You know me–I teach what I know best. And what I know by now, more than anything, is that the key to making a sales plan work is having a proven, foolproof system.
So today, I’m going to walk you through my project management system, line by line. This is one I’ve spent hours mapping out with my team. Some of it will be familiar to you, but it’s in the little details that you’ll find the most value–the tiny things that make your promotion polished, professional and, most importantly, effective.
Another great thing about putting together a promotion with this system is that it sets up your content to be “evergreen”–meaning you can use it over and over again to sell your product and build your business.
There’s a lot of content in this post and in the podcast. But don’t worry. I’ve put together a special checklist for you, so that you can put all this information into action right off the bat. No matter what kind of promotion you’re planning, this checklist has all the basic steps you need to make sure it launches successfully. Click here to download it instantly.
I divide all my promotional planning into three categories:
The Pre category is everything you do before the cart opens (i.e., your product becomes available for sale).
The Live category is everything you do when the cart is open.
The Post category is everything you do after the cart closes.
I’ve launched promotions in the past that I’ve had just a few weeks to pull together. As my business has grown, I’ve had more time to plan and prepare. But here’s the thing: it’s never enough time! Let me encourage you to always get started on this system earlier than you think. There will always be last-minute tasks that have you scrambling. That scramble will be a lot less stressful, the sooner you get started. (Right now, I’m already starting on this system for a promo set to launch in October!)
Category #1: Pre-Promotion
As you might guess, 80% of the work happens in the Pre phase. I’ve broken them down into smaller categories, starting with…
The cornerstone of Admin is making all your decisions in advance, getting organized and scheduled, so that when you “hit the red button” for your launch, you can enjoy (mostly) smooth sailing through your promotion.
The first thing we do might surprise you: we organize our Dropbox. We have a folder for everything…no file floats alone. But I’ll admit to being a little crazy about this, but let me tell you—it saves you from going a lot crazier in the long run, wondering where those files are that you need to send to your designer so you can launch in two hours!
- Confirm and Document All Promo Dates
Before getting started, I put each stage of the promotion down on the calendar. For example, in my recent Profit Lab promotion, I had to nail down when I’d start running various Facebook ads, when I’d release each promotional webinar, when the early bird pricing began and ended…all of those little pieces are determined before anything gets started.
- Schedule Promotion Phases
I have different phases in each of my promos. Phase 1 includes offering free content that warms up my target audience by offering value before I promote anything for sale. Remember the Product Maximizer from a few weeks back? That was a pre-promo content piece, scheduled for Phase 1. Phase 2 included free webinars that ended with a product pitch. Phase 3 was when the cart opened, so it includes lots of timely bonuses and heavy ad running to people who have shown interest. And the final phases are all about “Take Action Now! Cart Closing Soon!”
These are my phases—you’ll have your own. But the point is scheduling them in advance, to save playing catch-up with yourself later.
- Determine Price Points/Membership Levels, Hire Designer/Programmer/Copywriter
This is where you’re setting your ground rules for sales and assembling your team to make those sales happen!
- Set Up All Campaigns in InfusionSoft
Decide in advance which emails you’re going to want to send, and queue them up for sending. You won’t have them all written yet, of course, because you don’t have all the links, downloads, maybe even some product language. But setting up the campaigns in advance will let know where there are holes you need to fill.
This is where I spend the most time…and the most worry…and the most creativity. I love this phase, even in its stressful moments, because it’s when I get to spend quality time with my product, making it perfect for my audience.
I always start this phase by creating a content grid–a spreadsheet that helps me keep track of each component of the content I’m creating. Here’s a snapshot of what mine looks like:
- Program/Product Content Creation
This includes everything from creating the product name, brainstorming a logo, getting into all the nuts and bolts of the product. (For me, that means deciding on modules, creating outlines, determining what should be core content vs. bonuses.)
As part of this, I always include a “Stick Strategy”—a juicy bonus I send to people after they purchase, to keep them excited and engaged, and let them know they’re being taken care of.
- Promo Content Creation
Same as above, except just for the promotion part. I use my free content—my blog, my podcast, social media posts, webinars and related giveaways—to offer valuable giveaways
- Members’ Area
This is where people log in after they buy, and get all your product content. For the Profit Lab, I create a very specific outline for members to see how the course is going to run—I list all the modules, links for downloads, and bonuses they’ll get along the way. I also include a welcome video to let them know what I’m going to let them know.
Setting this up in advance is especially important so that you can test it before releasing it! There will always be bugs—the important thing is to catch them before your audience does.
- Sales Page + Order Form Creation
As a team, we lay out the way we want these pages to look, write the sales copy (including testimonials), set up your countdown timer, and collect the images we need for it, and send it on over to the designer and the coder.
- Create Email Grid
This outlines every email we’re planning to send in InfusionSoft, and when we’re going to send it. Note the subject line, when they’re going to be sent, and who is going to receive it.
Wondering what kinds of emails you should send? Listen to the full podcast episode to get Amy’s detailed list of what to send and when.
- Customer Support
Determine the language around your refund and discount policies, automatic responses, and answers to FAQs that your customer support team can be ready with. This could also include a pre-recorded voicemail if you have a customer support phone line.
In the past, we’d be frantically creating images at the last minute. But in my last Profit Lab launch, I had a complete list of every graphic I’d need for anything related to the promotion–imagery for emails, social media, website, the works. As a result, I was able get it all designed in advance by one designer, so it was ready early and it all looked consistent.
I’ve included that list in the free downloadable checklist for this week–get it here!
Facebook ads, Google ads…we have them all mapped out in advance, with imagery, copy and dates for when to run them in each phase.
Creating a posting schedule has really saved me a few headache! We determine ahead of time what we want to post on social media about the promotion, set it up in Edgar (my favorite queuing tool), and have one less thing to worry about when the launch goes live. (Just make sure to glance at your social media from time to time throughout the launch, to make sure that your links and images are showing up correctly.)
I don’t always do this for promotions, but sometimes I include a special “VIP” membership tier that includes extra bells and whistles—a Facebook group, live Q&A calls, all that good stuff. If you’re doing different levels, make sure you list in advance all the extras you’ll be doing, including times/dates, setup you’ll need to do, and whatever material that you’ll be offering.
It’s important for your integrity to close the cart right when you said you were going to. Right after the cart closes, I redirect all the purchase links to the waitlist page. This is super important to set up in advance—believe me, you don’t want to be setting up your waitlist page in the minutes right after your cart closes!
Daily sales, units sold, whatever you want to track, get this tracking document set up in advance and designate the person who will be tracking it. One thing you don’t during your launch is to be constantly adding up your numbers to see how you’re doing!
Get more of Amy’s insights on this step-by-step promotion plan. Listen to the full podcast episode here.
Whew! The PRE phase is done…which means most of your work is done. The next two phases are really short and sweet.
Category #2: Live Promotion
Maintain the New Customers Area
As you start to sell, make sure everything’s working for your new customers, and that they’re having a smooth experience.
If you did an Early Bird pricing, like I often do, you’re going to be increasing your price at some point while the cart is open. So you’re going to be switching out order forms and change your sales page in the midst of your launch.
Social Media Upkeep
Having this in your project plan is huge—you (or your team member) will know exactly when to change out any social media imagery from Pre phase to Live phase.
Category #3: Post Promotion
Shut Down Ads
Redirect Promo Pages to Your Waitlist
Remove Promotional Imagery from Website/Social Media
I’m always ready for a virtual champagne toast by the end of the process. I also send out thank-you notes to everyone who has helped: team members, affiliates, experts, etc.