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AMY PORTERFIELD: Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, Amy Porterfield, and today we are talking about what to do in between launches.
So, I've got a question for you. What if I could wave a magic wand and give you hundreds, if not thousands, of new email subscribers to add to your list? Would you absolutely love that? I would. Well, I may not have a magic wand, and I can't magically give you all these subscribers, but there is something I can do. I’ve got six things that you can do to attract new people to your email list and, ultimately, to your business. And while these six tools work like magic, even though they aren't, they tend to work best when you use them in between your launches. So we're going to talk about growing your list when you're not launching.
And I've got one more important question for you. What are you currently doing between your launches? Listen, I know that if you've launched already, you're probably thinking, “I'm sleeping, Amy. That's what I'm doing. I'm sleeping because I'm exhausted.” And I do know that live launching can be exhausting—that's why I only want you to do it a few times a year—and I also prioritize relaxing in between your launches. But there are some other important things you can do after you're rested that will keep your business moving forward and also allow you to make some money in between those launches. And I'm going to share my top-six suggestions with you today. Good? Okay.
So these six things that we're going to talk about today are not only easy to prioritize, they are strategic ways to build that know, like, and trust factor that I always talk about is so important. And the reason why it’s so important is that your audience needs to be ready to buy when you go into launch mode.
And by the way, wait. I got to digress just a second. If you're anything like me and you've already launched—I know some of you haven't launched yet. We're going to talk about that. This episode is still for you, so stay with me—but if you've ever launched, do you have a launch alter ego? So if you ask Hobie, he'd say, “Uh, yes. Amy does have one.” I probably should give her a name, but during live launches, I'm on fire. It's like I get anything and everything done. I get a little crazy, for sure, but in a good way. And you all know Chloe, right? She's my marketing director. Well, she turns into, like, this launch super hero with extra-good superpowers during the launch. And we all call her Cart Close Chloe because the minute that we get into cart-close mode, holy cow, everybody watch out. She’s doing her magic. So, launching can turn you into someone a little bit crazy, but, like, crazy good, right? But you’ve got step out of that as well. And that’s why today we’re not going to be talking about launching; we’re going to be talking about what to do in between those launches.
Now, maybe you haven't done a launch yet. So, for example, some of my September 2019 Digital Course Academy members, you are just wrapping things up inside the course. So you're probably still working on course creation, or maybe you've moved into working on launching. So if you haven't yet launched yet, that's okay. This episode is still for you because I'm going to give you these six suggestions, and I want you to start thinking strategically about where you will want to fit these in after you start launching. So this is great information to have way in advance.
Now, for my listeners who have launched once, twice, or maybe twelve times, amazing. So you're definitely going to want to put these tools into action right away so that when you're not launching, you're moving the business forward.
So basically, no matter where you are in your business or in the launching model, there's something for you here today, whether you plan ahead, or you dive right in and you put this into motion. These tools are going to help you grow your email list, build airtight relationships with your customers, and maybe even make you some extra money during your downtime. Sound good? All right.
So one last thing I want to touch on. After we go through these tools or strategies, I want you to commit to sitting down and scheduling out a few of them in advance. Don't try to do this while you're launching, and definitely don't think, “Well, I'll get to it in a few months.” I want you to at least schedule these strategies in between launches. Schedule them now so you make them a priority, because life gets busy, and once you start launching, once you get focused on your launch, it’s going to take all your attention. So after you launch, it will be nice to say, “Okay, I've built in some relaxation into my calendar, and then I'm moving into a non-launching strategy that's going to continue to move the business forward.” It's got to be in the calendar in order to make it real. So make sure you set aside some uninterrupted time to get clear on your calendar, get clear on the year, build in these non-launching strategies as well as your launching time so that you know what's coming down the pipeline. You know, I'm all about the planning, right?
All right, guys. Let’s get to it.
First things first, reset and recharge. And trust me when I say that I specifically put this one first because it is the most-important thing to do after you've completed a launch. I know you're a hard worker, and you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your launches, which means you have to take time to refill your cup after a launch. Honestly, if you neglect taking the time to recharge, you're only doing yourself harm. Not only will you be holding yourself back from showing up creatively and inspired in your business, but you'll also be hurting your health and the relationships in your life. So I need you to promise me that you're going to intentionally schedule time before you even get into launch mode to recharge, reboot, reset, whatever you want to call it. You've got to commit to it. Pinky swear? I want to emphasize that this needs to be in your schedule far before you do anything launch related, because if you're like me, if it's not scheduled, it is not happening. Raise your hand right now if you can relate. Okay. So I see lots of hands. Just joking. I don't see you, but I could feel it.
So now that we're clear on that, let's talk about what this might look like. Maybe you schedule a staycation. This is pretty much what I would do for most of my launches for the first few years of my business because a staycation is cheap, and also, I really didn't want to travel anywhere after a long launch. So for you, a staycation might look like you stay home, you take long walks in the evening, maybe you enjoy your favorite show, maybe you do a little Netflix binging, maybe eat some healthy meals, maybe cook at home because you've been ordering in throughout your launch, you get some extra sleep, you sleep in, whatever that might look like. Because that looks a lot like my staycations. That’s basically what it is.
