How To Launch An Online Course: A Beginner’s Guide
Part VI: How to create lesson plans and launch your course
One of the most important steps to creating your online course is having a killer lesson plan.
The point of a lesson plan is to give you a definitive script to go off of when you create the content. If your lesson plans are unclear or lack all the information needed, your course content will seem disoriented and unprofessional, so it is very important to create the best lesson plans.
You create your lesson plans based on the multimedia content, outline, and creation tools that we discussed in my last article.
You will want the lesson plan to explicitly state the multimedia type, the exact phrasing, and include the learning objectives for each individual lesson. Here is how to create a killer lesson plan:
Decide on the Media for Each Lesson
The first step to creating your lesson plan is to decide on the media for each lesson. This must be the first step of every lesson plan because the media type will affect how you present the information. As a result, you will either speak or write differently depending on the media. You simply select media type based on your preferences and the content you are teaching. Will it be in a keynote format or will you be talking in front of the camera?
Create a General Outline for Every Lesson
Once you know the media type you plan to use, you should create a general outline for each lesson. Creating a general outline will allow you to better place content so that way it maximizes the student’s potential for comprehending the material.
Here is the order of most general outlines:
Introduce the topic, explain who this lesson is meant for, and say why this topic is important. It is important that you use the introduction to allow students to get a general understanding of exactly what is going to happen in this lesson.
2. Key Point Overview
Explicitly state what the student is supposed to learn from the topic. “The goal of this lesson is…”
3. Lesson Overview
Provide students with an overview of the lesson. “In this lesson, we will cover…” List every main topic of the lesson.
4. Section 1
Section 1 is your first main point. Add a visual or worksheet.
5. Section 2
Section 2 is your second main point. Add a visual or worksheet.
6. Section 3
Section 3 is your third main point. Add a visual or worksheet.
Restate the point of the lesson and give a general overview of the main topics discussed. End by providing an alternative view, asking a question, or giving a glimpse of what you will cover in your next lesson. Of course, your outline does not have to be exactly like the one provided. In contrast, your outline should be tailored to your needs and course.
Script out Every Lesson Word for Word (Optional but recommended)
Once you have the general outline for your course, script out what you want to teach in each individual lesson. This means that you should write down exactly what you plan to do, say, or print.
Do not leave open spaces for you to improvise.
Be as specific as possible. If you are using a video or audio file, plan out exactly what you want to say, including your greeting, examples, and sign-off. This will prevent you from using filler words or sounding awkward as you speak. For documents, type out exactly what the document entails. This will allow you to edit the document over multiple rounds, which will ensure that the content is accurate and contains no typos.
Record or Make Content
After your script is planned out, it is time to actually make the content. This includes typing files, creating PowerPoints, or recording yourself.
How to Launch
Once your course content is all made, it is time to start launching your product. Launching your online course includes marketing your product, having a soft launch, and doing final clean ups.
Depending on how you’ve been marketing during your set up, launching your online course can take a few days to several weeks to complete. Let’s look at the key steps to finally launching your online course.
The first thing to do is to amp up your marketing techniques. You should continue doing what you did to engage customers during the preselling phase. At the same time, you should amp up those marketing tactics in order to reach more people than before.
The most successful marketing tactic is email marketing. Of course, there are other avenues and we will get to that later. You should create an extensive email list that you’ve gathered from the preselling phase, continued marketing, and other avenues.
Firstly, you will need an email marketing platform such as ActiveCampaign, AWeber, or ConvertKit in order to build and send out emails to your subscribers. So make sure you sign up to one of those or an alternative. To create an email marketing strategy, begin by creating an email account for your course.
Do not use your personal email such as email@example.com. Additionally, create a lead magnet for your email that you send out to your email list. A lead magnet is something that the customers get for signing up for your emails. A free cheat sheet or workbook is a great lead magnet. Once you have crafted the perfect email that includes a lead magnet, you’re free to send out your email to your email list.
Social Media Marketing
Since your course will be online, another great way to market your course is through multiple promotional platforms. Use as many social media sites and blogs as possible in order to reach a wide variety of audiences. Keep your branding consistent and use a professional yet educated and engaging voice. Write with active verbs.
