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In This Episode

Kathy Colaiacovo of Pepper It Marketing shares her launch experience using only organic traffic to a webinar, for her course. She also shares a few of her past launching experiences, how she plans out her launch ahead of time, and some key lessons she learned during her webinar launch.

For this launch, she didn’t use any ads, instead, she filled her webinar with people already on her email list, growing her email list with a lead magnet, and organic social media networking and reach. For those who attended the webinar live, she provided a fast action bonus as a special incentive that really converted for her. She also shares a few things that went wrong, what she would do differently next time, and advice for you on how to do your own webinar to course launch.

If you’re looking for details about how to launch without spending money on Facebook ads, this episode is for you!

Learn More About Kathy Colaiacovo

Kathy Colaiacovo is an Online Marketing Strategist and the President of Pepper It Marketing Services Inc. She helps Service-Based business owners and course creators all over the globe through her online training programs.  Kathy helps her clients stop wasting time and money with their marketing and understand how their marketing can increase website traffic, get more leads, and more clients. They grow and scale their businesses with her strategy, coaching, and training from the Pepper It Marketing programs and Insiders Club Membership group.

Melissa Anzman (00:00): This is the launch yourself podcast, episode 34 with Kathy Colaiacovo. Welcome to the Launch Yourself podcast. My name is Melissa Anzman. I'm a bestselling author and the CEO of two businesses, an employee experience company, and launch yourself where I help entrepreneurs diversify and scale their business by launching digital products each week, you'll hear mindblowing interviews where we peek behind the curtain of other people's launches, as well as actual tips and strategies that you can implement in your daily work life to create launches that actually make you money. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let's get started in today's episode, we have my friend, Kathy, Colaiacovo joining us and you are going to learn how he met in just a second, but her business is so interesting and unique, and she's been at it a long time. And what I love is that her approach to business is so different than mine.

Melissa Anzman (00:58): That together, we make a really strong, you know, accountability team. So you'll hear about that. Like I said, but [inaudible] is an online marketing strategist and the president of peppermint marketing services. She helps service based business owners and course creators all over the globe through her online training programs. Kathy helps her clients stop wasting time and money with their marketing and understand how their marketing can increase website, traffic, get more leads and more clients. They grow and scale their business with her strategy, coaching and training from peppermint marketing programs and the insider's club membership group. Now, if you want the show notes and more information about this episode, you can go to launch herself.co/ 34. Now let's dive into the episode,

Melissa Anzman (01:48): Kathy, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you on, um, Kathy and I met online through a group that we both joined and we randomly became accountability buddies and have been at it ever since. And so we just sort of come together every other week or so share updates, cheer each other on, uh, we're business, friends, mentors, cheerleaders, all that fun stuff. And Kathy has a really interesting business and has gone through several launches throughout her business, um, and ongoing. So I'd love to have you introduce yourself a little bit, Kathy, and let us know sort of about your business.

Kathy Colaiacovo (02:26): Sure. And thanks for having me, Melissa, this is a really fun to get to do something with you in a very different realm, too. Great. Excellent. So I have a very different business from where I started out. So, um, and you probably don't know this about me, but I actually started my business because somebody told me to, I had no idea.

Kathy Colaiacovo (02:47): So back in 2008, um, we were, uh, getting ready to move again. So my husband works in the call center industry and we had to move once again. And we'd actually only been there three months, four months at that point. And it just wasn't a great fit for him. The job so quickly, we were selling a home again, moving all three kids again. And I had been in touch with these people through basketball association and help them out behind the scenes. And so the president's wife said to me one day and she was a career counselor. She said, you know, there's an article in the paper about this virtual assistant. She said, I think you would be really good at this. And you should start a business. And there's like a program you can get through unemployment and get going. And so I literally probably spent about a month or so researching everything. And then a couple more months after we moved over and I started the business because I thought, I think I would be good at this. And so that's how I actually got going was because someone told me I would be good at,

Melissa Anzman (03:48): I love that. I had no idea. And like just the fact that somebody would see something and be like, Hey, that's you, that's my friend, Kathy. Like, she'd be great at that. Where went back? I mean, you started your business some time ago. So virtual assistants weren't necessarily mainstream or norm in the online world or out of online world.

