157. 3 Things Every Online Marketer Needs To Know To Successfully Scale Their Online Course Funnels
24 May 2022 | By Salome Schillack
This week on The Shine Show, we’re tackling the number one mistake holding most online course creators back (and what to do if you’ve already made it)!
But first, we’re heading to my kitchen.
Recently I set out to bake a cake. I had all my ingredients lined up; my apron was on, the oven was ready, and the instructions were simple (no double tray situations - if you remember back from #quesadillagate).
What could possibly go wrong?
I diligently measured all the ingredients and mixed them nicely into a .....runny, disgusting tasting goop!
My culinary expert and cooking extraordinaire husband Emil came home to the goopy mess and was determined to solve the case.
Half a cup of baking powder, check.
"Wait, wait, wait. Half a cup of baking powder?" He burst out laughing. It was on this day I learned a very important, soapy-tasting lesson on the difference between baking soda and baking powder.
In the wrong proportion, this one little ingredient caused my whole cake to be an unwanted, overlooked waste of effort.
But if I had simply tweaked that one ingredient, my cake would have been a huge success, and the whole family would have queued up, ready to savor a slice.
The same goes for an online course. You might have all the right ingredients, but if one thing is slightly out of proportion, your whole online course cake could turn into a giant, unwanted, cyber soap-tasting mess.
Here's the good news.
There's no need to abandon the kitchen and give up on your course creation dreams. By simply tweaking the ingredients and using the correct measurements, you could be back on track to serving delicious, warm, chocolate online course cake that your students will be raving about. This week on The Shine Show, I share the three things every online course creator MUST do to scale their course successfully, including the number one mistake most online course creators make (and how to avoid it).
Ready to learn the secrets behind launching profitably, scaling your business, and creating a ton of moolah?
P.S. The Launch Lounge is where it is all at if you are a serious course creator who is ready to learn how to find more of your ideal students online, launch more profitably and scale your online courses business to 6 and 7 figures without following someone else’s paint by numbers, one size fits all, fly by night strategy. If you are ready to get down and dirty with your funnels and get the feedback you need to implement changes that will help you scale, join us in The Launch Lounge today. Enrollment closes at the end of this week.
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When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!
So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!
154. From Luxury Interior Design To Successful Online Course Creators with Sarah Cates of House Of Funk
Hello, and welcome to The Shine Show. Today we're going to explore three things every online course marketer needs to know to successfully scale their online course funnels and I'm happy to announce that we have for the first time in over 6 months opened the doors to The Launch Lounge. The Launch Lounge is the only community you want to belong to if you are a serious online course creator and you want to scale your courses business to a million dollars. You can go to shineandsucceed.com/launch to learn more about The Launch Lounge
Hello, my friends. It is lovely for me to be here with you. I am recording this on a beautiful fall Friday afternoon. It is quiet in my house. My husband said he's going to go pick up Mila, my husband, Emil. He has gone to pick up Mila who is my oldest. She's 10 years old and Elle, my youngest, is going for a play date this afternoon. I have got that wonderful Friday afternoon quiet that allows me to sit down here and hang out with you and record podcast episodes for you.
Now, very often on a Friday afternoon Emil is not at home or if he's working from home, which he's doing less and less now because he's back in the office, I pick up the kids from school. And when I do, Mila has this sneaky but genius way of getting me to take her to The Bottom Shed, which is a deli, and like a green grocer slash deli slash coffee shop. That is between the school and our house. And The Bottom Shed makes amazing carrot cake and that kid loves their chocolate cake.
And so often on a Friday afternoon, she would get in the car and she would give me the puppy dog eyes and convince me to stop between school and home at The Bottom Shed and pick up cake. And I tell you, it does not take too much of her to get me on board with Friday afternoon cake. As a matter of fact, I actually quite love it not just because I still have that Friday afternoon, I'm going to treat myself sort of feeling that I guess starts when we have jobs where we kind of make it through the week and we reward ourselves with some kind of a treat. I suppose that's some cultural conditioning that I will hold onto, because I enjoy my Friday afternoon cake.
