by Victoria Hockaday | Featured Contributor
Launching your first online course is an exciting time for your business. And I get it! It allows you to impact more people and make money teaching what you love.
It means doing something that fulfills you and gives you the freedom to choose how you live your life. And that’s huge!
But launching an online course has so many tiny steps and it’s easy to fall into a spin of ‘mind circles’, stressing over what step comes first.
What strategies work? What emails do I send? When do I promote my course? How? When? Gah!
That’s why I’m going to peel back the curtain and break down the 4 steps to launch your first online course.
Step 1. Sell First, Build Later
Picture this. You spend months creating an incredibly valuable course. Then, you create a beautiful sales page. And, you promote your online course on social media. Then, the big day comes! You finally pluck up the courage to hit publish and expect the sales to roll in. But you hear crickets! Gah!
So, you end up feeling bad about yourself and wonder “why does nobody want to buy my course?”
No one is buying your course because you didn’t validate it first. Throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping that it’ll stick is not going to lead to any sales. (It wouldn’t work for me either!)
Instead, you need to validate your course offer before you launch so that you can guarantee that your audience will purchase your course.
And honestly, actual sales are the only real way of validating your course.
Here’s how it works:
1. Figure out the course promise
2. Create an outline of the course and what’s included
3. Create a checkout page (no sales pages or email sequences are needed here!)
4. Communicate it to your audience
In short, don’t create a course before you can guarantee sales. You need to sell your course first.
If you sell 5-10 courses, you know that it’s worth your time and money launching it. (And you can feel much more confident about launching!)
Step 2. Create a Launch Plan
Launching an online course is the equivalent of creating two online courses.
The first is the launch content – things like your webinar, blog posts, opt-in freebie and launch emails. The second is the actual course training that you’re going to sell.
And if launching terrifies you, your biggest armor against launch fear is having a launch plan. (Dun dun dun!) This will help you visualize and understand the steps that you need to take so that you allow plenty of time to create, schedule and promote your content.
Here’s what you need to plan:
- Ideal customer avatar, message, and copy
- Course launch content including webinars, blog posts, facebook lives and launch emails
- Editorial calendar and launch roadmap
- Tech including landing pages, sales pages, carts, email autoresponders, and checkout pages
Once you’ve outlined all of the steps, plug them into your calendar so that everything is scheduled. BOOM.
Step 3. Pre-launch Hoopla
Before you announce your course and ask people to “enroll now”, you must educate your audience and create buzz.
Because you could have an amazing course but if your audience doesn’t know why it’s important they’re not going to buy it.
For example, you might have a course on list building but your audience might not know the benefits of having an email list.
In this case, you need to educate your audience on why list building is important for growing their business.
You also need to build anticipation for your course, so that people are excited about it. Creating anticipation is crucial to launching successfully.
One of the best ways to create anticipation and engage your audience is with a challenge. This gives you a chance to create community, build trust and prove to them that you can help them achieve ‘quick wins’.
Here’s how it works:
- Send them a challenge every day over 5 days
- Host a webinar at the end of the challenge where you pitch your online course
- Create a fast action bonus so that people are incentivized to purchase your course
Scratching your head wondering what you should include in your challenge? Don’t sweat!
Simply highlight 4-5 lessons that you’re going to teach in your online course and break them down into mini-lessons. For example, if you’re doing an online course on list building, you might have these lessons:
- Create a lead magnet
- Design a landing page
- Implement a Facebook ad
- Create content upgrades
- Grow your list with guest blogs
Once you’ve created your 5 lessons, write the 5 emails in your favorite note tool.
Step 4. Have a Plan to Make Consistent Sales
After the big launch is over, you want to think about what you’re going to do to make consistent sales.
What will you do to promote your course? What marketing activities will you do to bring in sales? Will you continue doing live launches or will you put your course on evergreen?
Moving forward, you could launch your online course every year and you can sell your online course on evergreen every day. This might be through blog posts, webinars, and free courses.
Congrats! You made it to the end.
Victoria Hockaday is a Launch Strategist who helps online entrepreneurs and course creators launch profitable online courses, so that they can impact more people and teach what they love. She is passionate about helping creators lead with their hearts, so they can overcome fear, imposter syndrome and become Brave Creators.