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Episode 37. My Biggest Launch Yet: Behind the Scenes & Takeaways!

Episode 37. My Biggest Launch Yet: Behind the Scenes & Takeaways!

Episode 37. My Biggest Launch Yet: Behind the Scenes & Takeaways!

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My recent Ultimate Bundle™ launch was my biggest ever, and I want to take you behind the scenes and share what I did differently, what I learned, and – most importantly – what you can take away from it. What I’m most proud of, beyond the success of this launch, is that I managed to keep it all as stress-free as possible. If you’re planning on running your own promotions or launches in the future, I have five actionable takeaways, so stick around for those!

Listener shoutout – in her review, erineatscarrots wrote: Sam has a story and a message that really resonates with me and that entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space really need to hear! I am so excited for this podcast as a way to continue to learn from her experience and glean valuable tips and ideas for my own nutrition practice. Can’t wait!

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • 02:37 – What you’ll take away from this episode
  • 03:55 – How I approached my promotion
  • 12:26 – The two pre-launch phases
  • 14:25 – Nurturing
  • 19:35 – Pre-launch planning
  • 26:46 – Switching up your social media approach
  • 33:03 – Tinkering with bonuses and live events
  • 34:56 – Being in it for the long haul

If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $20 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts and send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!

How I approached my promotion

I don’t run very many “launch-style” promotions – in fact, this is only my third! Before that, I had an entirely evergreen system that brought in a good amount of money year round. You don’t have to run promos or launches if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to run them the way other people run theirs. It is possible to run these campaigns relatively stress-free. You can do things on your own terms.

What to do before you launch

I like to think there are two pre-launch phases. The first is nurturing your audience. We all know those businesses that just disappear in-between launches and you never hear from them. You don’t want that to be you. What you do between launches is just as important as the launches themselves, so make helpful content and attract new people to your audience.

The next phase is the pre-launch planning. You want to have all of this laid out before you begin so that you don’t run into unnecessary stress as you begin your launch. Social media content, designs, giveaways, copy – you want all of it thought out beforehand. And don’t forget to plan for after the launch: how to serve and take care of your new clients, and how to follow up with people who don’t buy.

You need to be in it for the long haul

As you show up every day, you are doing the work that is adding up to your success. It’s not this one moment that will make or break your business. Keep in mind that if people don’t buy from you now, you are still making progress. Some of those that don’t buy will still follow you. Maybe the next time your promo comes around, the time will be right for them, or they’ll share about it with a friend who’s in a position to invest in your product right away. You never know, so be patient, keep at it, continue nurturing your audience, and strive to be an ever-present educator for those looking for support in your niche.

Everyone approaches their business differently. This is just my approach to a launch (the low-stress, evergreen approach). I will continue to do these types of events, but I won’t compromise why I’m in this business in the first place – for the flexibility and time freedom. And you shouldn’t either.

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Resources Discussed in This Episode

If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!

Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:10] Hey there, and welcome to On Your Terms. I am so excited to chat with you today and to do a little bit of a reflection on what was my biggest launch yet, the one that I just ran in February. It was a nine-day all-out sprint about The Ultimate Bundle, hosting a live webinar. There were so many things that I did differently in this promotion than I’ve done in the past, and I’m also just really hoping that you’ll get something out of this conversation, because I’m not somebody who runs promotions often.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:41] I don’t want to run a business that has like crazy launch schedule. I also don’t do stressful launches. I keep my launches really chill. And I talk about that a lot in this episode, how, in fact, what I am most proud of has nothing to do with the fact that this was a multi, multi-six-figure promotion in nine days. It was actually all the stuff behind the scenes that you didn’t see.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:03] So, I share about that in this episode, and I shared my top five reflections of things that I would do if I were you if you want to run promotions, if you’re thinking about even running them in the future. I have some some tips and takeaways for you. And I talk a little bit at the end about some of my reflections on just what it’s been like to take the long-haul approach to building and running my own online business. So, I hope that you enjoy this episode.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:31] Before we get into this episode, I want to read to you the review of the week from Erin Eats Carrots. So, Erin left a review of my podcast on Apple Podcasts. Erin said, “Sam has a story and a message that really resonates with me, and that entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space really need to hear. I am so excited for this podcast as a way to continue to learn from her experience, and glean valuable tips and ideas for my own nutrition practice. Can’t wait.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:57] Thanks, Erin. You are the reviewer of the week. I am so appreciative for you leaving that review on my podcast. If you want to be reviewer of the week, all you have to do is leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Each month, I pick a winner and announce here on the podcast and social media that you win a 20-dollar Starbucks gift card. So, if you listen on Apple, head on over, leave a review for the show. I hope to hear your name read aloud on a future episode.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:25] And with that, let’s get into talking about some of my reflections on my biggest launch yet. Let’s get into it. Spill that tea. So, I’m so excited to dive into this topic today, because I’ve never actually like dissected a launch that I’ve done before or reflected on it, and this might be a little bit different than what you’ve listened to in the past, which is that I think two things are going to be different.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:53] One, I’m not just focused on numbers. Like this isn’t just to show you like, here’s how much money I made, and then here’s how you could try to replicate that. I don’t think that’s like the focus or the point, and it’s almost distracting to like—I don’t know. When I was starting out and I would listen to that kind of stuff, I just couldn’t imagine like the distance between where I was at that time, and then like some of the numbers people would share, and I’d just be like, that’s not where I’m at. So, I really want to draw out the principles of what I’ve learned, like the reflections of what I took away from having the biggest launch that I’ve ever had.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:26] And that’s, I think, the second thing that’s going to be a little bit different about this episode, is that I’m just hoping that you take something away from it. This isn’t just talking about like, here’s what went great for me. I’m kind of sharing in this episode some of my takeaways from this launch, as like a larger statement over some of the trends that I see going on in marketing your online business, trends in live launches, promos, that kind of stuff. So, I’m just hoping it’s a little bit more of a casual conversation.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:55] So, just to give you a little context of what I’m talking about today. Last week, two weeks ago, I ran a live promotion, we call it promotion, not a launch for a couple of different reasons, but I can explain that some other time, but we ran a live promotion for, let’s see, it started on Tuesday, and then it closed the following Thursday. So, like nine days. And yes, number-wise, this was a multi, multi-six-figure “launch”, promotion. It was very successful financially, all that good stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:31] So, it was the biggest one I’ve ever had, right? So, I also wanted to start out by just making sure that you know, too, that I never used to run launches, or promotions, or whatever the heck we’re calling them. I never ran them. So, the first time I ever ran one in my business—and so, I started my business very early 2017, the first time I ever ran something like that was January 2021.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:58] So, it was the first time. And all I did, really, was like nothing too crazy or inventive, was that I took my webinar that I have on evergreen, meaning people can watch it all the time, and I just hosted it live. And then, we just set up like a series of promotion, like marketing-type events, and social media, and all this kind of stuff. We had like an all-out sprint to promote my product, The Ultimate Bundle, for that like week or whatever.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:25] So, I did that last January. I did it again in September. And then, this was actually only my third time doing one for this webinar, and this product, and all that kind of stuff. So, this is not something I do often in my business. It’s not something that I also like—I kind of experiment and play with it. I could do just fine without doing them, because my business makes like really decent evergreen, like sustainably sales all the time, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:52] Like I make sales all the time, because I have a funnel running all the time. So, this was more like it’s fun, right? And I want to share this with you, because it’s like some things that you might consider that, first of all, live launching is totally optional. But two, there’s also like another way to do it other than this like adrenal exhaustion, like I need a vacation afterwards, blah, blah, blah, like all the things, I think, I’ve heard a lot about and kind of what kept me away from doing it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:20] I had a lot of like black and white thinking around it, that they had to be these like, oh, you do them once a quarter, and they’re like these all-out, blowout marketing sprints. And afterwards, you’re exhausted and you never want to like talk to anyone again. That just didn’t ever speak to me. I wonder why. But that never spoke to me, and I kind of always thought about it as like, oh, okay, so either do that or you just do evergreen.