By now you must have read lots of dos and don’ts about creating and launching an online course. But it is one thing to know and another thing to apply what you learn. You might be a little unsure about the workability of a few of the stuff you’ve come across so what’s better than learning from a real life example right?
Today we’ll see how a course creator, Bryan Harris, was able to earn $220,750 from his signature course ‘Get 10,000 Subscribers’ in just 10 days – sounds too good to be true but it actually did happen and you could be in the same shoes too!
Before we begin, bear in mind that this does require you to work hard and work a lot to be able to earn well so no shortcuts here.
It’s completely okay to have fear of things not working out – you might have spent a lot of time and effort on your course and all sorts of dreadful thoughts can come in your mind before launch.
Bryan was also dead scared as he writes in his blog but his course got him SO much more money than he had targeted so don’t let your fear take over and don’t even think about abandoning your project.
Here are 3 ways by which you can triumph over your fear:
- Remind yourself WHY you are creating this course. Reignite the passion.
- Write positive statements about yourself and read them out when you start your day.
- Buy an inspiring book and read it.
Let’s look at the ‘WHY’ of this course creator:
Let’s also look at his positive affirmations:
Before we dive in to explore how Bryan made a $220,000 product, let’s look at the basics:
- His email list had 13,528 subscribers and his course was launched to these people only.
- Before he created the course, he got it validated by a small group of people.
- It took him 90 days to create the course content.
- There were 4 phases of his project.
Now let’s discover what needs to be done in each phase and what the best way to do it is.
Phase 1: Coming up with a great course topic
You need to discover what course your readers want you to launch just like while writing an article Bryan discovered his fans wanted to know how to build an email list. Here’s how you can do that:
- List down your most popular blogs, vlogs, podcasts or videos.
- List down your most popular content upgrades.
- Now analyze the topics/categories that are common to your most popular content.
- Now you can turn your most popular topic into a product hypothesis i.e. write what your product would be.
For Bryan, two categories outshone as you can see in the picture below:
He chose ‘list building’ out of the two and wrote the product hypothesis.
Phase 2: Test your product by pre-selling
Yes you can get people to pay you even before you’ve created the course. You need to have an outline of what you’re going to offer combined with the knowledge of what your audience wants.
Now is the time to test whether it’s worth spending so much time on creating the course or not. You can do that by:
- Take out a chunk of people from your email list who have interest in the topic.
- Send them your product hypothesis and ask for their feedback.
- In case they show interest in buying the course, send a pre-order link along.
If 10% out of this group pre-orders, know that your product is on spot. If not, make some changes based on the feedback or change the topic.
Here’s an example of the email you can send to the people who respond to your message:
The following example of a survey will help in asking the right questions:
The most important question is if they would be interested in buying the course. People who answer ‘yes’ get a follow-up email thanking them, answering any questions they had and an invite and link to pre-order the course.
Take the feedback received in this phase very seriously and use it to fine tune your course outline.
You can repeat this process with another group of people too.
This course creator emailed 225 people and 39 pre-ordered the course (17% conversion rate) which is a very good indication of going ahead with the idea.
Phase 3: Create the course and do it fast
You now have the validation needed to spend time and energy in developing a course so let’s focus on how to build a course.
First, you need to choose a format of your course from either of the two different types. ‘The Reference Course’ is open-ended and will allow students to pick and choose what content they consume and how they do it.
This format is preferred by creators and students both.
On the other hand is the ‘Specific Path Course’ where you can’t pick and choose so it’s not open-ended. It’ll take you step by step from point A to B – straight-up directions to reach your goal.
The specific path course forces you to take action and this is why Bryan opted for this format too. It helps people to stay focused and reach their goal in an organized way.
After you decide the format, name your course. This can be a difficult task so follow these steps:
- Choose the format of your course (reference courses can be broad while specific path ones are promise specific)
- List down names that work (you bought or heard about)
- Ask yourself questions about the names you’ve enlisted (is it short, is it likeable, does it tell what it’s about or the promise it’ll deliver?)
- Take inspiration from the course name you feel answers all of the questions above.
Now start putting together the general framework of the course – the strategies, the order of topics, number of modules etc.
Make a list of the milestones you wish to reach. For example in the case of Bryan, they were:
And then he wrote an action to achieve these 4 milestones.
