Welcome to the second half of our Create An Online Course Mega-Guide!
If you are brand new to this course creation series, then you have got to check out the
step by step guide to creating courses online before you dive right into building your course. All of these elements are so important to building a well-rounded business and setting your course up for the best possible outcome.
Now that you've built your foundation with a CEO mindset and you’ve set up the framework you need to support your course, here comes the part where we bring it all together: taking your knowledge and building your course.
And if you’ve been waiting anxiously for this, I can not tell you how excited I am to be pulling back the curtain on the main event of this series!
And I’m even more excited to be that much closer to sending you your very own Kajabi Hero t-shirt.
Today we are going to go over everything you need to build your course.
We’ll cover it all: How to pick a course idea and three sources of inspiration to find it. How to plan your course the easiest way possible. And how to build your course with the least amount frustration.
You ready to be that much closer to #KajabiHero status? Grab your notebook, be ready to flex those thought replacement skills of yours, and let’s dive in.
How To Find A Winning Course Topic (Even If You Don’t Have a Clue)
So many people get hung up on this step.
Usually, there are two categories you fall into when it comes to actually picking what your course is about.
You have no clue where to start when it comes to picking a profitable course topic.
You already know exactly what you want to share with the world.
If you are number 2, then that’s awesome! (But don’t skip this section just yet. I still have lots of insight to help you expand and move forward.)
But if you fall into the first category, I’m going to show you exactly how to find your course idea.
There are three places you can look. Once you know where to look and how, it will take all the mystery out of picking a great course idea.
It all comes down to finding your audience’s pain points and building a course to help them solve their problems.
Set a deadline for this part, you don’t want to give yourself too long, or you’ll get stuck.
Spend no more than a couple hours for this whole section. You can break it up over a couple of days if you need to, but no more than 3.
Profitable Courses From Past Experiences
Everyone has knowledge that is valuable to the world.
Whether you think so or not, you have knowledge that other people would pay to know. And if you take a close look at what you have to offer, you may just find a winning course idea hiding underneath all that self-doubt.
I know you’ve been working hard to reroute those neural pathways, but there’s a good chance you still struggle to find value in your knowledge.
Think of your
niche and your audience.
What is something valuable that you could offer them to solve their problems?
If you could share with them one thing you’ve learned in life what would it be?
It doesn’t have to be some new, revolutionary idea the world has never seen before to make money. Sometimes all you need is your own personal spin on a topic.
Remember, Hollywood keeps making the same movies because they’re what works. You may be sharing information that might not be new to you, but it’s new to someone, and they’re buying it from you because they like you and your brand. So don’t discount something just because it’s been done before.
Look to Your Audience For Ideas
Hold on to your seat, now. When you need a great course idea for your audience, you can do something so crazy it just might work…
You could ask them.
I can hear the sound of your mind being blown.
Some of the best course ideas come straight from your audience. And it works so well because who knows what your audience’s pain points are better than them? Why make selecting a course topic harder than it needs to be when you can go straight to the people that need it?
There are several ways you can go about it. Here are some of my personal favorites that get the best results.
Surveys are a great way to get inside the heads of your audience. You can set up an automated survey in your welcome letter to new subscribers. Send it to existing subscribers, and even post it to your Facebook page (Facebook even has a built in polling feature for you now).
You really only need to ask 3 questions:
What kind of content is most important to you? How can I serve your needs better? If there was one thing you wanted to learn from me what would it be?
You can host a quick “Ask Me Anything” live event on your Facebook page. Give a brief answer, and take note of any questions that are repeated the most for relevant course ideas.
Comments in previous content
Browse the comments on past Facebook posts and blog content. What questions and frustrations are the most common in your followers?
Asking for feedback in your calls-to-action
As you prepare to build your course make a point to ask for feedback in your blog content, Facebook videos, and posts.
The questions, frustrations, and issues your audience struggle with are all pain points. The ones that consistently pop up would be great course topics. Not only will you be serving your audience, courses based on questions they are already asking will be most relevant to your followers.
Searching Outside of Your Audience
If you are still hitting a brick wall, there is still hope!
You can look outward for course ideas that will be relevant to your existing audience and ideal customers in the future.
Facebook groups where your ideal customers would hang out.
There is a Facebook group for nearly any niche and target audience you can imagine.
Even if the groups in your niche aren’t huge look for the ones with the most engagement to find ideas.
If you're in a family-related niche, with working moms as a target audience join some mom groups and scout for pain points you could solve in your course.
If you’re in the pet niche, with horse owners as a target audience, hit up some equestrian groups.
Popular blogs in your niche
Scan the comments on popular content on other blogs just like you would on your own
website. Even if those websites offer their own courses, it’s a great way to find gaps that other courses miss. Quora
So many entrepreneurs overlook this valuable resource.
Quora is one of the biggest collections of pain points online. Enter your niche, or topic idea in the search. You’ll find pages and pages of common pain points.
Pick Something And Run With It
All of this research comes in handy, but the crucial part of this process is just to pick something already!
Your first course is a stepping stone. And it’s better to pick something before you think yourself into a corner.
You can do other courses later. You can expand from your first course to create more relevant courses related to it. And you can even create courses in other niches using the valuable knowledge and experience you’ve gained from following this series.
Browse through our Kajabi Heroes. Do you see the diversity? (We even have a Kajabi Hero who teaches doodling. How awesome is that? Making money while teaching people how to doodle!)
Here is just a glimpse of course topics that our Heroes have thrived with: How to use body language in presentations. Postnatal workouts. How to do makeup on a professional level. How to prioritize and focus. How the human voice works. Understanding and using all of the iPhone’s features. Learning the saxophone. How to make your own sewing patterns. How to sing jazz. Horse Ballet (no joke, it’s called Dressage)
Topic selection doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
Take your knowledge and share it with the world. Perfectionism doesn’t build a successful business. Getting it started and finished does.
