Are you’re currently reading this blog post from the bench as the course creators that you aspire to be are in the game center stage killing it launch after launch?
Are you ready to get off the sidelines and write your own success story? 🏆
Right now I am walking a small group of coaching clients through launching their own wildly successful courses. But before working with me, many of them went through a lot of course launching hardship before getting to this point. They had spent months preparing for their first course and their first launch, but ended enrolling just a fraction of the students that they had hoped for. Then they were overdelivering like crazy to try to satisfy those students only to find that they couldn’t squeeze out the all important testimonial from them no matter how hard they tried, setting them up for more struggles in their future.
They quickly learned the hard lesson that courses are a numbers game and they are only the super profitable, passive income style dream businesses if you can enroll students en mass. So they either had to change something drastic or let their course creators dreams die.
There’s something super important that I want to share with you, and that is what’s actually needed in order to sell your first course.
It doesn’t need to already be created, but you need to have a very specific idea. It can’t be something general like “I want to create a mindset course”, or “I want to create a “how to start a business course”. It needs to be a specific course idea.
The second thing that you need is an audience. And the third thing that you need is a way to take payments.
And I do have to say a sales page is helpful too. You could get away without it, but definitely helps as you need a way to take payments. Many people think that they need the entire course ready. And while you could absolutely do that, if you want to, it’s not necessary.
So often course creators spend months on creating their course content, and then they go ahead and they set a launch date and they’re like, “okay, I’m finally gonna get this thing out into the world.” Then they massively underestimate how much work needs to go into the marketing and promotion of the course.
Then they launch with a half finished, not at all prepared launch. And so if the choice is between having the content ready ahead of time for your course or putting together a really fantastic launch, I would go for the latter. The course content can be totally taught live to the first cohort of students, giving them a really exceptional experience and then getting direct access to you and really helping you shape the content in the process.
So again, if the choice is between having all the content and a half-prepared launch or having a fantastic launch and then doing the content live with your students, I would go for that.
The other thing I mentioned is that you need is an audience. Now, please, please, please do not make the mistake that so many others do of launching to an empty room or trying to launch to someone else’s audience. This never works out!
My next blog post and video is literally all about this, mistakes that all the failing course creators make. To learn more about those mistakes and how to avoid them so you don’t have that same problem, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to learn exactly how to avoid this massive pitfall that I see course creaters falling into again and again of trying to launch to an empty room! 🦗
The last thing you need is the way to take payments. Some people create a full on sales page and honestly that helps massively. A really great sales page is a fantastic asset, but if you’re going for a minimum viable launch here, it is possible to launch without it and then create your sales page later. But you do need the way to take payments from the very beginning.
So now you have those three bits that you need to have down first.
I think this all comes down to what is going to be the least stressful and the most enjoyable experience for you. Some people are like “I’m just gonna sell the thing and then create all the content later and I’ll get it done when I need to”. For me, that is super stressful, so I don’t love doing that. I like having at least a bit prepared beforehand and a content creation plan for what to create later. This gives me freedom and leeway, and it’s not too much all at once.
Some people get totally freaked out by that idea of having all the course content being created once they’ve sold the thing. And so they want to have the full thing done beforehand. Again. Totally fine if you do that, but make sure that doesn’t mean that you’ll then put together a sloppy last minute launch because you’ve just spent so much time on the course content.
You truly need to spend just as much time on the course content as you do on the launch. Let’s say you spend a month creating the course content. You should also expect to spend a month preparing for your launch.
There is truly no right or wrong answer here for creating the content before or creating the content after. It is totally up to you and what feels best for you. But remember, if you’re going to create the content after you have launched your course, make yourself a realistic creation schedule so that you haven’t over promised and under delivered, and all of your modules are coming out late to your students.
That would not be a great experience for them or great testimonials for you.
If you’ve been around the course creator world for any amount of time, you will have heard people talking about an email list. And the reason that they’re all talking about an email list is that it has been proven, hands down, as the number one in effectiveness for delivering a message very quickly to the right people.
