You didn’t see that coming, did you?

I mean after spending several weeks creating your online course and happily launching it to the world, all you could get is a bunch of crickets.

Maybe a few sales here and there, but not enough for you to get excited about.

You expected a huge payday – a big payoff for all the hard work and hours you’ve put into creating that course.

You know the knowledge you share in that course will greatly impact and benefit the lives of those who need it.

But somehow, you just haven’t succeeded in putting it into the hands of a lot of people.

You read all the blog posts about launching an online course. You did everything the experts say you should do. But still, you can’t seem to reconcile why the acclaimed results and your actual results differ greatly.

You’re disappointed, and you’re second guessing why you even created an online course in the first place.

You feel like a fraud. You feel like you’re not good enough. You feel like this course-launch-stuff is not for you, and you’re thinking of throwing in the towel.

I know. I’ve been there… and so have many online course creators that I’ve had the opportunity to help over the years.

I know what it feels like to be disappointed with the results of a course launch. And I also know what is required to turn that disappointing launch into a raving success.

If you’re about to launch your first course, the ideas in this post will help make your launch a raving success. The same applies if you’ve launched your course with unsatisfactory results.

But before I dive deep into the things you need to do, let’s first of all look at the reason why course launches fail.

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The 3 Reasons For A “Failed” Online Course Launch

As a trouble-shooter of online businesses and course launches, I’ve been privileged to get behind the scenes of several course launches. And over and over again, the same factors are responsible for producing disappointing results.

What are these reasons? Here they are:

  1. The inability to craft the right off
  2. The inability to present your offer to thousands of the right audience
  3. The inability to achieve a decent conversion

These are the 3 factors that are responsible for every product launch that produces unsatisfactory results regardless of the niche or product that’s being launched. It has never changed and probably never will.

Understand this: people do not buy courses because they are tired of holding their cash or carrying it around in their wallets.

People buy courses because they desire a specific outcome that the course promises to give them, and they want it so badly more than they want the cash in their wallet, and they are willing to exchange the cash in their wallet for the outcome they want.

So if you want to turn your course launch into a raving success, your best bet is to create a system that will enable you craft the right offer, present it to thousands of people in the right audience in a way that produces a desirable conversion rate.

Now that you know the factors that are responsible for giving you your ideal launch results, the next question is: how will you know if there’s anything in your process that will sabotage your efforts?

The Secret Weapon Of The Pros

I guess when you hear of the million dollar launches of the pros, it paints a rosy picture of a right-of-the-bat, successful course launch, right?

Wrong!

The truth is… many of those million dollar courses are the second or third time they’re being launched. And contrary to what you think, just like you and I, the pros repeatedly suffer from their own share of disappointing course launches.

So how do they finally turn those disappointments into million dollar successes?

The answer: troubleshooting!

Troubleshooting is the way the pros consistently turn their disappointing course launches into raving successes. It’s the systematic art of finding the constraints and bottlenecks that are undermining and sabotaging the efforts and success of your business.

For a course creator, this is the process of finding the constraints in your marketing process that are painfully hindering you from the three necessary pillars of a successful course launch, which are: making the right offer, presenting it to the right audience, and having a sales process with a strong conversation rate.

So now that you’ve known the secret weapon of the pros, how do you troubleshoot your course launch without stressing yourself out?

The Basics of Troubleshooting: How To Multiply The Results of Your Course Launch

Since you’ve already created the marketing materials that was used in launching the course, there’s no need to sweat things out or create everything from scratch.

At this stage you’ll be leveraging your existing efforts. All you just want to do is find out how many weakest links are existing in your marketing process and where exactly they are hiding.

To successfully accomplish this, you’ll have to start with:

1. Your Goal

By goal, I mean the ideal revenue you expect to generate with your course launch.

Once you know the ideal figure, you then work backwards to determine how it would be achieved.

So, let’s say for example, your goal was to make $50,000 with your launch. Below are various formulas for achieving that:

  1. $50,000  =  50 x 1,000
  2. $50,000  =  25 x 2,000
  3. $50,000  =  100 x 500
  4. $50,000  =  200 x 250
  5. $50,000  =  10 x 50 x 100
  6. $50,000  =  40 x 25 x 50

If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the dollar sign ($) is not placed in the right hand side of any of the simple equations above. And that was done for a purpose.

Why?

Because from my experience, the dollar sign is so important that it significantly impacts everything thing you do concerning your launch. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say, in the first equation, you decided to place the $ before 50, what does it tell you? It tells you that to make $50K with your course launch, you’d have to get 1,000 people to pay you the sum of $50 each.

But if the dollar sign is placed before 1,000 it means that to make $50K, you’ll only need 50 paying customers.

And this is only if your launch is a one-product launch.

If your launch is a multiple products in it like in the case of a sales funnel, then equations iv and v comes to play.

In this case, if the dollar sign is placed before 10 and 50, it means you would need 100 people to pay you $50 for the front end product and you would want that same number of people to take advantage of the $10 upsell you offer at the backend.

Or if it is a membership site or subscription package you’re launching, with equation iv, your goal will be to get 100 people to pay you $50 consistently for a period of 10 months (or weeks, depending on your billing cycle).

