Do you want to sell an online course but don’t know how?
Congratulations! Selling an online course is one of the best ways to make money online while spreading your message and helping your audience.
A lot of coaches, creators, and experts in differents areas can create amazing courses in a matter of days but get stuck on the marketing and sales aspect.
If that is your case, then this article is for you. I am going to share the step by step guide on how to sell your online course on autopilot by using sales funnel.
This way the funnel will do the selling part for you and you’ll be able to focus on sharing your knowledge and continue to create amazing content that attract and grow your audience.
Why a sales funnels is the best way to sell your online course?
https://affiliatesmind.com/digital-products-to-sell/If you have ever tried to sell an online course without a sales funnels you have probably been in one of these two scenarios (or maybe both):
a) Uploading your amazing course, the fruit of your hard labour and years of experience into a marketplace and being forced to sell it for $10 and getting only 50%.
b) Spending thousands on dollars on Facebook Ads to get hundreds of visitors yet making only a couple of sales.
If you have experienced that, you are in the right place. I’ll tell you how to sell your course on your own and make more money than what you decide to spend on ads (if you do).
You see, the mistake a lot of entrepreneurs and creators make is that they think because their course is great it will sell, but they are missing a key point.
In the same way, you won’t buy a great house just because you saw an ‘On Sale’ sign, people won’t buy from you just because you put an ad in front of them.
Potential customers need to be ‘filtered’ and ‘nurtured’ before being ready to buy, and that is what sales funnel do.
Their whole purpose is to gain your audience’s trust and ‘move’ them through the purchase stages. From being a first time visitor becoming aware of your offer to a ready-to-buy life-long loyal customer.
They “warm them up” through smaller commitments and provide enough value to earn their trust and prove you can help with their problem.
They also allow you to have a higher conversion rate than a regular website and build your email list while you sell your course. This way, you can promote other offers after they buy your course and sell different products to those who didn’t buy it.
Additionally, you can use the same platform to host your course in a membership area so it is all fully automated and you can simply bring people in and let the funnel do the rest.
Step-by-Step Guide to Selling an Online Course
There are many different types of funnels that you can use to sell your course, from webinar funnels to survey and application funnels.
But what I’m going to teach you today is what I have proved over and over to work best when it comes to selling a course: a free email course funnel.
Note: This guide will focus on the selling part and not on how to create the course but if you don’t have your course yet, it will still be beneficial for your creative process to understand how online selling works.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Create a free mini course
The first step to selling your course is to get qualified leads inside your funnel. This means getting the emails of people in your niche who it can help to and who will potentially buy it.
The best way to do this is to create a lead magnet and offer it in exchange for people’s emails. Lead Magnets can be of many different types including pdf guides, videos, spreadsheets, etc.
I am sure you have seen everyone plus their moms have a free ebook and while I don’t have anything against those but in most cases, they don’t deliver any real value. People don’t simply want something because it is free, they want a solution to their problems so that’s what you need to come up with.
Think of one specific problem you can help your audience fix and create a simple course that can be delivered in 5 emails.
The cool thing about ta mini-email course is that it combines a high perceived value of the course with the selling potential of an email sequence.
This way you don’t have one but 5 chances to provide value, gain your subscriber’s trust and prepare them to receive your offer.
If you are thinking ‘I want to sell a course not give away one for free’ I get it, it might seem a little bit counterintuitive but I guarantee you that by doing this you will NOT lose any sales. All the contrary, this is one of the highest converting practices you can use to turn your leads into paying customers.
How to create your free offering? Think of one specific problem you can help your customers with that is related to your paid course.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, actually, the simple the better.
- Is your paid course about manifesting the life of your dreams? make a free offering on how to manifest a new job by using affirmations.
- Is your it about becoming debt free? make your free offer about creating a monthly budget
- Or is your paid course about becoming an influencer? make your lead magnet on how to grow an Instagram account.
To try to keep it simple think if your lead magnet can be used in the following sentence: [problem]? Fix it by learning [lead magnet offering].
Step 1 recap: Create a free course offering that you can send in 5 emails. Solve on specific problem of your potential audience.
Step 2: Create an opt-in page for your lead magnet
After you decide on what your lead magnet or free mini course, you need to create an opt-in page to offer it and collect people’s emails.
While this is a free course you still want to get the best opt-in rate possible since every subscriber increases your chances of making a sale and improves your overall profits.
Especially if you use paid ads to get traffic, every metric will impact your final cost per lead and cost per purchase.
So, how to create the best opt-in page for your free course? It is actually easier than you think. Here are the main elements you need:
- Attention-grabbing headline that mentions what problem this course is going to solve for them.
- Short list of benefits so they know what to expect.
- Clear Call to action visible above the fold.
You can include some extra testimonial or screenshots of results if that is something that you have or would apply to your course but with the first 3 elements, you have yourself a solid opt-in page.
Below is the template I use for most of my opt-in pages as well as my clients’. As as you can see, it is very simple when it comes to design yet with the right offer and text, I always get a 15%-20% opt-in rate.
Actually, I have actually found that more elaborate or fancy designs don’t have any impact on the conversions so I’d advise you to keep it simple unless of course you are a designer and need to show off your skills.
You can create a page like this one with any drag-and-drop funnel builder Clikcfunnels or Karta. They are both great and allow you to host your course and connect your pages to a membership area I just find Clcikfunnels to be a bit easier to use.
You can download this template by clicking here and simply replace it with your course details. if you don’t have a Clickfunnels account it’ll give you the option to get a free 14-day trial.
Here are some other examples of opt-in pages for free courses you can use as inspiration.
