Were you trying to find a method on how to make money before even investing money in an online course? Then you are at the right place!
In this article, I will share with you some methods, tips, and tricks that will help you Pre-Sell your online course, validate that it is on-demand, make improvements, and succeed in the coaching market.
So, if you are ready, let’s start.
The following article covers:
What is pre-selling?
Imagine the situation: one day; you’ve got inspired by a brilliant idea of launching your first online course; you spend months designing it and quite a lot of money, too. Finally, you got to the part where you post your course on a platform and — get disappointed. No one bought your course. That must be heartbroken, right? You don’t want to end up in that situation because it will discourage you from trying again, and eventually, you’ll give up.
Now, there is one useful strategy to prevent it — a strategy that is old as capitalism itself — pre-selling. Pre-selling promotes a course that is not ready yet; it basically works like pre-booking something. You sell the course before you launch it and even before you design it fully, give some benefits to pre-buyers and economize a bunch of resources.
Why do you need to pre-sell your course?
Let’s break the strategy down to see how exactly it benefits you and your hypothetical customers.
- Relevancy: First, pre-launching allows you to see whether your idea is as brilliant as you thought it was whether your target audience would like to take a course you offer or not.
- Resources: You can only imagine how many resources you will end up saving. No, really; if you have experience with designing an online course, you know how time-consuming it is, and you know that sometimes you have to invest a lot of money in it and maybe some other material goods. Now, imagine that no one buys your course — what a waste. And pre-selling is something that will help you avoid this situation, as you will see if you have customers before you spend your time, energy, and money on the course making.
- Improve yourself: You present your idea, and people don’t buy. This is disappointing, but nothing too bad (as we noted earlier, you didn’t waste many resources, so it’s fine). But this is a wonderful opportunity that will allow you to improve yourself, polish your idea, and generally progress. Negative experiences are still experiences, and learning from your mistakes will boost your improvement.
- Funding: Situation number two: you present your idea, say, on Kickstarter, and people like it. Guess what? Not only do you convince customers into buying your product, but also you attract sponsors. If your idea is cool enough, some people might like to support you. And you can use that money to invest in your course.
- Fear of missing out: When you pre-sell a course, you set a deadline for your customers: “Last chance to buy this course! Pre-booking will end on the 20th of December!” This plays on human instincts: people are generally afraid to miss out. They become anxious, and the idea haunts them. So, this will stimulate indecisive customers — those who wouldn’t buy your course in other circumstances — actually to purchase your product.
- Motivation: What about deadlines? This will stimulate another important person, the designer of the course. Deadline provides an anchor for creators, grounds them, and reminds them that they have limited time to finish creating the course. This is, of course, in case people are interested in the course itself.
Tips for launching a great pre-sale campaign
As we have defined reasons why you should implement the strategy of pre-sale campaigns, let us delve into how to do that correctly in order to economize time and resources further and attract as many customers as possible.
Create a course outline
Course Outline is a document that represents what students are going to learn throughout the course, including:
- Learning objectives
- Additional materials
- Learning outcomes
- Grading/absence policy
- Instructional methods
- Assignments descriptions and deadlines
The purpose of the course outline is to make everything clear for the students so that they will be aware of what they are studying, what they will gain at the end, and of course, what to expect throughout.
Course Outline will provide you with several benefits in terms of pre-selling, which are:
- It makes Everything clear: if you want to pre-sell your course, you still need to put in some effort. The students most likely will purchase it only if they are clear on what they will gain afterward, so make sure you make it clear.
- Professionalism: Having a course outline ready shows your professionalism and seriousness about the final product.
- Increases the trust factor: When students are able to view the course outline before purchasing pre-selling goods, they will trust you more. Because the course outline is like the guide throughout the whole course, it automatically will make students think that you have ready material; they just need to wait a bit for the final product.
There are several methods and tricks on how to create a course outline; here are a few general tips that will help you out:
- Use Simple Language while describing the course, avoid professional terminology with which students are unfamiliar
- Set Learning Objectives - this will keep your students motivated all along because they will know what they are studying for
- Be organized: Have separate sections and break the content down; you can do it daily or weekly. The preferable format for long-term courses is breaking down the content by weeks.
