How to Create a Sales Funnel to Sell Your Online Course

Selling online courses is one of the difficulties experienced by many digital creators. The process can be daunting, especially for first-timers.

Also, with advertising costs increasing yearly, TikTok videos stealing everyone’s attention, and SEO becoming more challenging, one of the most viable ways that is left now is to create a sales funnel to sell your online course.

A sales funnel is a structure that allows you to attract and enroll students in your course. Without one, you can as well just host your courses and donate to charity.

At Selar, we care about creating a seamless experience for creators. From creating digital products to selling and retaining customers. That’s why we’ve written this article for you.

Let’s get started with the basics of how to create a sales funnel to sell your online course.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a marketing concept used to describe a customer’s buying journey. It shows you the processes your customers go through before finally making a purchase.

The model uses a funnel as an analogy to describe the various stages of the customer’s journey. Usually, the top of the funnel is the largest part of the funnel where all your customers are directed to.

Then the bottom of the funnel is where customers who buy from you are placed. Whatever happens in the middle of the funnel determines if your customers will move down the funnel or away from it.

More so, as the prospects pass through each stage of the funnel, it indicates a stronger interest in the product.

The five stages of a sales funnel are;

  • Awareness: You created an ad to lure people to your online course landing page.
  • Interest: You pique their interest by offering something of value in exchange for a lead contact (email address)
  • Desire: You strategically position your content to arouse the interest of your customers and prepare their minds for purchase.
  • Action: You offer a discount they can’t resist that gets them to make a buying decision. Afterward, you modify your marketing efforts to retain them.
  • Loyalty: Here you have customers that can stick with you through thick and thin. They become loyal to your brand and will always buy what you sell.

Most businesses use this model to guide their efforts, and you can use it to sell your online courses massively.

Yet to decide which digital product to launch? Read this Online Course vs Ebook Which Should I Launch?

What Do You Need to Create a Sales Funnel?

As a digital creator, you must have experienced the frustration of not making sales. After spending time gathering your thoughts and compiling them into a digital product(e.g: an online course) prospects just look and pass, without purchasing anything.

Good thing is, it happens to everyone. The better thing is that it happens less to you when you have a proper sales funnel to sell your online course.

So, if you’re ready to get started, here’s what you need to set up your sales funnel.

#1. Traffic Source

A sales funnel wouldn’t exist if there was no one to enter the funnel. To get these people, you need an audience. The audience can be your email list subscribers, blog readers, podcast listeners, social media followers, etc. Or other people from ads you may run. Until you get people to your sales funnel, there’d be nobody to market to.

#2. Data

The more data you gather from your audience, the more effective your sales funnel will become. More so, you need data to create an effective sales funnel for your customer.

One important thing to note is that you aren’t marketing your course to everyone. Just people who are interested in learning what you teach.

This way, you can focus on the pinpoint of your audience, create a course that solves their problem, and make them an irresistible offer.

#3. Landing page

All your marketing efforts need to direct your prospects somewhere. This is where a landing page is required.

Your landing page should clearly communicate what your course offers, and what your students stand to gain from enrolling in your course. The good thing is Selar has a built-in feature that lets you create landing pages with irresistible offers.

Ensure your landing page has clear information and CTA to direct your prospects to your course.

#4. Email Marketing Software

A sales funnel basically means building an email list and sending automated emails with your offers to subscribers.

More so, after you’ve captured your leads from your landing page, you need to communicate with them in order to close them.

Market your courses and offers through email marketing by providing valuable and engaging content to your prospects.

A trick is to provide educational content to your users. Provide value, solve a problem for them and watch them come back to you for more. Focus on educational content rather than promotional content.

Struggling with sales? Here are 7 Shocking Reasons Why Your Course is Not Selling

How to Create a Sales Funnel to Sell Your Online Course

Follow these steps to create an effective sales funnel to sell your online course.

#1. Understand your target market

One of the biggest mistakes you’d make as a course creator is to start with what you’re going to sell instead of who you’ll sell to.

Our digital creators at Selar say they focus on building communities and giving value to them before selling their courses to them.

This is the “number 1” sales strategy that you shouldn’t miss. Because if you don’t have a target market, who are you going to sell to?

