We’re planning our own budget for the upcoming launch of a brand new course – which means, we don’t have any data to pull from.

How can we plan ahead, realistically?

Well, this episode is all about “how to budget” without data, and it’s helpful for anyone launching a first-time product or service (This is exactly what we recommend to incoming clients!)

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode…

  • The numbers you need to know from the beginning
  • How to segment your budget (i.e. the details)
  • And, how to get farther, faster!

Tune in for a quick lesson in budgeting, and then share a screenshot of the episode (and your takeaways!) on IG stories. Tag @emilyhirsh for a shoutout.

NOTE – listen to episode 65, “Inside look at what we’re doing to prep for our own launch,” for more behind-the-scenes with Team Hirsh!

Key Points:
[1:48] Here’s where we recommend clients get started
[4:10] The number you need to know from the beginning
[6:45] We started planning 2-3 months in advance!
[7:34] How to get farther, faster

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention, innovators, influencers, creators and game-changing entrepreneurs, your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.

Emily Hirsh: Today we’re going to dive into planning a launch budget when you don’t have any data to go off of. So, I wanted to share this and give you guys this insight, because currently, right now, my team and I are planning for our launch in June. And so, we just did a meeting specifically around KPIs, and what our goals were and our numbers, and what the actual budget, starting now really, as we build our list up, is going to be. So, it’s difficult when you’re in this situation, ’cause we’re launching a new course and a new funnel and a new webinar, and so we have no historical data to go off of and say, “Oh, here’s exactly how many leads we think we need to hit these sales goals based on our past numbers.” So what has our process been, because of that? And that is what I’m going to share with you today.

Emily Hirsh: So what we did was, we started backwards, as I would always recommend, and we said, “What is our sales goal that we would like to hit this month? Like, our best sales goal that we would like to hit for this launch? And how many courses [do] we need to sell to hit that goal?” And then we said, “Okay, we’re going to take a guess based on industry averages.” And we actually have this awesome calculator where we plug all this in, and it does all the math for us and tells you if 1%, 2%, 3%, 5% convert, here’s all the numbers. So we use that for our clients (and hint, it’s actually going to be in our course, ’cause it’s so good). Anyways, so we plugged it in, and so basically that tells us, “Okay, here’s our sales goal,” and then if we chose between a 1% and 5% sales conversion, here are the variation of leads that we would need.

Emily Hirsh: And then we put in, “Okay, if we’re estimating what we’re going to pay cost per lead for our launch, here is our ad spend.” And so we had to do it off of some guesses and averages, but what that did was it gave us a range saying, “Okay, worst case scenario, [if] 1%, or you could even go half a percent, convert, then we would need at least this many leads.” So we could go off of that number and get that many, and then if things went better and 2% converted, we crush our goals. So we did that, we plugged it in, and to be honest and transparent, the number that we would need to spend, and the ad spend, at a worst case, 1% conversion to reach our goals was higher than I was comfortable committing to when we don’t have any data yet. And so, we shifted around our goal, and then we ended with a figure of, “If we can spend this much money and get this many leads, we should be able to convert a minimum of this many people based on the numbers.”

Emily Hirsh: Now we know if we convert better than 1%, we’re going to beat that goal by even more. And so sometimes it takes that adjusting and tweaking saying, “Okay, if I plug in my end goal of what I would love to achieve, then I work backwards and I figure out the leads and the cost per lead, and then I’ve got the number of people I need to get on my list,” and then it’s way more money or more money than you’re comfortable spending, you just have to adjust your goals, and that’s totally fine. At least you’re not setting yourself up for a situation where you’re not going to hit your goals, which is what we don’t want to do. And so, we didn’t adjust our goals, well, we adjusted our maximum goal, but we kept with the minimum. The other number that I wrote down and that I know is the minimum sales I need to break even on both my ad spend and actual like. copy expenses and expenses going into this launch.

Emily Hirsh: And so I know like, worst case scenario, everything fails, I have to sell at least this many to break even. And that’s a really good number to know, because when you don’t know your data and your numbers, you have to see like, how hard would it be to sell that many? For us, it’s not going to be that hard, because we we’re planning on thousands registered for our webinar, and I really would need to sell a low amount to break even. So that’s great, but that’s a great number to know when you are planning for something that you don’t know exactly how it’s going to go, because you have no historical data to go off of. So we got those numbers, we set a good, better, best sales goal, we have our budget we’re willing to spend and put into the launch, and then we’ve broken that down into segments.

Emily Hirsh: So we said like, “This amount is going to go to the video series, this is going to go to the webinar, this is going to go to the retargeting sales ads.” So that’s something we do for our clients, and we actually pass that to the ads manager on our team who manages our agency ads, and she’s building out our campaign planner to plan all this out in detail, but we had to get the high level budget to her first.

