For the month of October, I have been doing a series of mini-masterclasses on Periscope (and Instagram) every single day about how to successfully build and launch your online course.
We've been having so much fun and really getting down to business with these mini-masterclasses. These aren't fluffy vague "tips" - they are really more like mini-workshops every single day.
We dive deep into one specific topic every day in the masterclasses, because you know I love specific and hate vague.
If you've missed any of the the first 15 of the #30CourseTips, I've compiled them here so you can review all of them, or just review the ones you are particularly struggling with right now.
I'm not sure how long I'll leave these Periscope recordings up.
So make sure to watch the ones you're interested in soon.
If you have any questions about launching your own signature online course, ask me in the comments!
And if you have a suggestion for #30CourseTips, you can tweet me @MariahCoz with the hashtag #30CourseTips and I'll give you a shout out and answer your question live on Periscope!
I really don't want you to miss the nightly masterclasses either - so follow me @MariahCoz on Periscope and keep your notifications on so you can join our discussions live each day.
And remember to get your free 90-Day Course Launch Checklist right over here.
Okay, let's dive right in!
#30CourseTips Part 1: Tips #1 - #15
I often get the question, "Should my course be evergreen or open/close launches?". The answer depends on your business and your goals, but I know one thing for sure:
If you're course is evergreen, you better have a damn good strategy in place to justify that decision and bring in consistent sales.
I see way too many people launch an evergreen course with no sales strategy - so their course sites on their digital shelf gathering dust.
My advice is to strive for both an evergreen course AND a course that has open/close launches in your product plan. This is "big picture" thinking - and I encourage you to try to develop both one evergreen course and one open/close launch course.
The reason I've had so much success with evergreen courses is because I have a funnel that makes sales every day on autopilot, and I do weekly webinars that bring in bursts of sales as well.
Watch the scope below for all of the details!
Tip #2 is all about preselling your course and getting paid to create your course.
You might have heard me say before that when I went to launch my first Femtrepreneur course, I pre-sold for 30 days and brought in $30k during that time, before I even launched my course.
Desiree (@thatdesiree on Twitter) asked me about "the magic of pre-selling your online products" and I know that from the outside, pre-selling and the idea of "making money without a product" does sound like magic.
The truth is that it's as simple as outlining your course, making a preliminary sales page (which has a few important tweaks that we talk about in Launch Your Signature Course™) and adding a buy now button.
The most important thing with pre-selling is just being EXTRA clear with your pre-buyers about WHEN they can expect their material or product and HOW they will receive it (an email? a log-in?).
- You have to be super clear about the fact you are pre-selling.
- I recommend you pre-sell for 30-45 days before you launch.
- You can offer an early-bird price during that period (and price increases work wonders for launching).
- During your pre-selling stage, offer lots of value and promote the pre-sale page.
Preselling is absolutely important because it is the strongest form of validation. No survey or number of opt ins to a freebie is going to compare to someone pre-purchasing your product and saying with their cash "Yes, I want you to make this”.
Watch the scope below for the masterclass on the magic of preselling.
How much content should I give away for free?
What's the difference between my paid and free content?
You can give away up to 25% of your content during your launch (some people do more), but the best free content prepares your customer to purchase your course and be successful in it.
During your launch and pre-launch, you're giving away lots of valuable free content. This about your free content as a "prerequisite" course to your paid course - like in a college curriculum.
Your free content is class 101, your paid course is class 102 and beyond.
Your free content needs to be actionable and valuable, and it focuses on getting people ready to take Step 1.
Watch the masterclass below for all the details.
A lot of "experts" (people) say you "can't" have affiliates for your first launch, but in my experience that advice is not only WRONG, but totally backwards.
If anything you NEED affiliates for your first launch more so than with any other subsequent launch, because your audience is the smallest it ever will be.
In this masterclass, I go into my unique approach to having an affiliate launch for my first launch.
You should have affiliates if at all possible. In this scope, I talk about what percentage to give your affiliates, how to find your ideal affiliates with some of my favorite tools and websites, and how to MANAGE an affiliate launch (yep!).
