I’m going to guess something, you didn’t create a course to keep hustling all the time to keep sales coming in, right?
I didn’t think so.
So after that launch phase, what do you do now? Shove the course somewhere on your website, hope people find it and start working on something else? I hope not!
You need a strategy for consistent course sales, and then once you have that strategy, you can build a system around it so that it runs 24/7 for you!
We’re going to create this strategy a little backward but don’t worry, by the end of the post, you’ll see how it fits together!
Step 1 – The Off-Ramp
The first thing to recognize is that most people won’t buy your course because they see a one-off social media post about it.
What you need to do is to find a way to drive people off social media to your “owned land.” When the only marketing you do is on social media, you’re missing out on tons of sales. You don’t own your Facebook page, Twitter profile or Instagram page. The platform owns it. While this is a powerful way to reach more people because everyone is on these platforms, it’s easy to get lost in the noise.
Instead, you need to focus on getting your prospective course clients on to a platform where you hold the power. The most popular platform for this is email marketing. You don’t need to hack the algorithm of your email list. You don’t need to worry if your email will show up in your audience’s inbox. (Whether or not they open it is a different story. But you’ll know that they received it in their inbox.)
However, it’s just not as easy to simply ask for an email address. You need to give something of value in exchange for their email address. This is fairly typical email marketing behavior. These are usually known as content upgrades or lead magnets but we like to refer to them as off-ramps.
The off-ramp gets people off your social media page and into your email list so you can provide more value and offer the sale, at the right time (more on that in a minute).
The key to having an off-ramp as part of your course marketing is that you need to position it so that it leads your audience right to your course. How do you do that, you ask?
You have to solve one of their problems that relates to your course.
Your course is going to solve a big problem for your audience and your off-ramp should solve the first step in that problem.
For example, blogger and course creator Melyssa Griffin teaches her students how to turn their blogs into thriving businesses in her course “Blog to Biz Hive.”
Now there are many steps in that process but she gives away one of the first steps for free in her free “Bangin’ Blog Business Plan Workbook.”
Someone can get tons of value out of blog business plan workbook without buying the course. But it’s safe to assume that anyone interested in that workbook will be interested in learning all of the ins and outs of turning their blog into a business.
Another example is Gillian Perkins, blogger, YouTuber, and online entrepreneur. Gillian helps aspiring entrepreneurs with several programs. One of them is her Channel Launch: YouTube Success from Scratch course.
Her lead magnet for this course is a free Channel Launch Checklist. She solves part of her audiences problem (launching a successful YouTube channel) and gives them the solution (a checklist to follow) but she provides even more tools, strategies and guidance in her course.
Your lead magnet can be anything that feels good to you: a live webinar, a recorded webinar, a mini-course, a checklist, a workbook, a template, etc. The format doesn’t matter, only that your lead magnet is valuable and solves part of the problem that your course solves.
After you’ve solved one of their problems and fed them some value, they’re almost ready for a sale.
Don’t worry, we are getting you closer to that sale, I promise!
Step 2 – The Email Funnel
Now you need a high-converting personal email funnel that will prime your audience for a sale. In marketing, these sequences are referred to as “nurturing” sequences but really, what you’re doing is providing value, building trust and showing your audience that you understand their struggles, fears, and needs.
Your email funnel can trigger automatically after someone opts into your lead magnet and then drip out over a few days, sending one email daily or every few days. Most email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, AWeber, and ConvertKit have automation feature to create these so you don’t have to worry about manually delivering lead magnets and sending emails.
The perfect email funnel will differ for everyone but here are some emails you should consider including in yours:
It’s possible that someone opted into your email the first time they visited your website or saw your social media post or maybe they’ve been following you passively for a while. This email is the best time to share your story. It helps to make a connection with your subscriber.
Yes, you’re already providing value with your free offer but you know, you should be wanting to show even more! (Because at the end of the day, content marketing is really about providing that value). Solve another problem for your audience in this email. Showcase how they can put what they are learning into action. Give them a few bonus tips about your lead magnet topic. (Note: this can be 2-3 emails if that feels good to you!)
It’s important to provide a little social proof for your audience! Share a success story from another student. This will empower the audience to realize that it really is possible. (Note: just like value, you don’t have to dedicate a sole email to this! You sprinkle success stories throughout your email sequence. Just like actual sprinkles, they can make your emails just a tad more enjoyable!)
It’s nice to believe that your audience just can’t wait to scoop up your course and they have zero fears, right? Yeah, it is but it’s not exactly realistic to believe that. Your audience will have one or two objections to purchasing your course. Brainstorm a few of these potential objections. Don’t just assume it’s the cost. Really dig into what their fears could be. And when in doubt, poll your community! Ask them what stops them from purchasing a course, whether it’s yours or someone else’s.
Potential End Results
When people buy courses, it’s usually not because there are 8 modules and they get lifetime access to a Facebook group, it’s because they want the end result. They are at the starting line but they want to be through the race and at the finish line. What does that finish line look like? What does it feel like? (Hint: This is a great thing to ask your past students! What was it like before your course and what was it like after?)
This should feel really obvious but hey, it’s worth listing! You’ve got to pitch your course at some point. And listen, selling is a feel-good thing when you trust your product and you know you’re giving value. Don’t feel bad about that pitch!
There may be some trial and error with your email sequence! That’s a good thing. Watch your open rates and let the data drive you forward instead of frustrate you! If you notice open rates stop at a certain email, test a new subject line. If you notice one email doesn’t garner many clicks, edit your CTA. Move emails around if one works better than another. Feel free to experiment!
Step 3 – Filling Your Funnel
Now you have the pieces of your funnel, except you need to add people in it!
This is the fun part, it’s your funnel-filling system! If you’re already marketing on a regular basis, then you can easily add in promotion for your lead magnet. The best part about this is that you can automated filling your funnel quite easily, especially if you are already doing normal marketing activities on a regular basis!
Did you guess that we were going to suggest social media? 😉 Remember what we said earlier on in this article, social media is where everyone gathers and you can use it as a platform to promote your lead magnet. If you use category-based scheduling, as we do at Edgar, you can create a category for your lead magnet so that it is part of your regular scheduling.
You can also pin your lead magnets to the top of your profile or in your website links.
While your promotion is automatically going out at regular intervals, you need to be actively engaging with your audience! The platforms tend to reward engagement so if you engage more often, your content will be more likely to be seen by your audience.
Your existing content
You might already have an existing content platform whether that is a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel. Look for ways to seamlessly include promotion for your lead magnet. You could add a link in your show notes or your video descriptions. On our blog, we use a tool called Sumo to promote our lead magnets on every post.