In my last blog, I wrote about the creative process I went through to develop my Business Astrology Oracle Deck. In this blog I am going to talk about launching an oracle deck and the process launching my Business Astrology Oracle Deck.
Crowd Sourcing or Traditional Online Launch?
One of the first decisions I needed to make when launching an oracle deck was whether to use a Crowd Funding platform like Kickstarter, or to launch myself on my own website.
There are some benefits to launching using a platform like Kickstarter such as:
- Crowd Funding campaigns tend to get a lot of social sharing and the platforms are developed to encourage this.
- There is less risk with a Crowd Sourcing Campaign – if you don’t meet your goal you don’t have to deliver
- You have a ready-made platform to promote and sell your product
However, there are also some downsides:
- Risk of not meeting your goal and then not being able to sell your product at all
- Risk of people pledging and then not having the money when the time comes (often weeks or months later)
- Less control over the design of your sales page
- Paying additional fees to the Crowd Sourcing platform
In the end, because I am a very experienced launcher, I knew there was significant interest in my deck and I had the capital behind me to invest in professional web design I decided to launch the deck using my own platform.
Hosting on my Business Website or a new more specific website
Another decision I needed to make about launching an oracle deck was where to sell it – I had options of hosting on my kathrynhocking.com website, on my Astrology Academy website, or on a brand new website.
In the end, I decided to host it for now on KathrynHocking.com where I have excellent web traffic and where my main business is run.
However, I did purchase relevant domain names such as businessastrologyoracledeck.com, and redirected it (and a few others) to my sales page on the kathrynhocking.com site.
I did this for a few reasons – firstly to help protect the brand and intellectual property of the Oracle Deck. Secondly, should I get a publishing deal in the future they may want me to break out the deck into its own brand and business for the purposes of promoting and selling it.
The strategy behind launching an oracle deck
For any online product launch, it really helps to have different packages as well as some bonus resources.
Also, my oracle deck is a low-profit product at this stage so by adding in some higher-priced (but also higher profit) leveraged online products I can maximise revenue and profit for this product launch.
The Stages of Launching an Oracle Deck
I decided to launch this product in a number of phases:
Phase 1: Business Astrology Certification Students
I opened up to my 50+ students one week early giving them a special offer to thank them for their support of my highest-level online program.
About 1/3 of my students purchased the oracle deck.
Phase 2: VIP List
For about a month before opening the launch I have been promoting my VIP list stating that it includes a special discount price, the chance to win a business chart reading, and some additional bonuses including:
- How to Use the Cards for Yourself or Your Clients with a 30-min instructional video. Valued at $20 USD
- Learn Various Card Spreads – a PDF of the card spreads in a worksheet style. Valued at $30 USD
- Receive a Card Notebook PDF – note your own interpretations for each card. Valued at $50 USD
Sales to this VIP list open up for 72 hours for this special offer.
Phase 3: Official Open Cart
After Phase 1 & 2 I will open the launch to the general public, including my broader email list, and social media, and also tell friends and family about it as well as ask my students to spread the word.
There will be a discount offered during this time that is less expensive than the full price but not as good as the VIP price and this will be open for approximately 1 week.
Phase 4: Close of Cart
This is the very final stage for pre-orders and will last for 1 week.
I also wanted to offer multiple packages to increase the profit for this launch. I thought about a number of options and initially had three packages but decided to launch only two for this first launch.
Package 1: Deck Only
Package 2: Deck + Brand new Business Astrology Toolkit
I decided to package in a brand new astrology toolkit all about learning to read your business astrology chart. This is something that I know a lot of people will want to learn about and it seemed like the perfect offering to pair with the Business Astrology Oracle Deck. This package includes a printed workbook to write in.
The toolkit includes:
- 30-Page PDF Workbook
- 6 Training Videos
- Business Astrology Meditation
- Business Astrology Chart Case Studies
- Printed Workbook
- Live Training call with me in late January 2023
I will launch this toolkit separately in 2023 but this is currently the only way to purchase it.
Launching an Oracle Deck – Launch Infrastructure
Once I knew my strategy for the launch there were a lot of things to consider so I engaged a Photographer, Web-Designer and Facebook Ads Manager to help me make this happen.
I had originally planned to travel to the Gold Coast for a photo shoot with an amazing photographer that I have worked with in the past. However, when I injured my ankle and needed to postpone the photo shoot for a few weeks this was impossible due to this photographer being on maternity leave.
