Want to make sure your course will sell? Doing a pre-launch is the absolute best way to ensure your success. In this guide, we'll share how to pre-launch your online course in 5 steps.
Are you passionate about helping people solve a particular problem but not sure if people will pay for the solution?
Do you want to get your solutions out there but unsure about how much effort, time or money you should dedicate?
Even if you are not wondering about these exact questions, you should. No one wants to spend days, weeks or even months creating an online course and end up realising no one is interested in the content.
This is exactly why you need to pre-launch your online course. Here are 5 action steps to help you figure out exactly how to pre-launch your online course.
Why You Should Pre-Launch Your Online Course
Before we dive right in, you need to understand exactly what is a pre-launch and why it is an important part of your online course launch.
Pre-launching an online course is when the online course creator generates buzz before the launch of the course, sometimes even the creation of the course. It usually involves pre-orders for the online course before it officially becomes available for purchase.
By pre-launching a course, or even just the course idea, you’re able to better gauge what your audience wants in an online course and create materials tailor-made to their preferences instead of blindly creating a course you think will be a hit.
Step 1: Create a Freebie Related to Your Online Course Idea
One of the easiest ways to attract your target audience that would be interested in your online course idea is to give something away for free.
Everyone likes free things and if you can provide actionable solutions to help your target audience, they would likely trust you and want to learn even more from you.
For example, if you’re planning to create a course about weight loss with a keto diet, you can create a freebie with a few healthy and delicious keto recipes or a 3-day challenge to get people familiar with a keto diet.
Create an attractive landing page highlighting the key benefits of your freebie and this freebie can help your target audience. It doesn’t have to be complicated, keep it simple and to-the-point.
You can promote this freebie on your social media, website, Facebook groups and your existing email list. Don’t be shy to talk about your freebie and share it everywhere.
If you have promoted your freebie everywhere but not many people seem to be interested, then you might consider shifting your online course topic or the content of your freebie.
If nothing seems to work, don’t be discouraged. You should be happy to know that you have saved a lot of time you could have wasted on creating an online course that not many people are interested in getting.
However, if people are downloading and responding well, then this topic can be something that has an interest and you can proceed to the next step.
Bonus Tip: A Landing Page Builder
A landing page allows you to collect your customers’ email addresses and encourage conversions and sales. You will need to use a landing page builder for your freebie, as well as your pre-launch sales page, which we will discuss in step 4.
A landing page serves one of two goals: If you’re trying to build your email list, you want your landing page to collect your readers’ email addresses, names, and maybe one or two pieces of information you’ll need to send them more targeted information.
Regardless of where you host your landing page, you’ll want to make your landing page copy as persuasive as possible. You can have the most beautiful landing page but without a compelling copy, you won’t be able to convert your visitors into subscribers or customers.
You can house your landing page on your website, or you can also use tools such as LeadPages. Some email autoresponders also provide landing page builders, and some, such as ConvertKit even has an eCommerce platform within the landing page so you can receive payment on the page.
However, here at Persuasion Nation we highly recommend using Kajabi as your landing page builder, because this tool will also host your online course, host your website, host your email list, and it includes ALL the marketing tools and automations you need to grow a passive online course business from scratch.
Step 2: Build a Relationship with Your Email Subscribers
An email list is a fantastic way to build your relationship with your subscribers, get them to know more about you and build trust. By continuing to provide valuable information and actively engaging with your target audience, you will be able to turn your target audience into fans.
39% of consumers said they wished brand emails were less promotional and more informational. The key to having a great relationship with your target audience is through giving immense value through your emails.
Once your target audience has received their freebie from you, ask them for feedback within the day. But wait, wouldn’t that be annoying to your target audience? Actually no. Your audience has just received this freebie from you and they are excited to take actions. By asking them if they have any questions or if there’s anything else you can help them with, you are being helpful.
It is just like following up with a friend after they decided to go to a restaurant that you recommended, and you ask them if they have trouble finding it. You are showing that you care and being helpful.
Another reason why you’d want to send them another email on the day is that they are far more likely to open the email on the day. This sends a signal to Gmail, Hotmail or any other email service provider they have that you are someone that they want to listen to.
After your audience has received your freebie, don’t let your relationship stop there. Continue to support them, provide tips and recommendations through your emails. Always prompt your audience to reply to your emails and engage with you.
Through the engagement that you get and the conversation you have, you can slowly but surely see what issues your audience is facing. Not these issues down and if an issue seems to come up often, consider addressing them in your online course with ways you can solve these issues. You can also use the language that your audience is using to help you understand the tone and voice you need to use in your online course sales pages.
