It’s difficult to underestimate how important it is to promote, market and sell your online course.
It’s no good spending a chunk of your time and energy making a great course unless you get out there in front of the right people and tell them about it.
I know for many people this is the bit that they least look forward to.
You just want to focus on what you do best – sharing your knowledge with an audience of like-minded folks and getting effortlessly paid for it.
Indeed, this might work to a degree if you already have an active online audience waiting for the course you’re going to create.
If this is the case, it can be as simple as creating the course, building a bit of excitement running up to launch day and then sending a link to join.
But, the key step is building the excitement in the run up to launch.
Everyone, regardless of existing audience or not, should build excitement, anticipation, and give a little taste of what is to come. It’s a well tried and tested method for selling anything online - or offline for that matter too.
There are many different ways to market and promote your course and plenty of tips and techniques out there already that can help with this.
I’m just going to provide an overview of some of the key steps you should take and also make a couple of recommendations for you to dig deeper into:
This links back to our very first step in creating an online course where you honed in on exactly who you are creating your course for and what particular problem you are aiming to solve.
Go to where your potential course participants hang out online and start telling them about it 2-3 months before it’s due to launch.
Give away a free pdf download on the Landing Page in return for your prospects’ email address. If you make this freebie good quality and relevant to your audience’s needs, you’ll build trust and they’ll warm to the idea of maybe taking your course when it’s ready. Not sure how to go about making a Lead Magnet? Check out this detailed post from Neil Patel.
Start to write articles on your own site or as guest posts on other sites in your niche to increase the number of people coming through to your landing page and onto your ‘waiting list’.
The articles should directly relate to your course offering, but not in an really obvious way. You could just dwell on the problem that your course will address or use a case study of someone you have already helped. The aim here is stir up pains and desires in people – to plant a seed that your launch material will later grow.
When your course is ready, it can be a good idea to open it up for a limited number of people to join from within your audience/waiting list (20 people for example).
You should charge for it, but at a discounted rate from the price you will eventually sell the course at, and based on the understanding that you will ask for feedback and ideas for improvement.
Doing this does a few things:
- The discount, scarcity of limited places and chance to interact with you directly and contribute to the course will motivate your biggest fans into joining
- Seeing some people buy your course will give you motivation and get you excited to launch it fully
- You get very valuable honest feedback from your customer’s view point, helping you to improve your course
- You can get some testimonials which will help to sell your course when opening it up to your whole audience
Collate all the feedback from your Beta launch and any friends or family that you manage to rope into testing your course as well. You don’t need to take it all on board and react to every suggestion, but if you see common points raised or questions, it’s a sign that these things should be addressed.
Time to go live to your whole audience! Schedule a date a few weeks into the future and decide how you’re going to run your whole launch campaign. What emails will you send and when. Announce the launch date to your list and begin to build some anticipation with behind the scenes look at the course, quotes from your beta test group, and articles that focus on the problem your course solves.
Show time! You have a series of 3 emails leading up to the actual opening of the cart where you stir up the problem that your audience might be facing, you speak to their desires and wishes and you set out to establish some authority as to why you are the person to help them.
Then you open your course for between 5-10 days for enrolment. Giving a limited time to join pushes people into actually committing and taking action on something they want. Send a series of emails during the enrolment period that showcases your course, addresses who it is for and not for, and deals with any fears and objections that people might have about joining. Be available to answer peoples’ questions and make to welcome your first course participants once they’ve joined.
It’s important to make sure you have happy customers and to engage with your audience. They need to know you care about them beyond joining, and if you do this well you’ll have a certain proportion of people who will want to go deeper with you in a follow up course.
Obviously, you don’t need to follow all the steps above. In particular though, it’s very important to keep producing relevant free content, and getting in front of the right people so you continue to have new leads interested in joining your course.
You also need to make sure you ask for feedback and showcase success stories from people who have taken your course.
And finally, you should test and optimise your whole funnel sequence – your free lead resource, your email sequence, your sales page – chances are you could be getting more prospects to convert into course takers with a few tweaks in the language you use and as you better understand the sort of people who take the course vs. those that don’t.
As I said before, there’s so much to the process of promoting and marketing your online course and the steps I’ve outlined are a short summary of just one way to go about it.
There are variations on this approach and a lot more depth that you can go into – a whole online course in itself!
If you are interested in really learning how to sell online then check out Derek Halpern’s Yes Engines course.
At $2000 it’s not exactly cheap, but I’ve done the course and can tell you this guy knows his stuff. If you apply what he teaches, it will pay itself back and more.