Kathy Colaiacovo (04:11): So they were not at all. And so I'm from Nova Scotia, Canada, which is a small province on the East coast. And I have to tell you, in my 12 years in business, even when I'm morphed from being a virtual assistant, I can probably still count on both my hands, how many customers and clients I've had in my training programs. And one-on-one working as people from Nova Scotia, they just were not into it. So immediately I got into online, online networking, online marketing. And when I started out, I took all sorts of training development and very quickly learned that I really liked Twitter. Twitter was my first love of social media. I have to say and

Melissa Anzman (04:53): Mine too. Like it was definitely the one I was on the most at the beginning, for sure.

Kathy Colaiacovo (04:59): It was very different back then than it is now, too. So to be honest, half the time, I don't tell people to use Twitter for their business anymore because people use it very differently than they did. And so I got into that and I really quickly marketed myself as an online networking or an online specialist, a social media, virtual assistant. I took SEO courses and I was really good at putting my own website up, getting my content on there, constantly putting content out. I've been blogging since 2008. And I have always had more than 50% of my traffic and referrals and consults come from people who Googled me. In fact, just before we had this session here today, I was talking to someone who came onto my list a couple of weeks ago, who is signing up for one of my programs and asked her how she found my name.

Kathy Colaiacovo (05:49): And she said, she, she gave me the terms that she used to Google to find somebody to help her to do what she's doing. So I, it just was really easy for me and it came very easy to me. So I started my business as a VA and probably within two years, I needed to expand because I was too busy. And so I hired some subcontractor VAs and probably flash forward to 2012. I had 14 virtual assistants working for me, helping me manage an average load of probably 25 to 30 regular retainer clients that we did online marketing support for. Wow. Yeah. And so it was busy and there was a lot of people and I had a really hard time trying to find a project manager, a team lead. And I found I was spending more time managing people than I liked what I was doing.

Kathy Colaiacovo (06:40): So that's when I started looking at how could I do something different? And that's when I originally came up and started my online training programs. So I did a social media bootcamp back then because I knew that not everybody could afford to hire a team of VAs or VA alone, even. So I created something that would work for the people that were constantly having to, you know, if I was having a concept with them, it was out of their budget. So that's where I started and truly did. My first launch would have been way back then with the, what was it called then? It was called the, my social media VA. No, no, I, that was the second name. The next name was social for business with the number four. So I did the social for business training programs and I had that whole, whole thing all set up. And that's when I ran a three month bootcamp to help people learn how to use Twitter, how to use Facebook, how to use LinkedIn, to market their business online. And that was really where I got into more of the one to many scenarios of working with people in group programs online.

Melissa Anzman (07:46): I love that. And I didn't know, half of that. That's so interesting. And you know, that social with the number four. I mean, I can't with that name, I would have totally had a nervous breakdown for you. And we would have had words, right.

Kathy Colaiacovo (08:02): That's really well, my tagline then was real be social, get clients online. Okay. I mean, all right. Back in the day. Okay. Um,

Melissa Anzman (08:12): So Kathy, what, like we define launch as either you creating a digital product, launching it, pivoting, like changing your business. And we like to go really deep on this podcast. So which launch would you like to talk about today and go deep on?

Kathy Colaiacovo (08:27): I think they're probably the most successful one that I had was, uh, I probably had two that were both the same, but the best one was one where I followed a whole launch by webinar, uh, training that I had learned. And that was one that I did in 2019 and launched my business blogging made easy course.

Melissa Anzman (08:53): Okay. So for those who aren't with it, um,

Kathy Colaiacovo (08:56): The type of launch that Kathy's talking about is you have people either opt into a lead magnet or eventually opt into a free webinar. And during the webinar you teach information and content that's related to the course that you're selling. And during the webinar you make the ask and then you have open cart where you're sending emails, um, into getting the clothes essentially into your digital course. Right? Yeah. And that's what we did with the one in 2019. Um, I really took my time. I launched many times before that, but that was probably the one where I really stuck to the training that I had and listening to the mentor and the teachers that I had following their steps so that I could see as much success as possible. I love that. And so I always like to know what's happening behind the scenes when you did that.

