pre-launch-campaignHow To Create A Successful Pre-Launch Campaign

Hey friend! Welcome to part 3 of the #onlinecoursebizseries. In this series, I’m showing you the step-by-step process for creating and launching an online course.

Not had a chance to read the other posts? Don’t worry! You can catch up before you dive further into this post. Here’s what I’ve covered so far:

>> In this post I showed you how to choose a target market, build your email list, as well as tips for creating and planning course content. 

>> This 1,600 word post dives deep into my 5 foul-proof strategies for choosing a profitable course idea. The goal here is to find the “sweet spot” and choose an idea that’s the intersection of your knowledge, passion, audience and profit potential. 

Now onto today’s topic! I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re launching an online course this year and you’re researching info on the “pre-launch campaign“. So you’re popping into Facebook groups and asking things like whether people have launched without running Facebook ads and whether it’s really worth it. That’s why today, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the importance of the pre-launch campaign, as well as tips for getting started with Facebook ads. You ready for this? Make sure you have your notebook ready!


When I talk about the pre-launch campaign I’m referring to the 60-90 days before you start to fill up your webinars where you’re going to pitch your course. So, if you’re launching on the 1st February 2020, then the sixty days before that is the pre-launch campaign period. Does that make sense? The reason why you want to have this window period is because you want to use it to do Facebook lives and build engaged audiences. 

Specifically, you want to create “lookalike audiences” where you say to Facebook “hey, based on 100 people who have watched my latest video talking about meditation, can you create an audience who share similar attributes?”

The goal here is to build audiences of people who are engaging in your video. This is because those who are watching your videos are not only interested in your topic but they’re interested in what YOU have to say. 

Why does this even matter? Because your launch success is determined by how you show up when you’re not launching.

Your launch success is determined by how you show up when you’re not launching

The great advantage of having a pre-launch campaign is when you open the doors to your webinar, you’ve already had some big conversations with your audience. You’ve created video content, you’ve added value and you’ve answered your audience’s questions. So when it comes to launching your course and “open cart”, you don’t need to convince people about your course, because you’ve already used video to add value. Smart, huh?

Now, here are the key things to a successful pre-launch campaign: 

1. Create an opt-in freebie related to your course 

First things first, you want to use your pre-launch campaign to attract an ideal audience specific to your course. One of the best ways to do this is to create an opt-in freebie, such as a checklist or PDF to help your audience with a problem they’re having. 

So, let’s say that you’re launching a meditation course to help sleep better. You might create a sleep meditation as your lead magnet so that you can attract an audience of people who want to improve their sleep quality. Or, you might create a checklist with the 10 tips to improve their sleep. 

The key is that you want to provide them something that’s highly consumable, so they get a quick win and result. Ideally, you want them to say “wow, I can’t believe this is free!”. 

2. Nurture your audience in the pre-launch campaign

After you’ve created your lead magnet you want to follow up with your subscribers and share content that builds on the value of the opt-in freebie. This is a crucial part of the pre-launch campaign, because if you don’t nurture your audience, you’re going to be promoting your webinar to crickets. 

One of the best ways to do this is to send them weekly love letters filled with motivation and no-fluff education related to your topic. This allows you to build know, like and trust with your community, so when it comes to promoting your webinar 10 days before you “open cart“, people are like “omg, yes! I can’t wait for this free training”. 

How often should I email my list? Great question young grasshopper!

Ideally, you want to send weekly newsletters, so that you’re “top of mind”. Which means that when your customer is ready to purchase a course on your topic, they think of you first. 

No matter what, you need to nurture your email list otherwise you’ll be filling up your webinar spots to people who don’t know you. 

3. Build your email list 60 days before the webinar

Once your freebie is ready to go, it’s time to use Facebook ad strategies to add more mileage to your list building efforts. You can use organic marketing methods to grow your email list, such as SEO and Pinterest marketing but this is still slow if you want to build a sufficient audience in 60 days.  

