“We can do better…”
…is probably not what most people think after their first seven-figure product launch.
But Ruth Soukup is not most people.
She’s a blogger, New York Times bestselling author, creator of the Living Well Planner®, and founder of Elite Blog Academy® (EBA®)–an online course with over 7,000 members that teaches bloggers to refine their message, grow their audience, monetize their platform, and build their business.
In 2017, we helped Ruth launch her third iteration of the course, which at the time was its biggest and best launch yet.
Until 2018, at least.
The 2017 launch was a success, and because it was our first EBA launch with Ruth, we learned a lot.
And that gave us the confidence to get really ambitious with our 2018 goal, which we set at $2 million — double the revenue generated in the 2017 launch.
We knew we’d be unlikely to reach that goal using the same tactics we implemented the previous year, so we had to approach the 2018 launch differently.
Additionally, we were facing a few challenges we hadn’t faced in 2017.
In 2017, EBA had just been revamped, which provided a unique marketing angle. We were able to advertise the course from a “new and improved” perspective.
But in the 2018 launch, we were unable to use this angle, since the product was largely the same as it was in 2017.
We were also remarketing to audience members who were offered EBA in 2017 but chose not to purchase.
Our strategy in this launch incorporated the most effective tactics from 2017, as well as some new tactics we believed would help hit our ambitious goal.
First, we had to generate leads.
Marketing success is driven by data, and data has shown that successful online businesses are driven by large audiences. It’s why people try to build email lists, gain followers, and get website visitors.
In order to have the most successful launch possible, we knew we would need a large number of leads. Our calculations told us that we needed 134,000 leads in order to hit our goal with an estimated 1.5% conversion rate.
We implemented the following strategies:
- 8 eBook lead magnets
- 3 pre-pre-launch video series
- 3 pre-launch video series
- A free 5-day Build Your Blog bootcamp
- Partnerships with 9 major affiliates
- A blogger assessment
- A webinar, offered at 3 different times
We also knew it could take a significant amount of time to generate the volume of leads we wanted. So, we started promoting lead generators early.
Here’s what our schedule looked like.
January 2018 (two months before launch)
We began promoting:
- eBook lead magnets
- Pre-Pre-launch videos
February 2018 (one month before launch)
We began promoting:
- The 3-part pre-launch video series
- The 5-day Build Your Blog bootcamp (registration)
- The webinar (registration)
March 2018 (month of launch)
In March, we began actively delivering registration-based content (bootcamp and webinar) and ran the official launch.
- 5-day Build Your Blog bootcamp began
- Webinar held
- Official launch
- Downsell (after launch)
“[The bootcamp] served as a great social proof opportunity with new students and old students singing the praises of the course and encouraging people to purchase.” –Amanda Smith, Elite Blog Academy Manager
Tailored Marketing Message
We knew our strategy wouldn’t be effective if the marketing message wasn’t tailored to the audience’s needs.
The challenge is that the term “blogger” can be used to define such a wide spectrum of users. We needed a strategy to identify the exact type of bloggers to whom we were speaking.
To identify which stage users had reached in their journey we asked them all upon opt-into select one of the following options:
- You’re an Ambitious Beginner
- You’re on Your Way & Looking to Grow
- You Are a Full-time Blogger or Business Owner
These options were accompanied by descriptions to help users decide which “bucket” they fell into.
We used these buckets to tailor the marketing message to users in specific situations where it would be most effective.
It’s cliché, but true:
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and it wasn’t built by one person, either.
2017’s launch was greatly helped by affiliate partnerships, and we strategized that those partnerships would prove to be lucrative again in 2018.
We utilized giveaways to make partnerships competitive and to encourage affiliate participation. Giveaways were determined by a ranking system based on which affiliates had the most opt-ins and sales.
Giveaway prizes included:
- An iMac
- A Roomba robot vacuum
- $500 cash
- A one hour video consult with Ruth
- An Apple Watch
- And other fun prizes
In this way, affiliates not only got to compete with themselves to see how profitable they could make the launch, they also got to compete with each other, adding an extra level of challenge and excitement.
There are few truly “one-size-fits-all” products. This is true even for online courses. In this launch, we decided to capitalize on that idea by offering different pricing tiers.
In 2017, only one version of EBA was offered with a payment plan.
In 2018, we decided to offer three different price points, all with payment plans, so, much like the buckets that fit users best, they were able to decide which price points made the most sense for their budget.
Extending that idea further, we knew the full version of EBA might not be for everyone — especially bloggers just getting started.
But we also understood that it could provide immense value to them. We wanted to provide an option that was easier on the wallet but also easy for the EBA team to manage.
Because of this, we decided to offer a downsell called EBA Lite, which gave purchasers access to the first four modules of EBA at a price significantly lower than the full EBA price.
Abandoned Cart Emails
No matter the product, some people hesitate when it’s time to pull out a credit card. Based on price alone, we believed this to be true of EBA purchases.
We created a simple 2-email series for any users who left the checkout page during the purchasing process. We wanted to walk people through the finish line and turn an assumed loss into extra profit.
Since EBA is such a big purchase, it can be hard to make a decision based on marketing material alone — no matter how appealing. We accounted for this challenge by integrating live chat software to the EBA sales page.
Users interested in purchasing were able to ask questions in real-time and receive a response from a real person with in-depth knowledge of the course.
“This was a fantastic idea. It allowed us to get to customers way faster…and I believe that alone helped secure more sales…I think it helped us sell better to people on the fence in a way that could only be done in an instant messaging, immediate response environment like this.” –Amanda Smith, Elite Blog Academy Manager
We surpassed our revenue goal by $200,000.
We helped Ruth add 2,353 new students to EBA, including 71 in EBA Lite.
Using the lead generation strategies mentioned above, we generated 121,123 leads for the launch and achieved a 1.9% conversion rate, which surpassed the original estimated conversion rate at 1.5%.
By tailoring the specific marketing message to buckets where it would be most effective, our funnel emails sported open rates of up to 30% and click-through rates of up to 3.6%.
Affiliate partners accounted for 57% of sales and 43% of total opt-ins, generating a substantial amount of revenue during the launch.
Of the three pricing tiers (EBA Silver, EBA Gold, and EBA Platinum), EBA Silver generated the most sales at 64%.
And although EBA Gold and Platinum only accounted for 15% of sales, they accounted for 21% of all revenue in the launch.
Our Abandoned Cart 2-email series reached 4,099 users and added 213 purchasers—a 5% conversion rate that generated a significant profit where, previously, there was none.
Additionally, we re-negotiated our affiliate partnership with Bluehost web hosting and increased the client’s affiliate commission generated in the pre-launch campaign by 1471%, based on the 2017 promotions.
We’re grateful for the chance to partner with Ruth, Amanda and the entire EBA team.
“…the positive influence on this launch of FCM was felt in every step. It was hugely helpful to have the support of FCM…” –Amanda Smith, Elite Blog Academy Manager