13. Think about timing

Listen here:

Before starting this topic, you might like to download The Robora – ‘Launch your Course’ Calendar . It will tell you what content (emails, social media) we recommend sharing during your course launch.

So, you’ve got the course ready to go. Now how do you sell the spaces? I’ll walk you through using social media and Facebook ads. We’ll look at ways to sell without coming across as ‘salesy’ (and losing followers). And I’ll share some simple but very effective tricks I’ve discovered for boosting sales.

When should you launch your course? If you’re doing a completely self-paced course with no feedback and want people to sign up whenever they’re ready, you can start selling spaces as soon as the content is ready.

But what I’ve discovered is that people really need an incentive to sign up. So if you say:

I’ve launched a brilliant online course that will teach you everything you need to know about X – they might feel excited. But unless you then create an incentive to get them to sign up now, most people won’t.

The two strategies I’ve found most useful are:

1. A start and end date

Even if the online course is self-paced, having a date that the course starts on means people can visualise when they will begin to focus on it. Also, as I mentioned earlier, it gives them an incentive to sign up now.

So you can set a start date on 1st October. They may have access to all the modules on that date, or just one. You could release the next module the following day or week or month. But they need to know when they’ll have access.

2. A discount

If you offer a sale for a limited period – eg. 10% early bird discount if you sign up in the first week, or £20 off until the beginning of the next month – people will jump in. Everyone loves a good deal. And it gives them a reason to sign up now rather than in a few weeks/months.

What day should the course start on?

If you have a live aspect to your course – perhaps you do a Facebook Live on a Wednesday evening, or a Zoom call on a Tuesday morning – take this into account when thinking about the start date. Perhaps you give students access to module 1 on a Monday morning, at 9am, which is what I tend to do, so that can read up before the Zoom/Facebook Live later in the week.

If you’re giving feedback, think about when you’ll be able to do that. For instance, if you set the deadline as Friday morning, and promise feedback before Monday, are you happy to do all the marking on Friday and/or over the weekend? If not, maybe give them the weekend to do the homework, submit it Monday and you mark it by Wednesday.

In terms of what months to launch: August is a quiet month for lots of industries. This can mean it’s a good time to launch a course if your target market won’t be so busy at work. And December is wild: all the Christmas stuff takes over. So unless your course has a Christmas focus, I’d avoid launching a course in December.

Really think about your customer base. I know that the parents of school-aged kids will find it hard to commit to certain courses in August but that parents of new babies won’t have the summer holidays to contend with. But then some people like having a course to do in the evenings during the holidays.

Do some market research. Ask people. Try the Facebook group for this course, for instance. People are always willing to offer their thoughts and opinions.