So after a launch, the next day, I always sleep in. So I just don't set my alarm. However much rest I need, my body will tell me. And then I ease into my morning. I spend time with Hobie. I spend time with Scout and take him for a walk. If Cade happens to be around—he's a teenager now, so it's rare—but I get to spend time with him. And then we watch movies, and we chat a lot, and we stay on the couch. That's day one after a launch.
And then if I take a few days after that, which I suggest you do, then I will just start getting back into my routine. I love routine. So getting back to my regularly scheduled workouts, if I had to move them around a lot during the launch, and go grocery shopping and get my nails done and things you don't do weeks leading up to the launch because everything's so busy. So whether you have someone else do it for you or you get Instacart or whatever, sometimes I just like doing all the things that get me back into routine. Now, guys, I'm not super exciting in this. I know this might not blow your mind, but that's how I like to spend staycations after a launch.
Now, I also sometimes will go to a hotel. Hobie and I will choose our favorite local hotel, and we'll spend one or two nights there, and we'll go out to dinner and maybe get breakfast in bed or whatever it might be. So I've done that as well. But again, all of this just has to be planned in advance because you won't do any of it if you don't think about it before the launch happens.
And let me be really clear. I'm not talking about, if the launch is successful, you do this stuff. It does not matter what your numbers look like. It does not matter if the technology worked, or if it failed you. It does not matter. Anything that you think about the launch, this time to recharge is to celebrate that you did it, regardless of the results. So I want to be really clear about that. So that's basically what I suggest, a staycation or a little mini vacation, where you get on a plane or you don't, or you drive down the road to your local hotel that you love, and you make it special. Spend time with the ones you love, spend time alone, do whatever will recharge you.
Now, I will say something that most people don't talk about, and that is you might be thinking in your head, “But Amy, I have a private Facebook group for my students that opened on the day my cart opened. Now I've got,” let's say, “twenty, thirty, a hundred people in a private Facebook group that I have to show up in. So I can't take a vacation.” And I get that. That's why I typically do staycations, where I don't go on a big vacation after a launch. Typically, there’s a little bit of cleanup work you need to do after launch: failed payments, get in touch with customers who might be confused about logging in, support them in the private Facebook group. It’s game on. When my cart closes, let's say if my cart closes on a Thursday, typically I’m opening the course on a Monday. So I usually just take the weekend off. But then I try to ease into the week and take some things off my calendars so the week for my team and I is not crazy after a launch. So that's something to think about as well. But just find those little small pockets of time, whether it be the weekend after a launch or whatever it is for you, no judgment. Just do what you want to do to recharge, refuel, and just recommit to okay, I now have these new students, whether it's five students or 5,000 students, I'm going to support them. So that's the time to kind of just ground yourself.
Okay, let's move on to number two: build your email list and batch your content. This is the second thing I want you to do when you are not launching. Again, build your email list and batch your content. Between launches is your time to shine with free, valuable content for your audience. I talk about this a lot, but it's absolutely essential that you consistently show up even when you're not launching, especially when you're not launching, because guess what? Your audience is paying attention, and they want to hear from you consistently. So consider this time, the time in between your launches, to be your core relationship-building season.
I've said it so many times, and I'm proudly going to say it five more times in this episode, but the most–important time of launching is when you're not launching. Now, why do I say that in such a weird way? But I believe that the relationships that you build in the time when you're not launching are what will actually propel you to success in your launches. So that’s what we’re going to talk about here, the relationship-building time and the nurturing. And that comes down to creating content.
So, let's just say you disappear after a launch, and for months nobody hears from you because you’re head down, serving your students. That's going to do your business a disservice. So you don't want to just go into a launch and then hibernate with your students and then come back out right before a launch again. That's what makes online businesses tricky. There's a lot going on at all times. It's manageable, but I also don't want to sugarcoat it. Yes, launches are intense. Yes, it takes some good time to put together an evergreen launch or a live launch. But when you're not launching, you're still showing up. You're consistent with your content, you're intentional, and we're talking high-quality content. You all know that I don't take content creation lightly. I put a lot of thought and time and process into it. Now I have a team to support me on this podcast, but when it was just me and a V.A., I was putting just as much focus, just as much time, into the content that I was creating. And what became really important to me over the years and what I preach to all of you is the consistency with your content, because if you keep showing up for your audience, they're going to trust you more, and they're going to keep showing up. And when you show up without asking for a credit card, meaning non–launch periods of time, you'll start to see that their walls start coming down. There's less defenses. There less like, “Hmm, what is she going to do here? Is she going to sell something to me?” Even when people love me, they're still wondering, “When is she going to sell, like, on a webinar? That's natural. That's normal.” So I love when I just get to give and give and give during non-launch times.
So I want you to be intentional here. I'm not talking about putting together a so–so blog post or just throwing together an email every week. I want you to sit down and think about this, and what do they deeply need and want—your ideal-customer avatar—and you're going to wow them every single week with your content.
