This is the most exciting part of your entire journey, you’ve been working towards your launch for weeks or maybe even months. You’ve come up with a solid course idea and created a curriculum, now you get to finally open your doors and launch and have all of your hard work begins to pay off.
It may seem as simple as adding a pricing plan and pushing your sales page live, unfortunately that’s not the case.
You see, not all launches are created equally, and some launches have higher success rates than others. If you’ve got a massive and dedicated audience, maybe you will make some sales by simply opening the doors. But without a solid launch plan you’re going to miss out on dozens, even hundreds, of sales.
How to launch your online course
Online course launches can be fairly formulaic, we’ve found that the same strategies tend to work for just about anyone, no matter the niche or audience size.
But before you can launch your online course, you need to do some housekeeping to make sure that you’re prepared.
Here is everything you’ll need to consider in preparation for your launch:
- Setting your price and revenue goals
- Beautifying your sales page
- Optimizing your checkout flow
- Your 30 day launch roadmap
For simplicity's sake, we're recommending our tried and true method of launching to your email list in this blog post. If you don't have an email list, use this guide to grow yours.
Set your price + revenue goals
Before we get started, let me tell you this: Most online course creators don’t charge enough for their online product. $100 is the minimum you should charge for your course, and even then sometimes $100 isn’t enough.
As a quick guide for how much you should be charging:
- Mini courses - FREE (or up to $50)
- Regular courses - $100–500
- Flagship courses and programs - $500+.
Using premium pricing can be intimidating, I get it. But it’s so important. It’ll help you maintain your sanity and meet your revenue goals with greater ease. Let’s discuss why that is:
- Perceived value: Your customers are going to believe that a higher priced course will provide more value. Think about it. If someone was giving away free bicycles and you could choose from a bicycle that retails for $50 or a bicycle that retails for $300, which would you choose? Probably the more expensive one because you perceive it to have higher value.
- Weed out students: Cheaper courses will attract students who aren’t really in your target audience, which means they might not experience your intended outcome. These are the students who will be dissatisfied and may even request a refund. It’s better to avoid them from the get go.
- Reach your goals: Think about it. If you are trying to make $1,000 with your online course it’ll be easier to convince 5 people to give you $200 than it will be to convince 20 people to give you $50. The lower you price your course, the larger your audience will need to be to hit your goals.
- Define your audience: Your course will never be for every single person in the world, so you shouldn’t advertise it as being “perfect for everyone” because it’s not.
Instead get specific. For example, if you’ve got a parenting course on helping an adopted toddler adjust to their new environment, you’d be inaccurate if you said, “This course is perfect for every adoptive parent!” Instead, you’d say, “This course is perfect for the new parents of a child between the ages of one and four.”
Which brings me to the goal setting phase of this conversation. How much money are you hoping to make with your online course?
There is no wrong answer here, dig deep and figure out what number would make you jump for the stars happy.
Now lets reverse engineer that to see how you should price your course.
How many people will you need to sell your course to at $100 to meet that goal? At $250?
Create a sales page
Creating your sales page is an exciting aspect of the course creation journey. This is your final tool in convincing people to purchase.
Use your sales page as an opportunity to educate your audience and share why your course is the best possible solution to their problems
No matter your niche, you can use Teachable to create beautiful sales pages.
Writing sales copy
There’s a well established principle in the world of sales copywriting called the 40/40/20 rule.
This rule says that there are three key factors that contribute to someone’s decision to buy your product.
The first is your offer, which includes your course and maybe a special bonus offering or discount. The offer accounts for 40% of their reasoning.
The second factor is whether or not they are your target audience, so 40% of someone’s decision to buy your course will depend on if you’ve attracted the right audience.
The third and final factor is your creative, which includes the sales page, your emails, the design, and everything else. This creative, or your marketing efforts, only account for 20% of someone’s decision to buy your course.
Despite creative only accounting for 20% of your audience’s decision to purchase, it’s not something you want to get wrong.
Sales page building blocks
Here's a powerful sales page from Contino Workshop.
Great sales pages are typically made up of a few standard building blocks. These are the essential pieces to your sales page puzzle that will make purchasing a no-brainer for your audience.
Here's a great example of a powerful headline from FinCon.
