Heights Platform How to Keep Earning From Your Online Course After You Launch

How to Keep Earning From Your Online Course After You Launch

11 minute read

Selling online courses is a business model with many benefits: flexibility, leveraged income potential, high rewards and low starting costs.

However, as with any type of online learning business, selling online courses or membership sites is not a magical recipe for money-making, and it is a constant work in progress.

Picture this: you have launched your first online course. For the past months, you have been heavily promoting on social media and growing your email list, and finally, the launch date has come, and you have gained a bunch of students!

Now what? Do you need to go through this all over again?

It can be tiring for creators to constantly start from zero and launch their online courses no-stop.

So, is there another way to keep earning recurring revenue from a course after you first launch it?

The short answer is YES, there is! But before we get into it, you should know that this is not a magic formula for success either... it also involves constant iteration and improvement. However, compared to a model where you are constantly launching the same course to different people, it allows you to take a more relaxed approach to selling online courses.

How to Keep Earning Money From Your Online Course After You Launch

A Real-Life Example

In our podcast show called The Creator's Adventure, we recently had the pleasure of interviewing a successful course creator, Caitlin Bacher.

When Caitlin first started out as a course creator, she followed the common launch model for selling online courses, which involves intense periods of preparation leading up to a short sales window.

While she found levels of success following this model, she also relaized that the launch model led to inconsistent revenue and high stress.

Each launch felt like a gamble, with a lot of upfront investment in marketing and content creation. In one instance, she mentioned spending $20,000 upfront for a launch that only broke even, leaving no profit to support herself or reinvest in the business.

This financial unpredictability made it difficult to plan for the future and caused significant personal stress.

She soon learned about a different approach to selling online courses (evergreen online courses) from a fellow entrepreneur in a mastermind group who was successfully selling a course with an automated system. This model appealed to Caitlin as it promised a steadier and more predictable income stream.

Watch the full interview here:

The No-Stress Method for Selling Online Courses [with Caitlin Bacher] - The Creator's Adventure #107

This was when Caitlin transitioned to an evergreen sales model, which allows for the continuous enrollment of students without the need for periodic launches.

This shift didn't come without its trials, as it required a significant change in strategy, including developing automated marketing funnels that could nurture leads and convert sales year-round.

The evergreen model allowed Caitlin to plan more reliably for the future, reinvest in her business, and achieve a better work-life balance. It also provided her with the freedom and flexibility to enjoy her life while running a profitable business.

So, how exactly did Caitlin manage to sell online courses without the stress? Keep reading below as we outline the different strategies you can use to sell online courses, and a few tips on how to sell an evergreen course successfully.

3 Ways to Launch Online Courses

#1: Open or Evergreen Enrollment for Online Courses

Open or Evergreen enrollment means that students can access your online course immediately after purchasing it at any given time, and your course is always available for purchase by new prospective learners.

This strategy is great if your content is mostly evergreen or if you consider your online courses as a side income to your main business.

If you have a large audience base or you are an established creator, you may opt for using this strategy.

It should be easy for you to receive consistent leads even without launching your course over and over again.

How to Set Up Open Enrollment Using Heights Platform

By publishing your online course on the Heights Platform, the enrollment is open, and the course is permanently accessible to students unless you decide to close it.

Learn more: Opening or Closing Enrollment to Your Program

Advantages of Evergreen Enrollment

  • Simplicity: Once published, there’s no need to manage future launches, saving time and money.
  • Accessibility: Students can purchase and access the course immediately, without waiting lists.
  • Passive Income: Ideal for generating passive income, though interaction and content updates remain essential.
  • Impulse Purchases: Immediate availability can encourage quick buying decisions.

Disadvantages of Evergreen Enrollment

  • Management Challenges: With students joining at different times, support efforts might become uneven and repetitive.
  • Lack of Urgency: The constant availability may reduce the urgency and exclusivity that can drive demand during specific launch periods.

#2: Setting a Single Future Launch Date

Setting a single future launch date for your online course or membership site means that students will only be able to access your program from a specific date and time.

If you decide to set a launch date for your course, students can purchase your online course, but they will only be granted access on the set date.

This is sometimes associated with pre-selling an online course, which means putting it up for sale before it is finished, allowing students to purchase it but not access it until the actual release date.

Pre-selling your online course can benefit you in several ways. Firstly, it helps you validate your idea and get feedback from potential students. Secondly, it allows you to gain revenue to fund the creation of your course while you build content.

Pros of a Single Future Launch Date

  • Validation and Anticipation: Validates your course idea and builds anticipation among your audience.
  • Community Building: Simultaneous student start dates foster community and streamline support.

Cons of a Single Future Launch Date

  • Potential "Hype" Loss: Maintaining interest can be challenging if the launch date is too distant or after the initial launch.

