How to Sell a Lot More Courses with John Ainsworth

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The global eLearning industry is growing rapidly, and so is the competition. Therefore, course creators are struggling hard to sell their digital resources. If you are also facing hard times selling courses online, get a handful of tips from John Ainsworth, who has profound knowledge in this industry.

John Ainsworth is from, which guides course creators to build funnels, increase social media presence, and help in marketing activities. Besides, he has a podcast “The art of selling courses online” where you will find case studies, interviews, and traffic-driven videos.

In today’s episode, John Ainsworth will share guides and tips on how to sell more courses online. 

What Do Course Creators Skip While Marketing?

John Ainsworth shared in this podcast that course creators mainly miss three things while marketing and they are:

  1. Course creators don’t focus much on selling products to customers who have brought premium goods before.
  2. They don’t focus on building converting email list.
  3. Course creators don’t force social media audiences to subscribe to the newsletter to grow their email list.

Now that you know what course creators miss, time to discover how to sell more courses online.

How to Make Audiences Buy Courses from You?

There are two strategies to sell more courses online one is Order Bumps and another one is upselling. Now, do you know what these are? Let’s learn about them one by one:

  1. Order bump: If a customer goes to the checkout page before placing an order, if they see you are also providing free stuff, such as templates with the plan, they will surely buy it.
  1. Upsells: Suppose a customer brought a product plan from you. You can offer more attractive plans to your remaining customers by using upsells.

How to Sell Through Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an effective marketing activity through which you can connect directly with your audiences. It’s better to send 2-4 emails per month to your customers if your business is suffering. 

Moreover, moving subscriptions to your email list is a good practice. Therefore, you can nurture it further for another campaign and increase selling online resources.

Pricing Advice for Course Creators

At first, you have to create free and low-cost courses that will let your audience convert more. After implementing all the strategies to enhance your sales, increase the price of your products.

Common Failure of Course Creators

One of the main reasons behind failing to sell courses online is only worrying about creating a perfect product to make money. This causes failure most of the time, as it’s hard to start with a perfect product. Course creators should start earning profit through valuable products, not necessarily to be the best product.

Apart from this, they also use complicated strategies to sell their courses online. They should also stop doing this if they want to be successful in this business.

Is Selling Online Courses Profitable?

Now, the most crucial part is whether selling courses online is profitable. Of course, selling courses online is a very profitable business nowadays. Besides, after the pandemic, the demand for making money by selling courses online increased immensely.

Summing up

Hopefully, now you know effective strategies and tips on how to make money selling courses online. This might feel haunting and tough at the start. But the whole process will be more straightforward when you implement these tips and techniques discussed in this blog.

Here’s Where To Go Next…

Get the Course Creator Starter Kit to help you (or your client) create, launch, and scale a high-value online learning website.

Also visit the creators of the LMScast podcast over at LifterLMS, the world’s leading most customizable learning management system software for WordPress. Create courses, coaching programs, online schools, and more with LifterLMS.

Browse more recent episodes of the LMScast podcast here or explore the entire back catalog since 2014.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch and scale, a high-value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of lifter LMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMS cast. I’m joined by a special guest, his name is John Ainsworth. He’s from He also has a podcast called The Art of selling online courses. Welcome to the show, John.

John Ainsworth: Thanks so much, man. Great to be here.

Chris Badgett: I’m stoked to chat with you today. You seem like a guy who’s just as obsessed with courses and Online Marketing and Entrepreneurship as I am. So I know we’re gonna have a great conversation today. First, real quick, what’s your elevator pitch for what you offer over

John Ainsworth: We help online course creators who’ve already got courses and they’ve already got an audience. And they’ve already got some kind of an email list to between about two and five times their revenue through email marketing funnels. And we do it purely on an increase in profit basis. So we only get paid when people make more money.