Planning Your Course
The planning phase is another common roadblock.
Some Kajabi Heroes fly by the seat of their pants and throw something together. Others make an in-depth plan that covers all the bases. There are so many ways to go about planning your course. And there is only one way you can mess it up.
So what is it? What is the one wrong way to plan your course?
The only way to totally sabotage your course is to plan yourself right into a corner.
I get it. The more you plan, the less likely you are to fail. Right?
But first, you gotta make a plan A, plan B, and maybe even a plan C for every possible thing that could go wrong.
Oh, and your color scheme!
You read somewhere that some colors can make people angry.. maybe some psychology article you read a few years back... So, of course, you have to plan your color scheme to cause the right response in your students.
You need some killer music at the beginning of each video, with some snappy intro. So you gotta plan all that out.
Oh, snap, you need to hit up some psychology articles for research. If colors can cause a negative emotional response then surely music can too.
It all has to be perfect before you can let your students see it!
You see what I’m getting at here?
It’s natural to think if you plan every single tiny, little detail then you will finally feel secure and confident enough to launch your course. But this, my friend, is how you get stuck in the planning phase without really doing much of anything to actually build your course.
You can not plan away unconfidence.
You can’t plan away self-doubt.
And you can’t plan away insecurity.
The only way to face your fears is to take action. Planning is great. (And I’ll show you a quick way to make an outline for your course as painless as possible.) But the most important thing in this process is not to get stuck.
Lucky for you, the method I’m going to share with you doesn’t involve a ton of in-depth, headache inducing planning. By the time you finish your course, there is no way your audience will not find it helpful.
Why? Because you are going to use them to help you build it. (More on that in part 4...) :)
Get Started With A Brain Dump
You are doing something that you’ve never done before. It’s a new experience, and your head is going crazy with so much info.
Before you outline your course, we are going to purge your system of all this information. Clear your head, and free up your mind to focus on the task at hand.
If you’re tempted to skip this step, then at least give it a try.
Your brain has limits. With only so much space in your brain, you can have so much cluttering up your head that it will make planning your course nearly impossible.
How this exercise can help female entrepreneurs:
Women use almost 10x more white matter in their brains than men. White matter is like a grid of networking connecting different parts of the brain. This helps with transitioning between several different tasks.
Women also have a larger hippocampus, the memory headquarters of the brain, with a heck of a lot more neural connections. This makes women better at taking in all of the stimuli in their surroundings.
So women’s brains are good at multitasking while absorbing info from all five senses 24/7.
No wonder it’s easy to get overwhelmed as a female entrepreneur!
This exercise can help clear all that noise and make the planning phase so much easier.
How this exercise can help male entrepreneurs:
Men use almost 7x more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter is like info and action processing centers placed in patches throughout the brain. And the smaller hippocampus makes men great at focusing on one task and tuning out everything else around them.
This brain dump exercise can wipe the slate clean and get all that gray matter focused on planning mode.
So let’s get started. Grab your notebook and write “Brain Dump” at the top.
Draw a line down the middle to divide your page into two halves. One-half is for info related to your course. The other half is for unrelated thoughts.
You can do this on your computer, but I highly recommend you do it with pen and paper. Writing things down on paper just helps things click a little better, and it’s easier to purge your brain on a physical page.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and start writing anything and everything on your mind. Don’t stop until your timer dings.
Some tips for an effective brain dump: Don’t censor or edit yourself.
Even if it doesn’t have to do with the course write it down. The goal is to get it all out to free up space in your brain.
Don’t worry about structure.
If you’re a list maker, don’t worry about organizing your thoughts beyond the single divider on your page. Just get it all out. Cram as much as you can on the page. (I like to spin my page around as I go and write in all kinds of directions, stuffing any blank space I can find with my thoughts.)
If you’ll be tempted to erase use a pen. This 15 minutes is dedicated to spilling your guts on the page. No takebacks. No do-overs.
Don’t let yourself stall out. Keep your words flowing until the timer dings, and you’ll feel the weight lifting off your shoulders.
After 15 mins put your pen down.
How do you feel?
I know after I finish a brain dump, it feels like I can breathe easier. My head is clear, and I can focus. If you still feel like you need to get some stuff off your chest, go another round, but don’t waste too much time.
How To Create a Killer Course Outline
Yes, I said outline.
Before you start reliving horrible flashbacks from English class, let me explain why an outline is so important to building a successful course. (And why outlining your course doesn’t have to be difficult.)
It will make building your course go so much faster.
In Part 1 and 2 of this series, we did a lot of work to set a solid foundation and framework to support a successful course.
An outline is just another way of front-loading some work for a bigger payoff in the long run. An effective outline will make creating your course’s content go twice as fast because you know exactly what will go in each module.
No guesswork, no creative block, and no staring at a blank screen trying desperately to will your course into existence.
It will help you stay on track.
As the self-proclaimed champ at chasing rabbits, I cannot tell you how great an outline is at keeping you focused.
It’s an awful feeling when you spend 10 minutes or more rambling about something that doesn’t even apply to your course, only to cut or redo your video all over again. Outlines keep you on point and make sure you don’t get distracted in your course content.
give you more power over your content.
Would you rather film, write, and put together your course only to realize you need to cut, rearrange, and organize the whole thing differently after it’s built.
Or would you rather know your course will flow seamlessly from one module to another in the best order before you even break out the camera?
With an outline, you get a bird’s eye view of your entire course. You can edit and shuffle it around to your heart’s content without a whole lot of effort.
It’s easy to do.
You aren’t getting graded here. I will walk you through the process every step of the way, but you can modify your outline to be as structured or informal as you like. This process can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as 45.
