Selling Evergreen Online Courses Versus Scheduling Multiple Launches. Which is Better?8 minute read
One of the many benefits of online education is its flexibility, both for creators and their students.
However, the same flexibility can lead creators to experience doubts and uncertainty when it comes to making decisions about their preferred business models.
A common question course creators ask themselves is: "Should I keep enrollment permanently open or hold launches for my online course?"
While there is no right or wrong answer, both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, it all comes down to making the right choice that adapts best to your unique audience and course type.
In today’s article, we will discuss the pros and cons of holding multiple launches and an open evergreen enrollment, as well as a recommendation that captures the best of both strategies. With this information, you will be able to confidently decide which option is the best one for you.
Open (or Evergreen) Enrollment for Your Online Courses
Open or Evergreen enrollment means that any student can access the online course immediately after purchasing it at any given time, and that your online course is always available for purchase by new prospective learners.
For its simplicity, 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, as it should be easy for you to receive consistent leads even without launching your course over and over again.
How to Set Open Enrollment in Heights Platform?
Simply publishing your online course in Heights Platform will make sure that your enrollment is open and the course is permanently accessible to students (unless you decide to close it).
Find more information here: Opening or Closing Enrollment to Your Program
Pros of Evergreen Enrollment
- It is the most simple enrollment option for course creators: once your course is published, you don’t have to manage future launches (and the time/money that goes into orchestrating them).
- Your students can easily purchase your course at any given time, they don't have to join a waiting list and can access your content immediately.
- If you are looking to generate a passive income stream, open enrollment might be the best option for you. However, to be truly successful in the online course business you will always have to interact with your students and tweak your content even after the launch date.
- It is the best option to leverage “impulse buying”. If a visitor sees that your content is immediately available, they may be more inclined to purchase it right away, while if they have to wait a long time to access it, certain customers might lose interest.
Cons of Evergreen Enrollment
- While open enrollment is the easiest to set up, it might be harder to manage your students afterward. Since students are all joining at different times, your support efforts will not be evenly distributed and might be repetitive.
- While open enrollment helps you leverage “impulse buying” decisions, it misses capturing the FOMO (fear of missing out) and “exclusivity” that comes with waiting for a launch date. If someone wants to buy your course, but it is not immediately available or will be unavailable in the near future, this fear of missing out can increase desire and “hype” for your online course.
- You miss out on creating “urgency” to buy your course. If students can only purchase your course before the launch date, it reduces potential procrastination in their buying decision.
Setting a Single Course Launch Date
Setting a Single Future Launch Date for your online course or membership site means that you are allowing students to access your program only from a certain date and time.
If you decide to set a launch date for your course, students will be able to purchase your online course, but will only be granted access on a set date.
This allows you to pre-sell your online course or program. What is Pre-Selling?
Pre-selling means putting an online course up for sale before it is actually finished, allowing students to purchase it, but not access it until the actual release date.
Pre-selling can be extremely beneficial to both you and your future students. Here's why:
First of all, if you put your course up for sale before it is finished, you get a chance to validate your idea. If you see that people are buying your program, then it means that your idea was valid and there is a demand for your online product.
At the same time visitors who see the online course you are pre-selling, might have questions about the content or requests. Their feedback will give you a clearer idea of what your audience wants and expects from your online course, and you will be able to tweak your content to adapt to their needs. Eventually, this process will lead to a better final product that matches your audience's desires.
Another benefit to pre-selling your online course is the opportunity to gain a small revenue amount to fund the creation of your course. If people purchase your program before it is finished, you will collect profit to help you keep building content.
Do you want to learn more about pre-selling an online course? Make sure to check out this article from our blog: How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course and Profit Before the Launch
Without a doubt, three key things I'd recommend to any new course builder are:
- Build an audience BEFORE you create your course so that you have people to launch to
- Test your course with a small number of customers before you actually launch it
- Ask for video testimonials from these customers that you can use to market your course - that social proof is a game-changer.
Michelle Reeves - Creates online courses about podcasting using Heights Platform
How to Set a Future Launch Date in Heights Platform?
Heights Platform includes a “Launch Date” feature where you can select the preferred release date and time for any online course or product you are selling through the platform.
Learn how to do this in detail here: Using Launch Date to Presell Courses and Bundles
Pros of a Single Future Launch Date
- You can leverage Pre-Selling to validate your online course idea before the launch, build an audience and gain their feedback.
