“The copy hadn’t been written” “My stomach dropped at 1a.m. -- 7 hours before open cart. I realized that 3 pieces of copy (the Thank You Page, the 1-Click Upsell, and the Fulfillment Email) hadn’t been written. I sent a Slack message and an email to my copywriter to find out what happened. Nothing. Around 2, I sent a text message. It was getting urgent. My anxious designer and Infusionsoft teams were pinging me every 15 minutes. I wrote the copy myself. I HATE writing copy. Finished just in time to test it. Copywriter emails me later that day like nothing had happened.
“No. The sales page can’t go live tomorrow instead” “We finished everything a whole day early. Just before our sales webinar, I had dinner and thought ‘shit… we finally got this launch thing down.’ That must have angered the launch gods. At 8:35 p.m., I got a text from the tech team. “We found a glitch with our payment processor.” They weren’t sure if we’d be able to accept payments by 9:45 p.m. when we planned to open up sales. But the crazy part was his plan: “hey, here’s a thought. Let’s run the webinar like normal. And at the end, just let all the attendees know the sales page will be ready by the morning. It’ll create scarcity and mystery and all that.” I cursed so much. So much. I had to get on the webinar, terrified but pretending everything was great. Put on the whole show. About 20 minutes into the webinar, I got the text that it was worked out. It all ended up ok in the end, but what if it hadn’t?!.”
“All those relationships I’d spend the year building and this almost ruined it.” “I can’t believe I’m telling you this. Last year, our cart open email was sent out with the wrong link. The open rate for that email was one of our best and we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t start getting sales as quickly as usual. Then, our support team reported a flood of tickets. The affiliates were pissed, because their link was broken, too. I was beyond embarrassed. All those relationships I’d spend the year building and this almost ruined it. We scrambled, and got out a correction and a swipe email for the affiliates in less than an hour. To this day, most of my friends think it was a marketing gimmick to increase urgency or something. They don’t know that it was a massive screw up on our part.”
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Maybe every time you launch, things go perfectly smooth. Your team is happy, you make loads of money, and you feel great.
I’ve not met many people like that. And here’s a secret, even the top performing marketers, the ones you envy, have those same horror stories (you’ve probably heard of the CEOs from the stories above). And you might have some secrets you never tell, too. Maybe yours involve:
If you follow an accepted truth in the online marketing world, you believe that launches, particularly large-scale, multi-part launches are effective, but miserable. How many times have you heard a burnt-out, sleepless colleague sigh, "Ugh, I'm in the middle of a launch. Check back with me next week."
I’ve heard them all -- marketing director took off to party at Burning Man, tech team locked us out of our site for 3 days, Email Service Provider had an “outage” for a whole day.
You may think that each of these seem like unrelated, “freak occurrences.” There’s no way to prepare for these anomalies… right?!
The truth is these crazy surprises shouldn't be a surprise at all. They should be part of the plan.
Launches are not project management events, they are disaster management events.
And this is exactly when traditional “launch management” doesn’t work…
These systems (when used correctly to begin with) were never build for fluid environments.
Which is exactly why in our launches, we use the Incident Command System. And you should, too.
ICS is not a project management system, it’s a response system. The first part is the plan, the other is the cycle.
Like disaster response or wildland firefighting, launches always have unpredictable variables or what former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called “Unknown Unknowns.”
You can't predict exactly what will go wrong, but you can be almost certain it will be something. That's the nature of complex incidents.
And you are doing yourself, your team, and your partners a disservice... more than that, you're putting everything at risk by not being prepared.
The Incident Command System was developed in 1972 in the wake of deadly and unprecedented California wildfires.
After 722 homes destroyed, 16 people dead, and $234 million in damages... Fire Chiefs all over the state had the same answer: “We’ve never seen a situation like this before.”
The United States Congress didn’t accept that answer. And they poured $900,000 into finding the real answer.
You won't be shocked by what they found if you've ever run a complex project. It wasn’t about tactics. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t even about the quality of team members. It was about communication.
Here’s an excerpt from their report:
“Response problems often related to communication and management deficiencies rather than lack of resources or failure of tactics. Weaknesses were often due to:
Does any of that sound familiar?