Affiliates can be a lot to manage but your first launch your audience is pretty small, and you can do a much larger launch with a tiny audience with the right affiliate strategy.
Get all the details below.
I made so many mistakes when I first started creating and launching online courses. The biggest one was choosing a platform that didn't scale with my business.
Meaning it was fine for beginners, but wouldn't hold up as my business blew up.
It actually created MORE work and maintenance as my courses grew and more students enrolled (bad!).
You need to consider how your platforms scale, how passive it makes your business, how hands-off the process is, automation features, protecting your content, affiliate programs and so much more.
In this replay I talk about the one platform I now use that checks all of those boxes. I tell you what I recommend using and why, and some of my favorite features.
I also show you my course site both inside and outside so you see how it all works behind the scenes!
If you're thinking about writing an eBook, I encourage you to reconsider and turn that same content into a course instead.
You'll make more profit, get better results for your customers and students, and the format of a course is actually kinder to your customers than a book.
If you already have an eBook, I encourage you to "upgrade" your eBook content into a course, by adding videos, workbooks, and dividing your chapters in modules and lessons.
Here are just a few of the reasons your should turn your eBook idea into a course:
- Premium pricing means you can make more money with fewer sales and a smaller audience.
- Unlike ebooks, which are released as one product all at once, courses can be pre-sold to test demand before you even create the entire thing. You can then create the course as you go week by week. This process ensures you don't build something that no one buys.
- Courses create raving fans and are way more fun than ebooks. I love being involved with my students and seeing their success. With ebooks, you make a sale, and you probably never hear from that customer again. They become a number. With courses, you are engaged with your students creating big impact and making deeper connections.
- Recurring revenue and launch cycle from a course, whereas you can't really keep "launching" a book over and over again.
- The course format is KINDER to your audience and will have a higher success rate for your students and customers. More investment = more results.
- And a step by step course is much easier to implement that a book you read all at once and then never implement.
How to turn your eBook or eBook idea into a course:
- Divide chapters into modules
- Add videos and workbooks
- Raise the price or use tiered pricing
- Include a private group community
Watch the whole class right here:
Before you launch, you need to spend at least 30-60 days building up your pre-launch list or your VIP list (people who have opted in for more information specifically about your course launch).
The best way to do that is:
- Do weekly guest posts with content upgrades back on your site
- Create and promote a free mini-course that is a taste of your larger paid course
- Do both joint venture and solo webinars for the 30 days leading up to your launch
We go into the extensive details of these pre-launch list building strategies in Launch Your Signature Course™.
For an overview and my story about what exactly I did in the 60 days before my first course launch, watch the scope below.
Before you launch, you'll want to do a bunch of joint venture webinars for value giving and list building to pump up your pre-launch list.
During your launch, you'll want to do a few more webinars to actually promote and sell your course.
You can create a signature webinar for your signature course. Webinars are the best way to connect with your audience and really show your expertise.
If you're in Webinar Rockstar™, you already know how obsessed I am with webinars and their power to sell!
You can also use webinars to pre-sell your course.
Watch the scope below for details about how many webinars you should do, how to do JV and solo webinars, and what kinds of bonuses to offer on webinars.
Offering payment plans for your course if it costs more than $300 is a great idea. It will increase your sales up to 40%, and your customers will really appreciate it being accessible too.
I've never had an issue with non-payment for payment plans. I know it can be an issue, I just have yet to experience that. I hesitated for far too long to implement payment plans out of fear.
Payment plans are usually 20% more than if your customers pay full price.
It's important to create accessibility even in premium courses.
Watch the class below for all the little details.
I would say the NUMBER ONE question I get asked the most about creating courses is how to price them!
Why are we so afraid to charge what our products are worth?
I hear some crazy myths that people believe about pricing - mostly that a shorter course needs to cost less, or that you can't price your course above $10 if your audience is "on a budget". Lies! All lies!
You need to price your course based on value (we talk about what that means below and more in depth in Launch Your Signature Course™.)
Think about the OUTCOME for your students.
You do need to consider your customers' financial situation and income, but do not undervalue your course.
In the scope, we discuss premium pricing, pros and cons, and income goals and pricing.
