8 weeks to $100K (Course launch case study)

First, let me catch you up to speed. I’ve been doing online business for about 10 years.

I get pretty good, very specific traffic (people who want to publish a book) and get about 100 optins a day with no ads or promotion. The problem is, I’ve had trouble turning that traffic into real revenue. Most of my sites don’t sell anything, or they sell badly. I’ve been making a living with cover design services, but I wanted to quit and focus on my writing… so I’ve been building up passive income assets (digital products and courses).

Ebooks are easy for me – that’s what I do anyway. But I knew courses have much more potential. So first I made myself get comfortable on YouTube (took a year to not feel stupid on camera). Then I spent a year figuring all the course platform tech stuff out (decided on Teachable, for a variety of reasons, and it works for me).

Launched my first course to my list last year, and made 18K with no ads or affiliates.

So far, so good.

Now I want to do better

I have a new course on basically the same subject (book marketing), but it will be better organized, more professional, and more expensive (last one was $149, this one will be $349).

My intentions.

I’d like to sell 100 copies to my list, with a really good and thorough launch campaign. That’s step 1.

I’ll probably do a preorder or discount for my current list, or just offer some big bonuses that I’ll remove later.

During my first launch, I’ll probably also be boosting posts and videos on Facebook (course testimonials, course is open, course is closing, etc).

I’ll be doing lots more live videos than usual also.

BUT THEN, after the first launch, I’ll go for the gold, using ads to get new potential buyers into multiple funnels. My plan is to test 8 different course selling tactics, pair them with targeted Facebook advertising, to see which converts the best. I’ll do most of the advertising on day one and have a 5 day course funnel. It’ll be a limited time offer with a ticking clock, so I can accurately measure sales and results.

Each week I’ll spend $1000 on ads to the different landing page/optin offers, use basically the same autoresponder/email series funnel and course pages, and fine which ones work the best.

I’ll test 10 different ad variation options each week to discover which converts the best (spending $10 on each to find a winner, then $900 on the ad that performs best.)

I’ll also test picture vs. video ads.

LANDING PAGES

I’ll be advertising mostly to squeeze pages, which will have:

  • benefits-headline
  • picture of me
  • what you’ll learn
  • call to action.=
  • credibility boosters (logos, reviews)
  • “proof” social media proof
  • “Yes – save my spot!” 

 

Here are the 8 strategies I’ll be testing: I’ll do each of these as a case study and record videos of the process and the results. I’ll share most of those videos for free on YouTube, but also turn all the content into a NEW course on launch courses (which is a nice added-value for my Teachable school).

 

Week #1. Free ebook 

I’ll advertise a free ebook, then do the course launch campaign. (I can actually split test 3 or 4 books or a free library set of 5 books).

 

Week #2. Free webinar

I’ll do a free webinar / replay to course sales page. 

Example:

FREE Workshop:
Simple Book Marketing Hacks to Easily Outrank Bestselling Authors.
Book Promotion Strategies that Make Marketing Obsolete.
 
Click to sign up for the free training now!

 

Where were you? Did you miss it? Last chance for writers! (three emails to remind?)

 

Week #3. Free video series

The classic, Jeff Walker style 3-video product launch series.

Split test “live workshop” or “live masterclass.”

As an alternative, I met set up a free mini-course on Teachable and promote that. 

 

Week #4. One month free book promotion

I saw someone else offering this and thought it was clever. This is relatively easy to offer; I have sites with great site authority. I can add a WordPress plugin for user-submitted content. They sign up, create their own profiles on one of my sites, upload their book and content, share their post.

A) They can grow traffic to their site and I give them immediate value.

B) Offer them a one-time special offer after they post (probably the free book, free videos series or webinar – whichever is converting best).


Week #5. Evergreen funnel

This is the most exciting, and yet obvious option: improve my existing on-page conversion and email funnel system to boost sales. I have several optin offers for book design, and some articles that get decent traffic – I’ll add the course funnel at the end of my current autoresponder series, then add popup boxes to all my sites with a relevant offer, then add lead-gen bonuses to my popular content… then pay to boost my free articles or resources.

I need to improve open rates to my emails, I need to add more stories and better headlines, establish trust and authority faster, overdeliver on value, and offer upsells and downsells in the checkout process.

