It’s both the bane and bread-and-butter of every online business owner’s existence.
When it goes well, it can go really well. Six figure launches are a thing. And they could be your thing.
But what works well for one business owner or one business model will not work the same for another.
That’s why you need to reverse engineer your own launches.
Did I just geek out on you a bit too much?
Remember in the movie, Independence Day, when Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum are flying an alien spaceship to destroy another alien spaceship? And everyone’s like “how the hell did they make their Apple products talk to the aliens’ technology?!”
Turns out, they deleted a scene that explains that incredibly annoying plot hole. Since they’d been sitting on the technology since Roswell, they were able to reverse engineer the aliens’ computer language.
In other words, they worked backwards. They created the language from scratch…based on a language that already existed.
You’ve done it before too; you just don’t realize it!
No, you probably haven’t hacked into an alien mothership’s mainframe recently. But you have probably read a blog or two about how successful entrepreneurs are making things work for them and their businesses. Then, you thought about how you could apply it to your life.
You figure out what has already worked for others, then you figure out how to apply it to yourself.
So how can you reverse engineer your own launches?
1. Brain dump
Before we get into the nitty gritty metrics of what works and what doesn’t in your own business and launches, let’s get subjective.
Think about your last successful launch. What do you think made it successful? Your email autoresponders? Your Facebook ads? Your list size?
Write it all down, because this is going to be the starting point for our narcissistic self-stalking.
Now, think about your last failed launch. Same exercise. What do you think made it fail? Too short of a launch period? Too long of a launch period? Too much selling, not enough value?
Write it down in a second column next to the first list.
2. Collect the data
It’s time to dive into those analytics that you tend to ignore! Grab these numbers for both the failed and successful launches:
- List size at the start and end of the launch
- Website visitor numbers over the period of your launch
- Average open rate on launch emails
- Facebook ad expenses
- Other marketing expenses
- Number of guest posts/interviews/podcasts that went live during your launch
- Social media follower changes during the launch
- Number of social media posts related to your launch
- Likes/favorites/retweets/shares of launch-related content
3. Analyze the data
Now it’s time to get creative with numbers. Using the data you collected above, figure out things like:
- What percentage of your list joined your program or purchased your product?
- How many people subscribed/unsubscribed during the launch period?
- What was your Facebook ads conversion rate?
- How many of the new subscribers purchased from you?
- What was the ratio of people who signed up for your giveaway to the number of people on your list?
- What was your conversion rate for spaces offered in the giveaway?
- Did you tweet/post more or less during your successful launch compared to your failed one?
- On which email autoresponder did most people convert to buyers?
Play around a bit. Use the numbers to your advantage. Your thoughts will lie to you, your clients will lie to you, your mom will even lie to you…but the numbers won’t.
4. Compare the data to your thoughts
So how do the data you just gathered stack up to your original thoughts on what went well and what went poorly in your last couple of launches?
Business is part art, part science, so the numbers, while truthful, will never tell the whole story.
Perhaps one launch was timed particularly well relative to others’ launches (good luck launching during the BSchool extravaganza at the beginning of each year), another fell while your target audience of moms was getting their kids back to school, or some other mix of circumstances.
Maybe your copy was subjectively better during your successful launch.
Maybe your tweets were spread out just right during the good launch.
How are you interpreting your data?
5. Condense and summarize
Put together what you found out in a single document/planner page/notebook section/Evernote folder.
Sum up what went well, what didn’t go well, and what you suspect could go even better.
Boom. You just reverse engineered your own launch.
You can use this to plan your next successful launch with more finesse and less spaghetti thrown at the wall.