4 Steps to Skyrocket Your Online Course Launch with the PLAN Framework

Hey there, friends and fellow mavens of the digital learning realm! You’ve got your course materials polished and your platform is all set up. But a successful online course is like a compelling movie—it needs more than just a good script and actors; it requires an audience. That’s where our versatile PLAN framework comes in. It’s your roadmap to Prepare your marketing strategy, Lay out the pipeline, Activate your marketing machine, and Nurture & Engage your future learners. Ready to dive in? Let’s go! 

Prepare the Marketing Strategy 

First up on our journey is crafting the strategy that will guide all your marketing efforts. Since you already have a clear understanding of your audience from the earlier steps in our comprehensive guide, it’s time to focus on your objectives. What are your business and marketing goals? Are you aiming to double your course enrollments or perhaps skyrocket your brand awareness? Be precise. These goals aren’t just wishes; they’re your strategic north stars, steering all future decisions. 

With objectives set, it’s time to map out the tactics to get you there. Which marketing techniques will serve you best? Maybe it’s a blend of SEO-rich blog posts or perhaps a sprinkle of influencer marketing. Also, think about your lead magnets. Will you use free webinars, downloadable e-books, or exclusive video snippets to attract your audience? 

And let’s not forget the budget. A great marketing strategy is grounded in reality, and your budget outlines what is and isn’t feasible. Align your budget with the tactics and channels that will offer the highest ROI. This is where you blend aspiration with pragmatism, ensuring that your marketing strategy is both ambitious and achievable. 

Lay Out the Pipeline 

In this phase, your focus should be on outlining the specific steps that guide your prospects from initial contact to becoming paying clients. Think about the touchpoints and interactions that will occur at each stage, whether that’s reading an email, visiting a sales page, or having a consultation call. 

If you’re offering a low-ticket item, the process might be more straightforward and automated. For example, you could plan for an initial email that leads to a click-through to a sales page, followed by an automated follow-up email. The key here is to minimize barriers to purchase, allowing for a quick and smooth transaction. 

For high-ticket offers, the sales process usually requires more steps and personalized interaction. You might start with an initial email that offers a free downloadable guide, providing value and demonstrating your expertise. Then you could invite the prospect to schedule a discovery call. After a successful call, you’d send them a detailed proposal or direct them to a custom sales page designed to close the sale. 

In both scenarios, it’s crucial to know what action you want the prospect to take at each stage and what you will do to facilitate that action. Will you send automated email sequences, use retargeting ads, or schedule personal follow-up calls? Every interaction needs to be planned out to guide your prospect to the next step, ultimately leading to a sale. 

By laying out this pipeline clearly, you can ensure that your marketing and sales processes are aligned, structured, and designed to convert leads into clients effectively. 

Activate the Marketing Machine 

In this step, you’ll be launching your campaign to get people into your sales pipeline. First, ensure your content is ready for distribution and resonates with your brand voice. This could range from articles and blog posts to video content or social media posts. Make sure whatever you’re putting out adds real value for your audience, as this is how you’ll attract quality leads. 

Next, decide on the promotional channels that align with your strategy and budget. If you’re using paid advertising, set up campaigns on platforms where your target audience spends their most time—this could be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn for those targeting professionals in specific industries. 

Before going live, make sure all the technical components are in place and fully functional. This includes your CRM system to capture and manage leads, email marketing software for sending out automated sequences, and tracking tools to monitor performance metrics like clicks, engagement, and conversions. Double-check that all landing pages, sign-up forms, and call-to-action buttons are working as intended. 

Once everything is set up, initiate the campaign and start driving traffic into your pipeline. Monitor performance closely, particularly in the early stages, so you can make data-driven adjustments as needed. 

By activating your marketing machine with all systems checked and double-checked, you’ll be well-positioned to attract and move leads through your carefully planned pipeline. 

Nurture & Engage 

Once you’ve captured leads into your pipeline, the next critical step is to nurture and engage with them. Marketing is about building relationships, not just making a quick sale. Understand that not everyone will transition from a stranger to a client instantly; people need time to get to know, like, and trust you. To put it plainly, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you at first sight unless you’re on a reality show. The same principle applies when we meet a new prospect. 

Automated email sequences serve as a practical tool for fostering these relationships. Use them to consistently provide value to your leads by sharing insights, tips, and resources relevant to their needs and interests. Personalization is key here—address recipients by name, reference past interactions, and make the content as tailored as possible to individual preferences and pain points. 

In addition to automated emails, consider other touchpoints where you can engage with your audience. Whether it’s through a members-only Facebook group, LinkedIn community, or an interactive webinar series, offer spaces where leads can ask questions, share their own expertise, and interact with you and each other. These forums not only provide additional opportunities for engagement but also help build a community around your brand and offerings. 

Remember, the objective is to cultivate a meaningful, ongoing relationship. This requires time, multiple touchpoints, and most importantly, genuine value offered from your end. By nurturing and engaging effectively, you are laying the groundwork for leads to evolve into long-term clients who genuinely trust and value what you offer. 


