Note: This complete guide on how to launch an online course is available for free as a 23-page PDF: right-click and download here your free course launch guide PDF.
If you are a course creator, or thinking of becoming one, you probably know that the way that you launch your course can make a huge difference for your business.
A properly-executed course launch will give that extra boost in revenue, students, social media activity and overall buzz around your course that you are looking for.
A good course launch doesn't just mean extra revenue for you. It's also great just for motivation to help you keep going, and nothing better for that than seeing a bunch of students taking your courses and sharing the word around.
The mistake a lot of beginner course creators make is not having a mapped-out strategy on how to launch their online courses.
I have been a course creator since 2016 and so I am going to share with you the strategies that have worked extremely well for me, driving a ton of launch sales to my online school.
You can read all about my course creation journey here, in case you are curious: How I Made $1,615,000 Selling Online Courses.
In this post, I am going to share my proven online course launch strategies.
I will give you a step-by-step guide for how to prepare your course for launch, what to do during the launch, and after your launch.
So, how do you launch an online course?
Here are 8 steps on how to execute a successful course launch:
- Build an audience
- Define your course pricing strategy
- Decide on a marketing and communications strategy
- Brand and customize your online school
- Design a high-converting course sales page
- Officially announce your course launch
- Promote your online course
- Attend to inquiries and ask for feedback and reviews
I'll analyze each of these steps, letting you know what each of them entails, and in the end, provide you with an online course launch checklist that you can use to avoid forgetting anything.
So, make sure you read to the end.
And now, without further ado, let's dive right in! 😉
You can also check out all the free guides at the Course Creator Academy by clicking on the Academy link on the top menu bar.
If you are looking to learn how to sell online courses here is my most detailed guide on it: How to Sell Online Courses? The Ultimate Guide
For learning everything in detail about the course creation process, check out How To Create an Online Course? (Complete Guide, includes Free PDF).
You might also be interested in these other posts, where I talk about how to market and sell online courses:
- How To Promote Your Online Course For Free? (Complete Guide)
- How To Sell Online Courses: Complete Sales Funnel
- 16 Proven & Easy Ways To Market Your Online Course
- How To Sell Online Courses With Facebook Ads: a Complete Strategy
In a Nutshell
Here is a quick visual summary of the sequence of steps you should take when launching an online course:
If you want to use this image and display it somewhere like in a blog, you can. You can find the image link here - course launch infographic.
Step 1: Build an Audience
You should know this - don't wait until you've created your course before starting to build your own audience for it.
If you don't have an audience yet - don't worry.
I will give you ideas on how to find a pre-built one.
But having your own audience will help you tremendously to establish a successful course business in general, and it's particularly important when it comes to course launches.
Actually, one of the major reasons for my smooth transition from corporate employee to full-time course creator is that I already had an existing audience before I launched my first course.
You see, I had a blog that I had been building up for years, as a hobby, without even knowing that it would be crucial to help me start my course business.
So, when my first course was ready, I linked it from my blog and I had something like 2000 page views on my website (blog + courses) from day one.
With that type of traffic, no wonder my business worked. 😉
But it all happened almost by accident.
I had no idea when I first started blogging years before that the blog would be the main reason why my future course business would take off.
Tips For Quickly Building an Audience
So, how do you build an audience before your course launch?
Building a large organic audience is a slow process that can take months, if not years, but there are ways to try to speed this up, and get you at least a good number of followers.
You can spend time on audience growth as early as when you have outlined your course or when you have decided on a topic and want to validate it.
In this case, you share the course topic or outline within your network especially on social media (E.g. Facebook and Linkedin groups) asking your potential students about their expectations from the course.
A great way to collect feedback is to create a Google Form.
That way, you can easily collect their email addresses while you also get their feedback.
Also, creating lead magnets like an e-book or a short course, and using it as a lead magnet is a perfect and brilliant way to build an audience before your main course launch.
If you have a YouTube channel or a blog, it's another excellent starting point for building an audience for your online course.
The goal is to capture people's attention and turn strangers into excited and loyal students who can't wait to take your online course.
But this all of course takes time.
So remember when I told you that I would suggest ways to speed up the audience growth?
One way is to tap in into pre-existing audiences, such as for example on online course marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare.
Here are two of my posts that explain in detail how to leverage these pre-existing audiences:
- How To Advertise My Online Course For Free? (Complete Guide)
- Top 12 Online Course Marketplaces (To Sell Your Courses)
Once you find a way to get at least a few hundred people interested in your courses, here is how you can proceed with the launch.
Step 2: Define Your Course Pricing Strategy
The moment your online course is ready, you need to decide on how you want to price your course - whether you're charging a one-time payment, a subscription, or including a lifetime plan.
Also, would you give discounts, sell your courses in bundles, or offer coupons?
