Are you wondering what it’s like to launch a course or membership for the first time? Want some strategies to infuse in your next launch? Come behind the scenes and take a peek at my first membership launch for my teacher audience!

Episode Highlights

  • background into creating my membership (the good and the bad)
  • what worked well in my launch
  • what didn’t work well
  • what I’ll be trying in the next launch

Resources and Links

Penny in Your Pocket – Tahnee Membership Theme Kajabi

The Relevant Collective – Branda



Kirsten 0:01

You're listening to the creative teacher podcast, a show for busy teachers looking for ways to engage, inspire and make an impact in their teacher businesses. I'm Kiersten, a teacher business owner who is all about simple and actionable tips, strategies and resources that result in wins, big or small. If you're looking for that extra spark of creativity, you've come to the right place. Let's dive in together.

Hello, Happy October and welcome to another episode of the creative teacher podcast. This episode is going to be a little bit different. I'm sharing you a little bit of a behind the scenes. In my most recent launch for my teacher audience for my membership, I'm going to give you a little bit of insight into what worked, I feel it worked, what did really well, what did not do so well, and just what I learned from it, and what I plan to implement moving forward. So I won't be giving you exact details. Of course, I got to keep some things a little confidential here. But I did want to share with you, you know a little bit of how I feel I did, I'm really proud. And I hope that you get some insight or maybe you have a course or a membership that you're hoping to launch and you how you were you get some ideas from that.

So just as a background, I was working from the very beginning of the year on a membership for social studies, teachers, specifically upper elementary. And my idea was to create a resource library hub of my social studies resource that I've previously created from my TPT store and also resources that are not available in my TPT store. So just having that as a hub, and just as a place for teachers to get some really great quality resources that they can use throughout the year and have that as a monthly or annual membership fee. So that was my idea. And I listened a lot to Stu McLaren and I really, really spent some time getting all of this out and just getting it up and running.

There were quite a few roadblocks that I experienced along the way. My first idea was to have it hosted on a WordPress interface and kind of put together some plugins including WooCommerce so that when they join the membership, they can access the membership and the resources behind a paywall. And all they have to do is click download. And while that was really cool, I got some I got a little bit frustrated on that. I also was trying to get away from Kajabi that was another thing I was like Kajabi is too expensive and all of this stuff and I just really need to try to make do with having it hosted on a WordPress website. There was a lot of back and forth decisions I made and after I got into the nitty gritty of trying to upload it all on WordPress, I realized what I'm doing is way over complicated and probably going to end up a mess as far as on the users end it just wasn't user friendly for me. And it wasn't user friendly on customers and and so I ended up sticking with Kajabi that Kajabi that hold it has on you I don't know what it is.

I decided to invest in a membership template. From penny in your pocket. I'll have to link the membership template that I used. She has Kajabi template For Sale, she's got some really cool templates that I think made it so much like it helps me breathe a sigh of relief of what I was envisioning was not going to be as complicated. And I could make it work with Kajabi. And so that's why I went ahead and went with that. The theme is the tawny theme. So I'll link that if you're ever interested. This is really not just great for a membership, but I think it's good for courses. Just the way it's laid out, it's where it's on the left hand side. And you can add images for categories and customize it how you wish. But this is the template that I used.

And I added it to Kajabi, I uploaded all the resources that I had previously uploaded to WordPress. But we made it work like it took a lot of time. And it was a lot of work. But it was uploaded it was up there. So that part was out of the way, like the tech part, I didn't have to worry about it. I already knew about Kajabi.

And so from there, I went into trying a very soft launch. And I decided to do this in May after inspiration from Stu McLaren. As far as like the founding member launch, I initially was going to do it during the summer. Spoiler alert, go with your gut instinct, the the May soft launch, even though it was just really to my email list, I didn't really do any ads or anything like that. Didn't do very well. And I think because may pay teachers, that's the last thing teachers are thinking about. They're not trying to buy something when they're trying to just survive the rest of the school year, definitely don't recommend launching anything in May. Although I did get some founding members that was really great to see that, you know, in some ways, even though it wasn't as big as I thought it was going to be. I did get my membership validated.

