7 ways to Market your Online course
You have an amazing idea, and you're ready to make it an online course to share with the world. Well, you've certainly got the right idea! E-Learning has skyrocketed in recent years and it is expected to only continue growing. Especially with the past year or so dealing with the pandemic, more people than ever are looking to improve their skills and marketability online. Just check out this infographic that is totally true!
Self-paced courses are expected to become the preferred form of learning - so that one to many offer you've been considering is probably going to be amazing.
The e-learning market is expected to grow to $375 Billion (yes, with a B) by 2026, so it's only natural that you want a piece of this pie.
E-Learning increases retention rates from 25-60%, versus the average 8-10%. It's likely because people choose to invest in your course and thus are more likely to finish.
Some things to consider before launching your course
Now that you're good and convinced this is for you, let's talk about a couple of things you should definitely ask yourself before launching (sometimes even creating) your online course.
Many see online course creation as a fast-track to huge cash injections. And while launching course programs can be lucrative you have to be conscious of the fact that it takes a lot of work to launch successfully and make a huge impact on your audience.
Do market research. I know you might be rolling your eyes at this but, it's pretty important to know whether your offer is needed by your audience. For example, you don't want to create a photography course for beginners when your target audience is professional photographers - you'll find that you won't be filling your course with your ideal clients and your launch will not go as planned. So, do market research on your ideal audience and make sure your offer will be needed.
What is your goal for your launch? You won't believe how many clients I have asked this and said "we'll see how it goes." Staaahp! Without a goal in mind, it will be easy to quit, you can become directionless, and you won't have a good plan. Set a goal, whether it be "I want to make $x" or "I want to sign up x amt of people." Having a clear goal in mind will keep you focused, help you set your price point and help you design a great plan (if you want the Ultimate Launch Design Checklist and Timeline you can download it here).
Get the framework of your offer clear. You don't have to have your course completed before you launch. In fact, you should start your pre-launch phase (read more about the phases of launching here) before you even have your course completed to validate your offer. You can use the framework to hype up your audience to them excited about your new offer. Your dream clients want to know why your offer is the one to choose and how you are going to solve their problems - they don't necessarily care about the features of your offer.
Ready to Launch?
So, now that you have a clear offer that you know your audience wants and a goal to work towards, you are ready to market your offer to reach that dream six-figure launch.
Over the years, I've worked with many coaches and entrepreneurs to help them launch their offers and these are the top tips I have learned.
Create a killer sales page. Your sales page is the heart of your sales funnel. You will promote on social media, email, on podcast, blogs, webinars, guest appearances, interviews - and hundreds of other ways that may work for you. All of these appearances will point your audience to your sales page!
To design a sales page that will convert your audience into buyers of you offer you can check out the blog I wrote about the Anatomy of a Sales Page. It breaks down how a ales page is supposed to do most of the work for you during your launch.
The point being, that you want a sales page that speaks to your audience, provides enough information for them to trust you to buy, and gives them a seamless customer experience to wow them before they even work with you.
Ramp up your social media presence. If you don't already have a following on social media, you can start building it before your official launch. You want to show up consistently and talk about the transformative aspects of your launch. Essentially, you want your audience to know about your offer before you release it.
By showing up consistently (ideally daily, but a few times a week - as it works best for you), you are building your authority, training your audience to expect value from you and getting them used to seeing you on a regular basis.
A warm audience makes it easy to convert to sales. So, you want to make sure you are showing up regularly, providing value, and engaging with your audience so you remain top of mind when you are ready to launch.
Tap into the power of email. Other coaches and gurus may tell you that you can launch without an email list, but, do you really want to? No! Launching without an email list makes the whole process more frustrating. The idea behind having an email list - even a small one - is that you have a following of people who have subscribed to hear more from you.
They already know you, and you have the opportunity to nurture them with a guaranteed email to their inbox. Even if they never open your emails, they will grow accustomed to seeing your name in their inbox and it will make them trust you more.
Plus any sale from an email list is usually effortless because they already trust you, they are more likely to purchase without much hesitation. So, yes, you need an email list. I recommend at least 250 to launch with and you can read up here about How to Grow your Email List.
Run a challenge, workshop, masterclass, video series prior to your launch. Challenges are really popular lately. It helps get your audience committed to a short process by giving them a quick win and showing them how amazing it can be when you work with them.
It's also similar to showing up in social media, where you can provide massive value and your audience becomes accustomed to seeing you on a regular basis so they trust you enough to purchase your offer when you present it to them. (Challenges are my favorite in case you haven't noticed).
Usually, when you run your challenge/workshop/masterclass, talk about your offer throughout and invite them to work with you through your offer at the end. You want to run a free offer that provides a bite-sized sample of what your audience will get when they work with you. This is usually when you get a big influx of sign-ups for your offer, so you want to make sure you wow them during your free offer.
Time to collaborate with non-competitive partners in your niche. Now is the time to cash in on those connections you have been making with your peers. If you are new in your business or don't have many connections, now is the time to reach out and say "hey!"
The idea behind collaborating with partners in the same niche as you, is that you can leverage their audiences. Chances are, someone in their audience will need your services they just need to learn about you. Some ways you can collaborate with your peers are:
social media takeover
ask them to be a referral partner
provide content for them to share with their audience
Make it easy for your partner to say yes to collaborating with you, help them by providing a mutually beneficial offer and providing them with materials to share so they don't have to do too much work.
Offer juicy discounts throughout your launch. Nothing makes a buyer feel better about a purchase than a good sale! You don't want to lower the perceived value of your offer by discounting it too much. But, for example, you can provide $200 off for early bird buyers. Maybe you can make this exclusive to your email list or social media followers so they feel special about receiving this amazing value.
Then throughout your launch, you can stack bonuses if they purchase in the next 24 hrs, or you can give a complementing for free if they pay in full, or you can run a giveaway. These offers are meant to create a sense of urgency.
You want to create FOMO in your audience with your offers. Help them feel like they will miss out on something spectacular if they don't buy your offer. You can read my blog about Creating a Sense of Urgency in your Audience to get more ideas about creating sweet offers for your launch.
Don't be intimidated by paid ads. I know for many of us (myself included) paid ads can be intimidating. But, they are an excellent way to quickly get your offer in front of many potential clients.
You can create custom targeted ads for your specific audience to grow your email list, get them to sign up for your free challenge/offer, drive them to your sales page - basically anything you want them to accomplish can be enhanced by paid ads.
So, take a stab at learning them yourself or look for a professional who can help you get started or even create your entire campaign.
Make the most out of your launch
Launching takes a lot of planning, and throughout the process, you will have periods of 0 sales (trust me even the biggest entrepreneurs go through that rut during launches). Do NOT get discouraged, you need to go through the entire sequence of your launch so you can learn what works, what doesn't work and adapt it to make your next launch even better.
You learn when you launch. Your first one may be a flop or it could be a grand success, you'll never know until you try. Follow the tips above to help you make the most out of your launch.
Keep in mind that going at it on your own is a great way to learn, but the most successful launches have a team helping them manage the whole thing. I would be honored to be a part of your launch team and help you design the launch visual assets that will draw your audience in from the moment they see you.
Find out more about Ready to Launch Design Days where we can get your whole launch assets designed in 1 or 2 days so you can be ready to go. I help with the design of high converting assets, set-up all the tech for your launch and support you in creating a plan for your course launch. Are you ready to launch?