If you create something like a blog or YouTube or podcast or whatever, those are fantastic additional assets. But if you’re only releasing one video a week or one blog post or one podcast episode a week, you don’t really have the ability to communicate as much as you need to during the launch. So having an email list where you can send out those emails very frequently in a short space of time is the key.
It’s not quite as effective as email, but it is up there for being pretty effective with getting the message across during your launch period.
While social media and social following are fantastic, they’re not really great for conversions when it comes to sales. If you have a large social media following already, that is fantastic. And that can definitely help you. But I would encourage you right now to getting that social media following onto your email list or into your Facebook group.
Industry average conversion rate math is 1-2% of those who see your offer (your sales page, or your sales materials) will buy your thing. That conversion holds true for email, much less, however, for other social media options.
Let’s say you’re launching to an Instagram following or launching to a YouTube channel or launching to your affiliates or ads. You’re just not gonna hit that 1-2% conversion rate. It is not typical to find that type of a conversion rate when it comes to those other marketing options.
However, when you are launching to an email list or really engaged Facebook group, it is definitely possible to be hitting those numbers.
Most people pick their course idea and they’re like, “it’s great 🙌”. And maybe they’ve even heard from their audience in the past that they’d be interested in that. But they haven’t actually talked to any real humans before they go and settle on that idea or they go ahead and launch that course. And that turns into a huge, huge issue.
Let me give you a quick story to demonstrate this. I have two students in my Course Launch Collective. They are the most lovely couple Billy and Lydia. They run adultcello.com and they had this course idea, which all of their audience had been asking for. There is a certain bucket list piece by Bach that everyone in the cello world wants to learn.
And they decided to create their course on teaching this specific piece. Even though they had their course idea and they were completely convinced by it, I told them you need to go do market research. You need to talk to your audience. Just to solidify that this is the right thing. When they did that market research, they quickly realized while everyone wanted to learn this piece, there was this gap in the middle.
Their audience had the beginner basics and this piece was a little bit challenging. There was a lot of technique that these students needed to nail in order to be ready to play this piece. And so they realized they shouldn’t actually be creating this course over here yet. They had the beginner one, they had the idea of the one in the future that everyone said they wanted, but they realized there was something missing in the middle and that’s what they needed to create now.
So I hope this shows you, even if everyone has been saying “yes, I want this specific course” you might need to double check with them where they’re actually at. Are they ready for this specific course, or is there some different positioning that you need to be doing with this course? And this can only be figured out by actually talking to humans and doing your market research.
Now doing your market research is also a fantastic opportunity to test if your audience actually takes action when you share a call to action with them (ie “book a market research call with me”)? If people take you up on that call, then you know your people are both interested in the topic, which is a good sign for your future course and they also do what you tell them to, which is another good omen for your course sale.
If, however, on the other hand, you share this call to action with your audience and there’s crickets, it’s best we learn this now and not when we’ve gone ahead and created the entire course or put our entire launch together to kind of realize “oh, maybe this isn’t actually a hundred percent hitting the nail”, or “maybe I don’t have the right audience for this offer”.
Only once you’ve actually talked to real humans you should go ahead and tweak your outline of your course idea and/or the messaging around your course.
I want to talk about why you should be launching first and not doing your sales on evergreen from the start.
Sales on evergreen tend to have lower conversion rates. It doesn’t normally hit the 1-2% that you find with launches because it lacks the live excitement and the community and the hype and the fun that a launch has. So conversions tend to be lower with evergreen sales.
I want you to start with the easier option. I want you to start with launching because it is easier to get the conversions that you want in a launch than it is on evergreen.
The thing that you need to know about purchasing anything is that people buy when there’s a reason to buy right now – it’s what I call a period of urgency 🚨. So to demonstrate this fact, I want to show you a quick graph of sales that I did in one of my first six figure launches.
This is why course creators do open and close cart versus courses being available all of the time. As you can see, I opened cart and there was initially just a few sales. This was people who were literally waiting for the course to open again. Then we had the end of our early bird period, and that is when a huge influx of sales came in because this was their last chance to save a couple hundred dollars on the course price.