The basic concept of a good outline is so simple. You can make it as basic or as detailed as you like, and it will make building your course effortless.
So, let’s get started!
Open up Evernote or your favorite word processor. (You can do this on paper, but typing it out will make tweaking your outline go a lot faster.)
Step One: Start with your brain dump.
Look at the section related to your course. In your outline, using bullets, write down any points you want to cover in your course. Just the big ones that stick out to you. You are looking for the most relevant information you need to include in your course.
Don’t worry about it being organized just yet.
Freelance Design Course Outline.
You need a website for your business. How to create a professional design. How to market your services. How to find clients. You need to keep records. Color palette selection. Email signatures. Logos. Scaling your business up. Making a full-time income. Figuring how many clients you need in a month. Setting up regular work. Step Two: Fill in the gaps.
Now go over your outline and include anything you might have missed in your brain dump.
What are the big points you need to share with your students for them to get the most out of your course? What snippets do you need to include? Any PDFs, or links you need to share?
We’re not cutting or rearranging anything yet. And if you’re worried about your outline being too long, don’t sweat it. We will refine it before we’re done.
Example: Freelance Design Course Outline. You need a website for your business. How to create a professional design. How to market your services. How to find clients. You need to keep records. Color palette selection. Email signatures. Logos. Scaling your business up. Making a full-time income. Figuring how many clients you need in a month. Setting up regular work. Tools you need for your design business. Finding your niche as a designer. Email templates to send potential clients. PDF worksheet for emails. Finding quality leads. Which job boards are worth pursuing. How to price your services. When to raise your rates. How to stop thinking like an employee, and act like a business owner. Templates and layouts to get you started with professional design. PDF for client tracking. Spreadsheet to organize leads. Links to my favorite tools and software I use to design. Walkthrough on setting up your website with Kajabi. Best Kajabi templates for designers.
I’ve added to my outline with everything I can think of to include in my course. Yours may be shorter or longer depending on your niche, target audience, and course topic.
Step Three: Organize, and shuffle your bullet points.
We’re not to the cutting phase just yet. So resist the urge to delete points from your outline.
We’re going to select and move points around in a logical timeline, while we form our sub-bullets to give your outline a little more structure.
If you see a need to add anything go for it. You can even start sorting your points into modules.
When you do this, spend the bulk of your time on the first module or two of your course. The end does not need to go into a ton of detail at this point. (You’ll see why in a bit.)
Example: Freelance Design Course Outline. Module 1: The basics of starting a freelance design business. How to stop thinking like an employee, and act like a business owner. How your mindset will affect your design business. Give examples or two different designers I know (one employee mindset, one business owner mindset) and how both of their businesses are going right now. You are not an employee. You are a business owner. Finding your niche as a designer. Niching down vs. generalizing. Why specialists get paid more (even with no experience.) Profitable niches for design. You need a professional website for your business. How to make your niche crystal clear. Pages you need on your website. Walkthrough on setting up your website with Kajabi. Best Kajabi templates for designers. How to price your services. Share my pricing formula. Module 2: How to design even if you have zero experience. How to create a professional design. Fundamentals of professional design Show examples from my portfolio. Color palette selection. Finding (legal) quality images. Incorporating your clients’ branding. Tools you need for your design business. Why you need the right tools. Links to my favorite tools and software I use to design. Templates and layouts to get you started with professional design. Module 3: How to market your design services and find clients. Effective methods to find clients. Share examples that worked, and haven’t worked for my business. How to find clients. Finding quality leads. Which job boards are worth pursuing. Client onboarding. Email templates to send potential clients. Client contract templates. PDF worksheet for emailing clients. Spreadsheet to organize leads. PDF for client tracking. Module 4: Moving forward and scaling your business up. Scaling your business up. Figuring how many clients you need in a month. Making a full-time income. Setting up regular work. Raising your rates Explain why rates should grow with your experience level. Give my timeline formula. When to raise your rates. You need to keep records. Email signatures. Logos. Now this outline is starting to look promising!
I went through and added everything by module. And filled in some gaps I missed in step 2.
Anything extra that you really don’t know what to do with, just leave at the bottom.
Step Four: Polish up your outline.
Now go through your outline and cut anything that is repeated, or unnecessary to your course.
You can give it another read-through or two, but don’t waste too much time.
It’s easy to get stuck in the planning phase of your outline. (And for any freelance designers out there, feel free to use and modify my example outline for your course.)
The launch method I’m going to share with you in part 4 will make building your course so easy.
Building Your Course
Using the killer outline you just created, this part will be easy.
But what options do you have as far as the delivery of your content?
One of the easiest ways to deliver your course content is to get in front of the camera and talk. It helps build a connection with whoever is watching and is a heck of a lot quicker than typing it all out.
If your course topic involves a lot of visual instructions (for example, if your course is how to decorate cakes), this option is a must.
Here is an article on how to shoot professional videos with your phone.
If you aren’t as comfortable sitting in front of a camera, and your course doesn’t require a lot of visual instruction this could be a great option. You can put together some slides to click through while you give more detailed voiceover instruction.
There are several ways to do this, but if you have a Mac the best way is to create your slideshow in Keynote. Create your slides based on your outline, and click on the Document tab all the way to the left.
Select audio, and you can record your voice with each slide.
When you’re done, just export the file to QuickTime, and your video is ready to plug into Kajabi.
Recording your computer screen.
For some courses, the ability to
record your computer screen is a must. (For example, if your course is about how to edit and put together video clips.)
Macs already have the capabilities for this built in.
Simply go to Quicktime, click file, then hit new screen recording. And if you need to talk through the process you can use a microphone to record audio while you record your screen.
