You’ve spent hours on it. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into it. It has officially become “your baby.”
We are talking about your online course and it’s time for your course launch. It’s time to send your baby out into the world. You need everyone to know what you’ve created and how you’re helping them solve a problem.
Okay, great. So what do you do now?
Marketing your course and creating plans for a launch are extremely important for a variety of reasons. Besides the fact you’ve worked so hard on your product, you want to get it in front of as many people as possible so you can reap the financial rewards, or whatever your goal is.
An online course launch takes as much planning as the course itself. Unfortunately, once you hit the finish button, people don’t automatically come to you ready to give you money for your wisdom.
You have to let them know it’s available. And you do this through an effective online course launch.
In some ways, launching an online course is similar to promoting any other physical product. But on the other hand, there are a few points to keep in mind since you are launching a digital product.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to launch your course correctly, and ultimately get your audience to purchase. The even better news? Some of these ideas are free, or cost very little to execute.
The Phases of an Online Course Launch
There are three main phases when it comes to launching your online course:
Each stage is unique and requires different tasks for you to successfully get the word out with your online course. And while you may have assumed the launch phase is the most labor-intensive, truthfully, the work you do ahead of time in the pre-launch phase is what sets you up for the greatest success.
How to Pre-Launch Your Course
Before you start taking orders for your online course, there are a few critical steps to take. By putting this work into practice now, it’ll give you a greater chance of success down the road.
Gather the Right Information
The first step is to make sure your course incorporates the right information for your audience. You should know, or make sure you learn:
- Your target audience: Who does this course help? Who will benefit the most?
- How much does my target audience know about the subject already?
- What is your competition doing?
- What are your specific course objectives?
There are a number of ways to find this information out during your pre-launch phase.
You can take advantage of social media and ask questions in your posts. You can start sharing information in Facebook groups or other online forums. You can join new Facebook groups with audience members who could potentially be interested in your course, and find out what days you’re allowed to promote products.
As you’re gathering this information, you can use this to fine-tune your online course. Incorporate the specific pain points and problems your course is solving for right into your content, since you still have time to tweak it before launching.
Solidify the Course Content — but it Does not Need to be Complete
Your pre-launch phase is essentially occurring as you’re building and creating your online course. This is the time to create specific items for your course, such as:
- The outline and course content
- The formats you will use, such as video, images, audio, etc.
- Your target pricing for your course
- The platform you’ll use for people to buy your course
In other words, during the pre-launch phase you’re finalizing your course, but you’re still leaving room to make changes as you’re gathering your information.
Start pre-selling your course
You may think it’s odd to promote and sell a course you have likely not completed up to this point. But by promoting your course early on and during the pre-launch phase, it allows you to get feedback and potentially incorporate this into your final product.
Promoting and pre-selling during this phase occurs in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas for promotion and pre-selling.
Enroll beta-testers to take the course at a greatly reduced rate and provide feedback. Then you can make changes appropriately based on what you’ve learned.
Promote and tease your upcoming course through blog articles. This can either be on your own website, or perhaps you can snag a guest post and mention it.
Create a landing page or pop-up to promote the course. There are plenty of services, such as Thrivecart, where you can focus on promoting your upcoming course. Here’s a list of some great landing page builders.
Put teasers on your social media platforms and links on where to pre-purchase.
Discuss the upcoming course on a podcast, if you land an interview with someone who has an audience you think would be interested in your course.
If you have an email list, create an email sequence teasing the launch. Eventually your email subscribers will receive instructions on how to purchase. If you don’t have an email list, here’s how to start one from scratch.
If you have a marketing budget, try running Facebook ads. These ads can be very affordable and you can target specific audiences who have shown interest in your online course subject.
New to Facebook ads? Here’s our course that teaches exactly how to run successful Facebook ads.
Pre-selling your course in one of the avenues mentioned above is a smart way to get revenue going and fund your launch. Not to mention the feedback you receive may be invaluable.
What to do During the Launch Phase
As you can see, most of the bulk of work is done in the pre-launch phase of promoting your course, and it works in conjunction with finalizing your course content. But there are a number of items to take care of once you’re ready to launch to ensure you build on the excitement.
First and foremost, reach out to your email subscribers. The same ones you hopefully sent emails to during the pre-launch phase. Let them know your course is ready. You may even consider a special gift for those who are already on your list and make a purchase.
But make sure you make it urgent. If you give discounts or coupons, there needs to be a definite deadline.
It’s also a great time to go live! You can run stories on Instagram and/or Facebook and start talking about your course in a live format. No one knows it better than you, so don’t be afraid to talk it up and address objections or answer questions.
You may consider hosting a webinar to give more detailed information. This is an opportunity to not only promote your course, but you can set up a Q&A for those on the fence about purchasing.
Another idea is to partner with another content creator, assuming they do not have a competing product. You can cross-promote each other’s products if they have one, and you can reach a new audience who may not be familiar with you.
Post-launch and What to Do
Your online course launch actually never ends. There are ways to build on the foundation, even when you’ve already built an audience of learners.
Post-launch is an ideal time to build a community. You can do this by creating an exclusive Facebook group. Not only does this keep your learners engaged, but this community can provide help for one another as they’re learning.
It’s also an ideal time to go through an onboarding process with each learner. Let them know exactly what to expect from your course and how they can get in touch with you.
Another strategy is to check-in with those who have already bought your course. You can do this through email or social media. This is the time to ask questions and see if you need to provide further clarification on anything.
Also ask for success stories from your coursetakers to use as testimonials. Celebrating the success of someone who took your course is a fun and rewarding way to build your community and keep people engaged.
You can share their success through emails or on your social media platforms, or feature them on your website.
Throughout this time, your landing pages and other promotional materials are still active. It’s important to keep everything you create in the pre-launch and launch phases as fresh and contemporary as possible. This also means staying active on your social media platforms and your blog posts, or anywhere you are promoting your course.
Final Thoughts on an Online Course Launch
You’ve created a course that will hopefully solve a pain point for your audience members. Now it’s time to get this course in front of as many people as possible so you can both benefit. By planning the right course launch, you’ll have a greater chance of success and then you can start building your online community from the ground up.