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Episode 40: Lessons Learned From My “Failed” Launch

As entrepreneurs, something we have to get used to, even though we may not want to, is failure. 

Of course we all want nothing but success in our business, but there are bound to be bumps along the road at some point.

I am no exception to that. 

Today I am sharing my story of what some would call a “failed launch”. I am going into detail about how I promoted it, what my goals were, what I spent, where I spent, and what my bottom line was. 

I didn’t reach my goals with this launch. I was pretty far off, to be honest. However, I didn’t let this defeat me. I took this experience and learned from it. I am adjusting my strategy and expectations going forward so that I can achieve greater success during my next launch. 

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • The launch strategy behind The Empowered Business Lab
  • The changes we made to increase conversion rates
  • The Passion To Profit Experience
  • Why our Facebook Ads didn’t convert well
  • Our conversion rates
  • Why experimenting with different launch models is so important
  • How to set realistic goals and what equations to use

 

“Failure” is unavoidable. It is bound to happen at one time or another, but what you do with that failure is all that matters. Do you let it discourage you or do you flourish because of it? 

There is no linear path to success in online business. It’s all about failing fast and picking yourself up and trying new things. I hope this episode inspires you to do just that if you are in a similar season in your business!

To find out how to uncover your unique million dollar digital product formula, make sure to check out the Passion To Profit Experience. 

Head over to http://monicafroese.com/listen to listen to this episode and previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform!

Resources Mentioned:

Speaker1: [00:00:04] You are listening to the Empowered Business podcast. I’m your host, Monica Fros, a mom of two and your secret weapon to creating a six figure digital product business. I’m on a mission to help 1000 women make one hundred thousand a year. That’s right. One hundred million dollars towards financial independence for women. As an online business expert, I am teaching you everything I know right here week after week, so you can join us on the journey to one hundred million dollars. Sound good? Then let’s jump in. Welcome back to the Empowered Business podcast. Today is a follow up episode to episode 30, where I told you all about our first six figure launch that happened in April of Twenty Twenty One. I’ll make sure to link to episode 30 in the show notes so you can get the entire backstory on what we are going to talk about today. But I’ll quickly give you a recap. So we are on the same page for today’s episode in Twenty Twenty. I retired my signature course on Pinterest advertising and pivoted my business to help women create financial independence by creating

 

Speaker2: [00:01:18] Six figure

 

Speaker1: [00:01:19] Digital product businesses. This meant launching an entirely new brand empowered business, along with an entirely new program suite. The main focus for Twenty Twenty

 

Speaker2: [00:01:29] One has been

 

Speaker1: [00:01:30] On the Empowered Business Lab, which is our six month program that empowers you to create a profitable digital product sales machine. It’s a complete solution for

 

Speaker2: [00:01:38] Creating, strategizing,

 

Speaker1: [00:01:39] Building and, of course, selling your digital products. Now we entered twenty twenty one, committed to

 

Speaker2: [00:01:45] Live, launching four times.

 

Speaker1: [00:01:48] Now for anyone new to online business live launching refers to a short period of time where the sales cart for a program will open. It usually means there will be an urgency and price savings or a special offer on the program. Typically, it’s paired with a live event such as a series of trainings or what a lot of people refer to as a challenge. Now an episode 30, I broke down our first two live launches for twenty twenty one. That happened in January in April. The TLDR is, they like to say for those launches are as follows.

 

Speaker2: [00:02:18] So in

 

Speaker1: [00:02:20] January twenty twenty one, we ran what I call

 

Speaker2: [00:02:23] The founders

 

Speaker1: [00:02:24] Round for the Empowered Business Lab program. The benefit of the founding member round for students is that you get to have a say in how the program rolls out and you get a lot of access to the program creator, which is me. But it was also done in a condensed time frame of three months. The January launch finished at ninety one thousand two hundred and seven dollars in gross revenue.

 

Speaker2: [00:02:45] Now, in April, we

 

Speaker1: [00:02:47] Launched the program officially out into the world for

 

Speaker2: [00:02:49] Its intended six month

 

