Inside One Mom’s 30k Online Course Launch in a Small Niche (Outside of the Business Space!)
Have you ever gotten discouraged because a goal you’re working towards is taking you so much longer than expected?
I definitely have!
In this age of instant gratification and “overnight successes” it’s easy to feel like we just don’t have what it takes if our journey feels slower than others.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and my podcast guest today is here to prove that to you.
Rayzel Lam built up a niche blog audience around a really narrow (and controversial!) diet plan.
She focused on serving her audience as best she could — with videos and blog posts, emails and building community in a Facebook group — and then she launched a brilliant program to help them take the next step towards their weight loss success.
Rayzel’s program took her nearly 2 years to complete!! (I know….!!!) The day before she planned to launch it, she was crying in the shower feeling completely overwhelmed. She couldn’t get her sales page just right and felt like giving up.
Instead…. Some of her sneaky subscribers found their way to her unfinished sales page and bought the program anyway!
It was just the shove Rayzel needed to launch her brilliant program. So she did!
She earned $30k in sales over her 4-day promotional period, and this program has gone on to earn her, on average, just under 9k in sales every single month since.
I’m so glad she didn’t give up just because her goal took a long time to complete!
And friend, I don’t want you to give up either.
Take that next step, and launch your brilliant product.
Press play on the podcast player below to hear the full episode.
Here’s What’s Covered in this Episode:
00:04 – 30k Online Course Launch in a Small Niche
02:13 – Are You Ready to Launch Your Product? Take My Quiz!
03:23 – Mamapreneur of the Week: Rayzel Lam
04:22 – A Weight Loss Journey That Created a Community
06:31 – Finding a Program Focus
09:17 – Is Niching Down Worth Your Time and Effort?
10:09 – Involve Your Audience to Get Them Excited for Launch Day
16:19 – Building Up Your List Through Opt-In Incentives
19:52 – The Launch That Went Better Than Planned
28:58 – Rayzel Recognized the Value of Investing in Her Program and Having an Experienced Team
31:56 – Give Your Customers a “Lightbulb Moment” to Help Them See That They Need Your Product
34:30 – Don’t Fall Prey to List Shame!
40:28 – Rayzel Channeled the Power of the Email Funnel to Create Evergreen Sales
46:14 – Rayzel and Her Son’s New Project: Happy Kid Stories!
30k Online Course Launch in a Small Niche
Well, hello, Brilliant Business Mom! I'm so excited that you're back and listening to another episode of the Brilliant Business Moms podcast.
You are going to love today's interview with Rayzel Lam. She shares so many brilliant ideas for involving her audience all along the way while she was developing her premium digital product. Rayzel's launch didn't go exactly as planned, but in the very best way possible. She ended up earning $30k in sales during her 4-day promotional period!
There's so much we can learn from Rayzel on how to build our own communities, care for our audience well, and turn that into an incredibly successful launch. She mentions that she spent a lot of time blogging, building up her email list and connecting with her community ahead of time.
Rayzel wants to make sure you know that even if your very first launch doesn't go as smashingly well as hers did, that's ok. Every time you launch, you'll learn something new and make forward progress.
Keep going no matter what your list size is. When you're getting ready to launch, you can nurture those folks so well and see incredible results.
Are You Ready to Launch Your Product? Take My Quiz!
Now, if you're curious to know if you’re ready to launch, I've got a quiz just for you. It's called “Are You Ready to Launch Your Product?”
It's for those of you who might be thinking about creating a digital product, like printables or an ebook or an online course. And it's also for those of you who want to pull off an amazing affiliate launch or launch your own physical products. I have used my product launch model in all of those cases with incredible results.
So in this quiz that will just take you a few minutes to complete, you'll learn all of the different aspects that you need to have in place in order to be ready to launch. And when you get your results, I'll give you some specific recommendations for what to focus on depending on where you're at in your business.
The quiz is super fun, so I hope you'll head on over and take it. You can find it at brilliantbusinessmoms.com/launchready.
Mamapreneur of the Week:
I am so excited to be welcoming Rayzel Lam to the podcast. Rayzel is a health blogger who took her own experience with a particular weight loss program, and then the maintenance plan, and then developed a course to help other moms with their weight loss maintenance.
She's going to talk with us today about how she launched that course, how it went, and how she continues to make sales with it.
It's a really fun story. We’ll also talk about the way Rayzel has set up her business so that she has the freedom to now pursue other hobbies and passions!
A Weight Loss Journey That Created a Community
Seven years ago, Rayzel started a very specific (and even Rayzel was quick to admit, controversial!) diet plan and chronicled her weight loss journey on Youtube, using it to track her progress and connect with other women who were doing the same thing. Then, she ended up starting a website and posting helpful blog posts for people who were new to the diet.
Rayzel made a physical workbook for her audience first (it’s still for sale on Amazon!), and then she made a digital version.
Two years ago, she released the program that we're talking about on today’s episode. This program still makes her consistent revenue each and every month, virtually on auto-pilot.
It took her a good 1½ to 2 years to make this premium priced product for her audience!
