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I've been called the OG of copywriters for creatives, wink—I hook up women with words as a launch copywriter & brand strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
 
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September 11, 2020

My WINNING Idea Validation Workflow for Pre-Launch Marketing

Reading time: 10 min.

As a launch copywriter, my team and I pretty much tell potential clients NOT to spend any money on our copywriting, email copywriting, and launch strategy services until they do THIS in pre-launch marketing.👇👇

You’re about to learn exactly how I validated my ideas & hunches to build offerings over the years. I’ve explained this to the women in my Copywriting for Creatives program and membership The Copy Bar Collective a few times lately—offering coaching services, building photography courses, infertility education, calligraphy, and art class workshops, and soooo much more. So, I wanted to take you behind the scenes of my idea validation workflow and method for pre-launch marketing.

By the end of it, you’ll peek behind the scenes of my pre-launch strategy workflow Asana list, specifically into the beta testing card, so you can brainstorm new ways to validate ideas before you spend lots of blood, sweat, and tears building.

Let’s go!

As we jump in, go ahead and grab your freebie below—The Ultimate Launch Copy & Content Checklist!

launch-copy-checklist-freebie-Ashlyn-Writes



Validating Your Idea

As I’m writing this, our sweet client Amy Porterfield is talking about her product Digital Course Academy and I wanted to share a little bit of what I learned as I took my 1-on-1 services and scaled them into more products or group coaching. I wasn’t sure so sure how I wanted to scale them, but I knew that I was getting in more inquiries than I could service out—I needed to figure out some way to grow things.

There are so many moving pieces of a launch—what I’m talking about is specifically BEFORE pre-launch marketing starts, simply validating the idea.

Here are four different types of offers that this could absolutely work for:

➡️You have a framework or a methodology you want to test before you spend time pitching it as a workshop, book, etc.

➡️You have a 1-on-1 service or skill you want to turn into a product

➡️You have a 1-on-1 service or skill you want to turn into a group coaching program

➡️You want to launch a workshop or conference but can try it salon-style first

Now, let’s actually talk through this in 3 big chunks.


No. 1| Get People In

The first time I ever heard about this idea was from the brilliant Tere Gentile,  she called this concept “the living room strategy.”  As she put it, it’s a whole lot easier to fill a living room than it is a stadium—amen?! This also goes hand in hand with the concept that you don’t need a massive following or a massive list to have a successful launch.

Absolutely not, *especially* if it’s something that’s this size.

I want you to picture your living room or your kitchen table, just somewhere where you feel confident and comfortable and you love (virtually or in person) gathering your group together to bring them through whatever it is you’re dreaming of.

As far as how many people you want to bring in, I can say from experience that under 10 is the way. I would recommend even more like 5-7 range—that’s how I tested Copywriting for Creatives.

The first time I tested my Art of Efficiency program, it’s more about systems and productivity, I had about a 100 people and it was great—but it was a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I wanted them all there, but it was a lot of different opinions to try to work through and figure out as I was shifting and moving the curriculum around and making sure that my method worked.

First, decide how many people you want to gather virtually or in person, around your kitchen table. Now…how do I fill those seats???

Here are 3 ideas to get you started

➕Hot leads—This is hands down the way I would recommend, I’ve had great luck with it… annnd It’s super fun. 😉 Requires a little bit of guts, but I know you can do it.

Quick story. In the fall of 2016, I was about six months into my business. Again, like I said, finding more people reaching out for my services than I could actually do. Within about four weeks, I had multiple women that were around the same level in business and needing the same services. That’s when I thought: what if we go through this more in a group setting?? I had just launched Copywriting for Creatives, my signature program, and put it out there. While it went great, I knew that I wanted to get these people and these students even better results. I even thought I had a hunch that I wanted to take my “Done For You Service”, package it up and take people through it in a group setting. I just didn’t know if that possible.

So every time I had an inquiry come in in this little group, I pitched them back an email that said something like this—

”Just an idea I wanted to throw your way, we can absolutely work in a one-on-one capacity. But I’m gathering a small group with four other women where I’m gonna take them all through this curriculum. I’m gonna give you my entire process. And the cost is gonna be about one-fifth of the price that it would be if we worked in one-on-one capacity. In exchange, I would need you to be on the calls and help me smooth out kinks and really make this wonderful. But I am there for you. I will edit everything. I will hop on as many calls as you need to. We will figure this out and get you what you were looking for.”. 

I got about five women together from this and we worked through the curriculum of what is now Copywriting for Creatives.

The iteration that’s out there now has more than a thousand students inside getting results. It never would have happened if I didn’t use this beta testing strategy. I know responding to inquiries like that can be a little shaky, so the second idea I have for you is with warmer leads.



➕ Warmer Leads—If you have an email list or any kind of a social media following, then people may be interested in learning from you again, in more of an intimate capacity or even at a lower price point than what you offer.

I recently told my student Christina to go into her email marketing platform and pull a list of everybody who is a hot subscriber—meaning they have opened multiple emails and their click-through is pretty high. They are really engaged with her email list.

Pull that list over and study It and see if there’s any names that pop out because they’ve reached out via email or social media, just fans of her work in general. I suggested she could just send them an email and truly thank them for the time that they’ve taken to engage with her and grow along with her brand and encourage her along the way. Within that, she could also say and mentioned that she’s planning on putting a small coaching group together to work through some curriculum. It would be a price point that’s a lot lower than any one-on-one service would ever be. You came to mind as one of the people who may want this most, I thought I would reach out to you and offer one on the spot before I reached out to anybody else. That kind of thing.

