You’ve got the skills, you’ve got the knowledge — you’re ready to share your magic with the world, sis. We love a good pay-it-forward moment, but when it comes to crushing a successful online course launch, we love a good prep moment too. Whether you’re working on a self-guided course, planning a live webinar or still brainstorming ideas, this post is for you.
Keep reading to learn 5 must-have strategies that can help you crush your next online course launch like a BOSS.
How to Create an Online Course: Essential Strategies
Launching an online course can be oh-so-rewarding.
Aside from helping folks level up their skills, you can create a sustainable and scalable business model, free up your own time and reach thousands of people across the globe. We love to see it.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the magic happen.
1. Solid Market Research
While your knowledge IS power, you want to make sure you are solving a real problem for your audience. A solid market research strategy will help you craft the killer content your community wants and needs.
Here’s how to find the sweet spot:
- Target Audience — Understanding your target audience is crucial. You’ll want to learn exactly who they are, what they need and how you can help solve their problem/s with your course.
- Competitor Research — Don’t forget to scope out your competitors. Once you know what they’re offering, you can find gaps to fill, taking your course above and beyond.
- Determine FAQs — Browse online communities, scope out threads or comment sections and frequent forums and blogs to get your finger on the pulse of your community. Remember, you simply want to watch and listen to determine frequently asked questions.
- Identify Knowledge Gaps — Keep an eye out for common questions that don’t seem to have good answers, then work to provide the missing link.
- Sassy Surveys — If you have an existing audience, send out a survey asking targeted questions about the content they want to see.
Once you’ve gathered this intel, it’s time to build that course.
2. Killer Content and Production
Now that you’ve identified the problem/s you’ll solve with your online course, you’ll want to build your content around creating magnetic learning outcomes. Remember, it’s all about the transformational journey your students will experience — all thanks to your hustle.
A great place to start with content creation is to structure course modules and create a clear course plan. You’ll want to take your time with this one, breaking up dense information and structuring your course in a way that helps your students build knowledge as they progress.
Here are some tips for crafting killer content:
- Determine the most engaging way for your audience to learn (such as via text, audio, video, live workshops or a mixture of these)
- Consider adding social elements, like learning communities
- Utilize gamification to motivate students and incorporate reward milestones
- Design your course with different learning styles and abilities in mind
- Remember to be inclusive and ensure your course is ADA compliant and accessible to all
- Maintain the highest possible production values, even if that means hiring writers, video production teams, web developers and the like
Okay, queen. That’s half the battle. Now that you’ve got the stuff, it’s time to strut.
3. Get Your Course Pricing on Point
Pricing your course right is a big deal. It’s important to factor in the amount of time and effort you spent creating all that precious content, along with the value it offers to your students.
What did it cost YOU to learn this information? How much time and effort will students save by learning from you? These are important questions to ask yourself as you set out to price your course. Remember, you’re selling an outcome, which is uniquely different from selling a product.
Let’s look at a few different course tiers that might influence pricing:
- Lead Magnets — This refers to free content you might offer in exchange for an email sign-up and to give prospective students a taste of your paid content
- Beginner/Introductory Courses — Entry-level or beginner courses serve as a way for students to get to know your brand and tend to skew lower on pricing (think $25–$300)
- Flagship Course — If you have a signature course that best represents you and your brand, that’s your flagship course. Do NOT underprice this one (think $100–2500+)
- Advanced Courses — Advanced courses are highly specialized and detailed, so be sure to price them accordingly (think $1,000–$4,000+)
For high ticket courses, you can always offer payment options that make signing up more affordable, rather than lowering your prices.
Consider pricing strategies like these:
- Installments — Offer a payment plan where students can make monthly payments in smaller installments, rather than paying a large amount in full. With this tactic, you can offer a discount to those who pay in full.
- Tiered Pricing — This pricing model starts out with a set price for a basic course and then offers additional paid add-ons for more advanced content.
If there’s a lot of interest in your online course, but not many folks are signing up, try changing up your marketing strategy, course messaging and CTA before adjusting the price. If all else fails, experiment with price points and payment options until you hit that sweet spot.