And there you have it—a comprehensive guide to launching your online course using the PLAN framework. From preparing your marketing strategy to activating your marketing machine, each step is designed to set you on a path to not only attract but also deeply engage with your target audience. By laying out a well-thought-out pipeline, you create a structured path guiding your leads from curiosity to commitment. And never underestimate the power of nurturing and engaging; after all, successful marketing is about building lasting relationships. 

Your online course may be packed with valuable content, but without a strategic plan to promote and sell it, even the best course material can go unnoticed. So take the time to implement these steps methodically, and you’ll not only see an uptick in enrollments but also build a community of learners who value what you offer. 

As we often say at Mavenzeal, knowledge shouldn’t just be hoarded; it should be shared and used to elevate others. With the PLAN framework, you are doing just that—sharing your expertise in a way that is both compelling and enriching for your audience. 

Here’s to your success and the positive impact your course will undoubtedly have on the learners who enroll. So go ahead, employ the PLAN framework and take your online course from a well-kept secret to a must-have learning experience. Happy launching! 

Unlocking Business Success With The Prize Framework

In the fiercely competitive business landscape, merely having a good product or service is not enough. Success hinges on your ability to distinguish yourself in a crowded market. Enter the PRIZE framework—a strategic approach designed to guide you through the essential elements that define your business’s unique market presence. But PRIZE is more than just a tool; it’s a comprehensive strategy for understanding, engaging, and satisfying your market. Let’s explore each element in detail.

Position: Carving Out Your Unique Space

In the bustling marketplace, standing out is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. The first step in the PRIZE framework is to identify what makes your business unique. This involves a deep understanding of your competitive landscape. Knowing who your competitors are and what they offer allows you to find your edge. It’s this edge that forms the essence of your brand, compelling customers to choose you over others. Your unique position should be so distinct that it becomes the cornerstone upon which your entire brand is built.

Reach: The Art of Resonance and Impact

Once you’ve carved out your unique space, the next step is to reach out and make an impact. Knowing your audience is crucial. The message that resonates with young professionals may not strike a chord with retirees. And it’s not just about who you’re reaching, but also how. The channels you choose—be it social media, email, or traditional advertising—should align with where your audience spends their time. But reaching your audience is just the first step; engaging them is where the real magic happens. Through interactive content, community building, or customer loyalty programs, you turn one-time transactions into long-term relationships.

Identify Persona: The Mirror to Your Audiences Soul

Understanding your audience goes beyond demographics; it delves into the realm of psychographics. What are their needs, wants, and challenges? This understanding allows you to tailor your approach so precisely that it resonates at a deeply emotional level. It’s like looking into a mirror that reflects not just a face but a persona, complete with its unique needs and challenges. And when you solve these challenges, you’re not just selling a product or service; you’re providing value that makes a meaningful impact.

Zero in on Pains: The Ruthlessly Relevant Bridge to Satisfaction

In the journey of business success, identifying your customers’ pain points is like discovering the hidden traps on a treasure map. Once you know where these traps are, you can navigate around them or, better yet, remove them altogether. Your products or services should act as this ruthlessly relevant painkiller solution, neutralizing the challenges that stand between your customers and their ultimate satisfaction. It’s about offering solutions that are so aligned with your customers’ needs that they can’t help but see you as their go-to problem solver. And how do you refine this alignment? By listening to your customers. Their feedback is the compass that guides you closer to their true needs, allowing you to fine-tune your offerings and make them even more relevant.

Evaluate Prize: The Measure of True Value

The final step in the PRIZE framework is perhaps the most crucial—evaluating what you’ve built. Your value proposition is your promise to your customers, and it should be compelling enough to not just attract but also retain them. But a promise is only as good as its fulfillment. This is where market validation comes into play. Whether it’s through customer testimonials, case studies, or market research, validation builds credibility. And credibility builds trust, the cornerstone of any lasting relationship. But how do you know you’ve succeeded? By setting clear success metrics that align with your business goals, you not only measure your achievements but also set the stage for continuous improvement.


The PRIZE framework is more than just a business tool; it’s a philosophy. It’s about understanding your market so deeply that you can engage and satisfy it in a way that goes beyond mere transactions. With PRIZE, you’re not just another business in the marketplace; you’re a solution provider that understands and values its customers. And in today’s competitive landscape, that’s a prize worth striving for.


Best of the Blogs – Content Curation for Learning

Over the past 12 weeks I have been involved in a Working Out Loud circle, based on the work and book by John Stepper. One of the outcomes of the WOL circle has been my decision to share more. One of the ways I plan to do this is through my monthly “Best of the Blogs”. Here I will curate content from a range of posts, blogs, research articles and other sources. In this month’s pick the topic is how to use Content Curation in Learning.

So, what is content curation?