Now, I just was talking about your ideal-customer avatar and creating content that speaks directly to them. If you're still struggling with this, that's okay. I've got an episode that I think is going to really help you. It's episode 235. So if you just go to amyporterfield.com/235, it's called “How to Identify Your ICA,” your ideal-customer avatar. I think you're going to find that episode really valuable if you're still like, “Amy, I don't know what they need and want. I'm not sure I'm creating the right kind of content for them.” Then let's get really clear on your ICA. So once you have gotten clear about your ICA and you know him or her inside out, you're going to be able to create content that makes her say, “Oh, my gosh. She's literally reading my mind. She's talking directly to me.”
I was recently onstage with Dean Graziosi, and we were at the RISE Business Conference. And Dave Hollis interviewed Dean and I for a little mini VIP panel. And one thing that Dean said was that you should know your customers so well that you are finishing their sentences. And I thought, whoa, that is good. And when I thought about all of you, I feel like I could finish some of your sentences when we're talking about your biggest struggles or frustrations or things that just kind of stop you in your tracks. But I'm sure I could learn about you so much more so that I could do a better job of finishing your sentences. But think about that. If you think about your husband or your wife, I could finish Hobie’s sentences any day of the week. I know that man like, my mom’s phrase, like the back of my hand, which is a very weird phrase, I know. But I know that man like the back of my hand, and so I could finish his sentences all day long. Well, that's something to aspire to so I could feel that way about you, my ideal-customer avatar, as well.
So during your non-launch times, get to know your ideal-customer avatar even more. And I want you to be showing up for them every single week and be mindful about the content that you're creating so that it really aligns with the needs and the wants of your ICA and connects with them. And by doing so, this will build a strong foundation with your audience, but also boost engagement. That's one thing I want to talk to you about.
Committing to creating consistent, valuable content will actually boost engagement with your audience. So this goes hand-in-hand with that idea of they begin to trust you more. And when they begin to trust you more, because you're showing up, because you're mindful about the content you're putting in front of them, they want to talk to you. They want to comment. They want to tell you what they're thinking. They want to share their thoughts. And so the more you show up for them, you're going to see more engagement. And, like any entrepreneur that’s posting on social media and that’s emailing, we want that engagement, right? So when your audience sees you showing up on the regular, they feel more confident and comfortable investing in you—first, with engagement, and then, in your program or your product. They start to realize, “Hey, if I comment, she's actually going to get back to me.” And here's the best part: this engagement offers you direction and guidance for more intentional content. You know all of this. I'm not telling you anything new.
But my question to you is, are you being consistent? You've heard me say it over and over again. So every week you're either blogging, podcasting, or doing a video show. And if you're not doing any of those right now, I would suggest you start a blog or you start a video show. I'm not a huge fan of the blog. I think that you can get more traction right now in the season we are in of what’s working online. You'll get more traction with the podcast or a video show.
Now, here's something I have never shared anywhere else. This is new, and it's not groundbreaking. Don't get too excited. But I've given this a lot of thought, and I'm going to add to that. So for my diehards who hear me say, “Either blog, podcast, or create a video show, every single week,” or for those of you in List Builder Society, where I literally drill this into your brain and have you tattoo it on your forehead, to create consistent content every week, I'm going to add something to it. I'm going to say that if you're doing a weekly Facebook Live show or a weekly Instagram live show, that counts. Yeah. I've never said that before, but I think it counts because I'm just watching what's working. And if you said, “Amy, I'm doing a Facebook Live every week, and I'm getting great engagement. My audience is leaving comments and asking questions. I'm not podcasting every week, and I'm not doing the traditional video show every week. But I’ve got this Facebook Live show, and I’m seeing some traction,” I’m going to say I’m excited for you. I think that’s great.
Now, can you take that Facebook Live, download it, and put it on your website? I'd love to see you do that. You know, we don't own social media. It could go away tomorrow. It's not going to, but it could definitely change, and the algorithm is not your friend. And so if you could take whatever you record—you could do this with Facebook Live—download it and put it on your website so it lives there as well, I do love that idea.
But anyway, every single week, rain or shine, you are creating new content. This is important, guys. And this is what you're doing when you're not launching, because the time, the most-important time is when you're not launching. So you build your audience, you build the engagement, you build the trust, so the minute you say, “I've got something new,” your audience is ready to buy. This is what works in my business, and this is exactly how I teach my students as well.
Now, let's get a little bit more specific. Maybe you're interested in growing your email list a lot during the non-launch phases. This is a huge focus for us in 2020. We’re going to get even more mindful and intentional of list building when we're not launching. Launches actually build your list. If you follow my model and you do webinars, webinars during a launch are huge list builders. But let's get more intentional when we're not launching and build your list then as well.
So one of my favorite ways to do this is with a challenge or a quiz. So let's talk about a challenge first. You could do a challenge like a three–day challenge, seven-day challenge, ten-day challenge. People sign up to get daily emails where you encourage them to try new things and experiment and get out of their comfort zone so that you can move them toward taking action. You could also have a private Facebook group for this challenge, where you continue to build those relationships even after the challenge, which allows you to stay in close communication with them and really nurture them so that when you do launch, you have this Facebook group ready to pay attention to your product or service. But you don't have to get a Facebook group going with your launch, but it's a cool thing.