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:43] And so, part of what I was hoping that you would take away from this episode today is that there’s also like such a wide range of in between. You can do things really differently. You can do things on your terms. What do you know? I feel like I said that every episode. There’s a reason that I picked this title. So, I’m sharing that, because there are just many, many ways to run a promotion in your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:06] You might run your webinar live. You might do something shorter. You might try like a challenge or a video series. Like there are so many different ways to do this, but I think a lot of the elements that we’re going to talk about today, you could apply to any variation of some sort of launch or promotion that you want to do in your business. So, sort of like if you’ve been in business for a while and you kind of came into online business when I did in like 2016, 2017, you might remember that like the launch model was the most popular, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:37] It was like launch, launch, launch, and everybody was so like, I don’t know, it was just so much, it was so overwhelming, I remember, and I just felt like some people were like constantly launching something. And then, they like ghost you for a while, and then launch something. And then, we’ve all been on people’s email lists where like you only hear from them when they’re launching or promoting some sort of like affiliate program for someone else, but then in between, you never hear from them.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:59] So, that really scared me away for a long time, so I’m excited to just share a little bit about this and kind of how I’ve landed on this type of launching, the hybrid approach of sorts, and like non-stressful. I mean, I’m talking to you the week after this all ended and I’m totally fine. And the week, the nine days that this was going on, I had every meal, I cooked every meal, I didn’t have to order in food, or have food shipped to me, or anything, and by the way, nothing wrong with that, but like that cooking, if you know me, cooking is like my everything.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:37] So, like I want to have time and flexibility to cook, right? It’s not that there’s anything wrong with like ordering in food, it’s just that that was something that represented to me. Like when I came up in online business, it was like, oh, when you’re in launch mode, like order food out every day or have a chef like prepare your meals, and blah, blah, blah, and it’s just no, no, no, I want to eat a normal meal sitting down at the table with my husband, so I did that. I took a walk every day, at least once a day.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:06] Most of the time, I actually walk in the morning, and then I like to walk at the end of work, because it just kind of helps me to like transition at the end of the day, and I like to get out before the sun goes down. So, I did that every day. I talked with friends like multiple times throughout the week, like during the day, after work, on the weekend, caught up with people that I wanted to chat with, actually went home during the promo back to Philly to see my dad, because some stuff’s going on with him.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:06] So, I went back and saw my dad. I took my cooking class. And I take a cooking class every Sunday on Zoom with Julia Turshen. And I read, I’ve been reading a really good book, Black Cake, highly recommend. And I wanted to share that with you, because like I think, also, it’s easy to leave a launch and see all these flashy numbers, which are like, wow, I can’t imagine ever having sold that much, which I can’t, but honestly, I was thinking about this during the promo period itself that like what I was most proud of, this promo period, was that during it, it was no different than any other week for me.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:15] And that statement, by the way, goes with a lot of like privilege in many different senses of the word. But one big one that I want to focus on is that a big difference for me in this promotion versus past ones is that I have a lot more team members now, who are very like owning their little like corner of the business, right? And they’re taking care of a lot of tasks that I would have done.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:39] So, when I was on my own, it was a little bit more hectic, but I’ve kind of always taken this approach of like, I don’t want to do this like frantic thing. And I also wanted to do as much ahead of time so that things were kind of prepared and ready. So, I just wanted to mention that quickly, that like this is not like I was sitting around on my ass and everything was just like happening magically, there were a lot of like very hard-working people behind the scenes getting a lot of these things done, and they had their own stresses and stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:07] We’d have to talk to them to find out more about that. But from my perspective, I want to talk to you as the CEO of your business, you might want to work towards this point, I want you to know that it’s possible. And I was just really proud of like how, yeah, it wasn’t really tied to the outcome. We had some goals, obviously, about like how many people we wanted to sign up for my live webinar, and what conversion rate, and how many sales, and all these kinds of stuff, and it’s great, but there’s also like these other goals, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:40] It’s important to me, like if I can do that well, if I can have a multi-six-figure launch in nine days, and be taking my walks every day, and cooking, and going to my cooking class, and reading my book, and spending time with my husband, and snuggling Hudson to death, probably more than he wants me to, that’s my dog, by the way, then that is like, chef’s kiss, gold to me, right? So, that’s what made me, I don’t know, just like very reflective and sappy during the launch period, of just like this isn’t that bad. And I kept having friends reach out and be like, “How’s everything going? Are you doing okay?” I was like, “Yeah, why? It’s fine, like everything’s fine.” But again, also because people were helping a lot.