After sharing a case study last week, I’ve been asked by a number of fellow business owners: “what does a launch entail?”
The launch model
“The Docuseries Model”
I was asked in a Marketing Community to teach others about launches, so I wrote this for them, and share this here with you now:
Who am I, to share about this?
My team and I have built and supported more than 70 events so far in the past 8 years. So what I share in this post is from all of that.
And to help you understand:
The docuseries model is almost identical to the online summit model, it just has a higher level of production value based on the documentary aspect of the “docu” series.
But executing either, whether the documentary (for the docuseries) or interviews (for the summits), are close to identical, and so I’ll continue this piece based on the language of a “summit” to encapsulate both.
So at a high level what are summits?
It’s where one person or company brings together a group of experts, to give a one-stop shop of balanced information for their audience.
In today’s world where almost all information is available through our friend Google, a summit helps you:
- bring a cohesive message, and a balanced view of a topic
- From a range of trusted people in one place
- Which saves your audience time learning about #1
- And also saves their time in building trust in others (if they trust you, they’ll trust who you recommend), which covers #2
The way the summit usually works commercially is this:
- Each day or episode is “aired” for free on a specific day
- In the Blood Sugar Revolution as an example (which is Cyrus’s summit (link to that article)), there are 3 speakers each day for 7 days (total 21 speakers) – (you can check their summit out here: http://jamielikes.me/bsr)
- If you miss that airing, you can buy the whole series to access it
- If you watched it but wanted to go back and rewatch it, then you can buy the series
- And to get the most value, we encourage our clients to sell their series even before it airs, as you can get almost 50% of the income for the entire event, up-front.
And that approach – of airing each day for free – means that you can give huge value to your audience. And then for those who missed it or who want to rewatch, they can buy the series.
And usually, the price is relatively small compared to the value you’d get if you wanted to learn about this topic (for the Blood Sugar Revolution its $67 to get access to it all).
Though to increase your cart value, you should have strategically placed up and down sells in your funnel. As an example, the Blood Sugar Revolution is offering massive help and value to its audience, and the average cart value at the time of writing is $94.
And it’s been interesting to watch the summit model develop over the years.
How can you get the most ROI from a summit?
By looking at it as an asset you can reuse:
Four Phases of a Summit
If you’ve not done a summit before, but you’re thinking about it, there’s a usual flow to them:
Soft Launch: Design, build and launch your first summit, and target break even on the initial launch to your own email list, and line up a small number of friends/partners who’ll email for you (and you’d set them up as affiliates)
Main Launch: With the soft launch completed, build your relationships with larger affiliates and do a second launch, using all the infrastructure you built in the soft launch (so costs are minimal), with a view to build cash reserves and a larger email list from this promotion.
ReLaunch: The third and last launch will be a relaunch. Likely 6 months after the Large launch, to people who may have missed it, to catch those who want it now, and also to add more affiliates to your promotions.
Evergreen: From experience, those three steps are the most profitable way forward, and after that, the content you have created can be used as bonuses for your next event, and/or as a base for an evergreen funnel to sell your summit. Important note: We have designed and implemented a full evergreen event, but they don’t convert as well, because they’re missing the live social fomo, but if you adapt it to an MVP evergreen funnel, with a quicker entry and a quicker buy stage, the numbers can work.
We’ve helped clients who’ve started at step 1, and also those who are part way through this cycle to help them optimise what they have.
An Ideal Timeline for a Summit
I say ideal timeline, because we’ve been asked to jump in and help with only a few weeks to go before a launch starts (and in one case a few days before when someones tech had a single person responsible, and they got sick <- do everything you can to avoid having a solo point of failure!!). But when we’re engaged early, here’s how I’d lay it out:
If you were to start from scratch, you can look at the summit as a six month project:
- Months 1-2 –
For a docuseries you need to start earlier, to cater for the additional filming and production time. For an online summit based on interviews and/or presentations, you don’t need as much time. You’d also use this time to get agreements from partners (affiliates) to mail for you to their lists.
- Month 3-4 –
Engage your tech team and map out what you need. Then start building. Get the design of your pages set. Store setup and tested. Tracking in place. Get a copywriting team to understand your voice so they can get started on the sales/email copy. Look for great examples of what’s worked, so you can model those (not copy). Adapt it to be your own, but there are models out there that work better than others!
- Month 5 –
Ensure all the tech stack is built, optin pages, sales pages and order forms are built, optimised and ready. Affiliate tracking is tested and all working. Additional data points of GA or similar are in place. Your remarketing on FB (or similar) is designed and ready. Your affiliates are fully on board and ready to promote you.
- Month 6 – This is when the event actually happens. And it’s in five discrete phases:
- Prelaunch is where the affiliates (and you) promote the event, to get signups.
- Then Launch is the 7-10 days of episodes/videos/interviews, where your audience consumes what you’ve produced.
- Last Chance. This is the 2-3 day window between the end of launch, and before the next weekend, using scarcity to talk about “it’s your last chance to buy”
- Replay Weekend. You open up every video for someone to watch again who missed it, and another last chance to buy at the discounted price. Just for the Saturday and Sunday (sometimes into Monday).
- Over. The event is over, and the price goes up to its ‘original’ price (the one you had used to present a discounted price).
And yes, whilst there is a lot to do, if you put in the effort, the first summit out the gate should break even, and then you have an asset that likely cost you 50-70K to build, that you can then reuse, and most of your revenue after that will either be shared with affiliates, and then be yours.
(hence the four main phases i talked about earlier (soft, main, relaunch, evergreen))
It’s been really interesting to watch the development of the summit model over the past few years, and it’s great to see how it’s still very effective today!
Let me know what questions you have, I’m happy to expand any parts of the above to help you!