Let me tell you about one of my students. Her name is Whitney McNeill, and she’s a psychic medium, and she did a three-day free challenge, and she had 197 people sign up for her three-day challenge. Now, some of you are like, “But I need thousands.” No, you don't, first of all. And three days she had almost 200 new people on her email list. Yes and yes. That's how you do it. You just consistently grow that list, with really cool strategies like a challenge.
So she ran her challenge solely on Facebook, and she did a forty-five-minute video with her free content each day of the challenge. So three days, three videos. Her main focus was on mindset. She intentionally chose to do mindset because—get this. Pay close attention. If you're multitasking, come back to me. You‘re going to want to hear this—Whitney chose a mindset topic for her challenge because she knew that mindset was a big part of what was holding her audience back from enrolling in her digital course. Brilliant, right?
So after her three-day challenge, she wasn't ready to launch. That wasn't the focus. She just thought, let's start talking about some of those mindset blocks that are keeping people from playing a bigger game, but more importantly, in her sense, if she's thinking marketing—not “more importantly,” but you get the point. Equally as important—keeping them from buying her product and getting results. So what I will tell you is that the people that joined her three-day challenge, when she was ready to launch again, they were all ears. They had gotten such great results in just a three-day challenge that they're like, “Whitney, what else you got?” So when she was ready to start filling up her webinar, she's like, “Well, by the way, I've got a webinar.” And they signed up. A huge number of them signed up. So, really, really good. Whitney, shout out to you, girl.
Okay, here’s another example that many of you know, Rachel Hollis’s last ninety days challenge. So she does it in October, November, and December, the last ninety days of the year, and basically, she talks about the fact that, January 1, we jump out of bed. We're ready for the new year. We're setting goals. We've got this energy. We're ready to conquer the world. And she's like, “Why not do that in the last ninety days of the year?” So you literally have so much momentum going into the new year instead of just eating your face off and feeling sluggish and kind of winding down to the point that you've got to find a lot of energy on January 1 to get back in the game. So she's got this different take on it, and I love it.
So for ninety days, her and her husband, Dave, are getting on video. Every morning, they've got this morning show, and they turn it into the last ninety days, and they're encouraging you to finish strong. Now, this is such a huge list builder because you need to get on the email list to get the daily challenges, which are really good. But also, it's an engagement builder. You should see how many people are on these live calls or live Instagrams and Facebook Lives. But also, it drives tons of traffic to their podcast, because every day they're talking about their podcast, and they also sell ninety-day journals, like last ninety-day journals. So it made them money, but more than anything, they're building their audience, they’re list building, they're engaging. So that was a really cool challenge as well. That's like a challenge on steroids. I don't think I would suggest you start there, but you guys, most of you know, Rachel and Dave, so I thought that was a good example.
Okay, so let’s transition into a quiz because I love a challenge but I also love a good quiz. And I just want to make note that a quiz is a little bit more advanced than a challenge, I would say. It takes a little time to kind of work up the questions and the results, and I feel like there's a lot that goes into a quiz. But if you're ready to play a bigger game, if you're like, “Amy, nope, 2020 is my year of list building. Bring it on,” then, think about a quiz. I highly recommend one. Everyone loves a quiz because they love to talk about themselves and give answers related to how they think and how they feel. Quizzes make people feel special. And so you can put together a quiz based on anything in your business and give insight to your audience about who they are and what they're about, and give them, then, marching orders to take things to the next level. In the show notes of this episode, I’ll link to a few cool resources for quizzes, if you're thinking about creating one. So I'll link to a resource about how to get the content together for a quiz, and I'll link to a resource about a tool we love to use called bucket.io. That is a great tool to put together a quiz. So I'll give you the links in the show notes.
Okay, so one question I get asked a lot when I talk about free content is my students will say, “Amy, so if I'm putting out free content every week, what's the difference of what I'm putting in my course? So if I do Facebook Lives every week and then I sell my course, what am I doing in a Facebook Live versus what I put in the paid course?”
Now, I'm a big believer in repetition and giving your audience snippets of what you're actually going to be teaching in your paid course. I actually love when my students of Digital Course Academy get into the program, and they already have heard some of the principles, some of the strategies and tools that I'm teaching them. I find it helpful because it's not the first time they're hearing it. Repetition is the mother of skill. And so I love that they have some kind of understanding of the concepts I teach. If they follow my podcast or if they watch my Facebook Lives, then they buy a paid course, and they're like, “Oh, I've heard this.” But then in my course, I go deeper. I add it to a step-by-step roadmap. I give more examples, I make it more how-to. So it's okay if some of your free content overlaps with the concepts in your paid course, and your paid course, that's the roadmap. You're going deeper. You're doing more handholding in your course. But don't be afraid of a little overlap. It's not a big deal, and actually, I really genuinely think that it helps your students.
