How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course and Profit Before the Launch9 minute read
Creating an awesome online course that sells like crazy is not a simple task and certainly cannot be accomplished overnight. It is not uncommon for course creators to build a great online course, but then struggle to find customers.
You might have worked hard, spent time and money on building your course, but if you don’t have an audience who is already familiar with your course and wants to buy it, how are you planning to get course sales?
There is the obvious option where you could start investing tons of money into marketing, but wouldn’t it be better if you could drive interest in your course while you are still creating it?
Imagine if you could warm up your audience and validate your new course idea before you spend all that extra time and effort, so by the time it gets to your launch date, you already see the sales rising and have your first round of students.
Yes, that would be awesome, but how can you do it?
The answer is simple: pre-selling your course.
Pre-selling an online course means putting it up for sale before it is finished, allowing students to purchase it, but not access it until the actual release date. Whether you are just drafting your course now or you are already halfway through, it is always a good time to start pre-selling your course.
“My best tips for someone looking to launch their first course? Don’t create the whole thing before you know if anyone is interested in buying. You need to pre-sell your course. Pre-selling, even if just a few people buy, means that you have validated the concept. You know that it’s a course people are willing to pay for.”― Gemma Bonham-Carter
Keep reading below to learn all about the benefits of pre-selling and how to get your first sales before your new online course is finished.
The Benefits of Pre-Selling Your Online Course
Pre-selling is a great way to make sure you are developing the right audience for your course: an audience that is already interested in your teachings and is anxious about the release date, an audience that will most likely tell their friends about your course and trusts you enough to purchase your online product, being your potential initial source of social proof and reviews.
Below are the major benefits of pre-selling your course:
Build Up a Targeted Audience
Your marketing efforts will allow you to build an email list of customers and potential buyers. On your launch date, all you need to do is send them an email to drive up your sales and have your first round of students.
Depending on your budget or expectations, it is up to you to decide how long the email list is going to be before your launch date: however, your marketing efforts should be directed to achieve this goal.
Validate Your Idea and Receive Feedback
Gaining customers before finishing your course will allow you to receive their feedback about the validity of your content. Collecting suggestions from your customers and including them in your course will ensure your students’ retention and your course likability.
Get Paid Earlier to Self-Fund Your Course Creation
Selling your online course in advance not only validates your idea, but it allows you to collect enough revenue to continue with the production of your lessons. You will avoid investing large amounts of money before having any guarantee of sales.
Avoid Unpleasant Surprises
If customers want to buy your course when you are pre-selling it, it validates your idea. By doing this, you eliminate the risk of investing time and money into a project that would ultimately fail. When you are pre-selling your course, your customers will be happy to provide feedback and requests which will make it easier to shape the direction of your content according to your student’s liking.
How to Create a Pre-Launch Offer and Promote Your Course
Now that we have established the benefits of pre-selling your online course, let’s see how to go about promoting your course and creating the pre-launch offer.
Assuming that you already know what your course is going to look like, the first thing to do is to build a pre-launch page (also called presale page).
The primary purpose of a presale page is to convert visitors into customers. This page should include several sections aimed to describe your course and its features.
Pro tip: Building a landing page for your course is extremely easy if you use Heights Platform.
Below are some of the most important components your pre-launch page should include:
Create Catchy Headlines
The headline might be the most important part of a successful pre-launch page. Your headline should be captivating enough so that it forces your visitor to stay on the page and keep reading about your course.
A successful headline should communicate the following things with just a few words: what is your course about, the value your students will get from it (a promise), what makes your course unique.
Explain the Course’s Features and Value Proposition
If your headline intrigued the visitors, there should be a paragraph text to convince them. Explain the benefits of your course and the value they will get from it, and add some details about your lessons that might interest your target audience. Try to make this paragraph engaging by using bullet points and highlights, while avoiding long blocks of text.
Add Testimonials and Social Proof
Social proof is a game changer when it comes to selling an online product, especially during a pre-launch, where you are basing your sales pitch only on promises.
If you already have positive customer reviews, this is the place to showcase them. If you don’t? Avoid creating fake reviews your viewers can easily spot. Instead, try asking family and friends to leave a positive comment about your teaching skills.
Create an Introduction Video
Creating a video where you introduce your course and its major benefits will make it easier for your customers to understand what you are selling. Filming yourself while talking will also provide an example of your teaching skills to your potential students.