Emily Hirsh: And so we broke it apart. We have the budget as a whole, what we’re willing to spend, and then we’ve got the sales goals, what we’re trying to achieve with those sales goals, and then we even worked backwards and said, “How many of each level are we trying to get signed up?” So how many people in the video series do we need to get signed up for us to be on track? How many people to the webinar? What do we want our show up rate to be? Because I need to know how many people [I need] live if I’m going to sell, let’s say 5% of live attendees, or 10% … that’ll help you get those numbers so that during the launch, I have all these metrics at the different phases of the launch, because really launches, they’re typically a month long, because you’ve got a video series and a webinar, and you’re doing the work beforehand, getting the registrants seven to 10 days before it actually happens, then it happens, then you got your open cart. And so, there are two to four weeks of time and running ads, and so you should have milestones so you know and you feel good, ’cause a lot of money’s going out the door before your cart opens. And so you want to feel good like, “Okay, we’re on track, we’re hitting our metrics.”

Emily Hirsh: And so we figured out all the different KPIs and numbers that we would want to track for the all the different phases of the launch so that I know if we’re on track or not from day one going into the launch. We also looked at like, “What’s our goal cost per lead that we would like to pay?” So once we did all that, then the final thing we did is we said, “It’s April, and we’re planning for the launch that’s happening in June. What are we spending in-between then, where are we trying to get our list in-between then, and what are we trying to pay for that list?” And so, I’ve talked about this on a previous episode [episode 65], about what we’re doing to plan for our launch, building our warm audiences, but we created exact numbers so I know exactly what I want to grow my list by per month right now.

Emily Hirsh: The max I can pay cost per lead and the budget that I’m going to spend doing that. So that obviously adds to my launch budget, my total launch budget, is the list building I’m doing now to prepare for the launch. So I count that number in with my breakeven figure. So now we have all these metrics, now we all feel more comfortable about it and we know our spend and we can go into it that confident and educated with that. And the final thing I’ll say here is, what I said to my COO that I think is really important for you guys to hear. So, obviously this is a new course launch, this is not the heart of my business and [this is not] all the income I need […] to live. I have our service that we offer clients that is very profitable, fully supports our company, and we don’t need to add something else.

Emily Hirsh: We are very excited to do this, but financially we don’t need to. So I told her, I said, “You know what? I need to pay back what we’re going to spend on this launch, but I’ll take 100% of what we make, and I’ll put it back into this, ’cause I believe in it that much.” And I know that if I do that I will get so far, so fast, because the people who can do that and just instantly put it back in, and put it back in, and put it back in, are able to go faster than like, a couple hundred dollars of ad spend here and there. And so that is literally my plan. I have our expenses, the minimum we need to sell to break even. From there, I am going to put everything back into the next launch or if we turn it evergreen, we really haven’t decided yet those pieces.

Emily Hirsh: But that is key, is that, maybe it’s 100% of what you make you’re putting back in, but that it’s a percentage of what you make, you decide to put back in. And that really goes a little bit off topic of planning your budget. But I want you to think about that, because don’t look at it as like, “Here’s my budget, my profit margins, 80%,” or whatever it’ll be with your product. What percentage are you then going to put back in for the future? And that’s really important. So in summary here, if you are planning a launch or planning for a funnel and trying to plan that budget when you don’t have historical data to go off of … so you can’t say, “I know our webinar converts at this amount. I know we pay you this much cost per lead, so here’s our budget” …

Emily Hirsh: You have to to work with numbers and say, a, “Here’s what I’m willing, max, to spend, so what can that get me?” or, b, “What’s my sales goal?” And then figure out averages. And you’re going to have a range. So if you have your sales goal, and then you say, “Okay, 1-5% of my list are going to convert, here’s the range of sales that I can expect.” And you don’t know that number, but you can definitely figure out the range. And then you can have the same thing. Here’s my range for a cost per lead that I can expect to pay, so here’s my range of a budget. And you might have to do that and then adjust your goals, which is what we did, because I’m not spending $60K on this launch when I don’t have that historical … I’m not comfortable with that, so I figured out what I am comfortable with, and then we worked with that, and we went from there.

Emily Hirsh: So hopefully that was helpful. This is an exercise we did ourselves that we would do with clients, how we would consult and advise our clients if they need help planning a budget. But the important thing is that you have a budget going into the launch and you have those metrics that you’re measuring, not just for the end result of the launch, but during the launch itself, too, because it can be scary when you’re putting out so much money, and you’re waiting for that open cart date to get it all back in. It’s like it’s a fine line in this game that you have to play, especially with course and product launches like that, and you need to … if you know your numbers you’re going to feel so much more comfortable with what you’re doing and if you’re on track or not.

Emily Hirsh: If you want support with this, you can go to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with Team Hirsh. Thank you so much for tuning in, and watch out for some more behind the scenes of launch planning. I’m trying to kind of share this with you guys as we go, and literally as we were planning, I was like, “This is such a good thing to talk about, because it’s scary to decide your budget when you’re launching, especially if you don’t have that historical data and it’s a new product or course or offering.” All right, you guys, thank you so much. I will see you on the next episode.

Emily Hirsh: Thanks for listening to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process and listen to our most popular episodes over HirshMarketingUnderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now and I’ll catch you next time.