I’ll start with the bad news. There’s no “one size fits all” for launching an online course. There are multiple ways that you CAN execute course launches … and sometimes you need to weigh all the pros and cons to find out which type is best for your business. And guess what? It’s okay to try different types of course launch strategy.
Let’s get some definitional material out of the way. Remember, you can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the teacher out of me!
There are several types of online course launches you can consider. Here are a few options:
- Soft launch or a Beta launch: This is a low-key launch that is only shared with a small group of people, such as a group of beta testers or a select group of early supporters. A soft launch can help you iron out any issues with the course before a wider release. I believe basically EVERYONE should try this out before releasing their course to the wild.
You can also frame this as a partial-release course. With a partial-release course, you can make part of your course available for purchase and release the rest of the content at a later date. This can be a good way to build anticipation and create a sense of urgency for your students. You can do this with a group of beta testers as well.
Any of the above combinations can be run in a Facebook group for an even lower-stakes launching. You can teach the content to a live group the first go around and get immediate feedback from the beta testers or the first round of your students.
- Live launch: A live launch involves hosting a live event to announce the course and kick off the enrollment period. This can be a good way to create excitement and build a sense of community around the course. There are numerous ways to conduct a live launch. One way is to start with a webinar/free training and pitch your course at the end.
Is going live really not your cup of tea? That’s okay, you can try a pop-up group on Facebook where potential students are invited in and given a series of challenges or videos to watch to get small/quick wins during the cart open period.
Other methods of live launching include an email series launch which may or may not have a video series attached to it. A carefully constructed email sequence can be put out to your audience encouraging them to buy … but be warned a strictly email series launch does not always convert extremely high, especially for first-time course creators.
Live launches create urgency and excitement around your offer. When the course is only open for a few weeks out of the year, potential students can feel the “now or never” mindset which can prompt them to enroll.
I recommend live launching if your business is “course focused“.
What does mean? Most of your revenue comes from the revenue generated by your course launches. Additionally, I always recommend live-launching FIRST before trying a different model.
There are several pros of live launching:
- You’ll likely be more engaged in a live launch than an evergreen launch (see more on that below) and do a better job of promoting to your audience since these only happen 1-4 times a year.
- You can reuse a lot of content! Emails and social media content can often be reused and repurposed during live launches.
- If running a “chronological style course”, it’s easier to keep your students together as they’ve all entered the course at the same time and can help to foster a sense of community.
There are definitely several cons to live launching:
- They take up a lot of time and energy. If you live launch quarterly, you’ll be constantly setting up for a launch.
- It’s helpful to have a team for the live launching model. It can get extremely overwhelming managing the live aspects, emails, and community if you choose to have one.
- It can be easy to get burnt out on this model. Your first few launches might be thrilling and exciting, but after that wears off you might just feel overwhelmed.
- Evergreen launch: An evergreen launch means that the course is always available for purchase, with no specific launch or enrollment window. This can be a good option if you want to have a more relaxed launch and don’t want to create any sense of urgency.
** Please note** I always recommend to my clients live launching at least 1 time (but preferably 3x at above a 5% conversion rate…) before moving to the evergreen model. But hey! If you know you’re not into live launching and want to go straight to evergreen, go for it. You can always switch up the mode of launch whenever is convenient for your business schedule.
An evergreen course might be right for you if you’ve already got multiple streams of income for your business. If you’ve got a thriving coaching business, or are additionally selling multiple other products and this course will not be a mainstream of revenue, you could consider starting with the evergreen model!
You have a huge audience with massive traffic to your site, social media, and blogs. Evergreen courses convert lower overall, but 1% of 100,000 eyes on your site is still better than 8% of only 100 people coming across your content!
Here are some pros of the evergreen launch method:
- Students can enroll whenever they want! They don’t have to wait to sign up, and you don’t have to wait to make that money!
- If you have a large audience – this could be a great strategy for you. The larger the audience, the more likely buyers and students you’ll have!
- The amount of energy required is much lower. Once the course is formatted for evergreen, it can keep making money without huge amounts of additional effort from you.
- You always will have something to constantly talk about on social media platforms and to prompt to your list
Some of the downsides to launching evergreen:
- You have to continuously remember to promote your course! If you’re not mentioning it in blogs, emails, and social media, people won’t discover it!
- With no urgency, people will likely not feel the “need” to buy your course now before it comes out again!
- Evergreen has lower conversion rates compared to live launches … but hey it’s overall less work, too!
Ultimately, the type of launch you choose will depend on your goals and target audience. It may be helpful to do some research and see what has worked well for other course creators in your industry.
To determine the best type of online course launch for you, consider the following factors:
- Your audience: Who are you targeting with your course? Are they more likely to respond to a limited-time offer or an evergreen launch?
- Your goals: What are you hoping to achieve with your course launch? Are you looking to drive a lot of sales in a short period of time, or are you more interested in building a steady stream of students over time?
- Your resources: Do you have the time and resources to run a live launch with a lot of promotion and marketing, or would a softer launch be a better fit for you?
- Your course content: Is your course content time-sensitive or evergreen? If your course is focused on a topic that is constantly changing, a limited enrollment launch may be more appropriate.
By considering these factors, you can determine the best type of launch for your course and your business.
When you’re ready to launch your first course or you need help determining what strategy to go with, be sure to reach out to me here to book a discovery call to see how we can best work together. In the meantime, grab my complete course launch checklist!