Episode 138

Don't launch a group programme before you've done this

Transcript

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Please don't watch a group coaching program, or at least please don't launch a group program until you're ready. How do you know if you're ready to launch a group coaching or learning program? I'm Janet Murray, I'm a content and online business strategist. And in this episode of the courageous content podcast, I'll share everything you need to know before you launch a group program.

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I sold all 12 slots on my first group coaching program, and I went on to sell on two more rounds of that program before deciding to take the plan and sh and turn that program into a membership. So how did I sell out my first group program and two subsequent ones? Well, I like to say, Hey, I had some clever marketing strategy.

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I did not. My secret was that I'd successfully sold training and consultancy on the topic of my great program, which was how to get press coverage. I sold everything from one-to-one sessions to training workshops, to ongoing consultancy packages. So I knew people were interested in the topic, and I also knew I could deliver results. And I had testimonials to prove it.

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I also had a list of hot leads, so people I could reach out to who I thought would be interested in working with me, but didn't necessarily have the budget for one-to-one or done with you, which was mainly what I was delivering at the time. And I don't think I did a single social media post on it. I just sent an email to people I thought might be interested,

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ask for a few recommendations. And I filled those programs up pretty easily. I'd like to say there was an intentional strategy behind it there wasn't. I just kind of knew I had this sense that it was probably going to be easier to sell it to one person or organization than to sell to 10 or 12, and also easier to deliver it to one person or organization than to deliver to 10 or 12 people at once.

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I share this because I see so many coaches and consultants trying to sell group coaching or learning programs way before they're ready, mapping out eight or 12 week programs for 10 to 12 people on topics. They haven't tested. They've never sold anything on that topic before. And when they have no experience of delivering that kind of content to even one person or one organization and neither do they have any experience of delivering online,

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learning something that requires quite specific skills and experience or any kind of social proof in the form of testimonials. Now, if you think I'm being harsh or what I'm saying is making you feel a bit shameful, because you've tried to launch a group program in the past and it hasn't worked, or maybe you're in the middle of trying to launch one and the penny has just dropped.

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Please know, I am not trying to be harsh here. I am trying to save you from wasting your time and energy and to try and help you make this process smoother and easier. And to help you get to where you want to be faster and believe me, I have failed and messed up on plenty of stuff. So there's really no need to beat yourself up about any of this.

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None of us know what we don't know when we start a business and particularly in the online space where it's actually a relatively new industry, but I do want to share with you what is involved in creating and delivering a successful group program. So if you're considering it, or you're even part way through the process, you have a realistic sense of what you're getting yourself into and what kind of skills and experience you might need to pull this off successfully.

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So first off, and this can be the biggest barrier coming up with a program. People actually wants to buy a lot of coaches and consultants and experts really struggled with that because often they're just not in tune with their ideal customers or clients problems, and also how they talk about them. So typically it takes most coaches and consultants. A few goes and often a bit of coaching and guidance to come up with an online program that people will actually want to buy.

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There's a bit of an art to it. Number two, you have to be able to do design online learning was Allseas for an extended course. We're not talking about a one-off talk or masterclass or ebook. We're talking about something typically that extends over 6, 8, 12 weeks, maybe even longer, that requires a loss of skills. So getting the right balance of coaching and teaching,

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getting the lens of the coaching calls, right? And what happens on those calls, getting the balance right between one-to-one and group learning. And that's just skimming the surface. Then you've got the challenge of creating, engaging, learning materials. So creating eBooks, creating, engaging slides and learning materials that in itself is a bit of an hour before I do what I do now,

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I was a school teacher and then I was a journalist and hands up, my teaching qualification is one of the most valuable qualifications I've ever invested in because I learned about how people learn. I learnt about putting engaging resources together. And I learned that by putting things that weren't engaging together, I learned about things like pace. I learned about reading the room,

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which you have to do with your teaching in-person online. But even when I got online, I realized that that was an art in itself. I needed to learn how to deliver learning online. And there are lots of aspects to that, which are different than teaching in person. Then you've got knowledge of different learning styles and special educational needs. One of the things that I've learned over the eight years,