Also, and this is a big one, listen to your audience. What are they saying to you? What are they asking for? You've heard this before, but I've got to say it. What are their pain points? What are they worried about? Your audience will tell you what they want, but you have to be willing to listen. And if you're like, “Amy, my audience is not talking,” one of the reasons why your audience doesn't talk is, one, you don't ask enough questions, and, two, maybe your content isn't really resonating with them. So again, when you ask them questions about themselves and where they're struggling and what they need and want, when they start to tell you, you start to create content that just hits the mark. So it's just kind of this circle that you're going to go in. I'm going to create content. I'm going to see how it resonates. If it doesn't, I'm going to get feedback. I’m going to keep creating content.
So, I could talk about content until I'm blue in the face. To me, this is what built my business. I believe that this is the part of my business that makes me special because I care so much about it, and I think that it could serve you well. So that's why I wanted to bring this up here.
Now, if you struggle with content creation, another thing that can boost your content-creation creativity—say that one ten times fast—your content-creation creativity is to consume content that is not at all related to your niche or your business. I love this tip, and I give it to my students often. So what this means is that I want you to listen to podcasts and read books that have nothing to do with the work you do. So for me, that means I’ll read books and listen to podcasts and watch movies that have nothing to do with entrepreneurship or, of course, list building, course creation, webinars, my area of expertise, but just nothing to do with building a business. And when I do this, it boosts my creativity. It allows me to think beyond just what's in front of me. We get so robotic about what we do that we've got to shake things up a little bit. So you can't spend all your time inside your niche with people that do exactly what you do.
In fact, one of my friends is a health coach, and she was always spending her time within her area of expertise. So she would listen to health podcasts, read health and personal development books, she'd even watch documentaries similar to what she was teaching in her business. And guess what? She got totally burned out. She didn't want to hear anything more about health and wellness. She's a health coach. Like, that is not good, right? But I can totally relate. I have definitely been there.
So what she did is she would shake things up when this was happening, and she'd start to go outside of her niche. And that's exactly what I'm encouraging you to do. Give yourself permission to consume things that don't align with your business. For example—you all know this. One of my guilty pleasures. Can you fill in the blank? Like, who knows me so well that they could fill in the blank?—Well, if you said Crime Junkie podcast, you are 100 percent right. And of course, you might have said Real Housewives, which I'm trying not to consume as much right now. I feel like it fries my brain. And Hobie says that if he has to hear those ladies yell at each other one more time, he might scream. So I'm trying to not consume that as much.
But I do love a good true crime, either podcast or documentary or anything like that. So I do a lot of documentaries as well. So a totally non-business-related documentary for me is one that's called, I think it's called Game Changers. And it's about not eating meat, either vegan or vegetarian. I'm not sure. I haven't even watched it yet. But every time I tell people I love documentaries, they're like, “Game Changers. You got to go watch it.” So that's on my list. Another one that's on my list is called Inside Bill's Brain, and it's all about Bill Gates. So I don't think it's about business, but kind of how his brain works and the projects he's worked on, and I thought that could feel really inspiring as well. So that one's on my list. So I am definitely always stepping outside of my area of expertise in order to fuel my mind and just kind of entertain myself a little bit as well. God forbid we have fun in the mix, right? So have a little fun with this.
So, here’s my challenge to you. Take your list-building efforts and content-creation efforts up a notch between your launches, moving forward. I want you to be intentional with how you're doing this, and be intentional about the content you're putting out into the world. Set big list-building goals for yourself. I know we've done that for ourselves here in 2020. We've got big goals for our list building. This year it's not about just making a certain amount of money. At the end of the year, I want to see my list grow by a certain number as well. So we are being very intentional about that. No longer are we going to play small in any area of our business, and I don't want you to do that as well. I know you can do this. Make list building, make stellar content creation, become one of your obsessions in your business. I want you to really be thinking about this.
Now, to switch gears just a little bit, let's talk about batching. We won't go deep into this because I've talked about batching a lot on the podcast. But if you are committed to creating stellar content, then you can't be pulled into a million directions and be creating content and then jump back to another project and then create some more content, kind of willy-nilly. You've got to get intentional about the time you are spending creating content, and that's what batching is all about.
So, you know for this podcast, we do six episodes at a time. That is our batch. And so there's different areas of the podcast on how we bring it all together, but right now, I'm recording six podcast episodes. So it's so very valuable for me because I'm all in with you guys right now. I'm thinking about you. I'm intentional about the time I'm spending here. It's all about the podcast, and it makes me feel good about it because I don't feel pulled in a million directions.
So with that, I want you to fall in love with content creation. And one of the ways that will help you do that is allow yourself to batch. Go listen to episode 182. So I talk about mega batching. It's exactly what we do. Amyporterfield.com/182. Go back, listen to that episode if you struggle with getting content out on a consistent basis.
Okay, so that was number two, something you're going to be doing when you're not launching, you’re building your email list, and you're batching your stellar content. Let’s move on to number three, which is educate yourself.
Now, this one’s a fun one. You’ve got to allow yourself to always be learning. Now, we just talked about fueling your mind with non-business-related topics and interests. But in this case, I am talking about educating yourself in your area of expertise or to expand on your area of expertise.
So, this is going to be a really silly example, but when I was in high school, I was a cheerleader, and our team was really competitive. And the girls on our team were way better than I was, and they were doing back handsprings and crazy stunts. I wasn't that girl, for the record. But anyway, they were doing all these great things, and we were all very good cheerleaders. Don’t laugh. You know, cheerleading is competitive these days. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be in the Olympics.
