Creating online courses is becoming a HUGE business right now, and it's only going to get bigger. In fact, the world's largest research company, Research & Markets, estimates that the e-learning market is set to hit $331 billion by 2025.
But what all of the exciting facts and figures don't show us is:
Those who created a course and then struggled to sell it.
Those who poured months of hard work into creating their course.
Those who invested in technology and marketing.
Those that found themselves back where they started from.
Those that are still trying to find paying customers.
Today, I'm going to share with you 6 Essential Steps to maximize your chances of a highly successful launch.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE YOU LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE COURSE
OK - you've created an amazing course.
And you know that people are absolutely buying online courses.
And you also know that people are definitely interested in your area of expertise.
How do you avoid getting to the end of a launch without having hit your sales goals and spending more money than you made?
To sell your course, it's not only necessary to show people how your course will help them, but also why they should buy it from you. Before someone decides to buy your course, they will subconsciously go through the process of deciding whether you are the one they trust to buy a course from. People want to be sure that you understand them and their struggles enough to be able to give them a solution that is better than anyone else’s.
STEP 1: SHOW THEM WHO YOU ARE
If you've ever read a book or article about sales and marketing, you'll know that people buy from those they know, like, and trust.
Blogging, webinars, podcasts, videos - any platform where you can show off your knowledge and expertise is going to give your potential clients the confidence to know that you can help them. And while all those platforms are great for showing off your knowledge and your teaching style, you still want more touchpoints for you to connect with your audience and for them to warm up to you.
You can't wait for your prospects to find the time to visit you on your blog or website. You need to be where they are.
STEP 2: SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR BEST MARKETING OPTION
In today’s world, you need to get the message out to your audience. The days of “build it and they will come” have long gone. Once upon a time you could create a landing page, email your list, and make some sales. But with the online world pulling us into information overload, there's no end of digital marketers looking to sell their online products.
This is actually a positive thing. Once you can differentiate yourself and get your message across clearly, you have a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
STEP 3: DEFINE WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE
So, what about your competition? In my opinion, it's actually great news if there are courses being sold with the same topic you've chosen. This confirms that there is an active market for what you're selling. Everyone has their own unique way of doing things, their own experiences, and their own specific brand of knowledge to bring to the table. Someone else selling a similar service or product as you isn't an issue. There's room for everyone to share their knowledge and talents with the world.
STEP 4: GROW YOUR WARM AUDIENCE
The secret ingredient to capturing your personal market share is differentiating yourself from the competition. It's also being able to express that difference to your audience so they recognize it, appreciate it, and feel connected to you. In effect, you are creating a warm audience. And having a connected warm audience will increase your potential for selling as these people will be open to your message.
Social Media is the perfect platform for you to express that differentiation, not only because there's so many ways you can do this on social media, but also because your audience is there and watching. The key is to ensure that your distinct brand comes across in your social media marketing. This is where you set yourself apart from everyone else online. This is how people will decide, even before you launch your course, that you are the one they want to do business with and you are the one they trust to take them on their journey of learning.
STEP 5: CONTINUE TO GROW YOUR LIST
We've heard the phrase “the money is in the list” enough times to become obsessed with the size of our email list, especially at launch time. And that's usually when Facebook Ads come into the sales cycle, to help build that mailing list. But while advertising helps build hype towards your launch, and your mailing list is where the gold lies, there's nothing like social media to create engagement before and after someone has signed up to your email list.
Why? Because moving people to your email list after they've become fans on social media means they will be happy to hear from you.
Your subscribers are far more likely to open your emails because they already feel like they know you. They are closer to purchasing from you and they're happy to refer you to their friends. They feel a connection with you. That's the big difference from people who sign up to your email list cold, and then forget where they heard of you when your next email pops up. The result of a cold email list is a lower open rate and a higher unsubscribe rate.
More important than the size of your email list, though, is that your subscribers should already believe you understand their needs. Relying only on Facebook ads is a costly exercise if you're not consistently turning up for your audience where they're hanging out. This can be overcome by providing value and building your authority wherever your audience comes in contact with your brand. Again, this helps warm up your email subscribers so they are more likely to open your emails next time they see them.
STEP 6: STOP SELLING, START CONNECTING
While many people believe the myth that ‘social media doesn't drive sales' - the truth is, people do indeed buy because of social media.
Your sales page might be a thing of beauty where people will ultimately click that “Buy Now” button. But people connect with people. Social media is THE place where you can provide that personal connection to support the buying process.
But be wary of just talking about your product. Features and benefits are important but, as we’ve said, there are other courses or solutions available for your potential customers to purchase. Stand out from the crowd by:
Making your brand clear and recognizable so it can differentiate you and your online product from the competition.
Showing thought leadership in your content.
Connecting with your audiences through a variety of social media platforms.
Engaging meaningfully with your audience.
Showing your audience that you understand their needs.
Adding value to your audience at all times.
Doing all of these things consistently, starting now, will give you a better chance at having a successful launch for your course. It will also help you maintain a steady stream of customers if your course is evergreen.