The Why, and How of Preselling Your Online Course

For online course creators. 7 minutes read

After months of hard work on your online course, at last, you finally reach the finish line. You head straight for social media and proudly declare:

“Friends, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. My online course is ready to buy!”

Upon reading this, hundreds.. No. THOUSANDS of people, who’ve never heard of your online course immediately reach for their credit cards. Your course is an overnight success, and all that’s left to do is to sit back and watch the revenue roll in.

Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, it is.




Creating an online course is a long and sometimes harrowing process. It’s tempting to think that all your hard work will be rewarded once you put your course out into the world. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Your course is more likely to receive no less than the chirping of crickets than it is blockbuster sales.

For this reason, it is always wise to presell your online course.


Why you should presell your online course

Not only is Preselling your online course a great way to ensure your course doesn’t launch to the sound of crickets, it also has several other benefits.

It allows you to:


1. Get your marketing right in advance

Finding your audience, where they “hang out”, and how to reach them is hard work. Preselling your online course will allow you to get a sense of what works, and what doesn’t ahead of time. Once your online course is complete, you want a complete picture of your target audience and how to reach them so that you can save time and resources once your marketing efforts are in full swing.


2. Get people excited before you launch

Keep in mind that some people are more likely to take a chance on a new course than others. While some may not immediately leap to buy your course, they will still be interested, and perhaps buy it later. Think of the effect of preselling as being two-pronged. You have people who will buy your course and those who will wait and see. Preselling your online course is great because it allows you to do both of these things at once.


3. Create accountability

Let’s be honest. Building an online course is hard.

Most people are used to doing work, and then getting paid for it shortly after. It’s easy to motivate yourself to do this kind of work because we can immediately see the rewards of our efforts. Working on an online course is completely different. It involves very hard work for (potential) future rewards, and many course creators doubt that they will even get paid for their efforts.

Bills to pay and more pressing work to complete can mean that spending time working on your online course can be left low on your list of priorities. Preselling your online course can make this much easier. Once money changes hands, you’re now obligated to complete your course. You have a deadline, and people who expect to be able to do your course by a certain date.

It also makes what you’re doing feel real. It’s no longer an abstract idea that may or may not work. It’s already worked, you have paying students who you’re accountable to.


4. Reduce financial costs of making a course

Having spent time and resources creating their online course, many course creators are out of pocket by the time the course is ready for launch. Preselling as you create your course, or even before you begin creating it, allows you to stay afloat financially so that making the course isn’t a burden. Making a course is stressful enough as it is without adding financial stress on top of it, and to make your course as good as it can be, you will need to be calm, and at ease.


5. Get social proof early

Social Proof is one of the most important aspects of marketing your online course. If you’re able to get it early, you are well placed to get high sales figures in the future. Preselling your online course means that once your first round of students has completed the course, you can get testimonials to show future students who will be more persuaded to buy.

Now that we’ve covered the why of preselling your course, let’s take a look at the how.


How to presell your online course

If you’re convinced that preselling is the right move for your online course, that’s great. But now you’re probably scratching your head wondering how to do it. First, you’ll need to choose a platform(s) to promote your presale.

This could be:

  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Ad Campaigns

Social media and blogs are best for course creators who already have a following and good amounts of audience engagement. Appearing out of nowhere with a presale offering is unlikely to be effective. If you don’t have an audience who knows, likes, and trusts you, then running ad campaigns is more likely to be an effective strategy for you. Your ad campaigns should be where your “hangs out” and it may take some trial and error to get it right.

Once you’ve decided on the right strategy for you, you’ll need the following.

1. Create a sales page

First things first, you will need to clearly outline your course on a sales page. Students will need to see the benefits of taking your course, and what exactly it is that you’re offering. Sales pages can be made on platforms like Thinkific which are designed specifically for course creators to build and upload an online course. Make sure that you’re following sales page design, and copywriting best practices to be sure that you’re effectively communicating the features and benefits of your course.

For more information on how to do this, check out our guide here.


2. Make a special offer

If you want your presale to be a success, it’s likely that you’ll need to offer it at a lower price. Remember that you know how good your online course will be, but at this early stage, without any testimonials, your audience doesn’t. To entice people, and to reward them for taking a chance on your course as well as helping you out in building up social proof, offering your course at a discounted rate is essential.


3. Capture emails of future students

Remember that preselling is a two-pronged strategy. It’s not only about sales, it’s also about lead generation. Your target audience falls into two camps. People who are adventurous and want to test out your online course first, and those who take a “wait and see approach”. Both of these types of students are valuable, and so your presale strategy should cater to both of them.

For this reason, your sales page should cater to both types of students. Usually, sales pages should have only one offer so it doesn’t overwhelm the visitor. But in this case, you need to make an exception. This page is primarily about preselling your online course, so you need to place the sale more prominently. But a well-placed email opt-in for potential future students who want to be informed when the course is complete is essential.

Later, an engaging email sequence leading up to the release of your course, and testimonials from your presale students will lead to converting those who sign up!

Final Thoughts

Preselling your online course is an excellent way to build credibility, motivate you to complete your course on time, and ease the financial burden of making a course. But if you’re already focused on making an online course, it can also be a lot of work.

If you want to focus on making your online course awesome without the added pressure of marketing, why not speak to a team of professionals?

If you want your course to launch with a long mailing list of engaged potential students, testimonials from your presale students, and a much better chance to sell more, and fast- the team at ClassGrowth has you covered.

Get in touch with one of our friendly team, below!

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