Speaker1: [00:02:51] Length, and the price went from nine ninety seven to nineteen eighty seven. The April launch finished at one hundred and one thousand two hundred and thirty three dollars in gross revenue. Both of these launches were a free challenge model. We hosted a free three day training called the digital product Dash with a free pop up Facebook group where participants had access to me and my team. Now for this episode, I want to focus on what happened during our third launch of the year in August. Twenty twenty one. At the end of the launch in April, we debriefed about what we wanted to do differently for the August launch, and there were four things at the time that we identified. The first was more engaged and better leads, so our conversion rate in January was two point two six percent, and in April it dropped to one point one six percent. Womp, womp, which means we didn’t do as good of a job attracting the right people to the digital product training in April, as we did in January. The second thing we debriefed about after April was potentially doing a paid live training experience. So one way we hope to increase engagement and get better qualified leads was by hosting the first ever passionate profit experience, which wasn’t going to be a free training, but a paid training. The third thing that we wanted to do after our April launch before August was work on our content strategy and our exposure between launches. So building a new program from scratch makes it really hard to be present for my wider community and to attract new people to me. We’ve really stepped up our game between April and August in a few ways. We have opened a free Facebook group called Digital Product Insiders. I’ve been more active on Instagram and in networking a lot more with people in the DMs. Speaking of which, if you want to talk to me on Instagram, you can find us at Monaca Dot Froese and we also have this podcast up and running, and we are steadily growing our

 

Speaker2: [00:04:42] Listener base every single week.

 

Speaker1: [00:04:44] Now, the fourth thing we wanted to work on before August was engaging our affiliates, so having current or past students recommend your program is one of the best

 

Speaker2: [00:04:52] Ways to reach new people.

 

Speaker1: [00:04:54] There’s no better way to show the value of your program, then someone yelling from the rooftop how it helped them. So those are the things we were focused on going into the August launch. By far, the most important thing that was on that list was that we moved from a free live challenge to a paid live experience. Now this is huge for a lot of reasons, but let me give you three main reasons. One, we had no data to benchmark how many people we could expect to pay us for a live training because we have never done a live launch where they paid even to get access to the training that would pitch the program that we really wanted to sell. The second thing was we knew by making it a paid experience, we would attract more qualified

 

Speaker2: [00:05:35] People for the program,

 

Speaker1: [00:05:37] And we hoped that that would dramatically increase our conversion rates. And the third reason is while I know evolving and trying new things. Online business is extremely critical for success. It is still scary leaving a big piece of your overall goal for the year, like overall revenue goal for the year in the hands of a brand new experiment. So let’s talk about what the passion to profit experience was. The experience was an eight day live experience where participants had access to me and my team in a private Facebook group, and it included several things daily email lessons. It included a networking meet

 

Speaker2: [00:06:14] And greet three

 

Speaker1: [00:06:15] Days of live, valuable training directly from me. We did a live face to face Q&A on Zoom, so people could actually ask me their questions face to face and converse with me. And then we also did a live bonus training where I selected someone’s digital product topic and did a real life product mapping for them. Now, at the end of the third day of live trainings, we open the cart to the Empowered Business Lab. The open cart lasted from Thursday to Monday, so basically the cart opened on what was the fourth day of the experience, and it closed on the eighth day. Going over a weekend now, the experience sold for nineteen dollars, with the option to get lifetime access to the training videos for thirty nine dollars. Usually, when someone signs up for one of our free trainings, we offer a lower priced entry level product to them after they sign up called the digital product launch pad. Now, the whole purpose of offering this for sale is to offset paid advertising costs for leads into the free training. But since the experience was a paid event, we use the ticket sales from that to offset ad costs. So our initial goal for the experience was four hundred and fifty people,

 

Speaker2: [00:07:25] But it was really a shot

 

Speaker1: [00:07:27] In the dark. We had no idea what to expect and we ended up selling one hundred and eighty nine tickets. And I can tell you that Facebook ads were not on our side as like they were in previous launches. So basically, all of the ticket sales for the experience came from our warm email list, which isn’t a bad thing because as I mentioned earlier, one of our big initiatives between the April and August launch was to set up our content game so that we were attracting more people to us. Now, between ticket sales and lifetime upgrades for the training videos, we made five thousand five hundred and thirty five dollars on the passion to profit experience. We spent a total of five thousand one hundred eighty five dollars on Facebook ads to attract people to the experience, and unfortunately, that only led to 16 sales, which means we paid a whopping three hundred and twenty four dollars a lead. Truly, that is terrible, to be honest, but it was an experiment and I was fine spending what we made in ticket sales to test this new way of doing our new launch. So really, it was a wash what we made in ticket sales we spent in Facebook ads. Now I am an ads person so I can get pretty nerdy about this topic, so I won’t go into extreme detail here. But basically the iOS 14 updates, combined with the fact that my Facebook purchase Pixel struggles with optimizing for purchases are why our ads didn’t perform very well. So my Facebook Pixel is used to optimizing for Leeds because I usually run paid traffic to free trainings.

