How to Create and Sell Online Courses Series #2 – Pre Selling Online Courses


Ok, so where did we leave off last time? That’s right, you learnt why you should create an online course, and finally how to choose your topic. Now we want to dive into the 2nd post of our series, focusing on pre selling online courses.

Today we are going to discuss:

  • Pre-selling and Validating your Online Course

What is Pre-Selling Online Courses?

You spend countless hours and days, maybe even longer, creating what you think is a great course for your audience, you are absolutely sure they will love it, only for it to fail. All that time, money and effort wasted.

You get no students enrolled, nothing.

Pre-selling Online Courses

That is why more and more people are pre-selling their online courses. Businesses have been doing this for years, and you should to.

But what is pre-selling your online course I hear you ask?

Pre-selling, in a nutshell, means that you are selling something before you have created it. In this case, you are selling your course before you have created it.

You are making money on an idea that you will turn into a product, only once you know it is something that is wanted!

That’s all it is. Demand and supply my friend. Why waste your time supplying something that there is no demand for?

Not convinced? Ok, let’s look at some of the benefits for Pre-Selling your online courses.

Gain Validation

Something that would be hard to take for anyone, would be to pour all that effort into creating a course for no one to buy it.

How crappy would that make you feel, right?

But what if you knew people wanted to buy it before you poured all that effort into it? Wouldn’t that make you feel better?

Let’s look at it from a different angle, people don’t sign up and enrol in your course, what a relief you didn’t waste all that time, effort and money. But what great feedback that is for you also, you know your course is not going to sell, so you know you need to tweak it somehow.

What a great opportunity for learning and developing your course.

Well with pre-selling your online course, you get all the validation you need, and if you don’t, you can go back to your list and find out why, what wasn’t right, too expensive, did the content not appeal to them? Etc. Etc.

This allows you to tweak your course to create something your audience wants, rather than what you think they want. Its not all about you!

Start-up Money

Ahh yes, money. Now some of you may have a little extra money set aside that you can use to create your course. But what if you don’t?

Well, pre-selling your online course can help you generate the start up money you need to cover any costs you will incur for creating your course.

Costs such as, course platform host/ Mic/ Screen recording software etc.

Deadline Mentality

Ok so you have sold enough places on your course to know that it is in demand, now you have to create the bugger, and create it in the time you said you would. When you know people have actually paid for your course, I would suggest you would feel a lot more inclined to follow through and create that course.

A word of caution here, some people may not do well under pressure of deadlines, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to create the course, however you don’t want to leave it too long after you first started getting students, as you don’t want them to lose interest in your course, or worse yet, completely forget about it!

Also, you could end up with some pretty pissed off members of your community if you do not deliver on what you have said you would.

Build an Email List

Building an email list is a great little bonus of pre-selling. Not only are you getting money in the door, but you are also building up an audience of buyers.

But that’s not all.

It could be a good idea, to engage with the people who have signed up to your course. Ask them questions, get more insight into what they are struggling with, add this to your course content.

Doing this not only helps you, but in my eyes, it shows that you care, not only about the quality of your content, but also that you want to provide your audience with results.

This will help build that community feel that you may be striving for, a community that feels engaged. It helps demonstrate the type of culture they are signing up for.

Save Time and Resources

Now, I touched on this earlier, when discussing the benefit of validating your online course. But it is worth mentioning again and in a little more detail.

You save so much of your time and effort by pre-selling.

Creating an online course is resource intensive. And let’s face it, you probably have a full-time job, your blogging weekly, some of you may be smashing multiple posts a week. You’re managing your social media presence.

Not only that but you have a family to care for, kids, husbands, wives, pets, the list can go on. I’m tired just talking about it.

Now throw into the mix the fact you want to create a course. You want to be sure that all your time and effort is laser focused on creating something people want!

Pre-selling your online course minimises the time, effort, and money you spend on something that may just turn out to be a flop.

What does that mean? It means you miss an opportunity to really understand what it is your audience wants, what it is that will help grow your blog and business into something that means you can stick the middle finger up to 9 to 5 and go it on your own.

Pre-Selling Online Courses

Have I convinced you yet that Pre-Selling your online course is a good idea?

If I have then you are likely asking, “well how the hell do I do it?”

Valid question.

Well, if you read our previous post in this series, and you put it into action, you already have your topic.

Now you are going to want to come up with a name for your course.

Have a look around at other courses out there, I am not saying copy them! I am saying get inspiration, have a look at what they are doing. What power words are used? How is it structured? Length, etc. etc. 

Once you have a name for your course, think about the sub-title for your course. Or, thinking about it in another way, what is your headline, what is going to let the reader know what they are going to get from your course.

There are a couple of approaches for this.

  • Time Based
  • Benefit Dirven Based

Time Based

(Verb) + (Outcome) + (Timeframe)

OK, so let’s say your course is about building an email list, you could go with:

Get (Verb) 1000 email Subscribers (outcome) in 1 month (Time Frame)

Benefit Driven

(Verb) + (Outcome) + so that + (Benefit)

So, using the same course topic as our example here, you could have:

Get (Verb) 1000 email Subscribers (outcome) SO THAT you can begin to sell your products and quit that 9-5!

Now I have obviously just made them up very quickly, you want to include power words that will grab your audiences’ attention and pique their interest.

If your Subtitle is vague, it may attract the wrong type of customer, which could lead to negative feedback that isn’t applicable as they were not the target audience anyway!  

OK, now we move onto your outline. Think about what it is you are going to be teaching, now break this down into the steps that need to be taken, and make sure you highlight the results your students will get from taking these steps.

Now you have an outline, its time to set a price.

Try to set a specific goal in your mind that you want to achieve that would make all the effort of creating your course worth-while.

For instance, you may have a large course in mind that you want to sell for £/$400. Because of how in depth and large this course may be, you want to set a target of £/$4,000 in sales to justify creating the course.

If you don’t make 10 sales, you can refund the people who did sign up and advise them that there was not enough demand to justify creating the course.

Now your ready to set up a sales page to share with the world and get validating that course!

Some Important Takeaways for Pre Selling Online Courses

So now you know all about pre-selling your online course, and it is something I do myself. Mainly because I am quite busy, I do not want to waste my time and effort on something that just might not work. It just seems silly to do so.

So, avoid that mistake yourself and think of the benefits we listed above for pre-selling your online course.

The other main reason for me, is feedback. Now this is tied in with validation and not wasting time and effort etc. etc. but the feedback I got from my audience before I launched our recent Blog to Business Goal Setting, email challenge was significant enough for me to change some elements of the email challenge and take it in a slightly different direction.

Since I did this, I have had a better uptake.

Now this is a challenge that is Free for you to take up yourself, it is designed to help get your business aligned with your life goals. Give it a go!

It is a great starting point for anyone who wants to move from side hustle to full time.

Pre-Selling your Online Course, as we have alluded to, can be a great way of testing the waters of your course topic. Saving you money, time and effort on your idea.

Our next post in our series of creating and selling online courses, is going to inform you all about outlining your course content, before our final post in the series, which delves into creating your course.

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