For a while now, I've been sharing course creation tips and encouraging others (like you!) to start your own online course. I've been a fly on the wall for more course launches than I can count, and I've seen so many people succeed—which is why I'm always ready to push you to create your course.

Well, it's time I put my money where my mouth is and start my own online course. I've been telling you to do it for so long, and really, I have no excuse for not doing it myself.

tOver 7 weeks, I followed Teachable's 7-step-course-creation process and wrote this post to take you along on the journey. Here is an overview of everything I covered, week by week:


Sidenote: Want to get all the cheatsheets, templates, and resources I used to create my online course?

We wrote an ebook that includes everything I covered in this massive post, as well as all of the tools, tips, and tricks I used. It has everything you'll need to create a professional online course your students will LOVE.

Download the ebook!


 

Step 1: Ideation - To start, I'll show you how I came up with my course idea and validated it, and how to turn your idea into something people will buy. 

Step 2: Set revenue and income goals - The second step is all about being more specific about your goals than just saying “I want to make money." I'll be going over the formula you need to follow to set your income goals and using the formula myself for my online course. 

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Step 3: Grow your audience - I'll show you exactly how to grow an email list by using lead magnets. You will learn how to use free tools to create beautiful, high-quality lead magnets. 

Step 4: Price your course - Most new instructors are afraid of pricing their courses too high. However, our data says that students hold courses that they’ve paid more for as being more valuable and they are more likely to complete them. In this step, I'll guide you through the tactics you can use to offer a premium-priced course. 

Step 5: Create your sales page - Here is where all your hard work starts paying off. When I set up my salespage, I'll take you along with me. We'll look at other course creators' salespages, and talk about strategy for creating a sales page that converts. 

Step 6: Create and record content - When people ask how to create an online course, this is often where they get stuck. I'll show you how I planned the curriculum for my course, and how to record high-quality video from your home for next to nothing

Step 7: Launch your course - Launching is probably the most exciting and nerve wracking thing for new course creators. In this final step, I'll give you an easy-to-implement and effective launch strategy that has been used by members of our community to make 5 figures on their launch. 

Whew! Are you still with me? And more importantly: will you be joining me? 

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Ideation

People always say that getting started at anything is the hardest part—and after this week I'm inclined to agree. I've been talking about starting to teach online with my own online course for ages and made every excuse in the book to postpone.

Now that I've actually gotten the ball rolling, I'm excited about the next six weeks, and even more excited to share what I did over the last 7 days, plus what I'll be covering next week.

During week 1 of my course creation journey, I came up with my course idea and validated it. Coming up with your online course idea shouldn't be too tricky if you know how to get started—and I'll walk you through my process.

My course idea

My online course is covering how to create an Instagram Theme. For those of you who don't know what an Instagram theme is, it's how your entire Instagram grid looks together in your profile. 

Instagram themes are great for bloggers and online businesses who are looking to create a clean, cohesive, and visually attractive brand across their social media. Having a branded theme makes your Instagram profile look more professional and intentional. Here's mine!

How I came up with my course idea

People always say that getting started at anything is the hardest part - and after this week I'm inclined to agree. I've been talking about starting an online course for ages and made every excuse in the book to postpone.  Now that I've actually gotten the ball rolling I'm excited about the next six weeks, and even more excited to share what I did over the last 7 days, and what I'll be covering next week.

I am in an advantageous position as a blogger, and I was able to look to my most popular posts to come up with my online course idea. 

I went to Google Analytics and checked out which of my posts have been performing the best over the last 6 months, and my post "How to Theme Your Instagram" won by a landslide.

How you can come up with a course idea

Maybe your blog doesn't have a clear winner when it comes to popular posts, or perhaps you don't have a blog at all.

No worries! There are still plenty of ways you can come up with your course idea.

First, let's make a list. You don't need to fill it out with course creation in mind, just answer with whatever pops into your head naturally:

  • What are your passions? You know, the things you could talk about for hours and hours?
  • What are you skilled at? When people come to you for help, what are they asking about?
  • What are you experienced with? Maybe you've got experience with a career path or an online program.

From there cross out any topics you definitely don't want to create an online course on. What's left is your list of potential course ideas. 

To help you track your ideas, you can download our Profitable Course Idea Workbook

From that list, come up with potential transformations.

Transformations are what people will gain from taking your online course. For example, if you're teaching web design, you're taking a student from no skills to the competence to create their own website. Or if you're teaching cake decorating, you might be taking your students from Betty Crocker frosting and a spatula to beautiful fondant wedding cakes. 

createcourse-outcome.pngIf you can't come up with a good transformation, you should consider tossing that course idea to the side.

Now you might have three or four course ideas floating around your head. Maybe you're like me and already know exactly what you want to create your online course on, or maybe you're still up in the air about which of these ideas is the best.

Which brings us to our next step...

Validate your ideas.

Basically, this just means make sure that people actually want to take an online course on what you have to teach. Now, I truly believe that anyone can make an online course on just about anything, but some topics are going to be a bit trickier to find an audience, if you don't have one already.

To find an audience that's eager to take your online course, you can go check out different communities and see if anyone is asking about your course idea.

If you don't know where to start looking for communities try these:

I validated my course idea in Facebook communities by searching "Instagram Theme" into the community's search bar. In my very first community, I found a ton of people asking questions like this:

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These questions reassured me that Instagram Themes were a topic that people were curious about and that there is a large audience wanting to know more.

"But Morgan! I haven't been able to find anyone asking any questions about my topic!"

This isn't fun to say, but if you can't find an audience you are going to have trouble selling your course and thus, you'll have trouble making money. Luckily, we came up with more than one idea, so you should go back to one of your earlier thoughts and try to validate that instead!

For more on how to see if there's an audience for your course topic, check out these 15 Ways to Validate Your Course Idea.

What's next?

We are going way in depth into setting goals and how we're going to reach them!

We have a simple and accurate formula here at Teachable that helps us predict about how much anyone can make from their online course launch.

How did ideation go for you? Are you feeling confident in your online course idea?

 

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Set revenue and income goals

Online entrepreneurs everywhere have seen the cute little mugs with gold leaf declaring the owner a #GoalDigger, heck some of you might even own them.

Well, today, we are going to embrace the Goal Digger in all of us and set our income goals for our online course launches.

Going into your launch with a clear idea of what you'd like to accomplish, and the numbers you are going to hit, will help you gauge the success of your launch and understand how hard you should be promoting your online course. Here at Teachable we have a simple and accurate formula for goal setting, and I'll walk you through it.

Setting your income goals

We are big advocates of selling a high-value course for what it's worth—likely several hundred dollars. And if you know how much you want to make before you launch, you can look at your email list size and decide how much you will have to sell your online course for in order to hit your goals.

After deciding on how much you want to make, you can then look at everything you'll need to offer in your online course in order to justify charging premium pricing.

Whatever you’re hoping to accomplish with your online course, come up with a solid number to strive for.

For example:

Let’s say you’re hoping to make $5,000 with your online course.

With that in mind, if you keep your price point at $100, you’d need fifty people to buy your course to reach your goal.

But what if you decide to price your course at $250? In that case, you’d only need 20 people to buy.

And if you price your online course at $500, now you only need to sell to ten people.

By putting these goals into place, you can establish a clearer picture of just how many people you need to be selling to in order to consider your launch successful.

Setting goals for your course launch will help you get an idea of how large your email list should be & how much you should charge, check out the formula!

Another way to look at this is figuring out how many people are likely to buy your course.

Generally, you can assume that at least 2% of your email list will purchase, so you can decide on pricing that way.

If you have 1,000 people on your list, 20 people will probably purchase. If you want to make $4,000 you’ll need to sell your course for at least $200 to meet your goal.

