7 Biggest Mistakes Creators Make When Selling Online Courses7 minute read
There has never been a better time to start your online course.
At Heights, we are experts in online courses and during the past year, we have seen a significant increase in creators joining us to share and sell their knowledge online.
In today’s article, we will go over the most common mistakes that online course creators make. You will learn how to avoid them and make sure your online course launch will be a success.
Mistake 1: Thinking “I Am Not an Expert”
One of the biggest misconceptions about creating an online course is that you need to be an expert in your field in order to teach others.
While having extensive knowledge is good, you surely do not need to be an absolute expert (at least not in the traditional way).
If what you are teaching can be valuable to your audience, then people won’t care if you don’t hold titles or phds. The key is to convince your potential students that your online course can be valuable to them, and show them what they could achieve by signing up for your program.
Generally speaking, you don’t have to know everything about a topic in order to teach it in an online course. As long as you are one or two steps ahead of your students, you will be able to provide them with valuable information.
This may also come at your advantage: if your level of knowledge is just above the one of your students, you will be able to anticipate their questions and doubts and be seen as their mentor. As you recently went through the same learning process as them, it won’t be hard for you to relate to your students and help them through the most common mistakes and questions.
At the risk of sounding obvious, the key is to believe in yourself and share this belief with your audience. Paul Colaianni is a creator with Heights Platform, he struggled to start his online business mainly because of his lack of confidence:
Read Paul's Story
“I believe the biggest challenge I faced was just not believing in myself”Paul Colaianni
Mistake 2: Not Launching
Another common mistake is simply not launching your course. Many creators get into the mindset that their course is not good enough and they spend months tweaking their content and trying to make their program perfect.
Wanting your course to be perfect is not bad, but if you wait too long you might lose the opportunity to launch. Not to mention that the best judge for your online course is not you, but your audience. You may polish your online course to perfection, but if your students do not find it valuable, all you did was waste time.
But how can you launch your online course before it’s finished?
Try pre-selling (selling your online course before actually launching). With this tactic, students who purchase your course will not have immediate access to your content. Instead, all they can do is buy it and wait to access the lessons on the launch date.
Pre-selling an online course can be a great strategy to validate your idea and get some extra revenue before the launch. If you gain sales from your pre-selling and students are excited about it, you know that your idea is good.
Learn all about pre-selling an online course or membership site here: How to Pre-Sell Your Online Course and Profit Before the Launch
Another thing you can do is to create a mini-course or beta-course and sell it for a lower price. Your audience will appreciate the discount and you can validate your idea and collect feedback from students. Once you have a better understanding of what your audience is looking for, you can go ahead and modify your signature course to meet their needs.
Mistake 3: Not Building an Audience and a Community
As we already mentioned, validating your course idea is an important step in building a successful online course. Your course can be the best it ever existed, but if no one is interested in the topic you are teaching, they will simply not buy it.
Building an audience before the launch can help you validate your course idea. So how can you build an audience?
There are many ways you could do this, the point is to create an online community of people interested in the topic you are teaching and who could be your potential customers once you launch.
An example of a possible way to build your audience is to create a Facebook group around a topic, start a podcast, create content on Youtube or other social media and interact with your visitors.
Once you have created your online presence and gathered an audience, it is time to validate your idea by pre-selling your online course or creating a mini-beta course (as explained above), or simply interacting with your audience and ask them about it.
While creating an audience is needed to launch your online course, creating a community lasts even after your audience have purchased your online course. An online community can be extremely beneficial for your business and in this article from our blog we explain how to build an online community step-by-step.
Mistake 4: Not Focusing on the Results (and Delivering)
This is probably one of the most crucial mistakes online course creators make: not marketing a result.
What happens if I buy your online course? What will I learn? How will it change my life?
These are questions that your audience should be able to answer when they look at your website or landing page. If the results you are providing with your online course are not clear, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy.
If you manage to communicate a specific result to your audience (and it matches what they want to achieve) you are significantly increasing the chances of them purchasing your course.
