How to Pre-launch your course

Does the thought of launching make you tremble with fear or overwhelm? I get it. Launching is scary. There's a way to make it less scary, though: plan and pre-launch.

I get a number of questions about how I launch. But no one ever talks about the pre-launch, i.e. what you do BEFORE your launch. And it’s critical.

So how do I pre-launch? With 3 simple steps.

1 - Start with a survey

Before you start your launch, survey your audience. Your survey can be as short or long as you want. I’ve used both styles.

The point is to send a survey to:

  • find out what challenges your audience has with your course topic (and how you can help) 

  • give them the opportunity to add their voice 

  • get your audience excited about your offer

  • let people unsubscribe (this is a good thing; focus on your true fans)

Tip: If you want to learn more about prelaunch strategy, check out the book Launch by Jeff Walker. Some of Jeff’s strategies work better for different markets, so YMMV.

2 - Create valuable content

I know, this sounds super obvious but hear me out...

If you started with a survey, you’ll gain insight into what your audience values. That makes this step a lot easier. But even if you didn’t survey your audience, that’s okay.

You can still do market research to find out what your target audience is talking about in regards to your topic, or look for common questions that pop up in your inbox.

Then create content that answers those questions or solves specific problems. You don’t need to provide the full solution either. It's up to you how much value to deliver.

This step is all about creating content that answers real questions--not assumed ones.

Tip: look for expensive problems, i.e. problems that cost your target customer time or money that you can help solve. 

3 - Set expectations for your launch 

The last step is to prep your audience for your official launch. This should just be a simple email where you set expectations. It should contain:

  • The date and time of your launch (when the cart opens)

  • Any introductory info they need to know about your course to decide if it’s a good fit

  • A call to action (i.e. reply w/ questions)

There’s more, but these are the 3 big steps in my pre-launch strategy. Now you can use them too.

The key is to plan your pre-launch along with your launch.

  • That’s why Finish Your Damn Course! (FYDC) breaks launching up into two modules.

  • It's why every FYDC student gets a planning spreadsheet, scripts, and a sales page review.

Because launching is scary for me too.

It's taken years for me to feel like I have any idea what I'm doing during a launch. But it’s less scary when you have guidance, tools and a schedule. 

Click here to learn how FYDC will help you create & launch your course.

-Janelle

What it's like to join Finish Your Damn Course!

Are you on the fence about joining my new group program, Finish Your Damn Course?

I feel you. After all, there are 52 quintillion online course programs out there that promise to help you get your course done. (Yes, I counted.)

So you’re probably asking yourself, Will this program actually help me see results? 

I know I would be.

Seriously, who wants to spend money on another course or program that doesn’t work?

Ultimately, finishing your course is up to you. But the truth is, many people need help along the way.

  • Maybe you need someone to help you apply Instructional Design principles?

  • Maybe you need accountability?

  • Maybe you need a community of focused, like-minded entrepreneurs to share ideas with?

Whichever scenario applies to you, FYDC is designed to give you the structure and support you need.

So what does it look like when you join the program?

When you join FYDC, you get a step-by-step curriculum, access to me, and a group of like-minded course creators to help you take your course to the next level.

Here’s how it works:

  • 1 - 2 weeks before the program kicks off (March 4), you’ll get an orientation email with the schedule, plus exercises to help you prepare for the first week.

  • Immediately after your purchase, you’ll get access to the first 2 modules in Thinkific (the rest will be dripped out) and everything you need for the forum, group sessions, etc.

  • If you signed up for the Premium package, we’ll also schedule your 1:1 strategy call during this time, where we’ll discuss your goals and create a personalized game plan to achieve them.

  • Group sessions will run bi-weekly. The goal for group sessions is to review challenging module concepts and give you a chance to work through sticking points.  

  • There will be Q&A time in each group session, plus office hours in the forum(Slack) where you can get answers to your questions.

  • Finally, if you signed up for Premium, I’ll personally check-in with you regularly via email to make sure you're on track. (And we’ll schedule your second strategy call around the mid-way point.)  

  • New for 2019! Everyone who enrolls will get one sales page review to help you feel confident for your launch.

Guidance. Community. Accountability. 

If that sounds like what you need, click the button below to learn more.

Registration closes in 3 days…and counting. 

Introducing Finish Your Damn Course!

Introducing Finish Your Damn Course!

You may not know this about me, but I love to DJ.

One of my heroes is DJ Jazzy Jeff. Every year, he hosts Playlist Retreat, a group retreat for musicians of all experience levels. The common thread for all of the guests is music, but there's something else...

Many of them have hit a plateau in their career. In other words, they're stuck. 

Jazzy Jeff started Playlist Retreat because he couldn't stomach the thought of someone staying stuck & not creating their thing.

We have that in common. If there’s one phrase that I hear over and over from course creators, it's:

“I’m stuck.”

But what does “stuck” mean?

Want to create a meaningful course? Read this

In my last post, you read about how people try to skip validating their course topic, specifically Customer Development Interviews.

CDIs (a method of pre-validation) help you create a more meaningful, focused course.

Still people try to skip 'em.

For example, about 8 months ago Ken (not his real name) reached out to me because he had a proven process he wanted to turn into an online course. (He’d been putting it off for 3 years and was sick of having it on his 'one day' list.)

3 Essential Parts to Your Marketing Funnel

3 Essential Parts to Your Marketing Funnel

“How can I get more people to buy my online course?”

This is a question that pops into my inbox often. My first response is always to probe for more information, “What’s your current marketing strategy?”

More often than not, I get one of the following replies:

  • “Well, mostly by word of mouth.”

  • “I have an email list, but I don’t want to bother my subscribers.”

  • “I’ve been sharing it on social media.”

If you’re marketing via social media posts or word of mouth, that’s a start—but it’s not enough.

You need a funnel.

How to Automate Onboarding in Your Online Course

How to Automate Onboarding in Your Online Course

If you’ve ever worked a 9 - 5, you’re probably familiar with the term onboarding. Here's how Wikipedia defines it:

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.

In simpler terms, onboarding means providing the necessary information for your new employees to navigate your organization.

Without onboarding, your employees are stuck trying to figure out where to go for information, how to do their job, who to contact for questions, etc. Trust me, it sucks.

Onboarding applies to online courses too. It’s how your learners know how to navigate your course

Why I Don't Believe in Learning Styles Anymore

Why I Don't Believe in Learning Styles Anymore

A while back I listened to Pat Flynn’s podcast episode with Derek Halpern about selling. In the episode, Derek explains his POD technique for writing sales copy. But before he described his framework, he said something that I had never heard anyone else say out loud: you don’t just have one target customer, you have multiple.

Derek was right. (You have customer segments.) And yet, countless Internet gurus spread the myth that you have a single ‘customer avatar.’

(Sidebar: there is a good reason why people tell you this but it sends us down a rabbit hole, so let’s ignore it, k?)

The same is true with learning styles. They’re a myth. At best, they're an outdated theory on how we learn.

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