How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course | Make Money Before Launch

Article by Nelli Gevorgyan / Updated at .17 May 2024
12 min read
How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course | Make Money Before Launch

Were you trying to find a way to make money before investing money in an online course? Then you are at the right place!        

In this article, I will share with you all the tips, and tricks that will help you pre-sell your online course, validate your course idea, make improvements, and succeed with your launch.  

We have asked Jessica Koch, an international host and the founder of the Virtual Assistant Membership Program, to share her experience and pre-selling strategies with you. 

Should you pre-sell your online course?

Imagine you’ve been inspired by the brilliant idea of launching your first online course. You spend months designing it and quite a lot of money, too. Finally, you get to the part where you publish your course and get disappointed: no one purchased it! That must be heartbreaking, 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 helpful strategy to prevent it—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 entirely, which benefits pre-buyers and economizes a lot of resources.

How can course pre-sells ensure your success?

If you are still thinking about whether you need to do the pre-sells or not, here are some benefits this strategy can provide you: 

You validate your online course idea

First, pre-launching allows you to see whether your idea is as brilliant as you thought it was and whether your target audience is actually interested in taking the course.

“Take the chance of pre-selling to have these conversations with your joint venture partners, with your community, with your current customers about what is their biggest challenge or the thing they really want to learn the most.”

Jessica Koch

Founder of Virtual Assistant Membership Program

If you have designed an online course, you know how time-consuming it is. And if you end up not selling the course, all your efforts are wasted! Pre-selling your online course helps to avoid this situation. 

You see what’s there to improve

Pre-selling the course before it’s entirely ready is a wonderful opportunity to improve yourself, polish your ideas, and generally progress. Negative experiences are still experiences, and learning from your mistakes will boost your improvement. This way, you receive instant feedback on what can be improved before you can even make it to the launch. And guess what? The improved version of your course still gets your students excited! 

Every time you update something and improve it, that's one more time that your top of mind and your audience and you're able to say, hey, and here's some things you can do.

Jessica Koch

Founder of Virtual Assistant Membership Program

You build an email list with FOMO

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.  

 Related:  25 ways to promote your online courses.

How to run 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 save time and resources further and attract as many students as possible. 

Before getting into the pre-launch campaign, it’s really important to do all the pre-planning, including going through the following components one more time. 

  1. Your Course Outline. When students are able to view the course outline before purchasing the course, they will trust you more. The course outline is like a guide throughout the course. It makes 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.         
  2. Your unique selling point.  USP is a unique selling point/proposition that shows your 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.       

Have your pre-sales page ready

The whole idea of creating your pre-sell course sales page is to present your course to your target audience better, establish a connection with prospects, and provide a platform for feedback and communication. This is also the page that helps you collect email data that you will need in the next step—launching an email campaign—but we’ll get to that later.       

The content on the landing page should be short, to the point, and, most importantly, attention-catching. Together with Jessica Koch,  we have outlined the points you want to include on your landing page. 


Beginning with your headline

In some cases, the title of the course is part of your headline. 

“You really want a strong headline, and then you want a subheadline that's really going to break down the transformation. Something similar to  “Oh, you're here, but you'd really like to be HERE.” 


Jessica Koch

Founder of Virtual Assistant Membership Program

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 a special emphasis on those that make it different from others. You can use course objectives and learning outcomes that we have defined in the planning phase.        

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. 

Share testimonials

Talk a bit about yourself and mention your experience. If you have courses that previously were successful, you can establish trust between you and your prospects. 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 great 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. 

Jessica Koch also recommends adding additional value to your course, something your community truly cares about. For example, if you know they are passionate about animal rescue, you could mention that a certain amount from the pre-sells goes to such funds. So, putting a deeper value in your course is really a great idea. 

Employ everything to make your target audience believe buying the course before its launch is more profitable.

Additional components 

To present your course in the best way possible, you also want to dispel all your students’ doubts. This can be done with the help of the Questions and Answers section. Think of any questions your students are likely to ask about the course and provide comprehensive answers with a FAQ section. 

If you have enough time to handle appointments, it would be a nice idea to include a link, where the prospects can book a meeting with you. 

 Besides that, you also want to include your author bio, so the students can get to know you and trust you. 

Sharing on social media

To promote your course, we strongly recommend you use social media channels as well. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., are major ones that you would like to use.

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. Social media is often used to tease your course along the way. However, you should also use it to drive conversations and traffic to your website. 

“You can share a short video on social media about how to solve a certain pain point. To get the solution, they would need to download your resource.  So they're getting that and going into your funnel.”


Jessica Koch

Founder of Virtual Assistant Membership Program

Share on groups/channels

You can share information about your course in Pinterest groups or Discord Servers. In Pinterest, for example, you can add your profile to thematic group boards that are dedicated to your course.

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. 

“Look for people you've made friendships with within the business space who offer courses as well. And if they're getting ready to do their presale, offer a bonus to their community and have them do the same. You can also get on other people's podcasts or speak on other people's stages.”


Lead students to your webinar 

During the whole process, it’s truly important to engage with your community, whether it is through face-to-face interactions or webinars. 

As you have created your freebie and posted it on social media, your goal is to get your students excited about it. One of the ways to achieve this is through webinars. 

In fact, webinars are a faster way to promote your presales course offer than solely relying on emails. They are also an excellent way for your community to ask you questions and interact with you. To get people to sign up for your webinar, you can use social media and email sequences. 

Here are some topics to cover in your pre-webinar emails: 

  • Showing that you understand the obstacles they face
  • Communicating clearly that you know what they need
  • Telling them what they can expect from the webinar
  • Sending them the webinar details and reminders

Related: 10 Proven Steps To Create And Host Engaging Free Webinars

Launching email campaign

Another important step in the process of pre-selling your online course is planning your 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 them.
  • Last Chance Email. Last chance emails should really be last chance emails — do not send them a month before the closing of pre-sells; instead, send them three days before the deadline, two days, one day, and one hour before. 

Nurture your students as they end up getting your pre-sell offer

You have worked this hard to get students signed up for your pre-sell offer. Now, it’s time to continue maintaining great relationships with them so they come after your next courses. There are several ways you can do that, such as

  • Providing them access to a kind of exclusive content, such as other webinars, articles, videos, etc
  • Have a private community where you can engage with them
  • And, of course, do not forget to send them updates on your program. As you officially launch your course, there might be some improvements you made. So, let your initial students know that they can check out the updated version of your course. 


Let’s build your website now

Assuming you do not want to waste any more time, 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 blog (that will increase your chances of getting new clients through search engine results), and a 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 no longer have to worry about it because Uteach offers a perfect solution for YOU.      

With Uteach, you can not online create your professional website and introduce your pre-sell offer, you can easily create, market, and sell your online courses, all from one dashboard.     

Book your free demo now, and get your online course pre-sells started! 

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