But that kid knows exactly which buttons to press to get me to go and buy cake from The Bottom Shed on a Friday. And she also knows that mom is not going to bake any cake. I tried baking a cake. You know if you've been a listener of the show for a while, you know I was going to call it a love, hate relationship with cooking, but it's probably more of a hate, hate relationship. Cooking hates me and I hate cooking and I'm working on it, but I'm not trying to work on it too much. I'm just cruising by loving the fact that Emil absolutely lives for cooking, which is our saving grace otherwise we would live on, well, I would say healthy salads I can pick up from the deli, but I'm sure there would also be a much larger Uber Eats bill.
The other day I tried baking a cake and got ... This is embarrassing admitting it. I got mixed up between the baking powder and the baking soda. Did you know baking powder and baking soda are two different things? Of course you did. It is two very, very different things. And it should have given me a clue that I'm on the wrong track when it said I need to add half a cup of baking soda. And I looked at the baking powder container and thought, geez, that's almost half of the container, that's a lot.
And so instead of using baking soda, I poured in half a cup of baking powder. And needless to say, the cake did not even make it into the oven because the butter was just really, really super weird. And when Emil arrived to question my choices that I had made when I was like, "What is going on with his butter?" He cracked up laughing as he does. He laughs with compassion. It always entertains me to see how much my absolute, I don't know, what would you call it? My inability to achieve anything in the kitchen provides him with endless entertainment. He thought it's really funny when he pointed out to me the recipe actually says baking soda, not baking powder. And that there is a giant difference. So lesson learned.
That's why Miller knows not to ask me to bake a cake. She knows to have me go to The Bottom Shed on a Friday afternoon. And I provide my husband with endless entertainment with my baking antics. I hope I'm entertaining you with my baking antics too. It makes for such good educational metaphors, all of my baking stuff ups, which leads me right into what I was going to teach you today, what we were going to talk about, what we're going to explore together. Today is a little bit more of a teaching podcast. I like to mix it up a little bit to give you some interviews with people just like you, just like me and just like the people we admire and aspire to be like, or to achieve things that they have achieved.
And I also try to add in some teaching where I can, because I feel like knowledge is power. And we meaning me and my team sit on so much knowledge because we have this front row seat to so many successful and not so successful online course launches being the people who run the ads for these online courses, having been those people for three years.
Today I want to teach you a little bit of a model that I discovered that I stumbled upon, that I created when I was super frustrated with seeing people use their hard earned money to run ads for their launches only to end up with nothing at the end. And I'm talking about experienced launchers who were able to build large organic followings. And by large I mean, maybe 30,000 or 100,000 people on Instagram or YouTube and make money from them by selling their courses and then hire us to run ads for them only for the ads board to fall completely flat, that's one example.
The other example is people who hire us or other ads managers straight out of the gate first time launching and spend a ridiculous amount of money on their launch, whether it be webinars or challenges or whatever it might be. And again, to get to the end of that launch and to not have made any money is devastating. It is so devastating for me that I have closed the doors in the agency. A while ago already I closed the doors in the agency to any new launchers.
We will not run ads for new launchers because what I have come to learn is that the surefire way of losing your money is to over spend on ads where your offers haven't yet been proven, or you're not sure you have the right launch mechanism. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is there are three key levers or three key ... You know what the inside of a watch look like, the clock, where there's one circular, what do you call those things that move? And then it moves the other one levers or systems or pulleys, or I'm forgetting the right word. But you know what I mean? Those circular things that the one turns and then it turns the next one. And that one turns the next one. And that one turns the next one.
There are three key levers that needs to be pulled in order to make money. But not just in order to make money, in order to have a scalable business. When you are building online course businesses and these three things are this. You might want to write this down, or come back and write it down if you're driving or if you're on the treadmill. Those three things are number one, you need traffic, you need an audience, you need people. You already know this because you probably started your business on social media. You probably started your business grabbing your phone and starting to just speak into your phone, creating reels, creating a newsfeed, going live, posting videos on YouTube, starting a podcast. You already know you need traffic.
