If the idea of creating and selling your online course is getting to be quite overwhelming… I get it.

I’ve been there. And I’ve developed a remedy for it.

Selling your online course can be done in a simple and profitable way. How?

By pre-selling your online course… before creating it.

I know, the slight perfectionist “type A” in you wants to run for the hills, far away from this blog post and anything having to do with what I teach.

Because… how?! How can you possibly sell something that isn’t created yet?

And if I hadn’t been doing this as part of my Presell + Profit method with my clients for years now (with amazing results!), I wouldn’t be saying it.

Teaching people how to presell a course before even creating it is my jam.

So let’s get to it!

Benefits of Preselling Your Online Course

So, maybe you can’t figure out what kind of course your audience is willing to buy.

Or you aren’t sure if even creating a course will be worthwhile. Afterall, how would you get around to actually doing your client work?

Plus all the bells and whistles you need to actually develop and sell the course. Ugh.

Preselling your course actually takes cares of all of those problems.

It guarantees that the course will actually work for you before taking the time to create a single lesson or video for your course.

It removes the fears of launching a course you worked so hard on to only get met with crickets.

It eases your worry behind spending all the time away from client work and on a course that may not even sell.

And it makes you money upfront so that you can pay for the right tools for your course.

And after countless students and course presales, I know that preselling your course is the most simple and profitable way to launch your online course. 

(Which is why I’ve developed my Presell + Profit Method™!)

3 Ways to Know if Your Business is NOT Ready for an Online Course 

Before getting our presell on, I want you to be sure that this is the right step for your business right now.

Not preselling, but creating a course.

I’m not out here trying to make enemies, but I stand by my statement: not every business is ready for an online course.

I know, I know… someone somewhere may have posted about how you absolutely CAN start your business straight from a course.

And while it really is possible, I always recommend against it.

Because while adding an online course can be transformative for your business…

…and for your clients…

…it may not be time for a course just yet.

Here’s how I know:

Sign 1: You’ve never worked 1:1 or with done-for-you clients before. 

Sure, you can start your business from an online course, but it’ll be a much more difficult uphill battle.

Why?

Because the proof is in the pudding. 

It’s in the doing

In being “in the trenches” with your clients doing the work over and over and proving that your method or framework actually works.

The skills you develop from working 1:1 with clients over a stretch of time is what’s going to prove that your course will actually deliver the promised transformation.

Sign 2: Your clients haven’t really seen results (yet). 

If you haven’t been able to repeat your clients’ results on a predictable, repeatable basis, then it’s not time for an online course.

It would be best to spend some time refining your framework and making sure that the process you are using can actually work when applied on a larger scale.

Sign 3: You only want to scale with a course because you believe you can “set it and forget it.” 

Friend, in business, there is no such thing as “set it and forget it.”

::cue the boos:: 

But hear me out 🙏🏻

Although creating and selling a course can significantly reduce the amount of hours you work, there is still work to do.

You’ve got to create, market, refine, and maintain your course. 

And all of that takes time. 

Developing an online course is more like a marathon than a sprint: it takes time, focused attention, and patience to achieve your destination.

So, if none of these signs apply to you, then AWESOME! 

Let’s get started on how to presell a course successfully.

Step 1: Figure out what your clients want

“Jess, what do you mean the first step isn’t to pick a course topic?”

If you’re picking a topic before figuring out what your clients actually want, then it’s likely that real soon you’ll be faced with two things:

Trouble with marketing your course and trouble pre-selling your course to your actual ideal audience.

Which is exactly what happened to me the first time I created a course.

At that point in my business, I was BURNT OUT and knew it was time to package all of my knowledge into a course.

It seemed like the perfect next step: creating the course so that I could stop trading my time for dollars.

Because the burn out was TOO real.

And of course, “once you build it, they will come,” right?

Wrong.

I built it. I committed 100000% to the launch.

And no one came.

It flopped.

A “I-spent-so-much-time-and-money-and-sold-nothing” kind of flop.

So what happened?

I decided to stop listening to all the gurus and their advice.

Instead, I listened to my gut and my audience through market research.

And from that, I pre-sold a mini course that helped me bring in $50k.

What changed?

3 things: market research, listening to my intuition, and pre-selling the course.

You want to develop a course that is a direct response to what your clients want, not what others say you should have.

No more guessing. Through market research, your audience tells you exactly what they’re willing to buy.

In fact, let me show you this cosmo-style graphic, straight from Clients to Courses® for those who are reading this and defaulting to “I can skip this part!”

Let’s make sure. 😉

You can conduct your own market research through:

  • Keyword research: Finding what people are searching for via Google/YouTube/Pinterest searches. What do they need the most help with?
  • Amazon reviews of books in your industry: 3-star reviews give you better insight as to what people felt was good AND what was missing! What gaps are you seeing in the current market?
  • FB groups: Searching for topics within groups related to your industry and taking note of what keeps coming up. What are people struggling with time and time again?
  • Current/Past clients: Go over their intake forms to see what commonalities they share. What brings them to you when you initially start working together?
  • Formal surveys: Create a survey in Google Forms or Typeform to hear directly from your audience. This is my absolutely favorite way to get the full scoop from your audience. In Presell + Profit, I go over the kinds of questions to ask in your survey (and in what order to ask, because it matters!). I also suggest incentivizing your audience (gift cards, mini program access, etc) because it will help you gather better responses.

