The creation and promotion of organic content is a powerful, indirect sales technique you can leverage to sell your online courses. The idea behind this strategy is to establish yourself as an expert online by creating content that builds trust and credibility among your audience. It means creating content that provides genuine value to people — at no cost — as a way to demonstrate what you offer as a course creator, what you would be like to work with, and why people should choose to learn from you.
The sales technique is indirect because you do these things before you suggest to people they buy your course. And, even then, it’s a bit of a soft sell, “If you like what you learned, there’s a course I teach you might be interested in.” Or, better yet — “Here’s a free webinar you can join that will give you a taste of what I offer in my course” — an automated webinar which ends with an offer to enroll.
If this approach sounds overwhelming, or like too much work for not enough payoff in the short term, keep reading to learn how simple it can be to begin using organic content to promote and sell your course in ways that are both sustainable and scalable.
This article was inspired by our webinar How to Promote and Sell Your Course with Organic Content. If you want the full story, register for the webinar:
Or just keep reading and we’ll touch on the main points it covers:
An easy way to build your audience and fuel your organic content strategy is by tapping into the power of questions. This technique is especially useful if you are in the early stages of building your audience, but can also become an integral part of your long-term strategy if you make it a part of your daily routine.
The first step is to look for places online where your ideal customers hang out, interact with each other, and most importantly are asking questions. This might include Facebook groups, subreddits, and other online communities.
Once you’ve found a few good places like this, become an active participant in the conversations that happen there. Listen to the questions people ask and offer thoughtful answers that demonstrate real expertise.
When you join a new community, be mindful not to push your course on people. Or even worse, answer their questions by saying, “This is all covered in my course.” Not only is it a turn off to start plugging your course from the get go, it is important to realize people have no reason yet to believe your course is of any value.
Rather than going in with the intention to sell your course, go in with the intention to be useful and provide expert guidance. If you make this kind of activity a part of your routine and answer questions in a handful of key communities every day, you’ll soon be known as a trusted resource and someone who really knows what they are talking about.
A second great option for answering questions online is Quora. Though it’s not a community, it’s a place people go when they have questions they need answered. Visit Quora, type in a few key words on the subject you teach about, see what questions come up, and start answering them. The great thing about questions and answers on Quora is they remain online permanently and are searchable in Google for years to come. This is also something you can incorporate into your regular routine.
Once you’ve established your credibility, you can start directing people to your course sign up page when it's relevant. Even then, it’s still not always the best idea to go directly for the sale. Instead, it’s often better to direct people to other pieces of content that will give them a taste of what you teach and how you teach. This can include things like blog posts, social posts, e-books, and webinars.
Think about it. If people who are interested in learning from you cannot find content you’ve created when they Google you, it can be a red flag. Why would someone want to take your course if you don’t have a footprint online persuading them otherwise? For this reason alone, it is vital to create content that establishes you as a thought leader in your field and that people will be able to find when they search for you.
If you are intimidated by the idea of creating content outside of simply answering people’s questions, here are three tips to help get you started and keep you moving:
Sometimes it’s hard coming up with ideas for content you want to create. Though if you are answering people’s questions all the time, you will likely find it to be an inexhaustible source of new ideas. That’s an added benefit from making it a regular practice.
If you still struggle to come up with ideas, however, one tip is to visit answerthepublic.com, which also taps into the power of questions. Answer The Public is a helpful service that automatically surfaces questions people are asking online from one or two keywords. You won’t be able to answer questions there directly, but one simple search could provide you with enough content ideas for months. We entered the keyword “webinars’ and 63 questions were automatically generated. Each one of these is a potential piece of content.
If you feel like you’re not very good at creating content, a great way to get around that is to talk things out instead of writing them. There are a number of options now for voice transcription that work really well, like Google’s “voice typing”. Start with an outline and then talk through the material you want to cover.
Don’t watch the screen while you’re doing this though. You’ll only get distracted if you’re not happy with how you said something or when the automatic transcription makes a mistake. When you’re finished, you can go back and clean things up. You can even hire a copywriting expert to finish it off for you, if you feel like you need extra help.
PRO TIP: Hosting webinars is also a great way to “talk out” your content. While you will want to create a script or outline to follow, if you’re really familiar with your topic, you’ll be able to talk through things without having to follow a script word for word. Another approach is to host an interview-style webinar where you ask pre-planned questions that spark a conversation with a special guest. If you like to see an example of this in action, check out this webinar: The False Beliefs that Stop Course Creators from Getting to $1 Million in Sales with Haley Burkhead
Don’t worry if your content isn’t perfect. It will never be perfect. It’s much more important to get the knowledge out of your head and into the world where it can make a difference in people’s lives. Organic content is about sharing your expertise. It’s about building an audience that trusts you. If that’s what your content is doing, you’ve succeeded.
If you do decide to hire someone to help you create your content, be sure they don’t polish it so much it no longer feels like it came from you. Ultimately, you need to be the foundation of your content since it's your course and your method you are selling. If your content strays too much from who you are, it will start to feel inauthentic and prevent people from being able to connect with you. In that sense, the desire to make things perfect can actually stand in the way of you finding new customers, especially customers who are really right for you.
