If you’re dreaming of launching your first eCourse, you are not alone.
It’s become a huge industry, and it's filled with people who have been wildly successful, but more who have fallen short. Today I want to talk about the challenges with creating a profitable eCourse and offer some tips and insights on how to market it without breaking the bank.
If you’ve ever done this before, you know that it’s not something you can achieve overnight. In this instance, slow and steady really does win the race.
You need to do all the right things at the beginning — and by beginning, I don’t mean your launch date. If you start off with the right foundation — and have done the hard stuff in the beginning — you will be significantly more successful and be able to get paying customers without a giant advertising budget.
You can throw all the money in the world at your launch, but unless you’re creating something that people want, no one will buy it.
So, where do I start?
We’ll talk about this more in another section, but I personally feel like this is the single most important part of a successful eCourse launch. This must start MONTHS in advance. You need to be connecting with people that are interested in what you’re creating and get their opt-in to become part of your community. The money is in the list!
Many successful eCourses started with a free beta. I’ve worked with a few clients in the past who still worked their 9-5, in order to have the finances to run their beta. The value, education and constructive criticism gained from doing this cannot be measured. This gives you the opportunity to hear from actual participants on what they liked, what they disliked, and how they feel you could improve. You find out directly from them what they want more of, and what they found most valuable.
Be mentally prepared for this to be really, really hard. The amount of work that will go into simply creating the content is monstrous, and that’s only the beginning. Then, you need to figure out all the tech stuff, because you know — people need to be able to buy your course. You need to figure out email marketing, landing pages, and of course getting people to say YES. It isn’t going to be easy, and you need to be prepared for that from the beginning. You’ll want to pull the plug every other day leading up to your launch. Don’t do it. Just keep working and it will all be worth it in the end.
This will be a huge component that you need to figure out at the very beginning. You may find yourself learning new things and making changes to your tools and processes as you go, and that’s totally fine. But you can’t launch a course, let alone your beta course, without having the technology in place to facilitate the course and deliver your message. You want to ensure people can easily register for your course, and that they can pay you and find the information that they’re looking for.
Let’s talk more about list building.
So now that you know the fundamentals you need to be successful, let’s discuss the main part that will facilitate the growth of your brand and sign-ups. The list. You absolutely must start building your list, as soon as your concept is born.
Experts say that prior to launching your first course, you should aim for a list of 1,500 subscribers. Because such a small percentage of your readers will actually opt-in, you need this large of a number to make your efforts profitable. You're aiming for 1% to 5% opt-in, so do the math.
The easiest way to get started with your list building is to simply start. Develop content that your target audience will find valuable. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, it just needs to be good. If you have a blog or website, this will be the perfect place to start with a landing page, and opt-in. (This is where the technology part comes in.)
You must offer a freebie to get people to sign-up. Their email address is valuable to them, so they must feel like it’s a fair trade. For example, let’s say you’re a digital marketing consultant. You have your own blog and you write about all things related to online marketing. Get started with creating a pop-up that asks people to join your community. In exchange for signing up, they are going to get your most recent freebie — that valuable piece of content you just created. This is how you get the ball rolling.
The number one thing here is to ensure that your target audience WANTS what you're sending. The only way to figure out what they want from you is to really get to know them. Start this process by completing your customer profile.
Get your free Buyer's Persona worksheet here.
Tips & Tricks To Rock Your Launch
Your pricing is very, very important. Regardless of how much your eCourse costs, it will take the same amount of work to create, so really put some thought into this part. What type of value are you giving to people? Make this a reflection of your price. Pricing tiers and payment plans are proven to increase your enrolment numbers. There will be people who desperately want what you’re offering, and proving a lower-level budget or allowing them to make monthly installments will make or break the deal.
Take full advantage of social media. Don’t be shy about promoting your course, and asking your friends and family members to do the same. If you want to invest in social media advertising, do so in a targeted and controlled manner. Really think about who your target market is, and where you can reach the most of them. Test different ads and monitor your conversion rates. You can get a lot of exposure with a modest budget if you do it right.
The name of your course, the titles in your email subject lines — all this content really, really matters. Don’t procrastinate and rush through your sales page copy or your emails. The language matters, and it’s crucial your message is clear, consistent, meaningful and engaging.
Get clear on who your target audience is, and what problem you solve for them. Make sure this is the foundation to everything you create.
You don’t need to spend every penny you have to be successful. Do as much yourself as you can, and if you desperately need help, find an experienced VA who you can delegate to. But only do this once it becomes absolutely necessary.
Give yourself enough time to complete your steps and projects. Plan ahead. Creating schedules, timelines and clear objectives will keep your project moving forward and on track.
Founder of Malamax Content Marketing