5 tips for a successful online course launch

You’ve taken a leap of faith and committed to making a new and exciting digital product for your customers: an online course. After spending hours and hours putting together content, lesson plans, and graphics, you’re ready to debut your work.

And then… no one buys your online course. *Cue screams of horror.*

Don’t worry — this nightmare doesn’t have to happen to you. With lots of preparation, a strong social media strategy, and the right kind of hype, you can increase the odds that your online course will be a hit.

Wanna know our secrets for a successful online course launch? Keep reading.

Plan in advance

First things first: your online course topic has to be something you’re passionate about. It also has to fulfill a need. If there’s no demand for your course in your audience, no one will feel the need to buy it, and you’re likely setting yourself up for failure.

If you’re confident that your online course will sell, then great! You’ll need a strategy to organize the launch. First and foremost, you need to determine how you can inspire your customers to buy your online course. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • When will sales go live?
  • Should I run early bird promotions?
  • What about ads on Facebook or Google?
  • Do I already have an email list put together? Am I using it?
  • Should I hire influencers/brand ambassadors/affiliates?
  • Do I have a social media strategy for the launch?
  • Is there a dedicated course page on my website?
  • How else can I build hype for my course?
  • Do I need to create new images or graphics to promote my course?

Once you start answering these questions, you have the early stages of your launch plan. 

Nurture your email list

If you already have an audience in your email list, put that list to use! If your email list needs some extra TLC for this launch, you can do two things: nurture the existing contacts on your list and entice new contacts to join that list.

Make the most out of users who have already signed up for your emails by reviving an old list first. If you have an old email list that you haven’t touched in months…or years (#nojudgment), create a new opt-in message and send it to those folks. Remove anyone who doesn’t respond, and re-up anyone who does. Okay, removing subscribers sounds counterintuitive, but pruning your email list so you’re only reaching out to engaged contacts gives your content a better chance of getting read and shared. Plus if you tease “Something big is coming!” you’ll have intrigued subscribers, ready to click on your newest email.

Want to add new contacts to your email list before your launch date? Give away a freebie or two (valuable, important ones — no fluff pieces, please!). Offer a free download or content that ties into what your online course has to offer. To access it, users will submit their email address. Voilà! You now have new email contacts and you know they’re already interested in your course content.

Build excitement with a live event 

Remember: your online course has to fulfill a need. No matter what products or services you sell, you’re essentially solving a problem with your online course. A live event like a webinar is the perfect time to explain the problem to your audience… and to discuss why your online course is the solution.

If you’re hosting a webinar, share some of your best course content there. Yes, you’re kind of giving away your advice for free here, but it builds trust and shows off your expertise. People will be less wary and more interested in buying your course if they like what they see in the webinar. Don’t forget to decide where you’ll host your webinar, too, whether it’s YouTube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, a webinar platform or on your website. 

FWIW: Facebook and Instagram Lives make it much easier to reach people — and you can use that data to retarget attendees for ads to promote your new course!

Assemble your hype team 

Hype team, assemble! To make sure your course gets traction online, you’ll need a diverse team of people with different audiences and platforms to promote your online course. 

Having a few student testimonials in your back pocket can build hype for your online course in a low-key, organic way. Before the launch, consider letting a few people take your course in exchange for an early review. Seeing positive reviews for your course will make others more comfortable purchasing it.

You can also reach out to your fellow biz owners who can naturally promote your course. How? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Get interviewed on a podcast whose audience is similar to your own. 
  • Write a guest blog for an online publication. 
  • Look for other online course instructors who serve your target audience and strike up an affiliate deal. 
  • Go offline and network in-person by attending community events or meetups. 
  • Partner with influencers, bloggers, and YouTubers and offer them access to your course in exchange for a review. 

The options are limitless, just find the one(s) that works for you.

Show up on social media

Finally, don’t forget to show up on social media! Optimize your social media pages for your online course launch. Link to your online course in all of your social media profile bios. Create engaging posts that will inform and entice your audience into checking out the course. Tease the launch of your online course through creative stories and posts, too.

For example, you might create a fun countdown on your Instagram Stories, hinting that something new and exciting is coming soon. Setting a countdown builds hype and will get your followers to check back on your feed for an update. (Not a designer and need help creating these Instagram Stories?  We’ve got you covered with our Instagram Story Canva Templates here!)Publish a post on your feed teasing the launch and ask your followers to guess what the new product is or what it’s about. 

Of course, stay active on social media for these posts and stories! Be present to answer questions and keep the excitement going. 

Make your online course a success

We hope that this post has helped set your online course launch in motion. We know that creating a complex, detailed digital product like this takes blood, sweat, and tears… and many hours sitting hunched in front of your computer. Don’t let your hard work go to waste! You can make your online course launch a success with planning, creativity, and strategic partnerships.

And if you need images, templates, and video to promote the heck out of your online course — spoiler alert! You do! — Styled Stock Society has your back.