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 was: Market your idea.
Step 8 is: Sell 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 sell your idea
Congratulations! We’re at the last step before it’s time to create your online course!
Step 8 is a big one, because it’s at this point you need proof of concept in order to move forward. Without an audience who wants and needs your online course bad enough to pay for it, moving on to step 9 will be a waste of your time.
Let’s check out a few ways you can sell your idea.
Live Workshops / Webinars
We talked about this option in the last step as well, market your idea, but remember, last time we weren’t actually selling anything. This time, your presentation will be set up so that at the end, you’ll be “pre-selling” your online course to those in attendance.
Some things to know about selling on a live workshop / webinar:
- Create an incredibly value-packed 45 minute presentation
- Be energetic and engaged with your attendees
- Give away something for free
- Consider a special offer for those who are joining you live
- Have a time-sensitive offer that creates scarcity
Live workshops / webinars take practice, and they’ll involve a bit of set up in the beginning. Don’t get discouraged if you plan a workshop and don’t get the opt in’s, turnout, or response you expected. Improving your presentation and your marketing take time, so trust in the process and know you’ll be learning so much during this time.
Just a quick side note: in 2014 alone, John and I generated over $1.5 million in revenue from our live webinars. This is a proven process for anyone who has an idea to sell that your audience has told you they want and need – not something that we think might work.
Here are some resources that can help you get set up:
- The Webinar Course: 10 day course on how to create and present a webinar.
- MailChimp: If you don’t already have an email service provider, then MailChimp is a great place to start.
- LeadPages: You can create opt in pages directly on your website if you’d like, but LeadPages offers you quick and easy templates that will help you create beautiful landing pages.
- Google+ Hangouts On Air: This is the option we use for our live workshops – it’s free, easy and allows an unlimited number of attendees to be watching as you stream through YouTube.
- Easy Webinar: Another option if you don’t want to use G+ HOA to host your Webinar. Easy Webinar is a great platform that will help you set everything up you’ll need to stream your live webinar.
- Chatroll: A simple chat function that will allow you to embed a chat box on your website or LeadPage (only if you’re using G+ HOA and streaming on your site or via LeadPages).
Facebook ads are incredibly powerful because they allow you to target the exact people you’re trying to reach through Facebook’s Power Editor.
If your messaging is right and you have the patience to test, tweak and repeat, then the sky is the limit!
There are a few different options here depending on what else you have set up for your sales funnel.
Here are some ways you might leverage Facebook ads to sell your idea:
- Facebook ad > blog post (and re-targeting in place)
- Facebook ad > sales page (and re-targeting in place)
- Facebook ad > workshop opt in
Whether you do one or all of the above, Facebook ads give you the opportunity to put your brand (and your course) in front of a new audience who potentially hasn’t heard of you before. And with the option to create re-targeting pixels, there’s a great chance that if you don’t convert a sale, you can still be engaging a future loyal fan over time.
A great resources for learning more about Facebook ads is this recent podcast episode from our good friend Rick Mulready.
I kinda just made this name up because I wasn’t sure what else to call it, but basically a “circuit campaign” would be you lining up multiple opportunities to speak to different audiences about your online course going live (while providing massive value in the process – of course!)
Some options might include:
- Joint venture workshops or webinars;
- Setting up an affiliate program and asking other leaders to help you market your online course to their audience;
- Guest podcasting;
- Guest posting;
- Social media campaigns.
If you’ve been building strong relationships with other leaders in your industry or niche, then this is a great route to take when it comes to selling your online course. It will not only help you gain credibility and authority by association, it will also open you up to a whole new audience and allow you to grow relationships with those leaders.
If you’re able to bring all of these pieces together during a set “campaign time” (say over a couple of weeks in a row – or even compacted to a couple of days leading up to launch), then the power and momentum behind that could be just what you need to launch your course (and gain proof of concept) with a boom!
Why it’s important to sell your idea
Selling your idea – getting proof of concept for your online course – is going to save you time, money and whole lot of heartache.
Can you imagine having gone through all the 7 steps we’ve covered, then creating your online course, bringing it to your audience to sell it, and then hearing crickets? It’s a reality that none of us want to face, and that’s why it’s integral you get proof of concept BEFORE you create your course.
Feeling a little uncomfortable about selling something you haven’t even created yet?
I can understand that. We all experience a lot of fear around putting ourselves and our ideas out there, especially when we don’t have anything tangible to show for it yet.
Here are some tips that might help you feel a bit more comfortable:
- When pre-selling your online course, be transparent with your audience about the fact you haven’t created it yet;
- Offer an “early bird” or “beta round” special price for those who are coming on as your founding members;
- Have a launch date in mind so you can tell people when to expect the content (this should be pretty easy since you already have your outline created and you know what your course will include);
- Let people know your number: how many sales do you need in order to make creating your online course worth it? 25? 50? Let people know your online course will launch with 50 members (or whatever your number is), and that if you don’t reach that number, everyone will receive a full refund; and
- Offer a money back guarantee so that once your course does launch, those who bought in early have an opportunity to check it out and decide whether or not the content is right for them.
Using these tips will help you (and your audience) feel a lot more comfortable with the fact that you’re selling something that hasn’t been created yet.
So, did you get proof of concept?! If so, CONGRATS!! Now THAT’S reason to celebrate!