I taught history for 12 years (not science) so bear with me while I make a science-y analogy for this blog. When you launch a course, it’s like bringing something to life. Your ideas, your spin, and your methodology for whatever you’re an expert in. And you need a course launch plan.
There are a lot of components to consider when launching a course. The overall “anatomy” of the promotion time period is the same no matter which strategy you’re thinking of using for your course. For some more details on course strategy, check out my blog post with some pros and cons of each type here.
Alright, let’s fast-forward and you’ve selected your course launch strategy. No matter if you’ve chosen to start with a beta launch (I would do this if you can…) a live or an evergreen style, you still will have a similar path to take – the actual launching part!
Let’s break it down into the four phases of launching. This will be an at-a-glance overview … but I plan to write a bit more about each phase in subsequent posts!
The Pre-Pre Launch Plan
This is the phase of the launch where you’re not actually building your course but you’re doing SO MUCH OTHER WORK.
This is the phase of identifying your ideal client, conducting market research, and beginning to narrow down your course topic.
Identifying an ideal client is essential so you know who you are speaking to when you are talking to your audience. Start by thinking about your ideal client’s demographics, goals, and what is keeping them from achieving their goals. These are sometimes referred to as “pain points”.
This is also a great time to analyze your own business by looking at your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths of a business could include aspects like a strong social media presence or a large email list. Weaknesses could be the opposite (small social media or no email list) or the fact you HATE speaking on Instagram stories. What is not going well in your business?
Opportunities can be classified as ways that you can either turn those weaknesses into strengths or another opportunity you could pursue for greater visibility like podcast guesting or collaborations.
Finally, threats. What COULD go wrong with this launch? Not to be a TOTAL negative Nancy … but something always basically does. This is where we try and plan for it, think about what COULD go wrong, and make some backup plans as needed.
In the pre-pre-launch phase, what you’re focused on is making sure the foundation of your business is SOLID … so that a course can stand squarely on its shoulders!
The Pre-Launch Plan
This is where most people ACTUALLY start, which is a bit of a mistake. This is the beginning of the “launch runway” where people typically start teasing their upcoming course.
The pre-launch is where you begin to identify what your lead magnet will be, create and construct it (based on what you learned in the pre-pre-launch phase), and plan the bones of your launch.
This is where you will finalize your launch strategy, choose the cart open and close dates, and start assigning yourself deadlines. If you need help to be sure you’re capturing the right details for planning your course, snag my free course checklist here.
As far as social media during this time, be sure to start discussing the content surrounding your course frequently. What are some objections, myths, and common beliefs surrounding your topic? What long-form content can you create (blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos) to position yourself as an expert on the subject of your course?
The pre-launch is all about establishing yourself as an expert and planting that seed in your audiences’ minds that you know what you’re talking about – because you DO!
This is also the time when you will design all of your launch assets like your sales page, cart open emails, and the webinar or challenge! The pre-launch phase has A LOT of moving pieces that can get a little messy and overwhelming. Be sure you snag my free course checklist here to help you keep them straight! As I mentioned in the intro, I’ll be writing more detailed posts about each of the phases that I will link here when they’re finished!
The Launch Plan
This is it! What you’ve been waiting for! You’re about to be live in front of your audience (unless you’re launching with evergreen)! This part can be extremely nerve-wracking so it’s important to take care of YOU this week!
The launch is usually referred to as the “cart open” period of a program that typically lasts between 7-10 days. You will be sending between 8 to 25 emails during this time so make sure they’re all scheduled. I recommend checking each day that they were sent out correctly, the links work, and making any slight adjustments needed.
During launch, it’s also essential to track data! How many views are your sales pages, cart pages and social media assets getting daily? Take notes and record details about each launch asset so you can better adjust or repeat what went well for the next launch.
Finally, as much as you can, keep your energy up for your audience. If you have a challenge group, be sure to show up live each day. Respond to comments personally and do bonus video trainings or show up live if possible! Show up daily on Instagram or Facebook stories to connect with your audience.
The Debrief Plan
The most underrated portion of the launch. All the knowledge is in the debrief! During your whole launch period, create a document that allows you to write down what is going well and not going well during your launch period. Refer to it often!
Consider each aspect and phase of the launch. What went well in your cart open period? What would you change for next time?
Condense all the details of your registration and sales pages, who attended your launch catalyst and enrolled in your program!
Take a deep dive back over your social media analytics during this time as well. What posts performed well? What barely got engagement? Use all this information to sculpt and change your launch runway for next time!
Your launch debrief is SO important so don’t skip it! Keep your debrief in a safe place where you can refer to it again and again. Add new details each time you launch!