It would be an unfortunate situation to find yourself struggling with a course that no one buys. It’s obvious, no one plans to create courses that don’t sell, but things get out of your hands sometimes, especially if you ignore the best practices of how to sell an online course.
Most online educators follow this process for creating and launching an online course. It goes like this:
- Get inspired by something, you fix an online course idea.
- You have all the reasons to believe it’s an amazing idea, so you commit to it.
- You spend a great deal of your time, money, and effort creating the course.
- You either publish it on an eLearning marketplace or set up your own course website.
- You move on to the marketing phase and start promoting your course to get your early sales.
First days and then weeks pass by, but no one purchases your course. All that time, money, and effort spent on something that generated nothing but disappointment. Do you relate? If you have had such an experience, don’t worry, most online tutors face this situation somewhere down the line in their profession.
Luckily, there is a way to avoid creating an online course that doesn’t sell. You can validate the demand for your course even before creating it by crafting a pre-sale campaign. Pre-selling is one of the best ways to not only protect yourself from wasting your time on non-performing assets but also devising an effective marketing strategy to boost your sales down the line. So, how to pre-sell a course? Let’s understand the basics first.
What Does It Mean To Pre-Sell An Online Course?
Pre-selling is a way to promote and sell your online course even before its official launch. You present your target learners with a deadline to purchase your course if they want to participate in the pre-sale program.
When you pre-sell an online course, you offer your target audience a chance to get early access or become first in line. Doing so gives you some extra time to create your course content and have it ready at the time of launch without wasting any time. It’s a win-win proposition as it offers unique values to everyone involved.
It creates a sense of urgency among the learners, where you can boost their interest by clubbing the pre-sale with attractive early bird discounts. This helps you create momentum for the course before the launch itself, while also securing cash flow.
In short, a powerful pre-sale campaign is a perfect way to launch an online course, followed by post-deadline strategies to generate even better results. For example, you have the option to close the pre-sale offer or increase the price of your course after the deadline. In any case, you would be launching a course that is already popular among your audience, or at least the pre-sale performance would make it clear if it’s profitable to launch it after all.
Why Sell Your Course Before You Create It?
It’s not a new concept, especially in the digital products market. There have been successful cases of creators pre-selling proposed products even before they start working on the development and manufacturing processes.
This is a tried and tested strategy to validate the demands for an idea before a manufacturer or a creator actually invests their time, money, and efforts into implementation. One of the best examples of this method can be seen on Kickstarter. Innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs use the platform to present their ideas to the world and raise money prior-to creation.
If your idea gets enough backers, you not only get enough funds to start with the creation but also your first customers in the process. If your idea doesn’t get enough backers, you go back, refine your idea, improve your plan, and double back again with a better idea. Alternatively, you may also abandon your project entirely.
In any case, you prevent yourself from wasting your precious time, money, and resources on a potentially non-performing idea. If your online course isn’t selling, there is only one possible reason for it: You didn’t validate your idea beforehand.
Benefits Of Pre-Selling Your Online Course
Here are some more benefits of putting your online course idea on a pre-sale before creating it:
- It saves your time, money, and resources;
- Your course idea can self-fund itself;
- Instant feedback from the target audience;
- You can have a customer list beforehand;
- It creates excitement and a sense of FOMO; and,
- Encourages you to create and launch on time.
You get an idea about the potential of your course so you can put your time, money, and resources into things that work. As the idea sells, it self-funds itself as you can invest your pre-sale income to create the course, resulting in no stress on your personal wallet. With instant feedback from the target audience, you retain enough time to validate your idea and implement suggestions to produce desired results for the learners.
Pre-bookings also create a list of customers that you can simply use for reaching out and delivering the course once it is available. Knowing about the course and associated pre-sale offers will create excitement among the learners, and at the same time, it will encourage you to complete and deliver the promised course as soon as possible.
9 Tips On How To Pre-Sell An Online Course
It is now established that you must pre-sell online courses to validate your idea and put your efforts in the right direction. But how to do that? How to pre-sell a course and grab all these benefits? Here are 9 proven tips that have helped thousands of online educators and digital product owners launch successful pre-sale campaigns:
1. Outline Your Online Course
Explain what are you going to cover in your course. Give a brief idea of everything including topics, problems, pre-requisites, course objectives, expected results, and time for completion. Be advised that you need not write massive content but a small introduction. Besides this, you can also include small videos, images, and screenshots of the resources you are going to use in the course.
