AMY PORTERFIELD: “Here's what I want you to avoid. I want you to avoid not creating content because you're waiting for your course to be outlined. Because, again, this is an opportunity to learn from your audience. Before you even do a prelaunch runway, before you even launch your course, let's test out some content. Let's see what we can learn about what our audience likes and doesn't like.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: Work @ Life, hosted by Sanja Licina and Maddie Grant, is a new podcast to my weekly roundup, and I can't recommend it enough. Hosts Sanja and Maddie explore the gray areas between work and life as they share data on relevant workplace engagement and culture topics: topics like new ideas on how to impact diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging today, and vulnerability in the workplace. I love those topics so much, so be sure to download Work @ Life wherever you get your podcasts.
Welcome to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy.
If I haven’t done so lately, I want to take a moment and thank you for being a part of my community and joining me a couple times a week for an episode. I genuinely hope that each episode gives you the exact step-by-step strategies you need so you can start implementing them immediately and, ultimately, get to great success quicker than I did.
And I hope my Tuesday Shorty episodes leave you feeling less alone. I know how lonely entrepreneurship can be, and my goal with those episodes is to let you know that you're on the right track; your feelings are valid; and you're doing a great job; in fact, the best job that you can do.
So again, thank you for spending time with me. Thank you for sharing my podcast with other entrepreneurs. And if you're with me on Instagram, thanks for hanging out with me there as well. And if you're not, you can find me at @amyporterfield. That's where I engage the most and post the most, especially the behind-the-scenes stuff that I don't typically share anywhere else. So thanks a bunch.
All right, my friend. Are you ready to dive into today's episode? This is a good one.
So today we're talking about the concept of engaging your audience while they wait for your digital course. And when I was creating this content, there are three types of situations I'm thinking you might be in and who will really benefit from this episode.
So, first of all, maybe you've been solely focusing on building your email list. Your subscribers are excited about your topic and what you're teaching, and you're just starting to think about creating a digital course, but you don't have it laid out yet. So if so, this episode is for you.
Or maybe you have a small evergreen course, meaning you sell it every single day on automation, and you're realizing that your audience wants more. So you want to keep them engaged while they're excited and while you're creating your signature digital course, which maybe is coming out in the future.
And then lastly, maybe through your social posts and weekly content, your audience just helped you realize that you have a great digital course inside of you. Now it's time to build it, but you don't want to lose the enthusiasm your audience has while you create your course.
And maybe you're a combination of all of those things.
The point is that if you're dreaming of creating a digital course or your audience is asking for one, whether they come right out and say it or they've been hinting that they want more from you, this episode is for you. You're going to learn what you absolutely must do to make sure that you're creating content that will set them up perfectly for moving into your digital course when the time comes. And on top of that, I'm going to give you five tangible ways that you can stay top of mind while you work diligently behind the scenes to bring your box-office digital course to life.
So get ready to engage your audience and create a new, profitable stream of income for your business. Here we go.
First off, if you're in my signature program, Digital Course Academy, you know that before you launch a digital course, you do a thirty- to sixty-day prelaunch runway. If you're raising your eyebrows right now because this is a new term for you, let me explain. So a prelaunch runway, it's the ultimate way to attract a bigger audience, supercharge your email list, and build real relationships with your audience through intentional content directly related to your digital course. The goal of this runway is to help you build momentum before you begin launching your digital course. Launching, meaning selling.
But what happens when you're not ready to put together your prelaunch runway? You're like, even before that. You don't want to lose momentum with your audience, right? So what we're talking about today is essentially the prelaunch runway to your prelaunch runway. Stay with me here.
Here's the difference between the two. During your actual prelaunch runway, that thirty to sixty days before you open your cart to your digital course, and before you do your webinars and all that good stuff, you're going to have a more strategic plan. Things are going to be set in stone and planned out to a T. You'll have more lead magnets and specific list-building efforts. And because you'll have your digital course built out, you'll be able to directly align your content to your course. So that's your real prelaunch runway. Again, the thirty to sixty days leading up to you selling your course online.
