4 Step Launch Process To Create Your Profitable Online Course

The first experience I had with launching a course was with my wife, Lorrie. We developed a yoga course for those affected by PTSD.

It was a success in that we where able to generate a following of about 2600+ followers on Facebook, and generate 823 leads in less then 50 days, coming from complete obscurity.

The problem was, it took us over a year from conception to completion before we actually seen any money. We spent the majority of that time developing the course.

We professionally produced everything ourselves, which meant a learning curve in learning all those skills.

Big Mistake #1

It also took my wife 3 months of script writing. It was perfect. Which we found out, is actually one of the biggest mistakes you could make, that was big mistake one.

Big Mistake #2

We also learned that we where developing the course for us and not for the audience we where serving.

Don’t make these mistakes, and I’ll show you the step-by-step process to ensure you don’t if you just keep reading.

Then, I got introduced to Jeff Walker, and his course The Product Launch Formula and that changed everything for me.

Jeff has a launch system that he teaches that was contradictory to our year long process, it taught me about pre-selling a course before I ever sat down and actually created it.

This would define the philosophy of how I would help my clients launch their online courses.

I’ve helped clients launch their products in all kinds of industries. Folks like nutritionists, veterinarians, financial advisors, authors, and influencers.

Those of my clients who’ve benefited the most where those who already had knowledge and influence in their respective industries, however, there’s also advantages to starting out without knowing what industry your going to serve.

The questions you may have right now, might be the following:

  • Who should I help? What kind of course do I develop?
  • How do I build interest for my course online?
  • How do I market my course?

We’ll get into the answer to all of these questions, by covering the following.

  • What Is A Product Launch?

  • A Product Formula To Follow

  • Step 1: How To Choose A Product

  • Step 2: How To Find Your Audience

  • Step 3: How To Market Before My Launch

  • Step 4: Launching My Course

What Is A Product Launch?

To describe what a product launch is let’s look at some glaring examples that are evident to most of us, of course, unless you’ve been under a rock, or you don’t use a cellphone.

Have you ever wondered how as soon as a movie hits the box office, like the most recent iteration of Star Wars in 2015, how it did $247.7 million on opening weekend, alone?

Or how Apple launches the latest iPhone and there’s a month long shipping delay because of global demand?

How do they do this? You might be thinking “Shaun, it’s apple, of course they are going to have that much demand.”

However, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple started in his garage, so everyone starts somewhere.

The key element that makes a launch powerful is that it’s based around an event.

Think about your Birthday, Christmas, Graduation…how does it make you feel?

Evoking the emotions or mental triggers in your audience are the the basis for a powerful launch.

Jeff Walker describes 9 mental and emotional triggers.

However, the biggest mental triggers you want to leverage that I’ve noticed with every successful product launch is anticipation and scarcity.

Anticipation, in that you are looking forward to the event, a good example of this is Robney Habib.

1. He posted about Dog Cancer for months and months.

2. He built his community of 2 million + followers around the idea of dog cancer, and he then developed a concept ( that hadn’t been created yet ) of a mini-series.

3. He tested the profitability of the mini-series by creating a landing page with a short teaser video, sent people to it, and gathered 300,000 emails from his followers.

3. Months later, with 300’000 + pet parents anticipating the series, he launched the mini-series.

4. Then sold the full-series at the end of the mini-series. By then his prospects where biting at the bit waiting to buy!

This is a great example of anticipation and scarcity.

Rodney’s audience was so stoked because they had been hearing about Dog Cancer for months and wanted more.

They where practically begging him like when the iPhone comes out every year, this is what you want to do with your launches.

Letting the market know, or preparing them for your product by saying two months out…”hey…my course, or something is coming.” that’s key here with Rodney’s launch and what you want to do.

The Product Formula To Follow

What’s clear about these companies is that they seem to follow the same, or similar sequenced process, or formula when they launch their products.

How can you leverage a similar sequenced process that these companies use so you can build a buying frenzy around your course?

Just like Apple, or Universal Studios does.

I’m going to get into a step-by-step process on exactly how you can do something similar but you need to keep reading.

Let’s dive in then! You got this!

Seed Launch

Jeff Walker was one of the first to coin the idea of a seed launch.

Really, it’s just a starting off point to launch your course, to build the initial momentum of your course, and your brand, and to make some money before you ever launch your course.

Who is the seed launch for?

  • Someone who just started and they have no email list or social media following
  • Someone who has a business and they want to test a new product
  • Someone who wants to make money before they create their course

No matter if you find yourself just starting, or have a business, the process is the same.

So, the thing with Jeff’s Product Launch Formula Course and the seed launch is that it’s great high-level thinking about launching your product, however, let’s get into a step-by-step process that I’ve done for my clients.

Where do we start?

Step 1: How To Choose A Product

What kind of course do you want to develop?

Jeanine Blackwell in her article “How to Find Your Profitable Online Course Idea” says the key is in testing your course idea for profitability before you do any upfront work.

“If you have an idea for an online course (or tons of ideas) and you are not quite 100% confident your idea will be a hit, let’s get started testing your idea.”

I recommend Buzzsumo to research if your idea is profitable or not.

The thing with this, you don’t want to take one idea, be open to the possibility of course ideas that are being shared and talked about on social media.

Ideas that people are talking about online, ideally what their struggling with.

1. Open up buzzsumo.com. Let’s look at course ideas around learning how to knit, now type it in “learning how to knit”

Let’s focus on topics that have an interest level of at least 25,000 shares or so. If you notice here, there’s not that much interest with the search term “learning how to knit.”

2. Let’s go broader. Type in “knitting.” As you can see below “Facebook Engagements” for these posts are in the 100,000.

3. Here we go, knitted pussy hats seems to be trending with a couple of posts.

Maybe you can create a course on how to knit a pussy hat?

