Ah… The campaign is complete!
The cart has closed, the results are in, you hit your goals, and things in your business are starting to get back to “normal.” It’s tempting to just mentally close the door on sales and get back to doing the creative work you love. (Or jump head first into teaching your online course!)
But before you get too comfortable, I recommend you take a bit of time to reflect on your launch campaign so you can get better launch results the next time you run a campaign.
And before you ask, for our purposes, a launch campaign is any time you work to draw attention to a product or service, new or old, live or evergreen.
a.k.a. YES! This totally applies to you
To create better launch results, ask yourself…
Now if you’re a regular reader, you already know that I’m going to tell you that for better launch results you need to stop and analyze your results and goals before you move forward. I’ve already written about the five numbers you need to watch for a successful sales campaign, but today I also want to encourage you to examine the experience in the following ways:
How did the campaign feel to you?
Not every campaign will feel like the culmination of all your work to this moment, bursting forward in a fully realized expression of your creative energy. That said, it should feel authentic and like your messages were an extension of your personality. In a perfect world, talking to potential customers would feel like chatting with friends, and you slept well each night the cart was open because you were confident that everyone on your team anticipated every hitch before it happened.
Now, we all know this isn’t a perfect world, and your launch hit some hiccups along the way. That’s why I want you to slow down and examine your experience – in terms of your numbers, but also regarding your feelings. Because data is crucial, but how you feel about your business does too! I want you to listen to your gut and take a few notes.
- When did you feel relaxed and at ease? What did you love about the campaign?
- Which pieces of content felt natural, authentic, and right?
- Who on your team impressed or surprised you in a good way and why?
- When were you nervous, scared, or frankly uptight?
- What felt phony, forced, or fake to you?
- Who on your team needs a bit of additional training or some redirection?
Get a mug of tea or a glass of wine and ponder these questions. Maybe grab a journal and write down your thoughts and impressions. Let your creative mind wander a bit as you contemplate this last campaign and see what bubbles up for you.
These insights – the internal, quiet, emotional ones – are compelling signs you can use to get better launch results during your next campaign and elevate your marketing game.
What worked for your team, and why?
People who enjoy their jobs deliver better results. (You included!) People are even more efficient when you give them the right tools, empower them to be creative, encourage them to do their best, and make it safe for them to make mistakes. But you can’t get your team to that level if you don’t take time right now – while this whole experience is fresh on everyone’s mind – to examine what worked and why. Ideally, all together.
Now, you might have noticed that I’m focused on the positive here. There’s a good reason for this. Most of us don’t need encouragement to complain, express our frustrations or see where we fell short of our goals. We humblebrag, instead of just sharing accomplishments. When you ask people about the wins, you’ll usually hear about the struggle to get there too.
The problem is that as the leader of a small team, it’s easy to put too much focus on mistakes that our team members and freelancers make. If you aren’t intentional about how you give feedback, being under financial pressure and concerned about results means you’re at risk of becoming a terrible boss – like I used to be! (Embarrassing story and tips on how to avoid that here.)
So talk about where you fell short, but also challenge yourself and your team to explore what you can learn from what went well. It’s a habit that will soon have your team looking out for ways to get those results again and again.
Added benefit: They won’t dread post-mortem meetings with you. Win-win, everyone!
How were your audience’s energy and engagement levels?
These days, people are selling to your audience members wherever they go. That means your audience instinctively knows when content creators are gearing up for a sales cycle, and they act accordingly.
Your audience is made up of three groups of people, and they all react differently to sales messages:
- Hot audience members (aka Super Fans): If they’re a super fan who loves being part of the tribe, they may get excited. They’ll engage with the message, join the discussion, and mention the conversation to their friends.
Size: This is a small, cream of the crop, section of your audience
Conversion rate: They are very likely to buy from you, and will make up a strong proportion of the typical 2-5% of a purchasing audience. They most readily buy during an early bird offer, or in the first days of a campaign.
- Warm audience members: This is the part of your audience that follows you and is open to receiving help to solve their problem. They will have a range of feelings about your brand, depending on how well they know you, how much you’ve helped them in the past, the cost of your offer and how urgent their need is for help.
Size: This is the majority of your audience
Conversion rate: A small percentage of them are likely to buy from you, and will round out the typical 2-5% of a purchasing audience. They most readily buy after receiving well-timed education, urgency based reminders and to purchase later in the campaign.
