Hey, hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you'll learn how to host a high converting virtual summit that leads to your biggest signature offer launch yet. I'm your host, Krista, from Summit in a Box, and we are rounding out our three-part series where I've been bringing in special guests who are experts on the course side of things and the launching side of things. So you know, we've heard about what's working in courses, we've learned about live versus evergreen launches, and today we're going to learn about creating anticipation for your offers. This has been such a fun series for me, because the better your course launches, go on your program launches go, the more a summit is going to enhance all of those results and just create magic for your business. I can already tell I want to do a series like this again, and bringing in other voices who can speak more to this side of things. So I hope you all have been enjoying it as well, but today in Episode 222, we are talking about something that I really don't see highlighted very much and that is things you can do before your launch to build anticipation, excitement, and ultimately increase your launch results because of it. So we'll focus on courses. But you can totally apply this to summits or any offer, you're looking to build excitement around at launch. So to give you some background information on our guest, she's a copywriter, marketing consultant, and launch pro who helps you leverage pre launch content, so you can launch with confidence, less stress and more sales. And by leveraging her pre-launch strategies, Brenna's clients have seen a 50% or more revenue growth in their launches without the chaos they're used to feeling with launching, which I think we can all agree sounds wonderful. She also helps her students inside the PreLaunch Plan Program, create strategic pre launch plans that have raked in hundreds of 1000s in revenue, and I cannot wait for you to hear more about her approach today. So without further ado, let's dive in and talk with Brenna McGowan. Welcome Brenna.
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.
Yes, I'm so excited to talk to you about something that I feel like is just understated in online business as a whole. But you know, specifically the the space of creating courses and things like that. So I guess before we dive in to all of your pre launch goodness, tell us a little bit about you and your business and what got you to focus in on Oh, this pre launch thing is powerful.
Yeah, it's kind of a windy path. I started my business in 2018 as a social media manager, I quickly realized I hated it. And I was also doing other things during that time. But I discovered copywriting and I fell in love with email copywriting and i i found Laura Belgrade and she tells such like funny witty stories, and then we'd like sell in them. And I was like, Oh my gosh, all of these like stories I have in my head I can like get paid for it and write for people. And so I was already kind of in the online world at that point, moved over to copywriting starting to call myself an email copywriter ended up writing all kinds of copy from websites, landing pages to launches. And what I started to notice when I really loved the whole sales process, but during that time, it was kind of like a perfect storm of things happen, which was I had a couple of lunches it like I was like, why are some lunches going really great? And why are other lunches not going as great. I'm the same copywriter the same skills. And I started to like take a step back. And during that time, I had heard an interview and someone had mentioned pre launch. And at that point, I was like, that's what's missing. It's it's taking like that social media background that I have that content backgrounds, and really merging it with conversion copywriting to think how can we make the most effective sales process we can have, by really thinking of where our people are in the awareness journey in their know, like and trust all those things that lead up, that comes before the sale. And so often an online business is kind of separate. It's like two separate events, right? Like I get all my content done. And then I go into like this hardcore seven day sales period. And I started to see like, no, it's really your sales can happen over this extended amount of time. And that's how I that's how I got into talking about pre launch.
I love that. And I love that it's like based on experience and based in being like, what's different here, what's missing? And like, that was the missing link. So can you give us kind of your definition of pre launch? Just so we know, for you? And we're talking about this? What all it encompasses, like, is it just some emails that you send out before a launch? Or what all goes into it?
Well, I think there's, you know, my definition of it is typically, especially for talking with courses and programs. If you're someone who's in an Ecommerce business or something it might you know, it would this probably would be a shortened time period. But basically, it's to me usually about the six weeks before you launch, it's the content that you're putting out before you're actually going to a live launch type of period and this can also be applied to Evergreen launches as well. This is a question that I get a lot because So what happens, even if we're evergreen, we have a list of people that we're selling to that have said no at some point, right, and we need to warm them back up. So obviously, they came into our world for a reason they weren't ready to buy. So putting them through a process of helping them determine is this program service, whatever it is right for them, it's actually walking people through and what I love about pre launch, it is a combination of like, basically conversion, copywriting, putting out content that builds this know like and trust and also helping people self select through that process to help them determine if this is the best decision for them in terms of a buy.
Okay, I love this. Thank you for that definition. And I feel like now I want people to just hear more about your approach to it. And I had the pleasure of interviewing you for a summit I hosted last December, and you walked us through your four A's in that, and I was wondering if you'd be willing to break that down for us again, here.
