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Why is My Course Not Selling? A Smart Way to Make Money with Online Courses

Here’s a question that might keep you up at night: “Why is my course not selling?”

It’s frustrating! But the fix may be easier than you think. 

Sometimes the best results happen after failures. When a course promotion fails, there are a handful of problems I usually see. Let’s dig in to see how you can avoid them.

I’m going to go over four potential problems with your online course sales. And of course, I’m going to share the solutions, too. 

Warning: These problems may not be easy to hear. You might wish you’d addressed these issues before, not after you sold your course.

If it’s any consolation, the reason that I know about these problems is that I’ve made these mistakes myself.

Yes, my friend, this isn’t theory — everything you’re about to learn comes from real-life experience!

Photo of Pamela Wilson with text: You fell in love with the solution you came up with.

Why is my course not selling? Problem 1: You’re in love 

You thought you knew what your audience wanted. You were absolutely sure of it. And you fell in love with the solution you came up with. 

A gentle reminder: Promotions will feel easier if you approach them like a scientist. 

Solution: Hold your hypothesis loosely. Your promotion is an experiment. 

The goal is to generate data that you can act on. The experiment — your promotionalways works because it always generates data. 

If your promotion doesn’t perform as you hoped, your next step is to figure out what the data is telling you so that your next promotion succeeds.

Related: The 3 Stages of a Stress-Free First-Time Product Launch Plan

Why is my course not selling? Problem 2: You didn’t test

Going back to our scientific analogy, imagine that you have a hypothesis that you want to test. In this case, it’s an offer that you want to sell. 

If you’re a scientist, you don’t invest in building a million-dollar lab and hiring the best minds in your field before you test your hypothesis, right? 

In the same way, as an online business owner, you shouldn’t invest in expensive learning management systems and all-in-one marketing software before you know if your offer is going to sell. 

Why is my course not selling? Photo of Pamela Wilson saying to use the "Smart Start" approach instead.

Solution: Follow my Smart Start approach.

My Smart Start approach helps you build a “minified” version of your offer.

You can test it, analyze your results, and improve your offer — and you can do it fast.

First, we pinpoint what really matters to you — the personal and business values that you want to reflect in your offer. 

Then we identify your current strengths. These are the skills that you bring to the table — skills that will help shape how you deliver your offer. 

Once we pinpoint your values and your strengths, we create a small, testable offer that incorporates them both.

Here’s how you can identify your strengths: 

Example 1: Let’s say that you’re a confident writer and you love writing lessons and creating worksheets. You’ll build a testable offer that delivers results using your writing skills so it’s easy to create. 

Example 2: Let’s say that you’re an experienced speaker and you love presenting live. You’ll build a testable offer where you teach via live classes so that you can easily deliver your promised transformation without having to learn any new skills. 

Testing your offers can actually be fun, especially when you have support and guidance to map out a test where you don’t have to master a whole new set of skills.

Why is my course not selling? Problem 3: the end result isn’t desirable

If your audience doesn’t invest in your offer, it could be that they’re just not interested in the end result — the thing that you’re excited to deliver.

Sometimes this has to do with how you’re describing it. We’ll talk about that coming up. 

But sometimes your prospects’ reactions are, “I don’t need that,” or “I don’t want that.” 

It’s possible that your prospects don’t understand why the result you promise is so important, but it’s also possible that they don’t want it, period. 

Solution: It could be a timing issue, or maybe they want something else.

They simply might not want the result in the format that you’re offering. 

This can be a really tough one to figure out on your own. 

In my Offer Accelerator program, we start by showing you how to do offer testing.

We always celebrate results — even when a promotion doesn’t perform as you hoped — because every test generates data, remember? 

Our program has easy-to-use worksheets, templates and tools. When you’re ready to promote your offer, you use my Promotion Tracker tool, which helps you easily capture and analyze the data that your promotion generates. 

With this information, we can help you to plan your next move based on real results, not rose-colored offer dreams.

Photo of Pamela Wilson with text: Problem - Your message isn't landing.

Why is my course not selling? Problem 4: Your message isn’t landing

Sometimes the problem is simply how you’re talking about your offer. Positioning is what marketing geeks like me call it.

I like that word! It reminds me of what happens when an actor appears on a stage. Where and how the actor stands, what they wear, how they’re lit, and what they say all tell us who the actor is.

How you position your offer, starting with the offer name, helps your prospects to understand its value. 

Unfortunately, sometimes your positioning just doesn’t land. 

Related: How to Build a Money-Making Online Offer

Solution: Use your data to clarify your positioning

In my Offer Accelerator program, we help you to decipher your data and figure out where the problem lies. If your first attempt at a high-value offer doesn’t work, you’ll evaluate your results with a cool head, and together we’ll come up with a Plan B. 

You can start testing that Plan B within days.

Why is my course not selling? Don’t hide — analyze

It’s tough when a promotion fails, but what you do next is what really matters. Don’t hide — analyze.

And get support so that you can build a solid Plan B and get yourself back out there. 

The good news is that when Plan A fails, Plan B is almost always smarter, faster, and better than the original. 

This testing process is baked into my Offer Accelerator program. If you’re interested in learning more about it, we should talk! Go to TheOfferAccelerator.com to get the details and to apply to work with me.

A bonus solution to position your offer — Revenue Revolution

Revenue Revolution AD 3D

A key element to positioning your offer is to align your pricing with your expertise.

Feeling uneasy about your course price? You’re not alone. Pricing is a common challenge among online entrepreneurs.

I’ve got you covered.

Revenue Revolution is a powerful trifecta that will help you:

  • Claim your authority
  • Build a true, high-value offer
  • Create true transformation for your customers
  • Generate healthy profits

It’s free — and it will help you build your offer starting today.

Revenue Revolution — A Guide to Large-Scale Revenue from a Small-Scale Audience. Ready for real online business success? Register below:

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is a marketing advisor, executive coach, author, and keynote speaker. She's the creator of the Offer Accelerator Program. Learn more about Pamela's books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.

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