The benefits of doing online course sales are obvious. You get to work from home, be your own boss, have flexible work hours, and are able to make a real difference in people's lives. That, however, doesn't mean it's easy!
Course creators have a number of hurdles to overcome to be successful: scaling profitable online course sales, validating your program, honing your sales pitch, and overcoming impostor syndrome — to name a few.
Online course sales is a competitive space, and to be successful in that space, you need a strategy for your online course and your niche — you can’t just put some course takeaways on a page and call it a day.
The best online course creators are out there doing amazing things — and you can do it too if you absorb some of their key strategies and apply them to your own online course sales program.
To help you get there, we’ll cover the following in this post:
Online course creators and coaches use evergreen webinars to scale the sales of their online courses. The ones mentioned in this article are no exception.
When they do, they turn to eWebinar, an automated webinar tool with conversion rates well above the industry average.
For a quick overview of eWebinar, watch this 2-minute explainer video:
For a detailed overview, join our 20-minute on-demand demo.
Otherwise, keep reading for…
Advice from 5 successful online course creators & their key strategies
Learn from these course creators and take notes, because many of the key takeaways can be applied to your online course sales strategy within a matter of minutes! These strategies could 10X+ your online course sales.
Jon Schumacher is the founder and CEO of JonSchumacher.com, a fully remote consulting and agency firm. With a focus on webinars and online events, Jon assists coaches, consultants, and service providers in increasing their revenue. Over the years, he has helped more than 300 clients from various sectors achieve their sales goals.
Jon’s advice on scaling sales
"Leverage automation tools to do more of what works. For me, webinars work the best to generate leads and sales and so I ask myself, “how can I do the most number of webinars?” You can only do so many live webinars so having an evergreen webinar running 24/7 whether that’s to generate leads or direct sales is how I get the most out of webinars.
I book calls with qualified leads every single week through an automated system plus have an eWebinar converting direct-to-sell at 4.2% lead-to-sale as of this writing. That’s 4x the industry average. If you want to scale your selling, build repeatable systems.
Also, make sure you’re ready to scale up. Make sure your product or service is producing happy clients and customers and can be delivered at high quality before scaling. That last thing you want to do is more of a bad thing. Find product/market fit, improve your offer and delivery so it’s ready to scale, and then leverage systems and automation to actually scale."
Jon’s thoughts on common mistakes even the best online course creator might make
Over-teaching with the wrong type of content. Your sales webinar should be 80% context and concepts, and 20% content. Context is why something matters. Concepts are what something looks like. Content supports your context and concepts, usually in the form of case stories, examples, statistics, etc.
Making a vague, weak offer (usually due to fear of selling).
Not practicing the tech ahead of time if you’re doing a live webinar.
Not “Wowing” people with insights or a visual demonstration during your webinar. Not giving enough wow factor or perceived value.
Not promoting the webinar well enough to get the right people to attend.
Jon's insights on developing your audience and sales funnel
"I recommend picking email and one other audience-building strategy and just sticking with those for a few years. Get really good at those before trying any new channels. If you’re in a B2B or a professional niche, I usually recommend building marketing audiences on LinkedIn and email. If you’re in a consumer brand or marketing to solopreneurs, I would consider a Facebook group plus email."
Jon’s perspective on leveraging webinars as a marketing tool for an online course
"At the core of both an automated and live webinar is your offer and the marketing message that goes in front of your offer. So the first thing I work on with a client is their offer followed by their core messaging. How can you create and sell an online course offer so good people would be crazy not to take it. This has to do with creating your value stack, pricing, risk reversal, and any real-life urgency factors.
When it comes to selling your best online course, your marketing message comes down to what your ideal buyers need to know, understand, and believe about themselves, about you, and about the opportunity you’re offering, to buy.
From there you can create your presentation and then either record it and plug it into eWebinar, or run it live. I recommend you record and utilize automated webinars as soon as possible. You can put your automated webinar on your website, in your email signature. You can send it to your list. You can put it in your weekly email newsletter. Once you create online courses, they just runs for you while you do other things. And you can always optimize and rerecord it later."
To learn more about the automated webinar software Jon uses himself and recommends to others, join eWebinar’s 20-minute on-demand demo.
Jon's thoughts on the skills necessary for course creators to succeed
"I like to think of two main buckets when it comes to skills and traits. The first are what I call “general success principles.” These are all about developing myself as someone who shows up on time, and does what he says he’s going to do.