*This scope is combined with the one above!*
Something I myself struggled with was deciding when and if I should put my course on it's own domain and give it it's own brand separate from my main website.
If you are creating a premium, signature course, you absolutely should use it's own domain and URL, and give the course sales page and site it's own sub-brand.
Premium courses need their own brands - think of it as a sub-brand to your main one. You can either brand it a little fancier or a little more fun, depending on the course. This gives you some flexibility with your packaging and positioning.
This allows you to brand your course differently than your main brand.
In turn, you can charge more for your high-end offering.
I've done it both ways - on my own site as a page and on it's own course site - and I now recommend that you use a separate domain and brand for your course.
And I just realized I don't have a scope for this one! Apparently I missed that one.
Instead, here's your free 90-Day Course Launch Checklist :)
A lot of people want to know, how much does it cost to launch a signature course?
The answer is - it varies. And honestly, it can cost as much or as little as you want it to!
I've launched courses for $100 (website, domain, and email service) that brought in six figures, and I've spent upwards of a few thousand to launch a course in other instances.
You can really spend as much as you want on your course launch - hiring designers, developers, copy writers and project managers. Some people will spend tens of thousands of dollars on ads to launch.
I personally like to take a middle approach, spend money on the right platforms, but do some of the other stuff in house. I have yet to spend ads on a launch (one of the things that makes me and my rapid growth really unique - it's pretty much unheard of to reach multiple six figure without spending any money on ads, but with my unique strategies, you don't need to.)
Things you need to consider for your launch budget:
- Platform (I spend $299/m)
- Affiliates (I might pay out affiliates as much as $10k each after a launch)
- Email system
- Website platform, sales page and domain cost
Watch the full breakdown of each cost below.
Of course, we all want to know what tools we need to create and launch an online course.
I did a #ToolScope about all of the things I use to create and launch my courses.
Here's the basic list:
- Squarespace or website for sales page
- Teachable for course platform / hosting (can include sales page)
- Pages for workbook design and PDF creation
- Yeti Mic for recordings
Hear all of my recommendations inside:
When I go to name something, I brainstorm all the related words and phrases.
I write it all down and play a game of mix and match.
Need a formula? I've got one for you.
If you don’t feel like a brilliant name is going to lightning bolt into your head, you can use this formula:
TIME FRAME + RESULTS + WHO IT’S FOR = your product title
30 Days to Better Hand Lettering
Badass Babes: Where Women Build Brilliant Blogs
Lose 15 pounds in 30 Days with Patty’s Paleo Plan
Your First 1K: Get your first 1000 subscribers and make your first $1K in 60 days.
You can also come up with a catchy title and a more “detailed” hook to go beneath it. The name of my course is “Your First 1K” and the hook is “Get your first 1000 email subscribers and make your first $1,000 in 60 days or less”.
Be really specific and think about your results and your time frame.
Watch the whole class below!
Ethics are an important and often overlooked aspect of creating and selling courses. Seriously, we need to talk about this!
It's important to be aware of the ethics issues both as a student and teacher.
Questions you should ask yourself:
- Are you teaching material that you learned from experience and not from just reading somewhere else?
- Are you accurately representing the results your students can expect?
- Are you promising results or earnings with a disclaimer?
- Is your course content unique, your own, and not copied or plagiarized?
And on the flip side, as a student, you need to ask yourself:
Is the person you’re learning from speaking from experience - or from content they learned in someone else’s marketing course?
That's why I make it such a point for me to share with you my own experiences, my own results, my real numbers and real revenue. Because I want you to see for yourself that I know what I'm talking about from MY OWN EXPERIENCE - not because I read about it somewhere.
There are lots of other issues we deal with as course creators (plagiarism, copyright, etc) and we go into those in the Launch Your Signature Course™ program.
Watch the whole discussion right here.
Whew! That's a lot to take in!
Part 2 of this blog post will contain #30CourseTips #16 - #30.
I want to know from you, what part of creating and launching your own course do you need the most help with?
Which one of these tips resonated with you or helped you the most?
Let me know below!
And make sure you get your free 90-Day Course Launch Checklist. It will help you avoid missing some crucial parts of your launch!