This is your opportunity to be clear and concise about what your course is about. You also have a subheading just underneath the headline, and this is a great opportunity for you to share what the big transformation is for your course.
A course description
The biggest mistake people make in their course description is jumping right into logistics, or into telling your audience about the course features. Remember, benefit driven language is your friend here. You’re really presenting the solution to their problems with this section, not talking about the nitty gritty technicalities of your course.
Here is where you’ll use case studies or testimonials to reassure your audience that other people love and trust you.
Think about any purchase you make online, you probably check the reviews to ensure you’re not getting ripped off or wasting your money. That’s what testimonials do for online courses. They show that other people have trusted you and have benefited from it.
Pro tip: If you don’t have any testimonials yet, offer your course for free to a small group of people in exchange for an honest testimonial.
About the instructor
Here's a strong Instructor Bio from Bo Andersen of Coding Explained.
Include relevant information about yourself here - why are you suited to be teaching what you’re teaching? What experiences have you had or trainings have you taken that have qualified you to be an incredible teacher?
CTA’s are also known as “Calls to Action” and they act as the push to tell your audience, “Hey! Buy this cool course!”CTA’s can be as simple as saying, “Buy now” or you can make the message more convincing by getting specific. “Earn more on Etsy today” might be more enticing to our audience of moms we mentioned earlier.
Teachable automatically builds this for you, and it helps your potential students get an idea of what you have to offer inside of your online course. Whenever I’m considering taking a course, I go straight to the curriculum to see the specifics of what is going to be covered.
You can also choose to turn on one or more lessons to Preview Mode. This will allow prospective customers to be able to view these lessons without enrolling. This can be a great way to give prospects a taste of what your course is like.
Your FAQ is so important and one of your biggest time saving tools. Any relevant questions you don’t include in your FAQ will probably be emailed to you dozens of times by prospective students.
The FAQ section gives you the opportunity to get inside your customers’ heads and think about why they’d choose not to buy your course. So address their worries early on and make their decision easier.
Sales page design
3 Golden rules for sales page design
When you're designing your sales page, it's easy to go overboard and try to use all of the colors or all of the fonts and all of the sudden your sales page has gone from sleek and professional to arts and crafts gone wrong.
- Make your text black or dark gray. You can even get away with a very dark blue, purple, or maroon but choose your colors wisely. You may be super excited about your course and that compells you to want to use a bright, happy yellow for your main font, but that's hard to read.
Definitely incorporate color into other aspects of your sales page, but when it comes to the text, simple is often better.
- Choose a color scheme. Do this so you’ve got brand consistency and your entire sales page is streamlined. If you choose from three or four main colors your page will look more polished and put together.
- Be picky with your stock images. Ask yourself: Can your customers see themselves in your pictures? Maybe you love the picture of the graceful ballerina leaping with an arm full of roses, but if your course is about fashion for the office that image won't translate well.
You’re also going to want to make your sales page easy to read and digest. Don’t give your audience a wall of text, instead break it up so that it’s not overwhelming.
Here are some great ways to make your sales page more munchable:
Optimize your checkout sequence
This might sound intimidating, but don’t stress. Your checkout page flow is already built into Teachable’s design, but there are a few elements you can customize with your course information to strengthen the checkout.
Teachable checkout pages reinforce your transformation by including testimonials and course bullet points. These are already elements you’ve collected, so it’s as easy as pasting them into your checkout page.
You may also want to consider including a purchase guarantee, sometimes called a trust seal. This guarantee significantly derisks your customer’s decision. If they don't feel like your course is right for them, they can get a full refund within 30 days, it’s as easy as that.
Want more on optimizing your sales page? Check out this blog post.
30 Day launch roadmap
It’s time to begin launching your course and getting a return on all of that hard work you’ve put in leading to this moment.
We recommend hosting an open-close launch for your very first course launch, and adjusting your strategy in the future if you so choose.
An Open-Close Course Launch means that you make your course available for enrollment for a limited time only. Instead of making your product available year round, your course will have launch windows and you can only purchase within that time frame.
You might feel like this is counterintuitive, afterall, you want as many people as possible to buy your course, right? Well, let me explain the elements that make open-close launches so successful.
The first is anticipation. When you run a course launch, you don’t begin the launch with an announcement that your course is available. Instead, you send emails leading up to the big release day that build excitement around the topic of your course.
