This is part 2 of 3 of the Creating & Selling Online Courses series.
In my last post, we talked all about how you can create an online course.
If you haven’t created your course already, please go back to part 1 of this series and create your course first. You can do it!
Today, I will be talking about how you can launch and sell your first course.
You will learn how to start selling your online course to bring you the most amount of profits using the least amount of effort, time and resources.
The course I launched that flopped
If you are new around here, you would know that I have 3 amazing courses that are my pride and joy: You can learn more about them here.
What you do not know is that I used to have another course – a course that had a bad start. I just launched it without a plan, and then killed it when there were no sales.
There probably wasn’t anything wrong with the course, as I see many people succeeding with the exact same course topic. Rather, the problem was how I went about launching and selling it.
I didn’t have a plan, I just created because I liked creating, sent a few emails with my fingers flopped and then… that was it. No wonder it flopped!
I have devoted much time to learning how to sell courses, and am now a lot more experienced. My launches are a lot more elaborate now. But let’s go back to the start.
For each of my successful course, I started off with a short but strategic burst of promotional activities to announce the arrival of these courses.
Here’s how you can do it too.
1. Start with a simple launch
If you have not made a single cent from your course yet, do a simple launch first.
Say you have just created a new online course. There are a million different ways to sell your online course at the start. You could just open your cart quietly. You could do a huge elaborate launch.
What I recommend is a small but targeted launch because:
- It gets the attention of your audience to your new course
- You bring in sales quickly and it boosts your confidence
- It is easy to execute
- It is cheaper to do
- It is quick and doesn’t waste too much of your time if things go wrong
- You have set up the foundations to do a bigger launch next time
A course launch is basically a short, dedicated, burst of promotional activities aimed at selling your course.
A small launch allows you to grab people’s attention for your new course, and get some students in. From there, you can start doing more elaborate launches.
Start off with a simple course, and do a simple launch.
That being said, do an EFFECTIVE small launch. There are a million different ways to do a simple launch and in this post, we will cover what it takes to do a quick and dirty launch that ACTUALLY WORKS.Start off with a simple course, and do a simple launch. You get your first few sales without wasting much time.Click To Tweet
2. Have a dedicated course home
If you want to start selling courses, I highly recommend that you have a dedicated subdomain or a separate URL for your courses. This can easily be done using Teachable.
Your courses look more like a “school” rather than a haphazard mess of information.
Remember, people buy courses to get results – they are looking for an organized map of all the steps they need to get all the right results. Keyword: Organized!
Even if you just have one course, have a dedicated “course school” for your course. People like the idea of attending what feels like “a proper academy”, rather than to read a few haphazard pages of locked content on your website.
If you’re not on Teachable yet, I highly recommend that you switch over. It’s amazing. I talked more about this in this post on why I switched to Teachable and my previous post on how to create an online course in 72 hours, so I shall not go into why I love it so much here 😉
You can visit my “course home” here.
3. Create an enticing sales page
A sales page is one of the most important pieces of your course. If you ask me, it is almost as important as your course material.
Because if it’s bad, nobody is going to buy your course and your course material will not be of any use.
I highly recommend you spend more time here because a great sales page can turn even cold traffic into buyers.
Focus more on what your sales page SAYS rather than how it looks. Just the other day, someone was asking in my Facebook group for feedback on her sales page. She thought that the problem was design.
However, the problem with her sales page was not about the design, but rather, it simply did not touch on the pain points and desires of her target audience.
If you want to start an online business, COPYWRITING is one of the key skills you have to learn. Yes you may think you can outsource it, but you have to be at least decent in it if you want to be a successful internet entrepreneur – because that’s how you SELL – whether it’s via your articles or videos, the words you say have immense power.
In order of importance:
- The words you say
- How your sales page is structured (the order you say things)
- The design (If you’re using Teachable, chances are that your sales page will look at least decent – or you can use the Divi theme to create a sales page if you don’t want to use Teachable)
Notice how design is third.
Yes, design is important… but will what your sales page says and how it is structured convert people to sales?What makes a good sales page? In order of importance: #1) The words you say, #2), How your sales page is structured, and then #3) Design.Click To Tweet
4. Implement the Awareness, Agitate, Solution hack
Whether you’re writing your sales page, writing your sales emails, or posting on social media, make sure you have this 3-step customer-converting process in mind: Awareness, Agitate, Solution.
Ensure that your reader/subscriber sees the problem you’re trying to solve as a problem. You can’t sell toothbrushes to someone who doesn’t know that she needs to brush teeth twice a day.
Remind them about why this problem is so serious.
Let’s face it – each person has a gazillion things to attend to every single day. Take running a blog for example – there are so many things to do in my online business – but what’s the most pressing issue that has to be solved?
Agitation is all about twisting the knife so that your audience feels the pain and makes the problem your course solves a priority.
At this point, your audience is probably dying for a solution. They are aware of the problem, and they feel the pain.
Now’s the time to present the solution that will solve all their issues – your COURSE.
How do we implement AAS? (Awareness, Agitate, Solution)
For your sales page, before you shove your course in front of the person, you first have to evoke awareness and do an amazing job at agitating them before introducing the course.