Setting goals for your course launch will help you get an idea of how large your email list should be & how much you should charge, check out the formula!

My goals

Me? I'm hoping to make $5,000 dollars on my online course launch. My gut says I can easily make two or three thousand, so the last couple thousand I'm going to have to work hard for.

Now that I know how much I want to make, I can look at my email list and figure out how much I should charge.

Right now, my email list is at about 2,800 people and is projected to be at about 3,200 people when I launch my online course.

With a list of 3,200 people, I can expect around 64 of those people to convert. Dividing 5,000 by 64, I see that I should charge at least $78 for my online course.

We recommend setting your minimum course price no lower that $100 though, and I am looking at the $150–$200 range for mine. With that in mind, if I charge $150 and have 64 conversions I can make $9,600 which is significantly more than the goal I had originally set.

With that said, I'll make a slight adjustment to my goal and aim for $7,500 with a bare minimum of $5,000. 

Adding value to your course

If your heart about stopped when I recommended you price at no less than $100—this one's for you.

A lot of people have trouble believing that their offering can be worth $50, much less several hundred. I promise you that if you do everything correctly your online course will be incredibly valuable and more than worth premium pricing.

As a course creator, you are bringing your students to a transformation that they would have otherwise had to devote time and resources to learning on their own at a far less efficient rate. 

The transformation in itself is valuable and worth that base of $100.

Now take that transformation and accelerate it with your teaching and increase the overall value by doing anything from offering live Q&A's to offering bonuses. We will go further in depth on how you can add value on step four.


Get all resources mentioned in this guide

We wrote an ebook that includes everything I covered in this massive post, as well as all of the tools, tips, and tricks I used. It has everything you'll need to create a professional online course your students will LOVE.

Download the ebook!


 

Next step

I'm so excited for the next step because we are going to start focusing on growing our audience by creating lead magnets. 

 

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Grow your audience

The first time I ever launched anything online I was selling to a list of about 200 people. It was a humble little list, and only three people bought, but you would have thought I had just hit the jackpot.

A little less than a year later my list has grown passively. I have content upgrades in a few old posts and that's about it. For week three of creating my online course I went a little more hands-on in growing my audience. I created a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.


What is a lead magnet? 

A lead magnet is any high-value product that you give away for free to entice people into giving you their email address so you can market to them down the line.

Lead magnets should be related to you signature product so that the audience you are attracting with your freebie will be interested in what you're selling as well. It should also be more valuable than the publicly-available content that you might already offer on your blog or social media platforms.

I've seen people give away anything from checklists to ebooks to mini courses as their lead magnet, but you can use whatever you dream up.

You can insert your lead magnet on the sidebar of your blog, into an old popular blog post, into a new post, and promote it on social media. 

For week three of creating my online course I'm going a little more hands-on in growing my audience and creating a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.

Without offering your audience something in return for their email address, you'll find that list growth will move fairly slow for you as people are more likely to take action when they see immediate results (aka a shiny new content upgrade sitting in their inbox).

Additionally, you should have a clear call to action asking people to opt-in for your freebie, rather than passively leaving a link in a sidebar or the bottom of the post. This call to action will help increase conversions.

How I created my lead magnet with InDesign

For my lead magnet, I used Photoshop (sit tight, I'll show you how to create a lead magnet with a free program, too!).

I kept things fairly simple with my offering. I made a list of hashtags that life & style influencers can use to extend their reach on Instagram because my course is about Instagram.

First things first: I did the boring part. Research.

For week three of creating my online course I'm going a little more hands-on in growing my audience and creating a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.

I compiled a list of all of the hashtags that I regularly use and other hashtags that influencers in my niche use. This was the longest part of the entire process, but if you're interested in doing hashtag research yourself, this post can help break it down for you.

From there, I created a very simple bulleted list with a branded header in InDesign. You don't need to be a master designer and create the most beautiful upgrades possible to be effective.

As long as the information within your content upgrade is helpful to your audience, you have nothing to worry about.

Creating a lead magnet in Canva

You do not have to have fancy programs to create an awesome lead magnet. Canva is a totally free (unless you want a biz account!) For week three of creating my online course I'm going a little more hands-on in growing my audience and creating a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.graphics program that allows you to produce professional graphics using either a template or your own design. 

I recreated my content upgrade in Canva to show you just how easy it.

This one looks a little different than the one I made on InDesign, but that's because I spent about 20 minutes on my InDesign on and 2 minutes on this one. It's that easy to use

If you haven't played around with Canva in a while, it's come a long way. There are new features, the library of free images has exploded, and it's much more intuitive than it used to be. 

Using Canva

For week three of creating my online course I'm going a little more hands-on in growing my audience and creating a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.

Canva's interface is fairly easy to use, and if you're wondering what each different category means, you can refer to the graphic on the left.

For my checklist, I clicked "Elements" and selected shapes to create a rectangle for my header. 

Then I went to "Uploads" and selected a transparent PNG file of my logo, so that I could brand my upgrade. 

canva_upload.pngWhile Canva has plenty of high quality free stock images that you can use in your designs, they also make it really easy to upload your own images and transparent PNG's to use within the editor if you choose to do so.

By using your own images and logos you can strengthen the branding of your offering. It's as simple as selecting "Upload your own images" and then choosing which images you'd like to use within Canva. Once you've uploaded them they'll stay in your library.

Finally, I went to "Text" to add all of the text elements. The text tool allows you to choose which area of your graphic you want to add the text to, so I created header text and then two different columns for the hashtags.

For week three of creating my online course I'm going a little more hands-on in growing my audience and creating a content upgrade to use as a lead magnet and walking you through the process.Canva also has a ton of fonts, from the classics to whimsical wingding fonts, they've got you covered.

One of my brand's fonts is Montserrat Light, and Canva already has that preloaded. If they don't have the font you need, you can upgrade to a Canva for Work account and upload your own fonts into the program.

Related Post: Create the Ultimate Content Upgrade: Lead Magnet Examples and Templates

 

Writing the accompanying blog post

Here's the deal: When you're adding a content upgrade to a blog post, that blog post has to be valuable, too. 

I often see people offering awesome content upgrades in posts that are just OK. People pack all of this value into their upgrade and then write a quick few paragraphs, slap their upgrade in and call it a day.

The problem with this is that you haven't proven your worth or value to your audience yet. If the first post they land on is the post with your upgrade and it's not very valuable, they won't think that you can deliver value so they won't be interested in giving you their email address. 

You should write a valuable post about your topic without covering the same thing in your content upgrade.

Me? I have my list of Instagram hashtags, so I wrote a blog post about how to research and use Instagram hashtags. I cover how many to use, how to do hashtag research, and offered my opinion about the "hashtags in caption vs. in comment" debate. And then I added the content upgrade where I did all of the work and research for them.

Long story short: If you're going the route of adding a content upgrade into a blog post then you should make sure that the blog post is valuable and shareable, even without your lead magnet.

Related Posts: Giving Away a Freebie with MailChimp, Giving Away a Freebie with ConvertKit, Using LeadPages to Give Away a Freebie

What if I don't have a blog?

There is no reason that you need a blog to make this work for you. I'm a big advocate of having a blog (they come in handy, y'all!), but if you don't, you can set up a landing page through a program like Leadpages to direct your audience to. 

Once you've got your landing page up, go back into the communities we visited on the preveious step and start sharing your lead magnet in an organic way.

Don't be spammy here, reputation is a lot in the online world. If people are asking questions or have pain points that your lead magnet will solve, drop a link.

By creating and promoting your lead magnet, you should start to see your email list grow, and soon you'll have an audience to market your online course to.

