It’s easier than ever to start a creative small business—yay!—but now branding is one of the most important facets of your business to set you apart from someone who does the same thing. Today we are talking about how to kick off your brand strategy process.
Quit worrying so much about finding your brand voice and focus on this instead—because if you can’t tell me WHY you do what you do the way you do it differently or better than somebody that does the very same thing, especially if they’re charging less, than we need to stop there and figure it out.
Whether you are just starting to get paid for your creativity or you’re working on building your authority and doing a little bit of a brand strategy refresh, you need to know these tips to build an unforgettable, bingeable brand.
This is part two to a three part video series I’m doing, basically called, “what I do if I woke up and had lost it all, if I had to start my business all over from scratch, this is the plan I’d follow”. Be sure to watch last week’s video if you haven’t yet so you can catch up.
Let’s hit it!
A guy named Rosser Reeves is the one who coined this phrase “unique selling proposition” back in the day, but basically, this means you need to figure out what makes you different.
Okay, let’s have a little heart to heart, all the great digital marketing tools that are out there, from paid marketing and ads to social media marketing, speaking on stages, all that’s great, it’s just going to take a microphone and hold it up to what you’re already doing and what your brand already is.
So if you look at my business—or have been around—you’ve probably heard some very clear key messaging promises, or “value props.” You may have heard me say “I help creatives like you make more money with your words so you can work from a place of rest, not hustle.” If you’ve heard me talk about my signature program, you’ve heard me say “CfC teaches you how to master your message and write your site in 60 days.” That’s a product-specific value prop. Copywriters call this a big idea when you’re working on a specific product, but I’m zooming out here to talk about your brand in general.
How do you figure out what to say here so you can really double down on that and claim it as your brand promise?
My students know we call this your onlyness factor and we work ~soooo~ hard on figuring this out as part of the brand messaging piece of Copywriting for Creatives.
A really quick way that you can start to figure this out in your own business is by leaning into your own quirks, story, or personality, and matching that with your system, your process, or your product/service itself. Say you’re the only photographer on the Eastern seaboard that services weddings at horse estate weddings—that’s very distinct.
Maybe the audience you serve makes you unique.
You can see how all this is bleeding into niching—we’re going to talk about that in a sec—but I want to bring it into a place where you can really figure out that brand promise, UVP, USP.
Another idea I’ve given students to help pull themselves out and figure out why they’re different from other people. Maybe it’s your process. Can you name your process? Do you have a certain way of working through things? It’s your IP, it’s something that you’ve developed and you’ve honed and you’ve tested. It was a hypothesis that is now all-clear systems-go and you provide it for your clients—that could absolutely be your UVP.
<< Related: How to Improve Your Brand Messaging >>
Now here’s the thing: what do you do when you have that big idea or value proposition developed? Once you have this figured out, you want to double down and find your niche: you want to put a stake in the ground and decide who you’re for (and who you’re not for.)
I shared a video where I talked at length specifically about niching vertically and horizontally—I made it for people who want to start their own writing businesses, but niching will help anyone starting any kind of business.
This is how you can start to dominate in a category—and also helps you get really specific in your copy and content marketing. Another bonus? Conferences were a lot easier to book, because when you’re the only one talking specifically about your niche, people find you faster.
Finally, it makes you referrable. It is so hard to refer someone business if you can’t really think exactly what they do or they do a lot of things and then there’s somebody over here who does just this and that’s all they focus on. That person becomes a little bit easier to refer leads to. So think about it from a partnership standpoint too. You don’t have to hang out there forever, but the whole niche down to blow up was absolutely true for me.
<< Related: How to Become a Copywriter & Own Your Niche >>
If you find yourself serving a pool or clientele like you like, that can be your niche. And if you’re new in business and don’t have clients yet to look at, here’s the thing to do: Start looking at where your passions overlap with a gap in the market. “Cherchez le creneau” is a French term for the marketing concept of “find the hole”—it’s like I tell my students, find the YOU sized gap in the market and go fill it.
Now if all this—your onlyness factor and your niche— is interesting, but the story isn’t good, people aren’t interested, right? So tip number 3 in the brand strategy process? Figure out your 3 brand stories. This is one of the easiest things you can do to build a brand and create those captivating touchpoints. It’s just simply nailing 3 specific brand stories: your origin story, your a-ha moment, and your transformation story.