Let’s explore further the “knitting pussy hats” course theme on Google by focusing on online forums.

What’s so great about online forums is that you really start narrowing down on the exact conversations and pain points of the prospective customer for your course.

All you need to do in Google is type in “course theme” + forum. Let’s use our example.

This is the basics of testing your product idea, other platforms you should check as part of your research platform mix should be the following:

  • Facebook Audience Insights
  • Amazon
  • Coursera
  • Udemy

E-Learning platforms like Coursera, and Udemy works really well to find out what popular knitting courses are actually making money. Let me show you how you can do that.

1. Just go to Udemy.com and search “knitting.”

2. Click the first course “Learn to Knit in 3 Easy Lessons” and scroll down to the author description and you will see the amount of students she’s had on the course.

This is a great way to see the “demand” of your specific course idea. I don’t see any courses on pussy hats, however.

64 enrollments isn’t that great for a course that’s been around for a year, however, from our search on buzzsumo.com we know knitting pussy hats is being talked about all over social media.

This means that this is still a good product idea. The next step would be to head over to Google to find out if there are any competitors who may already teaching a course on knitting pussy hats.

Step 2: How To Find Your Audience

Let’s take the course theme we just identified and find an audience for “knitting pussy hats.”

The thing is, once we base our course idea around shares on social media i.e; demand, then it’s a matter of getting in front of and connecting with that audience.

We already know they are interested, right?

The big mistake I’ve made in developing E-Learning course themes, and I’ve seen typical of my clients, specifically who already influencers in their respective industries, is that they don’t do step 1.

Which in-turn they develop a course that no one is talking about or sharing on social media.

That’s the big thing, if you can have one main takeaway from this article, only create your course content based around what you already know people are talking about online.

Maybe you have a following, however what you want to do with a seed launch is develop a following for the specific course you are doing.

The more specific the community around your course, the better. So…in this case create a “how-to knit pussy hats” page not knitted hats, but “knitted pussy hats” because this is more specific.

Let’s go back to buzzsumo.com’s results.

The shares are primarily on Facebook, that’s what these blue circles indicate.

From here you could click on sharers and look at who’s shared this article with their followers on Twitter.

However, seeing how it’s Facebook that has the most shares, this is where our audience is, so lets head over there.

1. Head over to Facebook and login.

2. Go to “Ads Manager” once your logged in: https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/

3. Then head over to Audience insights by clicking the “Ads Manager” dropdown or entering “https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights/

4. Click “Location” and enter “United States”, click “Interests” and enter “knitting.”

You’ll notice that the audience gets reduced down from 100 – 150 million to 8 – 9 million in the United States.

Also, it’s now changed to 84% woman. We are starting to see our audience.

What about income level? We want ensure that your audience can afford a $497 course and that they purchase often via Credit Card online.

5. Go down the to the “advanced” tab and select income range starting at $100,000 – over $500,000.

So, you will probably see now a range of between 3 million or so, that’s a good sized audience.

6. How do we further identify whether this is an audience that is regularly purchasing online? Go to the “behaviour” tab, select “purchase behaviour” then select “engaged shoppers.”

Save your audience.

Now, I’m not going to show you how to create a Facebook business page, however Neil Patel provides an excellent post here on how you can do that.

The biggest advice here, that I have, is to make the page as specific as possible based on your course theme.

In the knitting example, call your page “How-To Knit Pussy Hats” or “Pussy Hat Knitters.” You get my drift.

Step 3: How To Market Before My Launch

“Great” you might be saying and “how do I now market to that audience?”

Great question…let’s talk about that.

Let me explain how we can do that by telling you what to do next:

  • 1. You are going to take the Facebook Audience you created and your going to develop ads to build your Facebook followers, here’s a great article on how to create the ads here.
  • 2. You are going to develop content for those followers, in our our example, creating how-to videos on knitting pussy hats. Here’s a great article on using Facebook Live videos and developing a content calendar. When Facebook live is done right it can be the most effective means to use Facebook to get to your audience that I’ve used for my clients.
  • 3. Your going to boost post or pay to get that content to your followers.
  • 4. You are going to create more ads, or have your boost posts, how-to videos drive your Facebook followers to a landing page.
  • Where they will sign up for your course, take the Rodney Habib example, I mentioned earlier.

I recommend a simple page like Rodney’s, and that you build it with a platform like Click Funnels, because if you aren’t a techy it does all the heavy lifting for you.

This is what your landing page needs to include:

  • Headline (To Describe Your Course Topic)
  • Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • Teaser Video
  • Email Capture

This is a great step-by-step here on creating landing pages.

Step 4: Launching My Course

I recommend you build at least 300 – 400 subscribers to launch your course, I also recommend that from the day you start posting on social media to when you launch the course that it be no longer then 2 months.

Why no longer then 2 months? A recent list is better to launch too because people are always more engaged when they first sign up.

The platform I recommend to actually build your course, is Teachable.com.

You want to launch your course to your email list with a specific sequence of emails, this is a sequence that teachable recommends right here.

Jeff Walker uses a series of three videos to launch his products. I like Russell Brunson’s 7-Day Launch Funnel here.

I’ve done similar launches like Russell’s and he has a good formula.

Russel is also the founder of Click Funnels. This means you can easily setup your funnel like this in Click funnels in just a few hours.

Conclusion

The main takeaway here: make sure the course you end up making is profitable before you create it.

No matter what platforms you use make sure you guage demand of your product online, initially through the tools I mentioned and this step-by-step process.

Also, be open to expanding and developing new skills to develop a course based on audience demand, not on the preference of the course you want to teach.

Good luck and please reference back to this step-by-step launch process as often as you wish to ensure that you cover your bases in launching your online course! Good luck.