 

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Price your course

Picture a horror movie. Any film works. Now imagine that stereotypical "woman goes to the dark basement even though she shouldn't" scene. Everyone is telling her not to go. You're telling her not to go, but she goes anyhow.

What if I told you that as someone watching hundreds of course launches I see the equivalent of "woman going into the basement" over and over and over again? Except instead of going to the basement, I'm watching course creators price their online courses way too low.

Incorrectly pricing your online course means that it won't be able to live up to its full potential. In this step, I'm walking you through how I priced my online course (while avoiding undercharging), and have tips and tricks that you can use to rest easy knowing that you priced your online course the right way.

Baseline pricing

First thing's first: Let's cover the basics of pricing (and why you shouldn't be selling your online course for $25.)

At the bare minimum, we recommend pricing your course at least $100. This often raises objections from people new to the world of online courses because they don’t yet see the value of their offer, but trust me when I say that your course is worth $100, if not much, much more.

Yes, even if…

  • You’re not an expert.
    Believe it or not, you don’t need to be an expert to successfully teach and sell an online course. In fact, we’ve found that people who are just a few steps ahead of their students tend to be more effective teachers because at this point you remember your students’ pain points because you were in their shoes not too long ago. 

    Experts might offer a simplified solution to their student’s problems because they don’t remember just how tricky solving those same problems were for them initially.
  • You’re not teaching a “profitable” topic. This is a common hang up among people creating courses in more creative fields. Programmers can advertise that their courses will help you make money and get a raise, whereas people teaching something like knitting might not be able to promise a tangible return on a student’s investment. But don’t despair, we have instructors like Angela Fehr bringing in $8,000 a month teaching watercolor painting.
  • Your audience could learn your topic on their own. People often put off making a course thinking, “I learned this all using Google—anyone could do the same so my course is useless.” Technically, that is true, but the beauty of an online course is that you’re creating a shortcut to an outcome. Without you and your course, your audience might spend ten times the amount of time sifting through information, videos and blog posts trying to figure this out on their own.
  • Somebody else is already teaching your course topic for less. Oftentimes people are buying your course for you and your unique perspective.

    Even if someone else in your niche is teaching the same topic, you can still be successful by highlighting what makes your course unique. Perhaps you’ve turned your course topic into your full-time job, or you’re offering one-on-one consulting in addition to the online course. Whatever it is that makes your offer different - make sure to highlight it and use it as a selling point.

    Check out this post on creating a unique selling proposition for your online course.
  • You don’t think your audience will be willing to spend much. It’s a lot to ask strangers on the internet to spend $25 on anything, much less $100+. With that said, don’t let your audience see you as a stranger. If you’re launching to the mailing list we so lovingly built on the previous step, make sure that you’ve been warming them up since they joined, and have provided them real value. They will be far more likely to spend money on your offering.

When we validated our ideas during step one, we established the value of our course ideas and because we know we are creating a valuable course that our audience wants that in itself justifies a premium price point.

Still feeling doubtful?

If you're still hesitant and think that premium pricing is for other people but not you, consider these benefits of charging premium pricing for your online course:

Your revenue goals will be easier to meet

When you’re selling a course at a low price point, you’re going to need a lot of students to reach any income goals, meaning you’ll have to spend a lot more time trying to reach people. If you charge at a higher price point, you’ll be able to devote that time to your existing students and improving your course.

A smaller group of students makes for a better course experience

If you’re only dealing with 15 students as opposed to 50, they will get more of your focused attention and feel like your course was worth their investment. This is going to a) turn these students into repeat customers, and b) increase the likelihood that they’ll recommend your courses to their friends.

Premium pricing increases engagement

When people spend more on a course they are more likely to complete the course and engage. If they impulsively buy a $20 course, they might open it once and never think about it again. On the other hand, a $200 course is going to be seen as an investment and they’ll do everything they can to get a return on their investment.

Premium pricing communicates value

People believe that a $200 course will bring them greater value than a $20 course. Even if you are promising the same result in both courses, people will be skeptical of the cheaper one and won’t trust it.

Weed out the bad students

By charging more, you can ensure that your students are going to be enthusiastic and ready to learn. If your course is too cheap, you’re going to get a number of people who aren’t in your target audience and really don’t care about your course.  Like I mentioned earlier when people spend more they are more prepared to be active and engage with your course.

How to charge premium pricing

Have I convinced you? Whew! Well, now that you're on board, let's talk about deciding on a price point for your online course. 

First things first, let's look back at step two, when we set our income goals and used this formula:

This week I'm walking you through how I priced my online course (while avoiding undercharging) and have tips and tricks that you can use to rest easy knowing that you priced your online course the right way.

Take your total subscribers (I have around 3,000 at the time of publishing), and multiply them by .02 (the average conversion rate). I'm left with 60 customers. Now take your goal income (mine is $7,500), and divide that by your number of customers.

That's how much you need to charge for your course to meet your goal. I got $125.

Now this doesn't mean you can't charge more for your online course—I plan to! It just provides a baseline for you to go off of. 

Adding value to your online course

You want the cost of your course to be justified by the value it delivers. In order to increase the price of your course, you should also increase its value.

There are many ways to make your course more valuable - whether it’s increasing content quality or offering bonuses. Here are a few of our favorite ways:

  • Create a workbook. To accompany your online course, consider creating a workbook that your students can refer to and fill out while they go through your curriculum. Even if you aren’t a great designer, you can create a workbook fairly easily using these templates. Workbooks can increase the value of your online course by twenty-five to fifty dollars.
    Pricing your online course the right way is the easiest way to make money and get your students better results. By valuing yourself, your course and the work you put into creating your offer you’ll be able to come up with a fair price that your audience will be willing to pay.
  • Host live Q&As. If you have a set open date on your course (so everyone is going through it at the same time), you can host live Q&As to increase the value.

    Schedule a few throughout the life of your course for different times of the day so you can capture as many of your students as possible. You can increase the value of your course by several hundred dollars depending on how often you host your Q&As.
  • Offer consulting. If your course is selling at a high enough price point that you’ll only have a handful of students, consider offering 1:1 consulting throughout the course to increase the value.

    This can be in the form of a weekly email, Skype meeting or even a one on one evaluation of where they are at and how they can improve. You can increase the value of your course by hundreds of dollars by offering consulting.
  • Create a community. If you can offer your students a community where they can all hang out, interact and bounce ideas off each other, that’s incredibly valuable.

    You can easily create a Facebook group or a community on Slack. From there you can decide how tightly monitored your community will be. You can increase the value of your course by $50–$100 by creating a community.
  • Improve the production quality of your course. If you are using professional tools to create your course, or even hiring professionals to help your produce it, then the quality of the lectures and content themselves will be high enough to justify a higher price point.

    You can increase the value of your course by several hundred dollars by improving the production quality of your course.

    You can also create a great studio set-up at home for cheap (but we'll go over that on the next step)
  • Weekly office hours. Consider setting up a time each week where you will be online and available to your students. You can create a thread or channel in your community, or even set up a new lecture in your school and host your office hours there.

    This is a time where your students can ask you questions and get your feedback. You can increase the value of your course by one hundred dollars by offering weekly office hours.
  • Devote more time to each student. If you make your course more exclusive by limiting your course size, you are available to help each individual student more. You can focus on each person more effectively if you have 10 students as opposed to 100, thus making a 10-person course more valuable to your students.

    You can increase the value of your course by $25–$50 by limiting your course size.
  • Get creative! We have listed only a handful of different bonuses you can add, but the options are limitless. Perhaps your course is geographic specific, in that case, you can plan an in person meetup. Or maybe there are tools your students will need, if you’re up for it you can create a bundle to send out to your students. The sky's the limit!

