Creating an Online Course
It’s an easy concept to understand… find something you know how to do really well, and teach others to do it. Learning online has become a way of life. Decide you want to learn a skill and it’s likely you can find someone somewhere teaching it online.
But what about you? If you want to jump on the online course wagon, how do you learn how to create your offer and get it online? You use an online course launch checklist.
Selling a course online involves several steps. Surprisingly to many people, one of those steps does not have to be actually creating the course before you sell it.
You read that right. If you want to make money by offering an online course, your best bet is to sell the course first, and then create it as you offer it. Confused? I explain how to start an online course for free in this video.
Your Online Course Launch Checklist
If you want to successfully launch and sell your course online, you need to follow a few steps:
1 Create a free offer
2 Build an email list
3 Offer amazing content
4 Float the idea of your paid offer to the people on your list
5 Offer your idea to the people on your list
Let’s take a closer look at each step.
Create a free offer
The first step in offering a course online that you want to sell, is to test your idea by offering something free to your ideal customer and see if they’re interested. These types of freebies are called lead magnets.
The idea is to offer something amazingly valuable to people in exchange for their email address rather than asking them to pay for it. This does two things: it helps you to build a list of email addresses of people who are excited about what you do, and it helps you to know if there’s a market for the course or membership you plan to see. Afterall, if no one is interested in free information about your topic, they aren’t likely to pay you for an expanded version. You can read more about what makes a good lead magnet in How to Create a Lead Magnet.
Build your email list
When you are launching a program online, the strength of your email list becomes all important. You want to collect the email addresses of people who are interested in what you have to offer so that when you’re ready to launch, you can email them to let them know about it. Find out more about why an email list is important for your online business here.
Please note that when you’re building your email list for an online business, you cannot use a free email service like Gmail, Yahoo or Apple Mail. You will need to choose an email service provider designed for doing business online. Not only will it make your life easier. It’s actually the law.
Offer amazing content
You’ll build your email list by using a lead magnet. Once someone is on that list, it’s your job to make sure they get to know, like and trust you if you want them to buy from you. You do that by emailing them regularly to continue to offer them free content.
While this may seem like you’re giving away too many things free, your goal is for the people on your email list (your subscribers), to think “Oh my. If she gives away all of this free, her paid program must be amazing!”
Float the idea of your paid offer to your list
As your email list grows and you warm them up by continuing to offer them help and knowledge with in your area of expertise, they will begin to trust you. They’ll likely reach out to you, reply to your emails and ask you for help. They’re engaging with you and this a very good thing.
By this point, if you’ve been interacting with them, you should be getting a very good idea of ways that you can help them. You’ll start to know what they would be interested in paying you to teach them. Sure, you probably started your business with a solid idea of what you planned to offer, but it’s very important as you start to gain followers that you put together an offer you know they will buy – even if it’s not what you originally planned to sell.
Once you’ve got you offer idea ready, send an email to your list explaining what you’re planning. You can keep it a bit rough, it shouldn’t be entirely nailed down because you want the ability to change and pivot based on the feedback you get to your inquiry email.
If you tell them what you’ve got planned and no one responds, there’s a good chance they aren’t interested, and you may want to reach out to a few individual people and conduct interviews to see if it’s something they would buy. If it’s not, you’ve saved yourself a whole lot of time and money, and you can ask them what type of program they’d rather have instead.
Offer your program to the people on your list
Once you’ve confirmed there’s interest in what you plan to offer, it’s time to launch. If you want to start your online course for free, you don’t even have to create it before you begin selling it. Instead, you create each week’s module right before you deliver it, and after you’ve asked them what they want to know. You can find out more about how to create an online course for free here.
There are many ways to launch, check out…. for a list. , but the most important part of an online launch is that it has a beginning and an end. In the launch world, those are called open and closed cart, and it means that people can only buy your program during the few days your cart is open.
Create a launch checklist to get it all done
The entire launch process, from beginning to end, can take several months. There are lead magnets to create, landing pages design and emails to write. Social media posts need to be created and scheduled, videos likely need to be scripted, recorded and edited, and there are dozens of email automations to set up.
Successful launches don’t happen by mistake. They are a result of careful planning. Make sure you are keeping track of important deadlines, links, tasks and milestones. To help you, I’ve created my Online Business Launch Planner. It’s my lead magnet, and not only will it help you to organize your launch starting at the very beginning – with your timeline – it will also give you an inside peak of what a landing page, a lead magnet, and a nurture sequence are. You’ll also learn quite a bit of useful information about launching along the way.
If you’re planning to launch a course, membership or program online and are looking for support, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to my Planner, I offer a variety of launch services from email funnels set up (so you can start collecting your email addresses) to full online course launch strategy and support via my launch concierge services. Let me know how I can help.