How to launch your online course or group programme quickly

Close up of woman tapping on laptop keyboard.

Ever find yourself dreaming about launching that online course or group programme but feel like you’re stuck in a loop of planning and procrastination?

You’re not alone.

The journey from idea to launch can feel like a long journey, but I’ve discovered a 4-phase method that might just be the game-changer you need.

Let’s get started!

Phase 1 – Idea creation

What do you want to create a course or programme about? Really think about your skills, your know how. Also think about what problem you want to solve because ‘nice to have’ programmes don’t sell.

You need to create a ‘must have’ programme that people are eager to buy. 

Who are you selling to? Create a profile of your ideal client and build something that will suit them perfectly. As crazy as it sounds, literally printing out a photo of your ideal client who has the problem you’re going to solve, is a really powerful way to help you to do this.

Next, create your own model. 

What are the core fundamental things that you want to teach? And how can you break these down to become your signature framework? 

Make it unique. Make it yours. Bring in intellectual property where you can. 

Sidebar: Rice Krispies became famous because they coined the phrase ‘Snap, crackle and pop!’ They took a generic rice pop and turned it into an exciting concept. Keep that in mind when you’re creating your programme, to make it distinctive and truly unique.

For me, it’s my ‘Lott Last Minute launch formula’. It’s how I make myself get things done, pushing through the voice that says, “I’m not ready for this challenge.”

Putting a time pressure on yourself can make it happen, otherwise months can go by with no action.

I see it in people I’ve had discovery calls with – they’ve let months and even years go by as they allow themselves to go round and round in circles on something that could be a split-second decision. 

So, be brave and bring your own unique strengths into your programme. 

What’s your transformation statement?

This needs to be a really clear statement that helps people understand why they are buying your course. Where are they starting from, and where do they want to get to? 

It’s all in the name.

Coming up with an amazing course name can be tricky, but it can make a big difference because it helps people to feel something, and evoking those emotions will encourage them to buy. 

How much are you going to charge?

Pricing is crucial. How much you charge for your programme will depend on whether it’s purely online, and how much support you’re going to provide – it’s usually the case that the less support you give the lower the price will be.

It will be useful to test your pricing out with your market. A client I’m helping with his pricing strategy has chosen to not charge for his first round because he wants to run a pricing analogy. He’ll ask them before the programme how much they would be prepared to pay for it, and he’ll ask them again at the end of the programme how much they would have been happy to pay for what they got.

What’s your course creation strategy?

Are you going to sell it first and then create it? Are you going to deliver live each week, or are you going to record your content in advance? There’s no right answer, it’s about choosing what works best for you.

Setting a launch date. 

One of the most powerful decisions you need to make is choosing your launch date. You can then schedule your pre-launch actions, working backwards from that point.

We cover this on Day One of my 5 Day Challenge. If you don’t set a goal and choose a date now, I can almost guarantee that, if we catch up in a year’s time, your course will still not be out there in the world. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing the results of what people commit to in this 5 Day Challenge!

The logistics.

Draw up a document with the details and logistics of your programme so that people know exactly what they’re going to get.

It might just be a word document, or it could be a more sophisticated sales page that would take a lot longer to produce.

Whichever format you choose, put a lot of sales psychology into your programme logistics document, helping people to see that this is the right next move for them.

Phase 2 – Validate your offer

You’ve got an idea for a programme, you’ve named it, priced it and created a document detailing the content people are buying into.

But how do you know if you’re building something that people actually need and will want to buy?

Validating your offer is a fundamental process step that people often miss because they are excited about creating their course or programme, and they don’t want their progress to get slowed down by the interruptions of talking to people.

But, the problem is that you may then be spending a lot of time in your own bubble, creating something in isolation that no-one actually wants.

I made this mistake when I first started my business, setting up programmes with umbrella themes like ‘confidence’. 

I soon realised that confidence doesn’t resonate with people at that generic level. What people are interested in is coaching for specific confidence-related issues like speaking up in meetings or asserting themselves with their partner.

We need to think about their end goal. If I’d known then what I know now I would have saved myself a lot of time by first validating my idea and being sure about what people are willing to pay for. 

Phase 3 – Creating your content

This is the exciting bit! You’ll want to create an engaging welcome video that helps people to step into what they’re about to join and go all in.

When you’re creating your content, make sure it’s in short segments and formatted in a specific way.

That will encourage people to take action and get results – you want people to log in regularly, and to know they can contact you for support or feedback on the outcome of their tasks. That’s something I do in my programme.

People work through my programme modules in their own time, then send me their niche statement or whatever it may be. We chat back and forth and they make progress, ticking that action off their list, excited to move on to the next module because it’s building on what they’ve just done.

All at once or drip fed?

Are you going to create all your content up front and publish it in one hit, or are you going to drip feed content out week by week?

The advantage of drip feeding your content is that it buys you time. Giving yourself the breathing space to publish content week by week will take the pressure off creating everything in one go, as it’s very time-consuming and you can end up still working on it in six months’ time rather than getting out there selling it. 

It also helpfully holds your feet to the fire as you’re committed to releasing content on scheduled dates. 

Research I’ve done shows that people prefer content to be released on a weekly basis so they’re not overwhelmed, and they like the feeling of keeping up to date with the tasks. It’s a win win.

The great thing is, once you’ve created your 12 weeks of content you’ll have a valuable asset that will work hard for you time and time again.

Phase 4 – It’s time to launch!

This is the phase I’m in with my programme, Elevate, right now, which helps people to master online courses and group programmes.

There is so much involved in this launch phase; it takes a huge amount of preparation and you really need to ramp up your visibility. 

You invite your audience to a free webinar or workshop or, in my case this time, an intensive 5 Day Challenge, which really helps people to get to know you, gain an insight and decide if they want to keep working with you.

Obviously, a 5 Day Challenge is giving people more time to get to know you than a one hour workshop, but it takes much more effort too, and a lot of tech –  needing a sign up page, a thank you page, a sequence of scheduled emails with details and follow ups… I wouldn’t suggest it for a beginner.

Filling a workshop, webinar or a challenge group is resource-heavy. You’ll ideally want to promote it for two weeks, several times a day. If you can also get guest expert spots, speaking to groups of your ideal clients who may want to join, that will be helpful too.

A 5% conversion rate is the average, so having 200 people in my 5 Day Challenge Facebook group could mean that 10 people buy my upsell at the end of the week, which is the step-by-step guide to everything they will need to grow their programme.

This is why you need to have a big audience built up before you go this route – it’s a numbers game!

Do I need to launch this way?

Not always. You might have warm people in your audience already, who are ready to buy.

Or, you might be selling direct to organisations and not need this launch phase at all. 

The right time?

Creating an online course or group programme doesn’t have to take forever. Understand your audience, outline your programme, set your date, create engaging content, leverage your existing resources and network and go for it.

What you’re aiming to achieve is to share your knowledge more widely in less time, so that it is worth your time.

If you’re starting out, you might find that focusing on 1:1 clients will usually be a better way to bring in the income you need when you’re a fledgling business, as it’s usually higher ticket value than group programmes and online courses.

Whether, and when, this is the right next step for you depends on you and your goals.

Don’t miss out on ‘Elevate’

I hope you found this overview of the phases involved in creating your course or online programme helpful.

If you want to join Elevate, where I take you by the hand and share all the resources you’ll need to create your course or online programme, join now as it’s not an evergreen programme like the Business of Coaching.

The deadline is Friday 8th March and this will be your only chance to join until I run another one, which won’t be until at least the end of this year. What are you waiting for!



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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.