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:23] I also think that like a big reflection that I want to share with you is that planning for a launch or promotion is so much about what you do ahead of it, right? And so, there are two big like pre-launch phases that I want to talk to you about, because you could be doing these now, even if you don’t—well, the first one, you can be doing now, even if you don’t know if you’ll ever run a promotion, but I hope you run something, even if it’s just like a two-week period, where you focus on emailing your email list a little more often and talking about your offer very like strategically.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:58] That’s fine, too. That could be a promotion. It doesn’t have to be a big fancy promotion. But I want to talk to you about these, because this is the stuff that happens ahead of time. So, I kind of feel like this reminds me of planning a wedding, where like there’s just a lot that happens ahead of time, right? And by the way, we had a very simple wedding. We planned and like paid for our wedding ourselves, and we got married at this really cool pizza wine bar.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:24] And like that sounds probably a bit more casual, and this was kind of like a—I mean, I don’t want to say a swanky pizza wine bar, but it was nice. It was a nice pizza wine bar. It was just like a normal pizza wine bar, I don’t know. But it wasn’t like a greasy pizza wine bar, you know what I mean? So, anyway, we got married there. And so, I didn’t have like a Princess Diana wedding, so don’t get it twisted, but I had enough to do, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:46] And it was like for months and months, you plan, and plan, and plan, and then there’s like only so much you can do until the day of, and then you just kind of have to be like, well, whatever happens, happens, and we’ll like deal with it as it goes, right? I kind of feel like that’s how a promotion is. There are so many things, like the bulk of everything that you see on like the consumer end happened a long time ago, and was very, very carefully and intentionally thought out.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:15] So, the two phases that I wanted to talk to about that you could be working on right now in your own business are the pre-launch nurturing phase, and then the pre-launch planning phase. So, let’s talk about the nurturing phase first, because this is the one that you could be doing now, even if you’re not sure if or when you’re going to run any sort of promotion in your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:36] So, one of the things that I’ve learned in running promotions of any sort in my business or even just like if you go through little sprints of like making offers and talking about your offer more often or whatever, is that in between, so that, basically, if we think of like the launch or the talking about the season where you’re talking a lot about your offers, like the peak of a roller coaster, the high point, we want to think about the nurture period being like the slope downwards and the build back up, the ascending back up.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:08] So, what I mean is that we need to remember to nurture our people, our audience, our email list, our followers. Whether you have 15 followers or 15,000 followers, doesn’t matter, we have to nurture them a lot in between these things, right? Because of course, you are well within your rights to sell and to ask for what you’re worth and to sell your products, your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:36] As I always say to my friends, nobody gets angry at Target when they walk into Target, and they go shopping, and they’re like, “How dare you try to sell me that blanket?” Nobody does that, right? So, I believe that the same should go for your online business. You should be able to sell and like people shouldn’t be mad about it. And if they have a problem about it, it’s probably something that’s coming up in them and not you, but whatever.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:57] So, to that effect, though, I think it’s also fair as like a consumer from an online business, where you get a lot of like emails, and you’re getting hit on social media, and all these kinds of things, to also get value. So, whenever I finish a promotion or if I know I’m going to do one several months ahead of time, I really start like intentionally thinking about nurturing my audience.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:24] So, I ran my last promotion in September, and even before that promotion had run in September, we were already creating content and planning for nurture season, which ran in my business from September until February. So, from September until February, I was just so focused on creating content that was helpful, valuable, spoke to my ideal client, continue to nurture my ideal client, attracted new clients, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:54] Because to me, it’s kind of like a two-parter here. When we talk about nurturing and pre-launch nurturing, we are nurturing the people who are already there and we’re trying to attract new people so that we have a new audience to then sell to once we open up the doors, right? And then, it’s like a cycle, because then once you have those new people there, you’ve got to nurture them. So, it’s really something to take a lot of time and attention.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:20] This is like if you can spend any amount of time on anything I talk about today, it’s this, because what I’ve noticed and what I’ve learned through running now several live promotions is that if you just go promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, and you forget to build up a new crowd or to nurture the crowd that’s already there, you’re going to see the numbers go down with each promotion, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:45] And that was something I talked about a little bit last year when I did like the 2021 Reflections episode. That was something I learned about last year. So, in reflecting on why maybe this was my biggest launch yet or something like that, I think that this like super intentional, pre-launch nurturing phase worked really, really well, because first of all, it comes from a genuine place of like thanking people for hanging in there, for dealing with all the sales stuff and everything like that, even though I think I’m perfectly within my rights to sell and all of that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:15] I’m not going to apologize for running a business when Target doesn’t have to apologize for their blankets, or their candles, or all the other things that you go spend hundreds of dollars on when you meant to buy soap, but I think it’s just also that the content itself was like all very value-centric, right? So, this wouldn’t be a period where you would be focusing on primarily like fun, experimental stuff, like Reels that lip sync to something that are just funny.