We're going to unpack traffic a little bit more. You already know this is the second lever, you need an offer. Not just any offer, you need a good offer. You need an offer that your ideal customer cannot resist. An offer is different from an online course. Selling an online course has more to do with your offer than it has with your actual course. So if you've been taught how to create an online course, but you haven't yet been taught how to create an offer, then that's the next thing to focus on. If you've been taught to create an audience or traffic, but you haven't yet been taught how to create offers, then that's what you need to focus on next.
Number one, you need traffic. Number two, you need offers. Number three, you need the right launch mechanism for the price point at which you're selling your course. I often tell the students in A-Lister that the secret formula to making money online is audience plus offer equals money. And in a very simple format, it really is just audience plus offer equals money. But there is this third element that comes in and that is your launch mechanism. And it has to do with how that traffic moves through your funnel from being a free, I have never heard of you relationship to becoming a paid student who loves you and cannot sing your praises enough and tells all their friends to come and buy your course too.
Now let's unpack all three of these things in a little bit more detail, traffic, offers and launch mechanisms so that you can understand how these three levers work together and how they have a relationship with each other and how you are not just pulling one of the three, but you've got to pull all three in the right relationship to each other if you want to build a profitable online course business, and if you want it to be scalable.
The first thing, let's talk about traffic. Over the Easter holidays, my family and I went to Melbourne. It was so nice to be able to get out of Queensland. Queensland is the state where we live and we have pretty much been locked in Queensland for two years. We've done a lot of vacationing in Queensland, which is beautiful, one of the most beautiful places on earth in my opinion, near the Great Barrier Reef and most beautiful beaches.
We're just so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. But I have ants in my pants when it comes to traveling, so I need to explore new places. After two years of exploring my backyard, I was very happy that I get to get on a plane and fly somewhere domestic again. We're flying internationally soon too. We're going to Fiji in June, but it was just nice to be able to leave the state and go somewhere else.
We booked tickets to Melbourne. Melbourne is another city in Australia, for those of you who are not familiar. Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia. Everything that is cool happens in Melbourne, the food for anybody who loves food, who loves wine, who loves beer, who loves chocolate and who can just walk around inner city looking at all the little lane ways and the beautiful wall art and the tiny little tucked away whiskey bars. It is just the coolest, coolest place. I love Melbourne.
We went there for a week and my husband, Emil, he got us tickets to the Formula One. Formula One is car racing, but it is car racing ... I mean, I know when I say car racing you think like hot cars, it's those funny looking cars with the giant wheels. Look up Formula One if you don't know what it is, because it's actually quite a fascinating sport. We went to the Formula One and poor Melbourne, I think Melbourne is recorded as being the most locked down city in the world during COVID. Because if I ask them how long were they locked down, most of them just go, "We don't even know." They're all in shock still. A lot of my team members live in Melbourne.
But I think it's something ridiculous like 500 days, more than 500 days. That is just under two years that the poor people of Melbourne have been completely locked down in their homes. Melbourne is on the loose now and we can go there and Melburnians can go out. They're all still a little bit gun-shy. But the Formula One, there were 400,000 people at the Formula One. 400,000 people were at the Formula One. That is a lot of traffic. Took us an hour in an Uber and we paid $150 for the Uber one day from the Formula One back to our hotel and it would've been a 15 minute walk.
We sat in an Uber and paid $150 for the Uber, which could have been a 15 minute walk. But at that point, our kids were ugly tired, so we made the sacrifice. I don't think my kids would have ... I think they would've reported me to childcare abuse, whoever, if I made them walk that 15 minutes. But I want you to imagine for a minute all of those traffic, all of the traffic from 400,000 people all coming in through one or two gates. And then imagine for a second that as those 400,000 people come in through the gate, that they are funneled out of the racing stadium, let's call it a stadium or the racing place. As they come in, they're funneled out again. As they come in, they just drop out again.
You might say there were 400,000 people who came to the Formula One, but if they all dropped out before they made it to the stands where they could sit and enjoy the race, that traffic would just be a giant exercise in moving people. Now, how does this relate to your funnel? Traffic is just traffic. Unless your traffic converts to sales. And for your traffic to convert to sales, you need offers that convert. Otherwise it is just a giant exercise in moving people around. That is the number one mistake I see new launchers make or I see people making who spend a ton of money on ads, on webinars, without testing their offers first.