How much I'm charging for my course

I settled on charging $147 for my online course during the presale. The price will rise after my first launch, but for now, I'm keeping it relatively low.

Selling at that price point means I'll only have to sell to 50 students to meet my goal, and I'm adding a few bonuses to help justify the price.

The bonuses I'm adding:

  1. A Facebook community: I love Facebook communities, and I've run a few in my day, so this one seemed like a no-brainer. Offering students a space that's exclusive to them where they can share progress and offer their input is a great way to increase value.
  2. A workbook: This is where students will decide exactly which direction they want to take their Instagram Theme. It will have questions for them to consider and answer, as well as examples.
  3. An app guide: Because my course covers Instagram, I'll be talking about different editing apps. I'm providing a guide breaking down the pros and cons of different apps. 

Pricing your online course can be intimidating—so much goes into it! But once you've settled on a price it's easy to go through and add value to your course. 


Take this guide with you: Learn how to create a professional online course your students will love.

We wrote an ebook that includes everything I covered in this massive post, as well as all of the tools, tips, and tricks I used.

Download the ebook!


 

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Create your sales page

Confession time: I can't see a Girl Scout and not buy cookies. I am physically incapable. Something about the determination in these tiny humans' eyes and the delicious perfection of samosas makes me pull out my wallet. Every time

And with the right sales page strategy you can have the same effect on your ideal audience that pint-sized Brownie scouts have on me.

Your sales page can make or break the success of your online course, so you're going to want to get this right. In this step, I'll walk you through writing strong copy and the essential elements of every great sales page. 

What is a sales page, anyhow?

A sales page is the web page your potential customers will land on to buy your course. This is where you get to brag about how incredible your course is, and let your audience know what benefits they'll get from it.

The whole goal of a sales page is to get your customers to click and buy - so strong calls to action will come in here.

There are a few key elements that you’ll find on most successful sales pages - title, subtitle, social proof, description, images, guarantees. What’s amazing is that Teachable does 90% of the work for you. 

This is the sales page layout that we generate for you at Teachable. Check it out:

Teachable sales page layout

Most of what you need to fill out on the course page is self-explanatory. The title, for example, is just what your course is called. Easy enough, right?

Everything else is still pretty basic, but let me break it down for you step by step:

Course Subtitle

You don't want to mess this up. People have short attention spans, and you really need to grab your customers attention here. Weak language or an unclear description can make people click away.

Here you'll want to specifically and concisely let your audience know what they're getting out of taking your course.

For example, here's my description:

INSTAESTHETIC.png

I'm letting my customers know exactly what they'll be getting - a strong brand and a cohesive Instagram theme.

Enroll Button / Call To Action

Your enroll button is what someone clicks to buy your product. Everything on your sales page should be enticing, directing and pointing attention to this button. 

This is a basic step: You don't need to be fancy here, just make it clear that they need to click this button to buy your course.

So long as you make this button clear and easy to find, the rest of your sales page will do the hard work.

Teachable Academy

Need some help deciding on the perfect CTA? Download our list of call to action examples here.

Social Proof / Testimonials

Here is where you get other people to say nice things about you - sounds fun, doesn't it? 

There are a few types of social proof you can include on your sales page:

  1. Customer/ influener testimonials
  2. Data about the number of you've people helped or subscribers on your newsletter
  3. Press coverage from publications you're featured in
  4. Trust seals, like a money back guarantee 

Testimonials are used as a character reference of sorts. People who haven't spent much time on your site - or any at all - might not know whether or not to trust you and the claims you're making.

With testimonials, your audience will see that other people liked you and benefited from your course, and they'll be more likely to take a chance and purchase!

Example: Pinfinite Growth by Melyssa Giffin

Pinfinite Growth, Melyssa Griffin

Check out how Melyssa's testimonial from Krista gives specific numbers on her results from Pinfinite Growth, has Krista's picture next to it and gives a time in which someone can receive a specific benefit from the course. Killing it!

Example: Double Your Freelancing by Brennan Dunn

double your freelancing rate, brennan dunn

Brennan includes social proof in the subtitle of his course. Notice how he says how many students he has right in the title? That's important! Your audience sees that he's trusted by over 6,000 others, creating a sense of trust and security in the information Brennan is sharing.  

Know that it’s illegal to use testimonials from a past product on a new product. If you tell people you pulled the testimonials from an old product because no one has seen your new item, that’s ok. 

Course Description

Alright, pals, it's your time to shine! Here is where you really get into the nitty gritty and let your audience know exactly what they'll get from taking your online course.

One thing you want to focus on here is using benefit driven language. Don't know what that is? Well, basically it's just writing in a way that makes it more about your customer and less about you.

For example, I can say, "I've been refining my Instagram strategy for over a year and filmed 5 hours worth of content so y'all can learn my strategy." and that'd be...fine. But not great.

Instead, saying, "You'll learn how to create a cohesive and beautiful Instagram feed that'll strengthen your brand and passively grow your following in just five hours rather than the year it'd take you to learn on your own."

That one is much better because it's speaking directly to your customer, showing them the benefits of a beautiful theme, a stronger brand, a larger audience, and saved time. 

Example: Pattern Workshop by Lauren Dahl

Pattern workshop course descriptionLauren's quick, to-the-point course description is effective, enticing and adds value. It tells you why this course is valuable and by the end of it, you know exactly what you're getting. 

Example: DIY Video Production by Caleb Wojcik

DIY Video Production, Caleb Wojcik course description Caleb not only has a great course description but a quick promo video as well. People love video content. By adding a 1-2 minute intro about your course can increase conversions. 

Images

Your Teachable page has a space for a large header image to entice your audience. Use this space for an high-quality image that directly relates to your content or brand. High-quality, beautiful images speak to the quality of your course and convey your brand.

Don’t make this hard on yourself and feel like you have to take the picture, simply search for a beautiful image from free stock photo sites. You can find a list of free photo websites here.

ExampleMakeFabulousCakes by Darlene Abarquez

Make fabulous cakes

Example: FetchFind Academy founded by Jamie Damato Migdal

Fetch Find

Author Bio

Now it's your turn to toot your own horn! Talk a bit about who you are, why you're an authority, and don't be afraid to bring your personality into it!

People want to know who they're buying from, let them see the real you. You don't have to go crazy here and write a novel, but a few sentences that get who you are across is great.

Example: Growth Hacker Marketing: The Course by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday about the author

Example: An XO Guide to Photoshop by XO Sarah (Sarah Morgan)

XO Sarah about the author

Frequently Asked Questions

Don't neglect this section, trust me.

The more thorough you are here, the fewer emails you'll be answering down the line when people are looking to buy your course.

We automatically have the three most common Q&A's filled out for you (you can change or delete them), but feel free to add more and elaborate.

Example: Cardiac NCLEX Essentials by Jon Haws

Cardiac NCLEX Essentials, Jon Haws, FAQs

Letter from the Author

Here is your chance to go that extra mile and really knock your customers' socks off.

This letter is a mini blog post with a story from the course founder. It humanizes you as an instructor, tells your story, your motivations and ambitions, and connects you to your students.

This is your chance to express yourself as a human with emotions.

Example: One Month (Ruby on Rails) by Mattan Griffel

Mattan Griffel letter to audience

We also created a Teachable mini course (with videos and walkthroughs) on how to create a high-converting course sales page for your course. It’s free with this link: Mini Course: How to Design Your Teachable Sales Page

My Sales Page

I'll be the first to admit that my sales page is still a work in a progress (and probably will be up until the second I launch, to be honest), but I'm really happy with where it's at now. 