Chris Badgett: Wow, that’s awesome. That’s a very finely dialed irresistible offer there. Before we go more into that tell us about the niche like how did you end up here and coarse land with this lack of focus? Because I mean, yeah, I mean, you can help a lot of different companies grow and market better and all that stuff. But why courses for you?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, I used to work in fitness marketing, okay. And so I’d worked in that for a number of years. And I’d worked with hospitals and gyms and councils, and health charities, all kinds of organizations. And at some point, I read the book from Russell Brunson about funnels, and I was like, ah, that’s it. That’s what I need to be doing. That’s the system. That’s what I need. So I started building these funnels for fitness marketing, and what happened after once I got really good at it, and then started filling stuff up. So if you had a service for getting cancer patients active, I could fill it up. If you had a gym, I could fill it up, we got to kickboxing club, and I could fill it up, that’s great. But what happens is, when you fill up a gym, they no longer need the marketing consultant.

Chris Badgett: You’re too good. You were too.

John Ainsworth: So I had two options. I was like, I can drag this out and just make it kind of last what have you, which totally doesn’t fit for me, like, not just ethics, but just the way that I like to work. I’m like, How can I do it better? How can I do it better just for the fun of it, you know? And so where else could I work that has more capacity? So I was like, What about e-commerce? What about sass? What about online courses, and I knew loads of people in those kinds of spaces. So I started interviewing people who were running SAS businesses, who were running eCommerce businesses, that kind of thing. And I started working with a few of them. And we started getting really good at the funnels for each of those. But the ones that then worked the best were the online courses. And by lucky coincidence, the people who I got on with the best were the online course creators as well. And it’s a specific subsection of online course creators, it’s not the ones who really got in it for making a lot of money necessarily. It’s the ones who got into it because they loved their fields. They were an expert in dog training or woodwork, or they were really good as a language teacher, or whatever it was. And they wanted the freedom of working online. And they started making great content and great courses, but they never learned marketing and the funnels and the email. And they know they should have that stuff. Right? They know they should. But that’s not their bag, and it’s not their thing. And so that’s the group who I find tend to be really ethical, really good people really good at what they’re doing, and really, really need our help. 

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. We were talking briefly in our pre chat I was I was talking about how I didn’t have a background in marketing and business and tech yet here I am. But you don’t know this. I do have background in anthropology and I kind of see myself as like the an anthropologist within this niche that you’re describing. So I studied culture. I mean, I have a keen eye for it.

One of the things I noticed on your website as I think you worked with Teal Swan. Is that right? Yeah, we still do. Yeah. So teal has always fascinated me, you know, just with my anthropology goggles on just looking into this niche, you know, huge YouTube channel like very authentically her own style. Her content goes super deep. Clearly, I’m sure she’s very successful, but clearly, she’s that expert you describe that is like really passionate about her niche and helping people. Tell us how you help someone like Teal Swan kind of do better in terms of marketing and scaling.

John Ainsworth: So there’s three there’s the three main areas that teal and everybody else misses all these course creators tend not to have these three things in place. So one is how do you convert more of the people who buy something interest into buying more from you? And to get more of the premium content getting more stuff? The second one is how do you get your email list to actually buy from you in a way that doesn’t feel too salesy or aggressive or spammy or anything like that, but it’s just like, how do you combine useful content with promotion? So people buy from your email list? And the third one is, how do you turn that audience your YouTube channel or your social media or whatever, into people on the email list? So those are the three areas right. And so teal, Swan had the same problem as everybody else. They had built up the audience, they built the Great Courses, but they hadn’t done those three steps. I’m gonna talk you through kind of how that all like.

Chris Badgett: I’m a framework guy. So I love it. We got our we got our three lanes, take us down. Expansion, revenue, email marketing and audience to conversion.

John Ainsworth: Yeah. Okay, cool. So the first one to start with, when we always start with this, how do you convert more of your sales into higher revenue sales?

Chris Badgett: Is this is this on the first sale or on after they’ve been already been a customer to sell more later?

