Launch Your Course With a Bang By Pre-Selling to Students

In 2016, the global self-paced eLearning market is expected to hit $51.5 billion. Each year, online courses are growing by 7.9 percent. If you haven’t launched your own online course in your specialty, now is a good time.

But if you’re planning to launch an online course, you likely have a lot of questions. Among them:

How do I get people to buy my course?

The best way to generate revenue at your course launch is to gather interest BEFORE your course goes live—and even before you’re done writing it. By capturing students’ attention beforehand, you’ve already “pre-sold” your course to those who are going to hand over the money when registration opens.

How exactly do you do this?

In this two-part series, we’ll be exploring how to generate interest in your online course and how to get people to pay you for it. Let’s start by looking at how to get people talking about your course.

Set Up a Landing Page

First and foremost, you need a landing page that will allow you to gather emails from interested students so you have a “waitlist” you can market to when the course launches. This can be a page on your existing website or a “coming soon” section on your course site. At the very least, you should mention your course topic and include an email subscription box.

Other elements you can add to your landing page include:

  • Date you expect the course to launch.
  • Prices people can expect to pay.
  • Testimonials from beta testers (if you had any).

Tip: Be aware of what email list you’re adding subscribers to. You shouldn’t be subscribing them to your current list; it should be a new one specific for your course. This segments your list so you can communicate directly with people who have expressed interest in the course.

Lead Pages is just one tool that can help you create an awesome landing page to start collecting emails.

Connect With Your Network

Your existing network is a fantastic place to look first for interested students. Although your friends and business connections may not be your target audience, they may know of someone who would be interested in your course.

Ideas include:

  • Emailing connections you’re close to and asking if they know of anyone who would benefit from your course or if they’re willing to share your course landing page with their followers.
  • Posting to Facebook or Facebook groups and asking people to tag anyone who might be interested in what you’re offering.
  • Sending out a Tweet that announces your upcoming course.
  • Emailing your current list about your upcoming course.

Be sure you’re including a link to your landing page when you connect with people!

Aside from leveraging your network to attract new students, you can also contact people you know to see if they want to be part of the course launch. For example, you might bundle your course with eBooks and other offers from professionals in your industry to make your offer even more irresistible.

Run a Facebook Ad Campaign

Another effective way to spread the word is through Facebook ads, which can be very effective if used properly.

Start by creating the post you’d like to advertise on your business’s Facebook page. Click the blue “Boost Post” button above the comments section once you’ve published the post. Here, you’ll be able to choose who to target, your budget, and your duration of the ad. Facebook will let you know approximately how many people you’ll reach through your ad. Keep in mind that average click-through rates for custom audiences is about 1.25 percent.

Alternatively, you can promote your page’s call-to-action button, such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up.” You can find this option at the top of your page near your profile picture. Facebook call-to-action buttons can almost triple your overall click-through rate.

Host Free Classes or Webinars

Before your course launches, set up a free mini-course or webinar. This will give attending students a “taste” of your work and entice them to sign up for your paid course. You can use the “free” aspect as a selling point to attract more people to your brand.

You can host these classes online in video or live feed format, or you can set up local meetings or presentations and gather emails in-person.

These classes or webinars should relate to your course in some way to attract your target audience, but they shouldn’t go so in-depth that students needn’t buy your course. For example, if your big course is about starting a photography business, your webinar could be about finding your first photography clients.

Hold a Giveaway

A cost-effective way to build your email list is to offer an incentive for referrals, and this can start by holding a giveaway. Start by deciding what you’ll give away. Try to make it appealing to your target audience, but don’t make it so broad that you’ll attract anyone and everyone. You want to make the email addresses you collect count (i.e. the participants would be willing to buy your course).

If we consider the example on a course about starting a photography business, you might give away a piece of photography equipment.

Set up your giveaway with a tool like Rafflecopter or PromoSimple. In the giveaway information, talk about your upcoming course, and make subscribing to your email list a required entry. Then, offer additional entries for sharing the contest on social media or referring friends. (The giveaway tool will handle all your entries.)

Build Hype With Your Email List

Now that you’ve started gathering emails, you don’t just want to let the list sit until the course launches. If the launch is well in the future, subscribers may forget they even added their name to the list. Build hype by sending out emails to your list every so often to get people excited about the upcoming launch.

Let them know if you’re running a giveaway (so they can refer their friends), when you’ve added new features or offers to the course, or when you have other news regarding it. That way, you’re fresh in their minds when the course launches.

With these tips, you should start seeing your email list grow, which will give you direct access to people who are likely to buy your course on the launch date. Stay tuned for the second part of our series, where we talk about how to get people to pay for your course.


Photo Credit by Stuart Miles

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.