By: Linda Riesenberg Fisler
November 15, 2021
As you know, John and I started our soft launch on September 1, 2021. We focused on getting the word out through social media, the Art Chat Podcast, and our website using our blog. Today, I’d like to focus on the advantages of a soft launch and the behind-the-scenes work. What better way to show not only our commitment but the beginning steps of any business launch than by example?
Starting in February 2021, John and I became acquainted via Zoom due to the Covid pandemic. Brought together by mutual friends, who at some point will be joining us later due to other commitments, we began exploring the visual art world. We discussed the arts in general and asked some probing questions that we hope to answer in the years ahead. We knew at some point; we were going to start a non-profit. The six months of weekly calls defined the mission and vision statements. They were not set in stone and would change a few times as we researched and talked more.
In June 2021, we began the foundational work. First, we started pulling together the project and milestone timeline, which led to more discussions of what services and information we would provide. Refinement of the timeline, beginning to capture the business plan and filing for non-profit status, and establishing the company in North Carolina followed. By September 1, the soft launch of our company began.
All of the steps leading up to this point are vital and require commitment. John can tell you that I probably wasn’t as patient as he would have liked. However, I execute plans very well—shooting from the hip. Previously, I worked for me, so if I want to do something, I did it. Sound familiar? Looking back on our adventure so far, I can say the work we have done to date has kept us on track and strengthened our commitment through some rough times. The timeline, the business plan, revisiting our mission/vision statement with each new piece of data, recording our podcasts, and writing our blogs have kept us focused and brought us you, our readers, subscribers, and new friends.
Our official launch is January 2022. As I write this blog, John is reviewing our service offering portion of the business plan that I wrote late last week. He is also working on an executive summary that will accompany the many correspondences we hope will be going soon to board members, honorary members, and additional members for a special “project.” To give you an idea of some of the rough times: John has been in a long-term care situation with a family member taking him away from his home for many months. In addition, my husband had a bicycling accident from which he is still recovering. As always, an occasional pothole has popped up that needed fixing immediately. However, the pre-planning has kept us on track even through the most trying times.
Our soft launch is paying off. How do we know? Our goal was to get some attention before we started our official launch. So our measurements were how many people took notice of our new organization. “Took notice” was defined as reading/subscribing to our website, new subscribers to our podcast and YouTube channel, listening to the podcast, subscribing to our newsletter, and contacting us personally.
Here are some numbers that we are very proud of:
YouTube channel is up 32 subscribers with close to 2000 views in just one month! Tracking podcast audiences can be tricky, but one way to gauge engagement is by predicting how many listens you will receive (in the first 90 days of its launch) on your next posted podcast. When we started the soft launch, that number was around 250. Today, that number is 293 (up 43 new listeners), and our total listens is gaining ground on 200,000! Visits to our blog and website are receiving international visits, and the numbers keep increasing. Subscribers to our newsletter are an area we need to focus on, but we aren’t disappointed with them. Earning someone’s trust to give you a way to contact them is hard to do, and we take it very seriously.
All in all, we are very happy with the buzz we created with just a soft launch. It is a great indication that we’ve generated interest. We are very excited about what’s to come. We hope you are too and that you’ll help us spread the word. After all, word of mouth is the best advertising!!