John Ainsworth: Every single time! Okay, every single time. So when you let’s say you’re doing an email promotion and you make an offer? How do you get those people to buy some more, if you’ve got the front end funnel that your traffic gets to from, you know, the first time that we hear about you? How do you get those guys to buy more. Now, the order in which you do those is there’s subtlety to it. But it’s basically the goal is to set up four of them. So there are two ways that you can do it. And they’re called order bumps and upsells. So you have explained to me the difference, you probably know all of this, but like, explain to me what the difference between those two are. So an order bump is somebody is on the checkout page, they’ve decided they’re probably going to buy, they are filling in the credit card details, and there is a tick box on the checkout page. So before they’ve hit submit, before they’ve paid, where they can get something else that goes with that product. So let’s say, for example, somebody’s buying an ebook, The Order bump could be an audiobook, if they’re buying a course, it could be a workbook that goes with it, if they’re buying a workbook, it could be the course that goes with it. It’s something else that goes alongside what they’re already buying. And what most people don’t realize is about 30 to 60% of people, if you offer them a good option there will buy that.

And it’s it adds like 10 to 20% to people’s revenue. And it’s the fastest thing that you could possibly do as a course creator to increase revenue. If you’ve already got sales, you add this in your revenue goes up by 10 to 20%. And that is like I’ve had people have that kind of an increase in like a day, like two days work. Like, honestly, this is when I’m trying to convince people that Funnels is the thing to do. I’m always like, start with this, like do not pass go, do not collect nothing else, right until you have done your order bumps. I had a guy runs a really successful training about building up your online business, but building up a site online where you’re going to be an expert in an area.

And he asked me like, what’s the I went on his podcast? And he asked me like, what’s the what’s the perfect launch look like? And I was like, okay, cool. So I explained it to him into like, five or 10 minutes. I said, but don’t do it. Because like what? I said, Don’t do that because you’ve got an order bump. Yeah. And he’s like, Yeah, but come on. I want the advanced stuff. I’m like, but you haven’t got an order bump. Why would you do the advanced stuff, and you’d have an order bump. So it’s like, Alright, fine to set one up.

He made an extra $100,000 a year.

Just like GC? Do you see what I mean? Here? This is the good stuff. What are some other? What are some other order bump ideas besides a workbook for a course creator? Yeah. So if you’ve got a course, let’s get the crucial thing here right is do not create anything new. To start with, right you have to implement before you optimize, don’t try and make the perfect one. So what you do is you make a list of all of the products that you’ve got, and you put them in order what’s from the Most Popular The Most sales to the least popular. So let’s say you’ve got a beginners course in dog training, that is your most popular course, right now make a list of everything else that you’ve got that could potentially go with it and just look at it, well could that fit, could that fit, could that fit, you’re looking for something that’s about a third of the price of the main product, it doesn’t have to be it could be half the price could be the same price. But as a rule of thumb, about a third is a really good level. And so then what you’re looking for is what is there in there, that could be a good fit. And that’s more important than trying to have like the ideal, the ideal thing because if you have something that converts at 20% and beats it up today, that’s way better than in two months, maybe setting up the perfect one. So that’s the kind of the starting thing, but I will actually answer your question properly in terms of like, okay, what actually should it be?