Next time you think about spending a ton of money, sending people to your sales page or sending people to a webinar for an offer that you have not yet tested, hear my voice in your head, you are just moving people around. Let's look at a couple of different sources of traffic and how you can be moving people around. You can have organic traffic. Organic traffic comes from social media, or it comes from SEO or it comes from guest appearances on other people's shows or podcasts or events, live events. Organic traffic are all the things that require your energy. And when we start a business and we don't have a lot of money, we use our energy. Our energy is what goes into creating momentum.
We hustle, hustle is not a bad thing. Hustle is exactly what you need to do at the start. If you get stuck in hustle and you never get out of it, that's a bad thing, but that's where paid traffic comes in. As soon as you start building a bit of an audience and understanding what your audience wants from you, you can create some engagement ads. And now you're using engagement ads to build engagement on your social media, so you can cut back a little bit on posting as regularly.
But the whole point of all of this is really to get people onto your email list. You might hustle hard at the beginning to use social media to get people on your list. And then as you start making a little bit of money, you start replacing that energy that you are pouring into social media with your money. You start replacing your energy with your money by running list building ads.
Paid traffic includes all of your Facebook and Instagram ads. Maybe you're starting to run some ads on LinkedIn or Twitter or TikTok or somewhere else. And you could even be running some ads, search ads on YouTube or Google. YouTube and Google Ads or search ads. And they work a little bit differently than Facebook and Instagram. Facebook and Instagram ads are what we call interruption marketing because you're putting an ad in front of someone and you're interrupting them when they're scrolling through the newsfeed, which is why your ad needs to grab their attention.
When you think about traffic and you think about bringing your 400,000 people to the Formula One, I want you to remember that when you start out, you're going to use your energy. But as you get money, you're going to use your money to replace your energy. You spend only enough time on social media to direct them to either your large format content, which is your podcast or your blog or your video blog and to your email list. That's where you want to build relationship with your audience.
I am here right now hanging out with you building relationship. And the 40 minutes that I'm spending with you is worth a thousand Instagram posts, right? You can see that. Because you're listening to me and you can go, "I really like what she's saying." Or I don't really dig this chick, I'm going to go find someone else. And it's both as cool. At least now we know where we stand, right?
And I want to build relationship with my audience here on the podcast and in my email list, when I'm emailing them, when I'm emailing you, hopefully you're on my list. I'm going to pour my energy into that and I'm going to use my money to build my list. I'm going to use my money to get engagement. Traffic alone can never get you more money. Traffic is just traffic. Getting more people to your sales page is rarely the problem. So often I hear people say, "I just need more people." You don't need more people, you need a better offer. You already have people. They're just not saying yes to your offers. So let's talk about number two is offers.
So you know on a Friday afternoon when Miller says to me, "Hey mommy, you want to go get cake at The Bottom Shed?" Nine times out of 10, we stop at The Bottom Shed and we get cake. And the kid is genius because her timing is right. She knows my guard is down on a Friday afternoon. She also knows my sugar craving is up on a Friday afternoon. The pain point, she's got my pain point right, because she knows it's Friday afternoon, mommy's going to want to relax. Mommy's going to want to chill. Mommy's tired. Mommy feels like she deserves a treat after a long week. And she knows my desire, she knows. She only has to mention Bottom Shed carrot cake and my mouth starts drooling. She's making an offer at the right time. She understands my pain point and she understands my desire. Those three things make up a good offer.
And that's when she can look at me on a Friday and say, "Hey mommy, let's go get cake." And the answer is always, yes, let's go. When we start our online courses businesses and we start launching, we spend more time thinking about what we want to teach in our online courses than what our offer should be. And I want to propose that that's backward. I want to say, unless you're spending at least the same amount of time thinking about your offer and thinking about who your ideal customer is and what she really, really, really wants from you, not what you have, but what she wants. Then you should be spending the same amount of time thinking about your offer as you are about building your online course and what you're going to be putting in your online course.
A good offer is an offer that is made to the right person. And so if you've filled your email list with one segment of your audience, but you're working on an offer for a different segment, you need to be building your list with that different segment too. Because if it's all one kind of person, but you're working on a program for a different kind of person, you're not building your audience, you're not going to have enough traffic.
