, like meetings and teaching assistant stuff. But I took a mini vacation from the business.
As for my podcast, I batched two episodes ahead of time, so we were able to get the weekly episodes out on time during the two weeks of vacation.
However, for my Instagram, that was a different story and there are three particularly interesting lessons I learnt.
Going into the two weeks of business vacation, I had no expectations of posting any business content for two weeks. I honestly had no intention of making offers during the two weeks or creating any business related content. I had no plans of using my brain to create brand new thought leadership content. All I wanted to think about was spending time with the boyfriend.
However, my clients continued to send me updates and wins during those two weeks, so I ended up posting a lot of client wins during those two weeks. As a result, I decided to make a call-to-action (CTA) for my coaching programs while I was on Instagram.
This really goes to show that it is SO important to work on yourself as a coach.
When I set aside a few 1- or 2-hour time blocks during my business vacation to reflect and think about my goals and vision, I was amazed at how creative my brain could be.
This two-week period was actually the longest time my boyfriend and I had ever spent together. In 2019, we had also spent two weeks together, but typically, throughout our 4+ years of long-distance dating, we only got between 5-7 days together at a time.
Since we had so much time together, we needed to find things to do. Sometimes, we would go to a coffee shop, and I would just open my laptop and work on whatever I felt like.
There were a few times where my brain was bursting with ideas for future podcast episodes, Instagram story topics, and even frameworks that I could teach. This is actually how the 2×2 Simple Business method came about.
The lesson I learned here is that sometimes, if you take a step back and remove the pressure of “I HAVE to do XYZ,” you can free up brain space and make it so much easier to create and think of innovative ideas.
I was surprised by the amount of engagement my boyfriend-related content received!
Here are some observations I made: Typically, my Instagram stories’ views range from 100 to 120, and sometimes it may reach 150, but it usually averages between 100-120 in a 24-hour period.
However, during the two weeks of business vacation, and even during the two weeks prior to it when my boyfriend was in quarantine, my stories’ views consistently averaged 300.
The reason for this is clear: people love boyfriend content. Seriously!
During the two weeks before my boyfriend and I were together, he had to quarantine for 14 days at a government-approved hotel, and I shared a lot about how I was delivering snacks and meals to his quarantine hotel. People loved it. And during the two weeks we were together, people loved it even more.
However, after he left, my stories’ views started to dwindle, and as of this episode, it’s been 2.5 weeks since he flew back to Singapore, and my stories’ views are back at 100-120.
I have never received so many DMs or votes on my story polls before. It’s so funny! It seems like you all really like my boyfriend, so maybe he should just run the business! Haha.
But in all seriousness, here’s what I learned: people wanted to see a more personal side of me. Sure, my thought leadership content is amazing and valuable, but really, at this point in my journey, I’ve built enough brand awareness that people are starting to want to see more personal sides of me.
Yes, they still want the value and thought leadership, but they also want to know who Cheryl Lau is.
That’s why as I’m scaling my business to multiple six figures, it’s no longer just about providing step-by-step information or educational tips or debunking myths type of content that people want from me.
Sure, while educational and authority-building content played a big role in my business at one point, it’s no longer going to get me to the next level. Now that I’m making a mark in this space, if I want to scale, I have to think more long-term and bigger picture.
One of those things I’m realizing is that I need to create content that answers the question: Who is Cheryl Lau? There are obviously many ways I can answer the question.
For example, I can share moments from my time with my boyfriend to show that I care about spending quality time with loved ones. Another thing you might have seen me do more and more of is sharing what I believe in and what’s important to me, and why I believe my work is important, especially the work I do inside my coaching programs and in my business.
You’ll also start to see more behind-the-scenes lifestyle content because I want to take my audience along the journey with me as I grow as a person, an entrepreneur, a coach, and a researcher/PhD student.
There will be shifts in my content because I’m now focused on creating content with the big picture in mind.
Some of you may not feel comfortable sharing certain parts of your family life. For example, some of you may prefer to keep your romantic relationships private.
My rule of thumb is if you feel like you HAVE to post something, then don’t.
For example, if other coaches in your niche are posting about their family and now you feel like maybe you should too because that’s one way to get more eyeballs on your content. If that’s the energy you’re coming at it with, then, don’t. There’s no need. You don’t have to showcase everything.
There are many parts of my personal life that have not made it to Instagram , and I’m not sure if they ever will. For example, I don’t feel comfortable sharing moments from my daily life where I’m deep in anxiety or feel deeply depressed.
Just because some business coaches might recommend being vulnerable as a way to build rapport with your audience, my response to that is, “Eff that.”. Seriously.
There is no need to share anything especially if it’s from the energy of I think I should share that or I feel like I have to because everyone else is sharing that.
This applies to not so vulnerable parts of your life too. For example, I don’t talk about the monetary donations I make to causes that I care about. I don’t talk about the future plans and goals that my boyfriend and I have for our future together.
Even though I shared about our two weeks together back in September 2021 and a lot of the fun moments we had, there are still so many parts of our relationship that I simply choose not to share.
I don’t even talk much about how my PhD is going. But if someone asks me in a private conversation, I’m more than happy to share my honest experiences and thoughts with them. However, I don’t share certain things just because I feel like I have to.
So even though I was on a business vacation during the launch, we still finished the launch and we hit our launch goals.
I really hope that this post gave you some new insights to think about 🙂
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