This builds anticipation for your audience and keeps them reading and waiting to see what comes next.
Next is scarcity. When there is less of something, or if it’s only available for a limited time, people will want it even more. This is why limited-time sales windows work so well for launches.
If your course is always available, there’s no scarcity, or no motivation for people to make a purchase right now, rather than later. But if you tell people their opportunity is going away in just a few days, they’re much more likely to seize the moment.
Next is “reason why.” One of the most powerful words you can use is the word “because.” People are logical beings, and if you give them a reason why we need to make a purchase, they’re much more likely to act than if you just tell us to do something with no cause.
And lastly, storytelling, the biggest psychological trigger of all. Storytelling is the backbone of human communication, and running a course launch will give you the opportunity to share your story with your audience.
Let your audience know your background, how mastering your course topic has helped you, and doors that have opened for you since learning.
Email launch phases
Your email launch will have three elements: Engagement, Presales, and Sales.
The goal of the engagement phase is simple: you want people to start reading your emails, getting excited about your topic, and building trust and authority.
In the engagement phase, the CTA, or call to action, is simply reading your emails, and maybe clicking through to your blog posts or responding to your survey. Your engagement phase will last for a few weeks, depending on how engaged your audience was before today.
Your presale phase will come in a one-two punch.
Day 1 is the course teaser. This is when you tell your subscribers that you’ll have an exciting announcement coming out soon, and that you’ll be opening an online course. You can share a little bit about what the course covers, but tell them that you’ll mention the full details later. This is where you start building anticipation, which will keep readers engaged and coming back for more.
Day 2 covers the course details. In this email, you answer, “What’s in the course?” and you explain in detail what your milestones and lessons are for the entire course. You aren’t giving away the content, but you are outlining the details of what you’ll be covering, as well as the overall outcome or transformation students will feel by the end of the course. You’ll end by telling them that the course is going to become available tomorrow, but you won’t share the sales page yet.
On Day 3, you’ll announce that your course is open. This email is your big moment, when you finally get to share that your course is available. You’ll link to your sales page, and you might consider including a few testimonials in your email. You’ll also need to make it clear that this is a limited-time offer.
Day 4 is your FAQ email. Using an FAQ email is the perfect opportunity for you to appeal to your subscribers’ logical side and squash any concerns they might have about your course.
Tell them about your 30-day guarantee, and reassure them that they’ll have lifetime access.
Share what the course includes, and see if you can anticipate their burning questions. You’ll provide the questions and answers right in the body of your email. Again, the CTA for this email will be to click on your sales page link, and you’ll want to reiterate that this offer ends on X date at Y time.
Day 5 is the surprise bonus email. This is a fun opportunity for you to tell you subscribers that you’re giving them a new surprise that you haven’t mentioned on the sales page if they buy now. This should either be bonus content or an even steeper discount. In either case, it should be something truly valuable to your customers, and you’ll again remind them that this incredible offer goes away on X date.
Day 6 is the thank-you & social proof email. At this point, you want to thank everyone for reading your emails and being part of your launch. Hopefully by now you may have gotten excited emails or social media posts from new customers, so you can include some anonymized screenshots where new customers are raving about your content. This social proof will be exactly what a few people need to convince them to act now and enroll in your course.
By now you’re nearing the end of your launch, so Day 7 - the day before your launch ends - is the logical argument. You’ll tell everyone that your course will be closing, and you’ll build a logical argument convincing them why they need to buy right now. Remind them about your bonus, and remind them how soon the sales window closes.
Then finally you’ll arrive at Day 8, the final day in your launch. On this last day, you’ll be sending not one but two emails. Is this a little aggressive? Yes. But it’s proven and effective. Trust us on this one! It’s worked for our most successful instructors here at Teachable.
The morning email goes out at 11 AM. You’ll announce that today is the absolute last day to get the course, and that sales end at midnight. Then the afternoon email should go out around 3 or 4 PM, and this is their last chance email, when you’ll reiterate that sales close at midnight, and that they won’t want to miss out on this opportunity.
You've got the "how," now here is the "why." If you've ever wondered what the big deal about online courses is, let us explain it.
Still need an email list to launch to? Download our list building 101 guide!