Think of it this way—>OAT
O: Your origin story, why it is that you picked up a paintbrush or wanted to work in florals for a living.
A: Your aha moment. That moment when the skies parted and you realized, oh my gosh, this is a business idea, people want to pay me for it, I can’t wait, I’m starting a business.
T: A great transformational story. It might be your transformational journey, but it’s likely another client or customers’ that you’ve worked with.
Done well, this humanizes your brand and gives your audience something to relate to.
Having these dialed in gives you so many opportunities to pull people into the “why” behind your brand. Don’t you worry—I teach exactly how to tell these stories in this video.
As important as your brand message and copy are, if they’re not presented in a way that’s visually appealing, people really won’t want to read the message or figure out how to get the goods.
I’ve learned so, SO much from my clients on this, because I am NOT a designer or a photographer, but I know they both matter. One of my recent clients, Sandra Chau, says you don’t have an option—as the CEO of your small business, you are also the creative director. I love this!
Investing in solid photography or spending time learning your way around styling is key. Even if you don’t want to take the pictures, you need to be able to communicate the mood, style, and visual story of your brand.
I touched on it slightly in the first video in this series, but to go into it a little bit more in-depth, when I started my business, I did take some of my own stock imagery for my website, took me about a month to realize that is not my skillset. I purchased one $79 full, huge, massive image that I could cut and crop and use. I got it from my friend Shea at SC Stock Shop. She now has social squares, which is a great tool too, but there are plenty of stock imagery options out there that don’t look like robots. You can also buy brand boards from people and you’ll know I love website templates.
I started my website on a template. I’m five years in business. I now have a seven figure business. I’m now investing in a custom big website. I love custom work. We do custom work on the copywriting side of my business, but when you’re first getting started, you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall, and it is a heck of a lot to invest in a custom website or custom design strategy when you’re not quite sure if everything is going to take sale.
<< Related: 5 Secrets to Choosing the Best Website Template >>
Again, build the business, then build the brand.
As I grew and had more money to invest back in my business, I was told once that you have to be willing to buy your own services. That is if you’re charging 4 figures or more for your service, be willing to invest 4 figures or more in the services you need to support your business. That’ll preach! I found the art director I wanted to work with and saved and saved (and saved some more) until I was able to hire her and invest in my own business with visuals that helped tell the story of my brand.
Listen to what people say about your business, that’s your brand, that’s the perception that people have about you.
As Jeff Bezos said, Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. That’s the perception you’re putting out there. You hear me talk about doing the research a LOT—this is key research.
So, ask people what they’d say to describe your brand or business, or if it’s built on you—YOU. Maybe it’s family, but maybe it’s your clients, customers, partners, business best friends, followers. Ask them, and pay attention to what they say.
Alright, next up in the brand strategy process is what I like to call “mascot moments”. This is a little thing that can make a big difference and may come with time. Let me explain. I love Emily Ley’s products, but she has an understated icon that quietly rides along and is woven throughout her brand—pineapples, the icon of southern hospitality. Now, when I see them, I think of her.
I’ve always loved champagne, and specifically, the brand Veuve Clicquot, because I love the story behind Madame Clicquot becoming one of the first female entrepreneurs. A brand photographer wove it into my imagery one time (producing an orange and blue theme that I really loved as an Auburn fan) but it also enabled me to start using champagne as a metaphor for teaching about welcome sequences and launch funnels. Now? I get tagged in champagne stuff constantly from followers and friends all the time because people have begun to associate champagne and Ashlyn. (Don’t mind if I do.)
What is a kind of weird moment or a thing that your audience could see and think of you and your brand? These come best if they’re not forced. You want to ideally tune into moments that are in your life naturally. Build a brand that’s hard to mimic—I’ve found that this little tip is one thing that can definitely make it pretty obvious if somebody is trying to, shall we say, get a little too much inspiration from what you do. 😉
>> Related: What Is a Brand Story? The ULTIMATE Guide for How to Create Yours (+ Examples) <<
Congratulations, you made it through all the other tips so we can now talk about voice because we’ve laid the foundation. I’ve done a lot of videos on finding your voice, so I’ll link some of those, but I’ll leave it at this. When you’re starting out, trust that you’ll refine your brand voice in time.
It’s a writing habit that you will develop because you have to write a lot as an entrepreneur.
