Last month, my team and I were involved with a very big client launch. The purpose of the launch was to sell a high priced self-study course to a very specific niche market. Although my client had a fairly healthy email list to launch to, we still needed to expand her reach. Rather than go straight into a launch, we planned a pre-launch event that was a huge success for her audience.
What is a Pre-Launch Event?
Pre-launch events are gatherings that help to create hype and excitement around an offer before its official launch. It normally gives the audience a sneak peek into what could be expected if the participant were to invest in the main offer. They normally involve a live component, hosted by the owner of the business, which gives prospects an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work with this person. Lastly, the pre-launch event usually includes a sales pitch at the end, and often marks the official open cart kickoff.
The Purpose of the Pre-Launch Event
You might be wondering why you need to host an event like this. Here are several beneficial reasons to invest in this strategy:
- Introducing an offer to potential clients – A pre-launch event is an excellent opportunity to showcase an offer and give prospects an in-depth look at what it is capable of. The pre-launch event can be used to educate people on the features and benefits of the offer before they make their purchase decision.
- Generating buzz and growing your email list – Pre-launch events create a lot of buzz around the upcoming launch of a course or program. This gives you the time to build up anticipation among fans and build a growing list of prospects that could be a right fit for your offer.
- Gathering feedback – Pre-launch events are also great opportunities for gathering feedback from participants, since they will often have questions and feedback during the event. You can use this feedback to adjust your strategy or make any necessary changes before launch day.
- Identifying influencers – At pre-launch events, business owners can identify key influencers who are excited about their offer and willing to promote them through word-of-mouth marketing or other paid strategies. The right influencers have the power to bring in a lot of new prospects.
- Networking and building relationships –You can use pre-launch events as an opportunity to meet with people from related industries or even competitors in order to form partnerships or alliances that could benefit both parties down the road. My client partnered with Scribbler to provide the contest prizes, as well as other JV partners that helped promote her event.
- Showcasing client success stories – Client success stories can often be showcased at pre-launch events in order to demonstrate how people have been successful using your services in the past. This helps build trust with potential clients by showing them real world proof that will encourage them to buy when launch day arrives.
- Creating strong client relationships – Often during the pre-launch event, a business owner is bringing in new leads. These prospects are new and still need time to develop trust. The pre-launch event helps build strong client relationships, which will eventually lead to more sales.
- Testing out promotional strategies – Last but not least, you can test out different promotional strategies at pre-launch events such as giveaways or discounts that might be offered upon launch day in order to drive sales. In our client launch, we found that the pre-launch event we offered prospects was wildly successful. This can influence future promotional strategies.
The 3 Types of Events You Can Use
Although you can host whatever type of pre-launch event you feel will be effective, there are essentially three types of events that we know work well.
EVENT #1: WEBINAR
This pre-launch event is a 60-90 minute live or pre-recorded presentation aimed at solving a unique and known problem for your audience. As you already know, webinars are hugely popular in the coaching industry. They give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise to people all over the world, while never leaving your home office.
A pre-launch webinar should give your viewers a taste of what you will be teaching in your main offer you’re launching. There are a few rules to follow with this webinar:
- Teach the high level steps that are contained in your course or program.
- Or go deep on one particular step in your main offer.
- Never make your webinar unrelated to your offer. This creates confusion and will not convert to sales.
- Choose a catchy and transformative title for your webinar.
- Give yourself 7-10 days to promote your webinar.
- If possible, use both organic and paid strategies to promote your webinar.
- Avoid making your webinar all about selling your course or program. Give value.
- Do it live if you’ve never done it before. This helps you test its effectiveness.
- During your webinar, allow 15 minutes at the end to pitch your offer.
- Always provide a replay for people who could not attend live.
EVENT #2: MULTI-DAY CHALLENGE
The 2nd most popular pre-launch event is the challenge. This is normally a multi-day event that creates a transformative experience for the audience. Five days seems to be the magic number but I have seen variations of the challenge like a 3-Day Bootcamp or 21 Days to X.
In my client’s recent launch, we opted to run a 5-Day Challenge. It was called the 5-5-5 Story Challenge. The purpose of the challenge was to help writers write 5 stories from 5 themes in 5 days. We had over 2000 writers from all over the world join this challenge.
Here’s a simple launch strategy for a 5-Day Challenge:
- Plan your 5-Day Challenge and choose a name that screams transformation for your clients.
- Set up all your 5-Day Challenge launch assets: optin page, invite, reminder, registration, show up and delivery emails, ad and social media copy.
- Identify some industry partners that can help you promote your challenge.
- Promote your 5-Day Challenge using organic, paid and outreach methods.
- Execute your 5-Day Challenge. Encourage participation, offer prizes, showcase success.
- Promote your offer. On Day 5, introduce your offer and give them an incentive to buy: deep discount, limited time to purchase, fast action bonuses, etc.
Download this complete toolkit to help you plan a challenge.
EVENT #3: ONLINE SUMMIT
The third pre-launch event is by far, the most labor intensive. However, it is a great way to build an email list prior to a launch and introduce yourself to a brand new group of potential clients.
An online summit is an event that is held virtually, often through a webinar platform. It typically involves speakers from all over, either as panelists or in individual talks, discussing a variety of topics, related to your coaching niche/audience.
The benefit of an online summit is that it can reach a much larger audience than a traditional physical event. With the ability to share recordings and materials outside of the event’s duration, an online summit has the potential to reach audiences across multiple countries and multiple time zones.
Virtual summits are relatively cost effective compared to physical events due to reduced travel expenses and associated costs. However, they are very time consuming, so be prepared if you choose this type of pre-launch event. Here are some of the things you can expect to do if you host an event like this:
- Choose a summit goal or objective that is related to your offer.
- Gather speakers from different businesses that compliment but don’t compete with your business.
- Organize all these speakers schedules and marketing assets.
- Put together promotional materials for your summit and distribute the marketing instructions to all your speakers. Make sure your partners are promoting.
- Put together all your summit launch assets: registration page, emails, social content, etc.
- Promote the summit to your own list of prospects.
- Execute the summit and make sure everyone shows up and you get recordings of everyone’s presentations.
- Manage all the after-summit activities.
Although the summit can be an effective pre-launch event, the main reasons I don’t like it are because of its time commitment, the lack of focus on your particular offer, and the learning exhaustion that your prospects will often experience.
Instead, I would recommend this event as a list building event, with a launch that comes later.
Whichever pre-launch event you choose, just know that this event is essential to your launch success. Happy launching!
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Pre-Launch Events [Deconstructed]
April 25, 2023