I love that even though this product took much longer to create than she expected, Rayzel didn't give up or throw in the towel.
Finding a Program Focus
Rayzel figured out what to focus on for her course by finding a pain point in her niche — something other people were having a problem with.
She noticed that there was a lot of information out there about how to do her particular diet, but no one knew what to do after it was over, so a lot of people would gain the weight back. Rayzel realized, “I don't think it's the diet, it's just that there's no plan for afterwards!”
Rayzel is one of the few people who actually maintained her weight loss over the past 7 years, and she hasn’t had to diet since the first time!
But she wasn't sure if people would be willing to spend money on maintaining weight, instead of losing it. It’s less exciting than a dramatic initial transformation, right? But as it turns out, people are willing to pay to stay transformed!
I love how Rayzel saw that there was a hole in the marketplace where other people were not talking about maintenance, so she took the leap and filled that gap with her business!
Is Niching Down Worth Your Time and Effort?
There's a free tool called Google Trends where you can discover the search volume for certain topics. For example, if I searched the Keto diet or the Paleo diet, the search volume is huge!
The search volume for the diet niche that Rayzel is in is very tiny. So at first she wondered, “Can I really make a living off of niching down?” And, as it turns out, she can! She has built a sizeable community and following of women who are interested in what she has to say.
I've heard so many other good success stories of people serving super tiny niches and making a really good living. And what's so great about focusing on a niche is that is you're the only one, or one of a small handful of people, offering a solution for those searches!
Involve Your Audience to Get Them Excited for Launch Day
Rayzel involved her audience in her product creation process all along the way. Creating the program was 1½ years in the making, but she would continually give them updates and ask a lot of questions through email and social media to get their opinions.
When she was trying to figure out a name for the program, she gave her audience some choices and asked again for their input. (Note: If you do that, be sure to reserve any domain names that you are really seriously thinking about!)
I think there's this concern of, “If I share this process with my audience, then I don't look professional or I don't look like I have it all together.” And my thought is, “No, you look like a real person! A person that cares very deeply about what your audience wants, needs, and thinks.”
Rayzel says she has struggled with this, too. Even now, when she writes more vulnerable emails, she always hesitates to press send because it’s going out to thousands and thousands of people!
But when she shares the real things she’s going through, she says those are the times she gets the biggest response from her people.
Building Up Your List Through Opt-In Incentives
Rayzel has lots of areas on her blog where people can sign up to join her “email tribe.” She shows the number of subscribers she has to encourage others to be a part of a large group.
She also has a specific opt-in for one of the phases of her program.
“Over time, it just built from people seeing the opt-ins in different spots,” she says. She posts on social media, too, but most of her list has been built through her website.
Most of Rayzel’s traffic comes from Google. The name of her blog has turned into a search term. For instance, doctors will tell their patients about her program if they are recommending her diet. Rayzel says this still surprises her. “I’m just a mom who saw success with this program!” But she’s been able to help so many other women in the process.
Rayzel built her audience by putting out consistent content, inviting people into her community, and having a focused niche. That's another vote for niching down! It's so impressive that she is getting all her traffic from Google and has a very sizeable list of targeted subscribers (she’s currently at 34,000!).
The Course Launch That Went Better Than Planned
Rayzel says her big product launch was so scary and stressful. Before this, her highest-priced product was $34.99.
She made a casual video in her car a week before launch day, saying, “Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that the program's coming out like next week, and this isn't a workbook, and so it's not the same price.” She was so nervous about what her audience would think!
Rayzel had the program finished but was still trying to get the sales page together. She was at a point where she was so exhausted and had so much brain fog that she didn't know what to write. So she decided to send another update email on Friday, but she wasn't going to sell the program quite yet.
Usually on Fridays, Rayzel does Bible volunteer work with her son, and she didn't want to forego that for her business. So she sent the email and hopped in the shower because she had to leave in 10 minutes.
When she got out of the shower, she had email notifications saying 2-3 people bought the program, even though she hadn’t finished the sales page! (She found out later that there's a way to find the sales page if you hunt around on her site a bit!)
Before that point, she was feeling so overwhelmed, but when she saw that happen, it was the little boost she needed to open the doors on her program.
She sent an enrollment email out with a subject line like, “You stinkers! You found the sales page!” then dashed off to her volunteer work.
When she got home 3 hours later, more than 200 people had claimed spots in her program, which amounted to $14,000 in sales!
The original plan was to cap the program at 200 students. So Rayzel sent another email saying, “Hey, we're already at the cap, but that's just not fair to you guys. So let's leave a little more room.”
She kept her cart open for about 4 days, and ended up selling about 400 spots. Her total sales for that period were about $30,000.
Incredible! Rayzel built a wonderful community, and cared for them well, and they were ready for what she had to offer!
Rayzel Recognized the Value of Investing in Her Program and Having an Experienced Team
Rayzel hired a recipe developer on Upwork, and they created 7 weeks of custom recipe meal plans. One of her virtual assistants did all of the document compiling and that took hundreds of hours. Rayzel hired a kitchen assistant who would cook all the meals and Rayzel did the food photography.