(By the way, I’ve got resources for everything! Here are a couple of tips on how to conduct some market research (that isn’t just posting a poll on Instagram!))

Step 2: Choose Your Topic

It’s time to choose your topic! 🎉

Now that your audience has given you their valuable feedback via your market research methods, it’s time to put that feedback into a course topic.

The course topic alone can help you market your presale, especially if it’s exactly what your audience told you they wanted. 😉

Your market research questions should have helped shine a light on what your people are currently struggling with, what they’ve tried that isn’t working, and what they need in order to solve their issue.

Using the commonalities from their responses and your expertise and knowledge from your 1:1 work, you can choose a course topic that is guaranteed not only to sell, but to an exact response to your audience’s  needs.

Want to find that profitable course topic sweet spot? Read How to Determine Your Most Impactful and Profitable Course Topic.

Step 3: Package Your Course

Now that you know exactly what your audience wants and you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to package your course.

Outline Your Online Course

In Presell + Profit, I go over how important it is to make sure you do your market research first before even planning your course.

Why?

Because not only will you be able to use their responses to create the exact course that your audience needs, but you’ll be able to use their responses over and over again in your course plan and outline.

In your market research, your audience will have told you their Point A and Point B.

They probably expressed to you where they are right now (point A), and where they dream of being (point B). 

That dreamy point B becomes the start of your course outline. 

From there, you will break down everything that will get your audience from where they are currently to their most desired result (point b) using your knowledge and expertise.

Naming Your Online Course

I always joke with clients that naming tends to come in two seconds or two weeks. 

There are four naming conventions I teach in Presell + Profit, but the most important thing you must do before choosing a name is to check trademarks.

Far too often, people think of names that are already in use, or names that are too similar to names that have been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

Not checking in on this could cause way more issues and frustration down the road. 

Be sure to do your research!

Pricing Your Online Course

One of the benefits of preselling your course is that it takes the pressure off of getting the pricing right, since you can adjust the pricing in the future if you feel it is necessary.

(Truth be told, you can always adjust pricing, but that’s a topic for another day.)

And of course, everyone will have feedback about how you price your course

“You should charge wayyyyyy more!”

“That seems high!” 

But the thing is, none of those opinions really matter. 

What truly matters is what the transformation is, how much that transformation is worth to your audience, and where the price point fits into your overall business model.

Put your blinders on and instead focus on the following when pricing your course:

  • What is the transformation someone can expect to receive from your course?
  •  What is that worth to them? 
    • Another thought is: what are all the things they will be spending money on (and for how long!) until they have this transformation?
  • Where is this course fitting into your business model? 
    • Is it a front end/introductory course (smaller ticket/price point) 
    • Or is it a Mid or High offer?

Transformation is always first but next is where this price point fits into your business model. 

In this process, you may even discover that your course may need to be broken up into smaller transformations or turned into a high-end experience for that transformation.

Need more help with how to price your online course? These six factors will save you from pricing panic and take you right to your pricing sweet spot. Check them out!

Step 4: Market Your Presale

Once you’ve got the first 3 steps done, it’s time to start the presale!

But that’s easier said than done, am I right?

In Presell + Profit, I teach you how to master the messaging of your new course so that it’s irresistible to your audience (plus a ton of bonuses to help you get your course SOLD!).

But here’s the thing: I understand that one of your concerns may be your audience size.

How can you make your offer irresistible to your audience if your audience is, well, small?

Preselling Your Course to a Small Audience

I’ve found that often, my students come into Presell + Profit fearing that they won’t make any sales because they don’t have a “large enough” social media following.

Or a “large enough” email list.

I’m big on prospering where you are planted. 

Regardless of the size of your following, I know that you can prosper with the audience you currently have.

Most people tend to go looking for “bigger audiences” without seeing the people right in front of them. 

Here’s what I recommend:

First, who wasn’t able to work with you 1:1 that you could share this option with? 

Reach out to them personally to let them know of your new upcoming course.

Who engages with you on social media already that you could reach out to and let know about this new offer? 

Reach out to them and share your new offer.

If you have a list (yes, even 20 people!), can you send an email to them to let them know?

Then do it!

Second, leverage the magic of behind-the-scenes sharing by showing the process of reviewing market search, outlining and coming up with ideas on social media.

(I particularly love the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. There’s a special excitement that comes with “new,” and in this book he goes over the importance and art of using your network to share your work.)

It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to do either! Here’s an example of how I’ve shown the process over on my Instagram stories:

And be sure to include CTAs (Calls to Action) in your behind-the-scenes content letting your audience know how they can learn more or join!

Need More Help Preselling Your Course?

If you want to dive deeper into how to presell a course, check out Presell + Profit

In the trainings, I walk you through our proven method detailing the exact steps to get your course developed, packaged, and presold in just 14 days.

Learn more about Presell + Profit here!

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