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:46] Like you can sprinkle those in, but the bulk of your content during this season should be really calling in your ideal client, and attracting new people, and then nurturing the people who are there already. So, this is a lot of like educational-type content, maybe face-to-camera Reels, where you’re teaching stuff, what Natasha calls show and tell Reels, which you might have heard about on the last episode I just had with her as episode 36.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:14] And in those Reels, you can be teaching something, positioning yourself as an expert and authority, and creating conversation, asking for questions, feedback, all that kind of stuff. So, really, really lean into that period of time. Whether you’re launching or not, you can take that tip to the bank. The other thing that you can do a lot ahead of time is pre-launch planning. So, with pre-launch planning, we are really planning from literally conception to even past the end, there are kind of follow-up steps for any launch, even after the launch ends, we are planning soup to nuts.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:56] So, I use Asana, as you know. I feel like I say this every episode, but I use Asana and we build out a project in Asana for that particular promotion, right? And that promotional project has like the pre-launch stuff, like the pre-launch task that we have to do, all of the tasks during the promotion, and then the follow-up, right? And we cover everything from the conception of like if you’re going to do a freebie, or a live webinar, or video, or training, or whatever, or even a challenge, or something, like all of that content is in there.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:31] We build out all the social media content. We pre-write everything. We pre-design everything. I’m tasked to go in, and update the webinar, and to review the webinar, and update the slides. I write a lot of the content. I have to film all the Reels, and all the videos, and the thank you page, and all that kind of stuff. Now, in my business, at this point, we have a lot of other people working for me, so it’s like there are lots of people tasked to go create different assets and pieces of this promotion.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:59] But when I was doing this by myself on a smaller scale, it was much simpler, right? And so, it’s not like I don’t want you to adopt some black and white thinking that like you can’t do a promotion until you have a team like this, no, no, you can do a promotion. Maybe it might not be this big or maybe it will if you’re like incredible at this. I was not. Like they were successful, but not like this. So, I built it out and did what I could, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:26] But any sort of plan that you have, where you start to think through the phases of everything that you need to lay out before this all happens, like treat it like a wedding, right? Plan for all of the things that you can ahead of time, and then it’s going to be like up to the universe on the day of. But you can write content, you can write the emails, you can write nurture sequences like that go out to them afterwards, all kinds of things, right? That can all be done ahead of time as much as humanly possible.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:58] And don’t forget, by the way, in this pre-launch planning phase, you also want to plan for afterwards, both two things. One is that you want to plan for all the people who buy. You now have to kind of show up and take care of them. If you offer any sort of like live bonuses or something like that, you’ve got to plan for all that stuff, like the calls and whatever content you’re creating for them, all that, also just making more time on your calendar to like take care of those clients once they’re coming in, and then also follow-up steps at the end of a launch for people who don’t buy.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:26] They’re just as important, because I always want to learn like, why didn’t you buy? What was going on? Was the price not right, timing is not right, you didn’t think it was for you? Was there something that we could have done differently? So, we do a lot of like surveying and seeing what’s going on. And then, basically, once that survey is done, we switch [making sounds] right back into that nurture mode, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:45] So, like as of now, I’m back into nurture mode, building this up. It’s kind of like building up the goodwill back from, not from scratch, but building it backup at least. And I think one of the things that this pre-launch planning does for you is that it gets you out of that hectic launch mode that people talk about, right? So, I think when people talk about like having their energy so drained from live promotions or something like that, it’s because it’s a lot of work, and then if you’re like ahead of time for months, it’s a lot of work.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:17] And then, if you’re relying on you being like up and like high energy every single day of your promotion to create native and original content like on Instagram and like all this stuff, that would be a lot, right? I can understand why that would be so draining to you. So, I think as much as possible, if you can record any of these pieces of content ahead of time, batch your Reels, save them, just save them as drafts and save them to your phone.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:44] Don’t forget that part, because they get deleted if something happens to the app. So, save them, you can prepare them as much as possible. Prepare your graphics, prepare the captions, use something like PLANOLY or whatever tool you use to plan them out, see what they look like, but you’ll have like everything ready to go. And then, that way, during the promotion, your only job is to show up for whatever live component you’re doing.