This year has been a tough one. Inflation is on the rise, job security is giving us more jitters than ever, and AI is shaking up the content world.
And if you’re an online course, you might be asking, “Do launches even work anymore?”
Why does this question keep coming up?
Because the world of online learning and e-course creation is exploding. There are more digital courses on the market today than there were a few years ago. The online course market has been growing steadily for a while now and grew substantially after Covid as you can imagine.
The eLearning industry has seen an incredible 900% growth since 2000 and is expected to be worth a whopping $325 billion by 2025. (Forbes).
Just take a look at this graph below from Thinkific, an online course platform, showing the significant increase in course creation immediately after the Covid-19 lockdowns began:
With all this competition, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen both success stories and epic failures when it comes to course launches.
And in any business with high competition and market sophistication, course creators need to examine every part of their e-course system from their offer to personal branding to marketing and beyond.
So let’s focus on the positive: Launches are still working. Your dream people are out there waiting to discover your awesomeness. They just need to be able to find you. And it helps if you can do everything possible to help them in that respect by being at the top of your launch game.
As a course creator, here are three crucial things to nail so that your audience can find you:
1) Thorough understanding of your audience
Your audience can’t find you if you don’t know who they are in the first place.
Deep dive into who you are trying to serve and get uber-specific.
“Parents” is not your one reader. Is it parents of school-age children? Parents of toddlers? Parents of toddlers with ADHD? Sleep-deprived parents of newborn babies?
Knowing your audience means you can create messages that hit the right notes of empathy and logic, that stop them from scrolling through a feed and read what you wrote.
Also think about: where do they hang out? Instagram or LinkedIn?
What Facebook groups would they join?
You should be using the language of your target audience so that they can feel that you are speaking at their level and exactly to them. To uncover audience language, it can take a copywriter 2-4 weeks to conduct voice-of-customer research via surveys, one-to-one interviews, and social listening.
Through understanding your audience (via customer research), you can also discover barriers to purchase and address those objections head-on.
2) Total Offer Optimization
How can you package your offer and talk about it in a way that makes people want to buy your course?
How can you differentiate yourself from similar courses on the market?
Total offer optimization goes beyond just optimizing your USP and the promise of your offer (and the transformation).
At a minimum, there are nine things that I look at when it comes to offer optimization.
Things like your copy branding, your guarantee, and your bonuses.
Total offer optimization will naturally lead you to present an irresistible offer that demonstrates to your potential students that you have thought of everything to help them succeed and that you are highly invested in their success so they can put their trust in you.
You might have heard (I certainly keep hearing this) that gone are the days of a course creator throwing up a webinar (with little marketing), opening the cart one hour later, and having a 6-figure launch.
The above may still work for a very small subsection of launches. But mostly, I’ve seen many launches fail (or underperform) because the pre-launch phase of anticipation building was ignored.
Why do we get excited about the new Marvel movie or the new season of Ted Lasso, weeks, sometimes months before they’re launched?
Because of the anticipation and hype that has been created around the release. Actor interviews, trailers, behind-the-scenes coverage, billboards, press…
No Hollywood movie is released without a targeted marketing campaign to build anticipation.
Take actor interviews. An actor can go from unknown to a household name after making the rounds of morning and late-night talk shows to the point where you know much more about them than your next-door neighbor.
By the time you watch their movie, you feel like a long-distance friend ready to spring money on a movie ticket and popcorn or buy the $24.99 new release on iTunes.
You can do the same!
Think of actor interviews as podcasts.
Trailers and behind-the-scenes can be your social media content.
Billboards can be your Facebook and Instagram ads.
Press coverage can be you collaborating with affiliates.
All to say – be like Hollywood and don’t skip the pre-launch phase of your launch.
So, get to know your audience as deeply as possible, give them the best version of your offer, and then spend time warming them up and getting them primed and excited for your cart open day.
If you need help understanding your audience, optimizing your offer, or creating a prelaunch plan, send me an email, and let’s chat.