5 Proven Steps to Sell Out Your Course Using An Online Community.

5 Proven Steps to Sell Out Your Course Using An Online Community

If you created a course 5 years ago, you might have had to compete with only a few other published courses on the same topic or skill. Fast forward to today, there are dozens – if not hundreds – of courses on just about every topic or skill you can imagine. 

What that means is that no matter how great your online course is, there is another course out there that is probably just as great. 

So the key to success is not merely focusing on creating a great course – but rather being obsessed with creating an online community for that course.

Simply put – you need to create a community of people who not only know you and like you – but also believe you, respect you, and are willing to learn from you.

Let’s start with the most fundamental question. 

How does a free online course community work?

Before going into how this works, it is necessary to emphasize that this concept is NOT the same as building a regular social media following.

It’s also NOT the same as building an email list.

A free online course community is a private community where you consistently provide free high-quality information and interaction-based value to people towards the ultimate goal of getting them interested in paying for your course or program.

In a nutshell: gather your ideal audience in a private community (that you have control over) and just provide free value to them until they’re ready to buy your paid course.

You can decide to host this private community on Facebook Group, Telegram, Whatsapp, Mighty Networks, and so on. The choice of the best platform to host your community will depend on a number of factors that we won’t cover in this post. 

But for now, here are 5 steps to sell out your course using an online course community:

Step 1: Create the community and add high-quality members to it. 

Your members should typically be people that would be highly interested in your actual paid course. This step is the most important step of all because the quality of your membership will make or break the rest of the strategy. Ensure you properly vet people because they join the community by making everyone fill out an application form and weeding out people that would be a bad fit for your community. 

Step 2: Strategically provide high-value content on a consistent basis.

The idea of providing high-value content upfront might feel like a waste of your time but it’s a powerful strategy to get people to become loyal to you and buy into your brand. Some of the content types you can utilize in your community are:

  • Q&As
  • TTTs (tips, tricks, and techniques).
  • Weekly live calls
  • Testimonials of past students (Video and written)
  • Polls
  • Personal story

Step 3: Recommend your paid course in a non-salesy way

The key here is to introduce your course as a recommendation not as a prerequisite. Remember the old saying: people don’t like to be sold but they love to buy. 

What this means is that if they feel like you’re only interested in selling them a course, they might put up some resistance. But if you recommend your course to them from time to time – and leave them to make a buying decision themselves, they are more likely to buy.

Step 4: Using Retargeting Ads to further influence a purchasing decision.

This is an advanced tip that can skyrocket your sales once you’ve already implemented Step 1-3. 

A retargeting ad simply means that you create an ad that is shown to only members of your private community (each time they browse Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.). You can link the ad directly with your Sales page on Selar.

The content of your retargeting ads should feature elements of sales persuasion such as:

  • Third-party claims – e.g. customer reviews and testimonials, transformation story of past students, etc.
  • Risk Aversion – e.g. a refund if they don’t see results after 90 days.
  • Scarcity – e.g. the course is only open for a limited time before it closes.
  • Consensus – e.g over 2500 people have already taken the course and they loved it.
  • Authority – e.g. having influencers in your niche say nice things about you either in video or written formats.

Step 5: Keep promoting and growing the private community 

You can promote your private community via organic social media, paid ads, email marketing, other online forums, networking events, etc. The math is easy. The more you grow your private community (with high-quality members), the more sales you’ll generate for your online course.

Once you’ve mastered the art of growing the community with high-quality members, you can even outsource that responsibility to a Virtual Assistant and just focus on other important aspects of growing the brand.

Final Notes

As with most things, the early stages of building an online community are where you need to put in the most work. Typically, as your community grows it will experience what is known as the network effect. 

The network effect is when the value of your community increases through the joint contribution of members of that community. That means, when people start they see how valuable your community is, they will engage more with it, and even invite others to join the community.

For course creators, leveraging on the network effect can help you reach a much wider audience without having to do all the work yourself.

Overall, a well-managed online community is a powerful strategy for not just skyrocketing the sales of your online course, but also help you create a formidable personal brand that paves the way for other opportunities to grow your personal brand. 


Author: Tola Masters.

Tola is the founder of TolaMasters Digital, an online marketing agency in Lagos Nigeria that helps B2C & B2B brands accelerate their growth using best-in-class digital strategies, tactics, and creative ideas. You can connect with him on Twitter and Linkedin – @tolamasters.