There are sales funnels, and there are sales funnels for online courses.
While the concepts remain the same, creating online courses for sales funnels involves a little more work (and imagination).
Ultimate Resource Kit
If you have a single online course, maybe you’d be able to take the traditional approach to an online sales funnel and built it as it is.
What would you do if you had multiple online courses to sell? What if you were running an entire online course business or if you manage a complete resource hub with plenty of online courses — something like ConvertedU or HootSuite University?
Online course sales funnels are more demanding than regular ones since a few of those things that are optional with other sales funnels become almost mandatory with online course sales funnels.
Video, for instance, is great when it comes to boosting your regular sales funnel conversions by about 80%.
Some businesses choose to use it. Most still don’t.
Using video for your online courses sales funnels is almost mandatory simply because your customers want to see who’s training them.
They want a glimpse of your training prowess, a taste for how your online courses might be like, and obviously to see if they can connect with you on a subconscious level.
But that’s just about the video. There’s more to your online course sales funnel than that.
Here are the fundamentals of building a funnel for your online course sales funnel:
Start with Landing Page(s)
If you have a course, you’ll need a dedicated landing page for it. There are no second thoughts about this, and no, it’s not optional.
Your dedicated landing page for a particular online course is built to generate leads for “that” course.
As they sign up, they are enrolled in that particular course.
You might completely go custom and use tools like Leadpages or Unbounce to create landing pages for marketing.
Or, you could use custom landing pages that your online course platforms such as Thinkific or Podia provide for you.
Podia provides you with embeddable cards within your blog posts, such as this one below, that could be at the front end of the funnel leading your potential students to click through and buy directly. Or you could create a free online course and have people sign up for it followed by lead generation.
Ultimate Resource Kit
Online course platforms such as Podia & Thinkific make it incredibly easy (and almost automatic) to craft dedicated landing pages for every course you create on their platform.
Note: Thinkific also lets you build a complete, standalone school or university website as a home to all your online course (or for your online course business).
Email System For Managing Enrollments
As you do your digital marketing and enroll students into any of your online courses, there’s a need for reach out to each of those students (as they enroll). For instance, you’d want to:
- Nurture your new students with a strategic email nurturing workflow and automated sequences.
- Send transactional emails notifying your new students of their new purchases, their free trial enrollments, etc.
- Say hello to your students and welcome them to your course.
- Provide instructions for accessing the course and provide helpful links (such as link to support)
- Follow up after a student completes the course (or stops midway, or doesn’t even start taking the course yet).
- Send reminders and prompts for students to complete their courses
- Provide certificates of completion when students complete their course.
- Send marketing emails to prompt students to take up another course, after they finish one course.
As you can see, your regular email marketing system won’t be able to do this (unless you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and set extremely complicated email marketing workflows — no one has time for that).
That’s why you need online course platforms such as Podia or Thinkific — they have dedicated email messaging systems (and you can customize them completely) that have been built from the ground up exclusively for online course enrollments and for online course management.
Email Marketing for “Marketing” Online Courses
As you can probably notice, the email system discussed above isn’t really built for “marketing” per se.
You can’t have autoresponders that “nurture” your new enrollments completely, the way you want to. The system above is only built — on a per course basis — for doing the basic job of engaging your enrollments.
Ultimate Resource Kit
For using email marketing, the way email marketing must be used, you’ll still need a robust email marketing automation software.
From a marketing perspective, your email marketing tool (such as ConvertKit, Drip or Mailchimp) will connect to your landing pages.
As usual, you’ll:
- Launch landing pages with two variants each.
- Do A/B testing for your landing pages to continue looking for your champion variants.
- Each landing page variant connects with your email marketing software — with the sole job of driving enrollments or course sales.
Once a sale happens, the Internal email system of the respective Online course platform you’ll use will kick in.
Join this webinar to teach you how to build a completely automated sales funnel for your online course.
Also, get complete training, worksheets, and access to a 5-step blueprint to create, launch, and profit from your online courses.
Here’s the platform I use for my online courses, memberships, and digital downloads.
