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[Making Of… #22] What A Result!

The Making Of An Online Course Part 22

In 2021 I made a new course, From WordPress To Webflow. This post is one of a series of behind-the-scenes emails I wrote as I went along, exclusively for my email list (start here).

What with work starting this month on the new energy-efficient house we’re building…

And both our children flying the nest and leaving home (and one returning pretty sharpish afterwards)…

Plus three of us moving house into tiny temporary accommodation while the new house build is in progress…

As well as me having to set up my studio in a public office space and work outside the home for the first time in over 18 years…

I’ve hardly had time breathe, let alone finish off this ‘Making Of…’ series!

Here’s a photo of the new house build so far:

(If you see chocolate brownies… just know you’re not alone).

The swimming pool is coming along well, as you can see…

So to wrap up the series, I thought it’d be nice to share with you how the little soft-launch went that I ran a few weeks ago, if you’re interested?

I’ll also explain some of the frustrating roadblocks that delayed the launch of the course waaaaay longer than I would have liked.

So in this email, let’s have a look at how the launch went a few weeks ago.

As you might recall, I finished making the course in August and then ran a quick 48-hour ‘soft launch’ to my email list only.

(By the way, I have no clue why a launch would be ‘soft’—or ‘hard’ for that matter—but it basically means ‘a quick launch without a lot of hoo-ha’. That takes too long to type though, so ‘soft’ will have to do.)

The soft launch was just a chance to get the first few people into the course who had been chomping at the bit to get access.

A quick launch like this promoted to a small group is really valuable for me cos I get early feedback, can iron out any mistakes and bugs, and also get some testimonials (nice ones, hopefully ).

No sales page, no big build-up, no fancy webinar. Just, “Here’s the link to buy. Have at it. Oh, and have an early-bird discount on me.”

This is all in preparation for the proper launch (AKA ‘a longer launch with a bit more hoo-ha’) a few weeks later.

The results:

I’ll start from the punchline and work backwards.

The course made 139 sales in those 48 hours, which was just over $29k in revenue.

Is that any good? ‍

Well, first let me say that it’s WAY more than I ever dreamt of.

But to find out what I even dreamt of, we need to work backwards from the size of the email list the offer was sent to.

A bit of background:

I re-started my current email list from scratch a while ago, back to zero. That’s because pretty much everyone on my previous 20k+ list had opted-in for Elementor-related reasons, and I knew I wasn’t going to be sending Elementor-related emails anymore.

The size of your list doesn’t matter one jot if what you’re emailing them isn’t aligned with why they opted-in in the first place.

Plus, that list was pretty stale anyway, as I hadn’t sent anything to those subscribers for a good long while.

We’ve all had emails from people saying, “Hey, remember me?!”, and you’re like… “Nope.

I didn’t want to be that guy.

I also haven’t really done much direct list-building activity at all in recent months, so my current list is fairly small at 1047 subscribers.

Now, some subscribers are on my list because they’re definitely interested in learning more about Webflow: I can tell that from looking at why they opted-in in the first place, or their response to segmentation questions and triggers.

That’s 643 people definitely interested in Webflow.

(The remaining people are interested in making and selling online courses, and also there’s some overlap of people interested in both topics.).

So to give us something to work with, let’s take an educated guess that 800 subscribers might be interested in enrolling in a Webflow course.

I’d typically expect a list-to-customer conversion rate of anything between 2-5%.

2% would be 16 sales.

5% would be 40 sales (which is what I hoped for….. with a crazy ‘stretch’ goal of 80 sales, which would be 10%).

You can imagine I was a bit bowled over (to say the least) with 139 sales—that’s 17.4%!

I had no affiliates for this launch, obviously, but did have a 2% refund rate (that’s typically around 3-5% for most launches).

While sales were great (really great in this instance), the real point of this launch was having a few people go through the course: brave souls who’d uncover my own stupid mistakes, ask me tricky questions and generally help me improve the course for future new students.

My friend Kyle (from the brilliant The Admin Bar FB group) whizzed through the entire thing in a crazy 2-day study fest, where I swear he must not have eaten or slept the entire time.

Kyle was super helpful uncovering my own stupid mistakes (dammit), asking me tricky questions and thus helping me improve the course for future students.

In fact, the first week or so was a flurry of activity and support.

My brain has a negative bias at least as good as anyone’s, so I was kinda expecting all 139 people to email within the first week asking for a refund. Luckily that didn’t happen.

In fact, what I got was a steady stream of lovely testimonials and praise (there, negative bias… take THAT!)

Things like:

“I actually enrolled in a couple of other Webflow courses but yours is definitely the best. In fact, it’s probably the best online training course I’ve ever purchased!”

“Honestly, your best work yet, Dave! Absolutely loved it, and if a job walks in the door tomorrow that’s a good fit for Webflow, I have NO DOUBT I can build it out without hesitation.”

“This is the best investment I have ever made for my web design career. It has improved my workflow immensely and has made me very confident for future projects.”

“I’m in module 5 using your framework and styles sheet and wow! What used to take me maybe an hour, now takes me 3-5 mins, no kidding! Seriously Dave, this course is awesome!”

THOSE testimonials (and many more like it) are the real result from this launch. Amazing.

So what have I learnt from this launch?

And what could you take away from it if you’re thinking of making and selling online courses?

A few things actually:

1. The size of your email list doesn’t matter much at all, if it’s an engaged list that you’ve spent time building trust with.

2. Having an email list at all very much matters. I’ve got no other channels where I talk about Webflow at the moment. And even if I did, they’d be channels belonging to someone else.

3. Your previous customers really matter. It’s much easier to sell to people who already know you and trust you and have had previous good experiences with other courses you’ve made. But again, it’s important to continue to nurture those existing relationships, and an email list is a superb direct way to do that.

Now, if you were following along with the development of the course you’ll know that my estimated timeline of a couple of months to make and launch it “evolved” into more like four-and-a-bit-months.

And if you were ever wondering: “Why the hell is it taking this lazy-assed work-shy good-for-nothing so damn long? What is he even DOING?!”

Then the next and final email in this ‘Making Of…’ series will delve into just that.