- Cold audience members: These audience members are disengaged. They’ve stopped opening your emails or reading your posts because they already found help or a solution for the problem your work solves, or they’ve realized you’re not the best person to help them. These people unsubscribe from your emails, unfollow your account and occasionally email you explaining why they won’t be purchasing.
Size: They’re a small percentage of your overall audience, but it often feels like there’s a lot of them because we notice disengagement.
Conversion rate: None – but we shouldn’t despair! They were never your people, so be happy that they’re finding what’s right for them. (Your people will find you.)
But, if our warm audience members are tired of sales campaigns (because it seems like everyone we follow is selling something right now) or the conversation is boring, predictable, or pushy – some of them will just check out. They open fewer and fewer emails, stop commenting on blog posts, and basically just take a break from the community.
We all do this. Our audiences do it too.
During your last campaign, some pieces of content generated excitement and enthusiasm, but others didn’t. Some people unsubscribed from your list or stopped opening your emails, but others got excited and shared your stuff with friends.
- What was the overall energy level of your audience?
- What kinds of feedback did you get on your posts and after your events?
- Which ideas did your audience respond to most on social media? On your blog? By email?
- Did you have to push the conversation or did people start engaging in social media or within your community on their own?
Use the answers to these questions – and your overall perception of your audience’s enthusiasm – to evaluate the quality of your message and consider the relationships you’ve been building up between campaigns. Consider expanding on the things that worked in the future, and paying more active attention to audience building before your next campaign starts. You may also want to eliminate or minimize, the parts of your story that didn’t get as strong of a response.
How did your traffic paths perform?
During this campaign, you built a variety of bridges for the general public to find your business. These are ways people can discover you, so they have a chance to see your message and your campaign. Online traffic paths are more commonly called referrals, and I use the phrase traffic paths to refer to both online and offline sources.
The traffic paths that will come to mind first are probably places you actively marketed your campaign – maybe Instagram, or by being a guest on podcasts. Some traffic paths will be ones you’ve used before – maybe Facebook ads or guest posts, freebie offers or Pinterest. Others were new to you. In my last post, I encouraged you to plan an experiment and try building a new bridge in some way. Well, it’s time to evaluate your efforts and see how things went.
- Where did the traffic my website received come from during the campaign? (Tutorial on this here!)
- Ask customers who purchased how they found out about you.
- How effective were the ads, the freebies, the guest posts, etc.?
- What was I most excited about doing that drew attention to my business at this time?
Think in terms of volume – number of unique visitors drawn to your stuff – and quality – the number of conversions you received from the traffic. Then make some decisions about how you want to invest your time and money to build traffic paths that create better launch results in the future. (Effectively, do more of what works!)
Which resources need to be updated?
So, each campaign requires a variety of resources – things like graphics, content, and freebies – as well as team members and outside support. During the campaign, you likely adjusted and created new graphics or content.
Review these campaign resources and ask yourself:
- Why did we think these were required when we started?
- How useful were they in practice?
- Do they need to be updated?
- How effective they were during the campaign, and how well do they fit future campaigns?
For example, you may want to keep some graphics, or iterate on their style and take note to set aside what wasn’t as effective. Similarly, if you received new questions, you might want to add them to your FAQ and team training or marketing playbook.
You may also have noticed gaps in your team. I don’t mean gaps in how certain team members performed (although that might come up too) but functional roles or services that were necessary but left out of your initial plan. If you had to grab some help at the last minute – or work through the night in order to get things done on your own – you have a gap.
Gaps happen, and we find them and determine how to fill them through experience. They’re part of creating better launch results over time because no one has all the answers until they get a little experience.
- What felt rushed?
- Where did we need to improvise a last-minute solution?
- What do we want to never do again?
- How can you fill the gaps you’ve found for the next time around?
Reflection, like I’ve described here, is a part of growing as a business owner and as a marketer. And without self reflection, you can’t hope to learn and get better launch results as you progress. These are times for reflection and analysis are when you can evaluate your performance and make changes for the future. Be honest with yourself, and your team. Celebrate your successes and then brainstorm ways to improve the things that honestly need a little tweaking.
Marketing is a learned skill, full of lessons gathered as you go. Join me for a new workshop to turn those lessons into a Simple Sales System as authentic and customized as your business.