You have to experiment, try different things, and let this develop. Trust that it will refine over time. If you’re having a hard time figuring out where to start with getting your voice clear and distinct, I have a quiz that will help you get on the right track and figure out how your personality correlates with the type of words that you need to be using to market your business. Once you go through it, you’ll see your selling style, I think that will be helpful for you, but you’ll also get a little mini copy bank of some words that describe your brand voice, and that can be something you can pocket.
Ok, that was a lot! 😉 You made it through all 7 of my brand strategy process tips! Don’t forget, if you need a little extra help on defining your brand voice then make sure to click here or down below to take my brand voice quiz!
Now, if you want to see that crash course one month plan on how I would start my business over from scratch, be sure to watch this video on my YouTube channel where I’m telling you what I do if I woke up, lost it all, and had to start over.
If you found this helpful, make sure you hit that like button, subscribe so you don’t miss the next series coming up, and be sure to comment below with any questions that you may have.
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Reading Time: 9 Minutes It’s easier than ever to start a creative small business—yay!—but now branding is one of the most important facets of your business to set you apart from someone who does the same thing. Today we are talking about how to kick off your brand strategy process. Quit worrying so much about finding your brand voice […]
If you’re wondering how to launch a business, this post is for you! I’m sharing how I would launch a business from scratch if I had to start over in 2021—if I woke up and I’d lost it all. No following, no business savings, no team, no Ashlyn Writes Copywriting Agency, or shop of copywriting templates and products—nada. Starting your own business can be a bear but with these small business tips broken down into a 4 week plan, you’ll be set to launch a successful small business!
(Andddd I told my husband I was making this series today and we both laughed because absolutely something I would change is paying myself a regular scheduled paycheck every week—kinda missed that at the beginning of my business and learned from it.;)
Here’s in detail what I would do in a simple step-by-step daily process. I’m actually breaking this down into four weeks and telling you what I would do every single week for a month. This is also without any big capital to invest in a business, a little bit of skin in the game, but not a whole lot. But what I’d do if I knew then what I know now about entrepreneurship, marketing, and business.
This series will include everything from building out a beautiful long-form, work-with-me page for your website, to finding your brand voice, to finding what I call your “onlyness factor”. But, to get those videos and make sure you see them, you’re gonna have to subscribe on my YouTube channel—you can do that here.
And let’s jump into this 4 week plan to launch your business!
Ps—Click here or down below to your grab your FREEBIE: My Personal Time Tracker!
It’s week one and the very first thing I would do is follow the sage wisdom of niche down to blow up. To start doing that, I would start exactly the way that I did when I was thinking of leaving my corporate marketing job and launching my business. I’d open up Gmail, start to type an email to my very best friends and family members, and start to ask them where they saw my interests, my natural inclinations, the things I was good at, my professional skills, etc..
I wanted to know what other people saw my natural inclinations and tendencies were. This also helped me begin to get a feel of what were the things people naturally asked me to help them with. Friends were always asking me, “Hey, can you proof this before I send it to my boss?” Or, “Can you look at my resume before I send it off? If you had to craft a social media campaign for my job, what would you do Ashlyn? I don’t do marketing at all, so what would you do?” As I’m thinking through whatever responses I’m getting back, I would also totally decide and be firm in the fact that I’m gonna start another service-based business.
I would not build out a digital product or a physical product first—more on that in a sec—no matter what, I would want to build my business again based on what I know and love.
If you’re new around here, I actually launched my business with a foot in calligraphy AND in copywriting. I did half and half for a good three years. While I had a corporate marketing job, I had a moonlit gig as a wedding calligrapher so that’s an industry I already knew. I knew what it was like to try to book and work with brides, I knew what it was like to try to fulfill a creative service for someone. In my marketing job, I knew my favorite aspect of it was the actual copywriting portion of it, it was not pitching and trying to land media or public relations—I’m starting to see where things are overlapping here.
Basically, I’d be trying to find the Ashlyn-sized gap in the market. And so, that’s what I’m gonna ask you to do if you’re just starting out—>Where’s the you-sized gap in the market that you can go out there and fill?
>> Related: The 4 Steps you need to know to choose a niche for your creative business <<
Fast forward to now, now I am a mom of two. So, probably as I started to brainstorm here in this week, one thing I would look into is the mom industry and the mom niche. What are some parenting niches that I can look into? I grew up intently studying classical ballet so I’d probably also look into that niche, the performing arts, or the fine arts industries, at this age I’ve also developed an interest in apologetics so I’d probably try to brainstorm and look at things in the theology niche.
