Learning is really trending right now. We live in a time when everyone strives to become a better version of themselves and the possibilities for doing that are highly accessible. So if you decided to create and sell your own online course, it’s a good moment to do so.
However, since you are not the only one aware of the opportunity and I have already mentioned that there are multitudinous options, the marketing part of the process may seem a bit more difficult than the design. Whatever your subject of mastery is, you’ll need to learn a few things about online sales.
One way to do so is to take a look at your crowded inbox – I have no doubt that you receive your fair share of marketing emails and offers just like the rest of us internet users and electronic address owners. You can see which ones are appealing to you, figure out why and consider if replicating that pattern will work for your marketing purposes.
How to set up a sales funnel for your online course
As a general blueprint for setting up a sales funnel, here are four basic steps to follow.
Identify your client persona
In order for any marketing strategy to be successful, it has to be aimed at the right audience. Personalization is key and so it’s paramount that you do your homework properly and identify in the most specific terms possible who you are selling to.
Aspects such as their demographic, their interests, their spots for leisure time, their preferred ways of communication and the emotional triggers that drive their behavior are all relevant to the portrait. Getting as much information as possible on your potential customers will allow you to craft the ideal client profile.
And in this research process you are sure to come across more than a few ideas about how to appeal to this crowd. Focusing on this client prototype will help you later mold your sales pitch into something that will ‘hit home’ with your intended public.
Find a good hook
If you are a course creator, your aim should be showing potential clients how your material can help solve a problem they have – get a new skill, bridge a knowledge gap, find a way to become more successful at something.
A hook is ultimately a creative story that is entertaining and funny enough to keep people reading (or watching if you go for visual promotion) and render a sense of wanting what it is advertised.
Since the venues you’ll be promoting on are most probably social media channels it’s good to keep in mind that this is where people go to feel good. It’s good to create suspense but avoid going towards angsty or gloomy lest you’ll lose a good chunk of the audience.
Remember that your story not only needs to be good but it needs to ‘hook’ within the first few seconds. Your intended public is surrounded by many other marketers trying to get them over to their corner of the internet so you have to make things appealing enough that they chose you.
Craft an awesome landing page
If you have successfully identified and baited your customer with the enticing hook, it’s essential that you continue in the same interesting manner. Interest is the key to closing a sale so that needs to stay piqued for the entire duration of the interaction with your online points of presence.
It’s as if you pick your customer up from a sea of repetitive or boring ads with your interesting one, carry them on a nice ride with your story and visuals and then ‘land’ them on the page of your course.
If it’s been a lovely journey so far, it has to be an epic stop, one that will convince them to leave their email address, connect with you other social media pages or spend some time watching a video or enroll in a short learning module.
This is the point where it stops being a ‘chance meeting” online and becomes a relationship. One you, of course, must work harder at because even if, hopefully, you both have something to gain, you are the one with a product to sell.
Make the sale
The way to ensure you’ll end up with sales is to continue to offer your potential students value once you get their contacts. It’s best if you aren’t awfully pushy but consistent enough so they don’t forget all about your course.
It’s wise to have an automated emailing system in place and gradually work toward making your offer. Once you send it, it’s advisable to put an expiration date on it – offering a discount or some special bonus for a limited time will create a sense of urgency and increase the chances of a positive decision. You can also send them additional free materials that give a glimpse of how taking your course will help at least one of their problems.
Keep in mind that it’s called a sales funnel because that’s precisely how it works. You’ll start out with a large number of potential clients and only a small portion of those will be converted into paying customers. It’s not you, that’s how sales go these days so improve where you see fit but do not get frustrated.
A sales funnel is not a static contraption but a process. It is constantly sifting potential customers and it’s your conversations with your leads that eventually get them to click on the ‘enroll now’ button, so keep those friendly and relevant!
INDIE White Paper: How to build a great site for selling online courses
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.