Written by: Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a year beyond our wildest dreams, or rather, our nightmares! A year that many people thought would bring great fortune and abundance turned out to be more of a year of growing pains. And with 2021 approaching at hyper-speed, many of you are probably thinking about how you can make the most out of the new year.
COVID-19 has really highlighted the need for an online business model, and many entrepreneurs are turning to online courses to help them adapt and leverage their time. There couldn’t be a better time to launch an online course, but it’s important to understand how buying patterns have shifted so you can be sure to launch successfully in 2021.
How have buying patterns changed?
Since the start of the pandemic, the online space has been flooded with previously in-person businesses trying to adapt to our changing economy. This means you are up against steeper competition in the marketplace and will need to stand out. This doesn’t mean getting overly flashy or obnoxious. In fact, quite the opposite! Because of this influx of businesses selling online, people are getting bombarded with ads and pitches all day long. They are becoming desensitized and have gotten better about seeing through all the bells and whistles. The key to having a great launch in 2020 is slowing down and taking the time to understand your audience, build the trust factor and treat them as people.
Gone are the days of building a course in 5 days or less. No more launching the same month you built the product. Now more than ever, it is important to really nurture your audience with value first. Taking that extra time to really show people you GET THEM pays off big when it comes to online courses.
What should your course include?
Now that people are overwhelmed by advertisements and offers all day long, it’s important to make sure you include enough value to get your audience to click the buy button. When it comes to looking at your offer, being objective will help you determine just how much value to include. Ask yourself: “why would someone buy this product over a competing product?” and “is this offer a one-stop-shop for getting people results?” When someone buys a course, it’s because they believe it will help them achieve a certain goal or result. This means you have to have a product that includes nearly everything they need to achieve a transformation. If your strategy is to upsell each piece of the puzzle, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Julie Stoian has a great workshop if you feel a bit lost when it comes to making your offer irresistible in today's marketplace. Her workshop, Offer Cure, walks you through the process of building a product with value in mind. Remember, people are more frugal and cautious with their money, so it’s important to knock their socks off before they even purchase something from you.
Do your market research.
So we have established that taking your time and providing crazy amounts of value are key to building the Know, Like, Trust factor, but neither of those things mean much if people simply don’t want what you're offering. Market research is one of the most commonly skipped steps in course launching, and it’s probably the most important step. Because there is so much competition in the online space currently, making sure people actually want what you are offering is a step that could make or break you. Getting really clear on who your audience is, what pain they are experiencing, and what they are willing to pay to solve that problem provides a strong base for having a successful launch.
Market research is easier now than it has ever been. Simply join a Facebook group filled with your ideal client and use Facebook's polling option to ask these people for their opinion on your offer. This is a super-easy way to make sure you are on the right path and avoid wasting time. You can also ask your email list to fill out a survey and simply respond to you with what they would like to see from you. These people are a warm audience (usually) and will be the most likely to buy the product when you launch. Making sure you are filling a need they have will nearly guarantee a successful launch.
Launching a course can be a huge undertaking and requires a lot of time and energy. But if you take your time, provide lots of value, and make sure you are creating something people want, you will have a much easier time creating something successful in the long run. For those of you needing more of a roadmap to help you get from idea to finished product, I have put together a 90-Day Course Launch Checklist you can download for free. This checklist will make sure you don’t miss a single step in the launch process and will help ensure you have an amazing start to 2021!
Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Melissa Gamarra is a Certified Online Business Manager and Author living in Salt Lake City. She helps online business owners create organization and business strategies so they can scale their companies effortlessly.