:::runs into room while sloshing coffee everywhere:::
Oh heeeeey! How’s it going?
Today I’m really craving some fresh banana bread with chocolate chips, but that’s completely beside the point.
Instead I thought it would be fun to share with you a little bit about my very first two online course launches, and the specific things that I did which allowed me to go from having a $179 launch to having a $10,000 dollar launch.
Sound good? Excellent!
I've been meaning to write this blog post for FOREVER. Like ... literally about 6 months.
So back in April 2016 (man that was less than a year ago!) I created my first ever paid online course. I’ve always been passionate about teaching, (in fact my mom was a teacher, she actually homeschooled my siblings and I growing up!) and I love helping people start and grow online businesses, so I thought … why not?!
I came up with my first course idea and then went to work on creating it.
After a little over a month and a half of intense hours pouring my heart into this course, it was finally ready to enter the world. It was ready to be launched, baby!
So what did I do for my launch?
Well, after posting maybe a couple of behind-the-scenes photos on social media leading up to the course release, I crafted and sent what I thought was the perfect email to announce my course out to my entire email list (which was at about 8,000 people at the time), with a link to the sales page.
And then I waited for the sales to ROLL RIGHT IN like a donut on wheels!
And … crickets.
From that one email announcement, (which was my entire “launch”), I made just one sale, which translated to $179.
Definitely better than ZERO sales, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a bit disappointed. After all, I kept seeing all these people having these massive 5 figure launches and was so sure that I could do it too!
I felt like a failure. I questioned my ability to create online courses and I thought things like, “well maybe I just suck. Maybe I should just move onto something else.”
But after throwing myself a massive pity party for about 24 hours which involved tears, ice cream and Netflix, I FINALLY came to my senses!
(I am NOT the type who gives up, just so you know.)
I realized that I literally had ZERO strategy behind my launch flop, so I decided to try again. I was going to create another online course, and this time I would actually plan out the launch and be strategic about it!
And what happened? About 3 months later I launched my new course called ‘Webinars for Introverts’ and made $10,000 during my launch! Just a SMALL difference than the $179 launch I had before, right?
So what the heck did I do differently from the ONE email launch strategy I had before?
Lots. (Like ... I actually HAD a strategy this time around, haha!)
Here’s a list of the 10 things that I did for my second online course launch to go from having a tiny $179 launch to a slightly more massive $10,000 launch.
1. I validated my course idea first.
Instead of just coming up with what I thought was an awesome idea and then going to work, I actually took some time to validate the idea first to make sure that it was something people were actually interested in!
I did this by simply asking people inside of my Facebook group and also doing a webinar called ‘Webinars for Newbies’ (which was directly related to my course topic) where I didn’t sell anything during the webinar, I just wanted to see how many people would actually sign up/what types of questions people were asking. I had about 450 people sign up for that webinar and everyone seemed interested, so I decided to move forward with the idea!
(Oh! And if you're a creative entrepreneur then feel free to join my Facebook group for lady bosses right here! We're a pretty fabulous bunch.) :-)
2. I created a cover page on my website with a course-related freebie.
About 2 months in advance of my course launch I created a spiffy looking landing page which I used as my website home page (in Squarespace they are called ‘cover pages’) and offered people a free “webinar goody bag” so that I could start building my email list with people who were actually interested in learning about webinars, which was what my course was going to be about!
This is something I found to be incredibly effective and would highly recommend for anything that you might be launching. After all ... having a huge email list doesn't really matter if no one on it is actually interested in your course topic right?
3. I did 2 pre-launch webinars to continue building my email list.
In the weeks leading up to my launch, I did TWO separate webinars (one joint venture webinar and one solo webinar) which were again “pitch free” and directly related to my course topic. Doing these got even MORE people on my email list who were actually interested in learning about how to put on epic webinars!
Planning webinars is definitely time intensive, but I FOR SURE found that doing them was worth it. I was able to not only connect with people better, but all of the questions that people were asking during the webinar were GOLD because they helped me in actually creating my course content!
(By the way, if you'd like to try doing a webinar I've got tons of free resources to help you plan your own awesome webinars right here!)
