The Ultimate Guide:
How to Sell More Course Than the Bible
The full process from no-course to scaling it to the moon.
This guide describes my ultimate method to launch and scale an online course.
If you’re here I’m assuming you are already convinced that you need to launch an online course and that there is a process that makes it work…
Well here it is:
BONUS: Get the full list of all tools and softwares you need for your Launch! (Free)
Click on any step to jump to the section
Step 1: Listen
This is before creating anything and at the very beginning of the project
Find a problem to solve and what people want.
Now that you understand you need to launch, it’s time to switch to listen mode!
It’s time to not actually “do” anything.
Well indeed the first thing to do is not to start scripting your course and think about what platform you’re going to use…
I’m sure you’re already an expert in your field. But understand that people are not buying information.
Information is free and abundantly available everywhere online. So although valuable, your expertise is not what people are going to pull out their credit card for… not exactly.
You need to listen and get feedback on what people want. You really need to get inside their heads and know who they are.
And not just the demographic: 25-40, male,…
…But the psychographic as well: their pain, their desire, what keeps them up at night, what’s frustrating them and what’s the one thing (they think) would solve their issue. What’s their desired situation.
Your course has to deliver that result. That’s it.
If this all you take away from this guide, then I know you’ll be well off. In fact if you don’t understand this and make it the core of your strategy, no marketing is going to matter. [dramatic statement ends]
To know if the audience will adopt your course use the ADOPT formula.
Offer: With all this in hands you need to now craft the offer that’s going to get people from Pain to Desire the quickest way possible, no fluff. That include the course but also everything around it, bonuses etc.
Anticipation building: Drop hints – “something is coming”
If you’re already creating content, then drops some hints about the fact that something is coming. Post some behind-the-scene on social, but don’t be too specific and allow curiosity to build up.
Desires, Pain and Testimonial:
There are different ways to do this but here is one to get all of these 3 elements with one rock:
Create a survey in 2 parts:
Part 1: Ask them ONLY 2 questions such as:
“What’s the ONE thing you’re struggling with?”
“If I was to really go all out and exceed your expectation, what would I have to do?”
Part 2: (after they’ve submitted their answer to part 1):
We’re trying here to get a testimonial BEFORE having launched the course, about your content in general or another product you already sold. Here is what you can say :
“That’s the end of the survey.
One more thing that is purely optional, this isn’t part of the survey:
I have a lot of RAVING fans, but since this course is brand new, I don’t have any testimonials for any of my fans.
Perhaps you could help me out with a testimonials for the free content I release every week. It doesn’t have to be too involved… here are a couple of examples:
[give testimonial example]
Pro Tip: When structuring the offer always keep in mind:
Is this absolutely necessary for them to get to the desired result?
Is this going to get them there quicker?
Anything that doesn’t fit in any of these, just don’t include it in the offer
Step 2: Pre-Sell (Optional)
When you have a solid idea of what people want and trying to gauge interest
Find out if people are actually going to pay for the course
Ok I presume you’ve seen the “optional” just above. Let me expand on this:
If you’ve never sold anything to your audience, then you should probably do a pre-sale.
It will save you time,effort and this can be just a part of the “getting feedback” part too.
If you’ve already sold premium content to your audience and you have marketing systems in place, then you may decide to skip this step… But be careful here, we always tend to be a little too optimistic about how bad people would want your product and actually asking them to pull out their credit card is the best way to know… Hence the importance of including a pre-sale.
A pre-sell is essentially a smaller version of a prelaunch + launch (see these later)
I’m going to walk you through the prelaunch model of Shane Melaugh, co-founder of Thrive Themes, because it’s simply brilliant and simple to understand. Here is the full map:
1) If you’re interested, raise your hand
We start on the left side with a concept from permission marketing, which is something to keep in mind all throughout the evolution of your course. We’re asking people to show interest in the project. This doesn’t have to be done over email but can also be in a video, social media post, or any channel you use to create content.
This is key because we don’t want to blast the whole audience with something that is not ready yet, killing the course in its infancy.
2) Massive value
You then announce the pre-launch to these people which is usually going to be at a very discounted price, I mean they’re buying thin air right now.
To support the prelaunch you are going to release a series of about 3 pieces of free content, designed to prime (= peak their interest) people to take a look at the pre-sell.
The launch page of the pre-sell is also going to be beta and based on the early feedback you get. The more simple the best at this point.
You can also see that after someone purchased the pre-sell they’ll get sent to a thank you page and survey. This is going to be the best feedback you get since it comes from people that actually gave you their money for the course.
3) End the pre-sell
You need to end the pre-sell and have this scarcity factor, we’ll go back on this later on but this is the single most important thing to sell anything online. You need to remind people that they have to make a decision now or pass on the offer…
Of course, I’d encourage you to couple this process with feedback you collected from past clients and to talk to current clients and ask them questions directly if you can.
