How To / Startup Life

Six Things I Learned From Creating An Online Program

First and foremost, I have launched several consulting products and written over 35+ ebooks, but launching an online program, has taught me that it is not for the faint of heart and should not be rushed. As I strived to reach a wider audience and help more individuals launch and scale their businesses, I knew I needed to launch a program but didn’t realize all that genuinely went into it. In addition to that, I read countless articles that all focused on selling their course on how to build a course. However, I will give you the real deal on the six things I learned from launching an online course without you having to buy a course on the subject, lol.

Invest In The Tools You Need 

There are a plethora of platforms that allow you to launch your program on their platform, such as; Teachable, Thinkfic, Mightnetworks, Skillshare, and many more. These companies are all designed to build out your entire program on their platform as a one size fits all type of approach. You will pay these platforms for a monthly or annual fee. In addition to that, you pay for upgrades to get the most out of their platform. You can google countless articles on why you should use those vs. your website. However, I believe in owning all my content and invested in several plugins and apps that allowed me to sell my course directly on my website. 

In addition to that, when you are building your program out on your platform, it’s imperative to know the tools you need for that. At first, I invested in Memberpress, but the functions I needed for the course were not correct. I lost a day of work by not doing my due diligence. 

Apps + Plugins I Used For Launching & Course Creation

  • Woocommerce
  • LearnDash
  • Canva
  • Loom
  • Mailchimp For Woocommerce – send drip campaign and launch information

People I Hired To Help Launch My Online Program

  • Copywriter for product descriptions 
  • Copywriter for the sales page 
  • Drip Campaign Copywriter Specialist 
  • Facebook Manager for course ads 
  • Graphic Designer for Facebook ads
  • Graphic Designer for email marketing Freebie
  • Mailchimp Workflow specialist

Each team member was provided all information necessary to finish their task at hand. I was able to source them through Fiverr and follow their work the entire way. At first, I was going to hire several other roles, realized I did not need them, and it would be a waste of money.

Build Your Actual Product 

One of the biggest things I read online was to pre-sell your program without it being built. Personally, I am going to say no to this and make sure that you have a product to sell before launching a program. Last year, I saw countless businesses preorder items to fund the next venture and then covid happen. Across social media, you saw customers wanting to be compassionate but wanted their things. I know you think those are physical items, and I am going to be selling a program. However, you never know what might happen, and you have taken all your audience’s money and cannot deliver. Instead, you can set prelaunch pricing when the program is complete but not fully built out via the sales page and things of that nature.

30-14 days until launch; you can sell the course for a low price point to get feedback from your audience or accept beta testers. Have 5-10 people take your program. Then you can use that as social proof on your sales page and email marketing. 

14-7 days until launch; while you’re working on the other items listed below, you can have a prelaunch price of x higher than your beta testers but lower than actual program pricing. 

7-0 days until launch; this is crunch time where you are sending off your email marketing drip campaigns, and you have either the exact pricing from stage two of program phase or a different one. The price you have for launch can be set for a certain amount of time for your audience to opt-in.

Program Sales Page 

As someone who has worked at different parts of the sales cycle for over a decade, I wouldn’t say I like being sold too on any level. In addition to that, ads rarely work on me because they are salesy. In the last decade, it felt like everyone attended identical webinars surrounding the pricing of digital products and how to sell to their audience. Yes, it works for them, but I did not want to sell to my audience that way. I have made $15K in a month selling digital products without being a car salesman, and I would not start now. When I hired the copywriter for this page, I showed her blog post, email marketing, and product descriptions. I wanted her to match my tone in a way; my audience assumed it was me who wrote the copy. 

This to include on your sales page 

  • Why you created this program
  • Who is this program for 
  • Social Proof – beta testers of the course
  • FAQ about the program
  • Pricing

Start Collecting Emails 

You need an audience to sell to, even if it’s only three people. Those three people need to provide you their emails so you can market to them through the various stages I listed above. I have written several articles on email marketing and creating your landing page. Set up your email marketing provider such as; Flodesk, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and many more.

Email Marketing Flow 

As I discussed in the previous steps, you will need an audience to market to, and marketing includes the drip campaign that you will send out to your potential students. Here are some examples of emails that you can send your target audience. You’re probably thinking i send them emails randomly, and now I will be sending them almost weekly or daily. I don’t want to lose my audience, and you need to think about it more as was this your target audience if they unsubscribed? 

Emails To Send Your Future Students: Timeline will vary but communication matters

45 days before launch date: Program Launch Announcement & looking for Beta Testers and affiliate partners.

45 – 30 days before launch date: Why you created this program and your goal to help solve x problem 

30-day time frame before launch date: You can host a series of webinars if you feel that will help you excite your audience. Webinars do not always lead to sales. Be mindful. You can also do a Live Q&A on Instagram

15 days before launch date: What Is In The Program- ask for the sale

7 days before launch date: Social Proof from beta testers – ask for the sale 

3 days before launch date:  FAQ – ask for the sale

48 hours after the course launches: Thank you program launch email 

It’s great you have a product in mind, but it’s more than just having an idea that it takes to launch an online program. Truthfully, I went in this very naive, and it caused me to have several days that were fully wasted. Looking back one thing, I would implement before starting this was a project management software that has a roadmap that guides me through the whole process. These are the six things I learned from launching an online program, and I hope it helps you launch yours too.

ps. my program is launching this summer, and you can sign up to be the first to know here.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

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