How To Presell A Course: 13 Steps To Follow

How to Presell a Course

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How To Presell A Course: 13 Steps To Follow

How to Presell a Course

Published by Today Testing Team

Last Updated on January 26, 2024

Want to know one of my favorite strategies for driving interest and sales in an online course? It’s all about the art of preselling.

Whether your course is polished and ready to go, or it’s still a budding idea in your mind, mastering the presell is a game-changer. It’s not just about creating anticipation, it’s about strategically setting the stage for success. I’ve seen firsthand how the right approach can turn a course launch into a resounding success, and conversely, how a misstep in preselling can undermine all your hard work.

I’ve discovered some straightforward, effective strategies that have worked wonders for me and many other creators. In this guide, I’m excited to share these personal insights and tips with you. I’ll dive into the best practices for preselling your course, ensuring that even the simplest course idea gets the grand debut it deserves.

Table of Contents

Why Should You Presell Your Course?

There are a few reasons why preselling an online course is a good idea:

  • You can build anticipation and excitement among potential students. When people know about your course and can see that it’s something great, they’re more likely to buy it when you finally launch.
  • Preselling also allows you to gather feedback from your target audience. If you’re not sure what people want or how to make your online course better, getting feedback during the pre-launch phase can help.
  • It also gives you a chance to start building relationships with potential students. These people will be more likely to buy from you in the future if they’ve already had a good experience with you.
  • You can use your pre-sale earnings to help fund the launch of your online course. This is a big one – many creators use the money they make from pre-sales to create cash flow to finance the creation of their courses.

How To Presell A Course

Now that you know why preselling is a good idea, let’s take a look at how to do it properly. The steps below will guide you through the process:

1. Find the best time to launch your course

Launching a course at the wrong time can be disastrous. Even if your course is evergreen, the initial launch and promotional efforts need to be timed properly so you can grab the attention of your target audience and entice them to take your online course.

Here are some reasons why finding the right time to launch is important.

  • You need to make sure there’s enough demand for your course. If you launch when there are already a lot of online courses on the same topic, you’ll have a hard time standing out.
  • You need to give yourself enough time to create a high-quality course. Rushed online courses tend not to do well with students.
  • You need to make sure your target audience is ready for your course. Launching too early or too late can mean you miss out on potential students.
  • You need to make sure you’re prepared for the workload that comes with launching an online course. If you’re not ready to put in the extra work, it’s best to wait.

In my experience, the best time to launch your online course will vary depending on your topic and target audience. However, there are a few general tips I’ve found that can help you here:

  • Launch when you have a course trailer or promo video. This is a great way to introduce potential students to your course and get them excited about it.
  • Make sure there’s a gap in the market for your course. If you can find a hole that your course can fill, you’ll have an easier time selling it.
  • Look at when your competitors are launching their courses. If they’re all releasing their online courses at the same time, try to launch at a different time to stand out.
  • Launch near the beginning or end of the quarter. This is when people are most likely to be thinking about new courses to take.

2. Create a strategy for selling it before you even start making it

An online course can be a major investment.

But how do you know if it’s worth your time and money?

What will the return on investment (ROI) be?

Who is the target audience and how will you sell your course to them?

These are the things you need to know before you even create your online course.

Creating a pre-sell strategy will help you answer these questions and more. It will also help you determine how much time and effort you need to put into creating your course.

There are a few things you need to do before you start creating your pre-sell strategy:

  • Find your target audience. This may seem obvious and simple, but it can be difficult to determine who your target audience is. You need to find people who are interested in your topic and are likely to buy your course.
  • Determine how much you want to sell your course for. This will help you determine how much work you need to put into creating the online course. If you want to charge a lot for your course, you’ll need to put in more effort than if you’re selling it for a lower price.
  • Determine how you will sell your course. Will you use email marketing? Social media? Ads? Blogging? Once you know how you will sell your online course, you can start creating content that will entice potential students to buy it.

3. Start promoting it ASAP -- even if the course isn't ready yet

The sooner you can start building buzz for your new online course, the better.

I strongly believe that it’s important to start promoting your online course before it’s even finished. This will help you build anticipation and increase the chances that people will buy it when it launches.

You can do this in a number of ways, including:

  • Surveying your audience about what they’d like to see in the course. Getting your audience’s feedback during the course creation process is important for multiple reasons. Not only will it help you create an online course that people actually want to take, but it will also show them that you’re invested in creating a course that meets their needs.
  • Creating teaser content. Teaser content is short, snappy content that entices people to learn more about your course before the official launch. It’s a great way to start marketing your online course early. It can be a video, an article, or a blog post.
  • Announcing your course before it’s even finished. This will let people know that you’re working on a new online course and will create anticipation for its release.
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes content around the creation of your course. As you build your online course, you can post about it on social media, sharing your progress and building hype for the great thing you’re creating. This will help people feel like they’re getting a sneak peek at your course creation process and that they can’t miss out on it.

4. Decide on pricing and payment structures

When you’re preselling an online course, one of the most important things to figure out is how much it will cost and how people will be able to pay for it.

You need to get an idea of what your target audience can afford and will be willing to pay first and foremost.