You can use tools like Canva to create banners and different flyers to post on social media sites. Using visual aids in your social media posts is a great idea because it will catch more peoples’ eyes, which in turn will result in more customers.
Check out my Instagram account to see how I create scroll stopping reels and posts to engage my audience.
What’s also worthwhile is to connect with others in your industry. This is also called influencer marketing where you reach out to social media influencers to partner with you.
You could offer incentives such as a commission via an affiliate program, free access to your product, and offering discount coupons for their followers. This will help you get more customers since social media influencers tend to have more followers than the average person or course creator. Get started by following relevant influencers on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. You can follow me on LinkedIn here and YouTube here.
You can use its search feature to search for specific hashtags relevant to your niche. For example, if your niche is around leadership, then do a search for “leadership” on the platform. From there, you can follow the accounts of those in the niche.
You want to prepare an influencer outreach proposal stating the perks and benefits of promoting your online course. Here is a template you can use as a guide.
If you have an ad budget, consider promoting your online course through Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. Also consider YouTube Ads and Google Ads.
The best part about most of these advertising channels is that you only pay per click and that you can set a daily ad budget. You are also given the option to narrow your target audience based on geographical location, demographics, and psychographics.
This is a huge factor since you only want your ad to be shown to people who have a higher chance of buying your course.
Before the launch of your online course, it is recommended to have a soft launch. A soft launch is when you allow a select group of people to start the course early in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly and there are no technical issues. A soft launch is a great way to get more customers and ensure that your product is high calibre. In order to gain customers through a soft launch, you should offer a discount for participating in the soft launch.
Explain to the customers that this is a trial run to make sure that your course runs correctly. In exchange for their cooperation, they get a discount on the course. This is a great way to get more customers while also improving your product.
You may also want to see if other course creators are interested in your soft launch. Having other course creators participate will allow you to get feedback from someone else who is experienced in creating courses. They may have key tips or insights that a student would not think to tell. During the soft launch, make notes of any complaints or issues that customers see with the product. Once the soft launch is over, you will be able to fix everything before your final launch. Do not get your feelings hurt if students come back with complaints that you do not agree with. Simply thank them for their help and make changes accordingly.
Final Clean Up
After gathering information about your product during the soft launch, it is time to clean up all remaining issues before your final launch. This includes grammatical errors, content errors, or technical issues. Make sure to be diligent when cleaning up your course, or else customers might think that the finished product is unpolished and unprofessional.
Once you think that all of your content is correct, go back and check one more time. Chances are, there are one or two more errors. Listen to the documents, read the documents, listen to your videos, and test out any features or quizzes. After you have gone through and checked all your content one last time, you can go ahead and launch your course. Even after the course launches though, it is important to continue marketing.
If you stop marketing, you will stop getting students. Even though the launch already happened, you still want to attract more customers so that they may be interested in more courses you do down the line.
So we have now reached the end of this 6 part article series on how to build and launch your own online course.
There are a lot of reasons that you should create an online course. Even if you are inexperienced with online content or feel that you are not educated enough to be a course creator, you still have a great chance of making a financially successful online course.
To begin, you need to know the basics of courses and know why you want to make one. From there, you should create the perfect topic, learning outcomes, and course goals in order to attract potential customers and give yourself a clear idea of what you want from the course. After that, you should start engaging intended audiences and preselling your product. This ensures that your product is desirable, and you don’t waste time on a course that doesn’t sell. Once you know that your course is marketable, you can start planning your financial goals and building revenue from the beginning.
From there, it is time to start building your online course. You should find the right platform to host your course and plan the course content. Finally, create your lesson plans and course content, continue marketing, and have a soft launch for your product. After that, you should be able to fix any minor issues and then launch your online course.
Once you have done all that, you should start seeing money from your online course! Be patient at the beginning, continue marketing, and learn from your mistakes.
Access my online course on how to develop your creative thinking at a discounted rate using the voucher code ‘MEDIUM’.
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