So I did what all entrepreneurs do and took to social media to get recommendations for a local photographer as the person I have worked with in the past is pursuing other types of work these days.
I received some amazing recommendations and in the end, I selected Grier from Bohemian Ekko Creative. I have not worked with Grier before but she was recommended by people I know well.
I chose Grier’s premium touch of style package that included hair and makeup as well as a resident personal stylist (Steph of Infinite Styling) on hand on the day. Given I knew I’d not be 100% having only just had ankle surgery I felt that the extra support on the day would pay off.
The package also included a pre-shoot consultation which was really helpful to be clear on the different types of photos I needed as well as a plan for the outfits.
We were originally going to do the photo shoot at my home but then I realised it was booked for days after my husband’s 40th birthday party which was also being held in our home. I’m glad I listened to my intuition and decided to book an Airbnb for the photos as we were both way too tired that week to want to have to clean the entire house again!
I booked a 2-bedroom unit that was a boho style, light with lots of natural textures, and perfect for my needs.
I had spent months buying decor elements such as candles, cushions, rugs, and mugs to go with the brand colour scheme as well as collecting all my personal trinkets that would work for the shoot.
It was also super exciting to have the Deck Proofs arrive in time for the photoshoot so that I could include them in the photoshoot.
I booked into the unit the night before and was able to set up the set and think through the photos I wanted.
On the day Grier arrived around 9am to do my hair and make-up, followed by Stephanie to help me with outfits, and then we did a 3-hour photoshoot.
You can see some behind-the-scenes photos below.
Selecting the photos was difficult because I loved so many of them, and I ended up purchasing an additional 25 photos – but what was most important and time-consuming was making sure I had a good balance of photos that demonstrated the different parts of the product and different packages. My Virgo rising certainly came out during this task!
I do a lot of my own website design but I decided that for this project I wanted to elevate the design, get a fresh set of eyes and also delegate some of the tasks to ensure it would all happen in time.
I had seen Emma of Soul Stirring Branding’s work for a few years and loved her overall aesthetic so I asked her if she was free and thankfully she was able to fit me in.
I initially engaged her for the Sales Page only but then realized that I really needed three other pages as well:
1. Register Interest – The page people went to in order to join the VIP notification list
2. Thank you page – the page people go to after purchasing
3. Freebies page – the page that will house the freebies and bonuses that I am offering in this launch
I have been thrilled with the work Emma has produced for me as well as her professionalism and management of a tight schedule.
I engaged Jayne Day of Webonize, who I have engaged before, to manage my Facebook Ads. I didn’t want to invest huge sums into Facebook ads given all my other costs but I knew that two things were important:
1. Building my VIP Interest list – statistically, the highest sales will come from this list that has been nurtured leading up to the launch
2. Remarketing to people on the VIP list as well as web traffic once the launch is open to remind them about the deadlines.
I provided Jayne with the Ad Graphics and some basic copy and she has done the rest.
I reached out to people who had been there for me during the development of this deck and who I thought might be willing to review the product and provide a testimonial.
I also picked people who I know to have a lot of influence in their respective industries and who would really bring a lot of credibility to my product.
There were others whom I asked that didn’t respond – which is totally fine because we are all busy people. For the next launch I’ll likely send out a few gifted decks to other successful entrepreneurs I know and hopefully, they’ll be willing to provide a testimonial.
The main infrastructure I used for this launch was my WordPress website, order forms using Thrivecart which allow me to create order bumps (or upgrades), and ShipStation to automate the posting of so many orders.
For postage, I normally just use the Sendle service which I love as it collects the package from your house! The drawback is that I manually enter addresses for each package – for example when I am sending out 20-30 gifts to certification students.
But for this launch where I may be sending multiple hundreds of decks, I wanted a system that automatically entered all the postage & customs details from the order as well as making sure that I charged appropriately for postage depending on location.
I did research on the weight of my package (another reason why demo stock is important) and the cost to post internationally and domestically.
Bonus Tip – Dedicated Account for Sales Revenue
I was concerned about making sure that I set aside adequate funds to order all the stock so to ensure that this happens I have set up a separate account for the proceeds from sales of the deck. I’ll then order all my stock from these funds and then split the remainder on a % basis into my salary, profit, and tax accounts.
Would you believe that I contracted Covid (again!) days before the launch began?! Yep, I sure did.
This is why being prepared in advance is so important and luckily for the most part, I was.
That being said because of this illness it is a “soft launch”.
