COURSE LAUNCHING 101: Tips for Your First Online Course

Online course launches are the new wave in online entrepreneurship lately.

Why?

Two reasons:

  1. Both the internet and online businesses themselves are in a more “mature” place, meaning they’ve been established for a while.
  2. And second, as business owners grow and scale more and more, they run out of time to do ALL of the tasks, projects, and client work. Therefore, they need an easy way to free up their time while still making an income.

Enter launching an online course!

I’ve launched my own course in the past and am currently about to re-launch as we speak. My agency retainer clients pay me to help them with their course launches, and my online business manager mentorship clients ask me about course launching all of the time.

With so much buzz around this, let’s talk about some of the best practices and tips for your first few launches in your online business if you’re wanting to create a course:

1. It’s really valuable to create a group program the first 1-3 times that you launch.

This way you can test run it to see what’s working, what isn’t, and if it’s a program that people actually want to pay you money for. You can know in the back of your mind that eventually, you’ll turn it into a 1:1 offer.

2. Create your program as you go.

This is so you can tweak the content based on the feedback from your clients. Why? Because sometimes we think our clients want A, B, and C, when really they want X, Y, and Z. 

We can assume they need certain things all day long, but we need to make sure of that before we spend a lot of time on something they don’t want. This is essentially paid-for market research for your business, too.

3. Keep your expectations reasonable.

People get caught up in having things look pretty and polished with their launches, but that should be the least of your worries the first time around.

You’re going to make mistakes and also see what works well, so don’t be afraid to take messy action or get discouraged if you don’t get as many sign-ups as you hope for. 

Just like with your content, you have to show up and put yourself out there in order to learn and improve for future launches.

4. Email drip your first course rather than setting up with a platform.

This is what I did for my beta round of 60 Days to Solid Systems. If platforms overwhelm you, the email drip method is a great way to take messy action, create as you go, and make sure there’s interest in what you’re offering.

You don’t spend so much time on the front end that you then have to go back and re-do because it’s not what it needs to be.

5. If you already have a course platform or are ready to use one, great!

You can still go the route of not having everything done up-front this way, too. Here are some platform options I would recommend:

Kajabi

  • This is the most popular platform and for good reason, although on the pricier side. You can host your website, course, and email marketing there (I am not a fan of their email features, but it’s still usable).
  • I don’t think the website portion is super user friendly and if you’re not a techy person, it can be hard to know what you’re looking at. There’s a lot of moving pieces on the backend. 
  • BUT, they do offer a really great user experience – if you’ve ever bought a course from someone who used Kajabi, you know what I’m talking about!

Member Vault

  • I’ve looked into this and it’s probably where I will host my own course once I switch it to a platform.
  • Here’s why: It has incredible features for an amazing price. It’s free for up to 100 people. That’s insane. You can also do landing and sales pages through Member Vault as well. 

ClickFunnels

  • This is one I use often with my OBM retainer clients and we even use the course option for uploading replay calls. While ClickFunnels is not cheap, it has an amazing number of features even if you don’t use it for the course aspect.
  • You can do almost any funnel under the sun: sales, memberships, webinar, hangout, as well as custom domains, email integrations, and order/sales pages. 
  • Because there are so many features, it can be a little extensive on the backend. If you’re only going to use it for course launches, it’s probably a bit of a pricey investment, IMO.

Other Options

  • I see Thinkific or Teachable floating around frequently. I haven’t done much work in the backend of these, but something else to consider when weighing your options for a platform to launch your course with.
  • Some of these are very trendy, especially Kajabi, but I don’t think any are necessarily a “bad” option. 

As with most things in business, it comes down to researching and figuring out which one is going to work best for you and help you serve your course members to the fullest!

If your launch strategy doesn’t account for everything (and I mean everything), then imperative things will slip through the cracks, leaving both your heart and your bank account hurting at what could have been a wildly successful launch. This is why I have created a free resource for you! Download the LAUNCH CHECKLIST here!

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