Course launch flopped? Ah, it happens! In the online space, we tend to see course creators looking all shiny and perfect.
But what we don’t see, is the journey it took to get them there. And, the fact is, every pro course creator started as a beginner, and many have had failed launches.
Today we have a guest post from Krista Dickson, sharing her experience from 2016, when her first course launch flopped.
Plus, she’s sharing tips for what she’s learned since then, so your course launch can be a success!
My First Ever Course Launch Was A Flop!
This post was written by Krista Dickson
Courses and group programs are by far my favorite way to make money in my business. But although I’ve been creating and launching courses for over three years now…
I definitely wasn’t always super good at it.
Buckle up, because I’m about to share the absolute fandango that was my first ever launch — plus tell you what NOT to do so that your next launch doesn’t flop.
I created my first course in June 2016, around three months after I started my business. The course was called “WordPress in a Weekend” and the promise was simple:
I’ll show you how to set up your WordPress website in a single weekend.
But despite my best intentions and all the big dreams I had for my first launch, my course wasn’t exactly a raving success…
I had around 7-8 students enroll over a 6-week period, and I brought in a grand total of $1,000 (give or take). Considering the fact that I put in almost two months of work on my course and this launch, let’s just say it wasn’t exactly the best R.O.I.
My Launch Strategy
Let me run you through the “strategy” (yes, the quotation marks are needed there) from my first course launch, and then I’ll highlight five big mistakes I made.
The Sales Page
I actually hired a copywriter to help me spruce up the sales page for my course and this was a big mistake on my part. Here’s why.
I’d written the sales page myself, but I had no freaking clue what I was doing with it.
The copywriter herself was lovely and did a great job, but I basically hired her to polish up my own copy instead of creating the sales page from scratch.
What I should’ve done was purchase a course or template that would teach me how to properly structure my sales page instead of having a copywriter edit my own work.
My Signature Freebie
My freebie that led into my WordPress course was a free 8-day email course called “Beginner Blogger Bootcamp”. It was MASSIVE, around 10,000 words in total, and jam-packed with value.
My Launch Emails
During the actual launch itself, I probably sent around 3-4 emails to my mailing list. Truthfully, I don’t remember the exact number or even what I said in the emails.
But I do remember that I didn’t make any sales on the day that I opened enrollment, or for a couple of days after that (and yea, it felt super shitty).
I also didn’t have a set date when I was closing enrollment.
Instead, about a month after I launched the course I decided to raise the price by $50 to hopefully encourage more signups. This worked pretty well and 3 or 4 people joined the course right before the price increased.
And that was it! That was my entire “strategy”. AKA: I really didn’t have one.
Now, before we dive into all the ways I totally messed up my first launch, let me just take a quick sec to pat myself on the back for the two things that I did get right…
What I Did Well With My First Launch
1. My course had a clear promise and it solved a specific problem for a specific group of people. This is one of the golden rules of a successful business.
All viable businesses and products solve a specific problem for a specific group of people. Remember that!
2. The course itself was actually pretty good.
It was actionable, there were videos and tech tutorials, and I even created ebooks to accompany each of the modules.
Several of my students messaged me to say they were able to set up their WordPress websites with the help of my course, which was a great feeling.
5 big Mistakes To Avoid with your launch
(AKA: How I Totally Messed Up My First Course Launch)
1. I kept the course a surprise from my audience.
I had no “pre-launch” phase whatsoever. I just dropped the course on my audience out of nowhere. I do NOT recommend doing this.
Your audience needs to know exactly when your course is opening for enrollment and they should be excited at the thought of joining.
2. I didn’t provide my students with any extra support.
For example, a private Facebook group or Slack chat.
Having that extra layer of support and community is great for student engagement, completion rates, and student results — which leads to awesome testimonials.
3. I didn’t do an open/close cart launch.
In other words, I opened enrollment for my course on a specific day but I didn’t have a set date for when enrollment would close. My plan was to keep the course open indefinitely and have it available for purchase year-round (what we call an “evergreen” course).
Nowadays, I always recommend doing an open/close cart launch for your first time with a new offer. Why?
One word: Urgency.
Without the close cart date, most people will decide to wait instead of hopping into your course before the deadline. And that leads me to my fourth mistake…
4. I didn’t include any bonuses with my course.
This was killer.
If you want people to join your course, you need to give them a compelling reason to act now instead of waiting. A great way to create a sense of urgency throughout your launch is with the help of bonuses.
Your bonuses can be templates, swipe files, a Facebook group, or Q&A calls, among other things.
Not only do bonuses increase the perceived and actual value of your offer, but if you make them fast-action bonuses or disappearing bonuses, it adds an extra layer of urgency to your launch.
5. I made the course content before I launched it.
AKA: I didn’t “pre-sell” my course.
Bad move on my part.
Why? Because by the time my launch rolled around, I’d already poured every ounce of energy I had into creating my course content (and my free email course).
And I was exhausted.
I was totally burnt out from basically the very first day I launched my course, and after my launch wrapped up I spent two weeks in bed recovering.
This is why I always recommend launching first, then creating your course week-by-week as you go.
Have you ever launched a course and flopped before?
If so, how did it go? If not, what’s holding you back?
Courses have the potential to change thousands of people’s lives, so don’t let fear get in the way of you getting your first course out into the world!
This post was written by Krista Dickson.