Before I start, I just wanted to say that during my first two weeks of November, I was super unproductive.
Every few months of blogging, I hit those plateaus where I wonder where I’m talking this. It happened back in June and it happened again in this November.
It’s a 2-week workshop for aspiring bloggers who want to launch their blog into space and start growing their email list from day 1. I love writing and blogging, but I do believe that launching a blog just isn’t enough.
Where does the real relationship happen?
It’s in the email list where you send one email after another, warming up those new strangers who are expecting to hear more from you.
Honestly, I’ve connected more with the people on my list this month than I ever have in the last year. I know I’ve said this before, my relationship with my email list only gets better over time.
Plus it takes much less time to whip up an email than to write, design pins, and format a blog post. Formatting a blog post is so tedious after you’ve done it 500+ times.
I first launched, Blog Successfully, back in September so I decided to relaunch it in Nov/December. The real launch happened in Dec, but all the prep work and pre-launch stuff happened in November. This is why this #RealChat is coming in so late in December. December, 9th, if you’re wondering.
I’m pretty good at planning my projects and I usually know exactly what to do to when I sit down. I can, however, still work on planning my year and quarters out better. And because I didn’t, I felt like I was in a rut in early November.
But baby steps, right?
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about the launch numbers since I don’t teach people how to monetize their blogs. Instead, I’m going behind the scenes about the productivity and how to get it all done without burning out.
I knew I wanted to launch in November, but like I said, I didn’t get anything tangible done in the first 2 weeks. Then suddenly, in a spur of a moment (I know, totally not the best way to do things, especially in blogging), I got a complete visualized plan on what I wanted to do for this mini launch.
So I went from having no idea to having a complete plan in my mind!
Lol, sounds impossible right?
I do believe that taking some time off to recuperate, think things through, and go to random places for inspiration can motivate you.
Sometimes, it can be the most bizarre experience from watching a movie or a TV episode.
Anyway, once I had the visual plan in my mind, I got to work and mapped out everything on my Trello board. I can’t get a tangible hold of how long I needed to get something done if I don’t write it all out.
Once I got everything out, I knew things were getting REAL!
I split it into three phases:
- The prep work (1-1.5 weeks)
- The pre-launch (1 week)
- The launch week (5 days)
If you recall in the beginning, half of November was already gone. And Thanksgiving was definitely not the week I wanted to launch because everyone was on break, having fun, and as fun as launching a blog was, I knew it’ll affect my sales.
So I spent the week of Thanksgiving doing all the prep work that went into the launch. This is the most work I had to do, but not necessarily the “hardest” phase of the launch — and you will see why in a bit.
Everything else after the prep work was more about showing up than hiding in your bat cave and slaving away.
So what happened during the prep week?
Phase 1: The Prep-Work
Here’s what I did during this week:
- I went through and updated the course materials based on the feedback I got from the first round of students (Honestly, recording scripted videos isn’t my favorite thing to do, I’ll rather have a chat with you via FB live. But I gotta prioritize paying customers.)
- I surveyed my list of what they’ll want as bonuses to this workshop (More on this later)
- I came up with a freebie idea, designed the pin, and created the landing page for it (1 day)
- Created a promoted pin campaign for it (Always start this early because I always manage to get rejected in my first round before my pin gets approved)
- Writing my 5-part launch email sequence (I spent one Saturday doing this and it wasn’t perfect)
- Updating my sales page (1-2 hours)
Needless to say, this wasn’t as hard because it wasn’t my first time creating and launching this workshop. Now, if it’s your first time creating the course, it’s going to take much longer. But when you’re just updating the workshop to give everyone who takes the course a better experience, this isn’t overwhelming.
Most of the work was spent updating and improving on things that already existed, including
- Adding testimonials and bonuses to the sales page
- Adding a few more “watch over my shoulder as I show you how” tech tutorials to the workshop
The most painful part was probably writing the 5-part launch emails, which was brand new.
And you wouldn’t expect that since copywriting and emails were my strong suit. The most challenging part was definitely getting it done in one day – in fact in less than 8 hours.
Was there anything that I could’ve done better?
I started promoting the pin way too late, especially since Pinterest didn’t approve my pin. That was a 2-day delay at least.
I can’t remember how many days I promoted the pin, but ideally, I wished I promoted it for at least 2 weeks. I had people on my list who wanted to launch their blogs, but I knew paid ads would add more people who wanted to do this.
I love SEO and organic traffic and until you have a product to launch, that’s a great way to build your foundation and list. But once you have a product validated and sales coming in, I’d really spend some money on paid ads to get more people into the funnel.
Even if organic traffic works, it doesn’t work faster than paid ads.
And after a debrief, this mini launch only fell short because not enough people who went through the content experience funnel.
The final conversion was 2%, if you’re wondering. The industry average is usually between 1-3%. But in reality, I’ll like to get it to convert at 5%+. When you think about the time and prep work it takes to go into a launch, you really want more people to go through the experience.
Of course, other factors matter too. But this time, it was because there weren’t enough people went through the experience.