Yes. And I kind of touched on in just a tiny bit as we were talking. The first one, a that I talked about is autonomy. And that's really giving people the space in their buying decision. I as go, I will go so far as to say that this is becoming a necessity in 2023. And beyond, which is really not just making people, I think people are stepping away from that like high pressure sales period. Yes, there are some people out there that can make decisions quickly and want to make decisions quickly. But there is at least 50% of your buyers and your audience are slower decision makers. So really giving people the information that they need to make a buying decision. And that is what a pre launch does is we are telling people about and I always say we during pre launch, that you are selling your process, not your program, which means we're you're showing them, okay, this is the outcome that you want before you're actually getting ready to sell them the solution. So and I love I was reading this over the summer, and I've already been talking a lot about autonomy. And I was reading again, Chris Voss never split the difference. And I can't remember the exact quote off the top of my head, I should learn it. But basically what he said was that when we give a person the ability to say no, it actually helps make better decisions, right? And giving someone that space to say no, and still stick around is a lot of times turns into a yes. So that is the first thing when it comes to pre launch and that I'm really passionate about is it. I think it's the way that I like to be sold to. I've had a lot of coincidently I did my own summit recently. And I've had a lot of people coming at me for different lengths trying to sell me stuff. Now it's been really interesting. And I have been staying very aware of like, What do I like, and what do I not like? And I think this is what your people are doing subconsciously, right? I'm aware of it because I sell, but people are really like thinking about like, how do I how do I feel, and that kind of rolls into the next A, which is assurance. And what we're doing during pre launch is we're building know, like and trust. And we are showing people that they can trust us, it's been very interesting for me to see working with my own clients and students. We do a lot of surveys and get feedback. And there is a hesitancy in our market that I haven't quite seen before. And I think it's a combination of I talked about like market saturation with 2020 21. Right, there was like an influx of people coming into the online space, people have been burned before, you know, it's a little bit of like the wild wild west in the online world, right. So people are hesitant to especially now with, you know, inflation or whatever, whatever the money, definitely money is tightened a little bit. And so we have to show people that they can trust us. And trust comes in all different areas, whether it's showing our values, who we are to our audience, whether it's showing having time to actually show case studies and what what it looks like in you know, in a normal lunch period, you maybe do one case study email, or throwing out a quick testimonial, but being able to actually tell your customers and clients stories to help build trust. And the beautiful part about that too is obviously it's them talking about how great you are how great your program is not you just talking about it. So building in time for to build trust. The third A is anecdotes and this is having time to tell stories. You know, once you get to launch, it's a lot of Do you want to buy my thing you know, here's the here's when the calls are here's like, you know here I'm going to hit this objection, email, but really having time to have this time to experiment and to tell stories in your emails and tell stories in your lives or wherever you're showing up online. And I Obviously, story. I mean, that's not anything new that people love stories, stories are able to demonstrate and show people how we can help them and bring them out. So that's the third A. The fourth A is anticipation. And this is, I'm going to be bold here and say the most underutilized tactics, strategy, whatever that you want to say, in online marketing, and probably all marketing to be in most in most cases, besides entertainment, retail, things like that. And when anticipation does, is it builds up a natural curiosity, excitement, momentum behind, I actually did an Instagram reel the other day, where I was saying, Okay, let's stop for a moment, we'll do this, we can do this exercise here. Let's stop for a moment and think about a problem that you might have. And that say, in 30 days, I told you that problem was going to go away. And it could be any problem, right? Like, the problem is taken care of, like, how excited are you? how relieved, are you? How do you feel inside knowing that this is going to be taken care of? Well, this is what we can set people up for in our marketing is this natural buildup and the human brain, there's actually studies out there that show that we that anticipation, we actually look forward to future events in a positive manner. So I just booked or I'm booking a flight to New Jersey, which is my home state for the summer. And I'm already thinking about like, the intimates Crumb Cake I'm gonna get because I don't have that in California or thinking about all these fun things. I'm thinking about like, what outfits do I want to wear it? Because that's the kind of person I am like, what am I going to wear in July? I don't know. But we're you have this like natural anticipation. And if you think I talked recently, I did a article in the authority magazine, and I talked about Taylor Swift and her eras tour. And how many people were anticipating the email where they were going to be able to buy those tickets, like, it was huge. And if you think about her sales, during that they like blew sales out of the water in terms of what she sold for that. And that's a perfect demonstration of what anticipation can do. But most, most online businesses don't either don't know about it, or they don't know how to actually put that into their marketing. Mm hmm.