So from there, I spent the summer getting things ready for my actual launch. I've taken Amy Porterfield digital course Academy, I bought it in 2020. And I love going through it and I've created my courses based off of it. One thing she teaches is a pre launch runway at least four weeks before you're actually opening the cart and closing the cart. That's another thing is having some type of time sensitive, open cart, closed cart. And so I felt the best thing to do was to launch this membership during the summer. Specifically July, you know, when people are starting to think about school, and I know for just for me, that's something that I would really love to find and you know, purchase right around when I'm thinking about going back to school and what I'm planning for the first nine weeks. So I planned out my pre launch runway, I decided to do something that I feel I'm really strong at and that would be a challenge a week long challenge five days, I have pre recorded videos on each day, my call to action every day is for people to watch the video and go into my private Facebook group and answer a question. If this sounds familiar to you, this is what I do for my spice up your store challenge every year. But I knew that like that was the easiest, I have kids at home. I'm not about to do some one hour live webinar at eight o'clock at night, you know, with a unpredictable schedule at the time. My youngest was not even like six or seven months old. So that is why I was like, You know what, I'll do a five day challenge. It'll be free. It'll be I called it this social studies Bootcamp for upper elementary teachers. I also additionally, so that's when I started my podcast, I started my past podcast for social studies teachers in June. And I started putting out blog posts for that as well. And you know, kind of starting that runway of thinking about you know, why social studies and what are three important things to know about social studies skills and four ways to engage students. And so just thinking about the content, it was purposeful leading up to the membership itself. So that was the four weeks before the cart was open. So the membership opened Thursday. And the bootcamp started that same week on a Monday so why had everybody having I had three different trainings Monday through Wednesday, and the fourth last training was more or have like a pitch of soft pitch leading into like, actual direct, like, hey, this membership is open.

So then the cart was open all the way until the end of July from mid to end of July, we're going to go into what worked for me what didn't work and all that good stuff. So one thing I felt did work was running an ad to my free boot camp, I think there were so many direct and indirect benefits from it, I put some money behind it, usually I'm pretty conservative with my ad spend per day. And I thought of a really scary daily spend. And I went, I was like, I'm gonna do you know more than that. And I went ahead and went with it. And over two, I want to say 206 206 people signed up for the actual bootcamp, which is way, way more than any challenge type launch I've done in the past. So that was a really great benefit from that. But not only that, I built my list pretty quickly. And this campaign that I had for my ad was only not even maybe a week, I just did it from maybe the 10th to the 17th. So it was about a week. And I got over 200 people in my email list from that. Then, I also noticed that when people were opting in, there were also a lot of people joining my Facebook group that I had, there were more people following me on Instagram, there were more people following me on Facebook, there were more people buying my resources. It just seemed to pick up all at the same time. And so that was like an indirect benefit is like, you know, it's you have to pay to play I guess on Facebook now. But it was an increase, not just in people signing up, but also people following me and just brand awareness in general.

Another thing I'd be I do feel that worked was having someone audit my sales page, or my sales page copy, I should say. So I was kind of really disappointed in how my quote founding launch went, because it was less than I expected. But I also kind of expected it because it was like may. But I had a really great friend that I've worked with Branda. She audited my sales page gives me some really great feedback. She even gave me some surveys to send to my audience, just to kind of help with the copy. And I think that did wonders it helped so much. She does a lot. She's a copywriter, she does a lot of services for emails, and blogs, and all of that. So I'll make sure to link her. She was really great and integral in helping me with my sales page copy. And as far as creating the actual sales page, I pretty much DIY did, I used a template in Kajabi. And with the copy feedback that she gave me and the images I used, I like it was probably the best sales page I've made. So I'm really proud of that sales page. And I do feel that it did a lot as far as helping with sales for the actual membership. As far as sending emails, in any type of launch or promotion. I'm sending a lot of emails to those who are subscribed. And I go off of Amy Porterfield suggestion of how you send certain emails to certain groups, either people who registered people who didn't register, but are on your email list. And then also just having like an email opt out for people who are not interested in it at all. There's certain I went off of her schedule pretty much to the tee. And one email I ended up adding was a very random like bonus email because I had a early bird coupon that lasted the first two days of the open cart. And I decided to kind of send a bonus email like I wasn't really planning on it, but I was just like, hey, this coupon for $20 off for the year or $2 off for each month expires tonight. Make sure if you're interested, you can sign up here and I got sales from that I got several people buying just from sending that one bonus email. So just imagine if I didn't do it, it was a it was obviously something that really helped as well. Another really A great tool I use to help with the actual bootcamp was called Add Event, I had a kind of like a calendar that people could subscribe to. And it had all the dates for when each video would be live, because each video was available daily. And also the times that I would go live in the Facebook group for 15 minutes, because that was pretty much the only time I had available. But that was really great. And I think it encouraged more people to be active is because you know, they had it on their Google Calendar or whatever calendar they utilized. So I definitely recommend add event if that's something you're doing as far as hosting some type of challenge or something where you want people to show up in different places at certain times of a certain period.

