8 Steps to Create a Successful Flagship Course

(...and why a flagship course is often the first new product entrepreneurs add)

8 Steps to Create a Successful Flagship Course

We may be familiar with the term “flagship,” but unaware of what it means. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a flagship is “the ship that carries the commander of a fleet or subdivision of a fleet and flies the commander’s flag.” It is also “the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things…” Launching an online flagship course is very similar in its importance as the creator of a flagship course takes individuals on a unique journey of transformation, and the flagship course is the finest, largest or most important of the courses offered by the creator. Online courses are becoming more and more popular, and it’s projected that by 2023 they will grow to a $240 billion industry (Source: Sette), and creating a flagship course for our audience may be the best way for us to capitalize on this opportunity. In this episode, we’re going to learn about flagship courses, and why a flagship course may be the next step in your digital monetization.

What is a Flagship Course? 

A Flagship Course is not just any standard online course. It’s something you devote yourself to over time, continually promote and improve, and it becomes your statement education experience. It’s a leadership creation tool, as well as a money-making centerpiece for your online business” (Source: Yaro Starak). 

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These courses are meant to help others with a problem or focus on a main topic, as well as guide them through some kind of transformation. For example, a flagship course could be on “How to Get Out of Debt,” which takes an individual through a process. To be an effective flagship course, individuals must be able to see clear results at the end, which is one reason why people purchase these courses. 

Sarah Cordiner, course creation specialist, encourages businesses to create a flagship course and apply their unique experiences in facilitating growth to their business:  “One of the fastest and most impactful ways to get your knowledge out to a global marketplace, making a bigger impact and diversifying your income, is to download that knowledge lying dormant in your brain and turn it into a credibility-building, income-generating, impact-making online course.” 

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Flagship Course Examples 

Here are a few success stories from people who have launched flagship courses:

Yaro Starak

Starak is a well-known entrepreneur and an incredible internet marketer who began his success by writing blogs. He has developed a flagship course to help bloggers grow and monetize their blogs. 

Starak sold his first flagship course in 2007. It was a learning curve for him as he learned what not to do, and what to do. After restructuring his course, he learned to put deadlines on the course as well as charge more for it. These improvements lowered his cancellation rates by 20% and his revenue increased (Source: Flagship Course). 

Starak has implemented steps that have launched not only his career but his courses. In doing so, he has been able to help many others achieve success. He helped a client, Tien Chiu, who launched a course on color weaving and generated over $200,000 in sales (Source: Flagship Course). He has also had successful clients launch courses in making shampoo, recovering from chronic acne, self-publishing a book, and helping trainers grow their practice. 

Russell Brunson

Before Russell Brunson ever sold a book, he sold a flagship course, which I purchased, about funnel building for $997. 

Bailey Richert

Bailey is an expert at infopreneurship products. She has developed a flagship course called Virtual Summit School, which I have taken, through which she teaches entrepreneurs step-by-step how to plan and execute a successful virtual summit. 

Depesh Mandalia

Depesh is one of the world’s leading experts on Facebook advertising. He created a framework for Facebook Ads called the BPM method, as well as a flagship course to teach that framework.

Monetization from a Flagship Course

Russell Brunson has advised members of his premier Inner Circle program to start their monetization efforts by focusing on a $997 flagship course. Yaro Starak has also recommended pricing a Flagship Course at that same price point. Those sound like two credible sources for me on price point. Yaro started the pricing of his Flagship Course at about $500 and then later doubled the price. He found that it gave him room to pay affiliates enough money to interest them in helping market the course. However, if we choose to price our Flagship Course at nearly $1,000, then it is up to us to be sure we are providing a lot more value than $1,000 in the course. We want to be sure to exceed the customer expectations and not burn the relationship by providing insufficient value.

Some experts advise that if we start our monetization efforts with a product with a mid-tier price point, such as the $1,000 range, it can help our ventures to reach profitability much faster. Then, once we achieve success with a product in this range, we can launch another product at a lower or higher price point.

$1,000 is definitely not the ceiling we can charge for flagship courses. As our credibility and content quality grow, the price can grow as well. It is not abnormal for a flagship product to be priced at $10,000 or more. 

