How to Launch an Offering

fork

I recognize that this post may tick some people off. And… I’m going to write it anyway.

I had a moment yesterday on Facebook, as I was scrolling through my feed, when I literally wanted to fling my precious iPhone across the room. Post after post after post was an offering for an online course, a teleseminar, a retreat, a telesummit, a training…  I couldn’t get away from them. Where were the folks bitching cryptically about something that happened which they were never actually going to share the details of? I’d have much rather seen that or a meme about Justin Bieber or one of those sad puppy rescue videos that pipe Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” throughout and make me bawl until snot is running down my chin.

My reaction got me thinking.  First of all, with full transparency, I will say that I’m noodling a new offering myself. I’m waiting for more info from the Big U(niverse) and I’m immersing myself in the works of Joseph Campbell and Lewis Mehl-Madrona as I await further instruction, but the thought of “launching” or doing it in the same ‘ole way makes me want to swallow an anvil.  (No, not an Advil, an actual anvil.)

I further wondered to myself: why are some programs working and selling like proverbial hotcakes while others flop? My hypothesis is that it’s the person who’s holding said retreat, telesummit, program, blah, blah, blah. When you launch something, it’s YOU people are buying. Martha Beck could hold a course on learning to crochet with chicken intestines and I’d be there brandishing an aluminum hook. Anne Lamott could hold a retreat in the sewers of London on a warm, sunny day in August and I’d be there wearing my purple galoshes. If Philip Pullman invited me to an event where I’d be required to eat pickled baby diarrhea on rye I would bring my own forks.

When I read through the sales page of an offering or I see all these promotional things strewn all over Facebook land, I think what’s irking me is a sense of not feeling the person holding it; not feeling their pure passion around their subject matter. In my years of work in the online entrepreneurial world I’ve seen clients who’ve launched programs they’re not really hyped about but they feel that they’ll make money. A great example of this is the “diet program.” You know the ones – “Lose 5 LBS in 5 Seconds.” Most folks know diet programs are money makers and, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE money. I have a great relationship with money, I think money is awesome and money is just energy after all. But if you’re not passionate about it, well, that’s going to come through energetically. There are plenty of peeps out there running very successful weight loss programs, Susan Hyatt and Brooke Castillo come to mind, the difference is that they’re crazy passionate about it and that shines through like a beacon in the sewers of that Anne Lamott retreat I’d sign up for.

Here’s the thing. There is SO much out there, so many offerings, so many people, so many programs, so much information. And I’m guessing 90% of the folks making an offering really have their full hearts in them and they’re most likely chock full of AMAZE.  So why wouldn’t they do well?  Is it over consumption? Is it inundation? Or could it be that we don’t see you?

When I search “Make More Money”, a common program I see, I find 2,900,000,000 results on Google.  When I look for “Grow Your Business”, another big theme of offerings, I would have to wade through 571,000,000 results.  ACK!  What differentiates you from the herd? What makes your program special? What’s your personal story around your offering and why are you so passionate about it? What unique part of YOU can only you provide to the world? What about you is different?  What do you truly love and what lights you up like nothing else? What one (or two… or five… or twenty) things do you absolutely feel that you MUST share with the world? Those are the questions I think we should be asking before we put something out onto the net.

At the same time I also want to allow for the magic to appear around my offerings without my usual pushiness and anal attention to detail. When I launched my coaching business I had no clue whatsoever that it would morph into my Book Shaman work as well. The Big U delivered that with a large red bow and it’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life (and a dream come true to boot.)  So, as I ponder my own next big thing, I’m giving myself lots of space to nap, to read, to find the perfect pen (a quest I’ve been on since I was eleven), and to consider what would make me squeal with joy to put out into the world. In fact, I’m just trying to follow the joy, period, and if the joy involves peanut butter and apricot jam, I’m out shopping for bread. I’m considering what I’m about, what uniqueness I can bring, including being able to eat a whole bag of Almond Joy pieces in one sitting. It’s all important, and it’s all me taking every one of my traits, pains, experience, lessons and each ounce of knowledge I’ve gleaned and mixing them up, adding in spice, and seeing how it tastes and then letting it simmer some more. Not to mention, leaving space for the magic might also mean that my offering looks like nothing that exists in my limited brain.

One thing I know for sure: Launching, for me, will look different than all the launches I’ve personally been involved with before, but that’s a post for another time – I have much to say about launches.

I am curious though… since this is just my hypothesis and I’m still batting it about, what pieces am I missing? What do you think makes for a successful offering? Why do you buy one program over another? What is it that compels you to say “yes?” What makes you say “hell no?”

12 replies
  1. Avatar
    Bernard Charles says:

    I adored this post! Exquisite and so very aligned to how I have been feeling as of late! If the price is out of my budget that gets a Hell No. I have a tiny budget to work with but amazed by how much some of the programs and offerings cost. Feels like a new one is constantly rolling out. I think a soft free launch helps intro me to the person. A discountedprice for taking part in the initial launch keeps me warm and fuzzy. I rather swallow an anvil when it comes to poorly designed work. If it looks tacky and you want the same price as if it was glammed up like Leonie Dawson, you best believe, I am walking the other way. Some people have the skill and talents to make their offerings pop. Others don’t and they should quite frankly sit this one out.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Melanie Bates says:

      Thanks much, Bernard Charles! Great insight. It’s funny because I keep thinking of the times I’ve spent outside my budget range just because I feel so called to something that I’ve just figured out a way to make it happen financially. But… that being said, it really has to be a “hell yes” in every part of my being.