All right. So here's some things I would probably not due for my next launch, just, you know, thinking moving forward. One thing I am happy about is that I did close the card, because I kind of would feel stressed like some people randomly buying it, and they don't get the proper onboarding experience, and they're kind of lost. So that is why I'm only opening it opening it at certain points right now, it was really hard having an open cart on two weekends, it was like, really stressful, because most people are not really, you know, active on social media and stuff like that on the weekends. And so I think next time, I would definitely shorten the cart, so that it's only over one weekend, at best, but definitely shortening shortening the cart. Another thing I thought was I was kind of I was thinking maybe like they were expecting a four day challenge. So for really good videos. I wonder if I should have said three day challenge and then have that last video a bonus, you know, sales pitch essentially going into because it was really just like reviewing what we learned and some extra insights and then more going into, like what my membership is about. And so I'm thinking maybe advertising it as a three day challenge with three really, really great informative videos. And then maybe saying like, we have a bonus video on this certain day, more talking about the different parts of the membership. The other thought I had was, because a lot of my resources are aligned to Texas, I got a lot of questions, asking, you know, do you have certain resources or certain things aligned for this state and this state and this state and this state, and it made me think maybe I should have niched down a little bit more. So that it's like, it's it is a lot easier, you know if the members are in Texas, but not all of my members are in Texas, and that's okay. Because there's a variety of resources that are applicable to many states, especially if it's US history or communities and stuff like that. So, but I do wonder if I could have maybe attracted more people by niching down by just focusing on Texas teachers so that it's just easier to align with. And it's, we all know the same lingo, and it's more relatable and more people are more likely to buy.

So yeah, overall, I was really pleased with the launch. I'm really excited. And I'm looking forward to the next launch that I have, at some point in 2024. I got some lot, a lot of compliments. And I know based on data that the people, most of the people who joined from my membership, they were a participant of the social studies boot camp. So that was really great to see is that getting people into that funnel that like getting in the top of the funnel, running ads to the top of the funnel to the free part. So that people are more likely to trust you and feel more comfortable to buy you especially like I noticed the more active ones were the ones joining the membership. So but I did have a few people who like saw the ad and or they saw my Facebook page, and they just joined but I did notice more people join when they were actively involved in the free bootcamp. So I think definitely another thing that I would change is making sure I have more set aside more money to spend even more than I did this year, so that I can get more people at the top of the funnel because that was something that was really key. So hopefully you got some insights.

I'll make sure to link what I mentioned. I know I mentioned a few different resources but if you're ever can sintering a membership or a course, the best way to know if it's going to be good, or if people are going to buy it is if you do it. That's just really the main thing is. But before you know, before you go into too much, I definitely recommend making sure you get your course validated. That's something that Amy Porterfield talks about a lot is just making sure people actually want your course before you go and start making it because you may think that other people might want it and without consulting with anyone, or doing some type of pre sale or something like that, it would be a lot of time wasted on your part if people are not buying the course. So that's just something I recommend.

As far as Kajabi you know, anything on that story, I even though I was kind of, you know, like, it's expensive, I need to get away from it. The membership kind of pays for itself. And then some I'm, you know, really grateful to not have to worry about like, where I should find the funds to pay for Kajabi. That's really something that's been a big help.

All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode. It's not something I've ever done really before because I didn't have a membership before. But now I do. So if you're one of those advanced TPT sellers who might have a membership, or you have some type, of course, or you might launch a product. Hopefully this episode was helpful for you. All right. I will talk to you all again next week.

Thanks for listening to the creative teacher podcast. If you enjoyed listening to today's episode, feel free to subscribe and leave a review. I'd love to hear your feedback. You can also follow me on Instagram at the southern teach dot designs. Have an amazing day.