Kathy Colaiacovo (09:53): So I want to know you did invest in training in that. So you've already mentioned that, did you have a coach or anyone else that was helping you, or did you just sort of follow the training the online course and make it that way? So I have a business coach aside from like the training, but for that particular launch, most of the, the training that I would have got would have been from the program that I within. Um, partly because my business coach is actually more of a big picture. She's, um, she's not a specialist in online marketing, so that's what I bring to the table about that. And she is really more there to coach me into, you know, more of the CEO stuff, the bigger picture business stuff, the finances, you know, goals, all of that. So for this one, it was really very specific.

Kathy Colaiacovo (10:44): But having said that I have a budget line in my, in my finances for training every year. And I think it's something a lot of people discount is investing in programs, investing in courses where there's a mentor or a teacher or group programs, things like that. And it has always been a part of my budget. And I don't think there's ever been a year that I've gone without taking a training program. I don't think there's ever been a year except maybe there will be in 2020 where I haven't gone to a conference of some sort to learn something. Um, I don't think that will be happening this year. And so I have always made sure that I've done stuff like that. So oftentimes like what I would have put into this launch would have included other stuff that I learned from previous programs or with other different mentors or training that I've done.

Kathy Colaiacovo (11:38): But mostly it was focused on truly following this one more step by step than I had ever done before. Like really sticking to the plan that was a proven system and a framework that worked. I love that. What made you decide to launch this course now? Like you've been in business for some time, you've had a lot other launches. Like what was the deciding factor for you to say, you know what, I need to try this. I need a course, or I need a purchase this course to try a process that works. Like what, what made you decide now is the time to do it, to, to buy the training or to launch my course, to launch your course, to launch my course, because I wanted a better launch than I'd had before. And I had improved the program cause it was actually a, a smaller program that I had had and I sold for, I bet you, I think it was $67.

Kathy Colaiacovo (12:32): So, and I had sold it and it was teaching people about, you know, putting blogs together and content for your website that will help with search engine traffic and bringing you more traffic, more leads to get more sales. So for this particular one, I upgraded the, um, Oh, what was it called back then? Basics of blogging or something like that. So I had upgraded that I had added more. I did, I laid out the training differently and more bite sized pieces for people. I had more resources. I offered as well at two live calls with me. So that was nothing I had done before, but it was giving people an opportunity. You know, I outlined the program differently so that they had an opportunity to have time with me to answer questions. And I think especially in today's world, that can be really critical to success of your students is making sure that we've got, um, their info.

Kathy Colaiacovo (13:29): You know, you've got a way to help them walk through your training or your course material or whatever it is so that they can continue to take the next steps and not have to worry about, you know, taking it and failing or take it and never following through. I think that's really key. So that was another piece of the puzzle was that I was looking to change it and upgrade it and try launching it to see if it was accepted differently by people. I love that. So with that launch itself, you added a lot of things to it. You spent a lot of time upgrading it and learning the process. Cause I know that system well. Um, and it's, it's intense. It's not a, you know, flip the switch on overnight thing, although people still try and that's so crazy to me, right. It's a good three months I would say.

Kathy Colaiacovo (14:18): Yeah. I mean, it is a process or a process as you say to get it up. Um, but what worked like if you can be specific, what worked really well for you during this launch? So the webinar itself really truly did work well. Um, I had the most sales in the, in the time that the cart was open to close. The most sales that I had was actually within the 24 hour period of the webinar. Oh. So for those who came to the webinar, they converted real high. Yes. Yeah. All of that. Um, and they did that because I offered a bonus. That was the fast action bonus that they would only get if they signed up within the 24 hours. I did have other bonuses that went to the cart close. Yeah. But I think that what appealed to them the most was the bonus that I had that happened within the 24 hours

Melissa Anzman (15:14): Much. Were you selling your course for,

Kathy Colaiacovo (15:16): It was three 97 and what I actually sold it for if they bought by the midnight, that night was two 97.

Melissa Anzman (15:27): Y'all don't see me over here shaking my head at Cathy. And I'm saying this not because I think that great courses can't be two 97 or three 97. I just know Kathy's courses. And the amount of help they are is so much more than two 97. So I'm shaking my head at her. She totally knew I was doing that. Yeah. Okay. So the actual live webinars to conversion rate was really high and your fast action bonus worked.

