The online landscape is changing.
You might have noticed that the online world has been a little different the last 1-2 years.
You’d be right, only it’s been a massive shift – not just a little one.
Things don’t work in the way they used to and we are in a time of transition.
Having hundreds of clients and many high level entrepreneur friends I can tell you that this is impacting everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are starting out or well established – no-one is immune.
You might hear people talking about market saturation.
This is a scarcity mindset that implies that there is not enough for everyone.
There is enough for everyone, however, people ARE becoming more discerning, they’ve been burnt in the past and they have more choice now than ever before.
Open rates, click through rates and conversion rates are down across all industries.
We need to work even harder to capture attention, build trust and loyalty.
The global political climate feels scary and unsettled. There is a lot of negativity in the world. This has led to a level of deflation in the market. People are unsure, scared and much more risk averse.
2017 (whilst certainly an improvement on 2016) has not bounced back to 2015 levels – the market has permanently shifted.
I always saw 2016 as the year that separated the wheat from the chaff. It showed us who was serious about their business, who was resilient and who was willing to take a longer term view on their business.
It created a necessary shake-out of the online world – particularly in the online learning space.
But there’s still more players in every industry than ever before.
There’s a lot of noise.
Consumers have offers coming at them on all different subjects every day (if not hour). Think about your own email inbox…
People are getting really savvy to (and sick of) the marketing techniques that USED to work.
There are no guaranteed methods anymore.
If you are not presenting a clear solution to a very real problem in a concise way – you are going to struggle in today’s market.
Long gone are the days of vague e-Course topics…
We don’t want gurus anymore, we don’t want people on pedestals.
We want honest, raw, authentic yet professional people who are a few steps ahead of us.
People who make us feel like we can do it and like they understand us.
If you are less established you need to capitalise on your strengths – which are your agility, your ability to get things to market quickly and your accessibility to your clientele.
These are strengths that established and highly successful entrepreneurs don’t have or can’t easily do.
It’s time to stop fighting the change and work out how we need to change along with it.
You might not agree with all of my opinions in this blog and that’s totally cool because they are my observations and experience and yours might be different. But here they are…
1. You can’t just send emails anymore
When I started out in business (and honestly, up until a year or two ago) all I really needed to do was build my list and email regularly to have growth launch upon launch. But that’s just not enough anymore. Open rates and click through rates are significantly down and this will in turn impact on total sales.
2. Swanky Sales Pages aren’t enough anymore
For a while, there was a real distinction between obviously DIY sales page and the fully professionally designed one.
And they made a big impact on sales, built greater trust and showed that you were serious about your program.
DIY tools have improved dramatically over the last few years and the gap between DIYers and Pro Designers has narrowed.
This means that investing big bucks is not a guarantee of success (it never really was but it did help!).
I’m all for professional design if it makes sense based on your list size, budget and brand but you should still invest wisely, incrementally upgrade and not expect it to automatically convert to sales – you still have to have a compelling offer!
3. Facebook Ads aren’t that cheap anymore and they are far less effective with cold leads
Honestly we had no idea how good we had it in the early days of Facebook ads. Ads were cheap, leads were a plenty and the return on investment was undeniable.
These days my experience is that there is so much noise and competition that scaling ads is difficult.
Ads for typical launch strategies such as video series and challenges are quite expensive and the return on investment is far less (in my experience).
I believe that the golden era of Facebook ads is gone and they are best used as a tool to engage and convert warm leads rather than as a list builder.
4. There’s a lot of noise
I don’t really believe in market saturation because the online business world opens us up to billions of people.
But I do believe that there is a hell of a lot more noise these days, making it harder to stand out in the crowd.
This is one of the reasons why points 1-3 above are no longer as effective.You need to stand out, do something different and get creative. Click To Tweet
When I created Launch Mastery in 2016, it was very different and brave.
It’s a slow burn program but the word is getting out and the right people are joining it. It is at the forefront of the anti-hustle movement and the divine feminine awakening.
That’s a good place to be!
That’s where I was where I created the e-Course Launch Formula – I was one of the first people to create that sort of program (and now the market is rather noisy) but being one of the first accelerated my growth and positioned me as an expert.
5. There is great power in Remarketing/Retargeting
If you are not using Facebook and Google remarketing/retargeting you are seriously behind the 8-ball.
Ultimately this functionality tracks your website traffic and in Facebook you can also upload your list (or even a list of unsubscribes you want to re-engage) and allows you to remind people about your launch, your program or product, deadlines etc…
Remarketing accounts for the majority of converting ad spend in my business and keeps me at the forefront of people’s minds during my launch (while I follow them round the interwebs!).
6. People want more interaction and support
There was absolutely a golden age for digital products such as e-Books and passive e-Courses.
But the tide is turning.
People have done a lot of online programs and have had good AND bad experiences.