I followed the above guide nearly to a T, so there's not much to elaborate on, but feel free to take a look if you want to check out my sales copy.

In the future, I'll splice together some course content to create a teaser video to put on my sales page, but I haven't recorded course content yet so that will have to come at a later date.

A few things I focused on in creating my sales page:

  • Benefit-driven language: I always struggle with this one, but I made it a priority.
  • Branding the page to my business: I made sure to use the same colors on my sales page that I do on my blog to keep things cohesive.
  • Being concise: After blogging for three years, I know my audience well enough to know that they won't stick around if I'm rambling on. I've seen successful instructors with mini novels on their sales page and it's worked for them, but it's not something I could get away with.
  • Demonstrating my transformation: I included a before and after picture of my Instagram feed to show my audience how far I came in my process, and that with this course, they can achieve that same transformation too.

Final Tips About Creating Your Sales Page

First things first - you've got this!

Creating a sales page can feel like a big, daunting task but it doesn't have to. Take a deep breath and keep these important factors in mind:

  • Use benefit driven language. Make it about your customers rather than about you. Let them know what they'll get from taking your course and how they are going to benefit. They don't care that you've been studying your course topic for ten years, they're more interested in what that means for them.
  • Use clear calls to action. Use language like "Buy Now" or "Click Here to Purchase." People are more likely to take action when you give them a little nudge with your CTA's.
  • Share your transformation. Another facet of benefit driven language is telling your audience exactly what they can expect from taking your course. Straight out say, "By the end of this course, you will XYZ."
  • Be personable. It might seem super tempting to come across as professionally as you can (and in some cases that's your best bet), but more often than not, showing off your personality a bit will strengthen your sales page. Don't be afraid to throw in informal language or a few silly puns, if that's you then your audience will love it.
  • Learn from the best. There is no shame in taking inspiration from beautiful sales pages so long as you aren't copying them. If you see a sales page you love ask yourself what's so great about it and see if you can't replicate that greatness.

 

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Create and record content

Growing up, I thought I was destined for the camera—I dreamt of being a movie star and if I was really lucky, maybe one day I'd even star in my own original Disney Channel film.

If you hadn't already guessed, a lot has changed since then. Nevermind the fact that I'm introverted and prefer attention be directed anywhere but torwards me, but I prefer being behind the scenes, anyway.

But that doesn't mean I won't step in front of the camera when I need to, and for this step, I'm getting ready to sit down and film my course content, and thought I'd walk you through the process of getting set up.

You don't have to be a Hollywood producer or a tech wizard to create beautiful and functional videos for your online course. With the proper setup and a few optional tools, you can make professionaly quality videos with ease.

When it comes to content creation, there’s a lot of ground to cover so I'll be dividing the topic into two sections so I can really get into the nitty gritty.

Before we talk about how you can actually create the content, I'm breaking down the basics of what will be going on behind the scenes and talking to you about how to film your videos, what tech you might need, and the programs you should consider to make your content creation process go as smoothly as possible. 

From start to finish

I'll walk you through creating slides for your online course, first. Then we'll set up your filming studio and  talk about the programs you can use to edit your videos.

Creating slides for your online course

Creating slides is intuitive in theory, but people who aren't design savvy sometimes struggle.

Slides help you to highlight the top points you're covering and they help your students focus.

If you've taken an online course you may have noticed the instructor using slides. Sometimes slides are enough, but other times people choose to do floating head videos.

Floating head videos are when you see a video of the instructor in the lower corner of the slide.

If you are going to use voice over exclusively, we recommend creating a sit down video as an introduction to yourself and the course.

The best programs for creating slides

When I first started playing around with design, my go to was Gimp. Fast forward a few years and I moved onto Canva. Now, I go between Canva and InDesign, depending on the project.

If you have no clue where to start - I recommend using Canva. It's free (unless you upgrade, which is unecessary for what we're trying to do) and they have premade templates to use.

Canva takes out a lot of the leg work, all you have to do is delete their filler text and add in your course content.

If you're more advanced, InDesign is worth checking out because you'll have complete control over your design.

Another option a lot of people swear by is using a slide program such as PowerPoint or Keynote. While I don't have experience with either program, I will say that you can make beautiful presentations with either. 

In fact, our designer, Allison, has taken out the leg work for you and created free Keynote and PowerPoint slide templates you can use in your online course and wrote an amazing post on how to create great presentations.

Learn how to set up a studio where you can film professional quality content for your online course.

PROTIP: If you're going to do floating head videos, make sure that you mark off where your video is going to go so you don't accidentally cut your words off.

 

Filming videos for your online course

This is where people freak out (where I freak out) because sitting in front of a camera is intimidating.

But after doing it every week for the past six weeks, take it from me when I say it get's easier.

Which leads me to my first peice of advice: Practice.

Practicing what you're going to say will make the entire process go so. much. easier. 

Creating a script to practice

If you're interested, here's my process for creating the script:

  • Write down everything I need to cover in the video. This is stream of consciousness and I don't worry about organizing it in any particular order because I am just trying to get everything onto paper.
  • Organize it chronologically. This is where you refine step one. Break it down and decide the order you'll present your content in.
  • Create bullet points. Now I break those points down into three or four word bullet points and tape this list right under my camera lense so if I lose my train of thought I can refer to my list and get back on track.
  • Practice. I use my bullet list to practice what I'm going to say out loud. This feels silly but it helps you figure out exactly what you're going to say, and it'll help you come off as a natural.

Setting up a "studio"

Confession: I converted a storage room in my basement into a studio. Trust me when I say you don't need to have a fancy studio to have a professional course.

Learn how to set up a studio where you can film professional quality content for your online course.

There are 3 main considerations to think about with your studio:

  1. Lighting. Your lighting will make or break your video quality. Your best bet is to use a natural light source like a window or sliding glass door. This option is free but delivers professional results.

    If you don't have access to natural light, you can use a lighting kit. I use a Ring Light, but you can get umbrella lights for cheaper. Both will deliver beautiful results.

  2. Backdrop. You don't need a fancy backdrop, but you should make sure that it's not distracting. If you aren't using a plain wall or sheet, make sure the background isn't cluttered at all. You might not think a sloppy background is a big deal, but people will notice.

  3. Sound. I mentioned that I film in the basement - that's because it's the quietest area in my house and I've been able to set up a nice studio that won't be messed with. 

    When you decide where to set up your filming studio consider the background noise. Make sure that you won't be getting traffic noise and that the people in your home won't have to tip-toe around.

    To deflect echoing, surround yourself with soft things to absorb sound. Think pillows, blankets, or spare matress pads.

    If you want to get fancy you can also invest in a microphone. Though in most cases your built in microphone should suffice.

What camera should you use?

Spoiler alert: You do not need to invest in a fancy DSLR to film your online course. We have plenty of online course creators who have created beautiful videos using only thier iPhones.

But, let's explore all of your options:

You can use your cell phone. This the most basic option, and I imagine 99.9% of people looking to create an online course own a cell phone, and of those people most of them will have a smart phone with a decent camera.

If you are using your cellphone, a great light source is even more crucial. Using your phone, you won't get away with subpar lighting the same way you would with a DSLR. If you don't have a lighting kit, set up camp in front of a window.

Use your webcam to film. Like cell phones, most course creators owns a computer with a webcam. Use that webcam to film your video content and expect the quality to be equal to your cellphone's.

Again, focus on finding a great light source.

You can use an actual camera. Whether it's a digital camera from 2005 or a DSLR, cameras are an obvious choice.

Like we discussed in the post on how to price your online course, if you do have a DSLR that means you've got higher production quality. With that higher quality you can charge a bit more for your online course.

