Increase Enrollments In Online Courses

How to Increase Enrollments in Your Online Courses – Sales Funnel Strategy in 2024

Online courses are often considered the best asset for trainers and entrepreneurs in most startup businesses. And if you are an expert in certain criteria, then you too can make a fortune by creating high-quality courses. But creating the course is half the task. You still need to use a proper marketing strategy to be able to sell more courses.

Now, with the recent surge of ChatGPT, more and more online course creators are coming to life as they can now prepare their course content more easily with the help of AI. And it is growing rapidly, i.e., higher competition for you.

Hence, you must find ways to increase enrollments before other course creators saturate the market with the same level of expert content.

Today, you will learn about a sales funnel strategy that is specialized in helping you generate highly qualified leads and convert them into enrolling in your courses.

After reading this article, you will be able to

  • Set up a well-planned lead generation process in place.
  • Understand how to build a sales funnel journey that is aimed at increasing course enrollments.
  • Help you establish long-term revenue generation.

and eventually, stay ahead of the competition with more leads and increased revenue.

So let’s dive in.

Steps To Planning A Sales Funnel To Increase Enrollments In Online Courses

The sales funnel strategy for course enrollments will involve two main steps:

  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Conversion

And how you want to carry out these two steps will depend largely on what courses you create and who needs them.

For example, if you are an online course creator for Digital Marketing topics, then a lead magnet for lead generation will work well. But if you are selling courses on business growth, then hosting a free webinar will deliver more results.

So overall, you have to go through the following steps to carry out the whole process.

  1. Organize and create your courses.
  2. Decide on a main course that you want people to enroll in.
  3. Plan a lead generation process for your funnel.
  4. Decide on a funnel journey to convert your leads.
  5. Promote your funnel to get more enrollments.

And in the next few sections, we will briefly describe how you can execute each of these steps.

1. Organize And Create Your Courses

First, you need to create your courses.

However, do not simply create 1 massive course that covers everything. Rather, divide different topics into separate courses. This will help make the course more affordable and allow you to create more meaningful sales funnels.

For example, rather than creating a “Complete Course In Digital Marketing,” create separate courses for “Content Planning,” “Keyword Research,” “SEO Optimization,” etc.

You may create your planned courses in WordPress using a course builder such as TutorLMS or LearnDash.

2. Decide On A Main Course That You Want People To Enroll In

Once you have the courses ready, decide on the main course you want to offer so that you can plan a sales funnel journey for it.

In fact, you may plan separate sales funnels for each of your online courses to increase enrollments.

Your main course for a sales funnel will depend on your target prospects. For example, if you are targeting people who need help with SEO, the main course will be the SEO guide. And then, you will build your whole funnel journey around it. This means this course will be the main reason your prospects will enter your funnel. And then, you will try to convince him/her to spend more on other related courses (via order bumps and upsells) to increase AOV.

3. Plan A Lead Generation Process For Your Funnel

Before you launch your actual sales funnel for the main course, you have to set up a lead generation process.

Most course creators make the mistake of offering the main course directly. Now, there is nothing wrong if you offer a course at a discount. However, you would obviously want a higher conversion rate.

You see, there are so many courses available out there that most people will not trust you enough to pay for your courses. In this case, a more logical option is to first earn their trust. And that is the main purpose of this lead generation step.

What you do is, you give away some free value to your target clients. And if they find it reliable and useful, they are more likely to go for one of your paid courses.

You may collect leads in many ways.

The most common approach is to use a lead magnet. Basically, you may create a valuable resource that you may offer for free in exchange for an email & name. Now, this lead magnet cannot be random. The resource you offer has to be something that solves a certain problem or teaches something useful to your target clients.

For example, since your main course is the SEO guide, your lead magnet could be a content calendar format or a content planning checklist.

To offer this lead magnet, you may create a two-step lead generation funnel:

  • A Landing page with an opt-in form to collect leads.
    On this page, you should write a persuasive copy that explains what benefits a person will get by using these free resources. The content on this page should all reflect the free resource you are giving away without mentioning anything about the SEO guide you want to offer later.
  • The Thank You page for confirmation
    When someone submits the form, he will be directed to this page. On this page, you may acknowledge the form submission and ask the buyer to check his email for confirmation and access to the free resource.

So basically, after form submission, you will send a confirmation email to verify if it’s a real person (i.e., double opt-in), followed by an email with the link to the free resource.

You may create this funnel using WPFunnels and set the email automation using Mail Mint.

Other than using a lead magnet, you may also invite prospects to a free webinar or issue a free BootCamp to attract potential leads.

4. Convert Your Leads With A Well Planned Funnel Journey

After the lead generation funnel, the next step is to create the main sales funnel which you will be sending to your qualified leads.

