How to Create an Online Course That Sells – 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid at ALL Costs
Don’t create yet another course that nobody wants to buy.
My first Online Course flopped big time. I look back and wish someone shared this information with me when I started.
I always considered myself the creative one. The one who had the answers and could help people with my knowledge. I also believed strongly that with the right strategy, I could turn my knowledge into an income online with digital products and courses.
So when I started a brand new Instagram page to grow a niche community of content creators, my monetization plan was stupid simple.
Monetize with my courses and eBooks.
I knew I could earn money online from coaching and selling my own online courses.
At the time, I also really believed that all I had to do was create the damn course, slap a price on it, and throw it at my followers.
My plan was to sit back and watch the sales trickle in then I could claim passive income victory.
It didn’t quite happen that way.
I needed to eat a big humble pie and my first online course served me that with a side of disappointment.
Here’s the deal.
People on the internet are looking for answers and they need help.
This is true.
However, their first step to getting answers online starts with a simple search on Google or down the endless hallways of Youtube University.
Think about yourself and how you use the Internet. When you need help with something, do you search for a course or do you trust a Google search to help you?
I bet my narcissistic ex’s left leg, it’s Google to the rescue for you.
That’s the same with the majority of the millions of people who use the Internet daily.
I have invested hundreds of hours into creating eBooks and Courses in the past few years. I have even blown past my own comfort zone and built the first most intuitive, all-in-one Course hosting platform for Africans. So hear me when I say, I have enough trial and error in my history to know more than a thing about selling online courses.
Here are 5 Mistakes you want to absolutely avoid at all costs when creating and selling your own Online Courses
Never create the full course until you have sold it first
Perhaps the most important thing I tell anyone who wants to sell courses online. Sell the course, then create it.
Hear me, I had to learn this one the hard way.
My first course was a mini-program teaching content creators how to film and edit videos on their mobile phones.
It was just something I did for myself in creating my own content. A nice comment or two on my Instagram praising my video editing skills and I suddenly believed that I needed to create a course.
So I dedicated a full couple of weeks to see it through and ended up with only two sales!
Two sales, which quite frankly, I had to sweat my armpits for.
I felt like a decorated failure.
What to do instead:
Over time I have learned to pre-sell my courses. This means, to present the idea to a small group of people even before I ever create the first module of the course, and to get a payment in.
What I’d do is host a Live class or Paid Workshop on a subtopic for my main course. This will ensure I have the audience of my ideal students and buyers.
Then I present my ‘not-yet-created’ course to them as an offer and see if anyone raises their hand to buy.
To do this successfully, make sure your buyers know they are paying for something that’s not yet available to access.
Alternatively, you can opt to host a Live, weekly version of your course first. This way you are creating the course week by week with actual students who already paid for the material.
Your Course is NOT For All Your Followers
As you create more and more digital products, you will come to learn a simple fact about your followers.
Your followers follow you for your content. They are paying you with their time and attention.
Your customers are people who actually buy from you. They are followers who know, like, and trust you and they pay you with their money.
My mistake was thinking that because I had a great idea for a course, then all my followers would be interested.
I even estimated my profits based on how many followers I had at the time. Big mistake. I had more than 10,000 followers yet made only two sales of a $39 course.
What to do instead :
Instead of trying to sell your course to everyone who follows you, harvest your list first. Harvesting your list/fanbase simply means you fish out those who are likely going to need your course from those who wouldn’t.
There are three easy ways to do this.
- Grow a Waitlist for your course: Long before your course is ready, start growing a Waitlist. This is as simple as creating an opt-in page and telling your followers to sign up so they are the first to know when the course is open for enrollment. Most people gladly sign up for Waitlists because it gives them a tiny sense of accomplishment toward their goals. What it does for you is even more significant. It helps you grow a true list of people who are likely to buy from you when you are ready.
- Offer a related Lead magnet in your course topic: Everyone who runs an online business has some type of lead magnet /freebie. At least the serious ones. What you want to do is create a valuable Free offer /download your followers can opt-in for in exchange for their email addresses. This is something you have to do very early in your online content journey to take your followers off the internet and into your private fold.
- Start hosting paid Workshops to gate paying customers: One of the easiest ways to test your course idea before it is ready is to teach a piece of your course Live. Hosting paid Workshops will also give you an alternate stream of income as a course creator. If people sign up to your Workshop then you are able to validate that you have a profitable digital product with your course.
People want accountability and Results, not another course with just information
If you think people want more information, think again.
We are tired. There is information everywhere we turn. We literally live in the information age and there is excess information than we can possibly have use for.
There are hundreds of millions of blogs, endless podcasts, billions of hours of Youtube videos, and even more, added every day on the Internet.
People do not want more information. They want solutions. They want solutions to the core problems that they really have.
People with core problems all have one thing in common– they want a unique, straightforward solution, and usually, they want it with accountability.
Meaning they want to know that they will have support in accomplishing their objectives.
This is where your course comes in.
What to do instead :
Create your course in a way that not only provides information but it pushes your students into action and achieves results. You can do this by:
- Including Worksheets that forces students to implement the material
- Offering Templates that help students achieve certain milestones faster and save them time
- Offering optional direct access coaching so they can connect with you directly and get support. This can also come as an add-on offer at a different price.
- Creating a community group site along with your course. This can be as simple as having a dedicated Facebook group for your students to share ideas. Or even better, create a Membership type course offering.
You need to prove authority in your topic
It doesn’t matter how great your information is, if you do not have a proven track record for your offer, it will be difficult to sell.
Understand that when you tell people you have a course, what you are really saying is: I have the answers. I know how this works. I can fix your problem.
If someone is interested in buying your course, they want to know and see that it will do what you promise.
You can achieve this by showing the results you created for yourself in the past, showing your work, showing testimonials from past clients you have worked with, or even taking your audience behind the scenes.
If you do not have testimonials from others, it will help to offer your solution to a beta group before you launch the full course. This way you can get real-time feedback and potential testimonials to help sell your course.
Often times in the beginning, simply showing your own results can be just as beneficial.
Never Create Your Online Course in Isolation
If you are serious about selling more courses and getting a rave about your products, never create in isolation. Most creators are lonesome geniuses who want to hide away in their creative den for long periods of time. They want to finish the product, be happy with it, and make sure it is perfect before announcing it to the world.
While this is reasonable in context, it is a poor use of the opportunity we have in the digital economy. Things have changed drastically in the past ten years and we now live in a very see-it-all, nosy world.
For Creators, this is a good thing. We are in the show business and it is important for people to see your process, not just your perfectly finished works.
You should strive to take your audience along with you on your journey. Take them through the process of creating your course, let them see you working on it, tell them about your creative process, the challenges you have faced, the plans you have, and what your course is all about.
You want to do this in a documentary style. You don’t have to create new content, you only have to document what’s happening, all the while saying –” I am creating this course and it is coming soon.”
This can also be a great strategy to help build awareness and fill up your Waitlist with potential buyers of your course.
Your Next Steps
If you are creating and selling digital products and online courses, you cannot afford to continue to try to sell each course on your own or connect with your buyers one-to-one.
Remember, your online course is created so you can enjoy passive income streams.
Watch this Free Training to learn how.
Ready to sell your own profitable online courses? Make sure you are using the best, most affordable course hosting platform with the right tools for more sales. Start now with a Free Kobocourse account.