To understand your target market, you need to understand your customer avatar. A customer avatar is a representation of what your customer looks and acts like. To have close information, consider asking these questions;

  • Who will be interested in my course?
  • What do they want to learn?
  • What do they wish they heard a long time ago?
  • What are their fears and worries?
  • What are their demographics?

The earlier you understand who wants to buy your course, the easier it’ll be to find them and create your course with them in mind.

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

#2. Start building your email list

You’ve seen us mention “email list” severally in this article. This is because selling to people on your email is a lot easier than selling to people who have never heard of you or your course.

The growth of your email list is largely dependent on your marketing efforts. We’ve written a guide to help you grow your mailing list below. You’re welcome!

The goal is to grow your list, build trust with your subscribers and sell your course to them over time.

The success of your sales funnel depends on your email list. Learn how to grow your email from scratch in this article.

But how do you get started?

The first thing you need to know is that people wouldn’t always readily give you their email addresses because your course looks nice.

You’ve got to give them something they really want at the moment to get their email address. It’s called “value exchange.”

You give something valuable and irresistible, you get the email address you need to build your sales funnel and ultimately sell your course.

Think about all the times you entered your email address online. Either on a website, app, landing page, pop-up, etc. Why did you do that? Mostly because you wanted to get something in return right? Yeah, that’s how it works here too.

The next thing is to have a highly optimized landing page. Luckily, Selar lets you create a landing page to sell your online course.

The information on your landing page should be simple, clear, and concise. That’s all the magic you need.

#3. Share free content that solves a problem

Now you gradually have an audience to sell to, it’s easy to be tempted to shove your course right in their faces. But, resist it. Resist that temptation brethren.

The next right thing to do is to publish free content that helps your audience to solve a problem. The idea is to provide value upfront to your audience so they have a reason to stick with you. More so, sharing helpful tips positions you as an expert in your field.

Your content doesn’t have to be a long list of how-tos or a blog post. You can switch things up by releasing podcasts or short videos. The type of content you create is important. But what’s more important is that the content you create is valuable to your audience.

If you’d want to write blog posts, ensure your blog post has all the information required to solve that problem.

Now you may be thinking, how does giving part of my knowledge help me sell my course? Well, there’s a bigger picture you are clearly not seeing.

Here’s the deal. When you give something for free, you are creating awareness for your audience. Look at this scene below.

  • You to your audience: “Hey, you can’t convince people to buy from you!”
  • Your audience: Yes, I know. Are you going to provide a solution? If not, get out of here!!!
  • You: I know you can’t convince people to buy from you, So I came up with a solution. Look at it! I’ve been in your shoes and I used these strategies to help me make my first sale. I thought since they’ve worked for me, It’d be nice to share them with you.
  • Your audience (looks at you weirdly and says): Okay, Let me see what you’ve got. I ain’t paying a cent for this though. It could just be another waste of my time.
  • You: Oh yeah, it’s free. Just look at it and see if it helps.
  • Your audience: (Looks at it and sees it’s valuable. Tries it, and sees it works) Thanks for sharing, it really helped me make my first sale.
  • You: (Receives a follow, a subscriber, or a reader) You’re welcome. There’s more where that came from!
  • Your audience: I’m interested in whatever you have to give. You’ve got yourself a loyal fan, bro!

So your free content solves a problem for your reader, they are happy and become interested in you.

Thinking of pre-launching your course? Here’s a guide on How To Make Massive Sales From Pre-launching Your Online Course

#4. Add a free resource to build your email list

Here’s the sad truth. Not everyone who reads your valuable content in no.3 above will sign up for your email list. Remember, a sales funnel is similar to building an email list and sending content to your audience till they make a purchase.

When you get a new follower or someone interested in your brand, that’s less than 0.5% of the work done. Because this person can either leave or progress to the next stage of the funnel.

According to Marketingdonut, only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting. This 2% tend to be people who have looked into what you’re selling and know exactly what they want to get. The other 98% will buy once a certain level of trust has been built.

So to get people on your mailing list, you need to incentivize them. This incentive can be a free ebook or video or worksheet or access to you for 15 mins for the next week.