I’m throwing all this out there because I want you to understand I would be running the entire gamut of things that I might be interested in or I might have some level of expertise in. Again—where those interests in my background overlaps with that market gap, the market need, that’s an area that I am gonna focus on first when I’m trying to figure out what service I could provide.
(In next week’s video, I’m gonna talk more about how to find the message, or the unique selling proposition, of what it is you do, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss that. )
But back to week one, I am focusing hard on listening in these first five days. A few other things I would do is look at calendars and see what meetups I can go to, surrounding these niches that I’ve brainstormed. One thing I did back in 2015 when I was launching my business, that I would do again, is create a basic type form, like on their non-paid, just basic account and I would ask a series of questions in there, very easy and put that on my social media accounts, send it out to friends and family, because again, I’m trying to just listen, just to put my ear to the ground.
Now around the middle of the week I’d explore the numbers and assess the reality of what I actually needed to make. I mentioned I’d start a service-based business, I would do that because that is going to be the fastest way I can actually make money. It’s gonna take fewer services spots filled to make money than selling digital or physical products usually. I started my own business after I got out of partial hospitalization and I was pretty newly married and I had to actually make my corporate income. And so, this is a place we’re starting here with providing services and being able to charge what it was worth. That was so helpful to begin to replace that salary. So, I’d do it again.
>> Related: How to Pay Yourself as a Creative Entrepreneur <<
Like I teased earlier, I would go ahead and try to figure out what that home budget is, what I actually need to bring home to cover bills, and I would set a monthly revenue goal for my business based off that. Then I would come in and determine pricing and actually how many slots I needed to take on. I’d work backwards to figure that out. You’ve heard me say this before that figuring out what your “enough” is and then arranging a business to meet that is paramount.
Okay, and then towards the end of this very first week, the thing that I would work on is finding and establishing routines. You learn so quickly that time is money when you’re an entrepreneur and depending on whatever stage of life I would be in, I need to be at my best. Right now is very different from when I started my business, I’m now a mom of two. So, I would rework and try to figure out what morning routine can I do to set myself up for success.
Then when I sit down, get my booty in my chair, what do I need to do for what I call my rest-to-work wind-up routine? What five things do I need to check off before I start my big, concentrated buckets of work time? I needed to figure out what I need to do to wind down and then go back to family time.
I would also try to establish some sort of dream week schedule—What big focuses do I need to have each day of the week to make sure I’m taking off the big pieces of running a business? (I’ll talk about this more on this— it’s one of those things that I figured out as I was in business and it did not come naturally right off the bat.)
By the end of week one, I would also start time-tracking like crazy. No, I don’t have to do this forever, but I would need to begin to see again, like I said…time is money.
The last thing I’d do is begin to get myself in a habit of a grassroots marketing strategy. I’m gonna start this service-based business—I need clients. Here are a few things that now here in 2021 when I’m recording this, that I would challenge myself to do every single day as part of those routines that I mentioned.
The goal of week one is habit building and putting my ear to the ground and listening. This brings me to week two.
At this point, I’ve had my ears wide open, I have some sort of semblance of an idea of what kind of service I could create. This is my hypothesis for a signature flagship offer that I think I can provide. I’m going to kick off my Monday here by popping open that type form that I mentioned earlier and I’m gonna scroll through it to see what kinds of things people said that they want to learn from me or they would look to me to help them with.
This survey, plus all of the research that I’ve done, hopefully by scrolling different forums and Facebook groups, plus all the feedback from my friends and family that I sent in that email on day one—all that is gonna lend itself to helping me craft and create this hypothesis that I think I can provide.
By the end of week two, day one, hopefully I can answer the “why me?” question. If I’ve done this right so far, I’ve started with trying to find that gap in the market and seeing how I can serve people in a very specific way with my skill-set, my past, my story, and what I bring to the table.