 

+ Boost conversion

Fix my blog

This site (Creativindie) gets almost 2000 hits a day and I’m not great at driving optins or selling anything. I want to rebrand with a new, cleaner interface that’s much more focused on conversion and selling (ie, helping people find what they need to get the results they want). I’ll set up a new email funnel (probably including one of the earlier options), fix my site and then count up the optins to sales ratio.

 

+Double traffic.

Fix DIY sites. New everything.

My two DIY book design sites get a good amount of traffic but the sites have lots of problems and need an overhaul.

This are easy, specific goals to implement. Studying copywriting, landing pages, testing, open rates to emails… autoresponders…
Currently, conversion kind of sucks. 20 optins a day. one sale (actually though, that’s pretty great!)

GOAL=40 optins a day with better landing pages (double optins). double sales with better sales copy/adresponders/landing pages. = 4x.

1 sale a day becomes FOUR sales a day.

THEN double traffic with long-term platform building strategies= 8sales a day… average = 800. close to 1000 a DAY. hell yeah.

 

Week #6. Guest posts

10 high quality, in-depth case studies for big sites with my target audience. Get them published, link back to free optin offer or content upgrade.

 

Week #7. Giveaway

I’ve done a lot with giveaways, and appreciate the viral nature of the setup (I even have my own giveaway app for writers.)

I’m not exactly sure what kind of giveaway I’ll do for this course launch. It might *actually* be a more engaged activity like a free 5-day challenge that includes posting/sharing content on social media. But a big publishing package, including free everything, free editing, free cover design, will convert pretty well and build a specific list.

 

Week #8. Affiliates

I haven’t fully decided to use affiliates, though I know I need to incentivize people to share my course. So I *might* experiment with this… adding an “ambassador” program or an “intern” program where people can earn the course for free if they get three people to sign up.

On the other hand, once my course is proven, I may just offer to partner with a few JVs who have big platforms in the publishing world… I’m friends with a lot of them and if my course is converting well, this should be profitable for both of us. Maybe I’ll aim to do 5 webinars/list-shares with influencers with big lists of my target audience. I think there are lots of writers with a platform and traffic who aren’t making much money with their books, so if I can partner with lots of them, it’s the fastest and easiest way to grow.

 

Launch goals…

If I can sell 100 copies to my list, which I think I can (my course is great, I’ve proven I know my shit and have unique and valuable book marketing knowledge that nobody else has) then I should make about $35K on launch. I’ll probably have a 10-day launch window.

I’ll do a full email series which looks something like this:

  • Course is coming, soon, launches tomorrow, includes THIS…
  • Conversion story – why I built this course and how it’s different
  • Course is OPEN – link
  • Big value share/sneak preview (share most helpful videos/sneak peaks…. in Teachable I could make some of the modules visible to the public and send them to the course page).
  • Is this course right for you? Overcome common objections or questions.
  • AMA / Facebook live
  • ADD an extra mid-launch bonus
  • Mid-launch bonus going away at midnight.
  • Share testimonials from students
  • Webinar/masterclass/live event
  • Closing Tomorrow, repeat benefits
  • Last reminder, closes today (in 8 hours) – more testimonials and case studies.
  • Final call, course closes in 1 to 3 hours – repeat benefits and bonuses
  • (Final 15 minutes)
  • After launch… open up a payment plan for those who were on the fence.

 

To hit $100K, I’d need to sell 35 courses a week. So I’ll shoot for at least 350 signups a week and a 10% conversion.

  • 5 course sales a day
  • 50 in 10 days
  • 100 in 20 days
  • 200 in 40 days
  • 300 in sixty days (which will be $100K in 8 weeks)

300 course sales for $349. That’s my goal.

But actually, the exciting thing is I could make much more, because with ads and funnels you can scale up pretty quickly (especially if I add in some upsells and downsells).

RESULTS

As I launch this course, I’m going to be recording all the process of launching it, and I’ll update this post with results on each specific week’s course marketing strategy.

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me
  • Hi Derek,

    I appreciate your transparency and how willing you are to share the ups and downs of growing your business. Really looking forward to following along with your launch!

  • Adrijus Guscia

    I think you have lots of potential to pick up some low-hanging fruit with just Facebook Retargeting – I don’t recall seeing articles or ads after visiting your site. That can be nice source of sales for ya. Esp. if you plan to update site/autoresponders too. Should be big growth!

    Will be fun to watch progress! Good luck!

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