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September 5, 2021

What Course Creators Can Learn From Amazon's Approach To Product Launches

A course landing page is like the announcement and course offer rolled into one and it’s where potential customers find all the course details and register to be a part of the transformational experience.

Drafting the landing page so early in the process can seem counterintuitive and even overwhelming since it’s usually seen as one of the last steps of the process, sequencing in after the course is fully designed and thought out.

But it’s an approach pioneered by Jeff Bezos for his team at Amazon. Before launching a new product, undergoing any kind of transformation or entering a new market, he requires teams to create “the future press release.”  It’s a process frequently credited as being fundamental to Amazon's incredible innovation.   

In his book, Think Like Amazon, author and former Amazon executive Jon Rossman explains, “Writing ideas and proposals in complete narratives results in better ideas, more clarity on the ideas and better conversation on the ideas.” (Fun fact: Rossman joined Amazon in March 2002 and wrote the press release for Amazon Marketplace six months before he launched it.)

Here’s how and why Disco has integrated this approach into the architecture of our CBC design process and how we have found it fundamentally shifts the build process and the strength of the ultimate product.

Thinking Like The Learner

Spoiler alert: early on in Disco's Accelerator, we invite our cohort of creators to design the landing page for their future course. 

One of the first realizations creators have is that building a landing page starts with shifting from the framework of being the expert, teacher, or course founder and into the perspective of the intended customer or learner. The landing page is speaking to their prospective learners and so creators are prompted to think about the exact learner experience and transformation being offered, how it will be best achieved in this live learning format and platform, and what needs to be highlighted in order to compel their target learners to register.

Our creators find that this exercise helps them shape their product description and course framework as they very intentionally approach trying to write about it from the perspective of their end user - and the process often surfaces course components and issues that they may not have previously considered. 

Leverage Constraints ‍

As with a press release, building a landing page comes with inherent constraints and requirements that jointly come together to force a clearer and more articulate vision for the course.

For instance, since we tend to scan and skim when we read online, creators need to focus on clearly and succinctly sharing what the learner transformation will be, when that success will be achieved, and how and who will be leading it.

All of these key messages need to be surfaced, unbundled and then polished to be included into the landing page and the best way to do this is to start trying to write the product description and pitch.  

The landing page build also helps clarify the business decision points of the course - which subsequently shape the architecture.  This includes decisions on key elements such as the course length, the class size and the price points.

Even for the experienced teacher or course creator, building a completely new program and experience can be overwhelming (and at Disco we do it in just a few weeks!) but this process of building the landing page first helps distill down to the most essential pieces and prioritize what decisions need to be made in order to sell a course to the intended learner and to be able to make those decisions while actually also creating the product.

Build Momentum and Launch

Finally, one of the most exciting outcomes of the Disco “Build The Landing Page  First'' approach is the momentum and excitement it creates for the creator. What was an abstract idea, a plan, or point of view on what would be a good course quickly becomes real with the v.1 of the landing page.

And since Disco creators build on our platform, the landing page really does become ready to launch.