Ready for a Golden Tip on course creation?
Here it is –
Don’t build your course until you have paying customers.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is entrepreneurs spending so much time creating a course, without having any validation that it’s a winner yet. The key is validating your offer first, so you can understand what your audience truly wants.
Here’s the thing – everything is a test in business. And the best way to test and get that validation is by pre-selling your offer.
And nothing validates your offer like a paying customer.
No, not freebie beta testers – we want real people with real credit cards.
In my eyes, this validation is a prerequisite any time you’re launching a new course: convert on a handful of sales first, then get to work creating it.
The theory behind it is that when you put your offer out to the world – you can immediately see the interest, and how well-received it is. If your PayPal notifications start chiming off, then you know you’re onto something.
And if it’s crickety-crickets? Then you know it’s time to get back to the drawing board.
The key here is your communication. You want to make sure it’s crystal-chandelier clear to your buyer, that she won’t receive your paid product for a couple weeks post-purchase (or whenever you decide). This gives you breathing room to start creating your course the moment you have your first paid customer.
Why not just test it for free, or get people to join a ‘waitlist’? I hear you ask.
‘Cuz those “interested” people haven’t parted with their hard-earned money for it yet.
Paying customers, on the other hand, have some skin in the game. They are far more committed to your product (and to their results!). Whereas if your product was received for free, it has less perceived value and garners less physical and mental “buy-in” from the consumer.
So how does this validation strategy unfold?
Let me give you the lowdown.
Roll through this launch the same way you would a typical live launch – promotions, cart-open, and cart-close strategy. The difference is, your course isn’t completed yet. Heck, it’s not even started.
During your promotions, be ultra-specific that this is a beta round launch, and that you’re looking for only a few founding members to get in at the ground level.
And even though your offer isn’t created yet, you need to be super definitive on what your offer entails, how it benefits your audience, and the transformation it will provide.
MARKET THAT SHIZ!
Jump into FB Lives, IG stories, and tease the offer in your email so your peeps are aware that a cure for their pain (or something that may improve their day) is coming down the pipe for them. Between you and me – let’s call this a minimal viable launch – this means no sales page is necessary (as a copywriter, it’s not something I promote often!). Instead – create a “johnson box” (bullets) of all the goodies it will include. A short-form sales page could be ideal at this point, as well!
Aim for securing 5-10 members to meet you inside your new course, by leaning into the (highly authentic) urgency factor as your cart won’t be open long! That’s because once you get a handful of sales, you gotta switch hats from ‘marketer’ to ‘creator.’
CREATE THE COURSE!
Once you have a handful of paid members – get to work on creating the intro and first module of your course. (Or if it’s a digital product – you can create the entire product). Your members will be well aware that the course will be dripped (because you explained this prior to purchase).
BENEFITS TO YOUR STUDENT
Being a founding member comes with many glorious perks for your students.
1. Hello huge savings!
Because beta launches don’t have the bells and whistles as a full-swing live launch does, it’s standard that these offers are well below the price you’ll offer next time around. This is why it’s such a huge incentive for them to hop in (set this price at about half-off!).
2. Grandfathered content
Often, members will continue to receive every future update that you add to the course as the years go on. That means they buy in once, and receive all the future goodness that is to come – this. Is. Uuuuuge.
3. Attention from YOU
Beta courses come with some intimate perks that your students won’t receive once your course is in high demand! So whether or not you plan to host coaching sessions when your course is in live mode – it’s a great idea to offer this to your bata-ers upfront.
You want to provide as much value as possible to these beauty’s who took the leap with you – such as group calls, 1:1 calls, or personal audits. You’ll help them walk through the course to ensure they get the results they (and you!) want.
BENEFITS TO YOU
All that hand-holding I mentioned above? Sure, it’s a lot of work… But it’s a MASSIVE win for you, too. Here’s why:
1. Less stress.
There’s less rush for you to build this course out and, everyone’s already under the impression that things aren’t perfect – a beta round is all about ironing things out. So at this point, you don’t need to have all the workbooks and everything ready to go- that’s because you’ll drip everything out.
Once your cart closes, you only need to get to work on the first module. (I’ve seen release dates well over one-month post-purchase – so as long as you’ve made it clear as to when your student will receive the product, that’s the only date you need to worry about.)
2. You’re collecting research
While you’re on the coaching calls and offering up so much value – you’re also completing one instrumental task (and IMO, the most important thing you can do for your business.) – your collecting research.
You hear first hand about your ICA’s struggles and desires, and you’re listening to their exact struggles.
You’re then building out the next modules exactly how you see fit to ease those pains… having this clarity of understanding exactly what your students need, makes you a genius when you can directly deliver on it!
3. You’re gathering testimonials
It’s a given that new courses won’t have any testimonials. And that’s okay! This is your opportunity to swipe those golden testimonials from your beta class. And remember those 1:1 coaching calls you performed? Snag a VIDEO testimonial at the end of the call!
Social proof is one of the #1 ways to sell products, and it’s the best way to craft an irresistible offer. You can then use this social proof and weave them into all your future promotional content including email campaigns and sales pages.
4. You’re setting the scene for a supa-successful next launch
After collecting all the insights from your 1:1 calls, after completing all the necessary research, and hearing first hand about the struggles of your students – you’ve given yourself ample ammo as your course begins to unfold and take shape for next round. Promoting it will be much simpler after all the data and testimonials you’ve received, and by using feedback questionnaires, you can set yourself up to nail things on round two.
And once your beta round closes up shop – at this point you’ll now have your COMPLETED course, ready to rock.
Look at you – you just got PAID to validate and create your course 😉
There you have it, my friend! Validating your course with the above beta launch strategy is the #1 way to test the success of your course before you spend all the dolla-dolla-bills and time building it.
The brilliant part of this strategy is that you *don’t* need a massive list.
(Go you – if you do have a big list, then just offer this beta option to a small segment!)
Congrats to implementing this validation strategy – post in the comments what your biggest takeaway is!👇