If the interest and the number are too low for the pre-sale, you can decide to stop everything, refund the few people who bought it, and go back to the drawing board and listen mode to understand what people would be willing to pay for.
If the numbers look good enough: you can switch to beta mode. Create the first module (or whatever you call them) and drip them to your pre-sale buyers, getting feedback along the way until the course is finished.
BONUS: Get the full list of all tools and softwares you need for your Launch! (Free)
Step 3: Pre-Launch
Step 3: Pre-Launch
The week before the launch
Deliver load of value before the launch and starting the persuasion
At this stage you should:
- Have the offer mostly figured out
- Know exactly the value proposition and the problem the course is solving
- The course or at least the first part (if you’re dripping modules) is ready
- You’ve started to drop hints that something is coming to your audience
The objective of this phase is to delivers lots of value, just before going for the sale (the launch of the course). It also helps getting people from the slow lane (“maybe’s”), still on the fence, to the Fastlane (“yes”), to take another analogy from Danielle Leslie.
So how does it work?
You’re going to release a “mini-series” of about 3 pieces of content. Usually these are videos but can be something different if it fits your style better.
This mini-series aims to solve a problem that you break down further for each video. These are called Pre-Launch Content (PLC) and something Jeff Walker came up with in his book Launch
The videos follow this pattern:
Introduce the problem> solve it > foreshadow the next problem > ask for people to comment.
Now let’s break this down for each video
Notice that ONLY in this very last step of Video 3, do you start mentioning the course properly and simply say that this will go much more in-depth about everything you’ve talked about in the mini-series and you’ll tell them more about this opportunity very soon (the next day in fact with the sales video).
Again this series is NOT about the course and only designed to show your expertise, build authority, show social proof… But you won’t mention the actual course until the last video.
Then lastly, the very next day after your pre-launch sequence, you will release the sales video.
This guide is already very long so I’m not going to go to in-depth for what a good sales video looks like, just keep a few things in mind:
- Focus on the transformation the course is promising and the desired result.
- Address objections
- Before revealing the price: talk about the guarantee (oh yea you need that), then compare the price with the price of something like formal education to put it in perspective.
- Add some scarcity (more on that in the launch phase).
Along with this pre-launch sequence, you will also need to have a simple email sequence for each piece of content and of course for the sales video.
Step 4: Launch
The week during the launch
Making a big splash your first week
It’s time to actually launch.
What this simply means is: you open the doors to registration.
Here is the deal:
Unless there is a real scarcity during your launch, the course probably won’t do very well on that week, and won’t build the momentum it needs to be successful.
People will procrastinate and forget…
So during the launch week you want to have an offer they can’t pass on.
This is going to be either a massive discount or closing the doors for the course altogether.
Pro tip: if the problem you’re solving is something punctual in the life of a person, for example how to ace a job interview, then you probably don’t want to close the doors to the course. That’s because you want people to be able to get the course at that moment in their life.
If you’re solving a problem that’s not punctual, like “how to start your business online”, then closing the door is a good option to incentivize people to make a decision right now on something they’d likely put off if they could.
Instead the frame should be more subtle such as “Wow! so many people are already enrolling and loving it, see for yourself”
After the launch week, do actually keep your words and close the registration or bump the price up…
Step 5: Scale
This is after the internal launch
Build the systems allowing you to scale your course
You’ve just done what’s called an internal launch. You had an audience, figured out what they wanted and gave it to them.
But how do you get to the next level and sell more course than the bible?
2 ways I’ll briefly outline here. And this is where the fun starts!
The reason why this only comes into play now is that you need the numbers down first before using these methods. You need that internal launch and have tested the process before going out and spend money on ads or reach out to affiliates.
1) Joint Venture Partners (JVs)This is where you get other people with similar or complementary audiences to promote your product. This is as old as the internet but still and always will be a great way to reach people you could hardly otherwise.
The way this works best is by asking them to send their people through the PLC sequence we designed earlier.
They can blast emails to their list at different stage of the PLC sequence, the more the better.
Be generous with your affiliate and cultivate a long-term relationship, this could be worth a lot to you over the years. So make sure the tracking of the commission is near perfect and that they get their share.
2) Paid trafficThis can be social media ads (Facebook, Instagram, whatever comes after). Again before getting there you need your funnel to be rock solid or this could be a disaster…
Start with some simple retargeting ads for people that have either abandoned the shopping cart or landed on the sales page and haven’t purchased.
Know your numbers (CPA, CPC) and understand that most of the money with paid traffic is made in the backend, so it’s important you have a solid offer and you know you can spend more money than your competitors to acquire a customer, because they will end up spending more over time.
I only brushed over these 2 methods here because this guide is already very long and this last step of the process requires much personalization.
... the end?
If you made it this far, you are probably dead serious about creating and launching a course for yourself.
You may still have a lot of questions about some parts of the process, and that’s normal since there is a lot more to it than an article could cover (although I really tried to give you everything here).
If you really want to make this happen for yourself:
Thank you for reading!