If you make it to Jan 1st, 2020 and you begin to plan out your “comeback year”, you’ve already lost. While sure there is merit in setting great intentions for a prosperous year ahead, but waiting until the year is on your doorstep is a terrible strategy for real growth.
As an online education business owner or course creator, January is the time to be selling your courses and programs. The “New Year, new me” crowds are some of the most hungry, excited, motivated and hopeful buyers you will ever come across. If you don’t have your sales strategy ready to go before they arrive, you’ll miss the wave and your competitors will happily take your business.
At the time of writing this, you have 57 days until you launch.
Here are the only 3 things you should be focusing on beginning today.
1. Know Who Your Ideal Students Are (Better Than They Know Themselves)
If you try to sell a course to everyone, no one will believe it’s for them in particular. You need to be really clear on exactly who you’re selling to. To do that, you’ll need to get laser-focused on who your Ideal Student is, where they are in their journey, and why now is the exact moment in time for them to enrol in your course. Tick those three boxes, and the rest will fall into place.
To fully understand your Ideal Students, you need to discover everything there is to know about them.
Getting to know someone in real life takes time. You gotta hang out, talk a lot, ask questions, and learn things you didn’t know before. It’s really about building a relationship. The same thing goes for understanding your Ideal Students. If you’ve never met the students you’re trying to sell to, or spoken to them, worked with them, hung out with them, talked to them etc, you’re not really going to have a great understanding of who they really are.
Make time to be a member of their communities. Find ways to meet and interview your Ideal Students so that you can build up the relationship over time. What you’ll learn from being around them (online or in-person), is a lot more relatable than you just assuming based on what you believe you know.
Take more notes than you need to. Write everything down that comes up in discussion, verbatim. You’ll want to keep those pain points and desires up your sleeve when it comes to writing marketing collateral later on.
Each one of your Ideal Students is at a different stage in their journey, and you need to recognise what those stages are.
In the marketing world, there is a concept that only 3% of your audience is hot and ready to buy, 17% of your audience that is getting pretty close but not quite ready, and then 80 are still just getting to know you.
I would like to take you one step deeper in this and share that of the 3% that are ready to hand over their money to you, they’re all at different stages in their journey as it relates to your course. Let me explain. There are only 3 reasons why someone will buy a course from you;
- They don’t know how to achieve the transformation on their own.
- They know how to do it on their own, but they just want results faster.
- They want to follow a proven formula or framework to get the results.
It’s your role as a course creator to identify which path your Ideal Students are on at the point of sale so that you know exactly how to frame your marketing to appeal to them directly.
If now’s not the right time for your Ideal Student, you’re missing the point of marketing.
We all have roles and responsibilities in life that demand our attention. Some are understandably more important than others – that’s how we function as a society based on our needs and relationships with others.
So when it comes to selling your course, you’ve got to understand your Ideal Students well enough to articulate why right now is the best time to buy your course. Not next week, not next month or next year. If you don’t do that clearly enough, the students who would have been ready to enrol will likely take the non-committed path and reprioritise their investment to something else that they believe is more of a priority.
Please don’t interpret this in a way to manipulate your students to go into debt just to pay for your course, or skip a car repayment just so they can enrol. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But if you don’t give your Ideal Students a compelling reason to enrol right away, they will most likely go to one of your competitors down the line and you’ll lose the sale completely.
2. Develop Your Offer So It Becomes An Insatiable Product That Your Students Can’t Refuse
A successful course sales funnel has students begging you to enrol by the time you pitch the course. If you don’t have people banging down your door to get in your course, then you’ll really need to redefine your funnel. The hype, the urgency and the sheer joy students feel when they finally find the course they’ve been looking for is all engineered from start to finish.
Sell them what they want, teach them what they need.
This is one of my favourite concepts in marketing. No one actually cares how many modules are in your course or how many workbooks they get or how many hours of footage there is. Literally no one. Instead, you want to sell your students on what they truly desire; the outcome, the transformation, the results. That’s where the sales will really start to flow in. Let me give you a great analogy.
Say you’re selling a fitness/health course, ok? You wouldn’t be marketing the course telling people how sore their muscles will be, how they’ll have to cut out their favourite foods, change friendship circles, get off the couch and exercise, restrict alcohol, sweat a lot in the gym etc. Literally, who would buy that? Instead, you sell them the outcome; “You will feel happier and healthier than you’ve ever been, have the confidence to be in your swimmers down at the beach, have the energy to run around with your kids for hours, enjoy nights of deep sleep.” Notice the difference? Which one would you buy? That’s what I thought.
So to recap, structure your offer (course or program whatever it is), into something that is deeply desirable for your Ideal Students. Something like this:
“I’ll help you make $10k in the next 45 days selling online courses without paid ads.”
(By the way, that is a legit offer of mine. Message me if you want the deets: m.me/thepaulthomson)
Build a course that will actually get your students the results they want.
Once you’ve made your offer, you’ll need to back it up with results. Otherwise, you look like a fraud. So it really comes down to the content in your program and how you structure it in a way that will all but guarantee their success.
To do that, you need to consider where your Ideal Student is in their journey as they enter your course, and compare that to where you want them to be once they successfully complete it. From that point, it’s just about mapping out the steps they need to take to achieve that. It’s a process, a timeline, a sequential set of steps that build on the last all the way along to the end of your course.
