The Secret Method to Increase your Online Course Sales [Step-by-Step Guide]

Author Avatar Matt Brown wrote this on Jul 15, 2020

If you’re an online course creator, I’d guess that there’s typically one dominant thought echoing inside your head:

“How the heck do I sell more courses?”

I get it.

You’ve done all the work – everything you’re supposed to do.

You meticulously created your course, making sure it would be the most valuable resource on the market.

You spent your weekends watching WordPress walk-through videos so you could set up your website the right way.

You slammed two cups of coffee, locked yourself in your office, and hammered out the copy for your sales page.

After all that, you loaded your emails into ActiveCampaign and switched your perfectly crafted automation sequence from Inactive to Active.

It’s time for the world to buy your course.

Once it’s live, you take to social media and shout from the rooftops. You appear on a few podcasts and try not to sound *too* salesy. The Facebook video ad you spent hours editing finally gets approved. After what feels like an eternity, things start working. Engaged leads come in and you actually sell your course to someone who’s not in your immediate family.

Time to pop the champagne and celebrate. Your hard work has finally paid off.

Next stop, you’re an internet millionaire who just upped their max price range on Zillow.

Except… it doesn’t happen exactly like that.

Instead, your sales slowly trickle in. Your new customers engage with your content for a bit, but most of them don’t even watch half of your videos.

And then it happens…

You get your first refund request.

“Hey, your course wasn’t what I expected. Can I have my money back? I’m still within the 30-day window, right?”

Since you’re an honest course creator, you sigh and give your student their money back.

“Ugh…”

This isn’t working the way you dreamed it would.

The Missing Ingredient In Your Funnel

Here’s the thing:

Even though you’ve done everything by the book, it’s possible that your course funnel is missing one simple ingredient.

No, not a more sophisticated Facebook retargeting strategy…

It’s possible that your funnel is missing… YOU.

Yep, you.

In this day and age, everything is automated. No one – *cough cough* your leads and customers – expects you to be authentically present in the different stages of your funnel. Even if you do personally respond to emails from your audience, there’s a high probability they’ll think you’ve somehow automated it.

However, if you are willing to prove that you’re personally present and available to your leads and customers, magic will happen.

Why is this?

It’s because one of the main reasons people are interested in your course in the first place is because of you.

I think it’s safe to say that right now, in 2020, you can learn just about anything you want for free on the internet. With the right combination of blog posts, YouTube videos, and forum threads, you can figure out how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on the piano or even buy your first rental property.

If that’s true, why would someone even pay for your course?

It’s because they want to learn from you. They trust you, connect with your story, and want to enter into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with you and your content.

So, if YOU – the real, living, breathing you – are missing from your online course funnel, is it any wonder that you’re not enrolling as many new students as you’d like?

I hope you realize that we need to put the real you back into your funnel. Not the automated you. Now, I’ll show you how to do it with personalized video.

How To Use Personalized Video To Sell More Courses

Let’s use the following scenario to illustrate how you can use personalized video to sell more courses each month.

Imagine that:

  • You sell an evergreen online course for $97
  • You market your course through organic and paid social media
  • You get 10 new leads per day and nurture them with an email series
  • You have a 5% conversion rate of new leads to paying customers

This means that each month, you get around 300 new leads, convert 15 of them, and earn $1455 in course sales.

Not too shabby.

This could be a nice, secondary income stream for your business and a scalable way for you to earn money. However, if your online course is the main way you earn money (or you want it to be), my guess is that you’re looking for ways to increase the number of sales you make each month.

Now… before you run off and up your ad spend, let’s take a look at how you can use personalized video to create more engagement with the leads who are already walking through your doors.

We know that the 5% of people who buy your course each month are your best customers. They’re the ones who immediately see the value in what you’re offering. Maybe they’ve been following you for a while on social media or were referred to you by a friend.

What I’m getting at here is that your best customers don’t need quite as much convincing as your cooler prospects before enrolling in your course. Don’t get me wrong, personalized video is still relevant to your best customers, but not necessarily in the pre-sales process. Later in this post, I’ll show you the type of personalized video you can send these folks to make sure they get the most out of your course.

For now, let’s turn our attention back to the 285 people who didn’t buy your course this month.

What if there is another 5% of people in this group of 285 people who are just about ready to hop off the fence, enter their credit card details, and press the complete order button on your checkout page?

What if they simply need a more personal touch in order to feel confident enough to buy your course? What if they need to know that you’re a real person who cares about them, their needs, and goals? Helping them solve these problems and achieve their dreams is the reason you created your course in the first place, right?

Remember how we need to put the real you back into your funnel? This is the place to do it.

After one of your leads has opened your emails, engaged with your free content, and still not converted into a customer, it’s a good idea to reach out to them individually. This is where you would use a tool like Bonjoro to record a quick personalized video for them. A video like this one from Tracy Phillips of Video Script Success:

Tracey uses her videos to to stand out and to make a deeper connection with leads.

Now, it probably seems like an overwhelming task to create 285 individual videos each month. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to. You can leverage the power of the tools you’re already using – like your email service provider, membership platform, or even a Facebook group – to identify the people in this group who are most engaged with your content.