Editing your videos

Once you've created your slides and filmed your videos you've got a few options for editing your videos.

Your free options are Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, both of which are basic but they'll get the job done in a pinch. Of the two, Mac users win out because there are a lot more capabilities with iMovie. the ability to create floating head videos and add graphics on top of videos are just two.

Most of the Teachable team uses ScreenFlow for our video recording needs - this is an awesome program that records everything going on on your screen with the option to record your voiceover or video, too. We even wrote a comprehensive post on how to use Screenflow to record your video content.

Camtasia is the PC alternative to ScreenFlow and offers the same functionalities. 

When I create my content, I'll be using a combination of Camtasia and Windows Movie Maker. I'll create floating head videos with Camtasia, and edit videos together with Movie Maker.

DIY Studio (Free-$56)

Let's put everything together and see how we can create a free  studio that you can use to record all your content.

1. Shoot with your phone/laptop, These are incredibly powerful tools that either you or a friend probably own and provide decent clarity for your videos. 

2. Always shoot with your phone horizontal or laptop upright. The horizontal angle will look nicer when you upload your video to you computer, and it also hides the fact that you’re filming videos on an iphone.

If you’re using a laptop, set it up at a 90 degree angle - trust me on this one. 

3.Film at eye level. Whatever you’re using to film, you want the lens at face level. With an iPhone, that means using a small tripod. 

Propping your iPhone up on a pile of books seems easy, but usually it doesn't work. We think it’s worth it to buy a small tripod ($15) even at this DIY stage.

If you’re using a laptop, however, you can stack it on a pile of books to reach face height.

4. Use the right editing technologies. If you’re using an iPhone, we suggest the filmic pro app to stabilize your video. 

If you’re using a Mac, we suggest Screenflow as an affordable way to film and edit your content. If you're a PC user like I am, Camtasia is a great alternative.

5. Shoot at 24 frames per second. Here is one of the nitpicky things that most people won't even think about, but will make a huge difference to the viewer. (Psssst. This is the standard setting if you're filming on your phone.)

6. Use one laptop/phone for video and another phone as a microphone. This is more complicated than speaking into the same laptop that’s recording you, but you will notice clearer sound quality if you decide to go the extra mile.

Set up one phone or laptop to record video, and use another phone closer to your face for clear sound. We don’t expect you to have two phones, but if you have a laptop and iPhone, this is a perfect combo. If you're filming with a phone, see if you can borrow a friend's for sound.

Later on in the editing process you’ll combine the video from one device with the sound from the second.

7. Use a sheet as your backdrop. A fancy background is pretty easy to fake with any large piece of fabric. Any fabric you have on hand will work. Make sure that there aren't busy patterns, and do test shots to make sure the color doesn't wash you out.

8. Use cushy household objects to stop echo. Echo can come from large rooms, empty apartments, or just from clearing furniture out of a room to set up your studio in the first place.

The solution is to use pillows, rugs, sweaters and anything else soft and dense to absorb sound. 

9. Use natural light. The cheapest low-cost solution to your lighting woes is to open up your curtains and take advantage of natural light.

Artificial lights will cast strange shadows and hues that are less than flattering. Natural light will have you glowing.

Creating engaging videos at home doesn't have to be expensive or technical, here are our tips for an at-home studio set up that you can DIY yourself and list of high ROI equipment.

Click here if you want to see how you can create a home video studio with a bigger budget!

What we'll be covering next

Like I said, we've broken down content creation into two separate parts because, wowza! there's a lot that need to be covered. Here's a look at what we'll be talking about:

  • Creating our lesson plan. In theory, we know the transformation we'd like to bring our students to, but how do we actually plan that out and create a curriculum that will accomplish what we'd like?
  • Producing our videos. When should we sit down and talk to the camera rather than use slides? Do we use just a voiceover on our slides, or opt for the floating heads? How do you even create floating head videos, anyway?
  • An inside look at editing. Video editing has a learning curve, but you just need to get the hang of the program.
  • Uploading your content to Teachable. This step is easy as can be, but I'll show all you new Teachable users just how easy it is.

How are you going about creating your DIY studio? Are you being scrappy with it or pulling out all the stops and investing in professional equipment?

Up until this point in our course creation process, we've been setting the scene, so to speak, but now it's go time. Recording video is intimidating, but with the groundwork we've laid and the tips I'm sharing, we know our courses are providing value.

We've worked hard pricing our courses and setting up our sales pages, but our course content is going to be the star of the show. It's what your students will be judging you and your business off of, and it will determine whether your students recommend your course to others.

Creating your lesson plan

Before you film your videos, you should have a general idea of what each video should accomplish and the key points you need to hit.

Before we get started

Remember, you're providing a shortcut to a transformation, so you want to bring your students results as efficiently as possible.

This means: Don't add extra content for the sake of adding content.

It's easier to fall into the trap of believing more content = better, but when it comes down to it: if you can bring your students to the same results in 3 hours instead of five, they'll appreciate how quickly you deliver results.

The value of your course comes from the quality of your content and transformation, not from how long your videos are, or how many of them you have.

Mapping out the steps

Screen_Capture.pngThe first thing you should do is write out every step your audience needs to take to reach their transformation start to finish. 

From there you can divide those steps out into lessons or modules and plan videos out for each.

Using the Teachable Curriculum editor it's easy to map out your lesson plan and rearrange sections as you see fit. 

Your lessons should build on each other and provide your students with little wins along the way so they can see their progress and stay excited about taking your online course.

Writing a script

Once you've got your lesson plan mapped out, you should write out your script to get each video right the first time. 

My script writing method is fairly simple, and it's something I touched on during the previous step, too. 

I make bullet points, writing down every single thing that I want to cover in the video. Then I rearrange those bullet points into an order that makes the most sense for me.

I might elaborate on each of those bullet points, but for the most part I keep it simple because even though I am, I don't want to sound like I'm reading off of a script. 

By not writing out what you want to say word for word, you'll sound more natural.

Creating videos

We've already talked about setting up a studio and the different types of videos you can create. Now, we'll go more in-depth into how you can actually go about creating those videos. 

Sit down videos

SIT_DOWN.pngThese are easily the most intimidating videos because it's just you - no slides or fancy graphics to hide behind. 

Even if your entire course is going to be slides and voice over, I recommend doing at least one sit down video to introduce your course. Showing your face in that first video will help your audience better connect with you.

Getting over camera shyness

Someone mentioned to me that they'd love to do sit down videos but they're camera shy so they don't feel like it's in the cards for them.

That's totally fine and you don't need sit down videos - voice overs are just as great - but if you want to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Practice! You knew I was going to say this one, huh? It's obvious, but the more you do something the better you'll get. I think I filmed my first video five different times before I felt even a little comfortable, and now that I've been filming every week it's just a normal thing.

    The first time is terrifying - the tenth time it's habit. 

    As silly as it might feel, practice talking in front of the camera - you don't even have to be talking about anything course related. The more often you're in front of the camera, the easier it'll get.
  • Don't watch yourself in the viewfinder. If you have a flip out screen, use it to focus your camera and then turn it away. 

    If you're watching yourself you're going to be worried that you look ridiculous, or wondering if you should have worn a blue shirt instead of your gray one.

    Silly little self-conscious thoughts will distract you from what you should actually be focusing on.
  • Know what you're going to say before you start filming. This is where the script comes in handy. If you have a good idea of what you're going to say and you're not flying by the seat of your pants, you'll have a lot less to worry about.

    Even practicing your script just once or twice before getting started will help you be more confident in front of the camera.

Floating head videos

Silly name, functional idea.

Floating head videos are essentially when you've got a video within a slide. 

