Essential Stress-Free Steps To Sell Online Courses From Your Website
Selling an online course may seem drastically different from selling anything else. In reality, sales are universal – it’s just the specifics that differ. Web-based sales require a higher level of trust because you’re buying something sight-unseen. On the other hand, your website already has a following, so trust levels are pre-established. And because this is an online course, they can take a free trial, meaning it’s not exactly a blind buy. They can see, engage, and test before they purchase. So how do you, as the developer and seller, encourage them to click that “sign up” button? Here are some simple and straightforward steps to sell online courses from your own website.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
If you’ve been engaging your readers for a while, you have data. You can review these metrics and analytics. See where your readers are from, what times they visit, and what they’re interested in. You might have them segmented – and if you don’t, then you should. At a glance, you can guesstimate the number of readers interested in buying a course. This is important because you’ll have to craft sales materials specifically for them. You can still write for other site visitors, but your potential buyers need special attention. Use language and jargon they’re familiar with. However, don’t get so niche-specific that you alienate potential prospects from other target groups.
2. Start At The Beginning
One way to sift the buyers from the browsers is to ask. If your website isn’t already integrated with your social media assets, you should add it to your to-do list. Then use those platforms to reinforce your website sales strategy. You can run social media polls and host web surveys, anonymous or otherwise. Ask them what topics they want to hear about, what course length they prefer, and what their ideal price point is. Keep your surveys light and playful. This is about getting to know your potential enrollees and inviting them to engage with you. Take a soft-touch approach. Hard-selling will just put them off. You can also keep a sort of journal of your creative process. Blog your progress and update social media so that they can watch you work.
3. Get Your Fans Involved
At this point, anyone visiting your site should be aware you’re developing an online course. You can tease them with little snippets, screenshots, and cryptic previews. The idea is to intrigue them and generate buzz. Ask for their input as a form of generating buy-in. Say – for example – you’re in the middle of simulation design. Get fans to suggest characters and scenarios. When a fan gives you an idea you end up using, acknowledge them. You might name a course element after them, get them a swag bag, or give them a discount. This makes them personally invested so that even if they don’t buy, they’ll promote you in their circles. Your approach should be a consistent strategy, not a one-off thing.
4. Build A Cohesive Brand Image
The thing with long-time websites is that they continuously shift. If you’ve had it for years, it reflects your evolution. Looking back at earlier content can be challenging, but it can also be satisfying to see how far you’ve come. In the run-up to your launch, though, you have to brand yourself more deliberately. Your older content still brings in traffic, and you want your image to be consistent with the course you’re pushing. Do a site audit to make sure every page is relevant. It doesn’t have to be complex. You could repair dead links and add a footer to each post, informing readers about your upcoming course. Look for older posts related to the course and do some internal cross-linking. Omit contradictory content and refresh outdated material. The focus is on cohesion and professionalism. Another option is to guest post on reputable sites to broaden your reach.
5. Designate A Hard Launch
Throughout your content development stages – whether they took a month or a year – your fans were aware. They knew something big was coming, and they might even have pre-ordered. You still need a proper launch, though. It could be a live event you stream on your website with real-time social media updates. Or it could be a strictly online affair. Have a countdown on your website. Also, have an optional sales tally. Keep it private, to begin with, but if it turns out your sales numbers are promising, display the customer counter. It will trigger FOMO-purchasers who want to join the crowd.
6. Incorporate A Payment Gateway
Prospects need a way to sign up and pay for the course once they make their decision. One of the best ways to sell online courses from your own website is to use an LMS with shopping cart functionality. This gives customers the ability to pay through a secure gateway, enroll in free trials, and input discount codes. You can even give them an opt-in form on the site. In exchange for their personal details (which you add to your marketing list), they get 10% off the course fees.
These days, almost every website has an eCommerce component. Your website is your virtual storefront, so it doesn’t just provide a sales platform. It also allows you to engage your readers. How can you leverage this space for online course conversion? Profile your target audience and address them right from the start. Invite feedback throughout your course creation process. If you need to, redefine your brand image and tie it closer to this specific course. The whole experience serves as a soft launch, but make sure you do a hard launch too. Make it an event with links to your social media assets, and don’t forget to track it!