>> Related:How to Portray Your Value with 3 Copy Hacks (Even If You’re Just Starting Out) <<
On Tuesday of week two I would begin to outline a very basic service provider offer ladder and here’s exactly what that would be. I’m gonna provide three different ways that you can work with me—starting with an hourly consulting call, this is also gonna provide a way for me to continue to research and listen to people, what they need. It’s gonna give me a gazillion different copy swipes that I can use as I begin to draft my website, sales pages, etc. I’m gonna have an offer where you can buy a VIP day and book me for an entire day. And I’m gonna provide a basic bare-bones skeleton of that signature flagship offer. This is the package I want to test. Now, I did a video recently where I walked through the pros and cons of providing VIP days or day rates in your business. I think it’s pretty great—you can watch that here. Day rates are gonna be something that’s absolutely on the menu because I can provide more of a high volume of them, they’re just a day and it’s gonna fast track, help me understand what my processes are, what my workflows are, and how to tighten them to do them faster.
Some things to think through for that signature, flagship offer would be:
To wrap up this Tuesday on week two, I would also begin to set some financial targets I think I can hit. I would figure out what do I need to do to bring home the bacon here in the next quarter, the next three months from this start date and how many package slots can I actually fill? How many day rates do I wanna provide? How many hours do I wanna give away in consulting calls?
I would also start to determine some basic pricing on this day. I would start to do some research and development and look at what other people provide this as a service, what do they charge? But again, remember I’m coming into it, based off of what I know I need to bring home. I’m setting my rates based off that, meshed with the industry standard. So, hopefully I’m not out pricing my industry by undercutting them, but I’m also taking into account that I need to actually make money to make this thing work.
Wednesday-Friday of week two, I’d create a very basic website. My goal here is to build an application funnel. I would again, decide to name my business after myself because this gives me room to pivot, based off what I’m gonna provide. Here I would buy the domain, specifically that is gonna enable me to use a more professional email address than just @gmail.com.
My final objective here in week two is to get a basic website set up with the four main pages that you’d need. I’ve done a video on this you can watch here, but that’s gonna be your home, your about page, work with me, and a contact page. 100% instead of freaking out and trying to put together a brand visual guide, I would just buy a pre-made one. My friend, Angela at Saffron Avenue has gorgeous ones. I would also look at Tonic Site Shop. I would not go custom right off the bat because I don’t even know if this whole thing’s gonna work.
Remember, I’m in week two of starting my business, everything is still a hypothesis.
I’d use a past headshot from a previous job, did that too, but I’d begin to be on the lookout of a photographer that I could potentially trade services with, I think trading is absolutely okay if that person is also at your business level and you’re both trying to get going together, that can be a great way to meet your needs. Notice that I did not start this whole process by building the brand, I began it by building the business and the brand’s gonna come on the back end of that. I think *wayyy* too many people get caught up in the sexiness of picking your mood board, and your color palette, and your fonts, and your logo. That’s great, it’s going to help you, but the beginning of it is elsewhere. So yes, I’m setting up the most basic funnel as a services page onto an application form—I’m talking more about this in the coming week so hit subscribe so you don’t miss that video. 😉
>> Related: 5 Secrets to Choosing the Best Website Template <<
The last thing I’d do here in week two are test like crazy the funnel that I built on mobile and desktop. I’d clean up my LinkedIn profile and begin to use that website, hyperlink it. I’d also snag the handles or begin to clean up things like Facebook, and Instagram, and Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
These first 10 days are HUSTLING, but at this point I have a niche defined, I have a service hypothesis that I’m pretty sure I can do a dang good job delivering, and I have some offer slots where I can begin to continue to keep my ear to the ground and understand what people need and how I can better provide whatever it is that they need and solve a problem. Plus, I’ve got that basic online presence—so I look a little more legit.
Week three, my goal here is to sell at least one day rate and two consulting calls so I make cash back which I need at this point. I’m gonna get there by promoting my little booty off. One mindset shift that’s helped me here I would absolutely try to do again is decide that my competitive advantage is serving like crazy and giving over and beyond anything I see out there, just trying to really get people exactly what they need. I get gritty, I’d get really dang good at keeping my word. I feel like you’d be surprised at how many people out there just don’t keep their word and get people the deliverables that they need to on time.
I’d say thank you a lot, I would write a shiz ton of thank you notes, I would pitch guest writing opportunities, I’d also probably set up some sort of spreadsheet to track the relationships that I was building and fostering. And if these people needed me, how to get in touch with them, just so much relationship building in week three.
>> Related:Behind the Scenes: My EXACT 2021 Client Onboarding Process <<
Then when I did land a client, I would go above and beyond when it comes to serving them and I’d also surprise and delight along the way by providing extra deliverables. Then I would follow things up with this magic phrase, I’ll put it down here:
“You’ve been an amazing client. I would love more clients exactly like you. Do you happen to know somebody who may be in need of the services that we’ve worked together on? And would you mind connecting me with them”?