So we’ve got a client where they had a training about how to set up your marketing agency and like how did I think it was how to market your marketing agency. And the order bump was interview with 10 different marketing agency owners about the biggest mistake that they made with marketing their marketing agency. We’ve got a client in the home recording studio space and what he doesn’t have anything else apart from courses. So his order bumps are other courses. So if you’re buying the beginner one, he’ll sell you the intermediate one, if he’s if you’re buying the one about let me think what it was, I think it’s about how to actually record something. And then the second one is about like, how do you then make a master out, I don’t know anything about recording music, but like, it was something kind of like that way. So it’s another course that was kind of connected. So they’re the price tended to be about the same of the main thing and the order bump. But it’s, it’s the fundamental idea is anything that goes with what you’re already selling. That’s cool. Awesome. Well, what comes after the order bump for expansion revenue. So the next one is upsells. So an upsell is technically very different to an order bump. But the concept is the same. The upsell is on the confirmation page, someone’s gone to the checkout page, they fill in the details, maybe they ordered the order bump, maybe they didn’t, they’ve hit submit, the order is gone through that doesn’t change whatever happens after this. The next page is the confirmation page, and you put an upsell there. And so this is whatever is next logically after what they’ve just bought. So if they’ve bought the beginner course, this is intermediate, if you’re selling a membership, and they’ve bought one month, this would be three months worth, if you were doing this an E-commerce and they’d bought one t-shirt, you’d offer three T-shirts or one bottle supplements you offered really, it’s the next kind of thing that comes afterwards.

And the way this work, because it’s called a one click upsell or a one time offer. And so there’s a pay a button on the page, someone can click and it will just they don’t have to fill in their credit card details. Again, it will just add it on to what they’ve already bought. If they close the page, and they don’t buy it doesn’t matter your original order goes through. And so that’s conceptually the difference. Now the way that this is technically different in terms of what you need to set up, is you’ve got a whole sales page for it, you’ve got the full, you know, headline, sub-headline call to action, you’ve got calling out your audience, you’ve got bonuses guarantees all this kind of stuff, the order bump is two lines of text on the order page, very, very, very short. So this takes a bit more work. But about 10 to 20% of people will buy the upsell if you set this page up correctly, and you have the right offer at the right kind of price. In terms of pricing, it should be about the same kind of price as what they’ve already bought. It could be twice as much. It could be three quarters as much, but somewhere around the same kind of price.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. All right, email marketing, what do we got to do here? 

John Ainsworth: All right, cool. So there’s a few things with email marketing, but the biggest one is that most people just don’t send out enough promotions and they don’t write them very well. So most people who are selling courses, will send out a promotion two to three times a year, they’ll do Black Friday, maybe new year, maybe their birthday, something like that. And when you look at the revenue for the year, there’s always always always a spike with those promotions, they work and they make money. But everybody then feels uncomfortable about it. Because they don’t want to send these out all the time and annoy people and spam people and everyone unsubscribes. And the reason people think that is because they’re currently writing bad promotions and their current promotions or things like it’s on discount this week, get it quickly, that’s like, well, if I got that all the time, I would unsubscribe as well, it’s like you have to have some value in there at the same time.

So ideally, people should be doing two email promotions a month, and I start people on one, but then we build up to doing two. And you can do two promotions a month for years. And it does not lead to a big increase in unsubscribe rate, as long as you have good content in the emails. And so what we’re looking for is we use a framework called game logic fear going going on, as the six emails you send that over the course of a week. And then you send out just useful content for a week. And then you send out another one of these promotions. And so let’s say you’re selling a course on language learning, right? And you’re teaching people about English grammar. So the game logic fear is going to be about the gain is how is their life going to be better if they solve this problem, you’re not selling the course you’re selling, solving the problem? So you’re talking about what should they do in their life in order to solve this, how their life will be better in a week, a month, three months, six months help people to visualize a better future for themselves.

Chris Badgett: Quick question. And just to clarify, are these six separate emails or parts of one email?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, six separate emails Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then another one on Friday.

Chris Badgett: Cool. All right. I love that love the framework game game logic, fear. 

John Ainsworth: Gotta love a framework. It’s so good to understand

Chris Badgett: What happens in your logic email. Okay, so the logic one is for people who think things through in terms of statistics, and details and understanding, like how something works more practically, so it’s not visualizing the future. It’s thinking, what is it logically that’s going to be helpful about solving this problem? How is it gonna fit? How is it going to work? What’s the steps you need to work through?

