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5 - Podcast

Doing It Online Podcast Episode 20: The curse of the second launch (and how to avoid it)

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Things You’ll Learn in this Episode of Doing it Online:

  • What exactly the Curse of the Second Launch is
  • Why the Curse of the Second Launch happens
  • My 4 tips for avoiding the Curse of the Second Launch happening to YOU
  • Join my FREE 3-Day offer overhaul challenge – Sold-Out Success starting December 8th. Sign up at kateschallenge.com

Doing It Online Podcast Episode 20: The curse of the second launch (and how to avoid it)


I’m coming to you fresh off the back of completing a launch.

I know what you’re thinking…“I thought you were all about the funnels”

And YES! I absolutely am all about the funnels. I honestly needed to nap for a week straight after that launch! It just reminded me how much I LOVE FUNNELS.

But I do believe that for a business to grow and to keep moving forward…it’s all about embracing new challenges and adding new revenue streams. 

And while we’ve got our funnels pretty well dialled in at this point, we haven’t really been going all in on launches. We hadn’t done a big all-singing, all-dancing launch in over 2 years. So when my good friend Alex Beadon suggested that I stop being such a chicken and putting launches in the “too hard” basket and give it a go.

I did! And it was great – but OMG it was a lot of work.

But in the end I was able to work with 1200 amazing course creators in helping them set up their “Sold Out Success” offer –  we’ll be running this challenge again very soon

I noticed that during this challenge, one thing that a lot of people were talking about was that the first time they launched their offer it sold pretty well…but the second time they launched they got crickets – and they weren’t sure why.

This is what I call the curse of the second launch – a real phenomenon that can be really discouraging and cause you to pivot prematurely, changing things when you don’t really need to. 

So that’s why I want to share with you all about the curse of the second launch and how to:

  • Know if you’ve been struck by it
  • Avoid it 
  • Come out the other side – launching while still growing and making sales

What is the Curse of the Second Launch?

Ok so let me paint the picture for you…

You’ve been online for a little while and you’ve grown a bit of an audience, but nothing outrageous. 

You’re working 1:1 but your time is maxed out! You hear all of these people talking about online courses, so you finally decide to take the jump, do the scary thing and create your first online course.

You create it (thanks Google!) and it’s ready to go so you send some emails to your list and you talk about it on social media. You’re SO excited about this new thing that you’ve created AND you get some sales. 

So now you’ve realised that you can do this! So in a few months time you decide to launch again – very similar to how you ran it the first time. To the same people…but this time you make less sales.


This is the Curse of the Second Launch.


It’s actually really common – and when it happens, so does the tailspin. The cycle of constantly creating new things not stopping to master anything or pivoting completely and changing your product. The self doubt is high and you allow it to destroy something that is actually a proven success – you’ve proven it sells before right?!

Why does the Curse of the Second Launch happen?

Firstly if you’ve been online for any amount of time, or if you’ve been working 1:1 with people…you’re going to have some fans. You might not realise it because they’re quiet engagers…but they’re there! 

These people are your diehards – aka they will buy whatever you put out. These are your best people – the people who you should love on them hard!

The problem with this is that when your second launch comes around…they’ve already bought what you’re offering. So your second launch has to up the ante. It has to bring more of the marketing goodness. 

Quite often people expect that because they’ve done it once, and now have more subscribers and more confidence…that will mean more sales.

But usually it doesn’t…

Unless you make some tweaks.

Another thing to bear in mind is that every single person on your list is an individual. They have different preferences for how they buy, how they engage with you, how they receive information and how long they need to know you before they buy from you. 

There is an old rule that people need to hear about a product at least 14 times before they would purchase – and this number has just increased over time due to the amount of crowded online space.

So there are people on your list who WILL buy…they just haven’t heard about this product enough yet. They need a little longer…or they need to engage with you in a different way (via sales call or webinar etc). 

Everyone has their own buying preferences. Preferences that build the trust they need to take that next step and invest with you. 

So if you’re launching the same way over and over again, those people are never going to purchase because you’re not giving them what they need to get them over the line and click add to cart. 

And as business owners that’s our job – to create as many options as possible to meet your audience where they are at and to give them what they need.

Looking back at my last launch –  30% of people who purchased were brand new to my list, and one lady had been on my list for 891 days!!! This is my $5KFF program which has been on a funnel and promoted every 60-90 days for the last 2 years – so this lady has had plenty of opportunities to buy from me. But for whatever reason the timing wasn’t quite right, until now. 

Some people need to see things multiple times before they buy.

Don’t assume that just because people don’t buy the one time you launch…that they never will.

How do you avoid the curse of the second launch?

Or perhaps it’s happened…and you want to recover and go on and have a really good third, fourth and fifth launch.

Now is the time to up the ante – it’s not just about those diehards who’ll purchase whatever you send them.

You’ll need some marketing mastery.

Take what you’ve already done well, and refine it – make it better. 

Here are some tips to avoid (or recover from) the curse of the second launch:

1. Remember to list build in between your launches. 

Keep showing up on socials and promoting your opt-ins so that you keep adding new people to your email list. Because chances are, there’s a good proportion of those who will actually purchase from you next time. 

2. Keep talking about your program

Yes! Even after the cart is closed you need to keep talking about your program. Even if they can’t purchase it. You want to make sure the FOMO level is high. 

When you first launch a program, there are always people who sit back and wait to see if it’s any good. They’re waiting to see the testimonials and the results before they sign up themselves. As you’re running your program and start getting feedback – share that with everyone outside of the program. The FOMO shouldn’t stop just because your launch does.

This is going to build an invisible waitlist of people who are thinking to themselves “damn I wish I’d bought, that looks amazing – I’m totally going to buy next time.”

Don’t just disappear from the internet when you don’t have something to sell – you gotta keep that consistency up!

3. Don’t just rely on email for your launch

For your second launch you need to give your audience some different options. You need to start upping your marketing toolbox with things that convert better than email. 

With email open rates at an all time low (people are on a lot of lists), it’s hard to get their attention. Email is not enough. 

For my last launch we had 4 different launch layers. We had a waitlist, a webinar, a challenge and an upsell/downsell option – with evenly spread across the different layers. So if I’d only chosen to focus on one of these – our total sales would’ve only been 25% of what we ended up with.

4. Commit to launching and relaunching your offer

If this is a new product for you and you’re not sure yet if it’s a reliable and scalable launch (one where you know the % of which you convert) – you need to commit to launching and relaunching every 60 days for the first year of your offer to avoid the curse of the second launch.

Look at your launches as an asset that can be reused and systemised over time. You don’t need to create everything from scratch every 60 days. You just need to take what worked last time, make some minor tweaks and relaunch it. This is how you get to test new things and make improvements. So that at the end of 12 months your launch will be firing. You’ll avoid getting stuck on the cycle of jumping from one tactic to the next without really mastering anything. 

Doing It Online Podcast Episode 20: The curse of the second launch (and how to avoid it)

And if you’d love to learn more – we’re kicking off another round of our Sold Out Success Challenge before the end of the year. What better way to end the year than to take your course that is “sorta selling” and turning it into a “sold out success”?! We start on Tuesday December 8th. It was so much last time that I can’t wait to do it all again – sign up at kateschallenge.com

Know your numbers!

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