How course-based businesses find more customers

July 5, 2017

I want to show you how MeBox is currently helping course-based businesses to find more customers find more members, increase sales and increase their conversion rates.

Typically we have a course for example and it might be on your own learning management system. It might be on our learning management system, you might have it on a third party application, it might be on a web site.

You might currently be delivering that course offline. There’s a bunch of different ways that you can deliver your material and help your audience.

I want to show you our overarching structure of how we

  • increase sales
  • increase the number of people who buy
  • increase new subscriptions
  • increase new members and new students
  • increase conversion rates

We want to make sure that if we have a hundred interested parties, we’re not just turning one of those people into a customer, we’re turning closer to fifty to sixty percent of those interested.

Video: How course-based businesses find more customers and find more members

How course-based businesses find more customers

How Course-Based Businesses Increase Retention and Consumption while Reducing Churn and Shortening the Sales Cycle

No previous relationship

This is a bit of a whiteboard session by the way. I’m going to make the assumption that you have a course already.

Like most courses it’s probably split up into different modules, so example we might have five modules and you might deliver those week by week.

We typically use a six by six method, so we have six modules and each module has six lessons in it.

Typically we find a module is kind of the overarching topic that we might want to teach. For example let’s say that we’re helping accountants run their business.

There might be six modules and that might be hiring your first team member, choosing the right software, getting your website up and running.

So for this particular course we end up having 25 lessons and maybe we deliver those as a drip feed.

Here’s what most marketing agencies are trying to do. What they’ll do is buy Facebook, they’ll buy LinkedIn, they’ll buy Twitter, they’ll buy Google, or they’ll buy regular paid ads.

The idea is that most people will try and pay for traffic and visitors to the course sales page.

They’ll try and send people straight to the course sales page and try to get people interested.

The problem with that is that you’ve got no previous relationship with these people.

I don’t know how you’ve been building your email address list, maybe your leads list, your subscribers, your remarketing lists.

This older conversion model is trying to drive people straight towards buying the course. The people it targets are cold.

They don’t know that you exist they may have heard of you, but chances are they don’t know that you.

We found that this conversion rate is so low, that the initial purchase of the course doesn’t even pay for the cost of the traffic spend, or doesn’t pay for the ad spend.


What I want to talk to you about, is how we structure your course and modules and lessons, in a way that makes it easier for us to make sales.

It also increases the conversion rates which means that you end up having to spend less.

This is based on the Digital Marketer CVO Funnel. We have specialized it and converted it just for online course based businesses or for businesses who have currently got course material.

Giving everything away

It’s going to sound like you’re giving everything away but I promise you that you’re not.

We’ll take some of our lessons, let’s say module 1, lesson number 5 and lesson number 2. And module 4, lessons 1 and 3.

course business sell more courses

We happen to know that those are the most popular lessons.

These lessons and modules, are some big learning points that we that get into in your particular course.

By taking these individual lessons, we’ve now got content to drive traffic to.

One of our big problems, is that we don’t have enough exposure. We don’t have enough audience.

Down the other end of the funnel, is where the people who have no idea that we exist, are. This is our potential audience.

We’ll take these individual lessons and we’ll present them in a different way. We’ll take the worksheets and this basically becomes the top of our funnel.

You have to forgive me, but we call this in the industry, “TOFU” or “top of funnel”. I put ours at the bottom here because I’m working the other way around.

We take a couple of these lessons and say we’re going to do a blog post on lesson number two and we’re also going to do a video on lesson number five.

TOFU course content funnel

TOFU content is open and free content for people at the top of the funnel

Now the instant reaction that people have, is “well if I’m giving this away for free and in my blogs, they won’t need the whole thing” and that’s not what happens.

What we find, is if we connect with people and we help them with our course. And if we say “look this is clearly something that you need help with, so we’re going to give you this piece of content for free”.

We’re also going to take some of the materials, maybe one of the worksheets or the cheat sheets from a lesson, and have that as a lead magnet which your audience can sign up for and download.

Someone’s number at a bar

Your audience can watch the video they can read the blog but they can also get access to our to our PDF download.

If people have seen something already for free and they begin to connect with it. Then they see it in your course, they are not going to think “this is the same stuff again”.

What they’re going to think is “I’ve already seen this, I’ve already got a connection with it”.

Asking for an email address, in exchange for a lead magnet (our PDF download from the course), is the equivalent of asking for someone’s number at a bar.

lead magnet light bulb moment course

Use your current course content as your lead magnets

That’s all we’re doing at this stage. We say “here’s the blog here’s the video”. We’ve already got the content, so we don’t need to write anything new. We’ve already got the content and we can drive a ton of traffic to the blog or to the video.