      I also think that the ability to make something pop might be related to how passionate someone is about their offering – if they’re willing to really put the time and energy in to make it sing. It’s all energetic, right? The price, the look, the language, underneath all of that is the energy of the person. At least I think that’s correct.

      This subject definitely has me using my brain harder than normal.

      xo
      Melanie

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Sydney Brown says:

        Hi Mel,

        So glad you are back in your rare and unique form. I am happily and hysterically responding to this post because I love you, I love how you think, I love what you write AND I love how you write it. You plain and simply make me laugh and help me grow. So you are the answer to the question you have posed.

        I agree with you Mel, it’s the YOU factor. For me it’s the resonance I feel with the person. It’s the same chemistry that attracts me to someone I meet in the grocery store or on the street. It’s energy! And then if that person I resonate with introduces me to someone they feel connected to, I’ll be more inclined to listen to that person at least once. These days I agree with you….what’s with all the trainings, webinars etc. It’s as though the more I am receiving the less I want to participate. I don’t even open them anymore I just do a mass delete. Even with folks that I know are “the real deal” like Jo Dunning or Louis Hay…..I just get to a point where it’s too much information. It’s really unfortunate because I might be missing out on something, but what I have found is that when I am looking for something it will appear and just fall into my lap.

        I know this might not be what you are asking for, but you fell into my lap when I needed you, so what more can I say.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Melanie Bates says:

          Thank you! I adore you and love you so, Sydney. And… I think you’re totally on to something there in saying, “when I am looking for something it will appear and just fall into my lap.” I’ve found that to be true for myself as well. Or… something will appear without my looking and just niggle at my body compass with little whispers of “Yes, this!” until I take action. I like the idea of trusting, really trusting that something will appear for me when I need it most and surrendering to that. That feels joyful to me.

          Miss your face! xo
          Melanie

          Reply
  2. Avatar
    Sheila Bergquist says:

    It’s good to have you back online! Hope you are feeling much better.
    This is so true about how many courses, etc. are being thrown at you all the time. I get sick of it too and usually delete most emails that start off with “announcing my new course, blah, blah, blah.” However, if it’s someone I truly admire and believe in, then I will check it out. I’m right there with ya with Anne Lamott, for instance!
    That being said, it does still also come down to cost. I am on a very tight budget and so even if I really wanted to take a course or whatever, it would be impossible if I couldn’t afford it.
    I think it just amounts to how popular someone is…if people love them and their work, they will be excited about their offers.
    I can’t wait to see what your next launch will be…good luck with it!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Melanie Bates says:

      Thank you so much, Sheila, you are a big muse for me so it feels good to be back to writing and feeling well.

      Your comment has me thinking what makes someone “popular” – like in the case of Anne Lamott. Hmmm… I resonate with her story, I resonate with her writing, I like how she puts herself out into the world, very raw and vulnerable, she’s given me so much of the writing advice I use with myself and even with my clients. With Martha, again it goes back to her story, how I relate to her. For me there’s something big in the story which I plan to continue flushing out and write about more soon.

      Regardless, thank you for being here, love, and inspiring me to “apply ass to chair” on my blog.

      xo
      Melanie

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Sheila Bergquist says:

        Your welcome and so glad you’re back.
        Yes, an interesting question…what makes them popular? I think you hit on it when you said they were raw and vulnerable. I think that’s what draws me too. I love people who are real and honest. I think we can all relate to those people. That’s why I like your site and you and your writing. Keep up the good work.

        Reply
  3. Avatar
    Fiona Miller says:

    How lovely to find a ‘pen’ pal. My requirement for a pen is that it writes like an HB pencil. But, not just any HB pencil: specifically a Stabilo Othello 282 HB=3-1/2. I could not find them in any retail outlet but did find an online store so promptly ordered two boxes. I have not found that pen and maybe never will. If you find yours, do let me know and I will dance around the room with vicarious excitement.

    As to course offerings, please do not present me with a zillion testimonials and bonus materials before I get to the information I really want – what the course consists of and how much it is. It just feels ‘markety’.

    What I do respond to is authenticity and generosity, without reference to any programme at all – Marie Forleo and Danielle La Porte for example. Once I have established a relationship in this way, I want to ‘copycat’ like you Melanie and explore anything they teach.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Melanie Bates says:

      Dear Fiona,

      SQUEE… a “pen pal” – how awesome!!! Now you just know I must find myself a Stabilo Othello 282 HB=3-1/2 to try it out.

      I so hear you on the testimonials and bonuses and I heart Danielle LaPorte, her stuff is juicy for sure and she delivers it in such a beautiful forthright honest manner. She just loves what she does and puts it out there so that you love it too.

      xo
      Melanie

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] promised that I would write a blog about how to launch an offering in more depth, but what I’ve realized is: I DON’T KNOW and IT DEPENDS. I’ve come […]

  2. […] promised that I would write a blog about how to launch an offering in more depth, but what I’ve realized is: I DON’T KNOW and IT DEPENDS. […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.