Someone who tells the truth and shoots people straight. I know several online course sellers and entrepreneurs who are extremely skilled at their craft yet are late to meetings or miss deadlines without reason.
Online course sellers who lack general success principles will be difficult for others to work with thus hindering your online business over time.
The second bucket is what I like to call “specific success principles.” For online course sellers, this has to do with your craft specifically. You’ll need to learn technical skills, marketing skills, sales skills, writing skills, teaching skills, and how to put together online business systems.
This requires a mix of volume and time. The more you do something with an eye towards improvement, the better your skills develop. This requires a lot of work upfront before the systems and automation come into play.
Be willing to do some things now that others won’t, so you can later live like others can’t."
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Haley Burkhead is the Founder of Recurring Profit, and wants to help every online course creator ditch slow growth — FOREVER! She helps entrepreneurs automate their marketing process and simplify their own business, and has built this amazing Profitable Webinar Template to Sell Your Online Course on Autopilot!
Haley’s thoughts on common mistakes even the best online course creator might make
“Get out of your inbox! I cannot tell you how many times I find entrepreneurs in their inbox. I’m like, ‘What are you doing? You don’t need to be answering that email.’ Your energy is so important. Where’s your energy going?
I can tell you I would never have scaled at the rate I did, from $12 to $6M in three years, I would have never been able to do that if I was in my inbox.
It puts you in the mindset of defense mode and when you’re in defense mode you’re not creating anything. You’re protecting what’s already built, which means you're looking back and you’re being nostalgic, you want to protect and keep, right? That’s not growth. What you want to do is play offense. If something gets beaten up along the way, who cares? Look forward, create, create, create!”
Haley’s thoughts on marketing & promoting your best online course
“I love automated webinars. I encourage everyone to have an automated webinar. It's just so much easier. So number one, do you have an automated webinar? Number two, is that automated webinar built with conversion sales psychology, meaning you can turn someone who has never met you before into a paying student within 24 hours or less? And then number three, do you have your traffic on repeat where the traffic is flowing easily, steadily, and consistently?
When you have that automated sales machine pumping out sales on the backend for you, you know how much money you're going to be making every month, you're stable, you're secure.”
Haley’s thoughts on scaling online course sales quickly
“Follow the rule of one. One program that is tailored for one person to get one result that has one clear pricing plan. If you follow the rule of one to $1M dollars, it is so much easier to scale your business.
Instead of approaching online business as ‘Let’s go as wide as possible to make more money,’ it’s ‘Let’s specialize in one thing and let’s go as deep as possible to make more money.’ And you’re going to be impacting people at a deeper level. And really you’re creating a business to impact people, not just make money. At the end of the day, money is not going to make you happy.”
Haley’s thoughts on the early struggles most creators face
“Business is not complicated. It's really not. Business can be so simple. Now I just see it as a fun game. That’s all it is. There's no pressure to business. There are no expectations for business unless you set them yourself. It is just a fun game and you have to learn how to play to win.
And there is no manual. You just gotta learn how to play and test things and be willing to make mistakes in the game and know that if you make a mistake, it doesn't mean you automatically lose the game. You just have a stronger skill to actually win the long-term game of the business.”
If you want to hear more of what Haley has to say, check out this webinar we hosted with her: How Haley Burkhead Got to $1 Million in 16 Months by Automating Online Course Sales.
Paul Thomson is a Business Coach for Course creators who aims to simply help people create and sell better online courses, and then sell more of them. He focuses exclusively on course creators, and on helping you leverage the Lifetime Student Value in your business, which he believes is THE THING to focus on if you want to scale.
Paul’s thoughts on common mistakes creating and selling online courses
“Validating and selling your course happens BEFORE you spend the weeks/months creating an online course. Why would you want to get stuck with hours of course content when you don't even know if anyone wants to buy it?”
Paul’s thoughts on using ads for online courses
“Ads are a great way to accelerate a great marketing strategy, but they’re not a replacement. I see people missing the organic sales process. I see people looking at ads like they are the holy grail — like they don’t need to do any work — they’ll just send people to Facebook to their offer and people will buy it and they will make a million dollars because they’ll put 1 dollar in and get 3 dollars out until they retire and that will just work.
You have to have a validated offer. You have to have a sales process that is completely dialed in. You have to be running a very effective profitable marketing strategy organically for free — without ads — before you even start thinking about running ads.