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:07] Like if you’re doing a webinar or a challenge, answering people’s questions as they’re coming in, and then if you want to supplement with like Instagram Stories and all that kind of stuff, then that would be great, but that’s not going to take nearly as much of your energy. Even those you technically could do ahead of time, I personally don’t like that as much, because I get a lot of inspiration during the live promotion from like people’s questions, people who are joining, what happened on the webinar.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:32] And so, I like to integrate that in real time. And I also am just working on not making them as long or having as much stuff there, and really letting a lot of my bigger pieces of content speak for themselves. So, popping on, doing a couple of face-to-camera stories, and then saying, here’s this Reel, where I talk about this more, or in my latest post, I teach you about this or whatever. Having a little bit of face-to-camera introduction to bigger pieces of content I think can be really helpful and a good energy management tool during a launch period.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:07] Have you ever felt lost about where to begin with the legal side of protecting your online business? Some people say you can just wing it at the beginning and get officially set up later. Not a good idea, by the way. Whether you’re afraid to even start working with clients, because you don’t want to do something wrong legally, and then get in trouble, or your business is growing and you sort of forgot to take care of the legal pieces, I’ve got you.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:29] I don’t want you to live in fear of the internet police coming after you and your business, but you do have to do certain things and get certain things in place in order to legally and safely run your business online. As much as it just feels like an unregulated Wild Wild West online, that is very much not the case. As an attorney turned entrepreneur and former corporate litigator, I can assure you that there are rules, there are real steps that everybody who runs or starts an online business needs to take.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:56] And you’re not behind at all. We can get you set up in following the rules right away. In fact, we can even do it today. I want to teach you the five very simple steps to take to legally protect and grow your online business. You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur and stay out of legal hot water, but you do need to dot your legal Is and cross your Ts in a few key areas that can’t be skipped.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:17] That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my free one-hour legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. Just head to mylegalworkshop.com, drop in your email address, pick the time, and I’ll send you a link to watch the workshop video whenever you have time. This is the best place to begin if you’re just getting started legally legitimizing your business, so head on over to mylegalworkshop.com and sign up to watch Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business now.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:46] Another big takeaway I had from this most successful launch yet is switching up the approach to social media. So, I talked about this a lot last week with our guest, Natasha from Shine with Natasha. If you haven’t listened to that episode, go listen to episode 36 after this. But I talked about this a lot in terms of social media changing a bit, there being so many different surfaces.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:10] And in the past, when—Natasha has taught me that surfaces, by the way, are like the different functions on Instagram, like Lives, and Stories, and Reels, and all that kind of stuff. Maybe you already knew that, but I just wanted to mention it. So, because of that all changing and because of my commitment always to creating evergreen content as much as possible, to creating content that works for me for a long time, to not creating tons of content that then just dies somewhere on an algorithm shelf, I revisited my approach to social media for this launch. And I think it went really well definitely in terms of the mood and the engagement level, the enthusiasm. Like the overall vibe, I would say, of the promotion was so much better than the last time I did this, which was in September.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:01] Because last time I did this and kind of in the past, this has just been something that’s worked just fine, but I notice a big shift when I did this in September, was using a lot of content on social media, during a promotion, that was more like promo, promo, sale, sale, like buy this, it’s only on sale two days only, blah, blah, blah, like a lot of, I don’t know, used car sales, many like type of things, which don’t get me wrong, you need a handful of those, because you do need—like some people, especially my customers, tend to be the ones who are just like, “I need to know like, what’s in this? What are the bonuses? How much is it off? Like what are the payment plans?”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:38] They, a lot of times, just want kind of the brass tacks, right? And I appreciate that, because I’m like that, too. And sometimes, I actually do want to know just what’s in something. I know in marketing, they talk about a lot like, “Don’t talk about features, just talk about benefits”, and I’m like, “I’m kind of a features person, I like to know”. So, I think that it’s helpful to have some of that, but I think the mistake that I had made in the past or just like something that’s now shifted, I’m seeing people respond to it really differently, are these kind of pre-created graphics, like static graphic-type things, like no video, no face to camera, very just like, yeah, kind of like flat, and just like the information about the promotion.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:19] I wasn’t seeing them perform very well. And so, that was something I wanted to experiment coming into this promotion, was like let’s switch it up with our content. Why does promotion content have to be just about the like, here’s the sale, here are the bonuses, here’s the click, like buy this in this day, blah, blah, blah. Why don’t we make content that’s relevant to our ideal client and that’s really, really good, like valuable and targeted to them?