Okay, so, we would go to cheer camp every year. So in high school, starting with my freshman year, all the way to the end, we would go to cheer camp. Now, we were already good. We were already competitive. But we would go to cheer camp, and we would learn all these new strategies and techniques and jumps and tricks and whatever, dances. Some of you are still laughing. Stop, I’m being serious here.
So we would learn all this stuff at cheer camp, and then we’d come back and guess what? We’d be even better. Now, there was no time that my coach would be like, “You guys are kicking butt. We're winning all the awards. We don't need cheer camp this year.” No, it was mandatory. Every year we started out the year as a team, cheer camp. It was like a big freakin’ deal, for the record. And you would win a spirit stick at the end. This is a true story. If you did a really good job.
So here's the deal. While I was thinking about all my childhood and high school and my corporate years and then getting into entrepreneurship, I'm always going back to the books. I'm always going back to learning. And there is no time that you can ever think, “I've got this.” And especially when we're doing online marketing, because you know things change all the time. So I don't think I need to even tell you this one. But you've got to be an active, consistent learner, and educating yourself. And the best time to do it is between launches.
And let me tell you, I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t only create digital courses, but we should consume digital courses and support others who are sharing great content with the world. Every year, I go through about two or three high-quality digital courses, and I encourage my team to do so as well. So one that I have all new employees go through, no matter what position they are in my business, is Marie Forleo’s B-School. So I went through this program about ten years ago, changed my business, changed my life. And so now I have all of my employees go through it as well. And we do this when we are not launching.
And I have to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, if you have never taken B-School—“B” stands for “business”—if you've never taken Marie Forleo’s B-School, this the year I want you to really consider it. Now, why am I telling you this right now? The doors to B-School are not open at the time that this episode’s going to go live, but very, very soon—and I'll let you know, if you're on my email list. Very, very soon she's going to open the doors to her totally free, one-of–the–best, must–see experiences, her business-building workshop. And it is so good. It's three free videos, and the first video comes out really, really soon. And she's talking about the six pillars to build a highly profitable business online. And these six pillars helped me reframe my business, shift my mindset when I came out of corporate, and set up my business for massive growth. I mean, Marie's information is so good that every time it comes out, I think, “Oh my gosh, I'm so glad this is free because I can't even wait to tell my entire audience about it.” It's that good. I highly encourage you to check it out, amyporterfield.com/marie. If you are listening to this right when this episode went live, you will see that it's not out just yet. Just get on the wait list. I’ll email you the minute it comes out. And totally free, really worth every minute that you watch it. And then, of course, she will open the doors to B-School shortly after the free mini series goes live. So anyway, this might be the year that you're thinking, “I think I'm going to do it this year,” or maybe you've never even heard about B-School, amyporterfield.com/marie. You will thank me for it, although you don't need to. Believe me, you're going to love it.
But basically, that is the course that kind of started everything for me, and then I've never stopped taking digital courses. I consume many each year, and I encourage my team to invest in them as well. And as a business owner, I pay for it, of course. But Julie found and SEO course that she wanted to take, and Chloe found one all about funnels, that she wanted to take, and so we are just always looking for different courses at people that we trust and we know they've gotten results. And I will definitely invest in courses all day long as long as we're buying them, consuming them, and taking action. So that's what we do inside my business, and that is what I'm encouraging you to do as well. So educate yourself, and I believe the best way to educate yourself to grow your business is with other digital courses from people that have gotten the results that you want.
All right. Let’s move on to number four, study your audience. Now, you might be like, “Amy, you already talked about your ICA, your ideal–customer avatar. Do we need to go here again?” Guys, this is the stuff that really matters. Sometimes it's easy to say, “I want to talk about funnels. I want to talk about sending emails that convert, and I want to talk about webinars.” Or maybe you don't. Those are the things that I love to talk about. But at the same time, when you are not launching, when you are in that time that you can think a little bit more strategically, slow down a little bit more, I want you to really ask yourself, what does my audience want? And I alluded to this earlier, but I'm going to hit it home here: the best way to find out is to ask them. And in that sense, I'm encouraging you to do a survey. So when you are not launching, number four is to study your audience. The strategy I'm giving you is to survey.
Now, you could do a super-simple poll on Facebook or survey your audience on social media by just asking questions. Or you can send out an email with just one question and say, “Hit reply, and let me know.” When your audience is still small, it’s a really cool way to get some engagement going with your audience, or you can get more strategic and you actually create a survey.
Way back in episode number 55, I did an episode about surveying your audience, and it still stands true, everything I shared there. But also, there’s a really good book called Ask., and it's from Ryan Levesque, and I highly recommend it, and you could go check that out as well. But if you've never surveyed your audience, this should be on your list. This should be a non-launch strategy that you do this year to really learn about your audience. And there's so much freedom with this survey because you could just ask the questions that you're dying to know.
