:Marketing / Social media marketing

4 steps to launch your business using Instagram

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The following is a guest post from Teachable creator, Natasha Samuel. Natasha is the host of The Shine Online Podcast and an Instagram Strategist that helps small businesses shine online. Through intensive strategy days, digital resources and education, Natasha helps you build your brand on the ‘Gram with a video strategy that is fulfilling and fun without the overwhelm. In honor of Teachable’s Creator Month, in which we celebrate and share the expertise of creators everywhere, Natasha shares the exact steps you need to take to launch your online business on Instagram.

With a wide variety of marketing channels to choose from for your next course launch, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one when selling your course. Instagram offers an opportunity to connect with your ideal customers with one billion monthly active users and five unique surfaces for promoting your course. 

Whether you’re building your lead magnet for email marketing efforts or solely relying on this social media platform for your live course launch, Instagram promotions can be stress-free and profitable with a launch plan. Let’s break down the four steps for launching your business on Instagram when opening course enrollment for the first time or simplifying your current open-close launch cycle.

Read on for all you need to know about how to launch your online business on Instagram.

Step 1. Prep

First things first, finish creating your course content if this is a new product launch. While planning your Instagram marketing content can be exciting, it’s important to have a finished product to actually market before starting your launch plan. 

After your course curriculum and sales page have been finalized inside Teachable, it’s time to prep all of your launch content for pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. The prep stage of the launch process is the most energy-consuming because we’re doing the heavy lifting early so you can show up confidently during your launch. No more scrambling to write an Instagram caption or film an Instagram Story since that takes up valuable energy and mental space.

During the next 60 to 90 days (the more time the better), follow this prep checklist:

  • Create your Instagram marketing plan with how often you’d like to post, content ideas, and how you’d like to utilize the five surfaces of Instagram: Feed, Stories, IGTV, Lives, and Reels. This is the ultimate brainstorming session.
  • Map out your launch timeline with dates to make it official. Start with your open and close cart dates first then work back. Don’t forget to include any other additional online marketing channels like a podcast series or live video webinar.
  • Maintain your regular posting schedule on Instagram. We want to avoid ghosting and then posting all about your launch.

By spending the time prepping your launch and course first, you’ll go into your launch with a strategic Instagram plan.

Step 2. Pre-launch

Before launching your course, it’s important to create demand and excitement around your offer during the pre-launch phase. The goal is to nurture your warm leads for your course.

Use this phase to build on your other marketing efforts like an email waitlist to ensure you’re leveraging all your platforms in tandem. During course pre-launch, you’ll follow this timeline over the course of 30 days:

  • The first two weeks are for sharing valuable content that will position you as the expert on your course topic. You want to be sharing behind the scenes of course creation and hint that something exciting is coming using your Instagram content, especially Stories.
  • The final two weeks before launching your business on Instagram is dedicated to priming your followers on your course launch. Ensure they’re a part of lead generation events by using compelling calls to action in your content while sharing the open-close cart dates so they can plan accordingly.

This is one of the most important stages during your launch to ensure you’re not selling to a cold audience. Not only will this build your complimentary marketing channels like email marketing, but it will also create an engaged Instagram audience that identifies the need for your course.

Step 3. Launch

Now it’s time to launch and sell your course! When deciding on open-close cart timeline for a live launch, 7 – 14 days is typically the perfect length to add urgency yet give your Instagram followers plenty of time to make their purchase decision.

Note: Even if you’re doing an evergreen launch, you can still utilize these steps to open course enrollment or launch a new product.

Our goal during a course launch is to sell your program and shift your Instagram content to 80% selling with 20% value. During this short period of time, you want to be talking about your course double your regular Instagram posting frequency to ensure people can learn about the course and decide if it’s for them.

Image courtesy Natasha Samuel

There are three elements you want to include in your Instagram videos, posts, and captions:

  • Social proof using testimonials, proof of purchase from students, and real results from your teachings
  • Transformation showing where your followers are now (the problem) and offering a better way (your solution or course)
  • Expertise that you’re the course creator to trust on their education journey

A common launch mistake is creating all of your Instagram content to talk about your offer. You audience doesn’t buy based on what’s included in your course but how it’ll make their life better.

Here’s a list of content ideas to use in your next launch across all of the Instagram surfaces:

  • Lives: go live with current students or guest educators, answer FAQs about your course, and celebrate the opening of course enrollment
  • Stories: celebrate new students, share screenshots or testimonials, graphics breaking down the course details, and addressing any buying concerns
  • Feed: break down a mini-lesson related to the content in your course with a call to action to dive deeper by enrolling
  • Reels and IGTV: share why the topics in your course are important for your ideal student using trending audios or talking videos

With all that launch content you’ll be sharing over one to two weeks, it’s important to prep all of your launch assets in step one.

The last component of launching your business on Instagram is updating your profile to make purchasing your course easy. Add your sales page to the link in your bio, create a Highlight with Stories about your course, and update the last line in your bio copy with a strong call to action to enroll.

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Step 4. Post-launch

Congratulations, you’ve officially launched your course on Instagram. Now it’s time to audit, review, and plan for your next launch.

Include prepping content for the days after course launch ends to ensure you’re not launching and then ghosting your audience. These posts should nurture your audience with value, celebrate your new course students, and share the next steps if they missed out on this launch (like joining a waitlist or a next launch date).

While the energy of your course launch is fresh, you want to review what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved next launch. Analyze the website clicks, Story replies, and students that enrolled from Instagram to replicate what yielded the best results.

Launching a course on Instagram can be simple yet profitable with intentional content creation and preparation. With these four steps for launching on Instagram, you’ll be able to save time and sell more strategically during your next open-cart launch.

Author: Natasha Samuel, Natasha is the host of The Shine Online Podcast and an Instagram Strategist that helps small businesses shine online. Through intensive strategy days, digital resources and education, Natasha helps you build your brand on the ‘Gram with a video strategy that is fulfilling and fun without the overwhelm.

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