I’ve been mulling over the idea of a stripped down version of my investing course for a while and even came up with a name and made a logo but, when inspiration hit around just highlighting pensions and the name sprang into my mind “Pension Perfect” as a play on “present perfect”, I knew it was the one.
For me, if I can write an outline and have a name or logo I like, I’m almost 75% of the way there.
And whenever I do podcast interviews and get asked “What’s the one step you think people should take around their finances, I always says “Get a pension”. So, why not teach people why and how to do exactly that?
A weekend to create …
I love brainstorming with Chat GPT, in fact I think that’s what it does best. I checked my course outline ideas against the detailed but generic outlines it gave and I explained my concept and that pension perfect related to present perfect and brainstormed ideas for visuals with it. The main ideas and elements were mine but Chat GPT really speeds up the thought process and little things it suggested like “use a representation of the present perfect grammar tense” was obvious but I think would have taken me ages of messing around with ideas to come up with unprompted.
At that point, I had enough to write the sales page and banner image which was how I spent my Saturday. I was so happy with how it looks! (I don’t use Chat GPT for any of that because it’s just not a good writer and produces flat, generic stuff with no personality, or, at least, not my personality)
(Some of the links that follow are affiliate links through which I may earn commissions. I only recommend things I use and get value from myself!)
On Sunday, I set the sales funnel up in my new favourite platform, Thrivecart, and built a course in Thrivecart Learn with modules as placeholders for the content when it was ready plus the onboarding and welcome information so people could buy, login and have all the information in one place rather than haphazardly by emails later on.
I also wrote the email welcome, a thank you page so people knew what would happen next, and the future reminders for the live workshops, setting them up as mailing list automation. It was quite a lot of work but I’d be quicker another time as all that stuff can be used as templates for next time.
I did NOT write the course content or slides because I planned to teach it live and sell it first. I prepared all of that later on, a few days before the first live session. This is, in my opinion, the only way to create courses because you don’t waste time creating something no-one buys, and you can refine the idea by asking people who sign up what they want to cover. Plus I was following the methodology of Lizzy Goddard because I’m doing a programme of hers called Silver Moon Sales which includes her Paid Live Training course and that’s how she does it.
By Monday I was telling my mailing list about it and selling places.
Mailing list launch
1 had a good feeling about this course plus the knowledge that I have shied away from sending more than a couple of emails during previous launches meant I went into this one with a different mindset.
I was so sure Pension Perfect was … perfect for my audience that I decided anyone unsubscribing was right to as they were almost certainly in the wrong place. So I didn’t even give an “opt out of Pension Perfect emails” option and felt more confident about telling people and then telling them in a different way, or highlighting a different aspect of why to do the course.
I did the initial announcement in my regular weekly newsletter with no teaser or hints since I’d only really come up with the whole thing at the weekend. That newsletter email had a 56% open rate. Then, across the 2-week launch, I sent 3 more sales emails specifically about the course, which had 50%, 53% (its title was “make the course FREE”), and 39%. The second week’s regular weekly email (47%) mentioned the course.
I sent a reminder email about the cart closing one/two days before booking closed BUT ONLY to people who had clicked any link to the course sales page during the 2 weeks. That email got 63% open, and a 28.5 CTOR (click to open rate).
I balked at sending another email in the final hours even though I often see people doing that. But I should have because none of those highly segmented people unsubscribed and one of them emailed me after I’d already taught the live class asking if she was too late.
“Always send one more email” should be my new mantra.
I contacted anyone who’d made previous enquiries about my course that I thought might be interested in Pension Perfect plus followed up with anyone who got in touch after seeing the Pension Perfect announcements to let them know about things like early bird ending or cart close etc.
Some replied, some bought, some didn’t do either but, again, my confidence this course was right for pretty much everyone helped me feel comfortable that I wasn’t hassling just helping them make a decision and not miss out.
The part of my list that gets my weekly emails (ie have finished the nurture sequence) is about 350 people. And I sold 6 places, 5 of them to subscribers, and had 3 more subscribers make what I’d call “strong” enquiries that didn’t lead to sales this time.
Every marketing thing I’ve read talks about 1% conversion rates being the norm, even for multimillion-dollar launches. That makes my mailing list conversion 1.4%. But I’m never sure if that conversion rate is for mailing list to sales or from the sales page/cart to purchase. But, anyway, thanks to the at-a-glance Thrivecart dashboard I know the sales page converted at 3.4%.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to glean from this other than that I need to very actively grow my mailing list – my goal is actually to be forced to pay for Mailerlite by hitting 1000 subscribers. However, knowing this stat will be useful for comparison next time.
Promotional activity on Linked In
During the 2 week launch period, I did 9 Linked In posts specifically about Pension Perfect, 2 unrelated general posts and 2 posts about a semi-related live I was doing. During the live, which was about National Insurance so was the same target audience as Pension Perfect, I talked about the course at the end. I didn’t use Linked In to post about cart close (and should have).
A few of these posts were from content I wrote ahead of time, all of them were scheduled in advance. I created some of them ad hoc over the launch period when I had ideas.