Are you offering lead magnets? What price is your online course going for?
Choosing a pricing strategy is a critical step to launching an online course because it directly affects all aspects of your online course business including your marketing strategies, your target audience, and generally the revenue you'll generate from the course sales.
So you want to make sure you pick a pricing strategy that will fit your course better.
Though, my usual suggestion to beginner course creators is to first conduct competitive research and find out what other course creators in your niche are charging for their courses.
You also need to know your target audience thoroughly, especially their financial capacity.
Lastly, consider your course type - Is it around a hobby or a career skill?
And when it comes to the billing methods, having different options for your course is usually the best strategy as different students will be interested in different types of deals.
If you want to learn some neat tricks to help you choose a great price, check out this in-depth guide that I wrote - Online Course Pricing Guide (Top 7 Science-Based Tips).
Now, with the pricing out of your way, how do you make your students excited about your online course?
Step 3: Build Your Marketing and Communications Strategy
This step majorly entails creating enough buzz around and getting your audience all hyped up and eager for your online course launch.
The more excited and expectant they are about your course, the higher the sales on the day of the launch.
So, what marketing and communication strategies can you put in place at this point?
- You should create a lead magnet that will attract people in exchange for their email addresses.
- Create countdown flyers and post the across your social media handles. Also, have the countdown timer on your official website.
- Set up email campaigns
- Collaborate with other online course creators in your niche and have them publish a series of blog posts about your upcoming course launch,
- Organize webinars and interviews where you answer any questions your audience may have concerning your course.
The idea here is majorly to ensure that your students are as excited as you are about your online course launch.
So, yes, talk about your online course as much as you can including the benefits your students stand to enjoy after taking the course, the problems it will help them solve and the impacts it will have either on their lives or career.
As you're creating these anticipations, you want to make sure that your online school is set to receive students!
Step 4: Brand And Customize Your Online School
This is another critical aspect of your online course launch that shouldn't be overlooked.
Ordinarily, before you welcome a visitor into your home, you usually make sure that everywhere is tidied up right? Everything has to be in place.
The same goes for when you're preparing your launch your online course. You should make sure that your website is well-arranged and ready to receive students.
On how to brand and customize your online school, you first need an affordable and easy-to-use hosting platform like OnlineCourseHost.Com.
It doesn't matter if you aren't a tech guru, the platform has everything you need to brand and customize your course website.
While branding and customizing your online school, here are the core things you should pay attention to:
- The homepage including the course name and URL is properly customized with the needed info about your online school including your social media handles.
- Your logo and banner are properly placed and linked to the right pages.
- The text on all the website pages is eligible and free from grammatical errors.
- There are no broken links on any of the pages.
- Your lesson videos contain the appropriate content and are arranged properly such that they are visible to your students.
- Quizzes and assignments have been properly included in the online course.
If you want to learn how to properly brand your online school, check out this in-depth guide that I wrote - Create a Powerful Brand for Your Online Courses (In 5 Steps)
Remember, the goal here is to make sure that your online school is well set up and ready to receive students.
Again, how about your sales page?
Step 5: Design a High-converting Course Sales Page
Your pre-launch preparation is not complete without a high-converting sales page.
This is essentially the first page your students will visit before purchasing your course, so, you need to make sure that the page is as captivating and personal as ever.
Briefly explain who your course is for, and how the lessons presented will improve their current situation or level.
Make sure that you're persuasive enough and that you're clear about the value your course offers and how it will benefit them.
There should also be an FAQ section that answers all questions your prospective students might have including your short bio so they know who their teacher is.
Having this page ready will save you a lot of back and forth and ultimately helps you connect with your students on a more personal level.
I wrote a more in-depth guide here on - How To Create The Perfect Online Course Sales Page.
Step 6: Officially Announce Your Course Launch
Yep! D-day is finally here!
Congratulations! This is the apex of your online course launch journey!
You've put in the work and created enough buzz around your online course such that your customers are super excited to see what you have.
So, how do you officially announce your course launch?
- Send out official launch emails: The previous emails were all countdowns and filled with expectations of what is to come. This time around, you're letting them know that the online course is finally out and they should act and purchase the course NOW! If there's a discount for early birds, this is the best time to indicate that.
- Announce on all your social media handles: Design a flyer or poster announcing your online course launch and post it across all your social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin. Ask your friends and colleagues to repost or share with their network as well.
- Organize a live webinar: A live webinar where you connect with your students and talk about your online course, highlighting the value they stand to gain from taking the online course is a perfect strategy to amplify your course and draw in more sales.
- Publish official blog post release: Write a well-detailed post about your online course, the audience it targets and the benefits or value they all stand to gain and publish it across all platforms including the blog section in your website. You can also partner with other creators to publish your post on their websites.