And then the fear one fears makes it sound like a little bit exaggerated, but it’s about what will happen if they don’t solve the problem I put in there for why is this important? What’s that opportunity cost? Like? Yeah, well, if you don’t take action on this, yeah, and it’s trying to convince people, you really should sort this thing out, you know, and it’s not making them feel bad. If they don’t, it’s just saying, This is important for your life. And I know, because I’m somebody who’s helped 2000 people to solve this problem before. And maybe you don’t believe that you can solve this problem, and you can’t get there. But I know that you can. And I know when you do, it’s going to be better. And you know, this is how your life is gonna look. And then logically, this is the steps you need to take. And then if you don’t do it, this is some of the stuff that you’re going to be frustrated with. And I want to solve save you that frustration. So sort this thing out.

Chris Badgett: So in the game logic, fear stages, have we even mentioned or linked to our offer or not at all?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, so we do but more softly. So it’s at the bottom saying, and by the way, if you want our course to help with this, it’s on promotion, 30% off this week, and there’s always a discount on it to kind of give people some urgency on it.

Chris Badgett: So the call to action is persistent throughout these emails, but more subtle in the beginning. I gotcha. Yeah. All right. Going, going. Gone. Thursday, Friday, Friday, what’s happening?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, so these ones are more what people would think of a standard promotion. But we still want to make sure the emails are useful, even if people don’t buy because 99.5 to 99.7 of people aren’t going to buy in every single one of these promotions we do. So we want to make sure those people like the emails stay on the list, because they might buy in the future. And we want to make sure to help the people who are going to buy to be able to take that step. So what we’re doing in here is things like case studies, testimonials, frequently asked questions, storytelling about like, actually, the benefit somebody got from going through and buying this and how it changed their life, trying to bring it to life, answer any of their questions and show why they should do it. We can have features and benefits emails in here, that kind of thing. I’ve only got three emails. So you’re not going to do all of those things I mentioned, but some of those in each series you do, and then the last one, so that’s two emails are like that, let’s say one is a case study. And one is frequently asked questions, then the very last email is about two or three lines. And it just says, Don’t forget this course as discount, it’s going to finish in three hours. The last chance to get it at a discounted price now links through to the sales page. Very, very straightforward. And then the cart closes, and then the price goes back up.

Chris Badgett: Love the let’s zoom out and just look at the whole month if we’re doing two of these a month, what’s happening on the other two weeks nothing or in terms of emails, or what? Yeah, so ideally, you want useful content about the topic that you’re going to be selling a course about. So let’s say your course is going to be on, you know, dog training for older dogs. Well, then you send out maybe three YouTube videos, links to your three best articles on dog training for older dogs, it’s getting the audience who are interested in that topic being like, Oh, this is cool, useful, free stuff. This person obviously knows their stuff. They’re thinking about that topic more. And then you send out the promotion around that. That’s the idea of linking the content and the promotion together.

Chris Badgett: So pure content, kind of the the week before the promotion. Wait. Yeah. Wow, that’s solid. And the cool thing about course creators is they don’t really have a problem creating content or getting on camera or doing whatever they need to do they just need to know what to make.

Tell us about the last lane the the audience to conversion, or what did you call it?

John Ainsworth: Yeah. How do you actually grow the email list from your from your audience, convert your audience to the email list? Yeah, so most people don’t realize that, because they’re not doing this email promotions very often, the money is in the list, right? So that’s but it’s true, you’re much much, much more likely to make a sale to somebody from email than from social media. So what you want to do is get them from social media or website visitor or YouTube or whatever, onto your email list. Now, the way to do this is relatively straightforward. But there’s just a number of steps that people missing here, what you’re trying to do is give people something valuable, useful and free, that gets them to want to sign up to your newsletter. It’s called a lead magnet. Normally, most people have heard of that. Some people call it a freebie.

