Here’s the scenario: You’ve been successfully coaching or serving clients in some capacity with stellar results for awhile. You know your framework, method or concepts work, and you’ve decided to wrap your knowledge into a signature online course. Yay!
Like many entrepreneurs, you spend months getting everything just “right.” Maybe you hired an expensive copywriter, time-blocked three days a week to record course modules or dipped into your biz savings for a fancy graphic designer for your course workbooks.
Your course looks–and reads or sounds–beautiful. And valuable. And you just know it’s going to sell, sell, sell!
Except it doesn’t. (Or not nearly as well as you expected.)
Before you pour sparkling water all over your laptop or throw your hands up in the air in frustration and swear off online courses forever, know this: Sometimes even seriously well-crafted courses don’t perform.
If your online course just isn’t selling, check out the top 6 most common reasons your people aren’t snatching up your course (and what you can do about it!)
1. You Didn’t Build an Engaged Audience Before Launching
Don’t get me wrong: You can 100% use your course launch as a way to build your audience. Many entrepreneurs create a magnetic freebie related to their offer to build their list a few weeks (or months) before launching. But you know what works even better?
Cultivating an audience that’s obsessed with your work and wants more from you long before you pitch them. This means if you know you want to launch a course around Instagram marketing in January, you can start building your list with targeted leads (aka people you know are specifically interested in Instagram) a few weeks or months before you promote your course.
2. Your Course Topic is Too Broad
It might sound like a good idea to offer a course on a big, juicy, complex topic. For example, if you create a course about ‘Instagram Marketing,’ it’s sure to sell better than a course like, “Instagram Reels for Marketing,’ right? Actually, it’s usually the opposite!
Not only will a big (read: vague and broad) course take you a crazy-long time to create, it can also feel overwhelming to potential buyers. Instead, focus on just one piece of the puzzle. This will make creating the course and the marketing materials so much easier, plus you’ll be able to more clearly articulate what your course is about, who it’s for and what the outcome or result will be.
3. You Aren’t Actually Selling People What They Want
You should obviously take your own needs, talents and interests into account when crafting a course–otherwise, you’ll burn out. But far too many entrepreneurs do the opposite. They get a fantastic idea (in the shower or while out jogging) and wind up creating something they’re interested in–and then wonder why their audience isn’t lapping it up like PSLs on the first day of fall.
One easy way to avoid this common pitfall is to validate your idea with a beta program. This way, you’re vetting your idea before you create a lick of content. If nobody buys your beta, you can give it a rest or scrap it completely.
And if people do snap it up? You’ll not only wind up with a course others actually buy, and make a nice little chunk of change, too. You can also survey your audience and ask them directly what they want to learn from you before even putting together a beta offer.
4. Your Marketing Doesn’t Clearly Explain the Benefits
Let’s be real: People buy things because they want the outcome they believe the ‘thing’ will get them. That said, sometimes it’s not your offer that’s an issue, but rather the way you’re talking about it in your marketing.
- How can you switch up the way you’re positioning or marketing your course?
- How can you more clearly articulate the benefits, or what they can expect ‘on the other side’?
- Does your marketing clearly explain what your course is, who it’s for and what it provides?
- Your course and the benefits or results your students can expect to receive?
5. You Skipped the Social Proof
Let’s be real: No matter how much your audience knows, likes and trusts you, they also want to make sure your course lives up to its promises before they crack open their wallets.
This is where social proof waltzes in. In order to maximize sales, you absolutely need social proof baked into your marketing in some (or lots!) of ways, like glowing testimonials on your sales page or interviewing past satisfied students via Instagram Live.
6. Your Price (Isn’t) Right
One final factor that can squelch course sales is price. If your price is too high, you might have ‘outpriced’ your market. (Translation? You’ve put a price tag on your offer that your audience just isn’t willing–or able–to pay).
On the flip side, if you’re undercharging, people might question whether your course is legit or valuable enough to spend money on. It’s important to find your pricing sweet spot–and it’ll be different for every entrepreneur and every course.
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