If you are on a PC, you’ll need to find a reputable software to record your screen and audio. Most software will require an investment, but some of them offer free trials or a free version with limited features.
Here are some good sources:
It may take a little research to figure out which option is best for you.
Live Course Creation Webinars are powerful forces for list building and course launches. But did you know you can use Webinars to build your course live?
We’ll cover webinars in depth in part 4, but you can take any webinar recording and plug it into Kajabi as a new product. You can do this with a series of webinars, or just one for a mini-course at a lower price point. You get the most mileage out of your webinars, and leverage them into evergreen courses for regular passive income.
So if you already have webinars you may have all you need already to build a course with Kajabi.
Yes, you can use good-old-fashioned text and image content to build your course.
If that’s what you are most comfortable with, but most importantly, if that’s what your audience is most comfortable with, you can build a course using only text and images. (Our Kajabi Hero,
Kendra Wright’s first paid course was a simple Google Doc file to start with.)
But here’s the deal.
You need to choose the delivery method that will give your audience the most value.
If you’re scared to get in front of the camera or record your voice, but you know that will be the most beneficial to your audience, don’t let your fear take away from the value you can give them.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Online courses are nothing more than sharing your knowledge with the people that need it to solve the problems they have.
Don’t let your fear keep you from delivering the best value.
Create Your Course Content
Before you start filming, recording, and typing up your course content, I’ll let you in on a little secret…
You do not have to build the whole course before you launch it.
Yes. You read that right.
Give your all to building the first part of it. But the rest does not have to be finished before you can launch.
In the next part of this course creation series, we’ll tell you how to market, launch, and build your course as you go using feedback from your audience. This way you can generate an income faster, while building content that covers every pain point your audience needs addressed in the course.
If you want to create your whole course while you wait for part 4 in this series, go for it! But don’t get hung up if you get stumped during the building process.
It’s not about perfection. It’s about finishing this process and sharing your knowledge with the people that need it.
Wrapping Part 3 Up
We’ve covered a lot today, and I’m sure you’re ready to start plugging your course into Kajabi. But before you do that, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll learn in part 4 of this course creation series:
How to market your course launch. Pricing strategies. Launching your first course with Kajabi. Using student feedback to build the ultimate course as you go. And relaunching your complete course at a higher price point. (Plus some extra tips and tricks to move forward in your business.)
You’ll learn everything you need to know to have a successful launch!
You know what that means?
You are only one step away from becoming the next Kajabi Hero!
Create An Online Course, Part 4
Launching your course: the part of this process where all of your hard work pays off. You start helping people and seeing an income from your knowledge!
Launching your course can be intimidating. I mean… just the word launch sounds like some huge undertaking that requires precise and perfect expertise.
But the thing is, launching your course does not have to be intimidating.
But there is one way to guarantee that your launch will be a complete flop.
If you’ve been following this series, I’m sure you can guess…
The one way to fail at this is not giving it a try.
Throughout this series, you’ve been putting everything into place to create a business with staying power.
You’ve been working on your CEO mindset for a firm foundation. You set up the framework you need to build a well-rounded business with regular content, list building strategies, and live videos. And you’ve started building your course based on your audience’s pain points.
(And if you are new to this course creation series, to get the most out of part 4, make sure to read part 1, part 2, and part 3. The other parts in this course creation series will help you equip all the tools and strategies you need to launch your first course.)
Since we built Kajabi we have seen countless launches, so we know what works and what doesn’t. Today I’m passing that information onto you, so your first launch has every advantage to be a success out of the gate..
I’ll walk you through each step. Here’s what this post will cover:
Priming your audience, so they are warmed up and ready to buy before your launch. How to organize a beta-launch and use your audience to help you finish building your course. Relaunching your course at a higher price point. And some bonus tips and tricks to scale your business up.
We have a lot to cover today, so make sure you are ready with your notebook.
A Pre-launch Marketing Plan To Warm Up Your Audience
You ever been in the mall, minding your own business, then bam! Just like that, you’re cornered by someone at a kiosk trying to sell you something?
Doesn’t feel too great, does it?
When you don’t get your audience warmed up before your launch, it can feel that way for them. Even if you aren’t the pushy salesperson type, it is so important to get your audience warmed up before you start trying to sell to them.
One advantage you already have by following this series: your audience already expects quality content from you. You’ve already delivered value without pushing for any sales, and you’ve already established yourself as trustworthy.
Now, it’s time to build that trust up even more, and give them plenty of time to get in the right headspace before your launch.
One of the best ways to do this is to produce targeted content on your blog or Facebook page. (Or both if you want to make the biggest impact.)
You aren’t selling anything yet. The key here is to get their curiosity going, and lay out a red carpet of content for your course.
The timeline depends on what will fit your audience the best. It could be one piece of content or a whole series. But I highly recommend you don’t drag it out any longer than 2 weeks before you launch your course.
If you give yourself much longer than that, the odds of getting cold feet and jumping ship on your launch are a lot higher.
So what do I mean by targeted content? Haven’t you already been doing that since part 2?
Yes and no.
The target is your course topic. The content you produce before your launch is going to narrow the focus even more and set the stage for your big launch.
Examples: If your course topic is about designing a professional website, you could do a webinar offering website critiques with some tips they can use to make their website better. If you are building a course on finding leads as a freelancer, you could do a blog series offering tidbits of information about how you’ve found leads, what works, what doesn’t, and little steps to take to get more leads.
I know what you’re thinking.
But won’t that give away all the information I’m trying to sell for free!
Think of it this way.
Ever go grocery shopping on a day they had free samples?
I love free samples!
Even if I go to the store and tell myself to stick with my list, despite my best efforts, I always end up with at least one (or four… just bein’ honest here) products I sampled in my cart. I didn’t go to the store to buy granola bars, jalapeno jelly, or a ridiculously huge tub of frozen cream puffs. (... anyone else getting hungry?)