 

Speaker2: [00:09:04] This time we were set up to

 

Speaker1: [00:09:06] Optimize for purchases for the ticket sales, and it didn’t work out too well. So you better bet a big initiative of ours now is to build our purchase. Facebook Pixel Between launches now back to launch numbers. As I said, what we made in the passion of profit ticket sales basically washed out our ad spend for the launch. So we did enter the launch for the empowered business lab sales with no ad spend attributed against our final numbers. So now I am going to drop a really big bomb on you. The gross revenue for the lab in August was fifty six thousand three hundred and five dollars. Yikes. That is a far cry from the one hundred one thousand

 

Speaker2: [00:09:47] One hundred and one thousand in April.

 

Speaker1: [00:09:50] Yeah, so you’re probably thinking, Wow, this paid training model didn’t work out too hot for you, Monica, right? I mean, right. Our goal was one hundred and twenty five thousand hour stretch was one hundred and fifty thousand. So yeah, I’d say on the surface, this doesn’t sound too great, and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed at all. I mean, of course I was. But as I always say, I don’t do failure. And by that, I don’t mean I never fail. I feel all the time, but it’s what you do

 

Speaker2: [00:10:22] With that failure that matters.

 

Speaker1: [00:10:24] We didn’t get the numbers we wanted, but we did get, as I like to say, a crap ton of data to use for our next launch. And when you look at the data, it tells a very interesting story. So do you want to hear about what we learned from the data? I’m going to assume so because you’re still here listening. So let’s talk about one of my favorite. Conversion rates, oh, yeah, conversion rates are the lifeblood of a live launch. But Monica, what in the world is a conversion rate? Well, I’m so glad you asked. It is the percentage of people who saw an offer and decided to take you up on that offer. So in other words, how many of those one hundred and eighty nine people who bought tickets to the passion of profit experience

 

Speaker2: [00:11:09] Went on to buy

 

Speaker1: [00:11:11] The Empowered Business Lab? Let me tell you, 18 percent now, is that good or bad? Let’s put that in context from our previous launches, remember, in January and April,

 

Speaker2: [00:11:23] We ran

 

Speaker1: [00:11:25] A free challenge training model. The participants had no stake in the game because they didn’t pay to be there like they did for the passion and profit experience. And because of that, we already knew free leads were going to be less qualified.

 

Speaker2: [00:11:37] Plus, you’re dealing with much larger

 

Speaker1: [00:11:38] Numbers because people sign up for free stuff and don’t have to be concerned about actually participating if they don’t want to. So in January, we had four thousand twenty six sign ups and a two point two six percent conversion rate. In April, we had three thousand eight hundred and seventy four people

 

Speaker2: [00:11:56] Sign up and

 

Speaker1: [00:11:58] A very sad one point one six percent conversion rate, even though in April we had our biggest launch. So think about this. We went from two point to six percent of

 

Speaker2: [00:12:08] People who signed up

 

Speaker1: [00:12:09] In January went on to buy down to one point one. Six percent of people who signed up in April went on to buy. But yet 18 percent of people who signed up for the experience joined in August. So what does this mean? It means that the paid to profit

 

Speaker2: [00:12:25] Experience the paid

 

Speaker1: [00:12:26] Version did exactly what we wanted it to do. It brought in

 

Speaker2: [00:12:30] More qualified leads.

 

Speaker1: [00:12:32] Now, the next time you run the experience live, we need to back into how many people we need to buy a ticket to the experience based on what we want our revenue to be. So I know you might not like math, but follow me here. This is why conversion rates and experimenting with different live launching models or just different models in general are so important. If I want to make one hundred and fifty thousand on our next launch, how many tickets do I need to sell to the experience, assuming 18 percent of those

 

Speaker2: [00:13:02] People will

 

Speaker1: [00:13:04] Go on to buy the lab? So here’s how we figure this out. First, we need to figure out how many sales make up one hundred and fifty thousand. I am going to use the price point of fourteen point eighty seven because that’s typically our early bird pay in full, which brings in the majority of our revenue. So this isn’t going to be perfect because we do have multiple price points and we have payment plans. But if we want to get a gross one hundred and fifty thousand, it’s a safe bet to say, let’s divide that out by fourteen ninety seven. So we take one hundred and fifty thousand divide by fourteen eighty seven, and that means one hundred people need to buy at that price point. Now, if we assume 18 percent of passion to profit experience, ticket holders will convert. How many tickets do we need to aim to sell for the experience? This is like my fourth graders homework, so the algebra equation to figure this out

 

Speaker2: [00:13:53] Is X times zero point one eight,

 