A good offer is an offer that understands the pain points it solves. And these pain points can be described in a very, very specific way. When you find yourself writing copy that involves words like feeling overwhelmed, feeling tired, feeling stressed. Those are very generic conditions that can almost be applied to anything. I want to challenge you to go one step further to uncover what it looks like for your ideal customer when she feels overwhelmed, because it might not be the same for all of us and it might not be a 50 year old man who has an overwhelmed problem, it probably manifests very differently for him than a 50 year old woman who is recently divorced and is also trying to lose the weight that she gained from the stress of her divorce.
What does that overwhelm mean to them? So understand the pain points in detail. A good offer is an offer that understands the deepest desires of their ideal customer. I always love to use the example of weight loss because this is such an easy one. Well, you can have so many different health coaches or personal trainers and each of them can describe the deepest desire of their ideal customer very differently. I had a student in A-Lister who was a personal trainer and she specialized in giving brides beautiful arms, wedding dress ready arms. That gives me goosebumps because that is such a good offer. That is such a good desire to understand. But that's very different from the new mom who wants to lose the baby fat or the dude who wants rock hard abs or the other dude who wants to bench however much weight.
My husband always comes home from the gym and tells me how much he benched and I'm like, "Yeah, that means nothing to me." Good, great, awesome. You're very strong. I don't know what you mean. A good offer overcomes their internal and external objections. By that we mean their external objections or the things that's physically stopping them from buying. Like how long do I have access to this thing? Do I need to start straight away? Will this give me the result I want? Often an external objection is money, but I completely ignore that because if you charge a dollar for your program, money's going to be an objection.
But it also should overcome their internal objections and their internal objections is that tiny little voice that says, "Can I make this work?" Sure it works for you, but you have X, Y, Z that I don't have, can this work for me? That's where testimonials are so effective because when we share testimonials, people put themselves in the shoes of those people whose testimonial they're reading and then they go, "Ah, if she can do it, I can do it too." A good offer overcomes their internal and external objections. A good offer gives them a good reason to make a decision now.
If Miller says to me, "Mommy, let's go get carrot cake." And I say, "No, let's do it later. Let's put it off." She'll say, "Mommy, you know we're not going to have time on the weekend and we're going to forget and we're going to be rushing around. And then they might not have fresh carrot cake anymore. Because you know it comes in on a Friday and you know by 5:00 this afternoon it's all going to be sold out and there might not be tomorrow."
If she says that to me, I'm like, "Right, let's get in the car. Let's go now. Carrot cake now, let's do it." She knows how to give me a good reason to make a decision now. You make use of bonuses to create scarcity and urgency, to get the fence sitters, which it is just normal human nature to sit on the fence and to not make a decision. It's easier to not make a decision than to make a decision. So give people an incentive to make a decision now. Those are your elements of a good offer.
A good offer has nothing to do with your price. A good offer is something that is a no brainer that anyone will say yes to. If you don't have a good offer, discounting your offer is not going to make it better. People will not buy more because it's cheaper. If your offer sucks, your offer sucks. And if it sucks at a low price, you're still going to be selling nothing. Make an offer that they cannot refuse.
Now, let's explore for a second, what is the relationship between traffic, which we talked about first and offers. You need traffic in order to build an audience. Remember audience plus offer equals money. You need traffic to build an audience. You need an offer that your audience wants, that the audience then you've built wants. If you don't have enough traffic, you don't have an audience. If you have an offer that your audience doesn't want, you have no money.
I'm going to say that again. If you don't have enough traffic, you have no audience. If you have an offer that they don't want, you have no money. Practice making offers to your email list, build your traffic, build your audience on email, build your email list and make your offers to your email list, before spending any money on webinars and big launches or sending paid traffic to your sales page.
I can see in student's eyes when they've been struggling for a while to figure out how to sell their course or how to make money online. And they're at a point where they just go, "Maybe if I just put ads to my sales page it'll work." Does not work. Do not fall for that temptation. The only thing you're going to do is make Zuckerberg richer. If your email list is not saying yes to your offer, the solution is not to just pay for more cold traffic to your sales page. If you launched and you didn't make money, it's not because your ads didn't reach the right people. It might be because you didn't spend enough time making offers to your warm audience in order to know what converts and what doesn't.