The most powerful way to communicate a result is by including it in your course title: by reading your title, a potential customer should be able to immediately identify your topic and the results they’ll get by participating in your course.
For example, let’s say you are selling a course about yoga. You may think that titles as “Introduction to Yoga” or “Most Popular Yoga Poses” are good. Think again.
If your title is “Master 30 Yoga Poses in Two-Weeks Challenge”, things just got more interesting.
Instead of being generic or describing your course content, the second title is communicating a clear result (master 30 yoga poses) and determining a time frame (two weeks). While “Introduction to Yoga” or “Most Popular Yoga Poses” can be valid titles, you are not giving out any information about results and time: people want to achieve their goals fast, they don’t want to spend months on an online course. So if you think that you can - realistically - deliver the results you are advertising, put them in the title!
Pro Tip: To make a title even more appealing, try addressing it to a specific niche. Using the same example, instead of “Master 30 Yoga Poses in Two-Weeks Challenge” you could say “Master 30 Yoga Poses in Two-Weeks: for Beginners”.
This is extremely powerful as it talks directly to your target audience (in this case, beginners who want to learn Yoga) and it increases the chances of them purchasing your course over another similar one that did not address them directly.
Mistake 5: Not Nurturing Leads
Another mistake that online course creators usually make is to try to sell their high-ticket programs to cold audiences and people who have never heard about them before.
Even if you have a fantastic online course, it doesn’t mean that people will buy it immediately.
Before reaching a purchasing decision, your potential customers need to go throw different stages of the buyer cycle: they first need to learn about your online course and get educated about your product. This will lead to a feeling of desire towards joining your program, and finally, once you have made enough touches, some of them will be ready to buy your online course.
How do we turn cold audiences into customers ready to buy?
Building a value ladder for your online business can help. A value ladder is a business model where you line up all your product offerings from the lowest in price and value, to the highest. The idea is that each product offering is designed for a specific audience type, depending on their stage in the buyer journey.
We explain all about the value ladder and how it can help you nurture leads in this article from our blog - The Value Ladder: How to Improve Online Course Sales by Segmenting Your Audience and Product Offering
Mistake 6: Pricing Too Low
Choosing the perfect price for an online course is something that puzzles many creators like you. Usually, creators tend to make the mistake of choosing a low price for their online course, even if it offers an incredible amount of value to its students.
There is not a specific answer for this, as it depends on many factors. However, our recommendation is to choose a premium price, as long as you offer value and features to improve your students’ learning experience.
Choosing a high price will not only benefit your bank account but your students’ results from your course.
This is because we tend to believe that if something is expensive, it has to be qualitative. The same psychology applies to online courses: if you choose a low price for your program, your students will automatically think less of it and they will not put in the same effort and motivation.
If you want to figure out what your earnings could look like, we have built an Earnings Calculator to do this for you:
Mistake 7: Once You've Made the Sale, Don’t Stop Selling!
As a course creator, your job is not done after someone purchases your course. This is just the beginning!
A very common mistake course creators usually make is not engaging with their students after they have purchased the course.
By engaging we do not mean a couple of automated emails with log-in information.
Interacting with your students can help you retain them and increase their completion rate. If you don’t make any effort to keep them engaged after they have purchased the course, they may lose motivation to finish your online course.
Remember that if your students fail to complete the course, they will not achieve the results you promised, which means that they most likely aren’t going to be happy about your course and they will not leave you a great review!
So keep interacting with your students even after you made the sale. Send them personalized emails asking them if they are enjoying your content, if they need any help, if they have any questions. Once they complete your course, propose other product offerings from your value ladder to them and ask them if they enjoyed your program and if they’ll leave a review.
Learn how to keep your students engaged from this article in our blog: 9 Proven Ways to Increase Student Engagement and Completion Rate in your Online Course
Did you start an online course already? What mistakes did you make? We have asked this to our creators at Heights Platform and recorded their answers, tricks to success, and tips for other creators who are just getting started.Read the Tips to Success from our Creators