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I'll say that I've been delivering online learning is how to cater for different learning styles, how to get people involved in their learning rather than just being passive, but also things like making sure that all your resources are available in as many different formats as possible in order to cater for different learning styles and also taking into account things like dyslexia, neurodiversity. So people with ADHD,

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autistic people. And again, that's just a few examples of some of the things that you need to take into account. And quite frankly, it can be exhausting because we're all different. And we all learn in slightly different ways. And I'm constantly learning new things about how to be more inclusive, how to be more diverse, how to accommodate different learning styles and different learning difficulties.

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It's a not, and finally there's teaching skills. Teaching is a skill. Most people get better with practice and over time. And there are strategies that you can put into place to improve your teaching, but it's not something that most people just get in a classroom or get online and are brilliant at and teaching online presents different challenges. So for example, I mentioned reading the room that's different when you're teaching online,

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making your classes interactive, being able to spot when your boring people or when your pace is too slow. When you need to switch things up where you might bring in more interactive sections, for example, using resources like zoom rooms for people to have group discussions, all of that takes time. Now, just to be clear, I am not trying to discourage you here,

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but I'm trying to be realistic about what's involved in creating and selling a group coaching or learning program. That is a lot to think about, particularly if you're a new coach or your new to teaching online, that is a lot to get your teeth into. And you're probably not going to be brilliant at all of it. And we haven't even talked about promoting your program,

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knowing how to create all of the content that comes with that. So for example, creating a sales page or some kind of sales copy, being able to articulate the transformation of your group program in a way that people are excited about it. They want to be positive, not just having testimonials, but knowing what your testimonials should include to make people to be really valuable to your perspective students,

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and to help them make decisions about whether to join your program or not knowing how to do sales calls, knowing how to do outreach to people that you think might be a good fit for your program. Knowing what to say in those emails, knowing how to follow up, knowing how to go back to someone you don't think is a good fit. Knowing what to say to somebody who says they want to do it,

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but they don't have the budget. All of that is like I say, it's a lot. So I want to share with you some signs that you might be ready to launch a group program. And when I'm working with clients, these are the signs that I would look for that would tell me that somebody was ready. Number one, you've already successfully sold one-to-one or done for you services on the topic of your group program or the topic you've got in mind for your group program.

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Number two, you have testimonials and case studies that demonstrate that you've helped people achieve the kind of results that they're going to want to achieve in your proposed group program. It's difficult to sell something when even you don't know whether you can deliver the kind of outcomes that your program promises and that can impact on all sorts of things like how you feel about your pricing,

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how comfortable you feel promoting it when you're really confident that you can get people, the outcomes that they need, because you've done it before the energy, around how you approach selling your program, pricing your program. It's very different. Another sign is that you have experience of designing and delivering online learning programs. My only be a one off master class or an ebook or a small digital product,

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but nevertheless, you have the experience of designing a learning program and delivering that program successfully. And the fourth and final sign is that you have experience of selling digital products. So you know how to sell online learning, because even if it's just a one-off power hour or a master class or ebook or small resource care, you know what it's like to sell online and you've done it successfully,

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and you've been able to create the content that you need to, to help you do that. So, like I say, this episode is not intended to discourage, or if you're partway through a launch or you've launched something that has flopped to make you feel bad, it's about saving you time. It's about saving you heartache and giving you a realistic idea of what is involved.

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There is so much Gulf out there in the online space. And I have zillions of podcast episodes on this topic. It's all make six figures overnight, launch your group program, launch your online course. Very rarely does anyone speak in this amount of detail about what's actually involved? And what worries me about that is that when you start off with unrealistic expectations,

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when you're trying to do things, which you, things in the kind of timeframes that nobody would be able to achieve without the necessary experience, without the necessary audience, without the necessary social proof, without having a tried and tested idea, you're setting yourself up for failure. And I don't want that for you. I want you to set yourself up for success,