Ultimate Resource Kit
The fact that you can create online courses is a gift for smart, savvy, and enterprising infopreneurs who want to build their own products or stay in control of their own destiny.
Instead of trading time for dollars, dealing with clients from hell, and instead of having to wonder where that next paycheck comes from, it’s a lot more bearable to put in the effort to create an online course on a subject you are passionate about and turn that into a business.
But don’t get thinking that you could just create some random course online and hope to make a living off of it. Selling online courses is just as hard as anything you’d ever do.
Just like any other business, there’s a lot you’ll put into it before you ask anything of it or you expect revenue from your online course business.
As it is for every business, here are a few fundamentals you’ll have to work on before you run your online course business work:
Online Courses: The platform
A lot will matter as to how exactly you’ll approach building a home for your online course business. When it comes to the platform, you have options:
Option # 1: Some people swear by the WordPress approach to building your online academy or university.
There’s no right or wrong; there’s just “should you or should you not?”
Ultimate Resource Kit
Use WordPress LMS: You’ll start with good web hosting and a WordPress presence along with tools like Learndash, LifterLMS, and several others.
- The start is relatively easy. Get a domain, choose your WordPress hosting (pick WPEngine, Flywheel, or Kinsta), and pick a ready-made WordPress theme built for your online course business.
- You get to work with the familiar WordPress environment.
- Several tools, payment gateways, membership plugins, and other marketing or technology tools play nice with WordPress.
- As it’s true for anything based on WordPress, choosing the wrong hosting (or go cheap with your hosting), and your entire business will go belly up.
- It’s incredibly complex to keep all disparate software together and run your business with peace of mind.
- It’s incredibly expensive (after you count up everything you need) just to keep your online business live and active.
Option#2: The non-WordPress, non-technical approach to building your online business is a better option (according to me).
Pick standalone, third-party platforms such as Thinkific, Podia, or Teachable and launch your course online. All of those platforms allow you to use a custom domain using which you can link your course site to your regular WordPress site or HTML/CSS site.
You’ll use your course site to host and manage your courses. You’ll use your actual website for all good things you’d need to do for Inbound marketing along with paid advertising.
- There’s no need to hunt for hosting. Thinkific, Podia, and Teachable take care of hosting your course site for you.
- The framework for your courses is already built for you. Just upload your course content, and you are good to go.
- No need to fuss with setting up payment gateways, course enrollments, and other nitty-gritty.
- Your expenses are now predictable. Your maintenance is less.
- You don’t own these platforms. They are third-party businesses.
- Depending on the specific plan you are on and depending on the platform you’ll pick, you’ll end up losing a percentage of your online course revenue to that platform. Please note that Thinkific and Podia don’t cut commissions. Everything you make stays with you).
In my case, for the Fetchprofits academy, I chose Podia to host my free courses, paid courses, and more.
Choosing the right Platform for Online Courses: Podia Vs WordPress Vs Shopify Vs Webflow
Online Course Creation
Text and images, modules, and chapters, you’ll be able to create easily. There’s no doubt about that.
There’s a lot of hesitation for many enterprising entrepreneurs, bloggers, and others who want to start their courses about creating the actual content for online courses.
Out of all the content you’ll create for your online course, it’s making videos that seem to freeze the best of the best. Even otherwise experienced and confident folks hesitate when it comes to videos.
Well, making videos can be intimidating (and I’ll admit that). But then, you’d have to convince yourself that it’s ok to feel that way.
After you admit it, do it anyway. Pick that Android smartphone or iPhone up and start shooting. Or shoot videos with your webcam. To help, there are several tools available to help you make videos.
I only have one advice for you as far as online course creation is concerned: Just do it. Be sure to add videos to the mix.
Online Course Marketing
The first step you’d need to take before you even think of marketing your course is to be sure to price your course right.
Don’t do the mistake of pricing your course too low (like I, among several other course creators, do). Pick up valuable lessons from this guide on how to price your digital products (includes memberships, digital downloads, and online courses).
Be sure to have a course website that can easily help you generate leads. Thinkific makes this part easy by giving you a site builder. Use the site builder to build the main course site for your entire business and landing pages (as many as you like for each course you’ll create).