By far the most seen and commented on post was a personal story about me and the dress I was wearing in my profile pic which was basically the About Me text from the course sales page and was connected to the idea of me as a person creating this particular course.
This follows a pattern I’ve seen time and again: that personal stories about you or your life perform best and get the most engagement. I don’t have the metrics to say that this type of post is where people buy, and I doubt it is. But they definitely work for engagement and building “like, know, trust” and are valuable real estate to put links to products on.
Where customers came from
As everyone always says, a mailing list is where most sales come from. I’m not surprised by this pie chart since I don’t use Facebook particularly though I posted once or twice on my personal page. I know no-one sees posts on the business page so I rarely even cross-post.
But I am pleasantly surprised that anyone at all heard about it from Linked In, and one of the people wasn’t on my mailing list (and I didn’t know her before) and yet saw and bought. It’s easy to think social media doesn’t work but you never know who’s paying attention
Discounts and how sales broke down
The course price was 77€. This is basically my beta price, though I never called it that anywhere. I wanted a price I felt good about testing the concept and trialling the material at since it was a new course. I made it clear that it will be doubled in the future and I have a final price in mind for the course that reflects the value of what people will get from sorting their pension or knowing when/if/how to move old pensions, but also is a price people can afford.
I offered an early bird price of 67€ for the first 24 hours and then, actually stupidly, realised I’d forgotten that one of the things I love about Thrivecart is how easy it is to offer payment plans. So I added a 2-instalment option (40€ + 40€ to cover the extra fees it costs me to do it this way) and let people know that too via one of the launch emails. In hindsight, it’s a great reason to email people again during a launch and it really helps some wavering people to buy, so maybe I wouldn’t necessarily offer it right from the beginning.
Sales breakdown was 3 early birds, 1 regular price and 2 instalment set ups. Again, not sure what I learn from this!
What I’d do differently on a future launch
I’d create more content ahead of time for social media which I did do but not enough of it. I like writing content and it comes pretty easily to me but I think the more I write ahead of launches, the more I will post because there’s not always time to keep coming up with new things, especially video or carousels which take time to produce. And some types of posts, like cart close, got missed off because I ran out of steam. However, I’m always building a bank of content so, each time, I’ll have more material already written anyway.
I’d set up my mailing list launch emails with a Mailerlite automation so that anyone who clicks through to the sales page receives emails giving them more information, addressing potential objections and letting them know about the cart closing. I’d make it very easy and obvious how to opt out of these emails but it would mean that interested people hear more, automatically.
This is really easy to set up in Mailerlite as, instead of sending a regular campaign email like I’ve been defaulting to, you write that exact same content in an automation sequence and add a trigger of “clicked XYZ link” to then put them in a further, pre-written sequence.
I’d use the actual week of the course being delivered to talk about how the sessions were going. This is good as social proof builds FOMO even though it was too late to join. Even better is do that and have a waiting list ready for people to hear when the next or evergreen version becomes available.
I’d have a template ready to copy social proof into ie evidence of people booking, as I never got round to making a post like that. One person did post on Linked In recommending people do the course when she booked it which was great though. I should make it easier for people to share that they’ve booked by creating shareable links as I’ve not worked out how to do that yet. (Next time, of course, I will have testimonials I can add to the sales page and promotions.)
I’d send a cart closing email in the last day/hours of the launch. It’s clear there will always be people who need and want to be reminded because they genuinely missed out. I sent one person who’d made an inquiry a reminder via DM and she was grateful because she’d meant to book, forgotten, remembered and forgotten again. She booked as soon as I reminded her it was closing soon and that was a helpful thing for me to do, not pestering.
Set up an affiliate program. This is an area I want to move into anyway and I will definitely be giving referral codes to the alumni so they get commission if anyone books on their recommendation (they’ll pay themselves back the course fee if 3 people come via their coupon code). But a true affiliate program with swipe copy and templates, and with the commission handled by Thrivecart is a bigger project and where I want to be for all my courses.
How the course itself went
Pretty well I’d say if these are anything to go by!
“Thanks for kicking me into action and actually making me feel much better about my future. I have started to talk to family and friends openly about this and learnt a lot. Why is it sooo secret!!!”
“It has made me look at fees and know that I have to look for a new pension! The younger you are the more important it is for you to do the course.”
How I’m going to change and improve the course for the future
I ran the training as 2 live 90-minute online sessions (one input and one mostly for Q&A and research) two days apart and planned to turn the whole thing into a self-study video based evergreen course. But, now I’ve taught it, I’m going to keep a hybrid aspect to it and have all the content from the first class as self-paced micro lessons but hold monthly drop in sessions in some format for the Q&A/research part (I’ve got an idea, again inspired by Lizzy Goddard, but I’ve not fully decided exactly how to do it yet so I’ll announce that when the evergreen version is ready Sept-ish).
I’m also going to try and add micro modules and resources relating to specific countries. I can do UK, Spain and America now and will make a point of adding others. It has to be fairly general as, obviously, I can’t keep a massive thing like that bang up to date.
Signing up to my mailing list will be the best way to make sure you hear about developments on the course and when it’s available to book again in Sept!