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Online learning has greatly evolved, and now the market is quite competitive. Thus, many beginner instructors wonder how to launch their courses and set them up for success.
Well, if you are one of the instructors who ponder the best course launch strategies, you are in the right place. This guide will explore the best techniques and practices to launch a course successfully and provide you with an ultimate checklist to use as a base.
Step-by-step launch for your course
With a good demand on the market, more and more creators and instructors get inspired to offer online courses. However, with growing demand, there is also increasing competition. What instructors fail to understand is that marketing is as essential as the quality & value of the course itself. Yes, it is almost impossible to make a sale nowadays without a proper launch, marketing strategy, and plan.
A good course launch will allow you to set your course up for success.
#1 Research the market demand
First and foremost, you must research the overall market demand. What is your offer, and do you have an appropriate demand? If not, tweak the headline of your course a bit, or change up content and make it more focused on topics that are on-demand in today's market.
Here are the main steps in more detail:
- Research market demand.
- Identify your target audience and the specific needs & wants of your potential customers
- Conduct keyword research and utilize tools such as Google Trends & SEMrush to identify search trends and get clear analytics
- Utilize social media platforms to gain more insights into your current audience
- Engage in online communities such as Facebook forums, LinkedIn groups, etc. This will help to gain real-time insights into the customer’s needs
- Conduct competitor analysis, which includes the audience, pricing, go-to-market strategies, social media presence, etc.
After gathering the data needed, it is time for analysis and evaluation. All the information you learned during this stage will help you with further steps.
For instance, when it comes to presells, you can appropriately target your ads. When identifying course goals and objectives, you can make it more valuable than competitors currently do.
#2 Estimate your goals and expenses
The next tip is to estimate your goals and expenses to reach those goals. For instance, if your goal is to make 20 sales. What is your marketing budget in that case? Consider whether your net profit is worth the marketing budget you plan to spend.
Besides, keep in mind that your goals must be SMART. SMART goal-setting techniques stand for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific goals.
Here are some practical steps & tips to help you at this stage:
- Outline your goals in areas such as number of sales, revenue targets, and student enrollment numbers. Afterward, outline goals for the students. It is vital to provide students with a list of objectives & learning outcomes to motivate them to purchase.
- Have a clear idea of expenses and investments made to create the course. Make a list of expenses you made/need to make, including equipment, platform fees, marketing, etc.
Based on your goals and expenses, it is time to analyze profitability and allocate budgets for marketing, platform, tools, etc.
- Analyze profitability and count ROI rate as well as Customer Acquisition Cost. If there is a need to adjust your goals, go ahead.
- Based on the budget set, create an omnichannel marketing strategy and distribute the budget accordingly. The important thing to remember is that not every channel needs an equal budget, and it is vital to prioritize correctly based on your audience.
- Purchase the necessary tools & platform subscription where you will host your course creation website.
Also, if you think you need thousands of dollars to start marketing, stop worrying. Here are some budget examples from course creators as beginners. You can read the full post on Reddit.
#3 Choose your marketing channels
If you want to launch a course, choosing marketing channels wisely successfully is one of the most critical aspects. For instance, the places where your potential students spend time may differ depending on your target audience.
Let's say you are creating a course on "How to grow as an influencer," meaning that you are targeting influencers, content creators, beginners in the industry, etc. Your target demographic hangs out on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Thus, opening accounts on these platforms and creating content for long-form organic marketing will be a wise step.
Also, create ads for short-form marketing on the same platforms to ensure they reach your target buyers.
Finally, make sure you are posting about your new courses on these platforms. Let your audience know about upcoming courses or the one that just launched.
#4 Presell and offer discounts
The next step to help you launch a course successfully is to do presells and offer discounts. For instance, you can start pre-selling before the final product is ready and set the launch date at a certain time. Just ensure the final product is ready at least a week before that date so your course launches successfully.
Also, you can offer discounts.
E.g., the first 20 buyers will get 50% off the course, the next 30 25% off the course, and so on. Keep in mind that you can also offer discounts after the course launch to create some buzz around existing content.
Here are steps to prepare for presells:
- Create a solid landing page for your new course with CTA buttons positioned in all the right places.
- To spark interest and motivate potential buyers, make sure to list the objectives and learning outcomes of the course in a precise and to-the-point manner. When writing this part, consider “What is the value this course gives, and would someone purchase it.”
- Do not forget about the countdown. Make sure you offer a limited-time offer to create a sense of urgency (both for discounts and presells)
- Continuously build anticipation around the product launch and promote presells via a multichannel social media strategy.
- Set a precise launch date to contribute to the trust factor for the audience.
When you launch the course, implement post-launch discount strategies.
#5 Build a website that speaks
If you want your course to succeed, you should build a website that looks catchy. Your website is a business card that either will attract visitors and potential clients or push them away. Regarding your website, your main goal should be increasing the conversion rate and the time users/visitors spend on your website.
Here are a few tips to achieve that:
- Make sure the loading speed of your website is high.
- Build a well-designed website that clearly communicates what it is about.
- Use solid and readable fonts
- Choose contrasting or complimenting colors
- Use graphics, yet make sure to leave enough whitespaces
- SEO-optimize the content on your website pages
Also, it will help if you have a separate page on your website for testimonials & reviews. You can display your certifications there and past clients’ reviews. This will highly contribute to your credibility and create trust around you as a professional.
Let’s also review a sample website from a professional - Motivational Speaker and life Coach - Mel Robbins.