Speaker1: [00:13:56] Which is the 18 percent equals one hundred. Now, seriously, if you hate it, algebra in school, put that into Google and Google will give you the answer. That’s actually what I did. I could have done it longhand because I really do like algebra, but I put it into Google, and Google told me that the

 

Speaker2: [00:14:11] Answer is five hundred and fifty

 

Speaker1: [00:14:12] Five tickets need to be sold. Ok, so we sold one hundred and eighty nine tickets in August, and if I want to hit one hundred and fifty thousand in revenue for our next launch, assuming the majority of people will buy it fourteen ninety seven,

 

Speaker2: [00:14:27] I need to sell

 

Speaker1: [00:14:29] Five hundred and fifty five tickets. Ok, let’s do the same exercise for the two point two six percent conversion rate in January from the free training. So I still need those one hundred people to buy at fourteen ninety seven to reach that one hundred and fifty thousand other goal. But the equation changes. The equation now is X times zero point zero two to six, which is that percentage rate equals one hundred. Again, I

 

Speaker2: [00:14:54] Put that into Google

 

Speaker1: [00:14:56] And the answer we would need is four thousand four hundred and twenty four people need to sign up for

 

Speaker2: [00:15:03] The free training

 

Speaker1: [00:15:05] To reach one hundred and fifty thousand. So you know what, on the surface, this would appear that we should go back to the free training model. Ok, so think about this. We sold one hundred and eighty nine tickets to the paid experience and would now need to sell five hundred and fifty five tickets to reach our revenue goal. We got four thousand twenty six people to sign up in January and based on that conversion rate would only need to get to four thousand four hundred and twenty four people to hit the increased number of one hundred fifty thousand. Now, aside from the fact that April’s conversion rate tanked to one point one six percent from that two point to six percent in January, there is another story to tell, and that is engagement. So here’s really the question how many people showed up live and participated in the free

 

Speaker2: [00:15:54] Training versus

 

Speaker1: [00:15:56] The paid trainings? Well, I’m so glad you asked because you better bet I have those numbers, too. In January, the show up live rate was nine point nine eight percent on the day I pitched lab for sale. So that’s the third day of the training is the day that I opened the lab sales car and that we announce early bird. So out of the people who signed up for the free training. In January, nine point nine eight. So let’s just say 10 percent of people showed up for that live training now in April. The show

 

Speaker2: [00:16:26] Up live rate was half

 

Speaker1: [00:16:29] Four point nine four percent, so basically

 

Speaker2: [00:16:32] Five percent on

 

Speaker1: [00:16:33] That pitch day. But in August, the show up live rate for pitch day was thirty point sixty nine percent. So three times. The amount of people signed up, so that means in August, three times as many participants showed up live on pitch day than in January. So can I just say I’m very thankful I liked math in school? I really did. I loved algebra. I could go on forever about that. I also had my MBA in finance, so please keep that in mind. Not everyone’s going to love numbers like this, but now that I’ve walked you through these equations, just go back and listen to this episode when you’re doing your own launch debriefs and do exactly what I told you to do, because I promise this is going to help you make better decisions. So the questions to ask myself now become this there’s really four core questions I have to ask myself. The first is, do I think an 18 percent conversion rate for the paid experience is realistic to maintain? So do I think if we did get the five hundred and fifty five people to sign up on our next launch? Do I think 18 percent of them would convert like they did this time?

 

Speaker2: [00:17:40] Because remember, the conversion

 

Speaker1: [00:17:42] Rate from January to

 

Speaker2: [00:17:44] April basically got

 

Speaker1: [00:17:45] Cut in half? The second question I need to consider is do I think I can even sell five hundred and fifty

 

Speaker2: [00:17:50] Five tickets to the paid

 

Speaker1: [00:17:51] Experience? The third question I need to ask myself is do I think that showing up live is a considerable important indicator as to who will buy? And the fourth question is, do I think I can

 

Speaker2: [00:18:02] Get my Facebook purchase

 

Speaker1: [00:18:03] Pixel to perform better than it did in August?

 

Speaker2: [00:18:06] The true answer is I don’t know to

 

Speaker1: [00:18:08] Any of these questions. What I do know is that I won’t find out if I don’t move forward and keep trying, and all data is good data. The more times I try, the more data I

 

Speaker2: [00:18:20] Will get and the more informed

 

Speaker1: [00:18:22] My decisions become as time moves on. In fact, this was the biggest struggle my students had with Pinterest ads. There is rarely a very clear answer as to what you should do. There are often multiple paths you can see from looking at the data, and it’s up to you to make the best

 

Speaker2: [00:18:40] Decision you can,

 

