Helping you make passive income by creating, managing, selling and scaling online courses.
Creating an Online Course
Once you finish creating your online course, a great step you can take is to seed launch it.
Seed launching may seem like a gratuitous step which is why many amateur online course creators tend to skip it.
However, seed launching can do wonders to improve your course content and to help you refine the marketing strategies you’ll employ in the future.
Seed launching can be considered to be test-launching your product to see how it performs as well as for gathering feedback to improve it.
It’s a technique that has been largely refined and popularized by product launch expert, Jeff Walker.
In his Product Launch training, Jeff Walker states that a seed launch can be perfect for you if:
Seed launching has a number of different benefits that you can take advantage of.
Firstly, as Jeff Walker states several times, it does not require you to create a full-blown marketing strategy as a regular product launch would. Thus, you can conduct a seed launch of your online course with minimal effort.
Typically, you use the people in your email list or your immediate friends and colleagues to conduct a seed launch.
The most useful aspect of a seed launch is the feedback you receive from people that go through your course. This feedback can be crucial in refining your course and making it the best it can be.
As mentioned earlier, many new online course creators fail to see the benefits of seed launching which is why they tend to skip it.
While it’s true that there are a number of scenarios where you can definitely skip a seed launch for your product, in most cases, it can prove to be very beneficial.
Some cases in which you can skip seed launching are:
However, if you’re a course creator that’s just starting out, then a seed launch is definitely worth considering because:
These are all things you’ll need to guarantee your course’s sales once you do actually launch it properly.
This list will consist of everyone who you think may be interested in trying out your product and providing you feedback.
It can be your friends, family, peers, colleagues, acquaintances and even people who you don’t know but might be related to your course niche.
Once you’ve populated a list, it’s time to start emailing.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons for conducting seed launches for online courses is to gather feedback.
This feedback can then be used to further refine your course and create something that is the best it can be.
Thus, in order to gather this feedback, it’s important that you seek it explicitly from the people that are taking part in your seed launch.
You can do this by creating feedback forms and adding them to the end of each lesson within your course.
Once you have an email list, compose an email regarding your course and how you intend to refine it further for which you need their help.
It’s a good idea to provide incentives (or lead magnets) within your email that will entice readers to take part in your seed launch. Examples of these could be free access to a webinar, podcast, discounted rates for your courses, etc.
Your email should contain a link to your course’s landing page where participants can gain access to your product.
Once students have gone through your course, you will be left with a plethora of feedback that you can implement to make it better.
While much of the feedback will be helpful, a lot of it may be irrelevant or not worth doing.
Thus, you’ll have to wade through all of it and separate the good feedback from potential customers from the ineffective feedback.
Once you’ve populated a list of all the effective feedback that you can take action on, you can start making your product better.
You can check out our post on how to conduct an effective seed launch for a more extensive dive into the process.
A seed launch can be highly effective and help you boost your sales and develop customer relationships before you’ve even launched your product.
Although, that can only be the case if you conduct it in an effective manner.
Here are some tips for your online course business that can help you carry out an effective seed launch:
We’ve already briefly mentioned above how you need to provide incentives to people for taking part in your seed launch and going through the entirety of your course as well as providing feedback.
No one is going to do all of that unless they’re pushed. The way to push them is to give them an offer they can’t refuse.
This could be in the form of discounted rates, free access to lessons, podcasts, webinars or extra resources.
It’s also a good idea to provide solutions to common problems within your niche for free within your emails that you’re using to market your course.
When you provide value like this for free, you will begin to become trusted by your potential customers.
Be sure to emphasize within your email how your course provides similar value at a larger scale.
While a simple marketing strategy with emails can be enough to conduct a seed launch, it’s much more effective to have a set date for when your course will be available to participants.
On this date, you can conduct a webinar not only to create buzz for your product but also, to answer questions from potential customers.
Here’s what you do:
So, how does a webinar help you?
Once you’ve conducted your seed launch and a group of participants have gone through your course, you will be left with a large amount of feedback.
The first thing to do is to parse through all this feedback and identify the pieces of feedback that are actionable.
This means feedback that can definitely improve your course with actions you can take.
Create a list with them and then, start refining your course accordingly.
Secondly, it’s often stated that your seed launch can be a “test run” for your actual product launch.
Similarly, while you don’t need to make a full-blown marketing strategy for a seed launch, the little marketing efforts you make for it can be considered to be a test run for the marketing efforts you’ll make in the future.
Thus, it’s important to take note of all the mistakes and things you learned from marketing your course during its seed launch so you don’t make the same mistakes during the actual product launch.
It’s also important to take note of where the most participants for your seed launch came from.
Did they come from your email marketing? From your social platforms? From your blog or website?
Identifying which avenue introduced them to your seed launch is important for business sales in the future.
Depending on where you gathered the most participants from, it’s a good idea to focus more on that avenue in the future to sell your course.
For example, if you gathered a majority of your participants from social platforms, it can be a good idea to invest more in social media ads when you’re trying to sell your course.
As a free way to boost sales using social platforms, you can invest more time in creating posts for them as well as conducting live Q&A sessions.
While most tools out there are designed for selling products when they’re fully launched, they can also be utilized for seed launches in a similar way.
Some great tools for your business that you can choose to buy are:
Drift is a complete customer relationship solution that can help you during seed launching, product launching as well as afterward.
It can be integrated with Gmail to create marketing campaigns to promote your course. You can also use it to create customized chat experiences for different types of students.
Hubspot CRM is a wonderful tool for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, it’s very easy to use. Thus, you won’t have to spend time learning how to create email campaigns and social media ad campaigns as everything is fairly self-explanatory.
Secondly, its free version is adequate enough for course creators to get the job done. If you feel the free version is not adequate enough for your business, then its starter plan also only costs $50 per month.
If you want to create effective campaigns via email, you’re in luck because it has the ability to integrate with both Gmail as well as Microsoft Outlook.
If you’re looking to mainly market your course through an emailing strategy, then Hunter is definitely a tool you should consider buying.
It works by hunting for and providing you with emails of potential customers and students that you can market your course to.
You can use it to create or populate an email list that you can then use for your seed launch as well as your actual launch.
The free version provides you with 25 searches per month with 50 verifications per month. This can be enough for your seed launch.
For the actual product launch, you can get the starter plan for your business which costs $49 per month.
For a detailed look at all three products listed above, check out our detailed review post for the best product launch tools for courses.
In the end, we just have to say that seed launching is an extremely powerful technique to lay the groundwork to sell a product that is highly overlooked within the e-learning business.
Not only can it help you boost sales and improve customer relationships but it also helps you refine your course and create something that truly caters to customer needs.
What do you think of seed launches? Are they beneficial for course creators or just a waste of time?