Mel’s website displays all the characteristics of a successful website, including high speed, dynamics, contrasting colors, clear fonts, etc. Most importantly, it has every element to tell the visitor who she is and what she does. Mel offers a “Free 3-Part Training: Take Control with Mel'' as a lead magnet where she showcases her working style and the effectiveness of her tactics.
So, do not be afraid to offer value for free. It will help you generate students and create a good reputation in the long run.
Key takeaways from her website:
- Have clear and actionable headlines
- Include effective CTAs displayed throughout the website.
- Make sure you include your main value proposition.
- Pay attention to how you deliver your website copy.
- Use social proof.
- Use eye-catching visuals that match your brand.
#6 Start an email campaign
Another tip to successfully launch a course is to start an email campaign. You need a good website dedicated to your course pages. You can offer a registration form to collect emails and automate a campaign on that page.
Besides, you can offer a free PDF, an infographic of valuable resources related to your niche, a test, or any other resource that can serve as a lead magnet on the home page. Your website visitors can access the resource by filling out a simple form, usually including their name and email.
Afterward, you will have leads in your emails to contact later.
Now, here are some actual tips that will help you launch a good email campaign:
- Define the goals of the specific campaign (sales, awareness, value, etc.) & segment of the audience (e.g., new leads, existing customers, lost leads)
- Make sure that the emails are mobile responsive, as most access their daily emails through mobile devices
- Write a clear & concise headline
- Include a clear call-to-action
- Conduct A/B testing and continuously improve your email campaigns
To get a better idea of how email marketing campaigns should look, take a look at the “30 Brilliant Marketing Email Campaign Examples [+ Template]” article in HubSpot’s blog.
#7 Announce the course launch
Finally, announce your course launch. If you want your course to be successful, it is essential to understand how social media and networking work. Do not just announce it on your website and wait for the leads to generate magically.
The short course of action is as follows.
- First things first, set up Google Ads to advertise your landing page.
- Secondly, post on social media and then ask your network, including friends and colleagues, to share. Through this, you will organically increase reachability and impressions on your post. Also, you can set up targeted ads on social media to reach the exact audience you need.
Here are a few tips that will actually help you out during this step:
- Prominently feature the course launch on your website
- Write compelling course descriptions and enrollment details
- Engage with your audience on social media, create polls, offer discounts, ask them to share
- Provide value through writing informative pieces such as long-form blog articles
- Promoto testimonials & reviews you got from previous courses to increase the trust factor
- Offer early bird discounts, e.g., the first ten people to sign up get 50% off
- Create engaging video content, for instance, an introduction to the course in video form
- Collaborate with influencers in your field that have relevant audiences
- Work on building a strong community
- Utilize the power of storytelling to create a compelling story for the course creation process or how your previous courses affected the lives of those who took them.
#8 Do the aftermath
After you launch your course, do the aftermath and track its overall performance. Here is how you do that:
- Track leads & conversion rates. You can track these metrics with analytics tools such as Google Analytics, which will allow you to monitor the number of visitors. (To get the conversion rate, divide the number of visitors by the number of enrollments).
- Analyze and track the performance of various marketing channels, including Google ads, social media ads, mail campaigns, social media campaigns, etc.
- Assess the feedback received for the course and overall engagement levels (e.g., how many students completed the course, grades, what feedback/reviews they wrote)
- Evaluate revenue & profitability for the course by assessing investments & return-on-investment rates. You can also choose other Key Performance Indicators you can rely on and see how your course performed.
- Gather all the necessary data, assess your marketing and sales strategies, and make necessary improvements.
Also, you can monitor the long-term impact of the course, follow up with students, and make sure that your previous students are engaged within the community.
Your ultimate course launch checklist
Finally, let’s dive into the ultimate checklist for your course launch.
Goals & Expenses
- Establish goals (SMART)
- Calculate expenses & investments
- Understand metrics such as customer acquisition cost and ROI rates
- Set up a budget for various activities for your business
- Identify your target audience and their needs & wants
- Identify current market trends & complete competitor analysis
- Set up ads for social media & website based on the data collected, do A/B testing
- Identify marketing channels
- Set up a strong social media presence
- Open a blog for long-form valuable content, engagement & organic traffic on your website
- Build a sales funnel (Generate leads & collect information)
- Nurture Leads by providing value (email campaigns with PDFs, infographics, blog materials, tec.)
- Announce presells and launch date of the course (campaigns, Google & Social Media ads)
- Incorporate upsells and cross-sells
- Build a proper website (enough white spaces, readable fonts, visuals, fast loading speed)
- Create a dedicated landing page for a new course
- Create lead magnets
- Offer discounts within CTAs placed on the landing page
- Set up email campaigns & sequences (write professional copies, follow-ups, and responses depending on A/B/C situations)
- Make sure email campaigns are niche-specific
- Create campaigns to reach different goals, including value, engagement, conversion, etc.
- Track the number of leads
- Track conversion rates
- Track performance of marketing strategy via tracking results of email & social media campaigns, ads
- Follow up
- Engage with your clients and potential customers
- Engage with your social media audiences
Guarantee your perfect course launch!
Well, it is time to choose a platform that guarantees you a perfect course launch.
One of the most potent platforms on the current market is Uteach. Uteach comes in handy with lots of useful tools and functionality that allow course creators to launch courses and grow successfully.
Features of Uteach include a website & course builder, built-in marketing features, live functionality, and many others. So, if you have been waiting for a sign, this is it.