You spent months creating this fantastic online program. You invested countless hours creating the content, shooting the videos and getting them transcribed, and creating worksheets and handouts. Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You know that said offer is of really high quality, it’s something that there is a demand for in the market, and have made sure that there is nothing quite like it. Sure there are competitive products but yours is much more practical, easy to implement, and takes the learning curve out of the whole process.
You think people will be signing up in droves. You think there is going to be stampede in a rush to purchase this ecourse. Sadly, none of this happens. You create your course and you put it up for sale and the results are far from what you were hoping for. They are heart breaking. They are soul crushing.
Maybe this situation has happened to you, or maybe you have heard a similar story from a number of new entrepreneurs and frankly it scares you. Sure you want to create your course, or update it, but you don’t want to take a chance unless there is some guarantee that this will work. Fear not, in today’s post, I’ll be teaching you how to launch your ecourse so it sells out. Let’s begin!
Phase 1: Research
If this is your first online program ever, you want to make sure you will be investing time and effort in creating something people actually want to buy.
This is actually the number one mistake people make that leads to their ecourse being a total flop. I would go as far as to say that even if you master all the remaining steps and execute them to a T, if you created something that there is no demand for, it will not sell well. No ifs and buts about it.
So, the first step is to research. This also holds true if you want to relaunch a course that didn’t do that well the first time around. You want to go back to the drawing board to make sure you didn’t imagine the demand in your excitement. That there is a real gap your course can fill.
Start by asking your own audience first. These are some of your most loyal fans so they are going to tell you the truth. Ask them what their biggest frustration is when it comes to your topic and what is one thing that would pay to get fixed.
Don’t stop there. Ask them what they have tried in the past to fix this problem and why it hasn’t worked. Tell them what frustrates them when it comes to all the existing solutions in the market right now.
You can ask all these questions in the form of a survey or by talking people one-on-one. If your audience is pretty small, there are other ways to discover market gap. You can join online communities and Facebook groups and start paying attention to what your ideal audience is talking about. You can also read comments by people on the leading blogs in your industry. You can also ask your friends who serve the same audience but in a different capacity if they would mind helping you out by running a survey or just allowing you to speak with a few people.
This step is crucial and if you nail this step, it is pretty much guaranteed that your launch is going to be successful. Congratulations on figuring this out.
Now on to the second phase …
Phase 2: Course creation and beta testing
At this stage you need to start putting the content together for your ecourse. If your ecourse or online program is badly executed, you will have trouble getting advance praise, reviews and testimonials from your beta testers. But when you nail this step, this will super charge your launch and sales process.
Start with your strengths and actual experience. Most coaches, consultants, and healers aren’t course creators. While they have experience working one-on-one, in groups or running workshops, they don’t necessarily have the experience of putting a training program together. If you have prior experience in this area, this is great. If not, I recommend working with a course design or instructional design expert.
They will help you create the outline, organize your material, choose the right information and structure your course. You will also gain insights into how adults learn and learn about the different types of learners such as visual, audio or kinaesthetic. A well-developed course will make you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Now you want to test whether your course delivers what you promise or not. You need to hear from real humans who consume your content and see how they like it. Find out if they find anything confusing, if anything is hard to understand or implement and if there are any gaps in the process (remember, you are operating from the place of being an expert and are bound to miss some spots that newbies or beginners find it hard to execute).
You can recruit a group of beta testers for free or you can charge a low fee to do so, it just depends on the nature of your course and the relationship you have with your list. Sometimes in order for people to actually consume the content and take it seriously, you need to charge, otherwise they will not pay it the attention it deserves.
Got your beta testers? Great. Start dripping content to them and pay close attention to their feedback. They can also help you tweak the format. For example, they might tell you they prefer the content in written form or maybe they’ll encourage you to add some additional support like a private Facebook group.
The beauty of this round is that you can actually create the content as you go, based on the feedback you receive. And once the course is finished, ask your participants to document their thoughts. Ask them if you can use some portions as testimonials and once you put together a testimonial, ask for permission to use it in your marketing materials.
Once your ecourse is complete, you can get in touch with other people (movers and shakers in your industry) and ask them whether they’d be able to write a review for your ecourse. Mention the praise you have already received. Be proud – you have earned it.
Phase 3: Pre-launch content
Once you are happy with how your course is coming along, you can start planning your pre-launch content.
This is another reason for your launch not getting you the results you hoped for – the fact that you did not warm up your email list enough to become receptive to what is coming up. Secondly, your pre-launch content will also help add more people to your email list so while you are releasing content for your launch, you are building your list at the same time.
The way you go about your launch content is that you plan a series of content (it can be a video series but it can just be a series of blog posts) to get your audience excited about your ecourse. You send than more content that you normally would, so if you email once a week, now you are switching to once every third day.
