Pre-launching Your Online Course

A Guide for Pre-launching Your Online Course & Growing Your Email List’

Are you ready to launch your online course but unsure where to start? In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of pre-launching your course and growing your email list. 

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a successful pre-launch campaign that will help enroll students into your course.

Why It’s Important to Pre-launch Your Online Course

Pre-launching your online course is essential to drive more audience and increase awareness before actually creating and releasing it. Many course creators neglect this phase because they believe it’s not critical and won’t help them as much. 

Chances are, you won’t get your expected launch revenue because most of your audiences are not informed beforehand about what you’re launching. Creators should understand that pre-launching their online courses can help prime their target audiences and build their brand’s trust.

The following are the main advantages of pre-launching:

Validating Demand

When demand for your online course is validated, you have proof that it will be successful, and many individuals will enroll. Generally, you cannot really predict how your course will sell, no matter how much research you accomplish beforehand. The only way you know whether your target audience is interested and would actually enroll is if you pre-launch it during a pre-sale period. 

A pre-sale period helps validate your online course. It assures you that the market is asking for your online course because there are people who have enrolled during its pre-launch. You can validate demand by promoting your course on digital marketing channels like YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Getting your offer in front of your audience is a great way to gauge demand. 

Getting Pre-launch Sales

Pre-launching your online course allows you to accept payment even before creating the course. The payment you obtain can serve as revenue you can use to fund your marketing strategies and course creation. 

You can use the money for the following:

Building a Waitlist

Building a waitlist lets you have a list of people who are probably interested in your online course and are more likely to enroll when it launches. It also gives you a contact list to whom you can send email newsletters for updates or announcements regarding the main launch of your course. 

Additionally, building a waitlist can also help boost your confidence that your online course will be a success. This is because you know people are signing up and waiting for the actual launch. 

What Does Pre-launching Your Course Look Like?

Most course creators have no idea how to pre-launch it or how that process happens. Pre-launching is the process of building interest and creating a waitlist for your course before it’s even launched. It involves the following steps listed below:

Building Your Audience by Creating or Growing Your Email List

Building your audience is the first step when pre-launching your course. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Creating and nurturing your email list
  • Boosting the traffic to your blog
  • Utilizing social media

These top three options are the easiest ways to gather your engagement and help target your audience better. One of the methods mentioned, creating and growing your email list, plays a critical role in pre-launching through email marketing

The best way to get your prospective customer’s attention is through email. You can do this by regularly sharing content that resonates with them. If you have a blog established in the industry or niche of interest, use newsletters as another form of information delivery, helping keep people engaged. 

Try exploring your audience’s pain points and sharing various content in your newsletters. Then, use email metrics to check what type of content they resonate with the most. Another important integration is the SPF flattening for your own domain security and gaining customer trust.

Creating a Simple Landing Page

The main purpose of creating a landing page is to drive conversion rates and convince the page’s visitors to sign up or subscribe to your new content. Generally, it’s different from your website’s regular page. The landing page should include the objectives of your online course and what your customers can obtain from enrolling in it. 

When creating a landing page, always include a strong and catchy headline, videos, social proof, and a compelling call-to-action. Try to put your course’s curriculum or samples, allowing visitors to understand what it will be about. 

Your landing page should look like an elevator pitch where you can introduce your course. Try to write your content persuasively on your landing page. This makes your visitors want to know more about your course and sign up to be part of your waitlist and mailing list. 

Teasing Your Course in Your Marketing Channels

The next step is creating a sneak peek of what they can expect with your online course. A teaser content gives your target audience an idea of the entire online course, the benefits they can gain, and what skills or knowledge are expected to be learned. 

A helpful advice: listing only the features is not enough; you should also show your audience the benefits. While your teaser content should contain substantial written content, it’s also best when you can include visual content, such as photos and videos. These types of content can help convey the information more concisely, letting your audience relate and engage better. 

Generally, a good way of teasing is by dropping hints on social media and giving your audience sneak peeks of the actual course through email.

Zach Grove, a former employee at email marketing platform Drip, recommends including social proof in the P.S. of your emails to drive traffic to your course.

From Zach:

“If you’re sending educational, value-adding emails to your subscribers (which you should be), you can still include links to your product and drive sales. Here’s a straightforward tactic: add a P.S. to your next email with an epic customer testimonial, with a link to learn more about your course. These calls to action often convert better than you trying to craft the perfect copy.”

Creating a System to Allow Pre-orders For The Course

After building enough interest through your landing page and email list, you can start pre-selling or accepting pre-orders for your course. Allowing pre-orders is a good opportunity to have additional funding for your course and test it out prior to the actual live release. 

You can already start accepting pre-orders even when your course is not yet 100% ready. Offer early-bird discounts and promotional rates. And because you know the people who will pre-order are still expecting to learn from your course, at least 20% of it should be ready in advance. Additionally, the early birds can also give you feedback to help you improve and work on areas that need to be fixed. 

Creating Freebies and Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are anything you give away for free while asking for a person’s contact details in return. Giving away freebies and lead magnets is a great way to peak your audience’s interests, making them want to check out your course and pre-order. Lead magnets also serve as incentives on your landing page to get people to subscribe because they know they will be getting something for free. 

Growing Your Email List

Your email list is the most important marketing channel to pre-launch your product. An email has several distinct advantages over other marketing channels. You can have your own list, have high conversion rates, develop a personalized relationship with your audience, and more. 

Although most course creators know the benefits of email, they don’t know how to grow their lists. 

Some of the best ways to grow your email list include:

Using Exit Intent Popups On Your Site

Exit-intent popups generally work better than traditional popups on any website because they don’t disturb visitors’ page navigation. Utilizing these pop-ups is a great way to grow your email list and attract more audiences to subscribe to your regular newsletter. 

One of the best ways to create your exit popups is through personalization. A more personalized popup feels friendlier and makes your audience feel more welcomed to your site. And when your audience feels welcomed, it’s more likely they would want to hear from you again, so they might subscribe to your newsletters. 

Adding Call to Action Buttons On Your Content

Another effective method to grow your email list is to put eye-catching call-to-action buttons on your content. 

Some of the boat and famous call-to-action words and phrases are listed below:

  • Get instant access
  • Sign me up!
  • I want in!
  • I’m in!
  • Send it to me!
  • Join the movement

Use Social Proof to Get More Signups

Social proof is a way for your audience to believe that something good happens with enrolling in your online course through the testimonials and reviews they see from other customers. Always include good feedback on your landing page. This allows more people to see the benefits of enrolling in your course and becoming more convinced to sign up for your daily email subscriptions. 

Utilizing these strategies will help you validate demand for your course, get pre-launch sales and ultimately maximize revenue from your course. To learn more about other examples of how you can launch your course, check out this blog post

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About Vaishak

Vaishak S is a Content Architect at Learnyst. He creates content to help hundreds of Educators to create and sell their online courses. He has 3+ years of experience working in the E-Learning industry.

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