In all these, ensure that you're directing your audience to your sales page.
The link should also be added to your official launch email and poster announcing the online course.
But even with the official announcement, the work continues.
Step 7: Promote Your Online Course
Don't rest on your ores yet!
A successful course launch requires that you keep promoting and marketing your course as much as possible.
Running Facebook ads is one of the commonest and fastest ways to market your online course. Of course, you should have a budget for this.
Ensure that you use the audience targeting option and include a call to action button in the ad with a link to the sales page.
However, if you don't have the funds or budget for Facebook ads, you can write blog posts promoting the course. This strategy wouldn't cost you a dime and is best if you're not looking to make money as soon as possible.
Course promotion through blog posts is a gradual process, but one with high potential.
Alternatively, you can publish a smaller version of your course on online course marketplaces like Udemy, or Skillshare and draw an audience from there to your course website.
Having a YouTube channel, sending newsletters, and publishing on Facebook and Linkedin groups are other smart ways to promote your online course.
I wrote a more in-depth guide here on - How to Market an Online Course (16 Proven Ways)
In all of these, remember not to get so fixated on the number of sales you're making on the first day.
Even though you were only able to make one sale, you should be extremely proud of yourself to have gotten this far.
So, celebrate yourself regardless!
Step 8: Attend To Inquiries and Ask For Feedback
I usually see some beginner course creators launch their online courses and immediately switch to relaxation mode.
No! This is even the time to push harder and make sure that you deliver on all your promises to your students and ensure that they have a great course experience.
How do you make this happen?
By answering questions from your students. They will obviously have many questions about your course.
So, you should make out time and attend to all of them. If possible, create a Facebook group and add all of them there.
That way, you can easily attend to them just in case many people have the same questions.
You should also ask for feedback and reviews from them. This is essential as it helps you identify areas that you need to work on, what's working, and if there are any areas to expand on.
So, go ahead and create a survey for this. Alternatively, ask your students to leave feedback in the comment section on the course page.
The reviews gathered can also be used to promote the course subsequently.
As you're doing all of these, you're building a community for your students where they can interact, network, and learn from each other providing lasting value.
Taking online courses can sometimes get so boring and lonely but interacting with people on the same journey as you boost your drive to complete the lessons.
All in all, you should keep looking for ways to improve your student course experience.
Conclusion - What's Next?
I hope this article has cleared any doubts or questions you have on how to launch an online course.
Though, remember creating a valuable online course is usually the first step to successfully launching an online course.
So, you want to make sure that your course is top-notch and value-packed such that it positively impacts your student's life either career-wise or their personal lives.
Online Course Launch Checklist
In a nutshell, here is a checklist of everything you need to do when launching your online course:
- Build an audience
- Define your course pricing strategy
- Decide on a marketing and communications strategy
- Brand and customize your online school
- Design a high-converting course sales page
- Send out official launch emails
- Announce on all your social media handles
- Organize a live webinar
- Get your ads running
- Publish an official blogpost release
- Answer necessary questions from students
- Ask for feedback and reviews
- Analyze your paid ads
- Build a community
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced online course creator, you need this course launch checklist.
Your choice of a course hosting platform also has a direct impact on the success of your online course launch.
As a beginner course creator, you wouldn't want a platform that's super technical, complicated and cumbersome.
Neither would you want to spend a ton of money per month on a platform subscription.
You need a course hosting platform that is not only easy to use, but also that can fit in your budget.
This is why I created OnlineCourseHost.com, the easiest-to-use online course platform on the market.
And it's super affordable too and comes with built-in marketing features that will ease up your course launch.
But more than a platform, we want to give you all the information that you need to grow your online course business successfully.
That’s why we have created the Course Creator Academy where you can find everything you need to become a successful online course creator all in one place for free.
To get notified when new content is available here at the Academy, you can subscribe here to our weekly newsletter:
If you are looking to ask any questions on online course creation, you can reach me here on my Facebook group:
Ready to learn how to launch your first course on OnlineCourseHost.com? Here are the helpful guides for you to check out:
- Best Online Course Platforms (Ultimate Guide)
- How To Create An Online Course (In 15 Super-Practical Steps)
- How To Choose An Online Course Topic That Sells
- How To Record And Edit Your First Online Course
- Affordable Online Course Equipment - Complete Practical Guide
- How To Hire An Online Course Team
- The Ultimate Online Course Launch Checklist
- How To Create The Perfect Online Course Sales Page
- Create A Powerful Brand For Your Online Courses (In 5 Steps)
- How To Sell Online Courses? The Ultimate Guide
- How To Promote Your Online Course - Complete Guide
I hope you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments below what other topics you would like me to cover, or any questions that you have?
Thanks for reading… and enjoy the course creation process! 😉
OnlineCourseHost.com Founder & Online Course Creator