Then I hosted some webinars. My launch schedule has changed since then, but back in the day I was hosting these webinars and there would be a live offer on those webinars. They would get an additional offer and additional bonuses if they enrolled within a certain amount of time of that webinar. And then finally we had the course close period, and that is when another huge rush of sales came in because people wanted to get in before doors closed.
As you can see in the graph there is only a few sales in between. If I had none of those periods of urgency, if the thing was just open all the time, there wasn’t early bird, there wasn’t a webinar, there wasn’t an end date to the sale and a closing of enrollment, I would’ve seen a fraction of the sales compared to having those periods of urgency inside of my launch.
Step five is to put together your own promotional launch calendar and to decide on the incentive to buy at specific points in time in that launch calendar. Typically course creators set up special offers available for one hour or four hours or 24 hours. Basically they have short time specific offers within their course lunch.
Typically these offers include things like extra bonuses, discounts, coaching calls, audits, or feedback on the student’s work.
It is not three social media posts, three emails, and then calling it a day. Your people are seeing a lot of promotions for a zillion things in their day. So you want to be hosting some sort of big online event and you want to be doing a lot of posts and a lot of emails – we’re talking like 15 to 20 emails over a course of a couple weeks.
You also want to be doing things like live video trainings and groups or challenges, training weeks, webinars, boot camps, live virtual conferences, and so on. You want some sort of big hype event and a whole lot of marketing messages to go along with it so that people even notice this thing is happening.
I can’t tell you the number of times that I have done a massive online event and done a ton of emails and a ton of posts. And then someone at the end of it comes back and they’re like, “oh man, I missed it”. It’s like, how did you miss it? I send you literally like 15 emails, but it just goes to show that people have so much going on in their day that while we feel like it’s a lot that we’re putting out there, this is just a small blip in their day.
And so you need a lot more than three social media posts or three emails in order to make a dent and have people notice your launch.
Your pre-launch event is when you’re teaching something, and where you’re building trust with your audience. During this live event your audience will learn that you actually know what you’re talking about. And it will also give your audience an opportunity to see your style, vibe and delivery. It makes them realize “I would like to learn from that person” 🤩
During the event you want to explain “the why”, and maybe a bit of “the how” to achieving the thing that they want, but all the resources and tutorials for the how to do and easily implement and do things quickly are inside of your course. What you’re doing in the pre-launch event is giving a little taster session of what the entire larger course looks like.
The other thing which I see people getting wrong so often when it comes to their pre-launch event is they just do like little tidbits of information and then a massive pitch. People start to get a reputation online when they do that. And it doesn’t bode well for their future launches. It also doesn’t bode well for their sales in that specific launch.
You want your pre launch event to be genuinely useful. You actually want to help people in your pre-launch event completely for free and also come out with a result at the end of it. It is important that your pre-launch event is genuinely useful.
The other thing that you don’t want to do is give your people in your pre-launch event a weeks’ worth long of homework from the event of whatever you taught, that’s it’s going to take them forever to implement. Then they’ll think “oh, well I actually like all the things that she gave me to do, but it’s gonna take me weeks or months to implement and therefore I’m gonna wait on buying the course until I’ve done all this stuff.”
This means to open the doors to your course, let them know all the information about it, all the transformation that they could expect to achieve when they join you inside the program for a limited time only. And from this, depending on your email list size, you could get five students, 20 students, 50 students, etc. On my first launch, I did 36 students from opening the doors and then closing cart again at the end of the launch.
Once you have the students in the door, the work does not stop there. It literally just starts👇👇👇
You want to stay in touch with them, keep up with their progress, ensure that they are actually achieving the result that your course promised and then incentivize them to give you a testimonial so that you can use that for your future launches.