Because the samples were so good I couldn’t help myself. I needed to buy the whole package.
So how does my bad sample-binging habit relate to online courses?
One of the best ways to get your audience warmed up to buy your course is to give them some mouth-watering little samples first.
And if you’re really good at this, you can give away such good samples your audience would be willing to pay you for them. Then when your course goes live they are in disbelief and eager to snatch up the full package.
The goal is to have them think:
If the samples were that good… if the snippets were so chock full of actionable, valuable
content, then I can’t imagine how awesome the full deal is going to be!
See how that works?
Don’t be afraid to give too much. Your audience will know you’re holding back. Make sure your “samples” are chock full of value, but leave enough gaps so they are hungry for more.
What are some “samples” you can use to warm your audience up?
There are so many ways you can do this, but let's keep it simple.
How many posts you want to do is completely up to you and your audience. You could do one or several, but it's important for everything to flow smoothly and build up to your course launch.
By now I'm sure you are much more comfortable with live videos. So this shouldn't be a big leap.
If you choose to do a blog series, then you can use that content as a starting point for some great live videos. You don’t have to do your videos live, but live videos are viewed 3x longer than standard videos. That extra boost will help you out a lot in the long run.
You can also sum up or expand on the written content you already created. You will not only reach a broader audience; it will give you the most mileage out of your content without struggling to put new ideas together.
At first, you can use emails to announce your blog content, and Facebook videos.
The closer to launch you get the more emails you’ll be sending to your list. But don’t stress, I’ll help you find an
email marketing strategy that works for you and your audience. Live Webinars/Workshops
If you've never done a webinar before, don't sweat it. Webinars and live videos are very similar. So similar, you may be wondering why it’s listed separately from live videos.
Webinars are like Facebook Live’s more organized, and productive older sibling.
They are list building machines.
Your audience gains access to your webinar by giving you their email.
People love live trainings! It’s a great way to warm up your audience and build your list with targeted leads before launch.
Because of that, you’re better off looking outside of Facebook to run your webinars. There aren’t any email opt-in options on Facebook currently.
They validate your course idea in a hurry.
If you still aren’t sure if your course topic will sell, a live workshop will not only build interest in what you have to sell; it will tell you quickly how sales will go for your actual course.
It also will give you valuable feedback, give you insight into audience pain points, and help you improve your course content before you launch.
You can make sales directly after a webinar.
After your course is open you can send your viewers directly to checkout following a webinar.
To sum it all up, for the next two weeks at the most you are in pre-launch warm up mode.
Focus more on your blog content, and Facebook videos at first. I’ll go into more detail a little later on how to use emails and webinars closer to your launch, but let’s move on to some finer details for now.
Things To Put In Place Before You Start Marketing Your Course Launch
Let’s take a step back and go over some general ideas and strategies before you go full-steam ahead into your marketing plan. We need to cover some fundamentals.
Time-Limited Enrollment vs. Evergreen Courses
Basically, you need to decide if you want your course to be open to new students year round, or only let new students in for a certain amount of time.
There are pros and cons to both, and only you can decide what the best fit is for you and your audience.
First, we’ll talk about evergreen courses.
An evergreen course is open to new students all day every day. The party never stops.
You build it once, and the rest goes on autopilot to bring in sales every month. If you market your course right, it can be a steady stream of passive income. It’s lower effort and is less pressure than doing a big launch a couple times a year.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, but there are some drawbacks.
Because your course will be open for business indefinitely, it’s easy for people who are on the fence to put it off. We’re all guilty of this. When something is readily available on-demand, there is no real urgency to buy. (Like all those movies you have stashed back on your Netflix list to watch “one-day” but you never actually get around to them.)
And most likely (but not always) you will need to price your course lower than a time-sensitive course.
Pros: Lower maintenance, once your course is built and all the kinks are worked out. Can be a regular stream of steady income if you market it right. Gives potential buyers plenty of time to mull it over before they buy. Less pressure for you and your audience during your first launch. It’s easier to launch an evergreen course. Cons: Your first launch may not have the kind of sales you could see from a time-sensitive course. Potential buyers who are on the fence may not buy your course because of the procrastination factor. Your course topic and content has to be timeless. If your topic is something that is always changing (like social media or Pinterest marketing with ever-changing algorithms), then that means a lot of work keeping your course up to date. You may have to price your course lower than you could when it’s open all the time. Then there’s time-limited enrollment courses.
These courses are only open for 1-2 weeks and they make for some of the biggest numbers you’ll ever see at one time as far as income goes.
The big reason for this is scarcity.
Limited enrollment courses can be much more exciting than evergreen course launches. You generate a ton of buzz over your course. Anyone who is on the fence will be more motivated to take the plunge because there is a sense of urgency.
People don’t want to miss out, and if they procrastinate on a limited enrollment course, they feel like they will be missing out big time. (As they should, because you have something totally awesome to share with the world!)
Coming from someone who has a bunch of random stuff stashed away in shopping carts all over the internet, scarcity can make your course more appealing to your audience.
But while these courses have the potential to be a huge success in a short time, they also have potential to be disappointing if you don’t generate enough buzz.
But even if that is the case, you can always amp up your marketing tactics and try again in a few weeks.
No one will hold it against you, because most likely, no one will really notice. And round two could be exactly what you were looking for. (Or three like our Kajabi Hero
Bob Heilig. Remember that thing we’ve been talking about through this whole series? Staying power.)
But with the particular course building method, your first launch will be less pressure, than trying to launch a complete course.