There could be multiple ways to plan your sales funnel.

You may go for a traditional sales funnel for an online course where you make post-purchase offers after the main course is purchased. Or go for creative ways such as offering a tripwire before making the main offer, hosting a paid webinar where you offer the courses as a bundle, and so on.

In this guide, let’s go for the tripwire funnel approach.

This will involve the following steps:

Step 1 – The Tripwire Funnel

The idea of a tripwire funnel for online courses is to make a low-priced course offer that gives more value for money (i.e., the tripwire offer) and then offer more courses down the line that costs significantly higher.

For example, initially, let’s say you offer a course on “Keyword Research & Content Planning” as the tripwire offer at $30 (instead of $100). Once the person purchases this, you may then give a glimpse of the main course offer, i.e., the “Complete SEO Guide” in an upsell offer, priced at $120.

Now, in the tripwire funnel, you do not necessarily expect the person to take your upsell offer. It is just to give a glimpse of what’s in store. You may or may not offer a small discount there. The main reason to give a glimpse of it is to make them remember it when you make a separate offer on that course later on.

So, the tripwire funnel will include 4 steps:

  • Landing page to promote the course offered as a tripwire
  • A checkout page to pay for this offer.
  • Upsell to highlight the main course
  • The thank you page to confirm the order and give instructions to access the course.

Step 2 – Nurturing Your Leads For The Main Offer

Now, in the tripwire funnel, you have to do something very specific. For people who don’t accept the Upsell offer, you have to add them to a specific list in your email automation tool.

For example, whoever rejects the upsell offer, add him/her to the list “Main Funnel” in Mail Mint.

Next, create an automation flow that will be triggered when someone is added to this list.

The flow should have sufficient delays and a series of 3 emails to be sent.

The following will be the workflow:

  • Trigger: Added to List(s) “Main Funnel”
  • Action 1: Delay for 3 days
    Give the prospective some time to start going through the course.
  • Action 2: Email 1 – Use case and benefits of the tripwire course
    We will assume the user hasn’t yet implemented anything from the course they bought as the tripwire offer. So you will highlight some benefits and how others use it. This will get the prospect more excited about the course.
  • Action 3: Delay for 3 days
    We will wait for the buyer to go through the course and probably implement the ideas he learned in the last email.
  • Action 4: Email 2 – The next step after following the tripwire course
    In this email, you will discuss what should be the next step after applying the previous tactics and give some more valuable tips on further optimizing the process. The topic of your next course should be one of the next steps to follow.

    In the case of our example, after the “Keyword Research & Content Planning” course (sold as the tripwire offer), the next step should be “SEO,” among many others. Use persuasive copy to stress that SEO is the best next skill to gain and suggest you will have something great for the prospect in the next email.
  • Action 5: Delay for 2 to 5 days
    Give some time to process the ideas you sent earlier before making the final offer.
  • Action 6: Email 3 – The grand offer on the main course
    This will be specially designed to get users excited about your main course. Initially, you will acknowledge what you taught earlier and remind them about what you promised. Then, make them a special offer on your Main Course that they can’t refuse. As per our example, you may offer the “Complete SEO Guide” course with a huge 50% discount, which is about $60 (instead of $120).

**You could run a similar automation flow for people who did not take the tripwire offer in the first place. Maybe he didn’t need the tripwire offer, but he may be interested in your main course. However, your email copies in this series will be a bit different as they did not get access to the course you offered as Tripwire.

If you have well-written email copies and a good offer on your main course, then this series will result in a high CTR.

Step 3 – The Sales Funnel For Online Courses

Now, it’s time to create the sales funnel for online course, i.e., your main offer – the one you will send in the last email in the nurturing series.

Before creating this, you must first decide on a good discount. Even though this guide will be useful to your target audience, you will need them to give a good reason why they should enroll in this course now and not later. Offering a discount will help you achieve that.

Here, you will use a simple sales funnel of three steps:

  • Landing page with a complete focus on your main course and the discount
  • A simplified checkout page to pay for the enrollment
  • The thank you page to confirm enrollment and provide instructions to access the course.

So, as per our example, you will offer the “Complete SEO Guide” in this funnel with a huge 50% off on the original price, i.e., $60 instead of $120. On the landing page, explain what benefits people will get after going through your SEO course. And highlight the huge savings they will get.

**Add a deadline to this offer to use urgency as one of the sales triggers.

You could make this funnel even more effective by offering extra courses within this funnel.

For example, you could offer a “Quick Guide On Internal Linking” course as an order bump offer on the checkout at $20 (instead of $40). Since that’s a small guide and of a significantly lower price, you could easily get the buyer to add it to the order. **It should also be mentioned in the second Email of your nurturing series.