But when you do run ads to an effective marketing strategy, it will be hyper-growth — just don’t try to take any shortcuts.”
Paul’s thoughts on using webinars for selling online courses
“Webinars for online courses convert really well when the webinar topic is covering the step before your online course. If your online course is How to Take Amazing Photos, your free webinar could be on picking the perfect camera gear for the perfect type of photos. Then your students attend the webinar and leave thinking ‘Now I’ve got the perfect camera for the perfect photos I want to take, but I still don’t know how to take photos...what do I do now?’ And that’s the answer: your best online course.”
To learn more about the software Paul uses and recommends for automated webinars, join eWebinar’s 20-minute on-demand demo.
Paul's thoughts on imposter syndrome
I always liked this idea of ‘done is better than perfect.’ With impostor syndrome, we all have this self-doubt, like ‘we’re not good enough, no one is going to listen to us, I shouldn't be allowed to do this, I’m not as good as the next person.’
I think if we default to this idea that ‘done is better than perfect,’ we can kind of remove the pressure of having to be perfect and have everything exactly as it needs to be. There’s no such thing as perfection; even the people we look up to and admire aren’t perfect.
If we default to ‘done is better than perfect,’ we can work with our impostor syndrome state, but if we do it anyway and we commit to ‘done,’ then we’re moving forward and that’s all that matters.”
Paul’s thoughts on which life skills you need to succeed as a course creator
“A bias towards action. Course creators are notorious for being over-planners — thinking and ruminating on ideas while having 50 unfinished courses. They’ve got Google Docs and pages of notes about things they’re hoping to do one day.
If you have a bias towards action you’re able to create momentum and move forward without getting stuck in this waiting period, this lull that isn’t bringing you in any passive income, it’s not growing your business. You’re just in planning mode.
Even if you don’t know if it’s the right step, even if you don’t know it’s what people want with your online course, a step towards action gets you validating your online course, it gets you building your audience and listening, and testing, and iterating, and experimenting.
All of those things are online learning moments and they’re going to teach you what the market wants and how to be a better course creator, a better teacher — and you don’t get any of those skills if you don’t have a bias towards action.”
If you want to hear more of what Paul has to say, check out this episode of his podcast, Online Course Empires, in which he interviews eWebinar CEO, Melissa Kwan, and discusses the importance of evergreen webinars when selling an online course.
Kyshira is Founder of The Power Collective, which includes The Founder’s Group & The Coaches League communities. Her succinct one-liner about what she does is: “I help women package their expertise into high-ticket scalable coaching offers.”
Kyshira’s thoughts on using ads for online courses
“One of the things people say you should do that I don't agree with is dumping all of your budget into paid advertising when you're new. I think that's such a waste. I think you'd be so much better off investing in various tools and tech like automated webinars that really allow you to build and nurture a relationship with your current audience.
Because the first time you get started with selling an online course, you're still trying to figure out who your audience is. Yeah, you have an idea. Yeah, you built a profile. But let's be honest, you don't really know, right? You're just hoping and praying at this point.
And your customer profile gets more narrow as you get more experienced working with people or observing people, whatever it is. And when you start to run paid ads, there are a lot of predefined criteria you need to plug into these ad systems in order for them to actually work.
So when you don't have that clarity, you're wasting your money.”
Kyshira’s thoughts on using webinars to sell online courses
“I firmly believe that video speeds up the building of the ‘know who I can trust’ factor. It can literally take someone from not knowing who they are to being ready to open their wallets for you if you've done it correctly.
And when we're thinking about driving revenue, we have to think about how we can shorten that customer journey. How can we take it from maybe a three-month situation to a three-week situation? And so video helps speed that up. So that's one of the reasons why automated webinars are a really great option.”
To learn more about the software Kyshira uses and recommends for automated webinars, join eWebinar’s 20-minute on-demand demo.
Kyshira’s thoughts on building out your audience & sales funnel
“You need to go deeper into your niche. If you're still speaking broadly and saying, ‘I help women host webinars,’ that is not going to fly. You need to be very specific. So when that particular woman you want to help comes across your content, she feels like you're talking to her.
You need to get niche with the problem you solve. You cannot be generic or general. You cannot say, ‘I help people find their purpose,’ ‘I help women start a business,’ or ‘I help women lose weight.’ Those all sound good, but they're still very, very general.