Pros: Scarcity can boost your sales in a big way. If you love fast-paced, edge of your seat excitement, you may get addicted to launching limited-enrollment courses. On the fence potential buyers are more likely to buy your course. If you perfect your launching skills, you can make a massive income from 1 or launches a year. You can sell your course at a higher price point. If your launch doesn’t go how you planned you can try again as much as you like. You can always make your course evergreen later if you want. Cons: Fast-paced can also mean more stress for you to market and organize the whole event. You don’t make any money off your course when it’s closed. (But you can collect leads. More on that later) Some questions to consider: How big is your course going to be?
If your course is small, then evergreen may be the way to go. But if your course topic is a huge subject that covers a ton of valuable knowledge than a limited option may be better.
What is your course about?
Some topics are very difficult to maintain as an evergreen course. But some can stand the test of time with very little upkeep.
If you like the idea of generating a bunch of income fast, you may want to go with a limited course. But if you prefer steady sales at a lower price point than evergreen may be the way to go.
As you move forward in your business, it’s good to have both types of courses to offer your audience. Smaller courses as an evergreen regular income, and only opening your premium course certain times a year.
I can’t tell you what method to use. Chances are, you already feel drawn to one of the two options.
But, as always, you need to think about your audience. Which would they benefit from the most? A Quick Note About Naming Your Course
We didn’t touch on this in the last part. Sometimes before you settle on the actual name of your course, it’s helpful to already have an outline and a portion of it built.
You may already have the perfect name for your course. If so great! But don’t skip over this section, it may help you streamline your course name even more.
Your course name will be the first impression your audience has of the course’s content. You want your course name to be catchy, simple, and sum up what it’s all about.
What makes a good course name?
I’m not saying you can’t be creative. But the best course names can stand alone with or without a detailed description to show at first glance what your course is all about and what the outcome will be for your students.
Doesn’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of cleverness.
I know, you’re a creative person. You can think of all kinds of cutesy titles for your course, and I’m all for that, but cleverness just for the sake of being clever, can hurt your course. Flex your creativity when naming your course, but make sure your audience can tell what your course is actually about.
You can incorporate clever, creative, and even in-your-face language if that fits your niche and audience, but make sure your point is still evident.
A good course name doesn’t have to be full of frill and creativity either.
If your niche is more data driven of analytical, then a simple, descriptive name will do just fine. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to come up with a creative name if that’s not your thing.
Pricing Strategies to Consider
This can be one of the most challenging decisions you will make about your course.
So many entrepreneurs, especially beginners, have a hard time charging people for their knowledge. And I totally understand.
How much is your knowledge worth?
More than you think.
I want to make something clear right off the bat. Your knowledge is valuable. I know I’ve said it before, but I really want you to grasp this.
Your knowledge is valuable.
You may think if you undercut yourself and put your course on Kajabi for a low price you’ll get more sales. But that isn’t the case. You need to honestly evaluate the value you are providing your audience and set your prices accordingly.
You course topic will also be a factor to consider.
If your course is a quick how-to, you’ll charge less than a behemoth of in-depth tutorials, walkthroughs, or a complete framework.
And in all honesty, higher-priced courses do better overall than cheaper enrollment options. If you are only charging $20 for an in-depth course your audience perceived value of your course will be negatively affected.
You’re a CEO remember?
You have to charge enough to meet your business goals, but not so much that it’s not affordable to your audience. (Keep in mind, your idea of affordable and your audience’s idea of affordable can be two completely different things.)
There is no clear-cut answer to how you should price your course. But I highly recommend that $47 be the absolute minimum. Our Heroes have done best at pricing their courses anywhere between $47-$997.
Kajabi gives you so much freedom and flexibility in your pricing strategy.
Another way to boost your course income is to offer payment plans.
This makes even premium courses fit the diversity of your audience’s budgets.
Example: If your full course is $247, you can divide it into three payments of $89 a month. The discount for buying it at once is another great selling point, but the option to break it up will appeal to those who don't have $247 right away. Initiating Your First Launch
Here’s where things get interesting!
Today I’m not just going to walk you through a single launch. This process requires two. But two launches does not mean you’ll have double the work.
Remember how I’ve talked about using your audience to build your course?
Welcome to the world of a beta-launch, my friend!
If you’re a gamer, you know exactly how great beta testing a game can be. The same principle applies to courses.
Your beta launch is going to be a whole lot less pressure than a big launch for a completed course, and the result can be much better than if you built your course solo.
You want your first launch to have a time limit, and maybe even a limited amount of spots available if you have a big list.
And your price will be significantly lower for your first go-around.
There are some major perks to launching your course this way.
You start making money faster.
When you launch your course at a founding member price, you get some income rolling in before you finish building your course.
Your audience knows they aren't paying for perfection.
This is a good thing.
Not only will you feel less pressure to give into your perfectionism, but your founding customers will feel connected and involved. You and your founders will work together to build something special.
You build a course that is custom fitted to your audience.
Using this launch method, there is no way your course content will not be valuable to your audience when it’s finished. It is one of the best ways to make sure you cover every pain point you need to in your course.
Your early customers get direct access to your knowledge and expertise.
You may be wondering… Why would people pay money for a course that isn’t finished?
Being an early customer has a lot of perks. Not only will they get the full course when it’s done, but they also get more one-on-one attention from you (and be sure to emphasize this when you start marketing your beta launch.)
Your course content will be virtually flawless when it’s finished.
Your first launch is the one you want issues to pop up.
This is a lot easier on you, believe me. You get to work closely with your group of early customers to iron out any wrinkles.
Think about it. If you are working with a smaller group and suddenly you have technical difficulties to fix, it’s a lot easier to fix quickly than if the floodgates were wide open. With a beta launch, you get the chance to work out the kinks ahead of time.
You get a library of killer testimonials for your second launch.
Who better to dish out some awesome testimonials than the early customers you’ve worked closely with to build your course?
