6 steps to successfully launch your first online course

Launching your online course can be confusing. After all, this is the first step that you are taking towards your customers and it should be done right. You have probably heard that there are several strategies to do it – through soft launches, quick launches, pre-launch strategies, etc. But which method should you choose and where should you start from?

If you are launching an online course for the first time, we advise you to have a launch strategy written down and to stick to it. Preparing a strategy in advance will make the entire launch process much easier and less stressful. So let’s go through the steps you can follow to execute your successful launch strategy.

Step 1: create an amazing sales page

We know that you still have not made any profit, but we advise you to invest a little money into hiring a graphic designer to create your sales page for you. However, if you would rather create it yourself, you can use the following free resources: Instapage, GetResponse, and MailChimp. Your sales page is the first contact that people will have with your online course so it needs to look professional and to create your brand identity. If people are blown away by it, it will also convince them of the high quality of your course.

The other thing you should keep in mind is the content of your sales page, which can be very tricky. On the one hand you know your course and your brand better than anyone else. On the other, if you are not an experienced copywriter you may not be able to communicate your message in the best possible way. What you can do is write down a draft of the content of your sales page and use a copywriter to transform your words into powerful sales messages.

Step 2: set up your payment and registration methods

The other two important components of your sales page are your payment and registration methods. People should be able to easily make payments electronically on your sales page. You can let them do this using tools such as PayPal, Woocommerce, Amazon Pay, 2CheckOut, etc. It is a good idea to select a payment method that automatically registers your customers for your newsletter or future offers. If you don’t, you can choose a separate membership program that is compatible with your payment software. Be extremely careful at this stage as payment software can be bug friendly and have problems, so make sure you test the system before you launch your course.

Step 3: get the numbers right

What do we actually mean by this? Well, remember that this is your FIRST launch and you should not expect to make tons of money out of it. We want you to set realistic goals and to follow them so that you do not get disappointed from the beginning. You can use these two important formulas to help you set realistic expectations:

How many people will buy my online course?# of subscribers on your email list x 0.01 = # of buyers
How much money will I make?# of subscribers on your email list x 0.01 x price of your course = amount of money you will make

The formulas highlight two very important criteria that relate to your final profit – the number of your email subscribers and the price of your course. So do not forget to prepare yourself with a list of good quality leads and to calculate the price of your course correctly.

Step 4: pre-launch activities

During this phase your sales page is generally still not live. Here you can choose to use two different approaches depending on the size of your email list:

  • Soft launch – This is a pretty simple launch process. If you are using a soft launch strategy you will send out only a few emails and do several social media posts to announce the launch of your course. Soft launches do not include creating teaser campaigns and ongoing communication about your upcoming course launch. As they are so simple to execute, you should not expect big results from them.
  • Full launch process – A full launch process includes many more pre-launch activities. The main goal of these activities is to create a sustainable email list of people who you will then try to engage in some way. The process of people voluntarily signing up or registering for something on your website is called opting in. You can ask people to opt in to a webinar, FREE video series, survey completion, etc. This is the perfect time to use your Facebook Ads knowledge and convert a cold lead into a qualified one.

Facebook is a great platform to use at this point since it clearly shows how many people actually signed up and gives you a measurement of your return on investment. It is up to you to decide how much time to devote to this stage – you can do it for a week, two weeks, or a month. It all depends on how many leads you manage to gather over the chosen period.

Step 5: launch

After you launch your course and your sales page is ready, you can send out your launch emails and activate your social media campaigns. The important thing to remember here is to create a launch calendar. As we saw from the formulas above, the percentage of people who will open your email is very low. That’s why you should have a calendar to know when to resend your email campaign to the people who did not open it the first time.

At this stage it is also a good idea to think of an affiliate program. You can approach other businesses to write about your course in order to support your launch strategy.

Step 6: evaluate results

Always evaluate your results after you launch a course. After all, this will make you aware of what you did well and where there is still room for improvement, and it will also help your next online course launch go smoother and be more successful! Some of the numbers you can look at to measure your results are:

  • Number of registered emails
  • Email open rate
  • Launch offer purchases
  • Return on ad investment
  • Revenue

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Tsvetelina Hristova is a marketing communication expert with over six years of professional experience. Her main focus is Digital Marketing and Brand Management. She has worked on diverse digital projects in the educational, entertainment and travel sectors. She has experience in managing marketing strategies and campaigns in Facebook, Google AdWords and MailChimp. Her passion is travel blogging.
VEDAMO Virtual Classroom
For the past nine years we have been providing a platform purpose-built for education.
VEDAMO Virtual Classroom
For the past nine years we have been providing a platform purpose-built for education.