Running a successful business means keeping up with demand for new products and services. Time spent growing your audience and your offerings. But the creation is only the start. How do you launch a course or online programme that’s a success, that gets sales and sign-ups and means you can bring more revenue into your business?
Now I’ve run and managed many launches, not just for myself but for my clients too. I’ve helped many clients launch with memberships, programmes, courses, workshops, freebies, mini-offers. There are many types of digital products you can launch. Not only have I helped with ads, but with the actual launch strategy and project management. I do love a launch and have seen the many benefits it can bring.
There are lots and lots of in-depth resources on this all over the internet, but in the interests of keeping it simple, here are my four key things to consider when planning a launch for your business
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What to launch?
If you don’t already have something lined up and ready to go, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. There are loads of options available to you, whether you’re a product or service based business. The first step is to identify the needs and desires of your customers.
You can do this explicitly – ask questions on your social media channels, put up polls in Stories, post in local or more niche groups if that’s relevant. You can ask what people want to see from you, what gaps in training do people have, what’s the next course they are going to invest in etc? If the same things come up a few times, you could create a product, course or service that fills the gap.
Or you could go more in-depth with a survey via Typeform or Google questionnaires or similar and really gather some useful data.
Both these options are great market research whether you need some fresh ideas or whether you want to test the waters for something you are planning.
You may not even have to do this – chances are there are already clues to what you could be producing. Ask yourself a few questions and it might just become clear.
– What are you known for?
– What posts do people tag you into?
– How can you expand on what you are already niched into?
– What do people keep asking you questions about? This might be
- Do you sell….?
- Are your products suitable for…?
- Do you offer…?
- Can you advise me on…?
Why do we need to plan our launches in advance?
It’s so easy to put all your time and effort into creating product: the perfect course, a brilliant coaching programme, a new planner, or an addition to your physical product line. But what about when it’s done. Is it enough to just put it on your website and do some posts on social?
Of course my answer will be no!
If you want to make sales and create some buzz, generate interest, you need to plan a launch. Putting dates in a calendar keeps you focused and allows you to figure out when you have time to dedicate to your launch. Block out the time you want it to go live and work backwards from there.
I’m a big fan of a deadline to keep the momentum going, so I would always advocate for some advance planning.
How much time should I give to a launch?
If you have a decent email list, then 60 days should be enough to build your audience and give you a chance to show your depth of understanding on your chosen topic. You’ll spend this time sending emails, showing up on social and generally demonstrating that you know your onions. Then, when time comes for sales, you’ll have a captive audience just waiting to click and buy.
No list? No problem. This pre-launch phase could be extended to 90 days if you don’t yet have a list. You’ll need the extra time to create some kind of freebie to encourage people to sign up for your list. You can then nurture them a while before you start the sales stage.
How many times to launch?
This one’s up to you. It can depend on how long your course/programme is. Is it self-paced or is there a group element involved? What price point are you selling at? All of these will determine how often you make it available and how much fanfare you have when launching.
For something short and self-paced you might open registration 4/5 times a year. Something that has a group element requiring lots of your time might be a twice-yearly event or you could go big and make it just once a year like Amy Porterfield does with her fab Digital Course Academy. Doing it once allows her to not only build up her audience but gives her more time in the year to focus on other areas of her business. Plus it gives it more desirability. If you don’t take up the course then, you need to wait another year.
But of course, it’s really easy to do this if, like Amy, you have a big audience already. Digital Course Academy is such a great product that she can afford to do it so infrequently, whereas most of us, need to launch a few times a year.
Think about allowing space between launches to give yourself time to evaluate the previous launch, have a break, focus on list building and giving value to your existing followers, and then allow some time to plan an even better launch for next time.
If you allow 90 days for launches that’s potentially four a year. I’ve launched my Instagram course 3 times this last year and that, I find, is the sweet spot for me and my audience.
To help you discover your personalised path to creating a course, do check out Amy Porterfield’s fab new quiz. It only takes two minutes, but will really help you get clarity on your next steps.
For more guidance, join her 30-day bootcamp to help you get more clarity on how to build your online course, get your questions answered by Amy herself and be surrounded by like-minded people. It’s totally free. I’ll see you in the group.
And if you are ready to launch and would like some advice on strategy or ads, then send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat.