Over the past few years I’ve worked with a large number of clients on the setup and sale of their online courses – and one thing has come up time and time again, and that’s the timing of when to actually launch your first online program, so let’s take this apart.
Disclaimer: If you’re willing to put in the work you CAN launch an online course at any time, but be prepared for it to take way longer than you had planned and be ready to but in A LOT more effort than others would have you believe. I’ll talk more about that below.
What does it take to successfully sell an online course or program?
Understanding the Audience
The first thing that’s got to be on point is your understanding of your ideal customer for this course. And I don’t mean the general, superficial things we may know (eg. female, age 25-45) but the REALLY deep things. You have to be able to express their pain points, their deepest fears and their heart’s desires at the drop of a hat. This influences the content you create to attract your ideal customer, the copy you write on your sales pages as well as the content of your program.
It can often be VERY challenging to try and understand these without having been in close contact with your ideal client for some time. So if you really want EVERYTHING to resonate with the people consuming your content, you need to know what to say, when to say it and HOW to say it, so it hits home.
A tested method for helping your customers achieve their goals
If you want to help your ideal customer reach their goals as your promised before they signed up, it’s going to be really important that you have a method for doing this that has been tested on more than just you. There are billions of people on this planet and if you think that just because a method worked for you it’s going to work for everyone in the same way, then I’m sorry, but you need more experience of working with those people BEFORE you start wasting your time on creating a program.
People learn differently, respond to challenge differently and need different levels of motivation – so the BEST time is when you are able to factor all of this in to the delivery, content and pace of your program.
Who are you selling it to?
And, no, this is not a repeat of point one. I don’t mean WHO are they, I mean are they out there listening to you right now? Do they know your name? Do they like you? Do they trust that you have the goods because your name is everywhere and you’ve been getting people results, so they trust that you can get THEM results?
Then let’s dive into why I think there IS a perfect time to launch a course and what to do when you’re not there yet.
Let’s talk about the perfect timing
The best time to launch your online program is after you have filled up your one to one slots and you have started to make a name for yourself in your area of expertise.
Filling your 1:1 slots means that you are clear on WHO you are working with, you know their pain points etc. very well, because you work with your clients every day, and you can really hone in your message to get your tried and tested solution out to people in a more scaleable way.
Start downselling your future 1:1 clients into a Mastermind Program where 6 clients go together through your tested method at the same time. Drill your method down to the essentials and refine.
Then offer the program on a more larger scale where there is still an input from you (eg. weekly group coaching sessions) and refine the content further. How much more content do you now need to pre-record? Did people get the most from your recorded content? How many group coaching sessions are needed?
Once you’ve done that, ask yourself if you can offer the same content as a self-study program, so that people can go through it at their own pace and you are no longer involved in coaching people through the process.
Doing it this way round is so much easier than trying to sell a low price online course to an audience you don’t know very well, and that doesn’t know, like and trust you.
So, what if I don’t want to do it this way?
Stubborn, eh? I get it, I feel the same way sometimes! So, if you don’t want to have a 1:1 offer for whatever reason it may be, I’d strongly encourage you to understand the why. It truly is the easier way.
If you are still set on doing it the hard way, then listen up.
You need to understand the audience. Really understand them. So you’re going to need to get some interviews booked with your potential ideal client so you can ask A LOT of questions. Depending on who you sell to it can be difficult to get those people to give you 45 mins or so of their life to answer some deep questions, and answer them honestly. Record these interviews since you will need to use the exact phrases people are using themselves to describe their fears, pain points and goals.
You need to then create a few free opt-ins that are going to attract your potential customers. These have to solve one mini-problem they experience in the run up to the BIG PROBLEM that your program will solve.
You need to get people into your audience, so be prepared, for A LOT of posting on social media, live streams, YouTube Videos, Blog Posts always promoting your opt-in so you can build up an email list. Be prepared to give a lot of value, and be shouting about you and your mission non-stop.
If you don’t really like showing up on social media, going live, and building real relationships, this is NOT going to work.
And my last tip is to sell before you create. Read my article on pre-launching your course here. You DO NOT want to waste months refining a course that you can’t seem to be able to sell, so pre-launching is your time saver right there.
Are you ready to finally launch your online course?
But you are so pushed for time that there is no way that'll happen any time soon?
Then we should talk. I can help you to find the right platform to host your courses, set up all of the niggly tech stuff for you and leave you to focus on creating the content and selling the thing.