- By marketing your online course before a set launch date in the future you are creating hype around your program and growing anticipation among your audience.
- You can gather an audience of people who are excited about your launch and add them to your mailing list or waiting list to keep them engaged.
- Students will be easier to manage if they all start enrollment on the same date or time period. You will be able to assist them and interact with them at once.
- If a large number of people start your course at the same time, you can create a community of students who are going through your program together and they are able to share their feedback with each other. Heights Platform's online course software makes it easy to create an online community with our built-in discussion boards and unique projects feature.
Cons of a Single Future Launch Date
- Depending on the type of course and content you are selling, your audience might not react well to a launch date that is too far in the future. Always try to assess what business model works best for you by understanding your audience's needs first.
- After the single launch date, it can be difficult to maintain the “hype” around your course. If this is your case, consider scheduling multiple launches.
Scheduling Multiple Course Launches and Rolling Launch Periods
The last scenario involves holding multiple launches throughout the year. Traditionally, this creates periods where your course is available for sale, and after launch, enrollment will completely close down, with students being unable to purchase your course until your next launch when enrollment opens up again.
While this creates the FOMO and urgency that an evergreen enrollment strategy lacks, planning and running multiple launches for your online courses can be time-consuming, expensive, and difficult to pull off successfully.
At Heights Platform we believe there is a solution that offers the best of both evergreen enrollment and holding multiple launches. We refer to this strategy as "rolling launches".
Unlike holding 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 prepurchased get access, then you would configure your next launch date for your course and 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.
With multiple rolling lanches, 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 very profitable solution for creators. Multiple launches help you create scarcity and urgency among your audience while still growing and retaining your student base.
A critical point here is to make sure your online course creation software supports the ability to create multiple rolling launches.
How Heights Platform facilitates scheduling multiple rolling launches:
Heights Platform makes it effortless to configure rolling launches for your online courses, digital products, and bundles of learning content. Learn all about this feature here: Using Launch Date to Presell Courses and Bundles
Along with scheduling multiple launches, you can use a feature called “days of access”, which allows you to limit the access time for a specific course. For example, depending on the course you are selling, you might set an expiration date so that a student gets access to the course for one year, at which time they will have to purchase it again if they want to rejoin.
This feature allows you to instill a “now-or-never” feeling in your potential students and hopefully can motivate them to complete their learning material before their access expires. However, keep in mind that granting unlimited access to your course for your students is also extremely beneficial (and usually what we recommend), as past students can continue to gain value from what you have to offer, can become advocates for your brand, and as alumni can provide assistance and recommendations to your newer students.
Let’s see what are the pros and cons of this business model.
Pros of Scheduling Multiple Launches
- You can create a sense of urgency and excitement around your course multiple times in the year.
- Multiple launches allow you to focus on marketing your course while also nurturing your current students, who still have access to your program.
- You can leverage the concept of pre-selling to sell out your course before it releases and further validates your idea.
- With rolling launches, you have the benefits of traditional launches, plus the benefits of your content always being available for purchase, like evergreen enrollment.
- A higher number of students will join your course at the same time around each launch date, making it easier for you to manage them, streamline the onboarding process and create a sense of community because everyone is going through the same content at the same time.
Cons of Scheduling Multiple Launches
- Compared to evergreen enrollment this approach is more difficult to execute and involves more work.
- If you don’t have time to promote your online course launch and take care of your current students at the same time, it can be counterproductive as you will not be able to keep up with your work.
So what is the best way to sell an online course?
The answer is: it depends.
All business models explained in this article are valid, however, to find out which solution is the best one for you, take a look at your course and audience base.
Try to understand how your audience would react to each situation explained above. Will they be happier with an evergreen course, a single launch date to look forward to, or the possibility of joining your course multiple times during the year? Similarly, for your own planning, does your course create a better result if you are able to help a group of students through it at the same time versus having students all be at random points of progress.
Whatever solution you choose for your program, it needs to make sense with your personal goals as well.
If you want your online course to be your only source of income, scheduling multiple launches might be the better solution for you, as you can concentrate all of your energy in promoting each launch while managing current students.
However if you aim to keep your online course as a source of side income to your main business, evergreen enrollment for your courses might be a more suitable option.Create with the Best Online Course Software