How to Set a Single Launch Date Using Heights Platform

Heights Platform offers a "Launch Date" feature, allowing you to choose when to release your online course or product through the platform.

Learn how to do this in detail here: Using Launch Date to Presell Courses and Bundles

#3: Scheduling Multiple Launches and Rolling Launch Periods (Automated)

The last scenario involves having multiple launches throughout the year. Traditionally, this creates periods where your course is available for sale, and after the launch, enrollment will completely close down.

Students will be unable to purchase your course until your next launch when enrollment opens up again.

Although this creates the fear of missing out (FOMO) and urgency that an evergreen enrollment strategy lacks, planning and running multiple launches for your online courses can be time-consuming, expensive, and challenging to execute successfully.

This was the same issue that Caitlin had with her multiple-launch strategy.

However, there is a better way to use this method, without being overwhelmed:

At Heights Platform, we built a feature that allows you to get the best of both evergreen enrollment and holding multiple launches.

It is called "rolling launches." Unlike traditional launch periods throughout the year, where your enrollment closes after the launch, a rolling launch period means that as soon as your course launches and the customers who pre-purchase get access, you will configure your next launch date for your course.

Instead of closing enrollment, your course's next release will remain up for sale continuously.

Like an evergreen enrollment strategy, your customers would be able to purchase your course at any time.

And like a course presale launch, your new students will not get access to the course until the new launch date.

This makes the concept of "rolling launches" a great solution for creators who wish to find a middle ground between evergreen courses and traditional launch periods.

Plus, it is all automated!

With multiple rolling launches, you can promote your online course before the release while still providing access to students who purchased your program on previous launches.

This way, you can benefit from the “hype” around the launch without losing your current students. If done right, this business model can be a profitable solution for creators. Multiple launches help you create scarcity and urgency among your audience while still growing and retaining your student base.

How to Use Rolling Launches in Heights Platform

With Heights Platform, you can schedule multiple launches year round! It is as simple as choosing multiple launch date in your course settings, that's all! Everything is automated.

Students who purchase access to your course will join in groups at the earliest launch date, and they will not lose access once the next launch date arrives (unless you set an expiration date on your course access).

Once the next launch date arrives, a new group of students will join the course. If you set a drip feed to your lessons, students will be able to access the lessons in order from their start date!

Advantages of Multiple Launches

  • Urgency and Scarcity: Frequent launches can create urgency and a sense of scarcity, enhancing student enrollment.
  • Continual Engagement: Allows ongoing marketing and engagement with current students.
  • It's an automated process (only if you use Heights Platform): you don't have to worry about manually enrolling new students each time you launch!

Disadvantages of Multiple Launches

  • Increased Effort: This can be more complex to execute, especially if you are not using Heights Platform's rolling launch feature, requiring significant effort in promotion and student management.

Tips for Keep Earning Money After The First Time You Launch

Now that you know about the main three ways of selling courses online, let's see a few tips on how you can successfully launch your online course, and keep earning recurring revenue even after the first time you launch.

Shift from Launch to Evergreen

If launching the same course over and over again is not for you, you can try shifting to an evergreen model.

As we mentioned earlier, an evergreen course means that enrollment is open at all times, and students who purchase your course get immediate access.

Remember Caitlin's story? She shifted from the traditional launch model to an evergreen model.

This change allowed her to automate sales, reducing the stress and inconsistency of income that comes with periodic launches.

In our interview, Caitlin emphasized that the evergreen model requires a different approach compared to launches. She found that replicating strategies that worked in live launches did not automatically translate to success in an automated, evergreen setting.

So it is crucial to adapt and test strategies specifically tailored for evergreen sales (we will see more marketing ideas later).

Finally, Caitlin pointed out that an evergreen model allows for a more sustainable, balanced approach to business. It enables continuous revenue without the peaks associated with launch cycles, providing a more stable financial base to grow the business.

Use Heights Platform's Rolling Launch Feature

If an evergreen course is not for you, but you still want to avoid the stress associated with multiple launches, you can try using Heights Platform's rolling launch feature!

In Heights Platform, rolling launches mean that your course automatically launches multiple times during the year.

The difference with the traditional multiple launch models that Caitlin found overwhelming is that the process is automated in Heights Platform!

This means that you can focus on marketing and improving your course, as you would do with an evergreen enrollment, but without the stress of managing the launches.

By launching your course multiple times, you can take advantage of the excitement and buzz surrounding the launch without losing your existing students.

When executed correctly, this business model can be a highly profitable solution for course creators. Conducting multiple launches can help you generate a sense of scarcity and urgency among your audience while also expanding and retaining your student base.

As we previously mentioned, this process is completely automated inside Heights Platform!

When students buy your course, they will join a group of learners on the earliest launch date. They will keep access to the course even after the next launch date, unless you set an expiration date for their access.