And let me give you a little hint. Remember earlier I talked about a quiz? Essentially, a quiz is like a survey. We did a quiz for Digital Course Academy®️ launch, so we actually put our quiz in our launch, but when we did that quiz, we asked all these questions about my audience. And then guess what? I learned a lot about my audience. So a quiz is kind of a form of a survey, in a backdoor way. So if you're going to do a quiz, you are learning about your audience, for sure.
Okay, so number four is study our audience. Specifically, do a survey, or do a quiz and use that as your survey.
All right. Number five, make some extra money. So this one's kind of fun. I bet your ears just perked up. So what to do when you're not launching? Well, one of the questions I get asked a lot is, “Amy, if you want me to live launch two to three times a year, what am I doing when I'm not live launching to make some money?” And I love using my downtime to make a little extra income in easier ways than actually doing live launches. My favorite way is to promote a workshop.
So, a workshop would be like a two-hour paid training that you create and you sell to your audience. You don't sell it with webinars. You can sell it with email marketing, social media, live video, whatever you want. But it's an excellent way to attract new people to your email list and inspire those currently on your list to actually take action, a.k.a. spend some money with you to learn something and get results. So a workshop course, the best way to do it is address an obstacle that your audience is struggling with. So the best way to do it is if you think, “Okay, I know what I want to sell, and I know that before I sell this, one of the biggest challenges my audience is going to face is x, y, z. So if I can get them over the hump of x, y, z, they're more inclined to want to buy when I'm ready to launch.”
And so remember earlier I told you Whitney, one of my students, did a challenge? She is the medium, and she did a challenge around mindset? Well, she could have done a workshop, where she put together a two-hour training to tackle those mindset challenges and blocks, and give tools and strategies to help her students overcome them. And she could charge ninety-seven dollars for this two-hour training, maybe put together a really cool workbook, and then send out some emails to sell it, put it on social media, run a few ads to it if you want, and that could be a workshop.
Another one of my students, Tavia Martin Redburn. She is in my Digital Course Academy®️ program, and she's a birth photographer who trains other photographers in this niche how to run a successful business. So she offers a workshop on how to make a full-time income in this industry, and it's called Birth Photographers Marketing Workshop. And it’s a pre-recorded forty-minute workshop, and Tavia teaches her audience how to make a full-time income with her seven-step marketing system. Now, she offers this workshop year round, which means she's always attracting a new ICA with her workshop. And I love this because then once they get into this workshop, she has other offers that she can give them beyond a workshop. But it's a really great way to get people to dip their toe in the water, and it generates some revenue for you as well.
Another way, moving on from workshops, another way to make extra money between launches is to become an affiliate for somebody else’s program or somebody else’s tool. I make well over six figures in affiliate marketing every single year, and not that—I didn't start out there. And maybe you say, “I want to make an extra thousand dollars every month when I'm not launching.” So think about the other programs that you love. Like, I'm an affiliate of B-School because I've used B-School. I love B-School. Maybe you’re a Digital Course Academy student. You're like, “I love DCA. I want to promote it.” We have an affiliate program, and there's other programs out there as well.
Also, tools. You all know that I am a huge fan and a user of Kajabi. And so I promote Kajabi to my students because I use it and I teach it. So I'm like, “Get this tool. You need it because you're going to absolutely love it when you create your digital course.” So I am constantly talking about different tools and resources and programs. I never promote something as an affiliate that I have not used or that I don’t currently use in my business. I’ve got to believe in it, got to love it, I’ve got to talk about it naturally, whether I was getting paid for it or not, and that’s how I decide where I want to be an affiliate.
And one little secret: I encourage all my students to choose one program that is not their own each year, and launch that program as though you're launching your own. So do a pre-launch runway, and do webinars, and just go full out. Write your emails as though it's your own program, but you're launching it for somebody else. The people that tend to be the best affiliates in Digital Course Academy®️, they literally launch it as though it were their own program. Shout out to Jenna Kutcher. She was our number-one affiliate for Digital Course Academy®️. That girl ran the launch as though it were her own program. She wrote all her emails, she ran ads, she did webinars, she did it all.
And so if you could just choose one program once a year—this program has to have a launch tied to it, so they’re really launching their program—you get involved in their launch, but you go full out one time a year, you could make some really good money. So maybe you launch your own program two to three times a year, and then you launch somebody else's program, where you're going full out one time a year. And we do that in our business with B-School, and we do it a little bit with TRIBE as well, but I don't want to do more than that, because it's just too much, but it serves us really well. And playing full out, the results tend to be really good.
And a little tip to that. Before we get even into the new year, we're reaching out to the people that we want to promote. We're like, “When is your launch? Tell us your dates. We want to get them on the calendar. We want to make sure that we're not promoting when you're promoting.” So we actually plan this stuff in advance, and so that’s why when some people are like, “Hey, Amy, will you promote my program,” and it’s in three months or six months, I usually have to say no; one, because I don't want to promote a lot of people's programs. I like to be selective. But number two, my calendar's already built out. I already know where my launches are going to be. And so it's an easy no, because as a people pleaser, I want to say yes to everyone, but if I look at the calendar, I'm like, “I've already got all my stuff booked. I can't do it.” And so that feels right to me because I know I'm being strategic.
Okay, so number five, make extra income when you're not launching.
