As a marketer who's been in the launch game since 2015 (thats a long time in internet years!), I've seen a lot of changes in the industry.
Most recently AI tech's been shaking things up (I have a few opinions on that saved for another blog) and we've got a whole new world of launches on our hands.
First, let's chat about the good stuff. These days, thankfully, what's working is going back to the human touch…. quality over quantity, focusing on real connection, and transparent marketing.
The bro-dudes of the marketing space might still be trying their shoddy tactics, but I'm definitely seeing far less false FOMO nonsense and pushy tactics in launches.
Maybe you're here reading this blog because you've been hearing people saying that launches aren't working. And to some extent that's true, but if you're hearing it from “anti-launch” coaches / evergreen launch strategists then don't take their word for gospel. They're selling an alternative approach by saying launches are dead which isn't true and it's a low-value marketing tactic.
The fact is, launches will work if you work on them – no matter what style you choose. We choose the best launch style for the particular campaign we're running.
But what about skilled launchers saying launches aren't working like they used to?
A few years back, I spotted a shift in the launch world that left me pondering that question and the future of course-based businesses.
Launches were more challenging, ad costs were increasing, and everything felt less predictable and more unstable. Then, the pandemic hit, and the shift was accelerated.
I felt an intuitive nudge to make a big change rather than keep delivering courses on one method (mine), I decided to deep dive into being a practitioner.
I knew I wasn't going to gain the experience I needed to master launches in this new marketing world unless I was working closely with leaders in the online space working directly on their launches.
Since then we've worked with the likes of Jasmine Star, Sigrun, CEO School, Chris Ducker, Female Entrepreneur Association, and Danielle Walker.
This intuitive nudge towards becoming a launch agency was probably the best shift I ever made (even though it's harder than creating courses!) as I began to see course creator after course creator quitting their businesses.
Citing “shifts in the industry” – I knew what they meant. Their own cookie cutter approaches weren't working anymore.
But I had a true perspective of what was happening in the launch world because I could see the patterns in all the launches I was working on for our clients.
What I was seeing was:
1. Launches becoming the norm, and it was harder to stand out.
2. Some course markets becoming saturated, and harder to convert.
3. Online fatigue, accelerated by the pandemic, made it harder to get people showing up.
Has the launch bubble burst?
Kind of, yes – if you aren't willing to shift your mindset on launches.
What has actually happened is that launches have evolved beyond “cookie-cutter” approaches working straight off the bat like they used to! And they're becoming so common that it's harder to break through the noise. I mean, even Matthew McConaughey has done a launch now 😂
As an agency, we've found ourselves focused on these three themes to adapt:
1. Creativity – We spend far more time on the creative aspect of launches than we ever used to because if you can't break the attention of the ever-increasing noise, you're not getting anyone to sign up, let alone show up. Dare to be different with your launch event!
2. Long-term nurture – We invest more time, energy, team resource and ad spend into warming up an audience for a much longer period. Typically we now double the launch runway, aka the time leading up to the launch so we can nurture better.
3. Mixing it up – We don't use one launch style – we use a hybrid launch method that weaves in many different styles, strategies, and tactics to get buyers over the finish line. For example, we might combine a video series and a challenge, a workshop week with a paid event. The more touchpoints, the better.
I wish there was a sexy answer to this problem that I could give you for 12 payments of X (then I could retire from crazy agency life 😂 ) – but the truth is there isn't.
Launches are different.
Marketing is different.
Business is different.
The launch bubble hasn't burst, you just have to be willing to invest more of your time and energy into trying different things and experimenting.
The unsexy answer that not everyone wants to hear… Consistency + Patience = Results.