Have you found a suitable subject for your course? Is the content for your course on paper? Time to focus on launching this! How do you best handle this? What should you pay attention to when publishing an online course? You want to reach a large audience directly when launching an online course. This way, you earn the time investment in setting up the course the fastest! The wide range of online courses sometimes makes it difficult to attract the attention of potential students. Why would a student choose your online course instead of a competitor?’
In this article, we zoom in on the points of interest when launching an online course. What do you need to make this launch a success? What better not to do? It gives you tools to also make the launch of your own online course run smoothly.
Organizing pilot in the preparation of your online course
It is wise to have a pilot part of your preparations. During a pilot, for example, you will gain numerous new insights, which are the feedback these students have on the content of your course? Is it wise to improve certain parts of the online course before launching them? You can also see during a pilot which people the course is most interesting for. In particular, when organizing the pilot, you choose a broader target group. This information comes in handy when you launch your online course.
A fully online course is not a requirement
A pilot often makes a large part of the content available, but not everything. Also, selling the online course can already start without having fully worked out the content. Create a landing page on your own website or create a page within an existing network of online courses. On this page, you can give a sneak preview of the content that students can expect. It gives them an idea of the content, level, and way the course is arranged. Think of the difference between the combination of content with exercises, content with practical examples, or for example, only content. As well as that there is a difference between the written text, videos, and infographics, for infographics example.
Offering the online course on a landing page provides an initial source of income. You can expand this further when the course is finished and can be spread more widely. Please note that you can’t keep students waiting too long for the full content of the online course!
Build a list of e-mail addresses
The final launch can be accompanied by an e-mail to a large group of potentially interested students. The landing page may not yet score well in search results, so students won’t organically find you. By sending an e-mail, you potentially encourage interested parties to take a look at the online course. It is very important to include a clear call to action in the newsletter. For example, make sure you have a striking button, which a student sends directly to the page on which the online course can be purchased. It increases the conversion rate! Such a call to action will, of course, also have to be included on the page, which is referred to in the e-mail. Not insignificant: keep an e-mail short. Recipients will quickly scan the message to see if it offers them value.
Further, develop your list of e-mail addresses
You may want to work on a sequel after the launch of this first online course. To reach even more people in the future, it’s smart to keep expanding your list of e-mail addresses. Look for websites where potentially interested students are active. Please include your website and point to the newsletter with interesting content. On your own website, you could show a pop-up in which you will encourage visitors to sign up for the newsletter.
A list of e-mail addresses doesn’t have to be that long at all. After all, a fewer amount of e-mail addresses with a high conversion rate yield as much as a list of many e-mail addresses and a slightly lower conversion rate. After sending the first newsletter, you can calculate this conversion rate. Look for opportunities to improve this ratio by replacing the call to action, maintaining a different writing style, and so on. Important here is the percentage of recipients who opened the message, the percentage of recipients who clicked on the link, and the percentage of recipients who actually purchased your course. Several tools give you insight into such percentages.
Wake up the interest via a first newsletter
Now that you’ve built up a list of e-mail addresses, it’s important to pique interest among subscribed people. This is not yet about the interest in your online course. More importantly, it is to introduce the topic to the people who left their e-mail addresses. In the newsletter, you can refer to articles on the subject, you can include a video about the topic, and so on. It is a first step towards launching your own online course. The chances of having a subscribed interest in your online course are greater if it is already somewhat familiar with a particular topic.
Choose the content that adds value
Spend enough time putting together this newsletter. It may seem tempting to add the first few articles to the newsletter to move on to the next phase as quickly as possible. However, this is unwise! By sharing high-quality content in the newsletter, you increase the trust that subscribes to your organization. This comes in handy when you want to sell the online course.
Tip: you can send such a newsletter several times! However, be careful and keep a close eye on the percentages of the number of people who open the newsletter. If this percentage suddenly decreases sharply, it is wise to reduce the number of newsletters.
Time to introduce your course to interested parties
Have you sent several newsletters to the subscribers? In that case, it’s time to introduce your own online course! As on the previously described landing page, you can give a sneak preview in the newsletter. What can a student expect? What benefits does the online course offer a student? With what knowledge does a student end the course? These learning goals, in particular, are very important. It helps an interested party determine if the course adds anything to him or her. A lot of knowledge may already be known to the student, which makes the online course less interesting. Learning goals help him or her make this trade-off.
As with the previously described newsletters, it is now wise to distribute your content over several days. Start with an introduction of the online course, followed by a sneak preview like a first video or a piece of content, and conclude with the message that the online course can be ordered. Always send the e-mails a few days apart.
Thank the subscribers for their participation
After you’ve sent an e-mail for several days to sell your online course, it’s important to thank the subscribers. You may want to offer the course in the long term or switch to a second course. It would be a shame if a large proportion of the subscribers subscribed to the newsletter. Therefore, just days after your last message, please indicate that you would like to thank the subscribers for their subscriptions to the online course. Not only will students like to hear this. It can also encourage others to purchase the online course. Where they may not have intended to do this immediately. The fact that others have registered can act as social pressure on people who have not.
Launch your course on different platforms
In this article, we have focused on launching an online course via e-mail marketing. However, there are several other ways to bring your new course to the attention of potentially interested students. You may be active on various forums, where you regularly post articles that match the subject of your online course. Or what about the platforms specifically designed to offer courses? By offering your own course here, the name recognition of this increases, and the number of students will also grow.
A good launch strategy starts with a clear and cleverly set up landing page. You want to prevent students from clicking on a link and then dropping out. Make sure your landing page has a clear structure, encourages interested parties to take the course, and gives them an example of the content they can expect. Take a look at our article about selling an online course
- Organizing pilot in the preparation of your online course
- Build a list of e-mail addresses
- Wake up the interest via a first newsletter
- Time to introduce your course to interested parties
- Launch your course on different platforms