Bonus Tip: An Email Marketing Tool
You need an email marketing tool so you can nurture your subscribers to become customers. Whatever your budget or email marketing preferences, there’s an email service provider for you.
It’s difficult to not get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of options, but remember that whichever email service provider you choose, most offer the same functionality: email automation, subscriber segmentation, email templates, and et cetera. The only real differences come down to pricing and scale, such as how many templates you want access to or how many emails you want to send per month.
If you don’t already have an email autoresponder, consider using tools such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite to start with. Both Mailchimp and Mailerlite are free to use and you can get started with them even without any tech background.
However, again we recommend that you go with Kajabi as your email marketing tool. It's the best tool for online course creators because it not only includes all the email marketing you'll need, but it also hosts your online course, website, landing pages, sales funnels, etc.!
Step 3: Create a Promotional “Teaser"
Now that your target audience knows more about you and how you can help them, it’s time to give them a sneak peek into your online course idea. One of the best ways to do that is through teaser content.
Teaser content should tell your target audience what the course is about, the exact benefits your audience will gain, and the specific skills or knowledge students will learn. Don’t just list the features that are included, show them the benefits. Let them in on what results in you have gotten for yourself or your students in the past.
Written content is crucial for a successful online course launch, but your teaser content should also contain visual components, such as videos. Visual content not only conveys information quickly and concisely but also lets your target audience relate to you and engage with what you have to offer even better.
You can start teasing and creating buzz through dropping hints and giving small sneak peeks through your social media presence and email list.
You can start collecting names of those that are interested in learning more about your online course, even when you don’t have any part of your online course ready. Get your audience excited and make them feel special that they get to come behind the scenes and be the first to know about this online course.
Step 4: Launch Your Pre-Launch LIVE
Once you get your audience excited, it’s time to launch! However, instead of launching your entire online course right away, consider doing a live pre-launch.
A live pre-launch is where you teach the lessons of your courses in a live setting, where your students can engage and ask questions. Doing a live launch is an excellent way for you to test the waters without diving into the deep end. Instead of spending an enormous amount of time and realising the issues afterwards, you will be able to get feedback directly from your students.
You can open the doors to your live launch to a selected number of audience. For a discounted price, they will be able to get the raw information of the online course while receiving feedback and help directly from you.
You can teach one lesson a week and after you have taught the lesson, you can answer your audience’s questions and ask for feedback. After your live pre-launch, you can ask your students for testimonials. This can add social proof to help you gain more trust to your audience that might be interested in your course.
Step 5: Finalize Your Online Course
Now that you have completed your live pre-launch with your online course, it’s time to compile everything and finalise your online course.
With the questions and feedback that you received, you can modify your online course by adding more examples, elaborating on points, changing the format and more.
Consider using these additional materials to provide more information and value to your audience:
- Case Studies
There is much different software out there for hosting your online course but again, don’t let the technology stop you. Most online course platforms have similar functionalities and will be able to provide great experiences for your audience. You can consider using tools such as Teachable, Thinkific, or Podia to host your online courses.
However, once again, we recommend Kajabi over all these other tools because it not only hosts your online course, but it also includes virtually every other tool you could possibly need to successfully sell your online courses.
Step 6: Foster Community
If you can, consider adding a community element to your online course. This can help convert your audience and let them know that you are there to support them.
The sales page for your online course is extremely important. If you can’t convince people to get your online course, then there is no point in having even the best online course content.
Here are some tips to help you maximize your conversion for your online course landing page:
- Make sure to add the benefits of your online course, not the features. The benefits of the online course are what will help get your audience to click through.
- Add testimonials from the students that took part in your live pre-launch. If you can, ask them for video testimonials as they tend to convert even better.
- Include your story and don’t be afraid to brag a little. Let your audience know why you are the one to teach them
- If you are not great at copywriting, consider hiring someone to help you.
- Add a video of yourself talking to your audience about the online course. People will be able to get a glimpse to your personality and what kind of teacher you are.
You have a message that someone out there needs to hear. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and don’t let technology stop you. Be strategic with the way you launch your courses and make sure to test through pre-launching before committing to your entire online course.
Venese runs an events and marketing company in Tokyo, Japan. Venese has been an entrepreneur since she was 19, running all kinds of offline and online businesses. Now with Your Entrepreneur Resources, she wants to help entrepreneurs with their business journeys, connecting them with the right mentors, resources and tools.