But for what we're talking about today, you're still going to be intentional. But because your course isn't fleshed out quite yet, you'll be able to be a little bit more flexible. And this is actually a benefit to you, because this is the time where you're going to gather information that you're going to use to really knock your course content and your prelaunch runway content out of the ballpark.
Towards the end of this episode, I'll briefly walk you through a real prelaunch runway, just so you have a little bit of an idea where you need to go when you're ready. So stick around for that.
But the question I really want to answer with this episode is, what do you do even before that? How do you keep people engaged and focused on the right things? How do you keep them fired up? After all, if you're in the online space—actually, if you're human in general—you know that our attention span is shrinking by the minute. That means when you have an engaged audience or email list, you need to bite. You need to keep things going. You need to keep feeding them things that speak to their soul in order to support them in crossing over the invisible bridge.
Now, what is the invisible bridge? It's the content that you create that gets your audience from where they are to where they want to be. And while every single piece of content you create for your prelaunch runway is going to be directly aligned with that invisible bridge, so should the content you create leading up to that.
So here are a few things to consider as you create your weekly content. First of all, be mindful about what you're putting out. What I mean by this is that even though you might not have your digital course laid out yet, you'll still know what concepts and topics are important to your audience. If you haven't identified your ideal-customer avatar or done a few calls with them yet, now is a great time to do so. This will reveal a ton of information about them that will help you to craft content that will leave them saying, “Oh my gosh. It's like you're in my head. This is exactly what I needed to hear or to know or to work on.” So that means that however you deliver your weekly content, whether that's via a blog or a podcast or video or something on social media, the things you'll be talking about will very much align with your “soon to be brought to life” digital course.
Now, if you're thinking, “But Amy, I haven't created my course outline yet. How do I know what topics and concepts will align with it?” And my answer to that, sweet friend, is to trust yourself. When you envision your course, what topics come to mind? Have you gotten yourself or someone else results? How did you do that? What topics or concepts can you pull from that journey or from that experience?
Here's what I want you to avoid. I want you to avoid not creating content because you're waiting for your course to be outlined. Because, again, this is an opportunity to learn from your audience. Before you even do a prelaunch runway, before you even launch your course, let's test out some content. Let's see what we can learn about what our audience likes and doesn't like.
So through your weekly content, they'll tell you what resonates with them and what doesn't. And that means that when the time comes and you have all your ideas for your course modules and lessons in front of you, you'll be ahead of the game because you'll easily know what to cut and what's most important, because thanks to your weekly content, you already have the intel. The goal in this content, as it also is in a prelaunch runway, is to meet them where they're at and move them to a place where they are ready to take the next leap. This is the kind of content that will keep them engaged and begging for more.
So, friend, what needs to happen in your audience's world to help them be ready for your digital course? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to support you in creating stellar content for your audience, content that will keep them engaged up until your prelaunch runway and beyond.
So, number one, where is your audience right now? Like, right this minute? And where do they need to be when you kick off your prelaunch runway, when you really get into launch mode? What do they need to learn about right now, or really know or understand right now, so that when you do kick off your launch, they're ready to dive in? And number three, what mindset shifts do they need to make?
Again, meet them where they're at before you open the doors to your course. You can do this through bite-sized pieces of content and snack-like tutorials, which I'll get into next.
So here are a few ways that you can keep your audience members engaged while waiting for your digital course to drop and keep you top of mind. So everything that I'm about to share can be delivered through your weekly content. So that means your weekly newsletter; your weekly blog, video podcast, or whatever platform that is for you; and then through your social media.
So, number one, you've heard this before, but are you really doing it? You've got to tell stories. Tell stories about how you got results through your own process; or if you've gotten other people results, share their stories, with their permission, of course.
So, for example, you could get a little testimonial video clip together from people you've worked with and share those on social media. Or maybe you interview that person on your podcast. I do that all the time. Or maybe you tell your story about how you got results on your podcast or in a YouTube video. Like, how did you get the results that they’re after?