You may also offer the “Content Promotion On Social Media” course as upsell after checkout, followed by a second upsell offer of the “Outreaching Techniques to get quality backlinks” course. These are all related to the main course (and were mentioned as one of the next things to work on after following the tripwire course in the second email of the nurturing series).

Eventually, you could turn this funnel into a 3 to 7 steps funnel depending on your offers. It will help to increase enrollments in other courses besides the main course and help you increase revenue.

Step 4 – Email Marketing Automation To Boost Conversions

At this point, you have already made your offers. The next step would be to set up email automation flows to try and enroll as many prospects into your courses as possible using email marketing automation flows.

Whoever didn’t take the main course, run a 3-email series just like you created for the tripwire offer, but this time focusing on the main offer only.

  • 1st Email will be a reminder of your offer on the main course (to be sent 2-3 days after sending the offer in the last email series).
  • 2nd Email should entail the use cases and benefits of the main course and emphasis the discount (to be sent 3-5 days after the 1st Email).
  • 3rd Email should focus on urgency, reminding the prospect about the discount he/she will miss (to be sent 1 day before the deadline for the discount offer).

Whoever did accept the main offer but did not accept one of the upsell offers, you could run a separate email series and craft a separate sales funnel for those courses to try and sell them to the same buyer later on.

The idea is to ensure you give maximum effort into converting as many of your qualified leads as possible and increasing enrollments.

Step 5 – Sending Your Funnel To Your Leads

Once you have the whole thing set up, the final step to this is to create an email campaign to bring your potential leads into your Tripwire funnel and then go through the whole funnel journey.

**This whole process will require you to use WPFunnels for creating the funnels, Mail Mint for email automation, an LMS tool + WooCommerce to create paid courses and handing orders.

5. Launching Your Course Funnel

The complete funnel journey is now ready. It’s time to start promoting your funnel and driving traffic into your lead generation funnel.

You may easily do it by using tactics such as running Paid Ads, sharing on social media and relevant online communities, sending emails to existing email lists, taking help from influencers in the same niche, and many more.

Bonus Student Recruitment Strategies for Online Course Creators

While the funnel you created is good on its own, you may still try using some other student recruitment strategies to increase enrollments in your online courses.

1. Implement a Challenge Funnel As a Sales Funnel:

One powerful strategy to engage potential learners who may have shown initial interest but haven’t converted yet is to create a challenge funnel. A challenge funnel is a structured learning experience that provides value, builds credibility, and encourages participants to take action. As an online course creator, you can do the following:

  • offer a free challenge related to graphic design, such as a 7-day design challenge
  • capture the attention of these leads and reignite their interest.

2. Showcase Your Success Stories:

Students who are not engaged can be motivated by seeing the success of others. For that, you can do the following :

  • Share testimonials and success stories from your previous students who have benefited from your online course
  • Highlight their achievements and how your course has transformed their skills and career prospects.

This social proof can inspire potential learners who are on the fence to take the leap and enroll in your course.

3. Offer Limited-Time Bonuses:

To create a sense of urgency and incentivize potential students you can do the following:

  • offer limited-time bonuses or additional resources that complement your course.
  • include exclusive access to a private community,
  • To motivate them through live Q&A sessions, sharing downloadable resources, or bonus modules.

Thus, you can emphasize the value they will gain by enrolling in your course during this period.

4. Collaborate with Influencers:

To emphasize your online course You can Partner with other online course creators who are industry experts or popular social media personalities who have a strong following and credibility. They can help you by-

  • endorsing your course
  • sharing their experiences
  • even participate in live webinars or interviews to create buzz and attract potential students.

5. Engage with valuable Content:

To keep your students engaged continuously with your platform. you can do the following :

  • Create valuable content related to graphic design and share it through various channels.
  • Provide insights, tips, and industry trends that showcase your expertise and establish you as a thought leader in the field.

As an online course creator, you will have to decide which strategies may work for your niche. The effectiveness of each of these approaches will vary depending on what type of courses you sell.

For more inspiration and examples of challenge funnels, You can read this article on “Challenge Funnel Examples: How to Use Them to Grow Your Business”

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you’re a course creator looking to maximize your online course’s success, it’s crucial to implement a well-designed sales funnel strategy.
By leveraging the power of online courses and utilizing AI tools like ChatGPT, you can attract and convert high-quality leads.

Ready to take your course enrollments to the next level? Launch a successful lead generation campaign!
Discover how WPFunnels can optimize your sales process, generate quality leads, and transform your online course business. Don’t miss out on unlocking your course’s full potential. Take action today!

Sakiba Prima

Sakiba Prima, the Content Editor at WPFunnels is passionate about making WordPress work wonders for your business. With a flair for simple yet effective sales & marketing tactics and handy tooltips, she turns complex ideas into easy reads.

Sakiba Prima

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