3 Steps For Launching An Online Course

04/08/2018

Even for those of you that have already launched a course, you know how much work goes into a launch. Not to worry though; in this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know before launching your next online course.

So, your online school is ready, your courses have been created, and you have made the first step into marketing. Now, it’s time to get those leads and convert them into paying students!

1. Leverage Your Network

Sales begin with the people that are close to you. Your network including your family and friends can help you make your first sale. These people are the first to check whether the whole concept works, and are often your first supporters and first clients. If it helps, you can start with collecting all the business cards, email lists, old and new contacts, and take a look at which social media and online groups you belong to.

At this point, it would be a great idea to share your first course at online places and wherever it can be made relevant. You can also send it to your friends along with a personal message offering it for free and asking them for feedback or encouraging them to share it with their friends.

When you are done with collecting contacts, you will notice that you already got a network of a few hundred people and possibly email lists with some more thousand. If that’s the case, it’s time for email marketing. Invite your old business contacts or your current business partners, your blog’s audience or social media followers to check your new course. You can also make a compelling offer like the ‘early bird discount’, and that gets us to the next point regarding your offers.

2. Prepare Your Offer

Have you ever seen a raging crowd running towards a good offer? Sales, discounts, limited offers! People respond to incentives in a better way than a simple price tag. Thus, creating urgency leads to more impulsive buys. In plain English, a special offer with limited availability suspends deliberate thought decisions and gets potential customers into an “act quickly” mindset. The result you get is ‘impulse buy’, and it’s a phenomenon that can greatly increase your sales.

If you want to urge people into buying, prepare to use the following tactics accompanied by your offers:

Scarcity

When a resource is running out, then people will want it even more. Think about news of a food product becoming scarce in the supermarket, how many people will run to buy that in the next day?

Countdowns (Timers, Clocks, etc.)

Time makes your heart pound? It also raises the urge to act now. Countdowns can create the sense of urgency and it’s an excellent way to get in more customers instantly. When following this tactic, consider using some time related-words such as ‘now’, ‘fast’, ‘quick’, ‘hurry’, ‘approaching’, and ‘instant’ to increase your conversion.

Increased Difficulty

A tricky point here. People tend to think that the more difficult it is to get some thing, the more valuable it is, and this raises an important question: Can a premium class—in which you will need to get approved before you get accepted or pass a test—be more valuable than one you can just drop in? The answer is yes, and it’s because it provides a challenge.

You can use this method within a game, a sharing contest, or any other way that makes it difficult (or dare to say competitive) to enroll in your course.

Loss Aversion

Creating the impression that something catastrophic will happen soon if you do not act increases the chances of an impulsive decision towards buying a product. Fear of loss will get you to act quickly and the same can do to potential clients. Here is a good example: “Missing this class, might cost you the next promotion!”

Unpleasant Conditions/Situations

We are hardwired to avoid bad situations, and that is especially true if we have had a personal experience with them. Many people are working hard to improve their speech/presentation skills, what their body and appearance looks like, or want to develop their work skills just to avoid these kinds of situations.

As a way to help them out, you can create a scenario where people would most likely experience those “awkward feelings”, and then offer a possible solution. As The Guardian explains, these negative situations can kick your brain into action. Combining this with some great storytelling can help you create a strong sales tactic!

Pulling The Offer Away

Last minute offers, one-off courses, and time-limited discounts can go a long way to increasing your sales. As such, you wouldn’t want to risk losing a paying customer when they can sign up just as quickly by adding their email.

How can you implement all those tactics? Let’s have a look:

Coupons

Use coupons to share discounts or special offers. Then, share them to your email lists or submit them at different websites for offers/discounts. You can also share them on your social media pages/profiles or groups.

You have the option to time-limit your coupons and also create multiple with the same offer and a different name or occasion, for example 10% discount for current students and 10% discount for the audience of a blogger/influencer. You can even create super discounts, for example 90% for the next 24 hours or free courses (100% discount) to collect new leads that will pay for their next course!

Advanced Sales And Segmentation With Tripwires

In order to get deeper into a buyer’s mind, make sure to segment each one based on their preferences. Then get them into the psychological state of spending the first money and encourage them to become a paying student.

It makes the process easier if you break down your larger courses into smaller ones. This should help to solve specific needs and hook them up, so that you can later get into upselling with bundles, larger courses, or smaller bits.

Discounts

Keep in mind that not all offers are discounts. Some might only be limited-time course offers or free material; offers can vary depending on your audience and what you are trying to achieve.

Selling discounted courses is a tactic that can serve the following:

  • Increasing your short-term sales.
  • Rewarding/upselling to loyal customers.
  • Promoting new courses or getting new students (customers).

Having a year-round discount could increase sales, but could also hurt your brand – if you are not careful. Discount course marketplaces such as Udemy can lower your brand’s perceived quality and the price you can ask for your courses, though you can create the perception by having a “normal” and discounted price in your course.

With LearnWorlds you have the option to do what you prefer and control your prices and discounts, but our experience shows that premium pricing is the best option, with discounts being only a marketing/sales tool.

Course Bundles

Finally, you can upsell. Upselling is when you convince someone to buy more than they intent to do so. For example, you want to buy a T-shirt for $20, but the store employee tells you that you can have two T-shirts for the price of $30 instead of $40. If those T-shirts cost the store $5 each, they have just earned an extra $5 because they convinced you to buy both of them!

This is what course bundles are for. If you want to give it a go with bundles, get a few together in a category such as “Life Skills Bundle” at a total discounted price. If you bundle together 5 courses X 50$ each, you can offer them for a discounted price of 200$, and there you have it – you have just sold five courses in the price of four instead of one.

3. Effective ‘Call To Action’

Writing your sales page or sales pitch might seem like a struggle, but as long as you keep to the following 3 points, you can get over it quickly:

  • Identify your target customers.
  • Make sure you talk their language.
  • Target their needs and wants (even when they don’t even know they exist).

Conveying your message in a way that encourages an action, for example clicking on the “Buy” button, is called Call to Action (CTA). In theory this sounds much easier than putting it in practice, but we have prepared some examples and templates for Call to Actions that are ready to be used in your online school.

Apart from templates, what you need to do is write a few words in that call (or button) that can prompt someone to take action. A short, but useful, cheat list you can use as your CTA includes the following words:

  • Join
  • Get
  • Buy now
  • Try (lead capturing)

These should be followed by your course title, the name of community, or a proposed solution. For example, you can think of something like this: “Get the only course that will teach you how to be rich” or “Join the training program and be fit in 6 weeks”. An ideal solution that tells you how to do something at a given time or deadline can attract the right amount of attention and action.

Your CTA should be the catalyst for a good sales page. However, sometimes a simple landing page with just the CTA can also work out pretty well. The best thing to do is to test what works for your audience. After testing, don’t be afraid to change your text. This, along with writing marketing copy for your course, could take a while. Your Call to Action can always be improved and provide better conversions at a later time.

By Panos Siozos Nick Malekos and Joseph Tsouvalas

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