So as you can see, great care has to be taken and all scenario should be properly considered before choosing where to place the dollar sign.

Related: How to Price Your Online Course (Complete Guide)

2. Your Data

Once you’ve decided on the formula to achieve your ideal goals, your next call is to analyze your data.

Don’t worry, it’s not hard. All you need is to look at the metrics of every webpage or asset that supports the accomplishment of that goal. A great tool for this is Google Analytics.

So let’s say in your case, you sent your traffic to a lead generation page. After entering their email, they are automatically redirected to your sales page, with several emails to follow up with unconverted prospects.

In this over-simplified example, the webpages and asset that are supporting your goal are the lead generation page, emails, sales page and checkout page.

While looking at your data, you want to know how many people visited the lead generation page, and how many successfully entered their email address to get to the sales page. On the sales page, you also want to know the number of people that clicked the “Buy Now” button to get to the checkout page.

On the checkout page, you’ll also want to know how many people actually ordered and how many bailed. With your email data, you also want to know what your open rates and click-through rates are.

This information will give you a good insight as to the performance of all your webpages and asset.

For example, if you want to make $50K selling a $1,000 course, you need no less than 50 people to get to your checkout page from your sales page. If your sales page converts let’s say at 3%, it means you need no less than 1,667 people landing on that page after successfully entering their email in the lead generation page.

Analyzing your data will tell you which of your webpages and asset is not doing a good job in helping you to achieve your goal.

Related: Financial Forecasting & Important Metrics of an Online Course Business (Interview)

3. Multivariate Testing

After finding out where friction exists in your marketing pages and assets, what do you do next?

You change it. And after changing it, you test it to see if there’s any noticeable change of results.

This part of the process can feel a little overwhelming. Most online course creators scratch their heads when they get to this part simply because they aren’t sure what they need to fix.

And I understand that. But if you did a good job analyzing your data, this will help reduce the overwhelm you’re likely face at this stage.

Also, it is important to know that this stage goes hand in hand with the previous stage, because when you change something on any of your pages or assets, you want to look at your data to find out the immediate impact.

Is it better than the old version? Congrats, move on to the next item that needs fixing. Was it worse than the old version? Go back and try something else.

So how do you go about all this?

Well, while troubleshooting for clients, here’s how I go about it:

For example, let’s say that when potential customers visit your course sales page, the majority of them leave without proceeding to the checkout page (a pretty common scenario). Here are some of the things on a course sales page that I’ll split test in no particular order.

You can try and split test any—or more—of these to see how they change the results you’re getting.

  • The Offer:

This entails what the customer is paying for, what they’re getting, when they’re getting it, how they’re getting it, and why they’re getting the package in that way.

  • The Lead statements:

This is the first 300 to 500 words that starts the copy. The purpose of these words is to hook the customer into the rest of the copy and make him or her see why doing so is in his own best interest.

  • The Logic/Argument:

All professional copywriters know that there is a hidden conversation going on in your prospect’s head based on the outcome they want and other products or services that promise to give them that outcome. The stronger and logical your argument, the more the customer thinks about your course as the best solution to their needs.

  • The Headline:

In most cases, rewording your headline can yield staggering results. Make sure it’s compelling. Make sure it captures their attention and peaks their interest.

  • The risk-reversal:

No one loves to lose. One fear your prospect’s might have is the fear of losing their money or time without getting the outcome they desired. How well you put that fear to sleep plays favourably in your results.

  • Page design or layout:

How well your pages appear can have a tremendous effect on your results. If your web pages look great only on desktop, but breaks on mobile devices, then you’ve got to fix that ASAP.

  • Technologies:

In my experience, I’ve seen situations where expired SSL certificates were causing the business a lot of money. Once this was fixed, sales went up dramatically without changing or tweaking any other thing.

Test one change at a time (run split tests)

One more thing: while troubleshooting, do not perform all the changes at once, unless you’re a seasoned trouble-shooter. If you do, you just might not know what worked and what didn’t.

In addition, I do not recommend making these changes on your existing web pages or assets. Leave those ones the way they are and use them as a control. To make any changes, duplicate the corresponding web page or asset and make your changes on the duplicated page. This is how you conduct a split test (a test with only two different variables).

When done, publish it and let both the original and duplicated page run live. Makes sure they both get equal exposure to the same set of visitors to get the best results possible.

After a short while (I recommend at least 3 days), you can then compare the results of both of them and see which one is the winner.

And mind you, it’s not only sales pages that needs troubleshooting. Every asset of your business that prospects interacts with (ads, emails, upsells, downsells, etc.) and even your target audience can be troubleshot if their performance is less than ideal.

Treat your course launch like an experiment

If your course launch doesn’t go as well as you hoped, don’t take it personally. Look at the data. Find out what went wrong. Look for opportunities to optimize your conversation rates at each step in your sales process.

Once you’ve identified and fixed the constraints in your course launch process, you’ll be in a better position to achieve whatever goals you have for your launch.

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Godwin Ifeanyi is the troubleshooting expert that business owners and online course creators go to when they want to increase their sales. To get in touch with Godwin, visit: jointmarketer.com