Phase 2: The #5DaysofBloggingTips Live Stream Pre-launch (1 week)
Moving past the prep work phase, I decided I wanted to do a #5DaysofBlogigngTips live stream inside my Facebook group.
I’ve done a 5-day challenge when the group launched to engage new members and I loved it. But for this challenge, I just wasn’t as intentional about the live streams.
Don’t get me wrong, I planned out the content and I even adjusted the final day of the live based on viewer/subscriber questions and feedback.
But the most challenging part for people is probably not being invested in the event. In a challenge, when people take part they can do the work and take the necessary steps.
For this particular live stream, it was more of me talking and teaching a class. It was more of busting through mindsets instead of having real action items for them to do.
I did get a good number of people to join the Facebook group (which was another goal of mine), but I didn’t get as many views for the lives as I intended.
After the second day, I decided to make a small change. I emailed my list and told them that the livestreams would only be available in the group until Dec 8th (that was the day after the launch was over). I realized that if the videos were going to be there forever, people were way less likely to show up.
But if there was a scarcity element to the livestreams, people will be more likely to show up.
So during the pre-launch week, my schedule looked like this:
- I showed up at my Facebook group to do a live every day for 5 days at 5pm PST (Since most of my audience has a 9-5, it doesn’t make sense to show up at 11am. I also realized that 5:30pm is a more optimal time to do it)
I had mapped out each day’s topic beforehand, but I didn’t outline the livestream until the day before
- During this week, I unexpectedly got a lot of subscriber emails in my inbox (which I absolutely love!) and I even changed the final day’s topic to “How to balance your day job and blogging” instead of a topic on email marketing (I realized that people probably didn’t really care about email marketing until they realized that they had time to start a blog. This really goes back to understanding your audience and meeting them where they’re at.)
The FB lives aren’t available anymore, but here’s a flashback to some excuriating moments during the FB lives.
Phase 3: Launch Week (5 days)
This is really where the final touchdown is, guys!
Really, I almost didn’t do anything outside of the usual client work during this phase. I didn’t publish any blog posts, sent any emails outside the launch emails, or make any other plans.
If anything, I only spent some time answering emails related to the workshop. And trust me, it’s the most nerve-wracking part of these three phases because that’s when you begin to start measuring your performance!
Also, during this week you begin to realize that all the work, time, and energy you put in begins to either pay off or not.
I’ve heard stories where most people actually don’t buy until the last minute.. And that’s so true!
And that’s what makes Phase 3 the most energy-consuming phase of the three.
If you recall, I put in the most time and work in Phase 1. In Phase 2, I did a series of FB lives, which required more courage, confidence, and mindset more than real work. At this point, having done almost 15 FB livestreams in a matter of 2 months, I feel like it’s much easier to go live than to write a blog post.
(And that means a lot because writing has been my jam for the last 10 years and I have experience writing at least 500+ blog posts before starting this blog.)
Anyway, by the time Phase 3 rolled around, I didn’t do much because I was pretty much watching my results… yet it was the most energy-consuming?
What do you mean, Judy?
I didn’t execute anything tangibly, I wasn’t working on any project that took up my time. But whether or not I was going to get a ROI on the work I spent during the last 2 weeks, depended on this week.
And this makes me feel that as long as I’m adding value and creating things that perform well, the time it takes to do it really doesn’t matter much.
For example, you can spend one week on writing a 5-part launch email sequence, but if you don’t know how to do it, you still don’t know how to do it.
But let’s say you finally got around to realizing that you don’t know how and you’re open to changing that, then here’s how your journey will begin to look like:
- You finally realize you don’t know how to write a 5-part launch email sequence
- You take a course on learning how to write one that converts
- The first time you write your launch email sequence, it might not be so quick or effective…
- But you keep practicing
- And the next time it takes you 3 days instead of 5
- And the third time you do it, it takes you 2 days instead of 3
- Until you can do it as quickly as possible (for me, it takes about 8 hours to put it together, breaks in between, of course. I don’t believe in being a workaholic either.)
So what’s my point?
My point is, it doesn’t matter if it takes you 5 days or 8 hours to write a launch email sequence. The goal is to get that sequence to perform, get you the results and sales you want, and to hit your big girl goals!
Which brings me to my final point… the time and hard work you spent on one thing doesn’t have to be proportional to the results you get.
If you don’t know how to do something, you can spend another 10 months learning it yourself or you can do something about it to move the needle forward.
When I first settled on doing copywriting services for business owners, I knew I was good at writing and I had a background in sales. But there was still something about copywriting that I couldn’t grasp. So instead of figuring it out myself, I learned from someone who knew how to do it well — and who was actually entertaining to learn from!
If you want to perform better, it’s not about working more or longer hours to get there. It’s about getting better at those critical skills so it takes you shorter hours to do something that gets you something you really want.
What’s one thing that you don’t know how to do well and that you know by learning from someone, you can speed up the results you get?
Is it learning how to plan your projects so you hit your goals?