Most people get scared that once they start sending out more content, lot of people will be offended. Actually, only the people who are not a right fit for you and your business will get offended. They and the freebie seekers, these people are the ones who will unsubscribe at the hint of a product launch. And why does it matter anyway? Why should you care if all these people leave who were never going to buy from you? Your email list numbers should never be a vanity metric. By weeding out people who will never purchase, you are actually doing yourself a favour so you don’t expect unrealistic results.
If your business caters to different types of clients and customers, it makes sense to create a separate list for your launch. You can splinter some information from the actual course and create a highly specific, relevant freebie that people can get their hands on once they join this new list. Some people object to asking people to opt-in again when they are already on your list but think of it in this way, you are just asking them to reaffirm their relationship. You are just asking them to confirm that they are still interested in what you have to do. These are consistency and commitment principles of influence at play here.
Work off a pre-made launch plan. Think about how many pieces of content you will send. Think about the topics you will cover and how they will lend to the topic in the next post in the series. This ensures that if somebody discovers a piece of content somewhere along the middle, they will be interested in checking out the previous pieces as well. Play up to your strengths, if you are really good on video then go with talking head videos. If you are great at speaking, think about talking over slides. Master of word? Maybe the written format is the best option for you.
Lastly, give people sufficient time to absorb your content but not so long that they lose interest. You can’t go wrong with 7 days of pre-launch content.
Phase 4: Open cart (with a deadline)
As people follow the natural progression of your pre-launch content, you can lead them to your offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your offer should be crystal clear. Tell people exactly what they are getting and at what price. Give them the benefits but also present a summary of what exactly are they getting. This might include your course material, video transcripts, worksheets, templates, checklists, handouts, personalized access, group coaching calls or private Facebook access. Just spell it out so they are 100% clear. Remember, confused minds don’t buy.
- Give people a deadline to buy. Human beings are master procrastinators and you want them to take action now rather than later. You can employ persuasion principles of urgency and scarcity.
- You can do an internal launch first where you open doors to the people on your list and give them early access at a special, subscriber only, discounted price. Tell them that the price goes up for public to create urgency and encourage people to enrol. If your course includes working one-on-one then that means you can only enrol so many people. There is natural scarcity here and not a manufactured one.
Once you have an open cart, you have two main things to do. First, you have to persuade as many people from the launch list to enrol and you do this by sending them enough reminders. Depending upon how long your cart stays open, you might be emailing every second day, and sending two emails on the last day. You will find that a large number of people will put off their decision at the last minute and will only jump in the last few hours. So send one email in the morning and one again, just a few hours before the enrolment closes.
Secondly, you have to keep working to attract new people to make your launch a success. So let’s look at the final piece of this launch puzzle.
Phase 5: Social Media Promotion
You must be promoting your pre-launch and launch content at all times. It is vital that you attract new people to give your launch every chance of success.
Let’s have a quick look at the numbers. On average, 1-5% of the people on your launch list will register for your course. Now do the Math. If you want to enrol 60 people into your $500 online course, (assuming a conversion rate of 3%), you would need about 2000 people on your list have a 30K launch.
Keeping the numbers in mind also allows to shoot for realistic goals. So if you have 500 people on your list and you are expecting a 50K launch but you end up doing 10K, don’t think your launch failed. Your launch actually did pretty good. The problem is that you were expecting too much. If you want to achieve that kind of goals then you need to build that kind of list so building your email list should be a priority from day1. Actually to get that kind of numbers for your launch, start building your email list when your course is just in the conceptualization stage.
Start by being active on your Facebook page and all the social media platforms you are currently on. Hire someone to manage your social media presence if you can afford it. Plan a number of guest posts on the relevant blogs in your industry. Start connecting with influencers early on and try to get the posts scheduled round about the time of your launch for maximum impact.
Schedule webinars if that’s your thing. Run Facebook ads leading up to the landing page so people can sign up to your launch list, or promote your webinars through Facebook ads. You can even promote your pre-launch content via Facebook. Form strategic alliances with people who serve the same audiences but in a complimentary manner to you and who are not direct competitors.
Let the ecourse begin!
Remember, when you create a well-executed course there is a real demand for, warm up your list nicely and then make a compelling offer, your launch will give you the numbers you plan for. There is not rocket science but simple Math.
Unless you do something to sabotage your launch yourself like ask for an exorbitant price, or email poorly crafted launch content (which will be a reflection of your course) or create something nobody wants, you will have a success launch. So do the former and you’ll do just fine. Share with us in the comments below if you’ve ever created an ecourse. Or maybe you have some questions? Let us know!