Identify what your USP
USP is a unique selling point/proposition that shows the business’s unique value or specific service/product’s unique value. It can be used in marketing strategy in order to increase sales and public interest. USP is essential because it differentiates you from your competitors and, in most cases, is the Primary Reason why customers should choose you over others.
Of course, USP is vital in many industries; however, it is especially critical in the mass market, and online education nowadays is a mass market. So, figuring out what makes you different and more valuable than showing your value to customers will increase your sales alongside positive publicity.
How to identify your product’s USP?
- Brainstorm idea: The creation of a USP for your course or overall business is not the easiest task. Therefore, if you have team members who work with you, it will only benefit you. There are quite a few brainstorming techniques that will help you to come up with a working list of possible USP for your product. One of the most popular brainstorming techniques is called “Brainwriting.” The point of the method is that everyone should write down on the list three ideas, or in this case possible USPs, and pass the list to the next person until everyone wrote down their ideas.
- Identify your target market: To know your product’s USP, you have to know who you are selling it to, because if your USP is Additional two classes for free, but your target customer has no time for any extra lessons, then it won’t affect them in a positive sense.
- Analyze your competitors: It is critical to know who your competitors are when you want to come up with a USP for your product, especially in mass-market industries. Look through courses, do some research.
- List your strengths and weaknesses: When you know your strengths and USP, it will be easier to show your product to a target audience and attract them. However, many people underestimate the importance of knowing the weak spot of your product. When you are aware of your weaknesses, you get an incredible opportunity to grow and improve.
- Figure out what makes you unique: This is the last point of your journey on the identification of USP. When you have a lot of possible USPs, target market, competitor analysis, and of course, you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, the only thing left is to evaluate all of it and come up with a single answer and Unique Selling Point.
Creating sales page
Here you need to create something that will present your course to your target audience, establish a connection with your possible customers and provide a platform for feedback and communication. That will be your sales page or, as some call it, a landing page. The sales page will help you to collect email data that you will need in the next step — launching an email campaign — but we’ll get to that later.
The easiest way to create a sales page is to use LinkedIn, which provides this opportunity. However, to ensure optimal reach and success, it's important to develop an effective LinkedIn sales strategy. To start, put a captivating headline. Remember, it is the first thing people see, so you need to catch their attention. Be coherent with your design, and don’t play too much with fonts.
Of course, if you have a website besides social media accounts, then it is even better. Make sure to have a landing page for your upcoming curse on the website. The content on the landing page should be short, to the point, and, most importantly, attention-catching.
Define your course and solution
Go on and add a brief description of your course; naturally, you should mention the basic distinctive features of your product, so people would generally understand what it is about. You also need to outline the characteristics of your course with the special emphasis on those that make your course different from others. You can use course objectives and learning outcomes.
The basic concept is to have the full course outline ready so that it will be easier for you to determine:
- What is the course about?
- What solution does it offer to what problems?
When you are clearly aware of what issue your product solves, it becomes easier to base further marketing strategy on it and develop the best promotional solutions.
Talk a bit about yourself mention your experience, preferably with other online courses students. If you have courses that previously were successful, you can establish trust between you and your customer. Share with them your teaching philosophy and some features of your training style that make you unique and desirable.
Also, ask your previous clients and students to write reviews about you on your website. You can even create a whole page for client testimonials on the website and feature the top ones.
Add well calls-to-action
Make them want to buy your course. We already have mentioned the “fear of missing out” tactic that creates this “helpful anxiety,” the urgency of a sort. Another thing to do is to make pre-buyers feel special. Point out what benefits they will gain if they pre-book your course before the launch.
You can say that the first hundred pre-buyers will get a 60% discount, others 40% discount, etc. The most important thing here is that people who buy your course post-launch will have to pay the full price. So, employ everything to make your target audience believe that it is more profitable to buy the course before its launch.
Sharing on social media
To promote your course, we strongly recommend you to use every single platform available. Social media is a strong influence nowadays, so why not exploit this opportunity? Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., are major ones that you would like to use, as they cover big audiences; their algorithms are quite specific, so your paid promotion will get to your target audience. Pinterest, in this case, is even better, as it is basically an intensely visual search engine.