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which is why I'm up front about this stuff. I'm going to finish up by sharing with you. What I think is the best reach for setting group programs. What I think is the best roadmap for selling group programs. And this is years of experience of selling my own, but also helping clients with bears. So, number one, you have to launch a one-to-one or done for you service before you can even consider any kind of one-to-one program,

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because if you haven't delivered that content to one person or one organization, how do you know it works? How do you know that you can deliver the transformation that you're promising and you don't have any social proof to back it up either step two, for me, it would be launched a small digital product. I have tons of episodes on this, and I'll give you a list in just a second,

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but that will give you the launch experience. So what kind of content do you need to launch some kind of online learning products? I think that's really useful experience. And it also is a way of you bringing revenue into your business and getting launch experience. While you are building up the experience to launch your group program. For me, the coaching program,

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the learning program, whatever it might be. That's the third and final step. If you go to step three without number one, you will almost certainly not get the results that you're looking for, unless you're bringing a lot of teaching and learning experience with you. It is possible to go straight from step one, selling a one-to-one or done for you to step three,

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which is your group program. It's the way I did it. I don't necessarily think that is the right way to do it looking back. And I think it only worked for me because I was really solid in my experience, but there is an argument there that it is often easier to sell high ticket. So it can actually be easier to reach out to 12 people and ask them to pay you hundreds of thousands of pounds,

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then the same number of people and get them to pay you a small amount, which sounds crazy. But when you don't have a large audience, that can often be the case, but for me, based on my experience in the online space over the past eight years or so, the ideal route would be number one, sell a one-to-one or done for you service on the topic that you'd eventually like to have a group program on.

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Number two, not just small digital products that relates to the topic of your group program. It could even be one of the modules that you might teach further down the line. And step three, launch that group program. You will get much better results if you can be patient and amass, the experience that you need and not launch too soon, which I know can be hard when there's all these messages out there about six figure businesses overnight and not your coaching program.

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And it can feel easier. You know, the idea of a group program where you're delivering to a group of people, rather than one, it can feel like you're having the pressure taken off you, but actually it can be harder because having won tons of great programs, I find that people can be very demanding and part of managing that is the expectations that you set up in the first place.

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And that's something that you get better at with more experience of explaining what's included and what isn't, and making sure people are clear that they're not going to have you on tap 24 7, just because they're paying a bit more than they would do for a digital product. But I find that when I'm running group programs, because I care about getting results, I think about all of the people in the program.

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And I think about what they're up to, and I worry if they haven't completed tasks or I worry if they're not getting something it's a big responsibility. And if you care about getting good results for your clients, I certainly know. I find it much easier now on a much more experienced teacher and online educator to manage that. So well, it's included in the kit,

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you get a 4,000 word ebook on how to get clients for where you're one-to-one or done with you or done for you services, audio training on how to sell a service. You get a template bundle. It's literally filling the gaps, PDF documents. You can cut and paste and includes templates for outreach emails, to prospective clients for your service offer for your packages.

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And yes, you do new packages, social media bios your about page for your website and new client onboarding emails. Add more, basically everything you need to, to sell a service, or we'll put a link to that in the show notes or the episodes you might want to listen to how to launch a one-to-one service. And yes, you do need to launch.

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Should you put your prices on your website as a small business owner? And do you need a niche? There's plenty more, but those three should start you off and don't forget if you want to save yourself a ton of time and trouble and streamline your processes for getting one-to-one clients. Do you consider investing in like business basics, content kit? I'll put a link in the show notes.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Courageous Content with Janet Murray
Courageous Content with Janet Murray
Content marketing advice for small businesses

About your host

Profile picture for Janet Murray

Janet Murray

I’m Janet Murray and I’ve helped thousands of coaches, creative and entrepreneurs learn how to create engaging content – so they can build their online audience and make more sales in their business.

I’m also a podcaster and keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world about content marketing and building online audiences.

Work with me and I’ll teach you the strategies I’ve used to grow a multi six figure online business, selling digital products (including Ebooks, online courses and two membership sites). And launch a physical product – the Social Media Diary & Planner, which has sold thousands of copies, all over the world.