You want to go deeper, like, ‘I help single moms regain control of their lives through nutrition.’ Something like that has more energy. It needs to be very, very specific so that you now know who you're talking to and the very specific problem that you solve for this group. That is called your program promise.”
Kyshira’s thoughts on impostor syndrome
“Start to practice mindfulness. Because when you practice mindfulness, it will allow you to actually catch it. So if you've had impostor syndrome for a really long time, sometimes you don't even recognize it. Sometimes these habits are just so naturally ingrained in you that the only way you're going to catch it is if you're practicing presence, you know, just being very intentional, with journaling, deep breathing, meditation, quiet time, mindful walks, just starting to create more time for you to observe yourself is going to be the first step in that process.”
Kyshira’s thoughts on which skills you need for successfully creating an online course
“The hard skills you can learn, right? Because you need to know how to build a curriculum tab, you need to know how to coach. Those are things that you can learn really easily through coaching, through classes. But what I've found is that it's the soft skills people tend to struggle with.
So things like having patience, trusting the journey, being empathetic to your clients and your audience, those are the things I think are invaluable. Patience, especially. Because when we begin to get impatient, we begin to make mistakes. You get really sloppy, you make mistakes, and then you have anger towards the outcome.
And those are very hard emotions to release. They're not impossible, but they take a lot of effort and energy. And so for me, it's the soft skills more than the hard skills. Self-awareness is probably my number one answer to this question because it can solve so many problems!”
If you would like to hear more of what Kyshira has to say, check out this webinar we hosted with her: How to Scale a High-Ticket Coaching Program with Automated Webinars.
Interested in automating your online course sales with eWebinar
If you are interested in getting the same sales results as John, Hayley, Paul, Kyshira, and other successful online course creators, start automating your webinar sales funnel today with eWebinar. Sign up for a free trial or join our 20-minute product demo on demand to learn more.
Dr. Carrie Rose is the CRO and Developmental Expert at of-course.us, a program that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses using the power of online courses. Carrie is also the best-selling author of The Completed Course: The Secret To Creating Lasting Impact, Raving Fans, And Increased Profits With Online Courses.
Carrie’s thoughts on common mistakes course creators make
“Nobody wants to know everything you know, so do not give them the kitchen sink. Make your course succinct. Give them the best chance that they could have to get their result in the shortest amount of time. That will require you to be incredibly streamlined and outcome-focused.”
Carrie’s thoughts on using ads for courses
“Ensure you're working with or learning from an experienced ad buyer to start. Look for people that you connect with and you want everyone who comes into contact with them to win. Personally, my favorite person to follow for ad advice is Molly Pittman. She cares about creating wins for people and is super brilliant when it comes to all things scaling with ads.”
Carrie’s thoughts on using webinars to sell online courses
“The best thing that you can do is to start... and continue to fail forward. There is not one person that nailed this out of the gate. Every person that you see having an amazing webinar experience had at least one webinar where they were nervous, apprehensive, and made a mistake or two. The biggest success stories I have heard are from people who run one webinar per week and continue to press forward no matter what. The biggest mistake you can make is giving up on them too soon.”
Carrie’s thoughts on building out your audience & sales funnel
“I absolutely love online summits. Speaking at them. Hosting them. Creating mini summits. Making them evergreen. You can create multiple opportunities for many people to hear your perspective and invite them to continue the journey with you.”
Carrie’s thoughts on impostor syndrome
“You were made with the same care and love that made the oceans, the sky, the ground that you stand on. Everything that runs through them runs through you.
You are not and never could be an impostor. The only thing that feels weird when you are first putting yourself out there is that you are used to holding yourself back and making yourself feel small to satisfy the status quo around you. You were made with so much more intention than that.
If you are feeling called to do more, that is not the mistake, playing small is.”
If you would like to hear more of what Carrie has to say, check out this webinar we hosted with her: How to Increase Your Course Completion Rate to Up To 96%.
5 bonus tips from the best online course creators to work into your sales pitch
These proven course creator coaches have scaled their sales better than most! Here’s a few more nuggets of wisdom to help get you on the right track, and off the path of another month with not enough course sales.
1. Rely on an automated webinar to scale online course sales
Automated webinars are a great way to scale course sales, as they allow you to sell 24/7 — even when you’re sleeping! Using a tool like eWebinar, you can build a course sales presentation that converts for you, and allow registration to it at any time so your potential customers can learn on their own terms, in their own way.