Kathy Colaiacovo (16:02): Yeah, it did. How did you

Melissa Anzman (16:04): Get people onto your webinar? What was your process to do that? Did you do ads? Was it people already on your list? Like how did you go

Kathy Colaiacovo (16:11): About that? No. Facebook ads. Okay. So I did it strictly by my skill on social media marketing and networking online in groups. Um, and I don't for people that are asking, I know, shake your head. Okay.

Melissa Anzman (16:26): I'm jealous. I'm thinking in my head because my jealousy factor is a 10. Kathy is very good at the things that I am not and vice versa. Right. So she's like no Facebook ads where I would Facebook ad it and do great. She's really good on social media and groups and networking. And I'm like, I'll work in a group, but I don't talk that often. And I, yeah. And I don't have,

Kathy Colaiacovo (16:50): Just to be clear, I do not have a free Facebook group. So I did not use that method. A lot of people will use that, but I don't. Um, the reason that I don't was I found I tried one and it just didn't work for me because of the other programs that I have might with my membership. I got really conflicted with the free Facebook group. I left that out of the mix altogether. Okay.

Melissa Anzman (17:14): So you basically filled your webinar with great social media marketing, email marketing and social media marketing. I love it. So that worked great. I want to know what didn't work for you or what was hard along the way. Like I think we tend to gloss over those hard lessons that we have in the middle of a launch and be like, Oh, it was so great when in fact, you know, 18 things happened wrong and we had to overcome them to still have

Kathy Colaiacovo (17:46): A good launch. So first that I did make was, um, so I've been running these trainings since 2012. I started using GoTo webinar years ago. I switched to zoom in 2015 and I am very good at being an octopus arm, lady running a webinar and doing all that. And when we do these for clients, um, I always, or students are asking about doing webinar launch. I always say you have to have an admin there. So I did not bring my own VA in to

Melissa Anzman (18:20): We've done that before.

Kathy Colaiacovo (18:23): Good. I have to say like, I'm just because I've had so much experience running them and I have a couple monitors. So I find it very easy to do. It comes very natural, but I really learned on that one, you know, when I had like, I think it was a hundred or so people close to a hundred on there. Um, I, I needed my VA to be there because I was getting distracted and I could tell that I was having pauses or I was having, you know, just those moments of I'm looking at one monitor, I'm looking at the other. So I slowed down, I'm not as focused doing what I should have been doing because I was trying to find the questions, trying to, trying to find the link to copy in for the fast action bonus or all that. So that was a huge mistake. And I w I've never done it again since, so, cause I've had other launches since then. And I always have my VA come on now. Um, and it was just something I think, because I really followed the framework. I was doing everything on par with that, and it means doing certain things at certain times in the webinar when you're trying to do this sale and the offer. And I just couldn't do it as effectively as I thought I could have. So that was a big mistake.

Melissa Anzman (19:38): Sure. Yeah. I mean, I tried the same thing and I did one and I was like, and I mean, I run this for big corporations. Right. They're big webinars for all hands. And I was like, yep, Nope, not doing that again. There is no way I can speak, teach, answer questions ADLINK sent like, Nope. So I'm with you on that.

Kathy Colaiacovo (19:56): And when you think about it, the cost of having a VA,

Melissa Anzman (19:59): Right. For two hours. Exactly. If that right, exactly. What else, what else didn't work?

Kathy Colaiacovo (20:07): The other thing that I think, um, I wasn't as good at, or as good on was I didn't have everything prepped for the marketing as much ahead of time. I would have liked to have had more of the emails written, ready to go schedule to go a week ahead so that when I was really doing that week prior to the webinar and the week after that I could do more lives and doing that kind of stuff. And I found myself, I was scrambling to get some emails finished and written and done and off to my VA. And that was a bit of an issue. And so I actually made a solemn vow after that, that never again, would I do anything where everything wasn't ready two weeks ahead of time written, prepped, ready, and ready to go.

Melissa Anzman (20:56): I love that. And, um, again, Kathy and I are a little different here. I, I can build just in time and they get a little stressed out, but not like, you know, freaking out when I tell her my updates on these things. And I'm like, Oh yeah, I'll do that tomorrow. She's like, why, why is it like, I love that about her because she is a planner and likes having the pieces together. But I also love that in this launch, you sort of reaffirm for yourself that Nope, like that's not the best way for you to deliver a tick and tie?