Tell your social media audience
What content should you put on social media? Let’s start with technicalities: put relevant data about pricing and dates of pre-order/launch, for example, in your Instagram Stories. Cover in detail things that you couldn’t fit in your sales page in blogs. You can also upload short videos with the content of your course that will help your customers grasp what your product is about and see how generous you are.
Share on groups/channels
You can share information about your course in Pinterest groups or to Discord Servers. In Pinterest, for example, you can add your profile to thematic group boards that are dedicated to Coaching. You can join many Facebook groups dedicated to online courses and announce your upcoming course. On the other hand, Discord can be another platform for you and your customers to interact in a less formal environment. You can grow a community there and keep your members engaged. However, if you don't have enough time to manage your community there, it is advised to outsource Discord moderation to a Discord management agency. These things will allow you to further advertise your course and gain your customers' trust.
Add engaging videos on YouTube
YouTube is one of the most important platforms that you should use, as it is the second most visited website in the world with coverage of more than 1,7 billion people monthly, most of whom visit the website almost every day. Hence, your videos will be seen by at least some people, not to mention what kind of big audience you can find there. Anyway, you can elaborate on your sales website’s content, create useful tutorials, etc.
Launching email campaign
Let’s get back to sales, though. As we mentioned earlier, there is another important reason for you to create a sales website, and that is to collect email data. So, emails are another “social” platform for your course promotion, and there are a few types of emails you should use in order to advertise your product most effectively:
- Pre-Launch Email. This email includes a brief overview of your course, quite so similar to your sales page. Put links to your social media and attach White Papers and eBooks that you might have written about your course.
- Follow-Up Email. A follow-up email is a reminder and should be scheduled in a way that does not irritate your customer. Do not send follow-ups too often, and include your offers in it.
- Last Chance Email. Last chance emails should really be last chance emails — do not send them a month before the closing of pre-sells; rather, send them three days before the deadline, two days, one day, and one hour before.
Making educational content
Educational content sells digital content really fast. Therefore, a great idea would be to write an e-book or a white paper. The popularity of educational content is only logical; after all, your customers buy your course to acquire new knowledge. So one of the target characteristics of your audience is - the desire to learn.
When you have educational material available for free, your clients get the chance to check your authority on the subject matter. Which automatically results in high conversion rates and increased trust factors.
Make your e-book, white paper, or maybe an audio material available for free, and use it as a leag magnet, with the right call-to-action.
Offering limited and special product
This always works; whenever you decide to offer a limited product or a special one, it subconsciously makes the product more desirable. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, your potential customer after seeing that offer has awakened the “fear emotion of missing out on something good.”
This technique also works. because it created a sense of “urgency.” When you close the offer, clients think that would be it, and they would never have the chance to purchase again. Especially this would work if you put the discounted price for a limited time period, or for let’s say first 100 customers. Then they will also be encouraged to share your course with their friends and colleagues.
Who are your current customers?
Online pre-sells are a great method to attract new customers and awaken the existing ones. Moreover, there is a better chance that they will work better on the existing audience. Because those people already purchased materials from you and were satisfied with it, so they trust you.
Therefore, do not forget about your existing audience while preparing a pre-sell campaign for the new one. Also, you can analyze your current audience to have a better target for the pre-sells.
Create your website now
Assume you do not want to waste any more time, so let’s start the website creation now. To sell or pre-sell the course, you need a website of your own. Your website will give you the opportunity to publish and sell/pre-sell as many courses as you want, have a separate SEO-optimized blog (that will increase your chances of getting new clients through search engine results), and client base. There are many other benefits that come with your own website, but the question is how to create it?
Here comes the answer. Although many website builders are available, and most of them are free and open-source, there are still underlying additional costs that beginners do not expect. For example, some of the costs include hosting, special functionality development, additional plugins installation, etc.
However, you do not have to worry about it anymore because Uteach offers a perfect solution for YOU. Instead of wasting your money on liability, invest it into the assets in quality.
With Uteach you can create a full-featured website in a matter of seconds. The only things required to do are:
- Choose the pricing plan (there are free and paid options available, for each paid option, you will have a 14-day free trial run period)
- Register or sign-up on the platform
- Create your website
The lasts step includes all the necessary customizations, material publishing, etc. And all of that is very simple to do because you will get access to a drag & drop website builder to construct and customize your website pages colors, add or remove anything you want.
With Uteach our journey in the Online Course business is made easy.