The 4 REQUIRED Components of Launching and Online Course
When you start the process of launching your online course, things can get complicated very quickly.
Instead of being overcome by analysis paralysis of all of the possible technologies and automations, we want to make our first launch easy peasy, and build up from there.
As I go through the 4 steps, I’ll include a few examples of each that offer a cheap/free option, as well as a more advanced option to keep in mind for future growth..
Here’s the 4 critical foundational elements you need to launch your online course:
1. Landing Page/Website
First things first, we need a place to send people to tell them more about the online course that you’ll be selling. In that, we will need a unique URL (website address) that brings us to a page with information about the program, and a course description on it.
This can be fast and easy, but can also become complex quite quickly, so don’t get caught up in details. Name your course, get a URL, and create an outline that you can share with people.
Often the software you use will come with the option of obtaining a URL through that software. Do this to start, don’t waste time going down a rabbit hole of DNS, keep it simple!
WordPress.com (not .org)
2. Checkout/Payment Processor
After people have been to your website and read about your online program, they need a way to purchase it from you. I highly recommend setting up the following accounts and hooking them up with your bank accounts to be able to receive payments.
Setup a Stripe and PayPal account. These are both free to use, but will take a percentage of your sale as their fee (usually around 2.9%). They allow you to set up purchase buttons that you can embed directly on your website for easy checkout.
**Good for All Stages:**
Sometimes the checkout experience needs more features or an elevated level of marketing and customer experience, so **here are some advanced options**:
3. Content Delivery Method
After the customer has paid, they need to get access to the course materials. These materials can be in any format that best serves the content, but the most popular are PDF’s, videos, worksheets, spreadsheets, and audio recordings. The cheap/free options will allow you to upload all of those materials into a folder you give the customer access after purchase, and the advanced versions will allow you to put more complex restrictions on accessing that content (ie: time released, gated…).
4. Email Service Provider (ESP)
Once people are welcomed into your course, you will also need a way to keep in touch with them, and have them receive updates and support. Some people will just use a Facebook group, but I prefer to use software that gives me direct access to their inbox for important updates and future announcements. The complexity of the system you choose will be determined by the amount of contacts you have, and your future ongoing marketing efforts. However, the cheap/free solutions will bring you quite far.
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
The recommended softwares above have all been used personally by me at various points in my career, so I’ve tested their capabilities as well as limitations. You’ll be in good hands whichever you go with, and sticking with the cheap/free options until you grow out of them is 100% what I’d recommend.
Stay posted for next week when we cover all in one solution, and I’d love to hear any questions I can answer to support you in your online course journey.