Know the goal of your course, decide the 3-4 milestones your students will achieve while moving in that direction and how will they go about it – this will make the framework of your course.
Now start working on the course content.
Since you’ve worked out the previous steps, this will become easier for you to tackle.
Start by renaming your ‘milestones’ into ‘modules’. Taking Bryan’s example:
The 1 subscriber milestone became “Module #1: Laying the Foundation and Getting your First Subscriber.”
The 100 subscriber milestone became “Module #2: Getting Your First 100 Subscribers.”
Secondly your action items will turn into lessons of each module. Now write down these lessons and the action items for each separately.
Make sure your lessons are compact. So instead of putting 16 action items in one lesson, break it into 4 lessons of 4 action items per lesson.
Bring ease for your audience and create a momentum.
Let your students feel the excitement of completing lessons as they go along the way.
Now comes the time of doing the technical bit. Creating course content can take up a lot of time but don’t skip ahead. Making changes later on is quite costly so adding or subtracting lessons at this stage is the best.
Don’t try to put off the work because of procrastination in hopes of making things perfect. Just do your best!
Coming to setting up the technical part of your course.
Phase 4: Use the PAS Formula to launch your course
Having a fancy strategy in place with lots of marketing tactics in place will surely help in selling the course but will not guarantee bringing in six figures in revenue.
You don’t need to keep adding shiny objects (huge affiliates, 3-part videos etc) in the hopes of some miracle. If your audience is left untargeted and unengaged no amount of shenanigans will convince them to buy your course especially if it’s not even good.
Spend almost all of your energy into phase 1, 2&3 of the course.
Here’s the breakdown of Bryan’s course:
Time spent building the course? 500+ hours
Time spent on launch strategy? 12 hours.
For launching your product, follow these steps:
Ask your audience what they want and give it to them.
Use downward positioning – this is when you weigh the pros and cons of two options and find something that works best for you.
So your course needs to teach your audience an alternate solution with downsides that your paid product will solve for them. Give them the benefits of option 1 but sell them option 2 by highlighting negatives of option 1.
After spending months developing a course don’t expect to sell itself! No matter how awesome your product is, you need to inform your audience about it and a good pre-launch sequence will do just that.
First position your course topic as the solution to your reader’s problems then use the PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solve) framework for a huge opening just like Bryan explains in this graphic:
Now let’s talk about the Problem Agittate Solve (PAS) framework.
This approach works because it creates a sense of urgency in the audience i.e. it takes them from ‘I would like to buy this one day’ to ‘I want it right now!’ so PAS increases the desire for your course.
How PAS works- You will be using three emails to discuss the problem, amplify it and then present a quick solution. And finally then present a stronger solution which is of course is your product!
Your goal for the pre-launch is to prepare your audience and create a desire for your product and this strategy will help you achieve that goal for sure.
2. Launch Sequence
Now you are in the phase of launching your course. Let’s look at how Bryan used the 3-phase launch sequence for his course:
Let’s study these phases individually now.
Phase #1: Launch & 24-hour Discount
You need to create a sense of urgency in people in order for them to buy something. So create a lot of deadlines and offer discounts accordingly.
And you know when you’ll get maximum sales? At the deadline!
Phase #2: Live Case Study & Mid-Launch Bonuses
A usual launch will have a lot of sales on the first day, a dull period in between and again a high on the final day. Why? Because there are no deadlines in the middle.
You can introduce bonuses and discounts and do a live case study in the middle days to boost sales.
Phase #3: Testimonials & Launch Close
One of the key parts of the launch process is the sales page and testimonials on the sales page are immensely important. They are proof that your product works and it is endorsed by real people who find it useful because it delivers what it promises.
Closing the course: This is the time you’ll feel everything is over BUT this is when you’ll get the most amount of sales!
The closing of the course serves as the last deadline. When you send out reminders that the course is closing add in a bonus or two or a case study with the final ‘now or never’ call.
3. Post-Launch Sequence
Most people close the cart and set out to relax. Don’t do that. The final step of the launch sequence happens after you close.
This is just one example of a course creator who got it right and was able to earn so well from his online course. There are so many course creators out there doing the same and now it’s time for you to add your name into that list!