6 Things You Need Before Launching Your Online Course

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“I think I’ll F around and launch an online course!” — every business owner ever.

And hey, I’m here! for! it! Online courses are a great way to add another income stream and give the people that don’t want to invest in your services a more budget-friendly DIY option. If your course is info-packed and rooted in value, your audience will be all in — and so will I.

As a launch copywriter, I’ve worked on my fair share of successful course launches, and I’m confident that I can spot a strategic course launch strategy from a mile away. Here’s a quick list of all the things that will make your launch a success.

First things first, a little disclaimer for ya: this list is not everything you need to create your course — just everything you’ll need to successfully launch and market it. While there is some overlap between the two, I’m not going over things like filming equipment, hosting platforms, webinar setups… you get the picture. End disclaimer. Let’s get into it.

1. Clarity

The who-what-why-how. If you can’t answer those rapid-fire questions, you’re not ready to launch your course. Prior to doing anything else, make sure you’re absolutely clear on…

  • WHO your course is for. Defining a specific target audience is so important. By selecting a specific person you’re creating the course for, you’ll be able to dive deep into their pain points and motivations to help best inform everything from your course content to your marketing strategy.

  • WHY that person needs it. If you can’t easily explain why that future student needs your course… well, we have a problem.

  • WHAT they can expect to learn from you. Once you’ve defined who your course is for and why they need it, it’ll be time for you to define exactly what your course will include, so you can begin to express the benefits to those future students.

  • HOW their lives will improve once they complete the course. You should be able to clearly define exactly how their current situation will be improved once your students have implemented what they’ve learned from you into their lives or businesses. What’s the point of investing in a course if you’re not sure what you’ll get out of it?

Clarity on these essential elements of your course = KEY.

2. Legal Protection

Before you begin your course creation process—and definitely before you begin step #3 below—you’ll need to trademark your course name.

Trust me, you do NOT want to deal with copycats and intellectual property problems. And you really don’t want to deal with the ramifications of accidentally copying someone else, and then getting a Cease and Desist letter in the mail demanding you owe every cent of revenue you’ve made off of your course and more.

You can read more about the benefits of trademarking in my Expert Interview with my attorney, Chandler, or you can take my word for it and learn how to DIY a trademark application with her course, Asset Protection Program.

3. Branding

No, your brand’s logo will not do. So sorry. I’m praying that you’re already well-versed on the importance of a solidified brand identity, so we’re going to skip over that and get right to the must-know info: your course should have at least some sort of unique branding.

It doesn’t have to be completely different from your business’s brand suite; in fact—it shouldn’t be. Think of your course not as your brand’s twin sister, but as its cousin, or its best friend.

4. Active Email List

Your email subscribers are your hottest leads. They like you, they know you (duh, they invited you into that coveted inbox!), they trust you, and they’re ready to buy from you. Course launches without email campaigns risk falling flat.

Put in the work to growing and nurturing your list prior to your launch! How to grow your email list could (and likely will, eventually) be a whole other blog post, but a great starting point is creating a lead magnet.

Your lead magnet should be centered around one of the main themes of your course, so you can attract your future students.

For example, I were to launch a course about website copywriting, I’d probably launch a freebie about how to write the best About page, or a checklist to review prior to launching a new site. That way, I could be certain that the people signing up for my email list (by way of that freebie) were interested in website copy — giving me a better shot of building a list of subscribers that are interested in what I plan to eventually offer.

Related: Why Your Audience Doesn’t Care About Your Offer

5. High-Converting Sales Page

Arguably the most important item on this list, and (obviously) my personal favorite: the sales page. Your course isn’t getting anywhere without this one. This is where you’ll speak directly to your future student and answer all their questions.

We’ll talk about what specifically to include on a sales page & how to craft the perfect one another day, but for now, let’s go over the basics.

Every good sales page clearly explains what the course is about and exactly what’s included. You’ll want to directly call out the types of students that you created the course for, and help them see themselves in your copy by painting the picture of how their current situation will be improved by the lessons they’ll learn from you.

Make sure you address all of their objections (especially the emotional ones; like overwhelm or frustration), and anticipate the questions they’ll likely have & answer them before they have to ask.

Your sales page must include your payment options, and your refund policy (if you have one). I definitely recommend including several call-to-action points throughout the page, so the future student has the opportunity to opt-in wherever feels appropriate for them.

At the end of your sales page, including your “big why” for creating the page is always the icing on the cake — this allows you to help your future students connect with you on a human level.

Of course, there’s much more that goes into writing a high-converting sales page that your future students will resonate with, so subscribe to be notified when that blog post goes live! (Or skip the whole DIY situation altogether and hire me to write your sales page for you.)

6. Sexy Extra Offers

Because what’s a good course launch without including some extra *can’t resist* offers? Including bonuses in your launch strategy is the best way to create excitement. By throwing in some valuable extras related to your course’s topic, you’re sweetening the deal for your future student. And that bonus could be juuust the thing that person needed to convince them to sign up.

Some ideas for sexy extras are:

  • How-to guides

  • Video tutorials

  • 1-on-1 coaching or mentorship

  • Industry term glossaries

  • Prompts or templates

  • Social media assets

…the list goes on and on! I recommend doing some market research and tapping into your future student’s brain to think about what they need help with, what they could benefit from, and the topics that they find most interesting to inform your decision about which sexy extras to create for them.

I hope you found this post helpful! Launching a course is such an exciting next step for any business, and implementing all the above elements into your strategy will guarantee a successful launch.

And speaking of your course launch… if you need help with your strategy, your sales page, your email sequences, or your sexy extras — you know where to find me.

If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:

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To get in touch with me directly, send me a DM or email sara@betweenthelinescopy.com. Have a great day!

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Hi, I'm Sara—Website Copywriter & Marketing Mentor.

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