I have seen course creators offer a ton of different things in order to incentivize their people to give a testimonial. It takes time and effort out of that person’s day to give you a testimonial. So it’s truly legit that you do something as a thank you for it. So this could look like a few different things I’ve seen course creators do:
The key to having more students in the future and a bigger course launch in the future is to have a larger audience 👯♀️👯♀️
And how do you do this? You want to share highly relevant FREE content online (YouTube, blog, podcast) or be a guest expert in other people’s programs or memberships or communities where you share relevant content – relevant being key.
You want your content that you’re sharing online or in front of other people’s communities or in blog posts to be highly relevant to your course, because that’s when you’re going to build your email list with people who truly would want to purchase your course and therefore can be heading proper industry average conversion rates.
The key is to not just share free content that is super helpful, but think about how is that person going to find their way back to you? How are you going to share your marketing message with them when your course launch opens again?
That is why you want to share some sort of helpful freebie with those people so you can collect their email address and you can get back in touch with them in the future.
If you didn’t get those hundred students in your very first launch, that is totally fine. You can launch again in the future and you can go ahead and build those student numbers up over time.
Growing your sales in the future is honestly pretty simple. It involves repeating step 9 and step 10 again and again.
Building audience, launching. Building audience, launching. Building audience, launching.
You can totally add in other strategies in the long term, like running ads for your course, getting affiliates to promote your course, or setting up evergreen funnels.
But I really want you to get the industry average conversion rate in your launches before you start doing all of these other things, because ads and affiliates and funnels, they just don’t convert the same like live launches to your own audience, which you’ve built a relationship with, do.
And so I really want you to nail that first, before you start getting into these other strategies.
If you have done literally all those things which I just told – you successfully went through all the steps – but you still aren’t quite hitting the coveted 100 sales. What do you do? This is when it’s useful to start borrowing audiences. Now I do not mean an affiliate program here, but I do mean collaborating with other people.
I want you to think at what point is your ideal course client at before they’re ready to take your course. Example: I have my program Square Secrets Business™ which teaches people, primarily women, how to build their own freelance web design business online. And where are those ladies typically before this point? They’re normally virtual assistants, brand designers, copywriters who are kind of frustrated that they’ve hit a ceiling with their income. And therefore they’re looking for an option for a higher priced service that they can offer so that they can actually start hitting their true financial goal.
So if I was a savvy course creator, but I was still not hitting my hundreds course sales goal, then what I would do is I would go and find complimentary business owners who have an audience that would fit my course perfectly. And I’d offer to go do a free training for their audience or be a guest expert in their course or their community or their membership, or maybe do something like a live collaboration with them on their podcast or their YouTube channel or their blog or wherever it is that they have an audience.
I would then build my email list with these people, nurture them weekly on my email list with free content, keep in touch with them and then have them there and ready for my next course launch.
This strategy is different than an affiliate program in a few ways, the main one being that running an affiliate program with your launch is kind of like running a second launch.
One of my students in the Course Launch Collective asked me about : “What’s the point at which I should add an affiliate program?” My answer: when you’re truly nailing it with the conversion rate with your own course, and you’re at a point where you can pretty much launch stress free. That’s the point at which you could start adding an affiliate program.
Truly, running an affiliate program with your launch is like running a second launch. So if you don’t have the first launch down, you don’t want to add on a second one, because it will just become chaos.
These strategies cannot just help you get your first 100 sales, but literally thousands of sales. These strategies which I’ve shared with you in this blog post is exactly what I’ve been doing to enroll well over 4,000 students to the tune of multiple millions in course sales.
When you nail the strategy of what I’ve been talking about in this video, you’ll finally get that course business that you are hoping for and can truly have an unlimited income ceiling and a passive style business and an impact that would just never be possible in the one to one client business.
If you’re still unsure if this will work for you, or if being a course creator is a legit option for you, then I have something that you’re going to love 😍 My quiz “Does my course have six figure potential?” will tell you in just 60 seconds if your course idea indeed has what it takes to make six figures in sales.
And if you’re looking to make more progress towards your course creator dreams, then you’re likely going to need to pick a course hosting platform soon, too. So if that is you right now, then I highly suggest watching this video next where I’m comparing the two most popular course hosting platforms out there – Teachable vs Kartra.