Launch a Course, of Course, But Not Just Any Course
Perhaps you have never thought of launching an online course. Or potentially you have considered it but thought it was too complicated, risky or just too much hard work. Possibly you are sick of all the ‘online courses’ and webinars which promise much and deliver nothing, and so you believe no-one would sign up to your course.
I hate that.
I have in the past heard myself say out loud, 25 minutes into a webinar which promised to answer all my questions something like “If I wanted to hear you rant on for 25 minutes about what the problem is and how much you have changed your life – I would have rung your Mum. I KNOW what the problem is – I want the bloody answer – GET ON WITH IT”. Have you had that moment? Well – if you do webinars and online courses like this – like the majority of people – you will piss a lot of people off and earn yourself very little money and lots of wasted time in the process, but some of my clients have made good money from a small list by launching a course where many fail.
So, what is it they do differently?
Well – there are a few things – so let’s go through them one by one.
Firstly, you need to do your research
And I don’t just mean research on whether there is a need for the course – although that, of course, is very important! (No shit Sherlock! I hear you say). So how do you do your research? Well, there are many ways including – sending out a poll to your existing clients and posing questions on your social media. But unless you have a well engaged tribe or a huge tribe – that may not be most effective. How about you go somewhere where this information is already available? Wouldn’t that be good?
OK – so where is it available? Well, there are a few places. The first thing I would try is forums on your subject. So – if your thing is Health and Nutrition, and your big passion is helping people get restorative sleep, then go to Google and type in “Sleep” and “Forum” – and have a look and a listen to what people are saying. What are the questions they are asking? What are they having trouble getting answers about? Those are the key things to build your course around.
Then – go to Amazon. Find a book (or more than one) on your subject area and LOOK AT THE REVIEWS. You will find out everything there that you need to know. The good reviews will tell you what people like and the bad reviews will tell you what NOT to do and what to include – if the review says, “well it was OK but there was nothing in there about……” – that definitely needs to go in your course. There is a little more to it – but you get the idea?
Secondly, you need to get specific.
Way too many people offering way too many courses on “Health and Well Being”, “How To Do Social Media”, “How to Write A Book”. You need to know the specific problem you are answering and get that focus right. Compare “A Guide to Health and Well Being – a short course” to “One Week Course – Stop Having Sleepless Nights and Wake Full of Energy – Guaranteed”. Or “How To Write A Business Book and Get It To Best Seller on Amazon, in 6 Weeks”, or “How You Can Generate Leads From Social Media, and Grow your Business”. Which course would you buy?
Thirdly – don’t put too much content in the course.
“But you said you hate the courses that don’t have much content Carole” I hear you say. Yes, that is true. I hate it when people waste my time on what can only be described as ‘blarb’ – that’s a technical term for meaningless rubbish! I have way too much to do without wasting my time listening to crap. Sorry. But I am very passionate about this. When I say – don’t put too much in, let me explain what I mean.
15 years or more ago, when I first started teaching my recruitment process which is all about the culture match – D.R.I.V.E Recruit and Grow Your Business, I used to call the course ‘ More than a Gut Feeling’. It was a real-world course, and I would deliver it over an afternoon, sometimes I would squeeze every bit of that course into a 90-minute keynote. Well, people would always come up at the end and say – wow that was amazing/I never knew there was so much to doing recruitment properly and similar comments. But what I came to realise was – they WEREN’T implementing it. Why? Because it was all too much.
What seemed logical and easy to me (because I had done it for 15 years and written a book on it – The Book on Recruitment available on Amazon) was of course, mind blowing for most people. Especially as our process goes much further than most – and is NOT just about the interview but incorporates the structure of the business, the vision, the values – something that takes a morning to do all on its own.
I later developed this into a 3-day workshop, and my 90-minute keynote now covers just 3 points of my 32 point system! Yes – I was trying to put the whole 33 points into 90 minutes, no wonder they were brain bashed.
I haven’t yet launched the online version of my workshop – but when I do it will be 5 courses, only 1 of which will be interviewing skills themselves.
So, when you do launch your course, don’t put too much in it. If someone buys a course that has 33 steps, of which some have further ‘sub steps’ – they are likely to look at that and think – it’s too much. Better to launch 5 courses with 6 or 7 steps in each, and then if they get through course 1 – they can go buy course 2 at a discounted rate. Does that make sense?
Fourth – start to generate interest and sales for the course before you launch it. “What” I can hear the perfectionists scream – “Launch your sales strategy before you have finished your course – are you MAD?”. Nope – not mad. Just realistic. I know – as a perfectionist myself – that when you wait to get everything right – things don’t happen
Let me give you an example. When I launched my first book, I had a really really strict deadline. I also had a major problem. During the period when the book should have been going back and forth to my editor to check, I was in hospital with suspected appendicitis. I don’t know if you have ever been in hospital, but they are not known in the UK for their fully functioning business class wifi.
I had time to do one quick read through and then I had to press the button (metaphorically) on the print. Because we were running out of time to get it to me before the book launch in London the following week. Luckily I had understanding doctors who were happy to try me on antibiotics for the appendix rather than whipping it out, which would have definitely meant I missed my own book launch!
And so the good news was that the book was launched – with me present – on the right day. The bad news (for me) was that when I got a copy of the book, I realised there were 11 grammatical errors and spello’s in the book. If you know me at all, you will know that was (to me) like listening to someone scratch down a chalk board with their bare nails. It was torture. And to know I was going to have to ‘sell’ these books at the launch with ALL THOSE ERRORS IN – Oh My God – it was awful. I, in fact, signed everyone’s book with an extra PS – which said – as these were rushed to me in a hurry – you will find grammatical errors and a few spelling mistakes in them – see if you can spot them all, it will be worth a fortune one day!! And I sold them for £10 instead of £14.99 as I felt so bad about it.
Did the audience care? Not a hoot! Would it have been better to wait till everything was ‘perfect’ before getting the book out there? No – because I would have missed having my books at my book launch.
Now compare that to my children’s picture book – Princess Phoebe Wants A Sister – which is being published in September. I wrote that book 4 years ago. I found an illustrator who – like me – is a perfectionist. And between us it has taken until now to get the book somewhere that is ready for publication. Stupid? Yes probably. But you see, I didn’t have a deadline.
And so – my point is – if you start publicising your course, start your email marketing and your Facebook and Twitter advertising – start talking about it to your friends and family, your coach, your networking contacts with the date (or at least the month, or the Season for goodness sake) – then 2 things will happen. First – you will have to get it done. Second – you will pre-sell some courses which will motivate you even more to get it finished!
Lastly – (warning here for the perfectionists….take a deep breath and try not to cry) – test your course out on your first customers and let them help you improve it. Yes, you heard me. It MIGHT NOT BE PERFECT AFTER ALL. So – launch this as a small beta testing group – give them a special price, and let them give you feedback so you can make your course even more awesome, and charge more for it at the ‘proper’ launch.
Now talking about the launch and how you put the marketing together…….that is a whole other course. Seriously. I am writing a course about that now, and you will be able to access that soon. If you need immediate help with a course launch then feel free to get in touch and we can talk about my group or 1-2-1 coaching to help you with that!