- Free 5-day Course For Pregnancy Exercises
- Free 5 day course for setting up a website
Step 2 recap: Create an opt-in page for your free course. Keep it simple and direct while focusing on the problem you will help them solve. You can use the sample funnel builder to create this page and host your course.
Step 3: Turn leads into paying customers
Now that your opt-in page is ready to bring you new unlimited leads, it’s time to deliver that amazing-value course and turn those subscribers into paying customers.
This is when you’ll deliver your free course during the first 4 days and will offer your paid course on the 5th day.
This option works best, as the emails are long enough to get provide some great value, yet short enough to where you can keep engaged the entire time.
Plus once you have created it, it will continue to sell on automatic all day every day. You can do this by connecting your funnel to your email software (CRM) and it will send the emails to every people that opt-in to your course.
I personally use Active Campaign since it integrates easily with Clickfunnels and their automation is the best I have found out there. But if you are using other email software they will also be able to do it.
The structure of your email sequence should look something like this:
- Day 1 — Intro, overview, lesson 1
- Day 2 — lesson 2
- Day 3 — lesson 3
- Day 4 — lesson 4
- Day 5 — offer
The first 4 days will be dedicated to your providing value and the lessons should move them closer towards your offer but without any hard selling.
You can start to mention your course day 3-4 but is not until day 5 when offer your paid course. You should still offer some value at first so they don’t bounce right out but after that, should explain your full offer and how you can help them.
You want to add some sense of urgency so they feel more compelled to take action soon. After the Day 5 email I have found the following urgency emails to work best:
- Urgency email 1: the course is only open until X.
- Urgency email 2: get $50 off if you sign-up within the next 48 hours
On email #5 and the urgency email, you should have a clear Call To Action button that takes them to the next step: your course sales page. But before…
Step 3 recap: Deliver your free course in a 5-day email sequence. Do not present your course until day 5. When you present your offer, you should include a sense of urgency and follow up with 2 urgency inducing emails.
You can connect your opt-in page to your email software and set the emails to b
Step 4: Your Course Sales Page
If you have done a good job with your email sequence, your audience should be ready to buy by the time you present them your offer.
So a long sales page is not necessary but rather a simple landing page that recaps the course and shows call-to-action that takes them to the checkout page.
Alternatively, If you have another email list of subscribers that haven’t gone through the free course that is a case when you’d want to use a long sales pages since to warm them up and really sell the offer.
Or you can also send them first to the course opt-in page and let them follow the same journey we just outlined.
To summarize, if your leads are coming from a 5-day mini-course, a simple landing page is enough.
You can use the same funnel builder you used for your opt-in page to create your sales page and you can automatically grant access to your membership area to those your buy.
Step 5: Send traffic to your funnel
Once you have completed steps 1-4 you are almost ready to seat back and relax while your automated sales funnels takes cares of the rest.
But there’s just one thing missing: you need to get leads in through the top of your funnel so they can come out the other side as buyers.
There are many ways in which you can do this including free and paid traffic sources.
if you have a significant following on social media then definitely use those to send traffic to yoru funne. As you continue with your content calendar, make a few posts and videos where you direct people to your opt-in page.
If you are using Facebook, Instagram or TikTok you will need to do this constantly since the content has a short expiration date.
In the other side, if you are using Youtube or your own blog, one or two pieces of content can be enough since they will bring traffic for years (once they have ranked).
If you don’t have an audience, do not worry, you can use paid ads in platfrom like Facebook, Instagram and Google.
For both cases the ads and content should be focus on your free course and sending people to the opt-in page. You don’t need to do any selling of your paid course since the funnel will do that for you.
Step 6: Optimize and Enjoy
Congratulations! You have your automated sales funnels in place!
Now what? You can actually take a break and relax since that was some serious work to do and you deserve it.
But after you take your well-deserved break you should monitor your funnel and optimize all the pieces so it can make you more money every time.
To do this you can look at the data that your funnel builder and email software will show in your stats. If you are using paid ads you will also be able to see the statistics of how well they are performing.
Look at your funnel from top to end and continue to tweak and improve those pieces that could be doing better. Here are the main ones to look for:
- Your ads click-through rate: aim for more than 2%
- Your opt-in page opt-in rate: aim for more than 10%
- Your email open rate: aim for more than 20%
- Your emails click-through rate: aim for more than 2%
- Your sales page conversion rate: aim for more than 20%
Recap: Selling an Online Course on Automated With Sales Funnel
Step #1: Create a free email mini-course that solves an immediate problem for your potential buyers.
Step #2: Create an opt-in page to offer your free course and collect people’s email in exchange.
Step #3: Deliver your email course to those who opted-in. On day 5 present your paid offer and include a Call To Action that sends people to your course sales page.
Step #4: Create a simple sales page for your course where you present the content of the course since people should be ready to buy after the email sequence.
Step #5: Send traffic to your opt-in page form free or paid traffic sources.
Step #6: Let your funnel run on autopilot, observe the data, and optimize to improve profit margins.
Bonus: keep your subscribers engaged by emailing them at least once a week so you can, later on, sell them a different offer.
Below is a visual representation of how your automated sales machine will look like.
Selling an digital course is one of the best ways to make money online.
However, many experts and course creators don’t know how online sales work so they end up either spending lots of money on ads without seeing much return, or selling their courses in marketplaces that take most of their profits.
Creating your own automated sales funnels is by far the best way to get consistent sales round the clock so you can focus on what your know how to do, producing great content and serving your audience.
It might take some work upfront but once you set it up, this system can bring you money while you sleep for months and years.
Finally, remember that the key to the success of your funnel and course is to always provide more value than expected and really care for your audience so they become life-long loyal fans.