How to Build Sales Funnels For Online Courses

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).

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.

How Do Top 20% Of Online Course Creators Do It?

Apart from the basics of online course creation, there are challenges that course creators face, and that doesn’t even include the eCommerce platforms to choose or even making a choice between some of the popular online course platforms. 

There’s also the question of picking up an online platform with some non-negotiable features. 

If you get past all of the above, what separates the most successful creators in the knowledge economy from the rest? How has the pandemic changed online learning? 

And is it too late to put out a course on how to make your own sourdough starter?

The answers are here: Check out the 2022 Online Learning Trends 

The team at Thinkific analyzed metadata from the top 20% of creators to discover what exactly it is they’re doing differently to make them so successful. 

Now, you can see which trends set the trailblazers apart — and how you can use their tactics to bring in more business and better engage students in 2022.

Take a look to see for yourself…

  • How do the top creators keep students engaged for longer? 
  • What is their secret to growing their business?
  • Where do top creators focus their time?
  • What takeaways can someone just starting out learn from them?

The report is chock-full of insights you can put into action today. Because if you’re still creating courses the same way you were two years ago — you might be missing out on some huge opportunities.


See the 2022 Online Learning Trends

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.

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.

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.

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