FLOATING_HEAD_BLOG.pngIf you think back to your high school or college days, you might recall your teachers and professors using slides to assist in their lectures because adding that extra visual helps keep students focused and on topic. 

Creating floating head videos is fairly simple, all you need to do is design slides (make sure to leave space in the bottom right area for your video so you don't block any text!) and then use a program like ScreenFlow or Camtasia to add video to the slides.

On a side note, we have resources that will allow you to learn how to use Screenflow. Plus, be sure to download these 3 Free PowerPoint and Keynote Templates we built for you to create great presentations.

Voice over videos

The most basic type of video you can make is a slideshow with a voice over. These are great if you want to get things done as quickly as possible without having to worry about filming yourself. They still provide a great deal of value.

You can use any program to create your voice over videos - most programs from Windows Movie Maker to ScreenFlow allow you to record voice overs right on the screen. 

Editing your videos

Once you've got all of your content designed and recorded, editing can be an entire new battle in itself. 

Video editing isn't hard once you get the hang of the program you're using, but unfortunately, it seems like every single program has an entirely different learning curve.

I use Windows Movie Maker and Camtasia for my videos, so those are the two programs I'll be walking you through in the video. For my Mac friends, know that ScreenFlow is going to work very similarly to Camtasia, and there are hundreds of iMovie videos on YouTube that can help you learn the ropes.

Editing with Windows Movie Maker

If I'm being honest - Windows Movie Maker isn't a great program because it's features are very basic, but it gets the job done. 

Unfortunately, you won't be able to create floating head videos in Movie Maker, but you can edit sit down videos and add voice overs to slide videos with the program.

Editing sit down videos

Here are the key things you'll need to know how to do while editing sit down videos:

  • Setting starting points. When you're filming, most likely the first ten seconds of your video won't be usable. They'll be you adjusting, looking at yourself in the viewfinder, and mentally preparing to start speaking.

    To get rid of those ten seconds, drag the bar to right before you start speaking and hit the "I" button on your keyboard. That will set your start point.
    wmm_1.png
  • Splitting a clip. We all mess up during filming - it's part of being human - but that means extra work editing out those slip ups. To get rid of your mistakes, drag the bar to where your mistake begins and hit the "M" key on your keyboard. This splits the clip.

    Now you can drag your bar to where the mistake ends and either hit the "I" key again to set the start point for that clip, or you can hit the "M" key again which will split the clip on the other end, isolating your mistake.

    When the mistake is isolated, you can click it to select and then hit the "delete" key on your keyboard.
  • Setting ending points. Like the beginning of your videos, your end probably has footage you can't use either. Whether you're celebrating the end of a video well done or letting out a sigh of relief, you don't want that in your final product.

    To set an end point all you have to do is drag your bar to where you want the clip to end and hit the "O" button on your keyboard.

Editing voice over videos

Adding voice overs is a lot trickier on Windows Movie Maker than it is with other programs, but I'll do my best to explain it (though I recommend watching the video!)

  • Adding voice overs. You can either import a sound clip of a prerecorded voice over by clicking "Add Music", or record your voice over right on the program by clicking "Record Narration."
    wmm2.png
  • Editing clips. Unfortunately, Movie Maker doesn't have a screen record option so you can't time your narration with your slides. You'll have to edit your slides to fit your narration.

    First, upload your voice over to Movie Maker and use the "M" key to split the voice over whenever the slide should change. Then upload your slides into Movie Maker in chronological order and drag them to fit each voice over clip.

    Trust me, this makes more sense on video.

Editing with Camtasia

I underestimated Camtasia for a long time, but now that I'm using it I've realized how powerful of a program it is. 

Camtasia makes editing all three types of videos easy, but the biggest perk is that you can create floating head videos effortlessly.

Editing floating head videos

When you're making a floating head video in Camtasia, all you'll need to do is open up your slides to full screen in whichever program you're using, open Camtasia's "Record Screen" option, and turn on the microphone and webcam. 

From there you can adjust the size of the video and where you want it to fit on the screen.

Editing voice overs

With Camtasia's "Record Screen" option you can open up your slides on whatever program you're using and record the voice over while clicking through the slides. 

This means you won't have to tediously edit the timing of each slide to fit the voice over like you need to with Movie Maker.

Now go get 'em!

By going in with a plan and knowing exactly what you're accomplishing with each video, you'll be able to confidently film great content for your course. 

And no matter which program you're using to edit, learn the ropes before you get started and get comfortable with the program.

 

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Launch your course

Launching your online course brings back a lot of the same feelings that the end of the school year brought back in high school. You were excited for the break so you could relax, but at the same time, the end of the year was always stressful having to play catch up and study for finals. 

When it comes to your course, you're beyond excited to wrap things up and unwind after all of the hard work you put into it, but you're also worried - what if your launch doesn't go well? What if it's a complete flop? 

First off, let me ease your mind: You're not going to flop.

You've done everything right up to this point, and things are looking good. Take a deep breath, and get ready to finally launch your online course.

Launching your online course is more complicated than just sending a launch email and tweeting a few times, and a proper launch strategy can result in significantly more revenue for you. Here at Teachable, we've seen more launches than we can count and we've been able to pick out what works, and what doesn't. 

A few steps ago, we talked about growing your audience to launch your online course, now that we've got that audience, though, how should we go about selling to them? 

This time last year I would have said, "Host a webinar, send an email, and hope for the best?"

Luckily I've learned a lot since joining the Teachable Team and I can now confidently walk you through our two-phase launch strategy.

The Strategy

There should be 2 phases to your launch strategy:

  1. Education: warm up your list so they know who you are and why you're reliable
  2. Selling: sell to that list now that they're excited about your and your course

The education phase

In the education phase you’re warming up your list - you're helping familiarize them with your course idea, and more importantly with you.

Just because they gave you their email last month doesn't mean that they're ready to buy. You need to wine and dine them a bit and show them why your course is important and why you're reliable.

Slowly introduce yourself again through your education phase.

Your goal is to generate demand for what you’re teaching by educating, creating an understanding of your product, increasing a need for the benefit AND build trust through high-quality content.

This education phase can last 0-14 days depending on how long you want to grow your list before launching. You should be sending an impactful piece of content a few times a week.

You should send:

You're sending these emails to show your audience what you're capable of and what you've got to offer.

So what do you put into these emails? Write them like a newsletter, not like sales copy. When you're warming your list up, you're 100% there to provide them value and help them. We'll start selling later.

Once your list is warmed up, it’s time to sell!

The Selling Phase

Here at Teachable, we call our signature email sequence the Crazy 8 Launch Strategy because it lasts 8 days.

Now you can launch over just a few days or stretch it out over a few weeks, but we've seen the data and crunched the numbers and 8 days seems to be the sweet spot.

The Crazy 8 Launch Strategy 

Over 8 days you're going to send a strategic set of emails that build anticipation, excitement, and urgency that effectively urge people to buy. 

Eight seems like a lot of emails, and if there is a pit in your stomach telling you that your entire list will unsubscribe, just know that I hear you but I think you're underestimating yourself and your list.

Your list subscribed to you in the first place because of the content you offered, they stayed subscribed because of the value you provided. Your list is comprised of your number one fans at this point and they care about you and most won't unsubscribe.

Take Melyssa Griffin in her post: Exactly How I Earned $100,000 in 14 Days from My E-Course Launch.

"I was nervous about sending out so many emails and annoying people, but normally I keep my emails to about one per week, so I knew it would just be two weeks of insanity and then things would simmer down. I also knew that…HEY…I spent so much time growing my email list by providing free value that taking two weeks to promote my new product was not much to ask for. As expected, I received some unsubscribes, but nothing really out of the ordinary. One 82-year old man emailed me angrily, but aside from that, instead of angry emails, I was getting messages from people thanking me."