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:44] And then, in that content, let them know that the bundle, in my case, the bundle is on sale until whatever day, right? So, I just decided to kind of switch that up and tried to take a different approach to the way that we were creating promotional content, and it worked great. Like there was no—I mean, sales were higher this time around, so that has to be good, but I just felt like that felt much like more exciting to me.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:08] It was like a content strategy I felt much more proud of. I felt more eager to share it, probably, which then helped. I also took that strategy like with Reels during this promotion, to be like, let’s just do reels that I think could maybe do pretty well, perform well. And in those Reels, we’ll just let people know that the Bundle is on sale. You also have to remember that like so many of the people who see your actual content, especially on a platform like Instagram, are your followers already, so they might be a small percentage of them, if you talk about your offers enough, they might be familiar with you and what you do.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:42] So, really, the word is just like, the goal is like spreading the word that your product’s on sale, and that there’s something exciting going on, and that there’s some sort of urgency, that there’s something that they can’t wait, they can’t miss. So, I think taking that approach and kind of switching it up, I think we’ve, sometimes, just been taught or we’ve seen other creators just like share in that very like salesy, promotionally way, and I wanted to see if it would work, if it would be different, and it was. So, we had that mix. We had a couple of those types of graphics and things, because we kind of needed to.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:16] The other big place that I saw this change from September was that, in my opinion, the days of sharing lots of slides to your Instagram Stories that are pre-made templates with text are kind of dead. I think that what’s happened is that they’ve become so like, I don’t know, templatized. It’s like people know when they go to your Stories, and they see like 10 slides in a row that are about your podcast, and they’re the audiogram, and they’re your webinar, and they’re this, they just click through it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:46] I don’t know about you, maybe you can tell me if you don’t agree with this, if this is not what you do, but I do it, I know a lot of my like friends do it as well, that when you go into somebody’s Stories and you see that that’s what they’re sharing, you just like tap, tap, tap, tap, tap forward until you see if somebody’s going to share something that’s more personal, like a face-to-camera thing or snippets of their day, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:08] I think another big thing that I’ve learned from Natasha, again, last week’s episode, but another big thing that I’ve learned from working with Natasha is giving a bit more context to the content that we share on stories. And so, this has been like a big shift that I’ve seen, and that I’ve made, and that I made within this promotion was instead of just being like, new post, go read it here, or like, new Reel, go watch it here, or even like, new Reel where I teach you X, Y, and Z, watch it here, I would do some face-to-camera stuff, and then introduce the Reel.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:37] So, I think Natasha has helped me to understand that like it can be a little like jarring of sorts to just be like graphic, graphic, graphic, and just sharing, and re-sharing, not ever introducing or popping in, and kind of like warming people up to what to expect, and why it’s relevant, why should they go watch it, why do they need this, right? So, I switched up a lot of that in this promotion, and I think that’s part of what drove this launch a success.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:02] Another takeaway I have from this live promotion is that it is so helpful to tinker with bonuses and to sprinkle in live events both in your promotional period, right? So, if you can do little pop-up like Instagram Lives, or if you like YouTube, you kind of spend your time on YouTube, you could do a YouTube Live video, or you could do like little pop-up trainings in a Facebook group, whatever it is that you do. Both that and offering live events as bonuses themselves, like adding in live elements, I think, to a promotion is really helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:39] So, in this promotion, I did both like Instagram Lives and all that kind of stuff, but then I also offered a live bonus, a Q&A session with me, as a bonus for people who bought during this period. And so, that, I think, was really big, because people like that live element. When you’re buying something like a course or some sort of digital product, it’s just helpful to have that access, to have support, to get in community. And so, I think like I would encourage you to play with that if you’re running some sort of promotion, can you offer like a live class that they get to come to, a live Q&A, a call with you, a group call, whatever it is, I think that that would be really helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:18] Another thing that I could see happening, too, is like, this isn’t live, but like you could offer like secret podcast episodes and all that kind of stuff. I think that would be really helpful. But get creative with your bonuses. I think that playing with my bonuses, and kind of making sure that it touched like different desires and wants of the customer has been really helpful as we’ve built out these promotions.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:42] And so, I would encourage you to like give some urgency and like boost up the interest by adding in something that’s live, and gives access to you, and you’ll cultivate a deeper connection with your customers, too. So, that is always a great plus. And last but not least, I think the biggest reflection that I have on this live promotion period is that the long haul approach is alive and well, very much so.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:09] So, I have always taken a long haul approach to my business. I talk about this here on the podcast all the time. I talk with my customers about this all the time, especially. It’s why I believe so deeply in building your business brick by brick, by thinking of everything as like depositing a couple of cents at a time. My marketing manager, Margaux, was the one that told me about this years ago like, it might not feel like you’re doing anything, but you’re depositing, you’re making these little deposits every single time, you’re nurturing your email list, you’re creating evergreen pieces of content, you’re doing the big things that actually move the needle in your business, and over time, they might not feel like much, but over time, they really work.