Step-by-step instructions on how to use these tools to find your most engaged leads would need its own blog post (leave us a comment below if you’d like one!). To make things simple for you, you can use tags or trigger actions in your ESP to create segments of your most engaged leads. Or, you could use the MemberMouse Activity Log to find your users who consistently log into your site and engage with your free content.

Realistically, your most engaged leads could make up just 20% of your unconverted prospects. Are you with me on the math here? That’s only 57 people. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Once you’ve found these people and proven they are highly engaged with your content, do you think you’d be motivated to create 57 personalized outreach videos for them? I think you would be.

If you spent two minutes recording and sending each video, it would only take you 114 minutes per month to get all of these done. And, if you reached out to this group of people twice per month, you’d actually only spend about an hour creating these videos every other week.

What Results Can You Expect?

Now that you know how to do this, let’s take a look at why you’ll want to use personalized video in addition to your existing email efforts.

Personalized videos sent from Bonjoro have significantly higher open rates and engagement rates, compared to regular email campaigns. For example, the average Bonjoro user gets a 79% open rate. With email, the average open rate is just 21.33%. The average Bonjoro user also gets 50% of their videos watched. Compare this to the standard 2.62% email click-through rate.

Imagine what will become possible for your business when almost 80% of your leads and customers open your messages, leading 50% of them to actually watch a video you personally created for them.

When we take all of this into consideration, it’s entirely reasonable to estimate that your personalized videos can help convert a higher percentage of your engaged, yet indecisive leads.

Let’s say that the personalized videos you send to these engaged leads convert at 25%. That’s 14 new customers – adding an additional $1358 in course sales to your business each month.

I don’t know about you, but I’d happily record a few videos in less time than it would take to rewatch Avengers: Endgame if it meant essentially doubling the amount of money I made from my online course each month.

Can I See An Example Of This?

By now you’re probably wondering what types of personalized video you should send to your engaged leads.

One type of video that I’ve personally seen work for online course creators, is to send a “thank you” video after someone opts in for a free resource. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Ashish of LearnGongFuTea.com

What this video succeeds in doing is creating a personal connection with a new lead at the moment when they first enter your funnel. It also boosts the likelihood that the person who opted in for your free resource will actually engage with your content.

This personal connection – established at the beginning of your funnel – can completely reframe every single message that person then receives from you.

Instead of emails seeming cold, automated, or impersonal, they will be anchored in the experience your prospective customer had when you took time out of your day to personally connect with them.

If you’d like to see more examples of videos you can create for your leads and customers, check out Bonjoro’s video funnel playbook.

BONUS FUNNEL: How To Decrease Refunds Of Your Course

Now that you have a way to increase the sales of your online course, it’s time to figure how to reduce the number of refund requests you get after people buy your course. The way to do this is actually much simpler than it may seem on the surface.

Here’s what I recommend you do:

Run a quick audit of your current customer base. Find the people who you know are your superusers – your “raving fans.” These are the people who are deeply engaged with your content, highly active in your community, and evangelists for your course.

Once you’ve found a few of your superusers, all you need to do is audit their behavior in the days and weeks after they joined your course. Again, with a tool like MemberMouse this is really easy. Just open up the Member Activity Log and take a peek at what they’ve done on your site. 

What pages did they access? In what order? Did they introduce themselves right away in your private community forum? Discover what these activities are and make a list of three high-impact action items your new students should do immediately after they buy your course.

After you go through this process, you might discover that your best students do the following three things in the first 24 hours after signing up for your course:

  1. They watch your introductory or course overview video
  2. They introduce themselves to your community
  3. They download your course’s PDF roadmap

Now, you can record a Bonjoro for your new customers that instructs them to do these three things. By emulating the behavior of your best customers, you can dramatically improve the engagement you see from your new students right away. This simple, personal video from you also shows that you’re there for your customers even after they’ve paid for your course.

Here’s an example of what this sort of video looks like:

John of Bulldog Mindset

You can also repeat this exact process for your former students who did request a refund. What did they do immediately after signing up for your course? Maybe they never even logged into your site to access the content they paid for. Maybe they watched two videos right away, but never came back for more. Once you’ve identified the behaviors that have led to refunds in the past, you’ll know the warning signs to look out for among new students.

If you have a feeling that someone is likely to ask for a refund, you can preemptively create a personalized video for them with the hope of re-activating them and bringing them back to your content.

Keep in mind that the goal here isn’t to eliminate refunds altogether. The goal is to make sure that the people you know you can help have every opportunity possible to engage with your content and achieve the results they came looking for in the first place. When your students know that you’re there for them, cheering them on, and supporting their success, they will be more likely to go through your course instead of asking for a refund.

Wrapping Up

You now have all the information you need to start using personalized video to generate more sales and decrease refund requests of your online course. We covered a lot of ground today and I hope you’ll implement the strategies outlined in this post.

If you have any questions about these topics, please leave me a comment below. If you’d like to learn more about selling online courses or building powerful membership sites, check out some of my articles here on the MemberMouse blog.

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About the author:

Matt is the Content Manager over at MemberMouse, the powerful, flexible, and scalable membership solution for WordPress. When he’s not writing in-depth blog posts or recording podcast episodes, he can be found on hiking trails around the Pacific NW.

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