If you’re not clear on who your course is helping and you’re vague about the results they’ll achieve, there’s no way you’ll be able to design an effective online course. Go back to the notes from the first section and map them to your offer to get really clear on what your course should actually look like.
Be prepared to handle excuses, objections, fear and lack of intention.
So many people say they want to change or grow or improve, but they don’t actually believe they can achieve it. In sales, these are called objections. If you’re not prepared to address the objections before they even come up, you’re already two steps behind in the sales process.
One of my all-time favourite ways to handle objections is to use your bonuses as “objection antidotes”. Here’s are some examples:
“I don’t have the time for this” – Free Bonus: Productivity planner on finding an extra hour a week without giving up time with family, friends or hours of sleep.
“I don’t have an audience” – Free Bonus: 30-day visibility accelerator to grow your audience with hot leads who are ready to buy.
“I’m don’t think I’ve got the skills to start yet” – Free Bonus: A 45min kick-off coaching call with one of our trained coaches to get you up to speed.
There are just generic examples, but I’m sure you can see the concept of how they’re applied to your own courses. If someone is reading the sales page and their biggest objection is handled with a free bonus, you’ll find that they will be compelled to buy your course even more, sometimes for the free bonus content alone.
3. Mapping Out A Wildly Successful Launch Plan
So now you understand that January every year is a huge spike in people looking for online courses, you know who your Ideal Student is and what they want, and you’ve mapped out your offer, it’s time to get serious about a launch strategy so that you can sell the pants off this online course.
No two launches are the same, but they generally all have similar ingredients.
To keep things nice and simple here, mapping out a launch plan is quite easy. Answer the classic questions, “who, what, when, where, how, why” and you’ll cover all your bases going into your launch.
- Who are you selling to? Well, we’ve established that with our Ideal Client research earlier.
- What are you selling? We’ve also mapped out your offer as well.
- When are you selling? When know it’s going to be in January just in time for the “New Year, new me” crowds.
- Where are you selling? This is where the game gets fun. If you don’t already have your own Facebook Group, email list, or following online, you’re going to struggle to sell your course at all. And before you think “Oh, I’ll just run Facebook Ads…”, think again. If you can’t sell it organically first, paid ads will not save you. Ads are not a replacement for your marketing strategy, they’re an accelerant.
- How are you selling? Tons of options here on which particular launch convention you could use to entice students through the sales cycle. Webinar, freebie, free mini-course, free lesson trial, masterclass, a challenge. The world really is your oyster when it comes to the “how” you’ll launch. My advice, stick to what you know best. If you’re great at livestreams and being on camera than maybe a live webinar is perfect. But if you’re not super comfortable doing that, then possibly a challenge or a free taste of the course content suffice.
- Why are you selling? And Why are they buying? This is a two-way street. You’ll need to reiterate throughout your entire sales process why now is the perfect time to enrol. If you can’t answer that convincingly, you’ll find your students will likely pass you up on your offer. Additionally, if you don’t know why you’re selling your course (other than financial incentive), then you’ll risk feeling disingenuous and burned out. Focus on the bigger picture for you and your business and how you’ll be able to help more people get closer to where they want to be.
If you fail to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.
This is a pretty stern warning from someone who’s seen many course creators try this path when it comes to launching. If you don’t have all your emails, funnels, assets, graphics, social posts, automation, onboarding setup BEFORE your launch starts, you’ll be in a world of hurt.
There’s nothing worse than feeling the looming deadline of an email that has to go out in a few hours to your super-engaged pre-launch waitlist. Under pressure, you’ll create content that is sub-par. It will feel quick, rushed and you’re likely to make mistakes like sending the wrong link, missing a button or a CTA.
To prevent that, you have to have everything created ahead of time. This is the whole point of this article. With only a few weeks left before Jan 2021, you need to be creating that content now so that you’ve got plenty of time to refine and implement. If you want my help with that, book in a call.
Take massive action and commit. It’s not over until it’s over.
You can’t be half in, half out when it comes to launching. It’s all or nothing, right to the very end. And even then, there’s a period of down selling and followups. A launch takes a lot of energy and commitment, and if you do it right, your business will reap the rewards while your students will be super happy.
Just a heads up though, it’s common in a launch to see sales flood in at the beginning and then trickle off (sometimes to almost nothing) during the middle. That is super common and it’s where a lot of course creators feel like they’ve failed, no one is buying off them anymore, so they just give up, and the launch prematurely, and pack their bags feeling sorry for themselves.
If you’ve validated your course and you’ve planned the launch ahead of time, there’s no reason to pull the pin. What you’ll find is that as ‘doors closing’ looms nearer, potential students will feel a sense of urgency and scarcity that they might miss out. No one wants to miss out. Those who were on the fence throughout the launch will buy in the window of the last 2-3 days. So stick with it right through to the end.
You’ve still got time, but not a lot.
If you’re planning on capitalising on the January buyers rush, you do still have some time to get your ducks in a row before you hit the green light in 2021. Sitting back and thinking about what you might sell or how you might sell it isn’t going to cut it. You need to put pen to paper starting right now to get the ball rolling if you want to kick off 2021 with a bang.
Now I’m looking for 5 course creators who want to make $100k in January 2021 for a new case study I’m putting together.
- You need to be making over $10k a month in your business,
- Have an established audience, email list or online community,
- Be ready and willing to take massive action quickly.
If that sounds like you, book in a call today so I can map out a unique gameplan specific to your launch.