3 Proven Models to Help You Launch Your Online Course - Deepstash
3 Proven Models to Help You Launch Your Online Course

3 Proven Models to Help You Launch Your Online Course

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3 Proven Models to Help You Launch Your Online Course

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The beta launch is a low-key launch designed to put your course in front of a small test audience. The idea isn’t to maximize your initial class size or indeed your revenues but to test demand for the product as a whole. This is best for:

  • First-time course creators who want a pragmatic, low-stress way of launching their first course.
  • Seasoned course creators who want to test a brand new idea on their market (or a new market).
  • People who don’t mind having their mistakes and missteps on display and are comfortable with the pressure of launching a course before it’s complete.

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Here’s what it looks like when broken into phases: 

  1. Pre-launch — Let people know you have a course coming. Invite them to sign up for an interest list if they want to be notified when it’s available. 
  2. Enrolment — Continue talking about the course on social media and any other platforms where you have the following. Once you have your target number of signups, close enrolment. 
  3. Post-launch — Shift your focus to content creation and gathering feedback from your group of “founder” students. Do everything you can to make them feel excited about being part of this highly interactive process.  

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  • You can test demand for your course (and the results it helps people achieve) before spending a lot of time upfront working on all of the course materials. 
  • You can get early feedback on your content, allowing you to adapt in real-time to students’ needs and create a more robust course as a result. 
  • You can get your course out into the world without needing a big marketing machine to promote it the first time around.  

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  • This type of launch typically doesn’t make much money for the course creator. 
  • You still may need to recreate some of your content when you launch more formally (although the underlying concepts will have been “road-tested”). 
  • By their nature, these types of launches are a little rough around the edges and you may feel uncomfortable showing an “unpolished” version of yourself to the outside world.  

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This is where your course is only available to buy for a limited period of time.

These types of launches tend to involve a good amount of fanfare. The course creator wants to create as much buzz around the launch as possible to generate the maximum number of sales. Best for:

  • People who already have a mature course to launch, for instance, offline trainers who have adapted their materials for online delivery.
  • People who prefer to run their courses in distinct cohorts where all students start their journey at roughly the same time
  • People who already have a good-sized audience.

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  1. Pre-launch — At least two weeks before the course is available to buy, start educating your audience about the problem that the course solves, before moving into more overt promotion. 
  2. Cart open — Once the shopping cart is open and the course is available, promote it more intensely by highlighting features, bonuses, case studies, etc. As the deadline approaches, use people’s natural fear of missing out to prompt people on the fence to make a decision. 
  3. Post-launch — Once the cart is closed, focus on giving the people who’ve joined the course the best possible experience.  

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  • Since your course is only available at particular times it’s easier to create a sense of excitement around your launch 
  • The cart closing deadline creates natural urgency that will help people who are on the fence decide to buy (or not). 
  • Once you’ve launched like this once, you can often reuse a lot of the same marketing materials to launch again and again.  

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  • Launches like this are intense and you can find yourself exhausted by the end of the process. If you’re launching several times a year, burnout is a real danger. 
  • This model draws a lot of your time and attention (unless you have a team running them for you) and it’s difficult to keep the rest of your business running smoothly in parallel. 
  • There’s an element of hype and buzz to this type of launch that may not suit the tone of your business generally.  

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The Evergreen Launch model is where your course is available for purchase all year round.

You can think of it as being a product that’s always sitting on the shelf waiting for the right customer to come along. Best for:

  • People who want their income from courses to be as passive as possible.
  • People who don’t want to run large, “showy” launches that can drain their time and dilute their focus.
  • People who already attract a regular flow of new people (and potential customers) into their orbit via social media or website traffic.

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  • Potential customers can buy whenever they are ready — you never risk disappointing someone who’s decided to buy only to discover your course is unavailable. 
  • Once your infrastructure is in place, relatively little work is required to support the promotion and selling of your course. (If the cart is always open you don’t have to manually manage the pre-launch and cart open phases.) 
  • Assuming you have a steady influx of leads into your “funnel” you should have a fairly regular and reliable source of income.  

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  1. Since people can purchase the course whenever they wish, there’s less of a sense of urgency. Some people who would have bought under a more time-pressured launch model will fail to buy. 
  • To get the best performance out of this model you need your marketing to be highly automated and finely tuned to optimise conversion. 
  • With a “rolling” enrolment model students will be at different points in their journey as they work through your course. You may need to allow for that in any support calls you might offer.  

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  • Option #1: Beta → Limited Window → Evergreen: Start with a beta launch to test the demand for your course and get some early feedback to understand any shortcomings.
  • Option #2: Evergreen + Limited Window: Another option is to follow an Evergreen model for most of the year but promote a special deal from time to time that offers the course at a reduced price or with some additional bonuses.

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