Question: can you launch a course or coaching program without doing some list building first?
Is it possible to launch if your list is under the coveted 1,000 subscriber mark? What about under 500 subscribers or less?
Or are you stepping onto an empty stage in an even emptier auditorium?
Today – I'll keep it short and simple – and get straight to the answer.
Yes, you can launch with a small list.
But launching to a small list – does come with a price and takes some effort and a refocusing of your overall launch goals. So, before you completely skip list building, keep reading.
Small List Often Equals Small Launch
Launching is a numbers game. So, the only thing you need to understand, be aware of and accept is – with fewer eyes on your launch, you’ll have fewer sales.
I mean, it makes sense right? Fewer people seeing your offer – means fewer people buying your offer.
But if you're offer is a higher priced coaching or service package, you don't need to reach quite as many people.
What To Focus on as You're Building Your List
Launching in itself is an amazing opportunity to do more than just launch.
Consider launching with a small list with a slightly different focus:
1. Focus on Other Metrics.
Adjust your launch goals to be about list building! Launching is a great way to grow your audience by creating an event around a step in your business. You naturally find new people interested in what you’re doing. Make the list building paramount – and focus on connecting with the right people first.
2. Keep Your Launch Simple.
If you have a small list – structure your launch and prelaunch content with emails, blog posts, social media, and friends spreading the word. Keep it simple. Straightforward. Some people do the email broadcast strategy even when they’ve grown their list bigger. It feels more personal, thoughtful, and can be really effective!
3. Know How Many People You Need To Reach.
Calculate what 3% of your current subscribers/audience/list is to find out what goal you should expect or shoot for. 200 people on your list? Maybe you can shoot for getting 6 people to sign up for what you’re offering. I know it may feel like shooting low, but being realistic wins out in my book – and sets you up to exceed your expectations.
Other People's Opinions About List Building
People will discourage you from launching before you have a strong or big following.
But the only thing you should be discouraged from is having unrealistic expectations.
Launching is important for all those things related to building your business.
- You grow your list + get some notice for what you teach
- You gain confidence for shipping a project
- You finally see your business act like a business – and that is an awesome feeling!
Launch before you have the big list, but start today list building. Before you have TON of eyes on you, but be realistic, know what you can achieve with your current numbers, calculate and set goals you’re likely to achieve.
Get good at knowing your numbers and not being worried that you're doing it wrong.
Want to grow your list as you put together an amazing, but simple to pull off launch? Get on the list for my program Fearless Launching.
Nikole Gipps says
As a current small-list launcher …. I so needed this article today!!!
Lauren Forest says
This is a great article Anne, full of golden nuggets. Section #1 about focusing on other metrics is 200% right on. I didn’t have a list when I did my first launch – zero. But doing the launch actually gave me something exciting to talk about. Doing a launch was a total conversation starter. It ended up being the perfect “chicken and egg” example – the launch is what actually resulted in building my list. I know the progress I’ve made over the last few months couldn’t have been accomplished without your help, encouragement, and perspective around this.
Great perspective in this article! We’ve spent considerable time planning our launch and the mentioned “chicken and egg” scenario has been on the brain. We’ve finally decided to refocus our thinking of what the launch will symbolize for us and our prospective client base. Seeing this article is a great help.
Nikole, I think you are a pro – so make sure to remember even the bigger launches you’ve worked on – take those principles apply them then do some tweaking … I think you’re pretty realistic with how things will turn out. This will serve you well as you make your launch plans. Keep grounded – which is naturally you anyways. But you can do it. 🙂
So glad you chimed in here. I thought of you this morning when I was looking the post over. You have had a powerful shift in expectation, growth, and through it all have been really honest with results. I am so glad you see the value in “launching” as a way to grow your list, start the conversation… next time out will allow you to grow again. And with that said… when’s the next call or webinar?
I hear you on that chicken and egg scenario. I’d love to know more about your biz and what you’re launching! If you have any questions or need a little kick here and there to remember what you’re doing, contact me! -Anne
Tara Gentile says
Couldn’t agree more, Anna!
One thing I’d add is that there’s also opportunity in a small launch: you can have your list really participate in the offer. What are they looking for? What do they need from you? And most importantly, how do they want to experience it?
I’m not a fan of serving up exactly what people ask for on a silver platter – but a truly participatory process can go a long way to improving the outcome of your launch and often leads to a bigger/better than imagined product or service.
Love the additional advice Tara! I think including your list — especially when it’s small– builds such a community. People feel heard, trust you’ve got their backs, and can more easily become the type of cheerleaders we all want for our businesses – ones that feel more like old friends than just numbers on a list.
I also agree there’s a fine line between delivering exactly what your audience says they want and what you know they need too.
Thanks for stopping by – you must be psychic, because I started an email to you yesterday – that I must hit send on today! 🙂
This is exactly what I needed to read. I am launching an e-course with only 200 contacts in the newsletter and almost 500 in the FB page plus FB friends. I know most of my email contacts don’t need what I am offering. I almost panicked because I am offering good stuff but then I realized this is not the audience and I have to patiently wait. I am working hard but the time will come. The other issue is the timing for registering. My e-course will start Oct 1 and I am paying ads in two high traffic blogs and nothing happens except that 86 people participated in a giveaway writing great comments about the e-course. I thought: “if 25% of those sign up, it will be good”, but my feelings are that they wanted it for free…or are waiting for the last week to sign up. I use to sign up in the last week unless there are limited spaces and I am super interested. Thanks for this great post!
Katya Barry says
I’m so glad I read this! As only have 35 subscribers I was very worried that I’ll just waste time launching a product and quite possibly make a fool of myself.
Lauren Forest, I’m even happier to hear that you had 0 peeps to back you up. Oh, what a relief!
Anne, I’m so up for your program!
Yay Katya – you’re going to love this too. Lauren has really made some amazing headway in her business and focus. Once you get the process of launching down – even if it’s to a small list or no list, you’ll be better prepared to deal with your list as it grows!
Pernille Norregaard says
Love this, Anne. I actually tried this last week. I launched an e-book with just 55 people on my list and 150 likes on my Facebook page. I had help to spread the word on social media from a couple of friends, and I’ve sent out one email so far.
I’ve sold 15 e-books at $17 dollars each, AND I’ve grown my list by 40%. Still small numbers, but I’ve exceeded my goal for the launch, which was to earn $100 dollars. And my email and social media campaign is not over yet.