Oh, my gosh, okay. All of those were amazing for anyone who just like got lost in their anticipation step. She walked us through her for her four A's here to like, what goes into pre launch autonomy, assurance, anecdotes, anticipation, all of them are wonderful. Though, one of them I wanted to talk about a little more, and then I want to circle back to anticipation, is autonomy. And that's something that I don't see people talk about a lot, a lot of the times, were encouraged to like pressure, pressure, pressure, put all the pressure you can on these people to force them into making a decision. And I've even heard people say like, if someone doesn't buy, I don't want them on my, I don't want them on my email list, which to me is just like gross and silly. Because like, if they don't buy, they're still on you. Like for some, it's this is huge in summits, because you bring in 1000s of people, yes, some of them will be ready to buy right at the end, if you launch, lots of them won't be. But now you grew your list of by 1000s of people who now know you, they at least like you a little bit if they're still there. And they're now on your list for when you start your next you know, pre launch phase or when you're when you've got an evergreen funnel that's working and then they can join whenever they're ready. So I think giving people space is huge. And I love that that's built into to your philosophy around pre launching, and I've never even looked at pre launch that way before is it gives people a runway and like a word of warning feels like not the right word. But like, you know, a clue that something's coming up for them to prepare for. And I had never thought about that before. Like, you know, you don't necessarily want to just be like, boom, cards open,you know?
Yeah. And that's what so like it that's how it's been like taught in the online world, right? You do a webinar, or you do a five day challenge to warm people up. And then I actually wrote this in my article that I just wrote that was like, where else in the online world? Do we give people? Do we spring on them that we're selling something that's worth that that's going to cost them 1000s and 1000s of dollars and a lot of case, and then asking them to make this decision in seven days, like me? Like it almost doesn't make sense if we really, really start to think about it. And then and then you also have like the flip side of the launch world where it's like, oh, I had a failed launch. It didn't go as good as I wanted it to do and it's like, well, no, maybe we were setting ourselves up to fail from the beginning by the nature of how we were selling, you know, and really thinking about like, Okay, where are these people when they come into our world? Are they even ready to make a buying decision? And even if they did make a buying decision today would they be would it would they be the best students, the best clients if they're pressured and that's really When it starts to, and quite honestly, some of this is come out just from me working this process, where I, after I worked with a couple of clients privately to go through this process, and I was interviewing them, because they had really, really successful launches. And they're like, the cool thing was like, not only did I sell more, but I brought in these, you know, students that like wanting to do the work that were excited to be there, they had made a really good buying decision. And then what ends up happening is that those students because they come in, well prepared, ready to do the work ready to get results, they do get the results, and then they give us better testimonials. And then they tell all of their friends, like how great the program was, or how great the service was, or whatever it is. And then it creates this undercurrent of marketing, because there's no, there's no better marketing out there. And then referral marketing, having someone directly say, go work with this someone, or go take this program, or course, I mean, that's truly, if you can get that undercurrent, and you can back it up with everything else I'm talking about. That's when your business starts to flow and not feel so heavy and hard.
Yeah, like, right. So we're recording this in February, this is the highest month of evergreen sales I've ever had. So my coach had me break down, like, where are these sales coming from? And it's like, almost all referrals, like, this person promoted us. And this person, this person talked to their friend about us like, Oh, my goodness, like, you know, I guess specifically, when I used to run service based businesses, I feel like referrals were talked about a lot. But since I've moved into digital products and courses, I feel like that side of things is just like way under sold. So I love that that's a part of a part of your philosophy on this too.
Especially in this like hesitant market, like it backs it up. And then when you're putting out really great content, which is a huge part of what I do during pre launch as well is showing people the type of content that you need to put out. So then when you are getting these referrals, and people are talking about you, they're coming and seeing like, oh, yeah, like, this is legit, like this person is talking to me. And it all starts to work together. I see it very cyclically in terms of how how the processes start to work. And over time, it just builds and builds on itself like a snowball.
Okay. I also like your anticipation step here really stood out to me a lot to in that, like you're building natural interest for your offer, and people are able to get excited about it. And I feel like I even very recently, like within the last week, I have thought about a cart open period we have coming up and feeling hesitant to say that a cart is going to be open. Because like I don't want people to be upset that they can't get in right now or something like that. But I'm just not letting anyone get excited about anything. And I totally see how, like you're, you're the example you gave with your flight and the trip you're taking this summer, and you're able to be excited about it when you know about it ahead of time. Oh my gosh, why have I never thought about that? When it comes to digital products before? And do you have like, I don't know, an example of a way to start building that anticipation?