So here at the end of week three, I’d begin to have some sort of an idea of what a weekly rhythm could feel like. Maybe I wanna do marketing stuff at the beginning of the week and service provider stuff at the end of the week. Again here, hopefully, I have landed those three client spots and sold them. So, selling is getting a little bit easier here.
Could I now pick out one day a week or one day a month where I can just focus on content creation and that is going to live on my blog on my website. Then I’m gonna pick two, just two, dissemination tools where I can get that out and take that pillar piece of content I’ve created and shoot it out on other different platforms. Again, I’m just gonna pick two if I had to start all over.
At this point again, 2021, I would likely pick number one, email marketing, and number two, some sort of video social media tool, probably Instagram reels, maybe TikTok.
The last thing I’d do is boost any lives or videos that I have done and put on social media with about 20 bucks behind it so I can try to get those in front of lookalike audiences—I’m not gonna put a ton of stock in ads right off the bat, but that’s likely something I’d do here.
>> Related: How To Write ADs: 3 Steps To Write Facebook Ads That Convert Like CRAZY <<
Okay week four, the last week in the month of starting all over if I had nothing, Here my goal is to find a sustainable rhythm for the business because I’ve been hustling my tail off. Now we need things to get more sustainable. Now again, hopefully I have sold those three spots. If I hadn’t yet, then I would continue that traffic plan until I did. But now, I’d begin to wrap my head around how can I keep this business going and market the service, but actually provide the service as well and go above and beyond when I do so.
I actually really like the batch day system I set up early on in my business. I think it was my second year in business that I set this up. I still do it.
The last two things I’m gonna do in week four, the first is start to screen grab and capture and figure out any sort of feedback, or case studies, or testimonials that I’ve gotten from the clients that I’ve worked with, these two to three clients. I’ve got to use that social proof to keep getting me more clients.
>> Related: How to Batch Work Organize with Themed Days <<
The other thing I wanna do is revisit that signature service, that flagship service, that I wanna provide. I’d start to figure out how can I clean that? How can I clean the messaging? How can I clean the deliverables of it? Again, maybe one day I will want to do a digital or a physical product, but in doing so much of the service provider work, that’s gonna give me the leg and the groundwork to stand on and truly understand how I have tested a hypothesis and it’s proven itself and I can show that out in other different ways.
Ohhh my gosh… at the end of these four weeks I would absolutely rest. I would try to study sales calls, see how I can get better at selling on the phone, and closing the leads that I’m bringing in. And I’d probably desktop that application funnel to strengthen it a little bit.
Now you know exactly what I would do if I had to start over in my business—be sure to subscribe so you can get those next two videos I have where I’m gonna break this down a little bit more and just pretend like we’re going from nothing!
Now, after I got my groove and was ready to make a bigger splash, one thing I would do is plan some sort of a pre launch into a launch phase. This is gonna get out that signature offer that I’ve worked so hard to develop, maybe a cleaned up refreshed website, maybe a digital product version of the service that I’m providing. If you want to hear everything you need to do to move into pre-launch, be sure to watch this video next where you’re gonna see that.
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Reading Time: 15 Minutes If you’re wondering how to launch a business, this post is for you! I’m sharing how I would launch a business from scratch if I had to start over in 2021—if I woke up and I’d lost it all. No following, no business savings, no team, no Ashlyn Writes Copywriting Agency, or shop of copywriting […]
Your Pre Launch Workflow is nearly as important as the launch itself! Whether you’re searching for how to do a product launch or how to service launch, you need to have a pre-launch strategy to keep things running smoothly. Today, we’re going to dive into my pre-launch workflow and pre-launch tips to make your life easier and your launch more successful!
This time of year’s giving me *all* the nostalgic feels. Every year since 2016, this is the time period where I have launched my signature Copywriting for Creatives™ program. Butttt I’m launching a human this spring & having a baby, so I’m putting family first and pulled that launch off the docket. But I thought I’d go ahead and share with you what I would be doing otherwise. 😉
Essentially, I want to tell you everything that I would be doing the week before I move into a launch. I know I’ve talked about launching so much here on my channel. Basically, it is a fancy word for a marketing campaign or period in your creative small business. So from tactical funnel checklist-y things, all the way to mindset stuff and things around the house, this is how I stay sane,.