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Marketing a Flagship Course Requires Credibility

Because flagship courses are often mid-priced products, they are often harder to sell to people who do not know us and trust us yet. In other words, it usually takes some credibility to sell a flagship course. This credibility is often achieved by regularly publishing high-quality blogs, podcasts, or videos and building a following of active followers. Or, the credibility may be achieved through a webinar, or through selling a lower-cost course or challenge course. These lower-cost courses require less credibility to sell. Then, if they receive much more value from the course than what they paid, they will have a much higher likelihood of buying a more-expensive flagship course. 

The credibility needed to sell a flagship course can also be achieved through influencer marketing. We can identify influencers who our target audience follows, and we can establish an affiliate marketing relationship with affiliates so we pay them a commission for each course they sell. Often, course creators pay publishers 30%-50% for each course they sell to their followers. This works because the influencer is already credible to many of their followers, and when the influencer markets our products, some of the credibility can flow through to our product.  

8 Steps to Create a Successful Flagship Course

Here are 8 steps to create a successful flagship course. 

1. We must deeply research, understand and teach our niche topic.

2. We must find a problem that our target audience is willing to pay to learn how to solve.

3. We must develop frameworks that help our students to understand and remember what we teach. To understand frameworks, think of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or even the steps I’m teaching you right now.

4. We must have great stories that help us teach the key points in compelling and memorable ways.

5. We need to record these stories, frameworks, and other teaching elements through video.

6. We need to set up a site on an online course-hosting platform. See our resources page for some online platforms you might consider.

7. We must provide a huge amount of unique value to the people taking the course. They must feel they have received far more value than what they paid.

8. We must effectively market the course to our target audience with credibility, such as through an affiliate program with influencers.

Benefits of a Flagship Course: Individuals & Businesses

Here are some of the benefits of a flagship course for both businesses and individuals:

1. Convenient for Students – One of the most convenient reasons for a flagship course is that they are flexible, meaning the individual can move at their own pace and learn from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, any time of day. An in-person teacher doesn’t have to guide them through it either; usually, the individual chooses how slow or fast they want to take the course, at their convenience. 

2. Easier to Work with Affiliates – Because flagship courses are usually more expensive, it can often be easier to get influencers to sell the product for us because they can earn larger commissions. 

3. Get to Profitability Faster – Many entrepreneurs build their flagship course first because it will help them get to profitability faster than other types of products. For example, If we sold a book for $20, we might sell a lot more of them, but we will probably never sell enough books alone to get to profitability. However, with a $1,000 course, we only have to sell 100 courses to get to $100,000 of revenue, and if or when we can sell 1,000 courses, we generate $1 million. It may be a lot easier to get to profitability quickly with a flagship course than with a book, for example, as our first new product. 

4. Credibility – Flagship courses can be an excellent way for course creators to build credibility. As people take our courses, as long as we provide plenty of value, most students will come to trust us more, and it will be easier to sell our additional products and services to the students. Flagship courses can be a great way to sell high-end products and services. 

5. Diversified Revenue – If we already have a business with customers, flagship courses can provide us with a new way to generate diversified revenue from our existing customers with very little cost of goods sold. 

Key Takeaways

Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:

1. A flagship course is a leadership creation tool, as well as a money-making strategy for your business. 

2. To be effective, individuals must see clear results at the end of the flagship course. We should build our flagship course around a step-by-step process or a framework that is easy to follow. 

3. Benefits of flagship courses include: they are convenient for students, it can be easier to get affiliates to sell our course, we may get to profitability faster, they increase our credibility, and create diversified revenue streams from our existing customer base with a very high-profit margin.

4. The online course market is growing! People are turning to these options for education, free time, and making an income. 

5. Put deadlines on your course to create urgency.

6. Flagship courses usually need credibility to sell well. This can be achieved through influencer marketing, publishing great content and building your own following, webinars, or selling a lower-cost product to customers first and delivering great value. 

7. To achieve success with a flagship course, we must deeply understand the topic, develop our frameworks, tell great stories, solve a problem our customers are willing to pay for, provide much more value than what they paid for, and effectively market to our target audience.

Want to be a Better Digital Monetizer?

Did you like today’s episode? Then please follow these channels to receive free digital monetization content:

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If we desire monetization we have never before achieved, we must leverage strategies we have never before implemented. I challenge each of us to pick one thing that resonated with us from today’s episode and implement it to help achieve our monetization goals.

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What great flagship courses have you taken and loved? Please join our private Monetization Nation Facebook group and share your insights with other digital monetizers.

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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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