What they discovered in 1972, and what the most complex and high-performing organizations still discover today is…
It’s not about the tactics or even the strategy. It’s about getting the team on the same page to execute.
Quietly behind the scenes of top-performing launches, this system is at work. We’ve consulted and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry -- Ramit Sethi, Ryan Levesque, Jeff Walker, and more.
And until now, that’s been the only way to see the Incident Command System in action during an online launch. There’s been no system (and nobody) to teach ICS to online marketing teams executing complex launches.
That all changes this summer.
Abbey Woodcock is an online launch copywriter who's worked on hundreds of launches for dozens of clients including Ramit Sethi, Ryan Levesque, Jeff Walker, and Agora Financial. She’s worked with diverse teams from one-man shops to billion-dollar copy teams 40 writers deep on projects spanning multiple markets. She's launched strength and conditioning coaching, best-selling books, direct mail for the prepper/survival market, and even a passion project film by one of the world's most recognized Hollywood directors.
KC Baney has made a career out of deconstructing large, complex projects and transforming them into manageable pieces. With a career that includes 10 years of service as a Criminal Investigation Division special agent in the US Army, traversing through the ranks of the fire service (from lieutenant to deputy fire chief), and leading dozens of complex disaster responses as Incident Commander, he thrives turning chaos to order. He’s since transitioned this specialized knowledge to managing complex online launches.
We've combined best practices from the world-leading Project Management Institute with the Incident Command System to provide the most up-to-date project management and crisis response strategies including resource management, budgeting, and setting deadlines.
You'll walk away with working knowledge of various launch strategies including survey funnels and converting video strategies. We'll cover how to leverage social media. You'll select the right launch strategy based on timeline, budget, and market sophistication (even if you've never done a launch before)
Create a cohesive "battle rhythm" stolen and adapted from complex incidents in the disaster response world. These cutting edge planning templates were designed and tested to make the complex simple when the stakes are highest.
Eliminate useless meetings and endless email threads. You'll be able to streamline communications so all levels get the information they need and nothing more. Instantly get the status of any aspect of the launch without a chat, email, text, meeting, or message even if you have a large, distributed team.
No system is one-size fits all. We'll do in-depth honest walkthroughs of the most common project management tools and software solutions. Whatever your team size or launch needs, you'll find the perfect solution and be able to implement instantly.
Using actual case studies of multi-million dollar launches, we'll do a root cause analysis of all-too-common issues like tech failures, blown budgets, missed deadlines, and other chaotic situations. You'll be able to identify and avoid these before they ever become an issue... putting you light years ahead of most teams.
No beige-walled, windowless hotel ballroom for us. Our classroom is a secluded lodge situated on the Hudson River amongst 15 acres of woodland tucked away in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains.
We've deliberately crafted an atmosphere to maximize the learning experience. You bring a mind and body ready to learn, implement, and socialize. We'll take care of everything else.
We'll serve healthy food perpared fresh by our private chef. Lodging, all meals, beverages, ground transportation and extracurricular activities are all included.
Hang at the lodge or enjoy the surrounding Adirondack Mountains during ample downtime. Morning yoga, morning and evening hikes, networking around the fire, and delicious seasonal food prepared fresh by our private chef.
Where: Lake George, NY
When: August 14-17, 2018
All-inclusive Price: $7500. Discount for additional team members. Please reach out if you'd like to attend with your team or send more than one person.
Travel: Our concierge will assist you in arranging all inbound travel to either Albany Airport or JFK. We'll provide complimentary ground transportation from either airport. Flight cost not included.
You'll be taken to a registration page to reserve one of the 19 spots remaining. As soon as you complete your registration you'll get a nifty litte video and we get a big ole alert. Then the fun begins. A bell dings in our office. Abbey does a little dance. KC plays his kazoo. And then, within 48 hours, our concierge, Matthew will send you an email to arrange everything. He'll find out if you love yoga, if you're on a ketogenic diet, or whatever other weird quirks you want to share.
And shortly, you'll be sitting with us, overlooking the Hudson River and Adirondack mountains, sipping on a drink, and filling your noggin with the most cutting-edge launch management strategies on the planet.
So go ahead, test it out. Hit the button, reserve your spot and we'll see you in August.