Whether you sell your course on a website or directly to a client through an email, learn everything you need to know about using a variety of tools to sell your course. Learn how to sell your course effective by also looking at the things you should not be doing. In this post, we look to cover what you need to make sure you do and don’t do in order to sell your course.
- Ensuring You Sell Your Course – 6 Basics
- 5 Reasons Your Online Course Is Not Selling …and What You Can Do To Fix Them
- Why Aren’t My Courses Selling?
- 1 – You Don’t Have Clear Goals for Your Launch
- 2 – You’re Sending People Directly to a Sales Page That Doesn’t Convert
- 3 – You Aren’t Building a Targeted List
- 4 – You Aren’t Giving Prospective Customers the Chance to Get to Know You
- 5 – There Are Technical Glitches in Your Sales Process
- How to Launch a Sticky Continuity Course in One Day
- Boost Your Online Course’s Value with Bonus Material
- Create and Launch Your Course
- Join ThriveCart today (no monthly fees, ever)
- Create Online Courses and High Converting Cart Pages, Upsells, Affiliate Campaigns
Ensuring You Sell Your Course – 6 Basics
Does Your Audience Need It?
A crucial step in creating a course is to make sure that it will sell. Online courses are easy to produce with very low overhead, but it doesn’t make sense to put forth the effort without a guaranteed return. You can never be 100% sure, but here are some ways you can make a very educated guess.
Conduct Market Research
Use the Internet to conduct market research. There are plenty of opportunities online to get a thorough understanding of your market. Try to get a sense of the overall size of your market. An easy way to do this is to identify a key demographic and then make an estimate according to the population.
For example, your target market may be men in the 40-55 age range who live specifically in London. There are plenty of census and demographic resources online where you can find this data. You can further refine your search by adding other key demographics. You’ll end up with an idea of how many potential buyers there are.
Look at Similar Courses
You can research similar courses online. Try to determine whether similar course are selling or not. Good resources for doing this include ClickBank and Amazon. You can’t get specific data on volume sold on these sites, but you can get an idea by looking at the reviews. If there are other information products around your specific topic sites like Amazon can be indicators.
Simply searching for similar topics and browsing can glean quite a bit of information. In addition to finding reviews, you might see mentions in forums or on social media. You can get an idea of popularity by looking at how much a topic is talked about, as well as a general idea of how people feel about it. For example, you might come across a social media comment where a buyer is saying they wish a course had gone into more detail on a specific topic, and you can then cover this topic.
Conduct a Market Survey
Before the treasure trove of market information that is the Internet, businesses conducted market surveys. This, too, is made easier by the Internet. You can conduct surveys online with current customers, your target market, or social media followers. Ask specific questions about what types of course they’d like to see, as well as problems they’re facing. If you can address and solve a problem, you’re virtually assured sales.
You can use a tool like the Google’s Keyword Planner Tool (https://adwords.google.ca/KeywordPlanner) to research search terms and discover search volume. Pick a few keywords that describe your product and do a search. Are people searching for this keyword?
Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends/) is another good research tool. It shows you which keywords are trending and their search volume over time in graph form. You might discover that your chosen keywords are on an upward trend, which means there’s rising demand.
Launch a Minimum Viable Product
Before you launch the full course, you can create a minimum viable product (MVP) and see how it performs. Take one problem and solve it, or one topic from your bigger course. If your MVP sells well or draws a great deal of interest, you know that you’re ready for the full product.
5 Reasons Your Online Course Is Not Selling …and What You Can Do To Fix Them
The number of online courses available has risen enormously in recent years, and for a good reason. For a business owner, an online course is a great way of spreading their knowledge to a global market while also increasing their income. For a student, this type of course is a way to take control of their education and learn whenever and wherever it’s convenient to them. (How to create a course)
But quality hasn’t always increased with quantity. While there are more and more courses available online today, many are worthless and never deliver on the results promised. At the same time, with technology always improving and more choices available, people’s expectations of what they’ll get out of an online course are higher than ever.
A successful online course delivers on what it promises in a professional and accessible way. It leads students to a specific outcome, and leaves them more skilled and capable than before they started the course.
But before a course can achieve those outcomes, people have to buy it. That means getting it in front of the right prospects and converting them to paying students. However, marketing an online course is often the biggest challenge for course creators.
In this guide, we’re going to examine some of the common mistakes people make when marketing their online courses. And, most importantly, we’ll talk about how you can avoid making these mistakes when launching your own course.
Why Aren’t My Courses Selling?
Before you dive into marketing, take a good look at your online course as it is today. Make any necessary changes either in the course content or delivery method. Reaffirm that your course delivers on its promises.
If you know you have a valuable course that solves a problem for a particular group of people, then you’re ready to start selling.
However, a course doesn’t sell itself. You have to do your part to bring it to people’s attention.
This is where the problems start and where business owners make key mistakes.
1 – You Don’t Have Clear Goals for Your Launch
When you’re launching a product (in this case, your online course) you must be clear what you expect.
Clarifying your goals means you know what to aim for. This clarity will keep you motivated and focused on the outcomes of your launch. And when you achieve those goals, you can feel satisfied that you accomplished something great.