Kathy Colaiacovo (21:31): No, no. And the third one was, I didn't have my affiliate plan set up. Oh really? And in place. And I actually didn't use them in it because I wasn't prepped for it. I just wasn't ready for it.

Melissa Anzman (21:47): Did you, did you think that you're going to have affiliates with your first launch or were you planning on bringing them on after? Like what was your white around affiliate

Kathy Colaiacovo (21:56): Affiliates already? I actually didn't tell them about it.

Melissa Anzman (22:00): Oh my goodness. Okay. I see what you're saying.

Kathy Colaiacovo (22:02): So I was, so I think what it was was I so focused on the whole framework and that is a portion of the training, but not, there's not a big focus on it and I know exactly what to do with it. I know how to make it very easy for people to get my affiliate stuff, to promote it, to help them out so they can make commissions on the sales that come from them. And I literally did not use anybody for anything.

Melissa Anzman (22:28): So I didn't know that I wouldn't expect the first launch of something to have an affiliate. Cause you see, for me, I like to test something before I ask other people to sell it so to speak. But I mean, you had these partnerships over time that already knew you and your stuff, have you, since added affiliates into the sale of this type of product or it just sort of was you selling it for them?

Kathy Colaiacovo (22:53): So the rest of the time, my affiliates are very unique affiliates. Um, and this was really an upgrade of a product, a program that they already knew, but it was more in depth included, more of that type of stuff. Um, I don't just let anybody randomly sign up to be an affiliates I'm very picky and choosy about who is an affiliate. So in that respect it's, um, I do think it would be helpful and they are usually part of it because they already know me and we have a relationship like that. And I think that is very different from cold affiliates that may not know who you are for sure. So they typically have, you know, an idea of what the program is. They know how I teach, they know what people get for results. They know the raves that I get about how I teach.

Kathy Colaiacovo (23:40): And so for me, it's not, I'm not an unknown to them as an person to connect with, but I just absolutely it was, I think it was probably about two weeks prior to, and I looked down on one of my spreadsheets for my launch and I was like, crap, I totally forgot about all of it. And I was still mad because, and it was just too late, you know, you just, that's something, we start, you know, a good six weeks, two months ahead of time to give them fair warning. And so I had to talk up. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Melissa Anzman (24:11): So what was the biggest challenge for you during this whole launch? Other than the things that didn't quite come together, right? Like what was one of those things that, or a moment that you are like, why am I doing this? This is so hard.

Kathy Colaiacovo (24:30): I think it was more, um, where that process was new to me, it was, it took a lot of time. And I think that that's something that often gets forgotten by people who get a training or who take a program. That it's one thing for, you know, I, I literally have a binder here, red binder behind me, and it's a two inch thick binder full of all the papers from that entire program, with all my writings in it and everything like that. It's not something that it takes a lot more time than you think. And it took a lot of time for me. Like I did spend a lot of nights writing stuff, putting stuff together, outside of my own business and the other stuff outside of the training programs. So it just really is a little bit more time, I think, than people think.

Kathy Colaiacovo (25:20): And for me, I had a very high, um, I had a couple of clients and retainers, um, cause we have like that side of my business where we do marketing support with my team of VAs and that was taking a lot that was going on. And I really found that I was doing stuff too late at night. I wasn't getting enough rest or sleep so that I could be on my peak for when I wanted to go into Facebook and talk about it or get into groups and things like that. And that to me was the, a real eyeopener of, I really have to balance out my time and block time to work on certain things. So I'm not spending all of Saturday and Sunday instead of relaxing and enjoying, but planning out the entire stuff and you know, skipping out on family time, things like that.

Melissa Anzman (26:07): Yeah. I love that. One other question I have for you is what's something that you learned from that course and your launch, right? Like, so, cause they're kind of one, you followed a course to do your launch. What's one of those lessons that you learned that you will take for every launch here on out.