4. I wrote 3 blog posts about my course topic.
So in the weeks leading up to my course launch, I wrote 3 different blog posts all about webinars! I didn’t mention my course or anything, I just wanted to educate people on WHAT webinars are and WHY doing webinars are so amazing for online business growth.
I tend to write longer blog posts so again, this was kind of time intensive. BUT I also re-purposed some of my blog posts into emails that I sent out during my launch, so I was at least re-using them. Had I not re-used them in my emails I PROBABLY wouldn't have devoted so much time to writing these pre-launch blog posts again.
5. I pre-sold my course 21 days in advance.
Yeah, I was really nervous about doing this one! But per the advice of my friend Mariah Coz (who kicks major butt at launching courses), I decided to try it.
Basically the idea is that you want to make sure that people will actually pay for it BEFORE you spend a ton of time (and potentially money) creating it.
So 21 days before I actually launched (and created most of) the course, I got a sales page up with the basic course outline and details and put it on pre-sale for an ‘early bird’ price where people could buy it.
6. I did 2 joint venture webinars with exclusive bundles during the pre-sale.
Oh yes, I did MORE webinars! :P
During the pre sale / early bird price period, I did TWO joint venture webinars where I bundled my course up with my JV partner’s course and we offered it as an exclusive bundle. Again, just like with planning most webinars, it was pretty time intensive. (Especially when you tend to spend WAY too much time on creating slides, like me! :P)
We sold a few bundles but honestly, not enough to where I thought it was worth all of the time put in.
Looking back, I think I could have done a better job at pairing my course up with another course that complemented it better and made more sense!
7. I did a 10 day series in my Facebook group.
During the pre-launch I did a 10 day Facebook live series in my Facebook group leading up to the launch day. I freak’in LOVE live broadcasting so I had a ton of fun with this! Plus, it was a lot less time consuming than planning a webinar.
I didn’t actually track how many people enrolled as a result of the live series (oops!) but I found it to be awesome for interacting with people, providing value and for answering any questions people had about the course.
8. I sent out 6 emails during the pre-sale period.
The day my course went up for pre-sale, I sent an email out to my entire list announcing that it was available at an early bird price (woo hoo!) and then in the following 2 weeks, I re-purposed the blog posts that I had written (where I essentially just educated people about webinars) and sent out 3 different emails.
Aaaaaand then I also sent out 2 email reminders that the course price would be going up a couple days before it’s official “launch!”
I mean damn … that’s A LOT of emails. But I DID experience a nice spirt of sales when I announced that the price would be going up soon so they were worth it. :-)
9. I sent out 5 more emails during the actual launch period of 1.5 weeks.
Yes … MORE emails!
I was initially pretty worried about sending out that many emails because I didn’t want to bug people, but I eventually learned to just get over it. I sent out a couple of emails emphasizing the benefits of the course, what the course was all about, what the course would help them achieve etc .
10. I did another solo webinar during the launch.
Yes … I did ANOTHER webinar! I did a solo webinar where I sold my course at the end and offered an exclusive bonus that was only available during the launch period. Again this was pretty time intensive to plan, but was definitely worth it because I sold 8 course enrollments at $397. :-)
And there you have it! A complete list of all the things that I did for that particular online course launch.
I decided to keep the course open as evergreen because I honestly wasn’t sure how the launch would go after my first $179 launch, so I didn’t have the added urgency of a “cart closing” or another price increase. Instead, my launch was basically me promoting it heavily for a week and a half after it was available with time sensitive bonuses.
I also didn’t use any paid advertising (like Facebook ads).
All in all, I found that creating the cover page with the course related freebie, doing course topic related webinars leading up to the launch, the emails, the FB live series and doing my SOLO webinar during the launch week to be the most effective for that particular launch.
So uh ... yeah I hope that some of you find this post helpful for your own launches!
I've learned A LOT since these 2 first launches last summer, so I'll do another launch-related post soon. :-)
How about you? Have you ever launched an online course? How did it go? Let me know below, I'd love to hear about it!
And now, it's time to go for a run outside in the sunshine!