Related: How to Write a Pitch Email for Your Creative Business

➕ Cold Pitch—this is more of the traditional beta test style. This will be pitching the idea out to your entire email list or social media following. I would definitely recommend you have some application for this because you could get more volume of responses. I also told some students, I would recommend some sort of—for lack of a better word—consolation prize.

If you have a lot of people willing to get this great offer, it could be a great deal to pretty much get a ton of direct time with you in a small concentrated laboratory-like setting. You may want to be able to have something to give them whether it’s gonna be an early bird discount later down the road or a coupon.

Here’s a quick look at some copy swipes that I’ve used in the past with emails when I’ve been pitching things like this.

Some of these are from 2016/2017, but hopefully they will help you get started.

Another thing you need ready to go is an executive summary or an outline of objectives— this can look a couple of different ways. I would recommend a PDF doc where you have this outlined or even a mini sales page.

I actually ~wouldn’t~ recommend a long 5,000 word sales page, but you do need some sort of copy reminding them what they’re even looking for and explaining how this is going to work.

You really need to make sure the commitment is known—make sure that this round of beta testers REALLY understand that they are digging in this with you.

Yes, they’re getting a deal on your time and you need to go above and beyond because they’re helping you in return…BUT you may want to make sure they understand or they promise to be on a certain number of calls or else you can’t use them or continue with the process. This is also a GREAT way to capture testimonials and results.

But as we know, if anything some things just don’t work unless you do. Just food for thought. 😉


No. 2| Get Them the Offer Live

THIS is where the magic happens—you wanna execute your training or explain your idea LIVE.

To look them in the eye and see those aha moments. To see the confusion on their faces, to see every bit of how they’re registering and how they’re taking this content that you’re putting out in front of them—this is a must. This then tells you not just validating your idea, but how to craft the whole idea and even what order to teach things.

Here’s what I would recommend:

I would teach one chunk or lesson or unit or a concept at a time and pause, and open the floor book for questions, for feedback, and to see what they need next too. Remember everything that’s in your head about what you do and what you’re so good at, you’re at such a high skill level for that. You didn’t learn everything in order, you bounced around and pieced it together and figured it out. Sometimes when we try to teach things in order or explaining them, people don’t quite get them, ’cause they need to wrestle with the concepts. This is how you see that in action and how you can begin to shape and shift the curriculum.

Two quick examples of this—students inside my Copywriting for Creatives program know that we spend a ton of time figuring out your “onlyness factor”. That’s because when I first did this with an intimate group of women, I saw that light bulb moment go off and I saw how important this was for them to figure out their unique value proposition. They’re only in this factor. So it’s a huge point inside Copywriting for Creatives.

Likewise in my program, The Art of Efficiency, is all about systems. I had ~no idea~ that it may be helpful for students to have a “pause clause” worksheet, where essentially I’m telling them and giving them exactly the copy to communicate with a client so they understand if they don’t respond within a timely fashion, you need to then move on and service other clients. It’s one of this sticky situations that you want to be polite about in your communications. I didn’t even think about that as a bit of copy swipe that they may want—now it is in the program.

Here is a secret about why this all works:

It’s about testing and seeing instant results and getting these instant results for people BEFORE you ever finished the final build-out. It doesn’t have to be beautiful and all put together, they just want what is either in your head or your skill or whatever it is. They just want the information.

I would highly recommend doing this within a very concentrated time period and making yourself available. I would have lots of office hours, have open phone call hours, be able to hop on the phone with these people, and help them process and get the results that they were looking for. This is all kind of a laboratory and an incubator where you’re testing ideas— it’s helping you.

Like I said, multiple times, they’re paying you. I would definitely recommend charging for something like this—go above and beyond getting them results.

Related: FOUR Types of Email Sequences You Need


No. 3| Scale the Idea

Make sure you’re recording everything. If you’re thinking this kind of sounds like a focus group, I would say it *kind of* is.

Now that this is done, you can clean up and reshape the offer—I have moved entire chunks of the workshop around. It’s also your chance to make it pretty, make it palatable.

Bonus tip—I want you to go back through and listen to those conversations and look through the email exchanges. You can pull out great pieces of copy swipes and things you can use as your hook and email copywriting, ad copywriting, & more.

(I have a video if you haven’t seen on how to create a swipe file and copy bank and story bank. If that’s something that you’re interested, then click here to watch.)

One more tip…Absolutely be sending surveys either at the end of the entire process or throughout, you want that instant feedback:

  • What was a struggle for you to figure out?
  • What was the most helpful?
  • When was your light bulb moment?

While I’ve done this multiple times, I’ve gotten to see my client, Julie Solomon , do this in person— it was incredible. It has been a gold mine for me and truly shaped both my Copywriting for Creatives program and my Art of Efficiency program. I swear by it.


If you are moving into a launch period, then click here or down below to grab your freebie—my launch copy and content checklist— it includes all the  pieces of messaging you should write before your launch.

If you’re looking to go even further, click here to grab my Primed to Launch Workbook(it’s essentially a playbook) it’s just $37 and you can dig into crafting your big pre-launch marketing plan.

After you’re listening and swiping all of these different pieces of communication to then use in your launch messaging, you’ll be ready to craft your social media campaign—whoop! Check out this video where I talk all about how to craft 1 month of Instagram content in just one day !

 

launch-copy-checklist-freebie-Ashlyn-Writes

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure your words sell. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

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