online course launch lessons
The second launch of The Amplified Marketing Method is a wrap and I am super excited to share with you all some UNFILTERED insights into the Online Course world – online course launch lessons.
Courses have definitely been an online business trend over the past few years. It seems everyone has a course these days – especially in my online marketing niche.
Even with all this competition, I felt this was the business model I wanted to go with – something that would enable me to free myself from traditional working hours and still earn a decent crust.
The decent crust, in all honesty, is yet to come but the dream is very much still alive.
In this post, I’m sharing 6 lessons learnt in my online course journey in the hopes that if you are considering this as a business model you come at it with REALISTIC expectations – not some instant money maker that some experts profess it to be.
online course launch lessons #1 : YOU CAN’T BEAT THE NUMBERS
One figure that I keep getting told by various experts is the list size to sales ratio of 0.5-2%.
Meaning that for every 100 people on your list you can expect to get 0.5-2 people buy from you.
Of course, I believed I was the exception! Thinking I had a highly engaged audience and an offer that provided them with a specific solution they told me they wanted. So I set my goals high…. like 8% of list high.
This figure wasn’t based on statistics or list size. This was based on what I hoped I could achieve.
In the end, I received a 1% conversion. Something I am told is pretty good for today’s online environment.
So it seems, I can’t beat the numbers after all!
Email list growth is crucial to growing course sales.
online course launch lessons #2 : start small
I am someone who likes to go all out when they do something. I wanted to create the most amazing course experience possible.
With expectations set high across both my launches (see above), I invested heavily. I invested in an expensive Teachable package. I hired a designer to professionally design all my workbooks and I spent a decent penny on Facebook Ads.
If I had followed the “rules” of list numbers maybe I would have been more conservative in my spending. Instead, now I am left with a course that is perhaps only just breaking even at this point.
In addition, I have made many changes to my course structure so now some of those wonderful workbooks might not last the distance and will need to be updated in the future. And the Teachable package is a subscription so it would be a recurring cost.
If I had my time over I would just DIY the workbooks and invest that money in hosting my own course website. I would also reduce that ad spend.
During the first couple of launches you are still figuring out if what you offer is something people want. And as you deliver the program, you are learning what people truly need and will be making improvements along the way.
So my recommendation is, start small if you can. Test your idea and then grow from there.
online course launch lessons #3 : you need to build excitement
Don’t worry this isn’t all doom & gloom! One big improvement from Launch 1 to Launch 2 was building excitement.
In all honesty, launch #1 was a bit of a flop with only a couple of registrants. By launch 2, I have 5 x the registrations. Considering my list size was fairly similar (as I did a cull between the two launches), this was a huge improvement.
I attribute this growth to the next few lessons but this one most of all.
Before Launch #1, The Amplified Marketing Method was my secret project. Only my beta testers and a few others knew about it. I felt nervous about revealing what I was doing to the world as I thought that would mean my every move would be monitored.
That as a marketing expert I “should” know what I was doing and if people were watching they might catch onto the fact that I was still figuring this out as I went along.
So when it came to launching, people were surprised! They didn’t have much of a chance to understand how I could help them. They didn’t have anticipation. They didn’t have the budget set aside.
This was a big change for Launch #2. I shared the full experience from about 3 months out! I shared behind the scenes posts and FB lives in my Facebook Group. I did a reveal all podcast episode on Mums with Hustle. I posted about it on social media. I even had a VIP list and held a scholarship competition.
This allowed my audience the space they needed to make a decision and not feel pressured to the 2 week open cart limit.
online course launch lessons # 4 : give your audience what they really want
The Amplified Marketing Method has already gone through a bit of a make over. Round #1 was very focused on creating an Online Marketing Strategy. It was the full picture of how things fit together.
But the results weren’t as easy to explain.
People want to know the exact outcome they would achieve.
Yes, a “plan” is nice to have but after 8 weeks you would hope to have something specific in place.
Don’t get me wrong, as a result of the original version there were a tonne of specific outcomes and benefits. But it was overwhelming for my would-be students to see.
Enter Round 2 and I have done a reshuffle. I shifted the focus to be primarily on Email Marketing so that participants could easily see the outcomes they would get (an opt in incentive, tech setup, email sequences, promotional strategies and more).
The course content itself is very similar, just shifted around a bit and the foundational stuff moved to a “bonus”. This means they are getting to their results sooner.
Instead of trying to change people’s thinking around why they need a marketing strategy, I could provide them with a solution they are looking for (an email marketing system) but with the way it is delivered, they also get what they “need” – the marketing strategy as well.
online course launch lessons #5 : find a launch method that suits you
Many people profess to love Webinars for their launches. That they convert really well and that you should be doing them.
And I tried – I really did. For both launches.
But, really, they aren’t for me. Not for launching anyway.
The teaching part I can do. So they are probably a good list builder for me.
The “selling” part on the other hand just feels so awkward to me – and it shows.
For this second launch I tried a challenge. And I LOVED every minute of it!
It feels so much more natural to me to build a relationship with participants over a week – through providing pure value but at the same time building relationships, trust & connection.
I’m not just someone giving a sales pitch – I’m someone who is going on a journey with them.
Yes, you still need to do the sales part at the end of a challenge but it doesn’t feel as forced.
I am much better “on the fly” in a Facebook Live than with a fully rehearsed Powerpoint presentation.
So I encourage you, whatever feels good to you – go with that method!
online course launch lessons #6: mindset matters
If I could only pick one lesson out of all of this to share with you, this would be it.
Launching is as much a mindset thing as it is a strategic thing.
I’m a strategist – I’m very good at “doing” things. And my default mode is that I’ll continue to do more and more and more things until I either get what I want or I burn out. I’ll try and learn more things to do or listen to more podcasts or subscribe to more webinars to learn that one thing that I might be missing.
But there comes a point where you need to trust yourself. Where you need to move into “being”.
For me, this was NOT EASY. But for this launch it made all the difference. Not only with the results but also with how I felt about the process.
Last launch I came out of it a nervous wreck. Each day was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Trust me, it was not pretty.
This launch while I had moments of doubt, there was this underlying peace and calm the majority of the time.
Instead of learning about extra launch strategies or trying to come up with more to share on social media or emails. I stopped and listened to my intuition. I journalled, prayed, meditated, read inspirational books and used essential oils. I went and practiced self care with a mani & pedi, a float and a massage – all during open cart.
As a result of this “being” , I had a number of a-has during the launch process. Times my intuition guided me to take a specific action. Actions that were much more aligned with me & my business. Actions that connected a lot more. Not forced “to-do’s” because I needed to “do” something.
So whether you believe in the power of attraction or not – the mindset piece still plays such an important part as it helps ground you and connect you with what you already know to be true.
So what do all these online course launch lessons boil down to?
2 big things:
- You have to be aware of the realities of course creation. In most cases it isn’t going to be an instant, overnight success. Instead it is a long-term game that will take time for you to build your list and your program.
- Listen to your audience and yourself – way ahead of any online trainings. Yes, you can learn some how to’s once you have decided on a particular tactic. But first trust yourself and your instincts and second make sure you are really listening to what your audience is asking for.
As a result of this second launch, I am more and more excited to keep persuing and growing this program. Now I have the 1% conversion, I feel like the proof of concept is there. So now it is just a matter of scaling – increasing my list size and my sales. Hopefully with a slightly more conservative budget though!