If you’ve thought about launching an online program, you’re not alone. Research and markets forecast the online education market as $350 billion by 2025, and that was before COVID-19…
At LKO, we’ve been helping launch online programs for over six years. From this, we’ve come to learn what works, and what doesn’t. We know from our experience planning and executing many six figure launches that there are 5 ways to set your online program apart.
Here they are…
#1 Find Your Passion and Know Your Stuff.
You name a topic, we’ll name an existing online program. Whatever your idea may be, there’s most likely already an online program that exists. Seriously, there’s some pretty obscure niches out there… That’s not to discourage the creation of your program, but to point to the saturation of the market, and the importance of passion and authenticity in order to stand out.
Unfortunately, many online programs are created based on trending topics, by people who may not have a genuine interest and passion for what they’re teaching. But luckily for you, it shows.
Our first piece of advice when it comes to creating an online program is to choose an area you a) feel passionate about and b) have the experience, knowledge and credibility to teach in.
In our experience, authenticity and passion always win. You need to offer value to your students, in a way that isn’t already accessible to them on the internet. The more passionate and knowledgeable you are on the subject, the more value you can provide.
#2 Carve Out Your Place on the Internet.
Due to said saturation, it’s vital for you as a course creator to carve out your space on the internet. This is about finding where your ‘people’ are, and connecting with them through the most effective channels. Whether that’s through a podcast, Instagram page, a YouTube channel, a Facebook group, or all of the above. It’s essential that you find where your potential students are in order to successfully reach them.
We recommend choosing fewer channels and connecting deeply, as opposed to spreading yourself thin over a larger number of channels.
It is within this space on the internet that you can start to create and distribute high value content related to your niche, and begin to position yourself as an authority figure in your industry.
Look at other programs in your niche and examine the spaces they occupy, this will help uncover opportunities for your course to emerge through. For example, if you know a competitor course has a large YouTube following, it may be that you connect with your prospective students through a blog and podcast instead.
The most important question to continue asking is “where are my prospective students hanging out online, and how can I put my face and content in front of them?”.
#3 Provide *incredible* Free Content
We strongly believe you cannot launch a successful online program without providing *incredible* high value content first.
Providing free content will help you:
- Put your face and brand in front of prospective students/clients/customers.
- Generate warm leads that you can go on to retarget through the likes of paid advertising and email marketing.
- Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
- Help build trust and credibility between your brand and customer.
- Provide a teaser as to what your customer can learn and entice them to want to learn more.
- Introduce your teaching style to prospective customers.
The type of lead magnet you decide on MUST be chosen based on the needs and desires of your ideal customer avatar. What type of resource will they find genuinely useful? And what format would they prefer to consume the content?
Make sure that you’re not giving away too much for free. You want people enticed and intrigued to come back for more.
#4 Ensure Your Systems and Processes are Set Up For Success.
While the phrase ‘systems and processes’ could quite possibly be the most un-sexy phrase to ever exist, when it comes to launching a successful online program they’re key.
The most successful launches we’ve seen are ones that are set up to consider scalability, customer service and user experience.
Are you opt-in pages working and optimized for high traffic numbers? Do you have a seamless course delivery? Are you nurturing customers with automated email flows? Yes, yes and yes should be your answers.
There’s a lot to cover behind the scenes. If you’re overwhelmed with which tech tools to use, this blog post is a great place to start.
#5 Get Course Feedback
One of the most VALUABLE things you can do as an online course provider is to receive real feedback from real customers. Every launch we’ve ever done has been bigger than the previous, and that’s because we continue to learn what’s working and what’s not from our customers.
We recommend setting up a post purchase survey, including some kind of incentive for customers to complete it (eg. 10% of a product you sell or a free piece of content). Cover all bases in your survey, from customer service, course content, parts they liked, parts they didn’t like, what they thought of the course materials…the more you know, the better your course will be.
There are a TONNE of online courses out there, and while there are many steps involved in successfully launching a program, we can say from experience that getting nailing the five points above will help you stand out in the world of online programs.
Want to take a behind the scenes look at an LKO multi 6-figure launch? Click here.