Here’s the ultimate formula for launching and growing your online course
In a nutshell, there are things you just have to do:
- Blog regularly with a frequency of publishing.
- Grow your presence on social media.
- Focus on growing your email list.
If and when you choose to invest in paid advertising (On Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and others) to give a kickstart to your online course business, be sure to use complete sales funnels for your online course business.
After you pick your platform, create your course content, launch your online course business, and start doing what you need to do for digital marketing for your online course.
Tell me how your online course business is doing. How did you launch? What was your approach? Any tips?
Ultimate Resource Kit
Online courses are the most efficient way to train or teach, period.
There’s nothing that comes close to it. Try setting up a location-based, offline training institute or a training center and you’ll soon give up on the sheer madness that the logistics of such an endeavor is.
Videos, graphics, and text — they make for the perfect ingredients to build out a structured learning path to help others get from A to B, as far as learning is concerned.
When you have a full-fledged online course platform such as Podia or Thinkific, you also have:
- Everything you need to host your courses (including video hosting)
- Various transactional-based emails such as welcome mails, course completion emails,
- A professional online course website (along with multiple dedicated landing pages for each course you create)
- Tons of resources available to help you launch your online courses, to price your courses the right way
Another online course platform worth checking out is Podia, of course (this is the platform all my courses and lead magnets are on)
Online course platforms take away the headaches that come with fully-customized WordPress LMS approach to online courses. I just don’t want to waste time with WordPress LMS, it’s just not my thing.
Why teach online? What’s up with Online Courses? Why Fetchprofits Academy?
For most agencies, freelancers, and digital marketing professionals, there’ll be a time when the majority of work involved is educating clients (and others) and the actual work takes a backseat.
You know how it is when you set up a simple prospecting call with a potential client and end up:
- Educating clients on what they should do and shouldn’t do.
- Helping clients understand why this approach is better than that.
- Letting clients get a clear and realistic understanding of what digital marketing channels work best and what won’t.
- Providing customized solutions to each clients’ business.
It’s lot more education than anything else.
If and when clients start working with us, then there’s a need for “continuing” education.
In the end, education is a part of what I do here as I work with clients all over the world and in various stages of their digital marketing efforts.
For me, clearly, there was always a need for a proper online training setup required to help achieve the “education” part. Plus, there was also my personal need to get away from trading time for dollars, to reduce the time spent on education or consulting clients, and to make this process a more efficient one.
That explains the launch of our brand new academy or learning center, or resource hub, or whatever you’d like to call it.
It’s a new journey for me since I have to battle with my demons on making videos, using videos and other content in a structured manner to make them into courses and to actually structure my own thinking to create content that makes a difference.
At the moment, there are only three short courses available:
The Freelancing Course
How to Build Chatbots For Facebook Messenger
The Quora Ads Course
What’s coming up with fetchprofits Academy?
There’s only one reason why the academy exists: it’s to empower small business owners and rookie digital marketers to make digital marketing work for respective businesses.
It’s about learning, empowerment, and getting better. Ultimately, that’s also the journey I want to take as an entrepreneur.
At the time of this writing, if you signed up for my ultimate resource kit or any other resources, all that is going to be delivered by Drip Email Automation System.
I’ll also be moving my ultimate resource kit and several other resources into the fetchprofits academy to make it all available at once, for free.
While I’ll still be using Drip, I am going to using email marketing for:
- Lead Nurturing for the online courses
- Driving engagement for each of the courses using emails
- To drive actual sales by moving subscribers of free resources to paid courses or by helping push sales of individual online courses.
Excited? Say hello to the academy and sign up for the Free Quora Ads course and learn how to get up and running with Quora ads in 10 minutes flat.
There are a lot more courses planned for the academy to help you learn digital marketing and for all of us to have a trusted, close-knit, and passionate community to bank on.
A few courses that are coming up soon:
- The Smart Email Marketing Course
- Complete Course On Retargeting
- Google Adwords Course
- Facebook Advertising Course
- The Sales Funnels Course
What do you think about the new academy? I’ll be excited to hear from you.
