Digital Courses: How to Sell Your Course Before Creating It
Digital courses and training are more popular than ever. Taking your knowledge and turning it into something that others can learn from can be both rewarding and profitable.
Unfortunately, you might find yourself in a situation where no one buys your course. Of course, that wasn’t your plan when you created the course. But if you don’t plan how you’re going to sell your course, you might end up with very few sales.
You don’t have to go through that. Simply sell your course before you create it. This is called preselling and it protects you from wasting time creating a course no one wants to pay for.
Preselling your course is a way to build up the idea of your course while creating cash flow and helping you gauge interest among your audience. When you presell your online course, you’re making it available to purchase before you create or launch it. You set a deadline by when your audience can purchase the course if they want to get in. This creates a sense of urgency.
Benefits of Preselling
There are several benefits of preselling your course including:
- It validates your course idea. Asking people to sign up helps you see the interest in your course idea. This keeps you from wasting time and resources on something that might not lead to sales. This helps eliminate the possibility your course will fail.
- It helps you build confidence in yourself and your training. When you see interest in your course, you feel confident that you can produce the content and present it.
- Creates cash flow to help with the expenses of running a course. It brings in money to help pay for expenses that come from creating and getting your course up.
- It helps you build accountability. If people give you their money, you are motivated to give them the product. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of refunds and very bad reviews.
- It helps you build momentum, pushing you to finish the project, build your list of customers, and create more courses.
- You get instant feedback on what needs tweaking. Students give you instant feedback, helping you see what needs to change.
The benefits of preselling your course help you avoid lost time and resources and help you see what your readers want.
Ways to Validate
When deciding on the course topic you want to present, you may find yourself wanting to have validation that it will sell. You can do this in several ways.
- Validate demand with a lead magnet. Lead magnets are some type of content that attracts people to download. It can be a checklist, a report, or some other form of content on the topic your thinking of creating your course on. This is also a great way to build a list of interested subscribers as they give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.
Be sure to use a call-to-action message or graphic with compelling copy on how the lead magnet will impact them or their business. Put the CTA on your blog, at the bottom of posts, on your home page, and in social media updates. Use paid advertising on different platforms.
- Host webinars to discover prospective students’ interests. Cover just enough to give them an idea of the course content. Make the webinar available for those who register to gain access later.
- Run a pilot program to gauge interest in your topic. A pilot program is where you create just one or two modules of your content that brings results for your students. Discount the price to gain interested students and feedback from those students.
There are several ways to validate your course idea. Use one or more of these ways to find the right topic.
Steps of Preselling
Another option to validate your idea for a course or training program is to presell your course. You can do that using these steps.
Step 1: Determine what your course or training offer will be. You might already have an idea for your course. If not, you need to find your audience’s pain points by asking and observing conversations in the communities they frequent. Create an outline of your product.
Step 2: Determine your price range for the course. Decide what you will include in the package you’re offering. Will it include written content, videos, workbooks, templates, one-on-one coaching, group coaching, or something else that fits with your topic?
Step 3: Set up your early interest page. Set up a page where you can capture names and email addresses of those interested in the course. Include a teaser about what they can expect from you. You’ll promote your pre-sale to these people.
Create follow-up emails for those who opt-in by providing high-quality content. You’re preparing them for the presale of your course via blog posts and your newsletter. By providing them valuable content on your topic, you’re showing them that the topic is important and that you know something about it.
Step 4: Create some of the content. Create some content for your course and as teaser content for your blog, podcast, Facebook lives to build interest on the scheduled release. This helps build up the buzz on the course. Be sure to include a call to action in the content for readers to sign up for your course to learn more. Make this content available to beta testers to collect their feedback. This gives you an idea of what needs to change.
Step 5: Set up your sales page. Send people to this page from your traffic generating efforts like blog posts, social media buzz, and ads. Include a short overview of your course including information such as the benefits and features. Make it full of action verbs and language your customers understand. It should be a paragraph or two in length.
Add a compelling call to action. This is the “wow factor” that convinces visitors to click the buy button and pre-order your course or training.
Include mock-up versions of your course. You haven’t created your course yet, but if you’ve decided to move forward at this point, you should have some type of image of the product created. This can be your logo and the top of your sales page dropped into a mockup image of a computer. Use exclusivity and urgency in your call to action. Be explicit letting your customers know it’s a presale and there is a special discount price.
Here are a few examples:
- Don’t miss your chance to pre-order [your course]! Be one of the first to get in on this amazing training.
- Take advantage of our special, pre-order price and become a [outcome] when the course launches on [date].
- Pre-order today to lock in the early bird price to ensure your spot in [course name].
Feature social proof with glowing testimonials. Even if you don’t have testimonials for this product, you can include ones that refer to you specifically.
Add a countdown timer that gives customers a visual showing exactly how much time they have to get in before the price increases.
Don’t forget to include your author bio! Use it to establish yourself as the authority and that you are a real person.
Step 6: Pre-launch offer. Promote the pre-sale to your targeted audience via email to get beta testers. As mentioned before, you want to promote your pre-sale to those who have shown interest in the course or training. Send a pre-sale email announcing your course and the exclusive opportunity for them to beta students.
Focus the email on generating excitement about your course. You’re trying to convert your subscribers.
Step 7: Collect feedback. After the initial presell, get feedback from your beta students. Feedback increases the value of your course and helps you cater to your audience. Gather information from within the course and the communities you’ve created for them. Make note of any questions that occur. You can also email those students that stood out during the course and ask for their input.
Finally, you can send a survey to collect feedback. Ask questions like:
- What areas of the course were vague or confusing?
- What do you want to see more of?
- What would you add to the course?
This is a good time to collect testimonials as well.
Step 8: Launch your offer email. This email looks similar to the pre-launch email but needs to convey a sense of urgency. In this email, tell your readers about the deadline quickly approaching for signing up for your online course.
Use short, attention-grabbing sentences with strong verbs to get your point heard. Your call to action should be as visible as you can make it in your email. Include frequently asked questions at the end that address any questions your prospects might have about investing in your course.
Step 9: Market your presell package. Besides email marketing, you should be preselling through other channels. Write a blog post about your pre-sale to convert people who haven’t signed up for your list. Post videos on YouTube or do live videos on social media about your course presell to get it out to potential subscribers. Post about your pre-sale on social media platforms.
Step 10: Send a last-chance email. The final date for getting in on the presell at the discounted rate is quickly approaching. Mention that the price rises significantly after the launch date and they need to jump in now to save big.
Step 11: Close the presell offer. You want your presell to be for a limited time. This creates a sense of urgency that converts potential consumers. Only the people who pre-ordered get in at the launch price. You close the offer to others until you’re ready to reopen it at the regular price. Or if you don’t want to close the offer entirely, you can raise the price after the deadline to let other customers in.
Step 12: Create the course content and launch! Write your course, record your videos, and add any other components needed. Create your slide decks cheat sheets, bonuses. It’s time to deliver your content.
The benefits of preselling your content greatly increase the success of your course or training. Preselling enables you to validate your idea, build a list of interested customers, and creates an income flow to help cover the costs of creating the course.
Once you decide on your topic, begin garnering interest in it in different ways. Have a landing page for interested people to sign up and prepay for the course. Create interest with blog posts, social media, and videos. Create the content once your idea is validated.