Number two, take them behind the scenes. I will sing this one from the grave. People love, love, love when you share your behind-the-scenes tidbits. The cool thing about sharing behind the scenes is that you can bring them along the journey of creating a digital course with you. And this is an excellent way to get them excited, because they'll want to see what's coming next, and, then, they'll want to be a part of the finished product. On top of that, you can ask them for feedback along the way.
So if you're multitasking, come back to me right now. If I've lost your attention, this is important. When you're creating a digital course, I want you to really invite your audience in to help shape it. So you can say, “What do you think about this topic?” Or “Does this idea resonate with you? If so, tell me how.” Or “Is this guide or fill in the blank important to you in order to accomplish x, y, z?” You really want to ask questions, and you can do that easily on social media. So invite them in. Let them be a part of your course-creation process.
If you're listening to this when this episode goes live, I just returned from my first-ever sabbatical. My favorite part about taking some time away was catching up with friends and family. Making room in my schedule to connect with those I love most has allowed me to come back to my business with fresh ideas and new energy and excitement. I truly feel that when we take the time to connect, it helps us to understand the people in our lives, and that's relevant to our businesses, too.
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Number three, I personally think it's okay to hint that you have a program coming their way, especially if your audience is asking for more. You can just say, “I have a program coming out in three months that will cover x, y, z. But before we get there, let's have this conversation about…” and whatever that conversation needs to be well before you launch your course. Remember, the conversation you want to have with them is helping them move forward so that when you launch a course, they are ready for it.
It's a really great way to set them up to be in the right mind space for making room in their life time wise, financially, emotionally, mentally for your program, especially if your program is what I call a signature program, and these tend to be a little bit more pricey. So it gives them the opportunity to start saving up. But also, I think that it gets them dreaming about what could really come from taking a digital course about whatever your topic is. And what I love most about hinting and teasing it out with a timeline is that it keeps you accountable. So you want to be realistic.
And if you're not entirely sure, as you're just starting to entertain the idea of creating a course, number one, create one. I promise you will not regret it. And number two, you can always say, “Later this year.” You don't have to say when it's coming out.
So maybe you just take this route and send out an email to your subscribers, telling them what you're working on, asking them to share this email with a friend, encourage them to mark your email as important, and then tell them to stay tuned because you've heard their request. You're going to deliver something to support them in getting exactly what they want. You get the picture. So you want to plant the seed.
I want to give you an example. I recently—well, actually, it wasn't recently. I've used it for a few years. I just recently made it better. But I have this really great resource. It's called 2K in Two Weeks, and it's how to generate two thousand dollars in two weeks. I'm actually going to, I think, do an entire podcast about all the different ways you can make two thousand dollars with your business that you already have.
But I created that. And I'm going to start to put it out there again very soon so that if people want to buy Digital Course Academy in September, which is when we launch, early September, I want them to already have saved the money to do so. I want to decrease the amount of people that say, “I just don't have the money to do this now.”
So in the summer, I'm going to release this 2K in Two Weeks, talk about it, give all these great ideas—and they're really cool ideas that don't cost a lot of money—so that they can start saving the money, and I can decrease the amount of times I hear, “Well, I need to save the money before I buy, so I'll wait till next year.” So it benefits me, but, ultimately, it benefits the people that want to get their course out into the world and they feel like they're stuck because they can't afford it.
So anyway, that's my way of letting people know Digital Course Academy is coming, and I've got something to help you get ready for it.
So it's a really, you know, cool way to tease the topic to your audience and perk up their ears so they start paying attention to the content in the emails that are coming. Just floating the idea out there and start running ideas by them, and doing something like my 2K in Two Weeks is also a great idea.
So, number four, and I really love this one, is to create a weightless landing page, and then segment out those emails that come in through that page. So with this one, you'll need to take the strategy we just spoke about, hinting that you're working on something, and then make the ask for your audience members to sign up to get the latest up-to-date emails about your project. You can even angle it as, “You'll be the first to know,” or “Sign up for behind-the-scenes content or special offers,” or “Founding-members’ pricing,” anything that is true to what you're creating.