Ultimate Resource Kit
I’ll come out with it today.
About 16 years ago, I started my career with content writing — writing articles for SEO, blogging, and ghost writing. When I started then, I never realized that I’d get the fantastic opportunity to work with scores of clients for all these years helping them develop content for their marketing needs.
Those days, all I knew was writing and that’s all I would do. I wouldn’t ever know whether or not my articles or blog posts helped those clients in anyway.
A few years into my freelancing career and I got to learn that all that content I was writing was only a part of digital marketing overall. It was a mere cog in the wheel of complexity that digital marketing truly is.
Content marketing — all those blog posts, articles, newsletters — were (and still are) very important for marketing your business today.
I just didn’t know that when I started.
Why Learn Digital Marketing From Me?
Fast forward a few years and I now realize how content fits into digital marketing. But I also figured out that there’s so much more to online marketing than just content. As such, that marked my foray into end-to-end digital marketing where I helped clients:
- Create and deploy complete digital marketing campaigns strategically.
- Write blogs, create articles, and get their digital marketing engine going.
- Help businesses get on social media and make an impact.
- Help many small, medium, and even large (Surprise, Surprise) companies tap into the incredible power of email marketing (complete with autoresponders, campaigns, RSS-to-email campaigns, and more).
- Work with businesses to build their sales funnels and then optimize those sales funnels for maximum results.
- Get analytics into the equation and let businesses understand how their digital marketing efforts get them results accurately.
- Teach clients how to use the data from analytics off their combined efforts off organic marketing and paid marketing to make the right decisions for data-driven marketing (and not let emotions, whims, or wayward ideas affect their own results)
- Setup entire marketing automation sequences for many clients so that they could finally allow technology to help them instead of each client having to wear multiple hats.
- I actually practice what I preach. I spend my own money on PPC campaigns, Native Advertising Campaigns, and I obviously blog, create Infographics, a video channel on YouTube, and I am regular on Social Media.
There have also been numerous consulting calls, one-to-one coaching sessions, and even long retainer agreements buried into NDAs over these years.
It’s been a long, fruitful journey and I am thrilled at what all these years have really been for me.
Why a Free Digital Marketing Course?
I spent all these years learning, screwing up, and learning some more. For me, digital marketing wasn’t just a skill I could learn and make money off it. I was, and I still am, passionate about Digital marketing and what It can do for your business (and mine).
As I prepare to bring my expertise, skills, and all these years of combined learning so that I can help small business owners and corporates, I’ve begun to realize that:
- Everyone seems to be an expert on Digital Marketing. But they aren’t.
- Despite all the information available online — from some really talented folks out there who’ve done it all and they also freely share what they do — many business owners, individuals, and corporations seem to have their own “version” of what works and what doesn’t.
- Many businesses focus on just one or two of “all” the digital marketing channels available to them,
- Businesses don’t seem to value the time, effort, and sheer dedication that goes into digital marketing done the right way.
- There’s a right way to do digital marketing and there’s “your way of doing digital marketing”. It’s always the “right way” that wins and brings you results.
- There are short cuts aiming to get you results today (read “slimy marketing”) and there are ways to prepare your business for the long-haul. It’s always the hard, sweaty, long-haul kind of marketing that really makes all the difference. Not to mention happy clients or customers for life.
I see a big gap in what’s to be done and what businesses do.
What you want = Results
What you need = a dependable, efficient, smart, and comprehensive way to get your results
There’s a huge connect between what you want and what you need. A huge part of the reason for disconnect is “You”.
It just looks like teaching, training, and consulting you on digital marketing is more important than just doing “what needs to be done”.
For that reason, I decided to engage in a lifetime of teaching, training, and consulting. To start with, here’s a super long, one-email-per-day email course on comprehensive digital marketing customized for you.
Depending on your interests, your goals, and your businesses, the course will automagically evolve itself to suit your needs.
Stop running your business like you don’t care anymore. If you mean well, you’d want to give your business and what it really deserves.
Signup for the free course now and get on the path to do marketing like a hero.