Doubling down on Facebook ad strategies will allow you to build your list in the thousands well before you start filling up your webinars. 

“How important is it to build your list before launching?”

To sum it up in one sentence: building your list is one of the most important success factors for a profitable launch. 

Between EVERY promotion and launch you want to be building your list. This is because on average 1% of those who are on your email list are going to convert into paying customers. But if they’ve already purchased your course previously, they’re not going to buy it again, so you need to use Facebook ad strategies to build your list for your next launch. 

If you’re just getting started with Facebook ad strategies there’s two paths you can take:

a) You can attract an audience based on their interests

>> If you’re completely new to Facebook ad strategies and you don’t have an email list of 250 people you can grow an audience of people based on their interests. To do this, you can target interests on Facebook by selecting specific interests or Facebook pages. For example, if you want to grow an audience of people who want to improve their sleep, you might target “sleep” and “headspace”. 

PROS: This is one of the easiest Facebook ad strategies if you’re doing your first Facebook ad campaign. Plus, you don’t need to already have an audience to do this. 

CONS: You’re attracting a cold audience of people who don’t know you or trust you. Which means, you’re competing with bigger players in your niche who are also targeting interests.

b) You can create lookalike audiences

>> If you have over 250 people on your email list you can create a lookalike audience. For example, if you have 100 people on your email list who are in the same country you can create a custom audience for your email list and say hey Facebook can you create a lookalike audience based on these 100 people who are on my email list. You can create a lookalike audience for your email list, instagram account and Facebook lives.

So, for example, you can ask Facebook to create a lookalike audience based off the 100 people who have viewed one of your your Facebook live videos. 

PROS: You’re attracting a warm audience of people who are not only interested in your topic but they’re interested in what YOU have to say. 

CONS: To create a lookalike audience you need to have 100 people in the same country. This is because Facebook needs to have enough information in order it to create a “representative” lookalike audience.

4. Show up on Facebook live weekly or bi-weekly 

During the 60 day pre-launch campaign you want to aim to do weekly or bi-weekly Facebook lives. So, let’s say you’re going to sell your sleep course on 1st February, which is when your doors open for enrolment, then your pre-launch content is going to be all about sleep improvement, meditation and other pieces that you talk about in your course. 

Here you want to show up on Facebook lives to inspire and educate your audience with valuable content. The goal is to meet your audience where their at in their journey and to share with them content that will give them the confidence to take action. 

You also want to use your Facebook lives to overcome people’s objections. So, think about what kind of objections your audience is going to have in relation to your offer and write down a list. Like, “I’ve never done this before” or “I’m a technophobe“, stuff like that. Or, if you’ve already launched this course before you can look back at objections people have had and you can address them in your lives. 

5. Turn those lives into ads and build engagement audiences

After you’ve done Facebook lives, you can turn those lives into ads and build “engagement audiences“. The idea is that you want to use your Facebook lives to build audiences of people who are engaged in what you have to say on your topic. So, you’re not just

So for example, let’s say you’ve done a Facebook live video talking about how to meditate to your audience. What you can do is you can create go to Facebook’s audience’s section and you can create engagement audiences based on how long they have watched the video for.

So, you might have people who watched 25% of the video, 50% of the video and 90% of the video. If you want to create a lookalike audience, you can say to Facebook “hey, based on 100 people who have watched 90% of my video, can you build a lookalike audience for me?” And then you can build audiences based off those who are engaging with your content and Facebook will find people with similar attributes as the people who are watching your videos. And target that audience with your videos. So you’re attracting similar people. Make sense?

And now, when it comes to filling up your webinars you can retarget those engaged people. This is going to set your launch up for success because you can promote your webinar to those who you’ve already had those big conversations with. 

And that’s it! I hope you found this post helpful! If it helped you anyway, please do me a huge favour and “repin” this post by hovering over the pin image and sharing it to Pinterest. 

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