Of course, you want to see sales, but how many? And how do they fit with your other revenue goals for the year?
Avoid this mistake by doing the following:
Decide on the type of launch, as this will influence your goals:
- A timed open/close launch will allow you to set specific goals from that launch.
- An evergreen strategy where your cart remains open all year-round means you’re looking at annual goals.
Answer these questions:
- Why are you launching this online course now?
- What percentage of income does your launch need to bring in?
- How many open/close launches do you intend to run per year?
- What sales targets do you need to hit?
2 – You’re Sending People Directly to a Sales Page That Doesn’t Convert
Your sales page is crucial to your online success. But however effective it is in getting your message across, you will miss out on sales if you send people who aren’t ready to buy yet straight to your sales page.
There are two parts to this mistake:
1. You’re sending people directly to a sales page
2. Your sales page doesn’t convert them into buyers
Think of sales like a personal relationship. Would you be surprised if your date asked you to marry them on your first night out? Yes, and you might run away screaming. Sales, like marriage, need to be built up to.
Avoid this mistake by doing the following:
Don’t send people to the sales page straight away
- Set up a sales funnel and bring new people in at the earliest stage. Offer them useful and insightful content which will help them solve a problem. They’ll see how valuable this is and want to learn more from you.
- Then offer more in depth-content in return for their email address, and subsequently build the relationship through email contact.
- This way, you develop interest in you and your course, and you take people gently through a logical process towards the point of sale.
Revamp your sales page to make it more powerful
- When you get to the point of sending someone to your sales page, you need to be confident that it will lead them to buy. Look at your page, test out separate elements, and choose high-converting templates with video.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- Headline – Is it catchy? Is it unambiguous?
- Sub-headings – Do they encourage people to read on?
- Course benefits – Can potential students understand what they will gain from the course?
- Course features – Is your course process clear so people know what they are committing to?
- Incentives to buy – Are you giving bonuses for rapid sign-ups? Or discounts for the first 10 people who register?
- Calls to action – Are they compelling?
- Payment – Is it easy for people to pay? Are you offering payment plans?
- Image, color, and design – Is it consistent with your brand?
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3 – You Aren’t Building a Targeted List
When it comes to selling an online course, the world is your oyster. People can access the course from anywhere in the world, so you can have a truly global clientele. But that doesn’t mean everyone in the world will buy.
You know that identifying your target market is extremely important. You’ve done it before. Check that the target market for your online course is current by using demographics and psychographics to narrow down your ideal customer.
Once you have this, your content can be written for them. The “spray and pray” method of marketing just doesn’t work. You must build a list of targeted leads. If you neglect to do this, don’t be surprised if people don’t buy.
Avoid this mistake by doing the following:
Think about your online course and ask yourself these questions:
- Who did I design it for?
- Who will benefit most from it?
- Who is currently looking for it? (You might need to do some research on Google for this one)
Once you have the answers, check back with your ideal customer avatar to make sure it’s aligned.
4 – You Aren’t Giving Prospective Customers the Chance to Get to Know You
As we said before, a marriage proposal on the first date isn’t the ideal way to win someone’s heart. Selling prematurely to your leads isn’t the best strategy to win their business. Even if you have people in your sales funnel, they aren’t necessarily ready to buy.
Sales are about people selling to people, even in a digital world. However, people are wary of spending money on someone they don’t know; even more so if they’ve fallen for the hype of exaggerated marketing in the past. The more you come across as approachable, knowledgeable, and helpful, the better chance you have of selling to them at the right time. But they need more ways to get to know you than just the content you post on your blog or social media.
Avoid this mistake by doing the following:
- Give your sales funnel a personal touch from the get-go. Put an introductory video on your website so people can see your face and hear your voice and begin to build trust with you.
- Tell the story of your own challenges and how you’ve overcome them
- Share updates about what’s happening in your business and life (as appropriate)
- Livestream through Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube Live
- Set up a free webinar to answers people’s questions and give live help
- Record testimonials of other people talking about you and your work
5 – There Are Technical Glitches in Your Sales Process
Last and certainly not least are technical issues. A launch is full of many moving parts which need to connect and work together seamlessly.
Sometimes technical problems are unavoidable – your site goes down, you lose your Internet connection, you get a virus on your webpage, etc. These have to be fixed and may require external help to do so.
But there is no excuse for poor connections between the components of your marketing for the launch of your online course.
One of the crucial tools that needs to work seamlessly is your shopping cart. If you’ve ever gone to a sales page wanting to buy, then pressed the cart button and got an error message, you’ll know this. You probably left the page without purchasing the product – your visitors will do the same.
Avoid this mistake by doing the following:
- Double (and triple) check that all the connections work a few weeks before the launch date. Then check again two or three days before your cart opens. Get a friend to check too, or your VA, so you know that all the sequences work and people get what they sign up for.
- Make sure your shopping cart is programmed to take the currency you want. Set up a dummy payment to your account to ensure money can be taken in the greatest variety of ways, e.g. credit card, electronic wallet, etc.
