Ever wonder what it actually looks like to create and launch a course from step 1 to step done?
If so, then stick around, cause that’s why I’m writing The Fire Path Project series: to give you an inside look at how I went from answering an email to creating an online course – step by step.
In my intro post to The Fire Path Project, I outlined the 9 steps that I took in order to go from no idea to launching a course.
Step 1 was: Listen to your audience.
Step 2 was: Create content.
Step 3 was: Repurpose your content.
Step 4 was: Test your idea.
Step 5 was: Brainstorm the next level.
Step 6 was: Create an outline.
Step 7 is: Market your idea.
So what does that mean exactly, how can you do it in your business, and why is it important? Let’s take a look…
How to market your idea
Now that you have an outline for your online course, it’s time to start marketing your idea to your audience. In this step, we’re going to get you 1 step closer to proof of concept!
There are multiple ways to go about marketing your idea, so let’s take a look at a few so you can decide which option is best for you.
1. Social media campaigns
There is a lot you can do to market your idea on social media, including (but not limited to):
- Facebook ads;
- Teaser videos; and
- Giveaways to generate interest & buzz.
The important thing to remember if you decide to run any type of social media campaign to market your idea is that you have something in place to nurture those who are expressing interest (so they’re not left hanging for weeks on end once they sign up to learn more).
For example, if you set up a Facebook campaign, create teaser videos or decide to do a giveaway to generate some buzz, you’ll need to have an actual nurture email sequence in place to capture those who are raising their hand and saying “Yes! I’m interested!”, and also to keep them engaged between the time they sign up and when you’ll actually be selling your idea (that’s step 8).
You might just do a simple interest campaign (i.e. Facebook ads that drive your target audience to a blog post or other piece of free content, with the call to action in your content being “Sign up here to be the first to hear about our online course that will teach you how to do x, y, z!“)
You might also create teaser videos that share what the course is going to include, what’s unique about it, and why someone might want to sign up to learn more about it.
Finally, some type of giveaway that gives your ideal audience an inside look at what they can expect from the course (for example, I might giveaway The Fire Path Book for free to anyone who signs up to be on my interest list for The Fire Path Course) is a great way to get people interested in what’s to come.
2. Live workshops / webinars
Many assume that holding a live workshop or webinar means you have to pitch your idea and go for the sale at the end. While workshops and webinars are a great way to sell your idea, you don’t always have to follow this outline.
You might hold a live workshop or webinar that’s a Q&A session with your audience, where you answer any questions they have about the content you’ve already provided (through repurposing your original content).
During these Q&A sessions, you can mention that you’re working on a course that will include x, y, z, and if anyone on the session is interested in learning more, they can sign up here.
Inviting a featured guest on your live workshop would be a great idea, too. Pure value for an entire 45 – 60 minutes: another industry expert maybe diving into a specific topic related to the content that will be in your course – your audience will love you for it!
For example, if I were doing this with The Fire Path Course, then I might invite someone on to talk about the top ways to network and grow relationships with top influencers in your industry (which is Chapter 4 of The Fire Path).
3. A beta program
This is the route I chose with The Fire Path Course (among a few other ways) to help market the course. Here’s what I did:
- I went to our Fire Nation Elite mastermind tribe and I offered up a spot in the beta course to anyone who wanted to walk through the 16 modules – week by week – over 7 weeks.
If you don’t have your own mastermind to go to, then you could also select members of your audience to participate in the beta round, or invite those you’ve started to build relationships with in the online communities you’re a part of.
- Then, I laid out very clear expectations for those who accepted: 1 online meeting per week for 7 weeks where I would walk through the content with everyone, request feedback and recommendations from them, plus, answer any questions they had.
It’s important that your beta program have something of value for your users. In my case, I was offering up 2 hours of my time every week, plus giving them access to the course beta content before the course had even launched.
- Once I had my beta crew and clear expectations set, all that was left was to start!
I drew up a clear plan for myself so that I knew what each week would include: what parts of the course I would review, and the major questions I wanted to ask for feedback and insights on from my beta group.
It’s important to note that during the beta program for The Fire Path Course, I was actually actively creating the content, (which isn’t the course of action I’m going to recommend here on The Fire Path Project). The reason I’m not going to recommend this course of action is because for me and anyone else who goes this route, you’re going to be creating your online course before you have proof of concept.
While people were buying The Fire Path book on Amazon, and I was receiving incredible feedback about my idea for the course, no one had actually paid me money for it. It was pretty risky for me to actually create the course while in beta, not knowing whether or not anyone would actually buy it.
But I include this option here because you can still do a beta program without creating ALL of the content. Walking your beta users through the content that will be there at some point will still help you market your idea by exposing your ideas to your beta group, plus it’ll give you the opportunity to gain insights on what you can improve prior to launch.
4. Cross-content creation
The last option I’m going to discuss here is cross-content creation, and what I mean by that is reaching out to others in your industry or niche for guest posting opportunities, joint venture opportunities or podcast guest opportunities.
The reason this is so great for marketing your idea is that you’re providing incredible value to someone else’s audience (who is potentially learning about you for the first time), all while building a great relationship with another entrepreneur AND gaining exposure for your idea in the process!
Why it’s important to market your idea
Without any marketing efforts, you’re going to have a very difficult time once it comes time to sell your idea.
The goal with marketing your idea is to gain as much exposure and build up as much buzz about it as possible so that when you do go to sell it, it’s not the first time people have heard about it.
This is also very important for building trust with those who are potential buyers. The more opportunities you give them to get to know, like and trust you through the tactics described above, the more comfortable they’re going to be buying from you.