Kathy Colaiacovo (26:28): So I think one of the big things that I really wanted really discovered from this one, it was a lot more appealing to people because there was a live component with me. And I know that might sound silly because I know there's tons of people out there that have self studies and they have programs, you know, I call them inappropriately the wham bam, thank you. Ma'am courses. I love that. So you buy, you pay a fee, you get the material and you're on your own. So I really found that having the time with me into it made it more appealing to people. And I think that's where we're in this realm of online courses and digital products of what is really working well for people or not. And I, I truly think that even if you have a start and finish course, like a three month, one, a two month one, whatever it is, if you can put a bit of you in there in some way, it will make it a lot more appealing to the people considering buying it because they know they're not on their own.

Kathy Colaiacovo (27:30): Yeah. They know that if they have a question, they have sort of access right. Access to the mentor, to the Smee, the subject matter expert. I love that. And even if, you know, for some people what we've done in the last year, I've done myself in some of my clients and my students in they're in the programs with their own launches. Um, when they've done their work in what they're doing and starting a new course or whatever it might be. Um, I have found that what we've done is offered even offering a closed Facebook group for the term. So if it's two months offering it for that term and then shutting it down, a lot of people have a hard time with that, but I don't. Um, cause I, I personally don't believe that the courses and this is something I learned in a lot of my different launches is if you are buying a course, whether it's a onetime one or a limited term one, I'm not a believer in giving continued access to me the subject matter expert on an ongoing basis, unless you're in my membership program because I just, and that was something I learned a few years back with different launches and why I created a membership, they do the training, they get what they need, but they still want you.

Kathy Colaiacovo (28:45): So that's where membership comes into. Yeah. Because otherwise they have no reason to buy again and your time isn't being compensated and you, and I both know like you will have the 80% taking or 20% taking 80% of your time, the 20% of people who aren't paying for it, having all those questions because they, you know, have perceive access. So yeah, I love that. Amazing. What advice would you give to somebody who's looking to launch an online course? I would say the biggest thing is to realize, um, you can't start today in launch in four weeks. I think that's very difficult. And a lot of people still think that they can. I personally believe you're looking at a three to four month planning time, not necessarily all, um, all of it is launching, but just even, you know, the first month as planning your schedule planning, when things are going to happen, planning when your time will be and then blocking that time.

Kathy Colaiacovo (29:48): So you actually have the time to do the proper launch because in my opinion, if you can do a proper launch, get all the I's dotted and the T's crossed, you're going to see more success in the end with what you deliver, because you managed to get everything in place. There's so many people that launch things. And I think you forget, I forgot my affiliates. Right, right. And so I totally agree for a course having you can't launch and you know, two weeks or what have you. And which is why I always, um, question when someone comes to me of like, I want to launch this course, but next week, and I'm like, that's not gonna help. Like, it's the wrong product for you. There are things you can launch quickly. Absolutely. They're not, you know, $897 courses that it, you need to build out your plan.

Kathy Colaiacovo (30:39): You need to get people interested in it. You have to build out your content. So I love that reminder of you have to match your timeframe with the things that you need to be successful in your launch. There are very different ones. I mean, I've definitely had ones that have been small programs or small courses that might include a couple hours of training. Something like that. I definitely don't take three or four months. Right. Right. For the big, you know, for the bigger products that are sort of the meat of my online training, they have to have a good focus. Like they just have to, because otherwise you're not going to be as successful as you could have been. If you'd done all the planning and I'm, I'm big on the planning. I love that. So Cathy, where can people find you online? So online?

Kathy Colaiacovo (31:28): Um, you can pretty much find me if you go to pepper, it marketing.com and you can connect with me there. My username online is tends to be pepper marketing because Colaiacovo is way too hard to spell for people to figure out. So I can hear you, my name is shorter than yours, but no one ever gets it right. Either when I speak at events or anything, I usually have a slide to the number. One question I'm asked, which is it starts off with yes, it's Italian. I love that. And then I have a whole way of I with, with visual AIDS and everything I've had to pronounce the last name, but yeah. So pepper it marketing.com. You can find me there on Instagram, Facebook, wherever it is. So, and I have links on my website to that. Fantastic. And we'll of course include it in the show notes, but Kathy, thank you so much for coming on. I love having these conversations with you and it's fun that we got to actually record this one together for a podcast. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Good luck. Launching everybody.

Melissa Anzman (32:30): To join the Launch Yourself workshop where you'll learn why your digital products aren't selling nearly as much as you planned for and how to diversify and scale your income by launching the right way. Text launchyourself. All one word to: 44222.