And you don't need to make this overly complicated. You'll simply create a landing page, something you can do through most email-service providers. Then, you'll segment those emails and make sure you're emailing them insights and updates and juicy tidbits consistently. So stay in touch with them.
The best thing about this is that you now have a list of warm leads that are extremely interested in your digital course when the time frame comes to launch it, so they'll be, hopefully, the first to sign up.
Now, earlier I said that once someone gets on your email list, you can segment out those emails. And what I meant by that is that, let's say, you are ready to open the doors to your digital course. Well, then you can email all of them first, maybe even the night before, and say, “Months ago you signed up for my waitlist for my signature course x, y, z. And I wanted to let you know that doors open tomorrow. I promised you you'd be the first to know. And if you buy on day one, you get this extra-special bonus, so I didn't want you to miss out.” Like, speak to them and say, “You signed up for the waitlist, and that is why I'm reaching out to you,” so that they remember. That’s how I love to use my waitlist.
All right. Now let's briefly talk about the prelaunch runway. So I just gave you a bunch of ideas of what you can do before you get into that prelaunch runway, which is thirty to sixty days before you open the cart to your digital course, before you do your webinars and you sell your digital course.
So the prelaunch runway, let's just keep it simple. Let's just say it’s thirty days before you actually open the cart and sell your course. During that time, you're doing three things consistently. You're creating new weekly content that's aligned with your upcoming course. You're emailing your subscribers weekly. And then you're sharing a lead magnet with them weekly. So you could do a new lead magnet every week, or you can repurpose the same one over and over again. But it's absolutely aligned with your digital course.
So the cool thing is that by now you have your course laid out, so you can tie all of this directly to the content they'll find in the course. This is when you're really ramping it up, and you're really working on creating warm relationships and leads and getting them on your email list. Prelaunch runway, really valuable time to build that launch list of all the people that would be a good fit for your course. And you know that if they're getting on your email list during this time, they are a good fit because all the content you're creating is aligned with the course you're going to sell.
So this period of time should feel a little more intentional than the time before, a little more intense, a little more growth oriented, than when you're sharing content leading up to this prelaunch runway. And at the end of the day, it is all important in order to ensure you're getting your audience members into your digital course and giving them the tools they need to really make changes in their lives. So the time before the prelaunch runway and the prelaunch runway.
So to help you easily plan out your pre-prelaunch-runway content, I've created a free three-month plug-and-play content-calendar template so that mapping out your upcoming content can be simple. You'll love this template because not only does it allow you to seamlessly plan out what content goes out and when, it also allows you to plan out your social content so that you have everything in one place. So I want you to head to amyporterfield.com/#contentcalendar. So it's kind of a unique URL. It has the hashtag symbol in it. Amyporterfield.com/#contentcalendar. Or to make it easy, just click on the episode description wherever you're listening to this episode, and you'll find that link, and you can get your free three-month plug-and-play content-calendar template to help you with your pre-prelaunch runway.
All right, my friend. We did it. There was a lot to think about and to implement from this episode. So just remember that it's never too late to create a digital course, ever. And if you can bring your audience along for the journey, that's a really cool way to create warm leads.
So to recap, always remember that to stay top of mind with your audience, you need to be creating content that will help them cross the invisible bridge. So here are three questions you can ask yourself when you're creating that content. One, where is your audience right now, and where do they need to be when you kick off your prelaunch runway? Two, what do they need to learn or know? And three, what mindset shifts do they need to make? When you get into action creating that content, remember to tell stories and invite them behind the scenes and hint that you're creating something fabulous. And then, lastly, consider creating a waitlist page.
No matter what strategies you use from this episode or what concepts you've learned, you're going to set your audience members up for an easy transition into purchasing your program while creating audience members that want more of what you're giving them.
Thanks for joining me for another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I'll see you again next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.