Finding students for your online course: sales funnel

Actionable steps for getting students to buy your course.

You find it difficult getting students to buy your online course.

You've put in sleepless nights writing and creating video content for your online course. Now you've launched.

After a month, you're yet to make a single sale. Another month passes, only a handful of students have bought your course.

You've made barely enough to cover what you spent. You wait and keep waiting for that promised big break. Sound familiar?

Getting people to buy your online course is an uphill task for many, so rest assured you're not alone.

Although you're an expert at what you teach, marketing your online course to attract students is a different ball game altogether.

Create a sales funnel as the starting point for your marketing efforts.

Marketing doesn't have to be scary. It's about finding the students who need your course and convincing them to buy it.

Rather than wait for them to come, you position yourself to be found by them. A good place to start is by creating a sales funnel.

A sales funnel is a series of stages you take customers through from the point where they become aware of your product to when they buy.

While there are standard models for explaining a sales funnel eg. AIDA, you can simply think of it as stages in a relationship between you and your students. There are four stages in this relationship — awareness, leads, customers, and multi-purchasers.

A diagram showing the different stages in a sales funnel

At each stage, there are marketing strategies you can use to move students to the next.

📣 Awareness: Students who know that your course exists.

  • Ask: How do I make students aware of me and my course?
  • Do: Social media, ads, guest blogging, podcasting, SEO

📌 Leads: Students who have shown interest in taking your course but haven't bought it yet.

  • Ask: How do I capture the details of interested students and keep engaging them until they're ready to buy?
  • Do: Lead magnet, emails, webinars

💰 Customers: Students who have bought your course.

  • Ask: How do I get interested students to buy my course?
  • Do: Landing page A/B testing, discounts, reviews

❤️ Multi-purchasers: Students who keep buying more courses and other products from you and tell their friends to do the same.

  • Ask: How do I get existing students to buy more and refer others?
  • Do: Special offers, 1:1 access, referral rewards

Simple, right?

Your goal is to move students from one stage of this relationship to the next until they become multi-purchasers.

These are your true fans. It's important to get students to this last stage because all you need to become a successful course creator is just 1,000 true fans.

Don't worry if any of these strategies are unfamiliar. We'll explain them in simple terms with actionable steps in the next issues of this newsletter.

Remember to subscribe for free if you haven't already.

Checklist: what you can do now.

  1. Create a sales funnel document where you'll manage the marketing strategies for your course.
  2. For each stage of the funnel i.e. relationship, choose a few strategies you will use.
  3. For each of the strategies you choose, create a list of weekly tasks to complete. You want to ensure that you're taking steps to move students from one stage of the funnel to the next every week.
  4. Check out this free template we've created for you. Copy and use it to complete all the steps above.

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❤️ 1,000 true fans: A true fan is defined as one that will buy anything you produce. In this article, Kevin Kelly explains that to be a successful creator you don’t need millions of fans, you only need 1,000 true fans.

📚 How to read more books: Books are a huge source of ideas, but finding time to read them can be a challenge. Here are some habit-building strategies to carve out time for the job of reading.

📹 How to look good on video calls: Chances are you're spending a great amount of your time on video calls weekly. Here are some tips for looking your best while on camera.

✉️ Free templates for your next marketing email: Need to request a guest spot on a podcast or a feature on a relevant blog? Find best-performing marketing email templates you can copy and use.

🔖 Save to read later with this handy tool: Raindrop lets you save web pages from your browser to read later. You can organize your saved links into collections with search, filters, and tags.

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