“What is the best way to sell my online course?” – says every aspiring course creator, ever.
I’ve tried live launches, evergreen sales funnels and everything in between, and I have a strong opinion.
Want to know which method I recommend?
Read on, my friend.
Three Ways to Sell Your Online Course
Let’s start with the different ways that you can sell an online course.
1. “Buy Now”
First up: the “buy now” strategy – which isn’t really a strategy at all.
Essentially, it involves creating an online course and simply adding it to your website for your visitors to purchase.
Thinking about doing this, or doing it now?
It. Doesn’t. Work.
Here’s why: People usually need urgency – either internal, or external – to purchase from you.
When you sell information, you are providing someone with a solution to their problem.
Oftentimes, they may not even know they have an urgent problem, or it may be on the “I’ll get to it later” list.
Simply waiting for people to click to your website, find your course and purchase leaves your success up to chance.. and will likely result in a slow (to non-existent) trickle of sales.
So, where does that leave us?
Essentially, with two options.
2. Live Launches
What is a live launch?
Essentially, it is a system that centres around an event – like a webinar, four part training series or similar – which provides value before “opening cart” for a limited period of time during which your potential students have the opportunity to buy.
A Live Launch is preceded by a “pre launch” period to build your authority and anticipation (usually, a period of 30 to 60 days).
Live launches, when executed well, are a fantastic way to make sales of your course – but there are downsides, too.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Cash Injections: Live launching usually means a cash injection during a concentrated period of time. It brings a chunk of money in all at once.
Builds your audience and authority: During the pre-launch period for your online course, you will be creating content and opportunities to share aligned, valuable content. This will naturally build your authority and perceived expertise. The process of your pre-launch will also build your audience as you undertake a concentrated period of activity to generate leads to sell to.
Natural urgency and excitement: The “open and close” nature of a live launch is the perfect incentive for people to purchase from you rather than waiting for a later that may never come. A well executed live launch will also generate excitement and community, which will naturally lead to participants wanting to “carry on the party” by purchasing your course.
Sounds great, right?
Well, it is!
Live launching has had a significant impact on my own business, and is really responsible for catapulting its success. But, it’s not always roses and there can sometimes be cons to the live launch process.
Launch Burn Out: The flurry of activity and concentrated period of “work” required for a live launch can sometimes lead to burn out. It can lead to a “launch rollercoaster” lifestyle in which your business (and your life!) consistently experience the highs and lows of the launch process. This is something that can be negated with solid systems and processes (you can snag mine inside of my Launchpad program!)
Inconsistent Income: Live launches create great cash injections.. but what happens in the months when you aren’t launching? Generally, it means see-sawing income, with big peaks and troughs which can be stressful. It is also very difficult to create a sustainable business when you don’t have a consistent income to rely on, and you’re never sure how your next launch will go.
It Prevents People From Buying: What happens if someone comes across your course and wants to buy right away.. but it’s not during your designated ‘live launch’ timeframe? Will they wait for your next launch? Maybe.. but maybe not. Live launches prevent people who really WANT to buy from you now from doing so.
3. Evergreen Sales Funnels
The second way of selling your online course is with an evergreen sales funnel.
What is an evergreen sales funnel?
It is an automated system for selling your course year round, without waiting for the next live launch to intake your students.
Sales on auto-pilot – the dream, right?!
Well, yes and no.
Let’s run through the pros and cons of an evergreen sales funnel.
Consistent Sales: When you have a successful sales funnel, you are able to make sales every day, rather than waiting for your next live launch. This can be a less stressful way of generating income for your business.
Build a “real” business: A successful evergreen sales funnel and the consistent income that comes from it means that you can start to build a business, hire team and take on other expenses such as marketing without worry about whether your next live launch will cover the expense.
Builds your list: An evergreen sales funnel will build your list every day.
“Always Be Closing!”: In order to generate consistent sales, you will also need to put consistent focus and attention into your audience growth to ‘fill your funnel’. This means constantly focusing on audience growth activities.
Generally lower conversion rates: Evergreen sales funnels can absolutely be set up to create excitement and urgency, however they lack a little of the magic that comes with a live launch. This generally means lower conversion rates (ie percentages of leads that buy) than a live launch.
It’s not set and forget: If you’re looking for passive income, an evergreen sales funnel won’t give it – at least, not to start. Turning your evergreen sales funnel on is just the first step in the process of building your funnel. You will need to constantly tweak and iterate to optimise it for profitability and sales.
The Best Way to Sell Your Online Course
By now, you’ve learnt that simply adding your course to your website isn’t a viable way to sell your course.
You’ve also learnt that live launching and evergreen sales funnels both WORK, but have pros and cons attached.
So, which do I recommend?
Simply: BOTH! A dual selling system is the best way to sustainably grow your online course and is the method that I teach inside of my Launchpad program.
Validation: Executing on a live launch BEFORE creating your evergreen sales funnel ensures that you have the opportunity to test and validate your course prior to automating. This will give you invaluable feedback that will allow you to optimise and create the best possible evergreen sales funnel.
Less Stress and More Consistency: Having an evergreen sales funnel allows you to avoid the stress of relying solely on live launches for your income. It allows you to build up a base monthly income that will give you piece of mind and allow you to launch for cash injections without relying solely on a successful outcome for the survival of your business.
More Money: A dual selling system ensure that you’re not ever leaving money on the table. Relying solely on live launching a few times a year means that you will miss out on income from people who simply want to purchase your course “now”. Relying solely on an evergreen sales funnel, however, means that you will miss out on sales from people who would be more likely to purchase during the excitement of a live launch. Even though evergreen sales funnels have a lower conversion rate, you will generally make more sales during a live launch from the people who went through the evergreen funnel but for whom it wasn’t the right time to buy.
Setting up a dual selling system for your course allows you to reap the benefits of both, whilst also negating the cons that come with relying on just one or the other.
It is the same system that I teach inside of my Launchpad program, and which works so well inside of my own business. Of course, there are many moving pieces involved in doing this both simply and effectively.
Want to know what they are?
I’m hosting a free private training in early December, where I will be sharing with you the exact three step process for swapping clients for courses and how to put all of the moving parts of the creation and marketing of a successful course together.
Keen to come along? All you need to do is fill out this quick application (it’s just two questions, along with your contact details). You’ll get the value-packed training with zero pressure to join Launchpad.. so there’s nothing to lose!
Links and Resources:
Want to launch your own course? I will be opening the doors to my group coaching experience Launchpad very soon. I’ll be releasing it by application only at a VERY special one time only pilot price to my waitlist soon. To join the waitlist to be notified when it launches in November, click here.
Want to start a podcast? Check out my free INSTANT ACCESS masterclass now.Click here.
Want to create a signature online course? Download the free checklist with everything you need to know.Click here.
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