That said, let’s go!
Ps—if you haven’t yet, also click here or down below and grab my FREE launch copy and content checklist. Thousands of you have grabbed this, this is a free guide that’s gonna tell you all the different pieces that you need to have written and in copy before you go into a launch mode. 👇👇
First up,the more nitty-gritty things. We had a launch copy client recently that said: “How do you hype yourself up for essentially talking about the same thing over, and over again for so many days in your business?”
Here is my two cents—if you’re launching right, then you’re gonna feel like a broken record during your open cart period, it’s gonna happen. You’re spending five, seven, maybe 10 days pushing and talking about the same offer over and over again ~a lot~ of different ways. This is absolutely exhausting. Comment below, heck yes, if you’ve ever felt like that when you are pitching or positioning something—that’s normal. That means you NEED to have a plan and work the plan when you are moving into your launch week itself.
Here’s my ~biggest~ tip: Go into your launch week with everything DONE.
Even if you are dripping out content or teaching along the way, if you’re launching a course, have absolutely as much done in other capacities. Every bonus, every PDF, every social media post, at least the draft of it written. Every funnel asset, every graphic—everything DONE.
I have launched somewhere between 10-15 times in my business. Usually, by and large, I’ve not had this done and it is 100% not fun. It’s way more fun to move into a launch when you can actually focus that week on selling and talking to other human beings. Set yourself up for success so that you’re able to go into that launch week with time set aside to just get in the weeds with people and talk to your customers or your potential clients. Make sure that you’re able to have time set aside to troubleshoot with them and help them understand if this offer is for them or not.
I highly recommend cleaning up that week so you’re able to spend the time selling and talking to other human beings. It’s not only wayyy more enjoyable but likely more profitable as well.
So in a nutshell, if it wasn’t already obvious, during a launch week or promo campaign itself, I am online way more than I ever am in my business. I’m checking DMS, I’m in the inbox. I’m talking back and forth to people on video. I don’t wanna spend any time in backstage creation mode or trying to be creative and come up with stuff, I just wanna be front stage, actually talking to people and helping them.
Here’s another tip: when it comes to pre-scheduled copy like your social media posts that you’re using to market things or the email copy, I absolutely have drafts written and most of that ready to go. BUT I want to ride a little bit of the excitement and the adrenaline rush. So I’m not going to schedule every single thing to go out and automate because I wanna get in there and make sure that I’m responding to real-time. I want to know how people feel and what the vibe is that I’m getting, what’s going on in the world, etc.
So again, everything is written and ready to go but I’m gonna riff a little bit during the week. Which also ends up being fun.:)
Related: How to Pre Launch on Instagram: My 4 Part Instagram Content Calendar Plan
Okay, next up, I wanna talk about mindset. Comment below if this has ever happened to you, but launching, going into a promo campaign where you’re talking up one offer for days at a time, it can be a *total* mind game. Not only are you online more than usual and talking to people about their problems—that you can hopefully help them solve—but you’re talking what feels like ad-nauseum about something that you love and created. This is like the perfect storm for imposter syndrome to creep in, right?! Here’s how I fight that in prelaunch. 👇
There’s a theory called grand gestures. You may have heard before how J K Rowling rented out a hotel room and she would go there to finish out her Harry Potter projects. If you’ve ever rewarded yourself with something after finishing a big task, that’s another example of a grand gesture.
So mentally, there are a few things that I have found that I like to do to get myself in the game.
#1 One thing I’ll do, (this is the weirdest,but I’m gonna throw it out there in case it helps you), I will buy an expensive-ish or nice candle from Anthropologie or whatever, and I’ll have it on my desk. I’m only allowed to burn it when I am working that week—I can’t take it out of the office. I expense it, the goal is to use it during that week. I’ve also gotten fun, new pens before too. Those kinds of things can help me form a mindset of, okay, when my butt is in my chair and I am selling and talking about this offer, I’ve got these things going and I am in the zone. Maybe that’s a weird tip—I’m not the only one, right?! 😉
#2 Another thing I’ve done is put sticky notes on the wall for every sale or order that I need to make for my goals. I’ve done a video in the past about launch metrics—you need to set your goals before you go into a campaign period. At this point, the week before launch, those goals are set and now and I have a visual representation of the number of humans I would actually like to serve with this offer. As each order comes in, I’ll write their name on one of those sticky notes. It’s just a great way to actually see, these are human beings that you’re getting to help and serve.