By the time you’re done building your course, you’ve already invested a lot into your early customers. So the odds of you getting some quality testimonials are really high. This will build social proof and credibility for your second launch.
Upping Your Marketing Strategy Before Launch
At this point, you’ve warmed your audience up with content related to your course topic. But right before launch, and during, you will invest even more into your audience.
It’s time to throw email marketing and webinars into the mix.
Creating your email marketing battle plan.
You’ve been working your butt off to build your list; now it’s time to put it to good use.
Emails may seem a little old school with all of the different channels available to marketers, but the facts speak for themselves.
Email is 40 times better at landing new customers than the social media giants Facebook and Twitter.
So if you aren’t marketing to your subscribers, then you aren’t tapping into the true power of your list.
You will be sending a lot of emails when you are in launch mode.
Yes, you may send people to the dreaded unsubscribe link in a hurry. But if they have no interest in your course, then that won’t hurt your sales anyway.
So how many emails do you need to send?
Ask 100 different Kajabi Heroes, and you’ll get 100 different answers to that question.
The key is to find the email volume that works best for you and your audience. No matter how you slice it, you will probably feel uncomfortable with how many emails you’re writing. But it’s a completely normal part of this whole process.
So what’s a good starting point?
Plan to send at least 5 emails to your list.
The first one can be quick. You aren’t asking for a sale yet, but this will be the first introduction your audience will have to your course. All you need to include is a link for them to learn more information.
The second can be another introduction going a little deeper into what your course is about and how it can help them.
By your third email, it’s time to get a little more targeted. And each email afterward will keep building up until it’s time to close the doors.
You can even send 2 or 3 emails on the very last day, and see a boost in sales from those who wait until the last minute.
Here are a few methods you can try for your emails that work well for our Heroes: Storytelling
If you already love telling stories and your audience responds well to them, this will be a great option for you.
Your story can be simple, or long. It can be something that personally happened to you or someone you know. But the key ingredient is that it builds up to what you have to offer in your course.
Here’s the basic story format that professional writers and even bestselling authors use to tell a good story. Beginning: The conflict is introduced to the main character. Middle: The main character strives to resolve this conflict, and the situation escalates. End: The main character’s story reaches its climax, and the conflict is brought to a close. (For you there is a 4th step. A call-to-action to tell your audience what to do with this information.)
So how do you apply this to your story emails? And how does that help you sell courses?
As a course creator conflict = pain point. And when you use storytelling in your marketing emails you are taking your readers on a journey that introduces your course as the solution to this pain point.
You can use several words or a handful of paragraphs, but it all needs to lead up to your course as the solution.
A simple, exciting announcement
If you aren’t the best at telling stories, then you can simplify this process even more.
Just write a couple paragraphs about what your course is about. Don’t mention anything about buying it your first email or two. You are just making a friendly introduction. And putting a link in your email for your audience to learn more about your course.
Addressing common objections.
This isn't the type of email to lead with, but it's a great tool to help your audience gain confidence in your course and put some fears to rest.
These types of emails work best after your course is already open for enrollment.
Think about the biggest factors that would make your audience hesitant to buy your course and put them in an email paired with solutions and reassurance.
This is one of the best ways to build credibility and ease any further doubt. For your beta launch, you may not have any testimonials related to your course. And that's okay.
If you have any service-based clients who’ve worked with you one on one, ask them if they want to contribute a testimonial for your course launch.
And if you don't have any source of testimonials to speak of, don't sweat it. They aren't critical to your first launch.
A common trend with limited-enrollment courses is that half, if not more of your sales roll in at the last minute.
The day your course closes you can send multiple emails to make sure your audience doesn't miss out.
If you're nervous about being pushy, don't worry. The rush is almost over, and you'll be back to your normal email routine. You can even let your audience know that you’ll be back to your normal email schedule soon, and thank them for joining you through your launch.
You will feel like you are constantly repeating yourself.
This is completely normal. And you may lose subscribers (but if they decide to ditch your email list they weren’t the right leads anyway), but the key here is to give your audience every opportunity to get in on your course.
Any time you reach out to someone about your course, whether it’s email, over the phone, or an actual conversation you’ve initiated a “touch.” And how many “touch points” you make is important.
It used to be a rule that it takes 7 touch points to make a sale, but these days a lot has changed. It can take anywhere from 2 or 3 to 8 or 9+ touch points before you make a sale.
The best advice is to make 5 touch points, hence the 5 emails for your course launch recommended above.
So if you get sick of sounding like a broken record remember that someone in your list may need that 4th or 5th (or even 7th) touch point to be convinced that your course can solve their pain point.
Using Webinars to Promote Your Course
If people like Facebook Live, people love free webinars, workshops, and free trainings.
For this step, we’ll take a lot of the same principles you’ve learned doing live videos and takes it up a notch.
A webinar is great at giving people a delicious free sample of your course while collecting targeted leads for your email list.
So how do you run a successful webinar?
There is no way to collect leads with Facebook Live at this point, so it’s time to branch out. There are several different platforms out there, but there is a free option that works best for beginners.
To collect leads, you’ll need to set up a
landing page for your webinar. It doesn’t have to be elaborate (but if that’s what you want to try and it will benefit your audience the most, go for it!)
All you need is to reaffirm what your webinar is about, what your audience will get out of it, and maybe a short “about me” to let any new potential subscribers get to know you a little bit.
You can embed the link for your webinar on a Kajabi page, and you’re good to go.
Here are some tips for running a successful webinar: 1. Set your live event to unlisted/private
If you want to build your list even more this is important. This makes it so that your audience can only view it after signing up. That will make your video only accessible by a link you’ll share after they sign up.