In the article “What is Content Curation? A Dummies’ Guide to the Hows, Whats and Whys” it is defined as “the process of aggregating data about a specific topic, distilling that information to identify the most important ideas, organising those ideas into a logical order, adding your unique spin to them, and then presenting the content to your adoring audience.” This definition is focused on content curation as a marketing tool, whereas the definition in this series of infographics  is more generic, with content curation defined as “the act of finding, grouping, organising or sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific issue”.  This definition fits better with the concept of content curation as a tool for training and development, where we are gathering and sharing information to educate and inform.

Content curation in learning

300 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube every minute. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.  Every minute, Google receives over 4,000,000 search queries. With so much information available “getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant” (Mitchell Kapor).


Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant

As learning designers, content developers, trainers or facilitators we need to ask ourselves:

  • Do we need to create any more learning content?
  • Can we expect our learners to make sense of all the information that is available to them?
  • How do we play a role in helping with the sense making?

The answer? Curate content from sources already available.

The benefits of curation

For me, the benefits of content curation means less development work. This results in a cheaper product for the customer and being faster to market, and greater expertise able to be used in the training. Some further benefits of curating digital content are expressed by Julia McCoy in her article “How Curation can empower content creation”. Aaron Orendorff also provides some details, including how curation can “position your organisation as thought leaders“.

Where do you start?

In her Linkedin post, Brenda Smith asks this same question and suggests the a great place to start is to “categorise content in to three different buckets to begin with”. In Barry Feldman’s article, “How to Curate Content Without Being Mindless and Mundane”, he provides some ways to curate like a champion, which includes quoting people in your posts. Guillaume Decugis Co-Founder & CEO of curation tool Scoopit provides a number of easy and simple ways to curate relevant content.


There are a number of the free and freemium tools that are available to help you get started. This article lists the top 50 content curation tools. If looking to curate content into a functional course you should look at the capabilities of Curatr. It is a social and collaborative learning platform that lets you use content from any source and organise it into bitesize playlists that learners can browse in any order.


Obviosuly there are pitfalls to avoid when curating content. Joyce Seitzinger describes some of the pitfalls of content curation, including developing the unfavourable traits of the hoarder, the scrooge, the tabloid or the robot. The legal and ethical considerations So, if we are curating content what are the legal considerations? How does this impact on copyright? Is it ethical to use another person’s work? Ben Betts provides one golden rule of content curation “Never copy content; Link to it”. He also talks about a “fair use policy”, which is echoed in Guillaume Decugi’s latest article “Does ethical content curation exist?” where he talks about the win-win-win of ethical content curation.

My final thoughts

Curating content is a great way to provide rich and engaging learning content to users, without the need for development. I have developed a number of courses using curated content with positive feedback from users. With the volume of content out there you need to develop the skills to be an effective content curator, and apply the crap test to the content that is available.


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Applying the CRAP Test to Content Curation

Content curation has been listed as a future skill needed for L&D people. But how do we curate? What should we use and what should we discard?

There is so much information available to us on the web. We have a struggle to manage the deluge of data. The volume of video data is enormous, with figures suggesting 72 hours of video is uploaded you YouTube every minute (many of it silly cat videos).

“By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes – the equivalent of 833 days (or over two years) – would travel the internet every second.“ – Cisco

But it is not only video data, but other online content that is being created at increasing rate (probably by people like myself writing blog articles).

“Five exabytes of information have been created between the dawn of civilization and 2003, but that much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing.“ – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman Alphabet Inc (Google)

So what are the key factors to consider when curating content, to allow us to sort through the information to get to the quality? For me,  I have identified four key factors which form my CRAP Test. If these four factors are not present, the content doesn’t pass the test.

The four key factors are:

  • Currency
  • Relevancy
  • Accuracy
  • Presentation


The content needs to be current. There is little point in providing content to learners that is out of date. The time that content is current for will depend on the topic. Curating content on educational technology, considering the rapid rate of change, you would be wanting very recent content. Other topics, such as educational theories, may have older content that is still current.


The content needs to be relevant to the learning objectives. The learning objectives should be central in the design and development of any educational resource. Consider how relevant the content is to the context, to the topic, and the learning objectives. Consider how it will help learners achieve the desired skills and/or knowledge.


The content needs to be accurate and true. Just because you Google it or find it on the internet, doesn’t mean that it is true. One of my favourite internet quotes that proves this point is:


Review the information and see if it is supported by other evidence or other authors. Consider where the information has come from. Is it someone’s opinion on a blog or an article from an online journal? Consider the reputation of the author.


The content needs to be well presented. The way that the content is presented will impact on the engagement of learners, and their retention of the information. Printed content should be easy to scan and read. Videos should load quickly and containing quality sound and images. You should also consider accessibility issues with content presentation. For example, is there sufficient contrast between text and background colours? Is there a transcript available for audio or video content?

Applying the CRAP test to curated content gives you a short checklist of factors to consider. This will help make sure your content curation is of the best possible quality, and that your learners will be engaged when viewing it.