Related: How to STOP Making Excuses & Launch a Website, Product, or New Service
#3 Another essential mindset tool for me has been prayer. If you have a spouse that is involved with your business or a business best friend or a teammate, while you’re praying for energy and wisdom to be able to show up and lead during this period, I’ve also found that so helpful to pray that the right people purchase this offer or come into this program or whatever it is that you’re shilling, praying over the number that you know you need for this to be a success, but also praying for each slot that you have and that the right booties get in the seats. Also praying over your audience that’s not going to purchase, that they at least learn something in the process of hearing you sell for these number of days.
I always want anybody that watches one of my webinars or workshops, no matter if they purchase or not, to be able to walk away from it with things and tools that they can implement. So be praying for that as well.
#4 Finally, and this is a big mindset tip, absolutely set yourself up with some time to read past testimonials and success stories and case studies so you can remember that you are good at what you do and it does see results for people. Maybe it’s just me, but the imposter syndrome can be real. So it was really helpful for me before I move into a launch to recenter and go back and remember what it is about this offer that has worked, how it’s helped people. And that puts me in a place to be able to go out there and sell it with confidence. This is also why having a testimonial database like I’ve shown in the past few videos, has been very helpful for me ’cause I can quickly go in and tab over and pull them, read them, give a mojo, go in and keep going along.
Related: Planning to Launch Soon? Here’s What You NEED to Know
Okay, last up, household things. So I used to go into launch weeks and my husband Wes would probably just batten down the hatches. Hurricane Ashlyn—the Royal B word—would come out during a launch week ’cause they’re just stressful. 😉
So over time, I’ve learned during prelaunch I need to make sure two big things are done and out of the way. First up, food, of course. I need to get not just my food and sustenance and fuel ready, but if you’re the meal planner or the food provider in your family, making sure that people are handled, either outsource meal planning or hand it off to somebody else, put in those Instacart orders, getting your rations there and in the house during prelaunch before you go into a launch week I promise, it just is important.
During a launch I’ve found I need a lot of snacks on hand, grab and go because your time pockets can be weird. I also want to make sure I’m plenty hydrated. Will probably throw a bottle of wine on the list. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like going live or going into a webinar or whatever when you’re hungry and starving, it’s just not gonna be your best work or you get off of some sort of live call and there’s nothing to eat in the fridge. Then you’re just more stressed. Take my word for it, have food ready.
And again, that second point I mentioned is communicating to your friends and your family that you’re gonna be in a little bit of a high-stress week in your business. This way, sure, they can support you but they’re aware of what’s going on. I’ve joked before that even my dad doesn’t really quite understand what it is that I do, but it’s been fun over the years when I’m in a launch, for him to at least say, I know you’re working on something really hard over there, keep it up.
You may also be less likely during a big hands-on launch period to get back to people as quickly as you usually can. So just over-communicating can be helpful.
Random, somewhat related, Wes and I have had some same page meetings weekly this year that we’ve never done before and that’s been helpful. I’m gonna put up over the side some of the questions that we’ve checked in on each other with, this is just a helpful hint.
Okay, like I said, I was a little all over the place here. I talked about some nitty-gritty stuff, mindset as well as household things to focus on during pre launch. Mostly because when I am in a launch campaign mode, I just want to be able to focus on selling and talking to human beings. I want every other piece of the funnel completed so I can hone in and focus on that one thing.
If you need a list of all the copy and the content that you need written before you head into a launch mode, then be sure to click here or look below and grab that free link to that download PDF you can grab.
And now you know, all about my prelaunch workflow and how I love workflows in general. So let’s talk about another side of your business where you may need some cleaning and tweaking of your systems and processes. Be sure to watch this video on my YouTube channel next—I’m taking you behind the scenes of how to hold an agency immersion retreat in your business to clean up the service provider side of your business. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, even when you’re in the crazy shenanigans of a launch week. And I’ll see you in the next one.
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Reading Time: 9 Minutes Your Pre Launch Workflow is nearly as important as the launch itself! Whether you’re searching for how to do a product launch or how to service launch, you need to have a pre-launch strategy to keep things running smoothly. Today, we’re going to dive into my pre-launch workflow and pre-launch tips to make your life […]
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