I'm a huge fan of the celebration of success. When something great happens, revel in it! But real growth comes from taking a hard look at the mistakes behind the curtain of success.
Nearly three months ago, I launched my first membership site.
Overall, I thought the launch went very well:
- I found the perfect harmony of software to use,
- I designed a high-converting landing page, and
- I hit my initial goal of $10,000 in sales.
Not too shabby!
In fact, I’m quite pleased with the results (and already gearing up for a second launch later this year).
But looking back, I’ve realized that there’s so much that I could have done differently.
Here are six lessons I learned (from six launch mistakes) during my first membership site launch:
- Serve the crap out of your beta user team. I sold beta access to my course at a discount before it was complete, in exchange for the willingness to provide feedback before the launch. Once inside, the beta members loved the course. I took that as gold and ran with it, never coming back to ask specific questions about what I could improve.
- Engage your whole team with support. Throughout the launch, I had live chat (through Olark) up on my site anytime that I was online. At least four people bought the course while we were still chatting, but I did it alone—which meant many late nights, early mornings, and mid-day breaks that I spent sitting at my desk.
- Be wary of offering payment plans. On a whim, I offered payment plans for the last 24 hours of registration and made just over $1,000 in payment plan sales. The boost was nice, but manually creating accounts was not, and I've already had to deal with two payment failures only three months in.
- Maintain engagement with audience influencers. When it came time to launch, I reached out to past clients and a few influencers to offer them discounted course access and ask for their promotion support. A few of these contacts shared a link to my course (Michael Hyatt most of all), but only one signed up—I think because I failed to keep in touch with details well before the launch.
- Block out time to finish your content. I finished two-thirds of the course content before I published my membership site, with the plan to finish the rest within the following two months. Three months later, I've barely made progress—and my wife's now due to have a baby this week! I've learned my lesson, and won’t launch again until the course is at least 95% complete.
- Spend less time in research and more time getting work done. I literally spent months comparing membership site formats and software, putting off the inevitable task of getting work done. I called it “research”, but I’m pretty sure it's “procrastination” that the dictionary defines as “putting work off“.
If I’d spent half as much time creating content as I did “researching”, my course would have been done before that first launch, and my time could now be spent improving the content, format, or software—instead of just trying to catch up.
If you're thinking about launching a membership site, stop thinking and do it.
“The more time you spend in your head, the less real change you create.”
Go out there and make the world a better place!