This means that people are signing up to our lead magnet. They signup to the resource because we’re going to help them even further.

We can even be transparent and say “look this is from our course, this is the quality of the material we’ve got”.

Now all of a sudden we’ve started building up an email list.

The idea is that we want to have free content, that’s very specific to your course. We want to keep it within what we call a “content silo”.

Over time we’re driving traffic to blog content and video content and webinars. We’re also building up our email list now we know that people who have signed up are clearly interested in module number 4, they’re clearly interested in this topic.

The price is irrelevant

So already we’re beginning to see how we can increase our conversion rates, with our email list.

It’s important to know, that the price of your course is irrelevant to your conversion rates. The price can be $99 or the price could be $1500 or $150 000. The price is irrelevant.

The reason people fail to sell courses is because of mental pain.

Someone who has spent $0 with your free content, for them to jump all the way up to $2000, is very hard for the human brain to get over.

The human brain physically experiences pain. If you’ve read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, he goes into the neuroscience behind this.

Brainfluence by Roger Dooley, also talks about the neuroscience behind going from $0 to $2000. From $0 to $15 000 dollars is very painful for people.

However there is a method called a “splinter product” or “tripwire”.Whereby we can take your first module, or maybe the first three videos and we can package that up as a course in itself. A little micro course, a little mini product.

course membership funnel customer sales

Tripwires and splinter products can also be made from your course content

I know what you’re thinking “I’m going to be giving my best stuff away for free or cheap!”

That’s not what we’ve found, don’t worry. I totally understand how you feel. What we found is that by doing it this way, 1) we increase conversion rates. 2) people connect with your final product more, because they want to consume more. People don’t want to consume new stuff all the time.

Splinter products

Splinter product or tripwires, offer a low barrier to entry product to new customers.

For example they could be anywhere from $9 to $39. The idea is it’s such a low barrier to entry, that they feel they’re getting enormous value from the purchase.

Also if everything was to go wrong and it turns out that you are a con artist, (which of course I’m not saying that you are) that’s not a huge amount of money to lose.

The conversion rate for a new subscriber to splinter sale, is a lot higher than if we just sent them our flagship course.

Also, we;re building a content silo. It’s all within module 1 and by positioning a smaller product in front of them, we increase the number of people who are willing to buy. The jump from $0 to $9 is very low.

Interestingly the jump from $9 to $2000 is also not perceived as high, because this person is now a customer. They’re a part of your community, they’ve bought your smaller product.

Now we can say, this time instead of packaging up our whole course, there’s maybe a three-part webinar series which talks about these same pieces. You’re just delivering it in a slightly different way.

Maybe it’s your older material. Maybe there’s some bonus content. What we’re finding is that the jump from $9 to $2,000 by email marketing and social marketing, people are more likely to buy.

Customers are more likely to buy a $2,000 course or a $15,000 course if they’ve spent a small amount of money beforehand. This here is really the key.

When we go over this with customers, typically they’ll ask “yeah, but where am I going to find this product?”

You’ve already got it. You’ve already got all the content that you need.

At some point I’m sure I’ll go over you know private groups, keeping attrition and retention rates high, making sure that people are increasing consumption, making sure that people are using your content and your products and your course materials more.

content funnel marketing online course

You’ve got all the content you need already.

This model of moving people up and saying to them “yeah there’s a free version here” then “we just require a little bit of insight here a little bit of action here” for them to join your email list

“Yeah you can have a little bit more” at the splinter product stage and we just keep giving them more value but ask for incrementally more investment.

Ultimately we move them through to a $2000 course with email marketing and launches.

I’ll go into that at some point on how we launch a course. Basically this is the model and that is how we are finding more customers for online course and education based content providers and online course businesses.

We increase the number of new sales, you have new customers coming in at the top of the funnel.

You have new people who have bought your content. You’re right there at a lower level but it’s at a stage that’s still profitable for you because you’re not creating huge amounts of work for yourself.

You’re more likely to make sales because people have already bought a previous product.

Customers will buy again. We all know that the only people that we should sell to are our current customers.

Finally we increase our conversion rates because the level of commitment required is only matched by the amount of value that they’ve seen already.

Thanks very much for sticking around that was how we find more customers for online course in education based content.

My favourite part of the entire process is splintering out what we already have and seeing how we can attract people with it. It just makes sense to me that in order to demonstrate how epic our courses are, we show them how epic our courses are.

If you’re serious about increasing the number of customers who buy your courses, you need our course membership funnel plan below.


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