Insert a Call to Action and Collect Emails
Your pre-launch page should have a CTA (Call To Action) button, to collect personal details and payment from your customers. If you can, try giving incentives to your students: an idea is to give away something for free or offer a risk-free purchase.
These are some of the most important sections to have on the pre-launch page. Whatever you decide to include, it is important that you don’t overestimate yourself and you keep your promises in line with the product that you will deliver.
Once you have created your pre-launch page and hopefully collected some emails, it is time to start your email campaign. Send frequent emails to your subscribers (without spamming them), where you give out exciting news about your upcoming course to keep them interested. Create urgency by sending last-chance emails to those who did not purchase your course yet. Don’t forget to send a reminder shortly before your course launch date!
Another important step to secure your first round of students is promoting your pre-launch.
There are many ways to market your course, below are a few ideas on how you could do it:
- Talk about your course to friends and family
- Share your pre-launch on social media
- Write a blog post or contact bloggers in your niche who could talk about your course (depending on the person, you might need to offer something in return, either a payment or a discount code etc...)
- If you already had students or individual clients in the past, promote your new course with them (by offering them a discount code or any other added value)
- Post videos on YouTube
- Partner with another creator whose audience is similar to that of your ideal customer.
- Work on your pre-launch page’s SEO
- Start a podcast or webinar
- Consider paid ads and PPC
Is Pre-Selling an Online Course Ethical? Yes, and here’s why...
Pre-selling an online course involves promising value to your customers before you can deliver it. Some creators might be hesitant or feel uncomfortable about asking customers to purchase their course before it is complete, but here are a few reasons why preselling is actually better for both you AND for your students:
- Pre-selling helps you validate your idea.
- Pre-selling helps you validate your marketing.
- Pre-selling helps you understand the questions and problems your potential students may have.
This allows you to spend your time on the right actions, the right content, and double down on the right marketing strategies. Pre-selling benefits your students because they end up with a course that fully answers all of their questions!
Focus your work on the goal of providing the best possible course for your students. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and be realistic with your timeframe! Keep these things in mind and you’ll succeed in the long run.
Be mentally prepared to finish your course before the launch date, and everything will be fine. If you don’t, you will find yourself dealing with complaints and refund requests from your customers, which will affect your credibility and reputation.
However, if you do everything right and you don’t oversell yourself, the advantages of choosing to pre-sell your course will be huge! Not only it will provide the validation necessary to keep funding your course, but it will create urgency and excitement in your students, and you will be able to connect with them and address any requests they might have.
What if My Presale or Pre-Launch Doesn’t Go According to Plan?
Like any business, building an online course business takes hard work and consistent effort. Let’s take a step back and think of the worst-case scenario for your presale launch. The worst-case scenario would be no customers, and the second worst would be too few customers, but neither of these scenarios mean you should give up. Here’s how you can handle your course pre-launch not going according to plan.
If you don’t get any customers at all, this tells you that there is a serious issue with either your marketing, or your idea. Try to talk with your potential customers and find out what it was that prevented them from feeling confident in making the purchase.
If you only get a few customers, treat this as an opportunity to help you get to the next stage. To provide these customers with the most value possible, you might want to offer them something extra, either via a group call, or even one-on-one training at no extra charge. This is going to do two great things for your business:
- You’ll be over delivering on your promise to these pre-launch students, helping them in greater detail than they expected. These happy students can help provide you with early reviews and testimonials that you can use when promoting your course after the launch date.
- This extra interaction with your students, while it will take more of your direct time and effort, will pay you back many times over in the future, because it will help you more closely understand common pain points and questions your students might have. Use this new knowledge to improve your course for future students, and to optimize your marketing, ensuring that your sales copy addresses the potential questions or concerns of future students.
How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course with Heights Platform
Now that you know all the benefits of pre-selling an online course, it’s time to put your knowledge to practice.
You can start an online course in a few simple steps using Heights Platform.
By leveraging the Launch Date Feature, you can choose the release date for your course: if you set it to today’s date or any day in the past, your course will be open and your students will be able to access it immediately.
To pre-launch your course, simply select your preferred launch date in the future, and start working on your promotion! This way, your students will purchase your new course, but they won’t be able to access your lessons before the launch date.
Before you know it, you’ll start receiving sales for your pre-launched online course. You’ll be able to connect with your customers and create a product that satisfies them and answers all their questions.
Now that you have all the information, it’s time to start pre-selling your online course. So try it out and let us know how it goes!Pre-sell Your Course with Heights