Once the next launch date arrives, a new group of students will join the course. If you have set a drip feed for your lessons, then students will be able to access the lessons in the order you have set from their start date.

Try the rolling launches features by creating your free Heights Platform account!

Create Your Online Course Today

Consistently Improve Your Course Based on Feedback

Another great way to create a successful course (whether you sell it evergreen or not) is to always try to improve it based on the feedback of your students.

When we interviewed Caitilin, she suggested treating your course launches like a series of experiments, constantly tweaking and refining elements like webinar titles or email subject lines to improve results over time.

The best way to improve your course over time is to do so based on your students feedback. Reaching out to early students by email or phone calls will help you understand the barriers customers face and refine marketing messages based on real feedback, rather than assumptions.

Caitlin adopts an experimental approach to find what works best in the evergreen context. She suggests making small changes to the marketing materials and tracking their impact on sales, thereby creating a culture of ongoing improvement.

Regularly adding new course content or updating existing modules based on the latest trends or feedback can encourage previous customers to revisit your course and can serve as a selling point to new users.

Implement Automated Sales Funnels

The best way to reduce online course launch stress is by automating your marketing process as much as you can. This can be done via a sales funnel!

Caitlin shifted from live launches to using automated funnels. These funnels are designed to continuously promote her course without the need for periodic, high-intensity marketing campaigns. The automated systems handle the promotion and sale of the course around the clock.

She also emphasized the importance of continuously optimizing the content in your sales page. This includes testing and refining web pages, emails, and other content elements to see what resonates best with the audience and leads to conversions.

Leverage Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the best and cheapest way to promote any online business.

This involves creating valuable and relevant content that addresses the needs and questions of your target audience.

Blogs, podcasts, videos, and social media posts can help maintain interest and drive continuous traffic to your course. The content should be optimized for SEO to ensure long-term visibility.

Set Up Email Marketing Automation

Another way to automate the sales process is by setting up email automation to contact perspective students who go through your sales funnel.

To develop a robust email marketing strategy that nurtures leads over time, you can use automated email sequences that engage potential customers at various stages of their decision-making process.

Remember to personalize emails based on user behavior to increase relevance and conversion rates.

Build a Community

A community is a place where your online course students can interact with you and fellow learners, and discuss topics related to your course, as well as build connections and learn together.

A community can also be a great way to automate your sales process, as it can serve as a fantastic marketing strategy. You could open the community to people who did not purchase your course yet, and let your current students promote the value of your program to them!

Creating a community, regardless of whether it is free or paid, can be a powerful tool for running a successful and immersive online course business that provides value to its students.

Communities not only help in retaining customers but also in creating advocates who can help in the organic promotion of your course.

Heights Platform offers a built-in community feature, where you can create unlimited communication channels!

The community in Heights provides a platform where students can share their thoughts and ideas about your course, ask questions, provide feedback and interact with you and each other.

Create Your Online Course Today

Upselling and Cross-Selling

Introducing complementary courses or services to existing customers can increase the lifetime value of each customer and keep them engaged with your brand over time.

Consider offering product up-sells and order bumps that potential customers can easily add to their cart at checkout.

With Heights Platform, you can customize the checkout page of your courses with ease!

Upsells are a great way to introduce your students to another course you're selling. You can offer a special price to encourage them to purchase it. Order bumps work best with "impulse-buy" products, such as digital downloads or cheaper products that complement your main offering.

In Heights Platform, you can customize your course checkout page add order bumps and upsells for each product purchase and set a unique upsell price to make the offer even more alluring.

Start a Referral or Affiliate Program

Another great way to make your students the marketers of your online course is by setting up a referral or affiliate program.

This way, your students are incentivized to spread the word about your business, as they will be reward with a monetary bonus, commission, or other perks.

Referrals can significantly increase your reach and bring in new customers at a lower cost compared to traditional marketing methods.

Heights Platform offers you a built-in affiliate program where your students become the promoters of your course. With Heights, it is easy to track affiliate referrals, generate unique affiliate links and manage your affiliate marketing strategy.

Create Online Courses With Heights Platform

Want to create a successful evergreen course, and earn money from your online course business without having to organize complex launches every few months?

Today, we discussed the benefits of both one-time launches and evergreen models, emphasizing the long-term advantages of the latter.

We looked at real-life examples from successful creators, such as Caitlin Bacher, who have transitioned from high-stress, one-off launches to more predictable, automated systems.

By implementing evergreen courses or utilizing rolling launches, creators can enjoy continuous enrollment, better work-life balance, and steady income.

Heights Platform provides robust tools to facilitate evergreen enrollments and automated rolling launches, ensuring that your course remains accessible and engaging year-round.

If you want to simplify your course launches while maximizing engagement and profits, sign up for a free trial at Heights Platform today!

Create Your Online Course Today