And last but not least, do what you can to prep for your launch during your off season. So this is number six. And I’m not wanting you to go all in year round working on your launch. That’s not what I'm saying. But what I am saying is that you should chip away little by little on some tasks for your next launch so that you're not saving everything for the last minute. And this is something that we've learned the hard way. And so we are now trying to get really strategic, looking way in advance, saying what can we work on now so that we're not scrambling the last month before we launch, because we both know that this will only set us up for success, right? Either success, or serious overwhelm if we don't do it. So work on what you can in your downtime in order to prep for the upcoming launch. Always keep this in the back of your mind.
So one thing that could really help you is if you use Asana, it's a project–management tool that we use, or use whatever project-management tool you want, but build out your entire project plan. Just do your best. All the different tasks and subcategories and different things that you are going to work on for your launch, build that out way in advance, and then look at that and think, “What could I do right now, months and months in advance to kind of chip away?” What helps us is to get a project plan up as soon as we can, knowing what's coming down the pipeline.
And one more thing, I actually have a bonus tool for you, but if you want it, you got to go over to my show notes. So the bonus is all about taking extra-special care of your students, and it's this episode's freebie. So it's four different ways to go above and beyond to make sure your students feel extra special between your launches. Now, be sure to head over to amyporterfield.com/297 in order to grab this bonus resource. You’re going to absolutely love it. Don’t skip this step. Just go there right now, amyporterfield.com/297, to grab the four different ways to wow your students between launches.
Okay, so there you have it, my favorite strategies to use to keep moving the needle in your business between launches. But let's do a quick review because I really want you to take these strategies and start using them. And remember, you promised me that you were going to schedule these into your calendar, maybe not all of them, but listen again as I recap really fast, and choose two to three of them, and get them into your calendar when you're not launching. Deal? Okay.
Number one, recharge, recharge, and recharge some more. Please don't skip this one. It's important that after you launch, you have time on your calendar to just refuel your mind and your body and your relationships so that you can jump back into the game, feeling refreshed. Really important. So put the recharge time, or refueling time, on your calendar right now.
Number two, build that list, and batch that content. You know this is important. You know it because I tell you about it tons and tons of times. Like, you’re probably sick of hearing it, but I'm going to keep telling you because it's that important. And remember, the best part is that list building pays off during the launch. So there is a direct reward with number two. Try it out, batch your content, really be intentional about the content you're creating, and find those list-building opportunities.
All right. Number three, spend some time and money learning. Don't be afraid to invest in yourself and your education, because it's a vital part of growing your business and your income. Remember that you should not only create digital courses, but I want you to consume them as well.
Number four, get to know your audience, and get to know them very, very well. Remember what Dean Graziosi says? Finish their sentences. So take your downtime when you're not launching to really understand your ICA. Specifically, I want you to survey them or use that quiz to learn more about them.
Number five, make some extra income. Yes, please. I like this one. Whether you promote a workshop or you become an affiliate, this is a great way to make extra money when you're not getting that launch money coming in.
And lastly, number six, chip away where you can at your upcoming launch. To get really strategic here, maybe put on your calendar, a week or two from now, to spend just two to three hours thinking about what's going to happen in your next launch. It might be months from now. You might not be anywhere close to launching again. But what can you do now? Even putting together a project plan for your launch that's happening months and months down the road could really, really help. And you might be saying, “Amy, I'm not in Digital Course Academy®️. I don't even know what goes into a project plan.” What if you made some educated guesses? Once you start to put together a project plan, when you keep going back to it a little bit at a time, it starts to really flesh itself out. You can figure it out over time, and it doesn't have to be perfect.
Okay, and of course, I have a little, lovely bonus for you. So head on over to amyporterfield.com/297, and I’ve got a bonus resource for you. It's the freebie for this episode, four ways to wow your students when you're not in launch mode. I think you're going to love this bonus. It's really good.
All right. So, you know how in the Marvel movies they have a bonus clip after all the credits roll? It's Cade’s favorite part of any Marvel movie. So I'm going to do the same here. It's not going to be as good, but just pretend. Okay, so here's a little bonus roll. In between your launches, I want you to subscribe to your favorite podcast. I mean, subscribe, so that you are always knowing when a new episode comes out, and you're just taking a deep dive. And then make time every week to listen to those podcasts that do fuel you, whether they're non-business related or business related—you know, I do both—and just make sure that you are checking in every week on your walk or your workout or any time that you can get in a podcast. It's my way of kind of like staying recharged and keeping my head in the game, and it's my way of educating myself as well.
And I’m going to be a little cheeky here and say you could start with this episode. Have you subscribed to the podcast? Not do you just love it and listen to it on a regular basis, but hit that Subscribe button? Because we are going hot with the bonus episodes. We are doing so many of them. When we do a bonus episode, we rarely email about it. We rarely post about it on social. So it's kind of like an Easter egg a lot of the time where you're going to find it on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to the podcast. But you've got to subscribe to know that I dropped a new episode on a date and time that you didn't expect. Go hit the Subscribe button. Do that now. And I cannot wait to connect with you again next week. It's going to be a great week. You're going to love every minute of it. So I will see you here, same time, same place. Bye for now.