Webinars are an ideal way to offer something of value to people in a format that doesn’t need to be delivered perfectly in order to be effective. No one expects the speaker in a webinar to never flub their words or never need to repeat something in a different way so it can be better understood. If anything, the opposite is true.
One of the things that makes webinars so effective, especially for course creators, is people get to see the real you. It gives them a chance to get to know you, experience how you teach, and come to see why you are the person they should learn from. It creates a forum for you to gain people’s trust. Once they can see you are a real person who knows what they are talking about. it puts them at ease and makes them comfortable enough to enroll in your course.
PRO TIP: Use a proven webinar template.When you go to create the presentation for your automated webinar, use a template designed (and proven) to convert. Check out this Profitable Webinar Template for Course Creators.
Webinars are also really effective for course creators because they separate people who are ready to buy your course from those who aren’t. Webinars let you educate your market so you get the best, most informed students possible. Tire kickers can be a real waste of time and energy. Instead of having to get on a call with them or go back and forth by email to answer all of their questions, you can simply send them to your webinar. They’ll be able to figure out on their own if what you offer is what they’re looking for and if they’re ready to sign up right away.
If you’re already sold on the idea of webinars, the next step is to create one. The challenge is not only do you need to create a webinar that is effective enough to convince people to register for your course, you need to do it in a way that’s scalable. This includes knowing how to define a clear outcome for your webinar, following a tested webinar formula, and using the right webinar automation tool, like eWebinar, to power it.
Here are 3 best practices to follow that will help you accomplish these things:
When thinking about creating a webinar that will help you sell your course, don’t focus on the selling part at first. While that might sound counterintuitive, nobody is going to sign up for your webinar just to be sold a course. If your webinar doesn’t give them a real win of some kind, something they can start using in their lives right away that makes a real difference, there is no reason for them to attend, let alone convert. The whole point of an organic content strategy is to offer something of real value as a way to establish trust and credibility.
What you should think about instead of selling is identifying one learning outcome that you can cover in under an hour that would be genuinely useful to potential students and be a good intro for taking your course. People are sold on outcomes, not promises of outcomes.
“One thing per webinar! One thing per webinar, one thing per slide, and make sure that your webinar actually has a sequence. It’s about the formula and the sequence. You start, you introduce yourself, you introduce your street credibility, you explain what you are going to cover in the webinar today.
You then start to lead people through each one of those talking points to the final outcome and the win. And then you present your offer. And then you thank your people and you always ask your people if they have questions, because questions are going to allow you to be able to continually educate your market, deliver more content, get more ideas, and share those things along the way.”
— Linda Reed-Enever
To see more quotes from Linda and other top course creators, check out 5 Successful Online Course Creators: Quotes & Key Strategies.
Time is valuable and no one wants theirs wasted. Don’t pad your webinar with fluff. Or lead attendees along, promising the answers to their questions will come if they just stick around until the end. The goal isn’t “watch time.” The goal is to deliver a valuable outcome. So do not waste people’s time, make sure you are delivering value throughout, and only make the webinar long enough to get to the intended outcome.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating your webinar. This is critical. Follow a webinar formula that has been tested over years and is proven to convert. Keep things simple and follow the “rule of one”: only one major learning outcome per webinar and only one point per slide.
A good webinar formula is all about the sequence of how you present things. Here is a very rough outline of what that looks like:
If you’re looking for something more concrete, check out this free webinar template Linda Reed-Enever, founder of the Course Creators Circle and a Thinkific expert, created exclusively for eWebinar subscribers that follows the exact formula above.
Remember: If you want a webinar that converts, you’ve got to follow a formula.
Once you have created your webinar and hosted it a few times, you’ll have learned a few things about it. You’ll get to see what questions come up from attendees, when things land and when they don’t, what’s confusing, and how you can make your presentation better. This feedback will allow you to refine your script so it gets to a point where:
While that’s all positive, you will also soon realize that scaling a live webinar strategy is virtually impossible. You’re never able to host your webinar as often as you’d like in order to reach as many people as you want, especially if you are trying to sell your course across time zones, not to mention the effort it takes to market and host live webinars on a regular basis.
This is where automated webinars come in. Automated webinars let you record your presentation once and then turn it into an interactive webinar that can be made available indefinitely on a recurring schedule, around the clock, in any time zone. If you use an automated webinar platform like eWebinar, you won’t have to sacrifice the 1:1 interactions you get from a live webinar that make them so valuable.
Automated webinars pair especially well with an organic content strategy because you always have a place to direct people when they see a piece of your content and become interested in learning more. At the very moment someone is most interested in your expert guidance, they will be able to join your sales webinar — right away! They won’t have to wait for the next live webinar you have scheduled. They’ll get the immediate gratification of learning from you and you’ll get a new prospect who is primed to sign up for your course.
In conclusion, if you follow the guidance in this article and set everything up as outlined, as long as you continue to create content people respond to, grow your audience, and funnel that traffic into the automated sales funnel you’ve created with your pre-recorded webinar, you’ll be able to convert interested parties into students on an ongoing basis without having to do much of anything!
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