We are seeking more connection and interaction again and many people are recognising that an e-Product alone is not enough for them to take action.People want more interaction and support. Click To Tweet
The good news is that this is totally do-able. You can add in live calls to your e-Courses, be more active in your communities and create add-ons to your programs such as retreats, 1 day workshops, events or VIP levels.
In my recent Launch Mastery launch, a third of participants opted for the VIP level, earning me twice as much per customer.
And when surveyed 48% of people said they wanted a higher interaction option such as a VIP level (23%), 1:1 coaching (11%), retreat (7%), mastermind (5%) or VIP day (2%).
The good news with e-Courses – you can do both! You can offer the e-Course level and offer a higher interaction level for those who want it.
7. Building connection, trust and credibility is more important than ever
In the good old days you could launch yourself as an online coach and start making money almost instantly.
But people have been burned.
Your customers are now coming to your sales pages with a heap of baggage around working with coaches, doing e-Courses and masterminds.
For this reason building connection, trust and credibility is more important than ever.People need to trust you, they want to feel held, supported and heard. Click To Tweet
8. Facebook Functionality
There are all sorts of Facebook functionality that are impacting the online space.
Facebook is working on creating groups that replicate the functionality of membership sites to keep everything in Facebook. We are actually trialling this functionality (whilst still using our membership site) for the Launch Mastery Inner Circle.
In the image below you will see our forum is now organised into different units and discussions can be organised rather than just one big feed.
This is (potentially) a really cheap way to deliver e-Courses and online programs.
Live streams have become a massive mainstay in the online world and have become a major strategy within launches. Many people are doing away with the typical webinar of slides in a webinar program and instead are doing Face to Camera live streams on their main page to access as many people as possible (and then following up with smart ads campaigns of the recording).
And there are lots more changes happening in the Facebook space. Who knows what will be next!
9. Payment Plans
I don’t know about you but I am really over long payment plans. The default rate is really high, it requires a lot of admin to follow up and in my last launch we had $15k in defaulted payments!
I love that it gives people an opportunity to take part in a program who otherwise would struggle to pay upfront. The downside is you end up with some people who really can’t afford it or people who don’t respect the commitment they have made and default once they have all the content.
I’ve seen payment plans change over the years, periods where long payment plans are all the rage – like in the shitstorm that was 2016, and periods where they are less in vogue.
So I recently made a business decision to not offer payment plans beyond course delivery.
There are ways to manage the default issues (such as debt collectors) but I’m really hoping that a company emerges that will manage and guarantee payments for online products (currently they generally only service retail businesses).
10. Big entrepreneurs are making BIG changes
Over the last 12 months there have been some BIG names making big changes in their business – such as doing away with payment plans altogether, shutting down free groups with tens (if not hundreds) of thousands in them and even shutting down their affiliate programs.
When the really big names do this it can be quite shocking (and sadly with their big audience comes big backlash).But what I see here is a reconfiguration of what is working for (especially female) entrepreneurs from a holistic perspective.
- Payment plans discontinued due to the stress of people not honouring their commitments and the cost to administer them
- Large online groups shut down because they become unwieldy in their size and an enormous commitment to manage them
- Shutting down affiliate programs because (again!) they are very time intensive to manage and run effectively and the issues with payment plans compound that
11. Women are over the hustle and over the hype
The divine feminine is rising and she doesn’t want to hustle. She couldn’t care less about hypey internet gurus and she wants a life and a business that is fulfilling on all levels.The divine feminine is rising and she doesn’t want to hustle Click To Tweet
She doesn’t want to sacrifice her family life, her spirituality or her values and integrity.
This means what might have worked in the past to market to and attract women to your programs is not going to work into the future.
What does this mean for us?
This change and transition can be really confronting. You might of had a hell of a year (relative to others) last year and were left wondering whether you should continue in the online world or whether the bubble had burst.
My friend, and amazing entrepreneur, Denise Duffield Thomas and I were chatting online last year about the online space and we talked about being “lifies”. Being people that were in it for the long haul like Louise Hay. We talked about how we’d be in our 80s writing books and launching e-Courses.
It’s kind of funny (if not scary!) but it has an important lesson.
You have to be in it for the long haul.
ANY business is going to go through good times and bad.
My dad was CEO of a major manufacturing company for 20+ years and I saw that company go through the absolute highs and lows and be massively impacted by the external environment.
So what is my advice?
- Don’t stay stuck: If something isn’t working – be brave enough to try something else
- Don’t give in to the negative hype: Staying stuck in the negative will get you nowhere
- Engage with your audience: And find out what they really want
- Keep tweaking and refining: Most of us don’t hit the jackpot in the first iteration of a product
- Remember if you are earning a living working from home and being your own boss: YOU ARE REALLY REALLY LUCKY! You are living most people’s dream – don’t forget that.
And most of all, stand out and be creative and brave!