There are a few different ways to approach pricing your online course:

  • Fixed price: everyone pays the same amount, regardless of when they sign up or how long the course lasts
  • Pay as you go: students pay for each lesson or module as they go, rather than all at once
  • Payment plan: students can spread the cost of the course over several months or weeks

5. Offer exclusive early bird bonuses

I’ve found that early bird bonuses are a great way to increase presales for an online course.

They offer potential students an incentive to buy early, and can help you build buzz for your course.

Here’s how to use them as an effective sales pitch!

  • Make the bonuses truly special. The bonuses you offer should be something your students can’t get anywhere else. This will make them more likely to sign up early.
  • Announce the bonuses before the course is even finished. This will create anticipation and ensure that people know about the bonuses before they buy the course.
  • Make the bonuses exclusive to those who sign up early. These bonuses should only be available to those who preorder your online course. Exclusivity and creating a sense of urgency matter here.
  • Put a dollar value on the bonuses. This will help potential students understand how much they’re getting for their money.

6. Include a money-back guarantee

A money-back guarantee is a great way to show potential students that you’re confident in your online course.

It also helps to increase the chances that people will buy it, especially when it’s still in the presale phase before the launch date and there aren’t any reviews available for your upcoming course yet.

7. Create a presale landing page

Presale pages are how you get your audience to be excited about your online course before launch, drive sales, and build buzz.

A course sales page is how you can do that!

A presale landing page should include a detailed description of what the course content includes, who it’s for, and how much it costs.

This will help potential students understand if they’re interested in buying or not.

You’ll also want to create a strong call-to-action so people know what action to take next: sign up for updates, buy now, or contact us.

8. Figure out what marketing channels will work best for you

When you’re preselling an online course, it’s important to identify the best marketing channels for promoting it.

This will help you reach your target audience and drive sales.

There are a few different types of marketing channels you can use:

  • Paid advertising: This includes things like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Ads. Paid advertising can be a great way to reach a lot of people quickly, but it can also be expensive.
  • Organic search: This is when people find your online course through search engines like Google or Bing. Optimizing your course for search engines can help you reach more people this way.
  • Social media: Social media is a great way to connect with potential students and get them excited about your new online course. You can post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with potential students and keep them updated on your online course. You can send them email newsletters, offer them discounts if they sign up early, and more.

9. Design an email sequence that works well with your audience's needs and goals

An email sequence is how you can build hype for your online course before the launch date.

It’s how you keep potential students interested and engaged in what you’re offering, so they will buy it when the time comes.

There are many things that go into a successful email marketing campaign, but here are three of the most important steps to create an effective email sequence: creating a list of subscribers, sending out emails regularly with content that pertains to them and their needs/goals, and following up after each step with another email.

A good email sequence for pre selling your course can span a few weeks. You can send out one email a day, or several emails a week. It depends on what your audience needs and how often you can send content without annoying them.

10. Use a free ebook or whitepaper as a lead magnet

It’s no secret how important it is to have a lead magnet when you’re marketing online courses.

A lead magnet is how you get potential students interested in your online course and build their excitement before launch.

A lead magnet can be anything from a free ebook or whitepaper to something more interactive like an online quiz or mini-course.

There’s one thing that all good lead magnets have in common: they offer value to potential students.

When you’re creating your lead magnet, make sure it’s something that potential students would find helpful and interesting.

Once you have your lead magnet ready, promote it everywhere you can — in the header of your website, on signup forms on your website, and on social media.

11. Don't set the deadline too far out

While you want a good runway for pre selling your course and building buzz, you also don’t want the deadline for pre-ordering to be so far out that people lose interest.

Ideally, you’ll want people to pre-order your course 1-2 months before the launch date.

This will give you enough time to finalize everything and make sure everything is ready for launch.

12. Ramp up promotional activities as the deadline draws close

As the presale deadline for your online course approaches, it’s more important than ever to increase your promotional outreach.

If you want to ensure that as many people as possible pre-order your course, you need to put in the effort to reach them and create a sense of urgency.

This means ramping up your promotional activities in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

Pre selling online courses is all about making your target audience feel like they need to get in now before it’s too late.

13. Close the offer once the deadline passes

Once the pre sale deadline passes, you need to actually honor it by ending the promotion.

That means ditching the early bird pricing, removing the bonuses for any future buyers, and going into the regular sales cycle for your course.

It can be tempting to extend the deadline to sell your online course to a few more people, but doing so will alienate those who actually did sign up early.

Final Thoughts

Pre selling your course offers a ton of benefits, both for you as an operator of an online course business and your students.

But remember, to sell online courses before the release date requires careful planning. Making any mistakes can ruin your marketing efforts and cause you a lot of heartache.

So, whether you have a new course idea you haven’t built yet or you’ve put in the hard work and are ready to pre sell a course, using the tips in the guide above can give you all the tools you need to succeed.

And don’t forget, there are plenty of great platforms, like Kajabi,  you can use when marketing online courses to manage and automate the whole process (check out our Kajabi review or Kajabi pricing guide for more info).

Have any questions about how to presell an online course? Leave a comment and let me know how I can help.