Create and Launch an Online Course: 3 Biggest Mistakes
Today, I’m going to be sharing the 3 big mistakes that people make when they create and launch their first course.
These are really common mistakes that I see happening a lot, that trip people up when it comes to creating and launching their first online course.
I think we're all pretty okay with the idea that online courses are a great way for people to monetise a particular skill or passion they have.
It's a really great way to expand your reach.
And it's a great way to help way more people than you ever could if you were trying to work one to one.
But, there is a lot of work that goes into creating and launching a course.
There are a lot of courses which get people great results and people are lining up around the virtual block to get in to them.
However, there are probably 20 times as many that are a bit lackluster where people have had a disappointing launch and haven’t even broken even.
No one wants to have that.#onlinebizfail - spending so much time creating your course, you don't have any time left to market it.Click To Tweet
First of all, and this is a really big one, a lot of people don't test their products or their idea.
Or, they do, but they go the wrong way about it.
When you are planning to create and launch an online course, asking your audience what they want and doing what they say is not a proper test.
By test, I mean you need to know that people don't just want this information from you, they want it so much and they value it so much, that they are prepared to pay for it.
You need to know that it’s going to be in demand.
And that you are offering enough value for the price you want to charge.
Plus, you need to know if you’re going to make enough sales to cover your time and your expenses for creating a course in the first place.
To really know that going in, unless you've got a crystal ball, you need to do a proper test.
There are two ways of doing this.
To do a legitimate test, you need to get people to vote and say “Yes” with their credit cards.
You need people to actually pay.
It's all well and good asking people and have them go “Yeah that sounds great, I would totally buy that”.
But when it comes to the crunch, will they?
That's a different story.
I am a big believer in the "Sell it before you Make it" philosophy. Especially for your first course.
You have to be really careful with this though.
You have to plan it out properly.
You don't want to end up biting off more than you can chew.
The best thing to do is come up with your idea, one you're really happy with, and you've already done a bit of research, and you're pretty set.
You've got your name.
You start to bullet out what's going into it.
You've got an outline, but then you need to pre-sell it.
You need to find out if people are going to actually buy it.
There are a few different ways you can do this.
I did this with my very first course, and I've done it with every single course since.
It is coming down to having a timeline or plan to make sure you're going to be able to still create and launch an online course, and not just be creating a whole load of stress for yourself the next couple months.
But also getting that validation.
Usually what you want to do is identify some of your best customers, and send them a pre-sale or a beta test of it.
Say, "Hey, I'm doing this at a discounted rate. We aren't going to actually start it for another month, but if you want to come in now because you're VIP, you'll get a discounted rate. I'll take your feedback on board, and we can help to create this awesome thing together”.
You need to test.
You can also use a beta test.
That is where you create a watered-down version, like a couple of modules.
And then you will offer it to some of your best people and say “Hey, I've started to create this thing. I'd love to know one, do you actually want to have access to it again at a discounted rate, and two, I'd love to know what your feedback is.”
It works really well in two ways.
Firstly, you're getting people to prove that, yes, they would buy something.
And secondly, you're getting that feedback to make sure the product is actually amazing.
You need to make sure your product is going above and beyond these days.
Competition is massive.
There are so many courses out there, but there are still new ones coming in that are doing really well, but they're not just delivering the bare minimum.
You can make it amazing and really, really blow people away.
You need to surprise and delight and always exceed people's expectations.
People tend to spend far too long creating a course.
Too long getting it set up and researching stuff.
They're then too busy or too burnt out to actually market it properly.
This is just as important.
This is why I think pre-selling is brilliant.
You're putting your time and energy into the marketing part first.
You want to be able to make sure that you prioritize the marketing first.
But still, allow yourself enough time to then create the content.
Yet, so many people spend months creating this amazing course and setting it all up and making sure it's perfect but they haven't even tested it.
So, they send an email out to their list hoping that someone will buy it, but there aren’t many takers.
They do a disservice to themselves.
It would be just like someone making an amazing cake and then going; I can't be bothered icing it... I'll just chuck a candle on it and say Happy Birthday to that person.
If you have used all of your energy, all of your brain power up front in the creation of the course, then the marketing side always fails.
The very first time you do a course, there is a lot you're creating.
You're creating new marketing assets.
You're creating the actual course.
That first course, the creation and launch process is always massive.
It's always a really big undertaking and often quite bigger than a lot of people expect.
It doesn't have to be.
There are a few little shortcuts and a few ways of launching something that's much quicker to create.
You have to have that mindset.
Creating and launching a course is massive but next time, it won't be as massive because the course is ready to go.
You might want to tweak some things, and then you'll put all your attention into your marketing.
Second and third launches are normally much better.
What happens is, if people don't market it properly the first time, they get discouraged.
They go “Well, I'm not going to do that again. That was a waste of time. I'm a failure. I give up.”
It's just they prioritised the wrong thing, and they gave up too soon.
The third big mistake I see people making when they're creating online courses is they wait too damn long to do it.
There's this weird myth going around that if you're going to create a successful and profitable online course, you need to wait until you've got a really big audience.
It's not true at all.
This is the beauty of online courses.
If you're doing blogging the old fashioned way like trying to rely on sponsorship and selling ad packages to get your money through the door then, yes, you do have to wait until you have a big audience.
As in tens of thousands of followers.
That takes a lot of time.
That takes a lot of effort.
You're usually a couple of years down the track before you're even starting to make any decent money.
When I say decent, I mean a few thousand dollars.
With online courses and having your own online products, the beauty of them is you only need one person to sell it to.
You just need to be really clear on who you are, who your audience is, what they want, and then usually, you can launch something quite successfully with the list that you have.
Plus, as part of your launch marketing, you'll be doing list building anyway.
The combo of the fans who are already on your list and the list building that you'll do as part of your marketing is normally more than enough to have a successful launch.
This means that the best time to launch a course is right now.
If you're not doing it now, if you put it off another 12 months, then it's just going to get harder.
It's wasted money.
You could have created it and launched it a bunch of times, and refined that launch over those 12 months, and have this thing that you know reliably earns you $20,000, $30,000, $100,000, whatever it is.
But you didn't.
You waited, and now you've got more competition.
Now, you're having to start from scratch, whereas other people who have been launching throughout the year, they're miles ahead of you.
Don't put it off.
Yes, it is a lot of work, and you have to try to and be realistic and fit that in.
Priorities-wise, if this is something you want to do, it's priority number one.
Waiting is just going to make it harder.