- Use online tutorials if you are uncertain about any connection.
- Look at the mobile and tablet views of your sales page in addition to the desktop view. Many people buy from their smartphones, so your copy needs to look good on this format too. If it doesn’t, then tweak it.
- Use an all-in-one platform that does all the connecting up for you if you’re unsure of your technical abilities.
Next Steps… Time to Start Selling!
When it comes to selling your courses, your aim is to avoid the avoidable mistakes.
Let’s recap on what you need to do to sidestep these key errors:
- Define clear goals for your launch
- Build a sales funnel that attracts interested people at an early stage
- Create a high-converting sales page with video
- Generate as many opportunities as possible for your audience to get to know, like, and trust you
- Test and re-test all technical systems so there are no glitches in the process which could turn customers away.
We identified five key mistakes in this guide. Get these fixed early on to help both you and your customers.
How to Launch a Sticky Continuity Course in One Day
First things first – what’s a ‘sticky’ continuity course?
A continuity course is basically a membership where you drip feed the information to the members.
Maybe it’s on how to build a list of 10,000 rabid buyers, or how to generate super targeted traffic, or how to use social media to get new fans, prospects and customers.
The ‘sticky’ part refers to keeping your members from leaving.
The biggest hurdle most memberships and continuity courses face is in keeping their members once they get them.
And the higher the price point, the more difficult it is to get them to stick month after month.
So here’s what you do:
- First pick your topic. Okay, you knew that already.
- The next thing is either write your sales page or outsource it.
- Next, write the first module, or outsource that, too.
If you’re hot to trot and want to launch tomorrow, you can do these thing in a day. Just put on your blinders, turn off all distractions and get busy.
Now then, how are you going to make it ‘sticky?’
By asking your members what they want to see next.
Set up a private Facebook page and ASK them what they want.
Everybody wants to feel like they are part of a community (hence the Facebook page) and EVERYONE wants to give their opinion and feel important.
So make your members feel important because – guess what – they are.
Ask them what they want and then give it to them… guaranteed they will stick around.
I’ve seen plenty of marketers make thousands of dollars doing this.
And all you need to get started is a sales page and your first lesson. Everything else comes later.
Once your course reaches its inevitable conclusion, you’ll have a complete membership that you can continue to sell for a long time to come – maybe years.
When you get tired of selling the memberships, you package the whole thing and sell it as a one-time deal.
When you get tired of that, you sell the rights to the course to other marketers.
And it all started with one lesson and one sales page.
Boost Your Online Course’s Value with Bonus Material
If your online course offers high value to your target audience, you’re assured that the course will be a success. One way to add more to your course is to add supplemental bonus material.
Add More without Going Too Long
The ideal length for an online course is five to seven modules. If you make it much bigger than that, you’re going to overwhelm your participants and your course may lose focus, unless its esential to have more which add value to the overall course. It needs to be just long enough to tackle one learning task completely. Adding bonus material allows you to add to the course without extending it. The bonus material is a supplement.
For example, you might find that you have too many modules. You can then look at your modules and pick one that’s a bit of an odd man out. Remove this module and offer it as a “bonus report.”
A Little Off-Topic
Bonus material allows you to add more something to the course that’s not strictly on-topic. Good courses proceed in a logical order and help a student learn how to do one specific task. Your bonus material can offer something extra that’s related, but not related enough to be part of the course.
For example, you might offer a course on setting up and managing a successful blog. The modules start with the technical aspects of setting up the blog, and then cover how to come up with ideas for content and write, and finally some tips on driving traffic to your blog. If adding an audio version of your blog posts is a technique you’ve used to great success in the past, you might offer an additional report on creating audio posts.
An Extra Bonus!
Bonus content adds value to your course. It has a powerful psychological effect. If you have a course with seven modules versus a course with six modules and a bonus report, the latter will be perceived as having more value. The idea that it’s an extra bonus makes the buyer feel like they’re getting something extra, even if the volume of information is actually the same.
Finally, adding extra bonus material is a good way to set your course apart from other similar courses. It gives you just a bit extra over the competition and can be a unique selling point for your course.
If you want to add bonus material, anything that provides valuable information or helps the buyer will work. The material can be:
- Workbooks or worksheets to go along with the course
- Checklists for tasks from the course
- An eBook or report on a related topic
- A quick-start guide that helps the student apply what they’ve learned in the course
- Resource guides with online resources related to the course content
- Access to a private online community (students can discuss the course content and share ideas)
- Live Q&As
- On-on-one coaching
- Expert interviews with people in your niche
- Graphics to help with the information from the course
- Templates for tasks from the course
It takes some work to create additional content, but it can be a great bonus for your course participants. It doesn’t have to be anything involved, but just something valuable.
Create and Launch Your Course
Are you ready to get your online course into the hands of more people and fuel your business growth?
If you’re producing great online courses, but feeling frustrated that they aren’t selling, then check out my full program, Launch and Market your Online Course.
It walks you through a step-by-step process leading to a successful launch, giving you the results you deserve moving forward and remember to Join the Facebook Group Here
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