2. Identify The Selling Points Of Your Course
What makes your course unique? Go as deep as possible to find the potential answers and then compress them into bullet points. The goal is to mention everything and anything that gives your target learners confidence about your course. This may include points about your experience, previous successful courses, unique teaching style, and anything that differentiates you from others.
3. Create A Landing Page Dedicated To Pre-Sale
Every course needs its deserved attention to indicate its importance to you and your learners. A dedicated landing page acts as the first point of contact with the learners and also as your MVP. Spend a few moments planning for it and devise a compelling landing page. Here are a few elements that you must include on your landing page:
- A compelling headline to attract interested learners
- A brief overview of your online course
- A persuasive Call-To-Action as your sales pitch
- Featured relevant testimonials from previous courses
4. Create An Email Campaign With Your Email Data
To get your pre-sale off the ground, you must reach out to the learners who may be interested in your course. The dedicated landing page will help you collect enough email data, which you can use for launching drip email campaigns. You must proceed cautiously in multiple stages:
- Start with a pre-launch email
- Send follow-ups in multiple stages:
- Reminders with offers
- Last chance email with FOMO elements
Avoid spamming and frequent emails. Stick to a schedule and keep adequate gaps between consecutive emails so the users get enough time to read and react to your previous emails. For example, don’t send the “last chance” email weeks before closing the pre-sale. You must send this email only when you are just days away from packing up the campaign. For example, three days left to pre-booking, two days left, last day to pre-book, etc.
5. Devise A Content Marketing Strategy
Writing blogs always help marketers achieve desired goals, but only if they are relevant and provide valuable information to the target audience. Creating blog posts about the pre-sale, course content, and other relevant information will also encourage people to sign up for your newsletters. This can add more relevant email addresses to your email list. Apart from this, a blog post will help you cover many points in detail that you have not covered on your landing page.
6. Create A Relevant eBook Or White Paper
eBooks and white papers are some more examples of useful content that you can offer to your audience without sounding like a marketer. Free eBooks and white papers can be used to collect email data by giving them valuable learning material in exchange. Besides, this will also give them an idea of what your course is going to be like.
7. Post A Video Overview Of The Course On YouTube
YouTube is yet another great channel for the promotion of your online course. This channel can be used for promoting pre-sale and post-launch campaigns equally. With over 1.3 billion users, YouTube is like another internet. People look for video lessons and tutorials on YouTube more than on any other platform. If done right, YouTube alone can drive a major proportion of your target audience. Create course introduction videos or small relevant tutorials and direct viewers to your course using compelling Call-To-Action in videos, descriptions, and headlines.
8. Share Your Course Idea On Social Media
Apart from YouTube, other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially LinkedIn are great for reaching out to more learners in a short time. Use personalized posts on each of these platforms. For example, short videos for Instagram reels, articles on LinkedIn, offers on Twitter, course overview videos on Facebook, and so on. In short, use every communication channel that can drive users to your landing page.
9. Offer Limited-Time Deals And Close After The Deadline
Combine all the above-mentioned strategies with a persuasive offer, an offer that creates FOMO and encourages interested learners to pre-book the course upfront. It must create a sense of urgency and convince the target audience that it’s more profitable to book the course now before the launch.
For example, first 100 pre-bookings with a 90% discount and thereafter 60% discount till the booking closes. You can present it as a limited offer, exclusive only to the first X number of learners. For instance, you can offer the same course at $100 to those who pre-book and at $200 to those who purchase after the launch.
To Conclude: Give Special Focus To Your Pre-Sale Customers
Anyone who pre-books your online course will expect better benefits than those who do not do so. Convince your early buyers about how special they are and how you are going to ensure that your course will meet their expectations. Convey every benefit of becoming an early bird for your pre-sale campaign.
Of course, you must adopt some good strategies to impress your post-launch customers as well. However, whatever you do, make sure that pre-sale customers don’t feel that they could have received the same benefits by purchasing the course after the launch. Always keep those benefits exclusive to the pre-sale customers so they can come back once again for your next pre-sale campaign too.