Speaker1: [00:18:41] Given the facts you have for your own business. So sometimes the data will show you a very clear, clear path that you should take. But that’s not always the case, and it’s really not always the case with ads. Same is true with live launching, so we won’t be launching again until January twenty twenty two. But at this point, I think I have enough data and knowledge of what I have to do between now and then to pursue the paid experience model at least one more time. And in a nutshell, this is why at the end of the day, I can not be upset about the launch not performing nearly as well as we had hoped. You don’t know what you don’t know. I think this new model of launching has a lot of potential. And if I want to stick around for a long time in this industry, I have to be willing to try new things. So to close out this episode, let me do a quick recap of what went well, what could be improved and what we plan on doing between now and the next launch. So for things that went well. One. Almost all sales came from our warm audience, which means we did a really good job cultivating our warm audience during the non launch month. While no to our targeting was more dialed in with the paid experience, we really doubled down on. The blogger and content creator is our key demographic. Number three attendance show up in sales. Conversion rates were at an all time

 

Speaker2: [00:20:01] High and

 

Speaker1: [00:20:02] Number four, we added a lower cost self study option as a down sell after the launch was over, which proved to be a really big hit in something we’re going to keep around. Now let’s talk about what can be improved for things under under this as well. One. Warming up our Facebook purchase Pixel, which we plan to do with a brand new offer, will be running Facebook ads to starting three months prior to the next launch. Got to keep those pixels and tags for ads warm? That’s just adds one on one. And I know this, and it’s not that I wasn’t keeping my pixels warm, it was just that I was focusing

 

Speaker2: [00:20:36] On the lead

 

Speaker1: [00:20:38] And not on the purchase. So two of what we can improve for the first time in a long

 

Speaker2: [00:20:44] Time, we had

 

Speaker1: [00:20:45] No affiliate sales for this launch. This means we have a lot of work to do to improve how we leverage affiliates moving forward. Number three, timing the internet was still very quiet in August, more so than in previous years. I know January is the

 

Speaker2: [00:21:00] Hottest month for engagement,

 

Speaker1: [00:21:01] So we hope this holds true for our next launch. And the fourth thing that we think could be improved

 

Speaker2: [00:21:07] Is we

 

Speaker1: [00:21:08] Need more qualified leads. Remember, five hundred and fifty tickets is what we need to sell in order to hit our launch goal of one hundred and fifty thousand. So here’s what we’ll be doing for the next launch. First, we’re going to continue to offer a lower price option with self study two.

 

Speaker2: [00:21:24] We’re going to

 

Speaker1: [00:21:25] Increase our efforts for visibility, which leads to growing our warm audience, which then leads to more ticket sales. So I’m going to be working with a PR agency to pitch me to more podcasts, so to be on other people’s podcasts, and I’ll be continuing to

 

Speaker2: [00:21:40] Show up on this podcast

 

Speaker1: [00:21:42] Week after week. And we’ll also I’ve been working very heavily on networking with people who have the same target audience with me, and I’ve been doing things with them, such as speaking at their summits. Now the third thing we’ll do before next launch is fix that Facebook purchase Pixel. And the fourth thing is we are going to double down on our best affiliate partners, so we need to do a better job at engaging

 

Speaker2: [00:22:06] Our affiliate

 

Speaker1: [00:22:06] Partners, our previous students that have been our biggest spokespeople over the last year and really work with them to find out how we can help them, help us, help them help us by promoting us. But then, you know, we pay them for that. So it’s kind of like a really nice opportunity for them to show up to us and us to show up to them.

 

Speaker2: [00:22:30] Ok.

 

Speaker1: [00:22:31] That was a lot. I hope this episode inspires you to look at your business differently. There is no such thing as a failure, only a learning opportunity. Just because the launch didn’t go like I

 

Speaker2: [00:22:44] Wanted it to.

 

Speaker1: [00:22:45] Didn’t make it bad. There is no linear path to success in online business. It’s all about failing fast and picking yourself up and trying new things. I am so excited to see where the New Year will take us. I’d love to connect with you and hear your thoughts on today’s episode. Come connect with me on Instagram and send me a DM at Monica Fros. That’s f r o e c. Thank you for hanging out with me today, and I hope that sharing all of this with you has inspired you to go take some action. I’ll see you back here next week, same time. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Empowered Business podcast. If you want to get started creating your own digital products and don’t know where to start, we have a brand new training that can help. It’s called a passion to Profit. How to discover your unique million dollar digital product formula. Head on over to empowered business DPKO or profit to join the training for free. Plus, we’ve added on a private podcast feed to make consuming the content even easier. You can choose to consume it via video or a private podcast feed. I can’t wait to see you back here next week.

 

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