The same goes for your emails. You don’t go straight to your pitch – rather, you send emails to educate and agitate your subscribers first.
5. Utilize urgency triggers
Now, humans are lazy fellows. If they can put off the purchase, they will.
How often did you want to do something, decided that you will “do it later”, but never get around to doing it?
If you want sales, urgency is a must-have. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Urgency can be executed in the form of:
- A price increase
- Bonuses expiring
- Cart closing
- Limited copies
Whatever it is, make sure you plan out your urgency triggers. They will be key to the success of your launch – you will find that whenever there is an urgency trigger on a certain day, you will see a spike in sales.
In fact, for my first launch of Traffic Subscribers Yours (Updated: TSY has been upgraded into my List Building Incubator program), I had a grand total of 0 sales until the very last day, when a flood of sales came in because the price was increasing. Crazy, right?
I use and recommend Deadline Funnel to instill automated deadlines, create floating bar timers, email timers, and more. It is an amazing tool to help introduce scarcity into both your live and evergreen launches.Urgency triggers are the key to a successful launch.Click To Tweet
6. Grow your audience
If you have a great offer, an enticing sales page, urgency in place, and know how to talk to your customers’ pain points, you are 50% there.
Next, you will have to market your course, which we will cover in the rest of this article. Like it or not, growing an audience will be a priority of yours as long as you are selling something.
As you can imagine, no eyeballs = no income.
Traffic and list building is a key part of an online blog and business if you want to make sales from anything, not just courses.
I highly recommend my course, List Building Incubator, for this. It is my step-by-step system that has helped hundreds of students to successfully start, grow, and monetize their email lists.
7. Put the course everywhere on your website
Next, you will want to place the course prominently on your website, especially during your launch period. Use Hellobar or an alternative to create a notification bar at the top of your website. Place it on your sidebar and your navigational menu.
Any regular readers you have should be able to see that a launch is happening and be directed to the sales page within seconds of entering your website.
8. Schedule your social media posts
Get this on autopilot for your launch.
You will probably be on a couple of social media platforms, and each of them has an inbuilt scheduling tool which you can use to schedule posts in advance. For Twitter, you can use TweetDeck. For Pinterest, there is Tailwind. For Facebook, use the in-built scheduler for your Facebook group or page.
Of course, there are also Buffer, Hootsuite, and the other alternatives.
Schedule everything beforehand so that during your course launch, you are busy answering customer queries, promoting your course, and don’t have to worry about getting your social media posts out in time.
9. Have a dedicated email sales sequence (IMPT!)
It is important to email your list strategically and regularly when you are launching and selling your course.
If I can only choose 1 way to promote my course, I would definitely choose to email my list.
Want to start building your email list but don’t know how to? Check out: List Building 101: How to Build An Email List That Makes Money (Cheatsheet Included)
Do not be afraid of emailing your list regularly, if people unsubscribe – so be it! If you have always been emailing amazing value, and despite all that, someone cannot even stay on your list through a launch, most likely they will never buy anything from you, pal.
Have a combination of value and sales emails when launching your course.
Not all of these emails will pitch your course directly. For example, in some emails, you can link to a blog post instead. In the post, you can mention your course there.
Of all your emails, I have found that the very last “LAST CALL” email is the one that generates the most sales.Have a combination of value and sales emails when launching your course. Click To Tweet
10. Write blog posts about your course topic
To complement your dedicated course sales email sequence, write relevant blog posts. You can link to these blog posts in your emails!
Writing helpful and relevant articles will help to solidify your position as a credible expert in your course topic.
Your aim is to make people go, “Wow! If this is her free course, I wonder what her paid course will be like?”
You can even recycle these posts for future launches or repurpose them into emails.
I highly recommend that you publish a couple of valuable blog posts when selling your course!
Bonus: Leverage on the power of webinars
Webinars are an amazing tool to sell your online courses.
This is because webinars are structured in such a way that you can first teach and build trust, before pitching your product… all in one go!
Having someone’s attention for over an hour is extremely powerful, and I’ve made a ton of sales using both live and automated webinars as a selling tool.
Here are two of my webinars that you can watch now:
Haven’t launched your blog? My free webinar to help you start your blog the right way, find the right theme, install plugins, and more:
My free list building webinar on the 3 key blueprints that got me to over 40,000 subscribers & 10,000 customers:
- *Free Webinar: 3 Key “Ice To Fire” List Building Blueprints That Helped Me To Go From 5 To 40,527 Subscribers (& 10,582 Customers!)
I hope that you have found this post valuable! Here is a free online course roadmap to help you to create and sell your first or next course:
Once again, here’s how you can launch and sell your first online course, the SMART way:
- Start with a simple launch
- Have a dedicated course home
- Create an enticing sales page
- Implement the Awareness, Agitate, Solution hack
- Utilize urgency triggers
- Grow your audience
- Put the course everywhere on your website
- Schedule your social media posts
- Have a dedicated email sales sequence (IMPT!)
- Write blog posts about your course topic
- Leverage on the power of webinars
Now’s the time for you to take action! If you haven’t created your course yet, get started today 🙂
Continue on to part 3 of 3 of the Creating & Selling Online Courses series: Why I Switched To Teachable To Host And Sell My Online Courses