I have an extensive email marketing sequence for the VIP list as well as a general sequence for the rest of my list and there was an early sequence for my certification students only. Luckilly I have written so many sales email sequences over the last 12 years I was able to pull these together myself pretty easily.
I will be posting multiple times a day on Facebook and Instagram about the deck during the launch (automated using Later).
I am writing a weekly blog relevant to the launch for the three weeks of launch time.
For the next launch (sometime in 2023) I’ll look at adding in a more sophisticated launch experience with some online and/or live events.
So how much did it cost to create and launch the deck?
To a certain extent, I’ll never be able to give you a “true cost”.
I have spent hours on this project in strategy, design, creative writing, review, and tech set-up. Honestly, I’ll likely never get this investment back but it has been worth it for the sense of achievement and the longer-term credibility that this deck will provide me.
However, I will do a blog in the coming months that overviews the direct costs and the revenue from each phase.
But to begin with here is a basic idea of Capital Expenditure – to be clear capital expenditure is the expenditure that will be used for multiple launches – not the direct production costs of the deck.
|Graphic & Web Design||$4,200||Design of box packaging & guidebook template|
Design of Sales Page + 3 Other Pages.
Purchased design elements – I purchased a number of graphic packs from Creative Market to use to design the cards.
|Photography, House Rental, Clothing, Props.||Approx $4,000||Also includes getting my hair dyed, manicure and pedicure.|
|Demo Stock||$400||Printing of Demo box, book, and larger box plus a 2nd version of the box.|
Demo stock is much more expensive than when you order bulk stock.
It is important to keep in mind that these costs are capital costs meaning that they will be applied across multiple launches. For example, I won’t get a photoshoot done next time or a new web design.
These costs do not include the cost to produce the deck, boxes, guidebook, and additional packaging items such as postage satchels, postcards, stickers etc.
I will report on those costs in my follow-up blog in a few weeks.
They also don’t include individual launch costs such as Facebook Ads Management and Facebook Ads.
I will say that having an accurate costing for the physical product based on multiple quantities is important. I created a costing based on 50, 100, and 250 units and made sure that my pricing covered my lowest anticipated order quantity.
Your product pricing really needs to cover:
- Cost of Product (e.g. the physical printing of cards, box, book, and any other packaging)
- Capital Expenses (or a % of – for example, I might spread these costs across 2-4 launches)
- Postage – make sure you have an accurate weight and cost for local and international postage
- Fees (e.g. Pay-Pal, Stripe, Kickstarter – these tend to be in the range of 3%+)
- Tax (the amount of tax you need to set aside will vary depending on your business revenue & expenses)
- Profit (decide on how much profit you want to make)
I’ll provide more detail on this in my follow-up blog post-launch.
Doing the Oracle Creator course was really helpful in this respect, and this course recommends your pricing is 3 x the cost of the product. I did not go this high as I felt I would be pricing myself out of the market but I did charge 2 x the cost and added the Toolkit Package to increase my overall profit margin.
If you intend to wholesale your product then you need to make sure that you get this pricing right so that you are not making a loss when selling at a reduced price to wholesalers.
When launching an Oracle Deck it takes a village
Seriously it does, and it did, for this launch. I decided I couldn’t be a warrior queen and do everything myself and it has felt a lot more easeful because of this.
I had my wobbly moments about would this investment pay off – but mostly I’ve been in deep trust – and I have my certification students to thank for this as well as a few amazing friends like Denise Duffield-Thomas, Tammy Guest and Kira Sutherland who have cheered me on (as well as others whom I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention).
Thank you to everyone and anyone who has shown support for this deck – that includes my mum who wanted to buy a copy despite not believing in astrology or having a business! Spoiler alert I’m gifting her a copy that she can show to her friends and say “look what my daughter created!!”.
Helpful Resources for Launching an Oracle Deck:
Creative Market – for graphic design assets, fonts etc
Oracle Creator – a great course to take you through the process of creating an oracle deck, you can also check out my profile here. Seriously for all the little questions, you have about creating an oracle deck – this course is for you.
Eprint online – they have great bundles for printing oracle decks in Australia
Bohemian Ekko – Great photographer based in Adelaide
Infinite Styling – Great stylist based in Adelaide
Soul Stirring Branding – Graphic and Web Designer
Gorjo Designs – Graphic Designer who designed my deck packaging
Stay Tuned for the next installment!
I hope you have enjoyed getting a glimpse into my deck launch process, in a future blog I’ll talk about the results of this first launch as well as specific costs. In my next blog, I’m going to focus on some lessons and gifts in creating an oracle deck.