And then that brings me to the third lever that plays a big part in the success of your online course business. And that is your launch mechanism. Traffic needs offers. And the thing that ties traffic and offers together are launch mechanisms. By launch mechanism I mean a webinar, a video series, a challenge, a workshop, an email sequence. Often these are referred to as funnels. But I feel like the launch mechanism is part of a funnel. The traffic moves through a funnel from the top through the launch mechanism to the bottom where they make a sale.
Like the cake that I baked, where I messed up the baking soda and the baking powder, you need the right ingredients in the right proportions. Half a cup of baking powder is not going to get me a cake. Half a cup of baking soda will get me a cake, but half a cup of baking powder will not. I had not just the wrong ingredient, but I also had the wrong proportions of the wrong ingredient. If I had the right ingredient and the right proportions, I would've had a cake.
Let me explain this to you in some simple numbers. Let's say it costs you $10 to get one person to register for your webinar. So your traffic comes from an ad and you've paid for that person, and it cost you $10 per one person to register. Now let's say your offer converts really well, but your price point is $97 and you only had 25% of those people who registered for your webinar actually showed up for it. And then when 25% of them showed up, 10% bought.
Now, if you do the math on that, you will not be making money on a $97 offer. Because it's costing too much to get traffic into a launch mechanism where the money that goes out on the front end is not bringing in enough money on the back end when the traffic flows through this funnel. Now let's say instead of using a webinar, which is expensive and costs $10 per one person to come in, let's say you used a list building ad and it costs you $2 to get one person onto your list.
And 10% of people once they're on your list buys from you and your price is still $97. If the cost on the front end is $2 and the money out on the back end is $97. And you have a smaller funnel, like an email sequence. You could be making money for days, days, and days. So the principle here is that the higher the price point is, the bigger the mechanism is that you need, because the higher the price point is the more trust people will require of us. So if I'm going to be running cold traffic to a $20,000 coaching program, nobody's going to sign up without actually knowing something about me and about the results I can get.
Let's say if my budget was a thousand dollars and I ran that to my $20,000 coaching program, I wouldn't get very far. I need to figure out at which price point do I need what mechanism in order to have enough traffic that they see my offer and my offer converts. And the rule of thumb is this, if your offer is lower than $250, use an email sequence. If your offer is lower than $500, use a challenge or a workshop. If your offer is over a thousand dollars, use a webinar or a video series. And if your offer is over $3,000, use a webinar, a video series or a long form sales page that goes to booking a call kind of situation, goes through a book a call funnel is what we call it. The higher the ticket you sell, the warmer your people need to be.
The way you warm people up is by spending time with them. Someone who's going to buy a $97 course does not need more from you than an automated email sequence. Someone who's going to spend $20,000 needs to at least have spoken to you or someone on your team to make sure it's a good fit. Traffic, offers and launch mechanisms, those three things need to work together in a beautiful way to get you to a profitable online course launch and a scalable online business.
Now I'm wondering what kind of baker are you? Are you like me? You're making the weirdest cake by using bicarb instead of baking soda, or are you the kind of baker like Miller, who knows exactly how to traffic her mother to the cake shop on a Friday afternoon, offer me delicious carrot cake and then convert me to enjoy my cake every Friday afternoon.
I would love to hear from you. Come find me on Instagram and DM me, which one of the three, traffic, conversion or launch mechanism are you going to fix next so that you can get to launch your course profitably and scale your business and create a ton of money for you to live your life your way. Come and tell me on Instagram, I'll see you next week. Bye.
Thank you so much for listening, and if you want to learn even more marketing secrets, Facebook ad secrets, funnels and conversion secrets and you want to learn it inside the coolest community on the internet then I want to invite it to join us inside The Launch Lounge. The Launch Lounge is a monthly membership that is created for serious online course creators who are committed and ready to launch their courses with higher profits and scale their businesses to a million dollars. I want to invite you to go to shineandsucceed.com/launch to learn more about The Launch Lounge. I hope I see you inside The Launch Lounge