#102: How to launch your first online course

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Today, we’re looking at the final puzzle piece of our new series: how to launch your first online course.

Over these 4 episodes we’ve stepped you through everything you need to know to create and launch an amazing and highly profitable program in 2022!

And now it’s time to dive into launching…



Things You’ll Learn in this Episode of Doing it Online:

  • The most commonly made mistakes to avoid in your first-ever launch…
  • Our fave strategy for a successful (+ fun!) launch… 
  • #1 thing we do NOT recommend when first launching your offer…

How to launch your first online course:

What we recommend…

I’m going to share with you what we recommend for a first launch, as well as some common mistakes (and what to do instead), so that your first launch is as successful as humanly possible. 

It’s super important to get your launches right, right? However! If your first launch doesn’t work as well as you were hoping, that doesn’t mean the course or offer isn’t right, it could just be that the launching wasn’t done properly. We’ve seen many courses go on to sell super successfully, even if the first launch was a “flop”.

We’ve also seen this a number of times: people launch, it doesn’t go that well, and they decide their program’s no good, ‘the online thing’ isn’t for them, etc and they want to give up…

Quite often this is the state a lot of people come to us inside our program eCourse Empire. And then it’s our job to help them to fix it and go on to have amazing launches. 

Do you create your course before you launch it? 

Which comes first? Launch or create?

The first big question when it comes to launching your first course is: are you going to create your course before you launch it, or launch and then create?

My recommendation is absolutely that you should launch first, create after. 

Most people find this option scary, and I get that. But for this first launch all you need is your pre-work and the first module up and ready to go, so that you’re a week ahead of your program members, and you create the rest of the modules week-to-week as they’re going through it. 

The reason I so strongly suggest you approach it this way is because this first launch is just a test. Do people actually want this? And you won’t know that until they vote with their credit cards. 

Even if you’ve done all the research and worked with people 1:1, there’s still a lot of assumptions and guesses that go into creating your first course. I chat through this more in the episode so definitely give that a listen. 

The purpose of this first launch isn’t to make as much money as possible. It’s to test, are all those pieces we looked at in part one, part two and part three all working?

I don’t want you to be spending weeks and months of your time and energy creating something you’re not even sure is the right thing to create yet. 

We want this first to be as quick and dirty as possible. Which brings us to…

The Beta launch

The first-launch strategy…

So what does a quick and dirty launch look like? 

There’s a few things to look at doing here and a couple of things to avoid. 

Before we dive into them though, it’s important that you’re transparent with your audience about the fact that this is a new launch and while you’re super excited to be sharing it with them, you’re still working on it in the background and pulling a few things together. This helps set their expectations too. (And explains their crazy-amazing discount, more on that in a moment.)

A good way to approach this is by calling the first launch for your online course a ‘Founding Members Launch.’ Which is also nice because it makes people feel like they’re part of something a bit special too. They get to be the first ones to go through it and maybe even help shape future versions of it through their feedback. 

1. Audience  

We don’t recommend doing your beta launch until you have at least 1000 people on your list and that you’ve been engaging with them in recent weeks, not just the week before launch. 

For both the lead up, and during the beta launch, you need to be warming up your audience on both social media and your email list and getting them excited about your launch. If you’ve been ghosting them, you’re not ready to launch. 

2. Big discount

As I hinted at earlier, for this ‘Founding Members Launch’ we want to offer them a big discount. And by ‘big’ I mean a minimum of 30% if not 50%.  

The first reason for this is that you’re still building the program out, still getting feedback and you’re still testing what’s useful, where people get stuck, etc. So at the end of this first launch you may find you’re missing pieces in your course, or you may want to reorder it etc, so they’re not getting a finished, polished product and the discount makes it fair for them and takes the pressure off you to do so. 

Secondly, the other reason we recommend a big discount for the beta launch is because it will do a lot of the heavy-lifting for you. You won’t need to do a webinar and other time-consuming things with a discount like that. 

3. You don’t need a fancy sales page. Promise. 

This is one of the most common mistakes we see people make in their first launch: spending stacks of time creating an all singing, all dancing sales page. 

Look, we’re big believers in having a killer sales page. We go all in on them, we teach about them, we have templates for specific types of sales pages for what needs to go where… 

AND we even do sales page reviews and audits on our live calls in eCourse Empire to help people nail their sales pages and increase their conversions. 

But! You do not need a fancy one for your beta launch. And it could potentially be a waste of time, unless you have the time and resources to create one. 

Your first sales page can be as basic as a Google doc. Not kidding. It still needs to hit on all the right things, have all the details, get them excited etc, but it’s going to be a lot easier to put together! 

4. All about the emails

While you’re launching your first online course, you need to send more emails than you think. In fact, this is another mistake we see people making, they only send a couple of emails and wonder why people don’t buy. 

For a week-long launch, you need to send about 10 emails. Multiple emails on the first and last day and a few emails in the middle.  

Plus, these emails need to speak to both the logical and emotional buyers. For more details on this you can check out this episode here where we plan out your launch emails together. 

But basically, you need to be talking about your launch A LOT. In emails and on social media. 

Bonus tip! Launch to a waitlist…

This is optional, but we love, love, love this strategy. 

The waitlist with a first-purchase bonus…

My friend Alex Beadon actually taught me this strategy, and I know she got it from somewhere else, but we have found it to be amazingly effective (+ fun!) 

The way this is set up is kind of like having a mini-launch within a launch. 

Basically, you invite people to join a VIP waitlist. And you explain to them that you’ll have an exclusive 48hr offer that will ONLY be available to people on the waitlist. 

The exclusive offer is up to you, but it would generally include some bonuses, a discount and in this particular strategy, the chance to win some $$. 

So, the very first person to purchase your program from the waitlist wins their money back AND cash bonus. 

People will literally be lining up to burst through the virtual doors and purchase from the waitlist, so it’s an awesome idea if you can implement it and it can help make the whole launch a bit of an event. 

Especially for a first launch, getting some sales as soon as the doors open can help give you the confidence you need to show up for the rest of your open cart. 

Want some more help?

If you’ve loved this series and you’d love to get more help with launching your first online course, because there’s a lot to go through and you just want some support, that’s exactly what eCourse Empire is for. 

It’s got everything you need to create, launch and sell your online program. Plus, the amount of incredible baked-in, step-by-step support is something I’m so proud of. 

We help personally review your opt-in pages, brainstorm headlines and ideas and strategies. Plus, we give you email swipe files, content ideas, trainings, templates and so much more… 

And we’d love to help you!

>>> Click here to apply! <<<


How to launch your first online course How to launch your first online course

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