Fun fact: long before I even knew what Teachable was I signed up for Melyssa's email list, read her newsletters religiously, and bought the course she's talking about because 1. I trusted her to deliver high quality content and 2. because she had a killer marketing strategy that had me considering buying the course every day until I finally pulled the trigger.

DAY 1: Course teaser 

On your first email, you’re going to tease your course and build excitement.

Let people know that you’re creating a course, what it’s about, and that you’ll be launching soon.

Use phrases like “I’ll share the fun details later.” “The excitement is killing me.” “I’ve been working hours on this for you.”

Keep it upbeat and positive and generate excitement. Here's an example from when we launched The Profitable Teacher here at Teachable.

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher Interest List email example

DAY 2: “What is the course” email

In this email you going to describe what's in your course.

Remember a few steps ago when we talked about using benefit driven language on your sales page? This is the time to break out that language again.

Instead of telling your audience what is in the course, tell them what they'll gain from taking the course.

Tell what’s in your course. Explain the various modules and takeaways and build up the value of your “bonus content.”

At the end, tell your students that your course will become available to buy tomorrow.

Here's an example, though we deviated slightly having the course open that night.

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher Course-Explainer email example

DAY 3: "Course Opens" email

Today is the day! (Don't be nervous, it's going to be great!) Today your course opens and you start making money. Woohoo!

In this email, tell you audience that your course is now open and link  them to your sales page.

This is a big email and you want to knock everyone's socks off.

Here's an example:

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher Cart Open email example

DAY 4: FAQ email

Your audience is going to have questions (and a lot of them) and you don't want to tediously go through every single individual one (oftentimes answering the same question more than once) so you'll need to address the questions in your FAQ.

In this email you want to answer the logistical questions about your course: 

  • How long do they have to buy?
  • How long will they have access?
  • Is there a money back guarantee?
  • Are there payment plans? 
  • Are you dripping content? 
  • Who is this course right for?
  • How much time does it take? 

In addition to the logistical emails, you might want to talk a bit more about your topic. My course is on Instagram themes so I might answer a few questions like this:

  • What even is an Instagram Theme?
  • Who needs an Instagram Theme?
  • Is this just for bloggers?

For an additional example, check out Ramit Sethi's FAQs for Zero to Launch

Here was ours: 

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher FAQ email example

DAY 5: Surprise bonus email

Here's where you get to tap into everyone's love for freebies and surprises and offer an exclusive bonus for anyone buying your course.

Build excitement. Explicitly say you're giving a surprise not mentioned on your sales page.

And make that surprise killer! It should be some kind of valuable bonus content (like a workbook, consulting, a free tool) or a limited-time discount. Whatever it is, make sure it's valuable. 

We didn't have this type of email in our recent launch, but we should have! If you've done this,tweet me a screenshot of your email @hellomorgantimm and I'll add you to the post! #FreeAdvertising, y'all!

DAY 6: Thank You & Social Proof Email

Your audience has graciously allowed you to grace their inboxes every day for the past five days, so let's show some appreciation.

Make sure to thank everyone for reading your emails and being part of your launch. Write from the heart and in your voice.

Say "I never expected this..." and include testimonials where people rave about your course. 

This kind of language also builds social proof. It shows that people have bought your course and are happy with it and you may even bring in a few additional sales here.

For our launch, we included a bunch of testimonials in previous emails. While this email can boost sales if you're struggling, you don't always have to include this email, especially if you use your social proof in other emails.

DAY 7: Logic + Course Closing Email

At this point, your launch is almost over. You're probably a bit exhausted, but hopefully excited by the amount of money you've made. 

In this email, you're going to say that your course is closing. Build a logical argument for why it make sense to buy now, reference the surprise bonus and build an urgency around getting the course before it's too late. 

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher Logic & Course Closing email example

DAY 8: Last Chance 3 Email Series

This day has the potential to be your most profitable day. Anyone on edge is going to either buy your course now or not at all. That's why you want to finish strong and send 3 emails. 

Yes, 3 emails.

Email 1 - send at 9:00am: 

Tell your list that today is the LAST day to get the course and emphasize why you have to close your doors and at what time.

The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Online Course. The Profitable Teacher Last Chance Email 1 email example

Email 2: 3:00-4:00pm: 

Send a mid-day reminder that cart is closing, how thankful you are and how wonderful the course launch has been.

Email 3: 1 hour before cart closes: Last chance

This is a quick email outlining that this is the last chance to get the course, it's going away, NOW! 

Whew! You did it!

Eight days of launching can be exhausting. There is so much that goes into it and you're going to be spending a lot of time writing and prepping, so give yourself a pat on the back - you did it!

Other ways to launch

I really do recommend executing the Crazy 8 Launch Strategy, but you can supplement that with other methods, too.

Launching with a blog

As someone who lives and breathes blogging, you had to know this would make the list. 

A lot of your blog visitors will be unqualified leads, but some of them will be your perfect target audience. If you haven't captured their email to add to your list yet, the least you can do is put your online course on their radar.

A quick post related to your course and announcement that the sales page is live will at least get people thinking about your course (and hopefully buying!) Blogs are a great platform for getting information out to the general public, so if you have one I'd be sure to announce your course there.

Webinars

Webinars are live trainings related to your online course. They are typically around an hour long, give or take, and provide a lot of value.

Your webinar should be introducing your course topic, letting your audience know why it's important, and teaching them something, too.

A common pitfall I see a lot of people fall into is not providing value. They talk about their course topic, and why it's important, but they offer nothing else and their audience ends up frustrated because they lost out on an hour of their day.

Your webinar should be more than just a sales pitch. Here's our post on how to create a webinar that converts.

Facebook Ads

I can't log onto Facebook anymore without seeing ads for online courses, and if you know how to set them up the right way Facebook Ads can be incredibly valuable.

You can direct your Facebook Ads to your course sales page, or if you set your ads up far enough before launch you can direct them to a content upgrade so you can get your leads into your sales funnel.

The benefit of adding people to your sales funnel rather than directly to your sales page is that you're able to qualify those leads over the course of your email launch. 

Facebook groups

There are so many benefits to running a Facebook Group relevant to your course topic.

You're building a community, establishing yourself as an authority, and creating a platform where your audience can begin to know (and love) you. 

As an admin of a Facebook Group, you can announce when your course goes live and get feedback from your audience there.

How I'm launching 

A Facebook group

The very first step I'm taking is to launch a Facebook group for Instagrammers and bloggers that I've had under construction for the past few weeks. The Facebook group is more of a community builder, but I will be making the community aware of the course launch.

A blog post

I'm sure you already guessed this one - but I will be writing a blog post announcing my online course.

Additionally, I'll be adding sales copy to all of my existing Instagram posts, too. 

The Crazy 8 Launch Strategy

I am starting with warming my list back up and getting them excited about Instagram themes.

I'm sending out freebies, growth guides, and other bonuses all revolving around Instagram before launching into our signature Crazy 8 Launch Strategy.


Want to get started right away? Grab all the resources, templates, and cheatsheets I used to create my own course.

We wrote an ebook that includes everything I covered in this massive post, as well as all of the tools, tips, and tricks I used.

Download the ebook!


Fin!

It's been a great journey introducing you all to this series and walking you through step by step, but it's now coming to an end. 

I'll be checking back in after my launch to talk about my results and what I would have done differently (because hindsight is always 20/20, eh?). 

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Morgan Timm

Written by Morgan Timm

Morgan Timm is a content marketer at Teachable with a background in blogging and social media. She runs Mostly Morgan, a life and style blog that reaches an audience of 40,000 people monthly.