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:49] The other thing I mean about this, though, is that I have never been somebody who has been like, you have to buy from me right now, and if you don’t buy from me right now, the whole world’s going to end, and everything is going to be terrible, and you’re going to have no success in life, and blah, blah, blah. That’s never been my approach to doing business, right? I feel really confident about The Ultimate Bundle. I know it’ll help you if you’re the right fit for it. I know people love it. I know we have thousands of members who love it. I know it’s the best on the market.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:19] I feel really good about the product. I also want you to feel really good about the product, and a lot of people do, and that’s why people buy it every day, but I’m not here to like force you into anything. And I also know that if today is not the right day for you to get The Ultimate Bundle, it might be next month, or three months, six months, nine months, a year from now, right? I have people buy the Bundle all the time, who then write to me afterwards, and say, “I actually first signed up for your webinar like a year ago”, or, “I’ve been on your email list for four years”, well, have been waiting to buy my stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:54] And we give people reasons along the way. Like with these live promotions, we give them reasons as to like, why now? Right? Because we do sprinkle in those live bonuses, or we make a cool discount, or we throw in different kinds of bonuses, it’s helpful in getting people to actually make a decision, right? Because some people are just kind of sitting on the fence and they need to be like pushed off a little bit, right? But I’m also just not here to like strong-arm anybody who doesn’t need it, who doesn’t want it, who can’t afford it, who’s not ready for it, who’s not ready to make the commitment.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:26] And so, I think that like sense of calm confidence of like, yeah, I’m here when you need me, I’ll be here. I always say that to people. I actually write that to people in my emails all the time, because I mean it. They’ll write to me, and say, “I can’t afford this, but I love your emails, or I love your podcast, or I love this, I read this, or please don’t remove me from your email list, because I didn’t buy”, and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I would never”.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:50] But I always say to them, “I will be here when you’re ready, if you’re ever ready”, right? “I’m here, not going anywhere, my product’s not going anywhere. I’d love to have you”, but I want you to be confident, too. And I think that that just like eases some of, I don’t know, this tension, but I also think it’s why promotions build over time. And so, maybe, for example, there were a lot of people who had signed up for my promotion last September who didn’t buy for whatever reason, and then when this one came around, they do.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:21] And every time then I run a promotion, that snowball becomes bigger and bigger, because every time, I collect more people than I sell to, right? So, we are going to get way more people to sign up for our live webinar or whatever it is than who are ultimately going to purchase. That’s just how marketing works. So, more people are always going to see your stuff than are going to buy your stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:43] The point is that if you keep nurturing those people, every time you do this, you’re going to collect more and more people, that group’s going to become bigger, and bigger, and bigger. And so, if you maintain the same conversion percentage or you increase your conversion rate the next time, that’s even more people, right? And what I have experienced in five, six years in business is just that the more you take that approach of like, I’m here, I know my stuff works, I will keep giving it 100% to whoever needs it right now, right?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:14] And when you’re ready, come on in. I think that that will serve you really well. And I think that like it could be Burnout City, and it also just can be kind of annoying when people use like the fear tactics or whatever. I think when people talk about not wanting to be salesy, that’s kind of more the attitude that they’re talking about. You should never feel badly for selling your product or promoting your business. You’re allowed to have a business, you’re allowed to make money, you’re allowed to sell your products. I think what feels weird, and gross, and icky is when people use like fake fear, scarcity tactics of like, “If you don’t get this now, everything’s going to be terrible”. You don’t want to do that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:52] So, I just want to share that with you, because I feel like you see a lot of flashy, sexy stuff in online marketing, and I just want to be an example of somebody who is like taking that approach and has never done that kind of stuff, and the business is very, very healthy and doing very well, even if I didn’t want to run these promotions, but these promotions help, and they’re fun, and for now, we’ll keep doing them infrequently, but I will do them from time to time to play with it and experiment, because I really believe in being a scientist in your business, and trying things, and reading the data, and kind of backing up, and adjusting, and going again.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:33] So, with that, I hope that you enjoyed my takeaways from my biggest launch yet. I can’t wait to hear what you think about this episode. Make sure you send me a DM on Instagram at Sam Vander Wielen. Let me know what you thought. Screenshot and share this episode on Instagram and tag me in it, so I can share it, and thank you for listening. And with that, I can’t wait to chat with you next week. I’ve got my friend, Katie Steckly, on to help you learn how to create a podcast or YouTube channel, so I am very excited to see you next week.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:07] Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram at Sam Vander Wielen and send me a DM to say hi.

 

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