Well, yeah, I mean, simply it's just it can be as simple as sending out an email and doing a PS like, oh, you know,"If what I talked about interest you I'm actually going to be opening the doors to my program starting in March." I did it yesterday on Instagram, I actually have people from the last round of the prelaunch plan program that are getting I had one person who pre sold now it's five spots. I had another person who emailed me yesterday and you know, had four or five people just reply back and say they're interested in the program that's coming up and she was so excited it was working. And so here I'm I can shout out these wins that people are having and saying, hey, just so you know, if this is what you want in your business, like I'm actually going to be launching again, here come the end of March doors are going to be opening. And if you want information now like you can just ask and there's no pressure, because that's that whole part of autonomy. Like you can ask me, I'm not here to push you into a sale or convince you. I'm not even in a sales period. But I can give you the information that you're going to need to make a purchasing decision later on if you want. And you can ask me and even today, as we talk, I have someone I haven't even tried to sell. And I have a sales call for my program for someone who's interested and they want to make sure it's best for them someone that's in that like contemplation, period. And so that is really what ends up happening is it you can build this in anticipation of like what's to come while also giving people that like that goes like the anticipation autonomy thing in my mind goes hand in hand. So now that you can have these ideas of what and the other thing to do is, like we talked about with money tightening up a little bit, people can start to designate and I think does everyone service like, Okay, I know I want to take this, you know, like any whether it's time or money, which are going to be our two biggest objections always people can say, Okay, I know this is coming up in April, I'm not going to take another program knowing this is going to come up or I know that I want to take this program. So I'm going to say no to these other things. So I can start putting money away, even in like a subconscious manner, we can start thinking like, Oh, this is what I want to do. So this is how I'm going to start designating, you know, my natural resources and money to make sure that I can do this thing with this person. So absolutely, it's it all works together really nicely. And people really, really appreciate more and more to like, just having that space and having the pressure off. And as in that was the other thing I wanted to say I knew I was going somewhere is to me when it does come time to launch. Okay, I can go 100% all in and sell like crazy and feel like not worried about it because I have let everyone know for six weeks, this is coming up doors are going to be opening I'm going to be selling to you and giving kind of everyone that bit of warning. So because what I've heard in the past from past clients is like they didn't like that like abrupt oh my gosh, and doors are open and now I get it. I feel super salesy. Like I don't feel salesy. Because I I've these people have already been able with the content I've put in front of them, being able to self select if this program or service is going to be right for them.
I love that it gives I feel like it gives you both you and them more power when you have this pre selling strategy in place. And like that's never going to be a bad thing. Do you see pre selling apply...so we've kind of been talking more about courses, and I think just because that's the direction I went in, do you see these things applying to things like summits? And maybe other offers like services and stuff as well? Is there anything that maybe the question is, is there anything that doesn't really apply to that someone listening to this podcast might be launching?
I'm going to say no, though, as as a as a copywriter, and someone who very much believes in niching it scares me to say that a little bit. I think the way that you apply these principles change a little bit depending like we talked about the outcome. Okay, if you're going to be launching a new collection of $50 necklaces, do you need eight weeks lead time, I don't think so. Right? Wherever you're asking someone to spend $6-10,000 on a mastermind, you're going to need a little bit more time. So I think that's the way that you can apply some of the principles. But on the other hand, you know, whether you're doing a membership, whether you're doing an evergreen, whether you're doing a summit, whether you're doing a service, like I would say for services, especially if someone is listening to this and is has services like having specified what I liked about pre launch too is I feel like in general life runs on these natural highs and lows. And you know, these ebbs and flows like we go through. And so what happens when you are and I've been there, as a service provider, you feel like you're just constantly selling and onboarding and trying to get these clients where if you can establish your content into a cadence where you are able to bring, like, bring people in and sell yourself out for a quarter or trimester, whatever that is, then you can have a little bit of time where you don't have to think about it, where you can relax a little bit in terms of your marketing. So that's what I also like, with live launching, especially sometimes it gets like a bad rap, or even some, it's like I just got done with my Summit. And I'm like, okay, like I had weeks of being very on and very visible. And now I can take like a much needed break and not feel like I have to do as much. And so that's the other part I like about what we're talking about here is when you can do this process, you can kind of structure your, your business and your life where you have these little little bits of pushes, and you're able to fill up, do really well and then let the natural cadence of things go down and then start building back up.
Oh my gosh, I love this. There is so much more to pre launching then that I thought like, I don't know, it's easy to throw around the word pre launch. And literally think of like, I don't know, a couple extra emails that got before you open the doors. But there's so much more strategy and meaning behind it. So thank you so much for kind of opening the doors to that today. And I'm really excited for me to learn more and do more experimenting and for everyone else as well. Where can people go to learn more about you and what you offer and like get started learning more from you?
Yes. So you can go to BrennanMcGowan.co. And then if you go to Brennaanmcgowan.co/cheatsheet and that will take you where you can sign up and you can get an idea of the type of content that we're talking about. There's three buyer beliefs that people need to have before they make a purchase. So I should show you what those are and shows you the kind of content that you can be creating during your pre launch to do that.
Oh my gosh, I love it. Well, thank you so much for being here. And thank you so much everybody for tuning in for show notes and resources mentioned head to summithosthangout.com/222, I will link to Brenna's cheat sheet in there as well. In the next episode, we are finally getting into a series that's literally months overdue, and I'm going to start walking you through our big takeaways from the client summit we produced and ran back in January. A lot of you submitted questions for me to answer months ago, so be sure to stay tuned for that. For now go out and take action to plan strategize and launch your high converting virtual Summit.
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