“It's so stress-free! You know, I have PTSD from certain webinar platforms that will not be named. Technical issues, mid-sales pitch, the webinar just turning off. Registration issues. And so for me, I've done a webinar on eWebinar where it was only a one-time showing. It was like a live webinar, but it was pre-recorded, right? And I was in the chat and it was the most stress-free experience I had ever had in my entire life. I was like, ‘I am never going back.’”
— Kyshira Moffett
2. Keeping your webinar more focused is key
You don’t want your webinar to be a mini version of your best online course, or tell your entire life story. It should have clear objectives using a sales psychology and proven webinar formula that can convert cold leads.
“A mistake many people often make when using webinars in marketing is over-teaching with the wrong type of content. Your sales webinar should be 80% context and concepts, and 20% content. Context is why something matters. Concepts are what something looks like. Content supports your context and concepts, usually in the form of case stories, examples, statistics, etc.”
— Jon Schumacher
3. ‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t work as a marketing strategy
You need to validate your best online course offering well before you’re funneling money into ads and other marketing strategies.
“‘Build it and they will come’ can be a risky online course sales strategy.
If you notice one thing about those ‘I don't know what else to try, how do I sell the course’ type of posts, you'll see that quite often the commonality is that they create online courses, record everything, build the sales page, etc, and ONLY THEN do they try to find an audience to sell it to.
In my experience, if you're just starting out with online courses, that's a risky play to make.
Instead, here is the order I would suggest for you:
- Validate your course
Sell your course on the best online course marketplaces (full list)
Create your course with an emphasis on helping others
Deliver your course through social media ads and community-building
Collect social proof by documenting student success on social media
Scale your course to 10k/month organically (or create multiple courses)
Run ads to your course funnel to leverage the reach of digital marketing
Notice that you shouldn't be touching a single ad or wasting money on online course software until you've successfully sold and scaled your best online course. Ads and software are an accelerant for a great marketing strategy, not a replacement.”
— Paul Thomson
4. Don’t pad the price of your offer with things that don’t matter as much as the course
When pricing your course or making your special offer, you don’t need to ‘pad your program’ to try to make it worth the price. Keep your sales pitch focused on what your course offers, and the value you’re offering by allowing someone the opportunity to enroll in your program — don’t tack on a bunch of irrelevant extras.
“On things like, ‘My program has to have three months of extra support’ or this and that, just because it sounds good, but in reality, the program just needs to be long enough for the transformation to occur, whatever that is. You don't have to add in all of this other stuff to make it worth the price tag.
When you start ‘program padding’, as I like to call it, you're basically just trying to make it worth the price. So we think that we need to add 12 bullet points worth of support and bonuses and that's not always the case. The price is based on the value of the transformation, not based on the value of the bonuses!”
— Kyshira Moffett
5. Make sure your sales pitch reflects your authentic self
Don’t get bogged down trying to list every qualification you have, and instead, focus on making a personal connection with your audience and your prospective students. What they see should be who you really are and what you’re really selling — with no embellishments.
“You have to get started with really knowing your audience, not with creating something you think they want to hear based on your experience. Avoid hiding behind a persona. One of the things that I love to hear when I meet people is ‘You are exactly who I thought you would be based on what I saw online.’”
— Dr. Carrie Rose
What is an online course creator’s biggest obstacle?
A course creator faces the difficult challenge of growing their audience without investing money into marketing and initiatives that don’t work, while also trying to narrow down the focus of who their ideal prospective customer is. The biggest challenge by far in all of this is finding a way to scale and automate your course sales so your course sells itself. And the best way to do that is with an interactive taste of your course using an automated webinar tool like eWebinar.
An automated webinar lets prospects experience what it is like to learn from you directly and discover for themselves how what you teach people can make a huge impact on their lives. It gives you a way for you to establish credibility and gain people’s trust so they feel confident when they go ahead and purchase your course. A webinar is much clearer and more powerful than just text on a page and a bulleted list of takeaways.
With an automated webinar, you can add interactive polls, answer your attendees live in chat or by email later, and offer your prospects a true glimpse into what you have to offer. You can even ask questions to prompt your prospects to respond to you and start a two-way conversation about your course.
Hiding your value behind gated pages and making prospects guess what they’re paying for is holding you back! Start your free trial of eWebinar today to see exactly how it can help a course creator like you!
How to Sell Online Courses on Autopilot
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