2. Do at least one test run before the real deal
Especially if you’ve never done a webinar before, this is a must. You don’t want to go in blind for all your viewers to see. If you have a feel for how it works and can iron out all the kinks ahead of time, your webinar will go so much smoother.
3. Make your Webinar full of value
Ever attended a webinar where some guy only talked about himself, and pushed you to buy his products? Don’t you just hate that?
Make your webinar full of impact and value. Your potential customers will know that if the webinar was that good, the full package will be even better.
4. Open up for a Q&A at the end.
You may run your webinar a little longer doing it this way. But you will have an opportunity to build relationships with your viewers, help them with problems and concerns they have about your course, plus you’ll get even more ideas for your pain point “files” to store back for your course.
5. Write a script
Even if it’s just a rough outline, knowing what you’re going to say ahead of time is a big help. You may think you can just wing it, but you never know when the butterflies in your stomach will kick in.
6. Use slides
We talked about using slides last time, and you can even use them your webinars too. You can do your entire webinar with slides, but it’s always good to show your face. You’ll make more connections, and your audience can relate better to you as a person if you give them more than slides and voiceover.
Finishing Your Course and Launching Again
After your beta launch, make sure to keep an open communication with your students. Ask for feedback regularly. The best way to do this is to set up a private Facebook group for your students.
It is so much easier than juggling several emails each day from several different people, and a place to collect all of their questions, feedback, and pain points in one place.
After your course is built, tweaked, and finished it’s totally normal for your self-doubt to try and hold you back from launching the finished product.
I think it’s a common theme among creators that nothing ever really feels finished.
And that’s okay.
You can always tweak the course as you go, even if it will be an evergreen product. But don’t let feeling that it isn’t good enough hold you back.
Raise Your Price and Launch Again
Your second launch will be so much easier now that you’ve already been through the process once before.
You can follow the same principles above and repeat or even scale up the results you had for your beta launch.
Before you gear up for another launch ask yourself a few questions:
What worked and what didn’t give you best results?
Write down the parts of your launch that gave you the best results. Those are the things you definitely want to include for round two.
The elements that didn’t work out so well: write those down too.
If you think you just need to make some adjustments to make them more productive, they’re worth trying for your second launch. But if you feel like any part of your launch marketing plan can be tossed, it’s okay to clear out the things that don’t work so you can focus more time and energy on the things that do.
What was most stressful about my first launch?
Evaluate the areas you struggled with the most. If it’s in your budget, maybe you can outsource or hire a VA to help lighten the load.
Or maybe you need to do some more thought replacement exercises to build up your confidence.
Most of the time the stress and anxiety you’ll feel before a launch is over worst case scenario type thoughts: things that you shouldn’t have worried about in the first place. Be prepared for the same worries to crop up during your second launch. And know that it’s completely normal.
Other Tools and Tips to Scale Your Business Up
When it comes to launching courses, there are so many things you could implement moving forward. You have so much to share with the world, and your first course is only the beginning.
None of our Heroes’ stories are identical. And each one of them runs their business differently. This course creation series is only the start.
Here are some other ways you can take what you’ve learned and scale up your business even more.
1. Teaming up with affiliates Our Hero Jordan Valeriote used affiliates for his very first launch. How an affiliate works, is simple. They become a spokesperson for your course. They share a custom link with their audience, and when their referral buys your course, they get a portion of the sale.
You get more exposure, a boost in sales, and they get a monetary incentive to share your course. You can even give affiliate links to your students. They know first-hand how great your course is, and they can help you sell your course for you. It takes passive income up a notch.
2. Create more courses
If you’ve noticed a common pain point that never really fit into your course, why not make another course on it? Courses come in all shapes and sizes. You can do a quick course for a smaller price point, or bigger course that could be a limited time only offer.
It’s good to have a mixture of different courses available to your audience. Having a selection of different topics, course types, and price points will help build up your income streams and fit anyone in your audience.
Even if you’re not a writer, ebooks may be something you want to pursue in your business. You can even take your existing content and group your blog posts into a library of a related topic in an ebook.
A good price for an ebook is anywhere between $9-$49.
4. Coaching packages
Maybe you like to teach more hands-on. If so, coaching packages are another great option. It’s not a passive form of income, but you will connect and help people at a much deeper level.
Coaching programs usually last 6 weeks to a full year. Our Heroes have had success pricing their coaching services between $1,997-$9,997.
5. Build your team and outsource
There will be a point where you need to branch out.
You are limited in your time, energy, and resources. Everyone is.
When your growth plateaus, it may be time to hire your first team member. Even if it’s just a VA or writer, you will be able to focus your efforts on tasks that move your business forward.
It may be hard to trust other people to help you run your business, but you don’t have to hand over the reins on anything huge if you don’t need to.
A good place to start is to look at the tasks you least enjoy in your business. Chances are you can outsource them to free up time, energy, and stress.
Wrapping It All Up
This series has given you all the tools and information you need to launch your very first course with Kajabi.
But there is a key factor that I can't teach you.
You could absorb every word like a sponge, or you could take this information and do something with it.
At this point you have a choice to make:
Are you going to put this information to work for you? Or are you going to stay in your comfort zone?
Some things, you can only learn by taking action.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and things won't always be easy, but pursuing your passion and chasing your dreams never is an easy process.
But the thing is:
The process is worth it.
We have over 1,000 Kajabi Heroes who can vouch for that.
If you haven't already, it's time to start.
Take advantage of Kajabi’s 2-week free trial below and make the choice to start your business.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. And I can not wait to send you your very own #KajabiHero t-shirt. I believe in you and the knowledge you have to share with the world.
But do you believe in yourself?
If not, start believing in yourself today.
Now get out there, get to work, and make your dreams a reality! The whole Kajabi team and I are cheering you on.
Have questions? Leave a comment below, and the team will be happy to help out.
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