To do all of that, Rayzel invested about $10,000-$15,000 in the creation of her program. So it was a risk.
But Rayzel cared so much about creating an excellent, high quality product, and her customers recognized that. So many people snatched it up on launch day, knowing they were getting an incredible value.
“It's normal to feel scared when it's your first time,” Rayzel says, “But just do it, just do it!”
Rayzel and I also mention that you don’t HAVE to invest thousands of dollars into your first online course. If you create all your slides yourself, edit all of your own videos, and just take a bit longer to put it all together, you can create a course on a shoestring budget of $200 or so.
Many of us online course creators start out on a smaller budget, and then we add fancier elements and hire more help once our first course launch is a success.
Give Your Customers a “Lightbulb Moment” to Help Them See That They Need Your Product
Rayzel put out a video series before her product launch. In each video, she did a demonstration where she cooked three dishes: one of her program’s custom recipes and two similar ones from Pinterest.
She cooked them all, wrote out the macros for each dish, and then showed why the Pinterest recipes, even though they seemed like they were “safe,” weren't as healthy as the recipe that she had created for her program.
A very powerful sales strategy Rayzel employed was giving her potential customers a lightbulb moment where she said, “Hey, it's OK. I understand why you thought that these low-carb recipes would be great, but I'm going to switch everything around for you and show you that there's a better way.”
It was so smart for Rayzel to demonstrate this lightbulb moment on video! She says she always tries to put herself in the same boat as her customers because she’s been in the same place.
She’s showing, not telling, them what she’s learned over time. This goes back to being real with your audience, friends!
Don’t Fall Prey to List Shame!
You don't need to have list shame, you guys! You don't need to freak out if you don't have 20,000 people on your list like Rayzel had, because if you have the right targeted people on your list, solid open rates, and solid click-through rates, you know people actually want to see your product. That's where the real power of your list is.
For Rayzel’s product launch, the first email she sent (to 23,265 subscribers!) had a 17.9% open rate. It had a 3.9% click-through rate, which means that 898 people clicked over to the landing page and were interested in buying a spot in her program. And she only had 58 unsubscribes out of more than 23,000 people!
If your click-through rate is much higher than your unsubscribe rate, that’s a good sign that your email resonated.
Rayzel Channeled the Power of the Email Funnel to Create Evergreen Sales
Rayzel has a very simple email funnel that's always running behind the scenes, and there are a few different ways people enter it.
She offers a P3 Foods List as a free download when people sign up for her list from blog posts on her site, and that puts them into the email funnel.
The other way they can get into the funnel is on her p3tolife.com sales page. There's a bar at the top with a coupon code for $50 off the program, which she says almost everyone uses, because that's a big discount! So when they sign up to get the coupon code, they also go into the funnel.
The actual funnel is comprised of six emails that slowly introduce subscribers to the program.
One email, for example, links to her testimonials page, which has more than 140 reviews!
Another email links to the videos where she does the food demonstrations she talked about earlier.
Right now, Rayzel is getting 60-70 new course enrollments a month. It tends to be a little bit seasonal (who diets in the wintertime, am I right?), she says, but the rest of the year is a little more stable.
She already has great blog content and she’s getting solid Google traffic, so those new students are coming in organically!
Rayzel and Her Son Started a New Project Called Happy Kid Stories
Rayzel is passionate about helping other women with their weight loss maintenance. But she can only tell her diet story so many times, she says, and she needed to try something new.
Her new project is learning to be a children's book illustrator! She homeschools her 9-year-old son, and she wanted to make this year more about doing things that brought her family together.
“With homeschooling,” Rayzel says, “I can't just sit and watch him work math problems and pop in when he needs help. I'd just be so unhappy! So I wondered, ‘What can I do that helps him learn something really useful and valuable, but also stimulates my brain enough to feel satisfying for me, too?’”
Rayzel and her son started writing children's stories together! They have 12 different partially finished stories, and they're all going to be connected.
When they were thinking about the illustrations, Rayzel’s son said, “Mom, you should draw them!” And she said, “Who, me?”
“He was so matter-of-fact about it. I literally just draw stick figures, but I'm trying to set a good example for my son that you can learn anything if you put your mind to it,” Rayzel says. So Rayzel started looking at illustrations on Instagram for reference and tries to learn how to draw them. She’s been doing that every day for the last 6 months!
Rayzel plans to illustrate the books, as well as create downloadable coloring pages and kid-friendly recipes to go with each story!
Rayzel thinks that parents will enjoy reading her stories to their kids. She wants to sprinkle them with details that parents will resonate with. She’s also asking for submissions!
“I would love to have people send in phrases, cute things, or silly things that their kids have said that we can use in the stories,” Rayzel says.
I love that Rayzel has built her business in such a way that she has time to work on this amazing project with their son, and that they’re bringing a community along on for the ride, too!
I had so much fun chatting with Rayzel. She clearly knows how to connect with her audience and cares so deeply about putting out a valuable product.
I know all of you out there listening care about that, too!
Now it's your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!
– Beth Anne