The difference between this and the other free content you publish as I stated earlier is that here, you are giving away resources in exchange for their email address. It’s like giving your friend her favorite ice cream flavor because you want her to come shopping with you. In the other one, you’re just sharing helpful tips online. Telling them about mistakes and offering solutions. Your goal is to educate them.

Learn How to Easily Create Free Content That Helps You Build Your Email List

For example, you share 5 tips to sell out your online course in minutes, and then create a free ebook or workbook on how to sell your online course to anybody.

Again, not everyone who gets your free content or free resource will eventually give you their email address but those who do have shown an interest in your brand. So focus on them.

“To convert online followers into loyal paying customers, get them on your email list”


#5. Create an automated email follow-up

At this point, you have to strategically create content for your users at different stages of their buying journey.

Using your email service provider, you can create automated follow-ups for your audience. Here’s a video on how to set up Mailchimp for email automation on Selar.

You can start with an automated welcome message for new subscribers. At this point, you do not want to overwhelm them. Make your email short, sweet, and grateful, and include the link to the free resource you promised.

You may also tell them to reach out to you for anything or follow you on social media.

Afterward, send them valuable content that aims to build trust. If your course is for free, you can easily include it in the welcome email. But if it’s for sale, you need to put in the effort to convince them to enroll in your course.

Here are some tips to sell out your course;

1. Offer a free trial.

You can choose to make some sections of your course free. So, if your course has 5 modules with 2 lessons each, you can decide to make the first module free.

The good thing about this is that it gives your audience a taste of what your course has. It helps them to decide if they like your teaching style or not. When they complete your free trial, you can invite them to make a purchase to get your full course.

2. Ensure your emails end with an invitation to purchase your course

Here, you write a series of emails that educate your students, earn their trust, and present them with your course over a period of time. These emails could contain personal experiences stories, helpful resources, and eventually an invitation to sell your course.

You can set up a 7- day email structure that looks like this;

  • Day 1: Welcome email
  • Day 2: Free content
  • Day 3: Free content
  • Day 4: Free content with a free resource
  • Day 5: Free content
  • Day 6: Offer a free trial
  • Day 7: Invitation to enroll in your course
  • Day 8: Follow-up emails

Your email copy is as important as your email structure. Here are 6 Secret Formulas To Writing Effective Sales Copy for Your Online Course.

#6. Follow up with the non-buyers

Here’s the bitter truth, not everyone who enjoys your free content, receives your free resource, or follows you will eventually buy your course. And that’s normal. In fact, if you can get 100% of people to buy from you, then you should be arrested.

That being said, if you’ve done all the right marketing strategies to sell your online course, it’s okay to figure out those who didn’t and politely ask them why.

Most people will be surprised that you asked, and if you do it properly, you just may get more people to buy your course. Sometimes they just want to ask you more questions before buying.

Worst case scenario, you get a backlash saying, “Don’t you dare email me again!” Which is normal. It’s the price you pay for doing business on the internet.

A little show of empathy and patience can reduce the number of non-buyers on your list.

Use either of these 5 Best Video Editing App For Online Courses when you are creating a course.


What is sales funnel for online course?

A sales funnel is a structure that allows you to attract and enroll students in your course. It also allows you to retain them as loyal customers willing to buy any course you release because you have built trust with them.

How do I create a sales funnel course?

1. Understand your target audience
2. Reach out to them by setting up an email list.
3. Share free content with them that solves a problem
4. Offer valuable free resources.
5. Create an automated email follow-up with offers to your course
6. Follow up with the non-buyers on the list.
7. Rinse and repeat

Where should I sell my online courses?

The best platforms to sell your online courses are;
1. Selar
2. Sellfy
3. Thinkfic
4. Kajabi
5. Udemy

So What’s Next?

It’s time to fill your funnel with people who are interested in buying your course. With Selar, you can host your courses and enjoy unlimited storage.

You can also integrate your email service provider (Selar offers Mailchimp or Sendpulse integration) to build your sales funnel and send targeted emails to your audience.

Sales funnels take time to create but once structured, your only job will be to direct people to your funnel. As mentioned in the article, you can release podcasts, social media posts, blog posts, or even videos. It’s entirely up to you.

By creating content that is relevant to your user at every stage of their buying journey, you increase your chances of getting a paying customer.

Take the first step today by hosting your courses on Selar.