4. Market Like a Boss
Spreading the word about your course is monumental. By setting up a baller marketing strategy that you can implement long before launch, you’ll have eager students lined up and waiting for that knowledge drop.
Grab some kombucha and let’s discuss.
Pre-Launch Marketing for Course Creators
Your pre-launch marketing strategy will help you hype up your course, garner leads and get some all-important feedback.
Here are a few tips for a fab pre-launch plan:
- Set up a landing or sales page
- Offer a waitlist where folks can sign up to receive email updates, stellar freebies and promo codes
- Run time-sensitive pop-up promotions
- Set up or promote social media accounts and create social ad campaigns
- Refresh and update any existing content
- Always aim to educate, entertain and nurture your community
Yas, girl. You’ve got the ball rolling. Now let’s keep up that momentum.
Launch to Liftoff: Online Course Marketing
It’s time for this baby to take flight! This is the moment you’ve been working towards. Take a pause and consider how far you’ve come. We love to see it. Now let’s take it up a notch.
Here are some great course launch considerations:
- Beta Launch — Running a beta or test launch with a small group of founding students allows you to spot any kinks in the coursework and smooth them out before you go live
- Tiered Launches — Plan out tiered launches, such as a waitlist, webinar, masterclass or ongoing challenges to keep students engaged
- Partnerships — Consider partnering with influencers and/or affiliates. You can find a primer on affiliate marketing here, or check out our affiliate agreement template
- Implement Feedback — Try to address and implement feedback in real-time whenever possible, whether you update living content or create additional resources
- Gather Testimonials — Ask students about their course experience and gather testimonials (with permission, of course) to encourage others to take your course
Okay, sis. We love that your marketing strategy is coming together, but there’s one more area to cover — and it’s a BIGGIE.
5. Create a Bomb Legal Strategy
A shatterproof legal strategy is the backbone of any successful business. You worked too hard to get here to have your moment stolen by copycats. A legal framework with solid contracts in place will provide essential protection and legal recourse if the unthinkable happens.
Let’s look at a few legal considerations you don’t want to miss.
Protect Your Content
The content you create, along with your branding, falls under the umbrella of intellectual property (IP). Here are two ways you can legally protect your work:
- Copyrights — Copyright applies to original, creative works that are fixed in any permanent way, such as in writing, photography, audio or video recordings, etc. To take legal action if your work gets stolen, you’ll need to register it. Copyright.gov has the full rundown.
- Trademarks — Trademarks apply to branding collateral like logos, catchphrases and the name of your business. You can apply for a trademark here.
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)
It takes a village to build a course. If your village includes contractors, like a virtual assistant, launch manager, copywriter, web developer (you get the idea), non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are a must-have. It’s like a super official pinky-promise that holds up in court.
Define Clear Terms
Setting course-specific terms and conditions will help your students understand how they can and can’t use your course content, what to expect and how to conduct themselves.
Consider defining clear terms like these:
- Payment Policies — Clearly outline your payment policies, including payment options and what happens in the event of non-payment.
- Refund Policy — Define whether students are entitled to a full or partial refund, or whether your course is non-refundable. You’ll also want to include a timeframe to request a refund, along with qualifying circumstances.
- Disclaimers — Adding specific disclaimers will limit your legal liability, such as your responsibility for course outcomes.
- Rules of Conduct — If your course includes a community element, like a Facebook group or group calls, consider including rules of conduct.
The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) has strict rules in place for online advertising. Before you set your marketing plan in motion, be sure to take a look at — and comply with — FTC advertising rules and guidelines.
Okay, sis. You’re in great shape to crush that launch. Knock it out of the park.
The Legal Godfairy: Launch With Confidence
Are you ready to bloom?
The Legal Legacy Lounge™ is a space dedicated to helping you shine. Enjoy exclusive access to legal resources, on-demand training, contract templates and expert tips when you join our waitlist today.
*Disclaimer: This blog post has been prepared solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on for, legal advice. Should you require advice regarding a specific matter, appropriate legal or other professional advice should be obtained.