And the idea is that if they sign up, they’re going to get this free, useful resource. So what kind of resource might it be it’s something that’s going to get them a result as quickly as possible with as little effort from them as possible. So an ebook is fine. But a template or a swipe file or some other kind of useful resources better so we’ve got to use like to actually implement on Yes, yeah, without having to think without to do anything. They want them like 15 minutes they want the result kind of thing. They don’t know you very well yet. They want to you to prove that you can help them.

Chris Badgett: Like even just talking to you. I’m like man, I wish I had that template for game logic fear going going gone? Like a swipe file of like, I’d like to see that in action so I could model it or something like that. Yeah, that’s what you’re talking about something that template of sorts.

John Ainsworth: Exactly that kind of thing is perfect. So it could be you’re teaching people about some financial model, maybe there’s a template that they can a spreadsheet template they can download, they plug the numbers in, it gives them the answer, the best converting one we’ve ever had was a client called paintable. And it’s And what they do is they teach people digital painting techniques. And if you go to their site, you can sign up for the newsletter and you get, I think it’s something like 12 free brushes that you might use in Adobe Photoshop, or whatever it is where you do this kind of thing, right? And so it’s no work, right? What do you do, you download them, you upload them into Adobe, now you’ve got them. And next time, you’re going to do your painting, you’ve got all these different kinds of brushes, that’s brilliant, you know, super, super useful. So that kind of thing is the perfect kind of lead magnet. But if you don’t, if you’re not got something quite like that, just go through everything you’ve got listed all out and go, What could we give away for free that people would love and will be quick and useful and and would support them in what they’re doing?

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I love this. This all sounds like doable and not overwhelming. Like how, how long does it take to like, implement these three strategies? And you’re like, I know people are different and situations are different, but like to really upgrade somebody’s marketing, how long does that take?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, so the first go through if people are doing a decent amount of work on this is about three months. And the way that you do it. And I’ve said this before, and I hammer this home is you’ve got to implement before you optimize. So you put in place an order bump for everything you’re selling, and upsell for everything you’re selling. There’s like other steps I’ve missed out. But you know, those are kind of the main ones that and then you start sending some email promotions, maybe you do it once a month to start with. And it’s not very good. And you haven’t written it as well as you’d like. And you’re not delighted with it, but you’re sending them. And then you start getting more people onto your email list. And you set up the lead magnet, and you put the lead magnet in more places on your website, and you put it on your social media, and you put it in your YouTube videos. And all of that takes time to make process. So after you’ve done all of that, now, you’ve probably doubled your revenue, like that’s the normal that we’re seeing after a few months, then you go back to the start and you go, okay, how am I order bumps converting which of them are doing well, which of them are not doing well, the benchmark is 30 to 60%, this one’s only converting at 10%. Let’s try something else as a product in there, let’s rewrite the text on that you do the same thing for the upsells, you do the same thing for them, and you go back through it again. So with Teal Swan, we’ve been working with them for a year and a bit. And we’ve gone all the way through, we’ve gone all the way back through we’ve implemented the whole thing multiple times. And I don’t, I don’t think I’m allowed to say how much more money they’re making. But it’s, it’s a lot more, you know, every time it goes up and it goes up and it goes up. So that’s the kind of way that it’s best to think about it. And like I said at the beginning, what we do is we work with people who’ve already got that audience on like a, you know, we only make money when they make more money. But it’s worth it for us to keep working with them long term because we can keep helping to increase that. And then there’s other stuff that you start to put in, there’s a thing called a tripwire funnel. And then there’s stuff you can do with ads, and it gets more complex, but like, you need at least three months, and then at least another three months to optimize probably like, you know, it’s just you do it forever, to an extent, you know, and it keeps making more money. It’s cool. It’s fun, you know.

Chris Badgett: If I want, I kind of want to help people who get like, overwhelmed with marketing and all these strategies and tactics. It sounds to me like you’re starting at the conversion point and working backwards up the funnel is that. So like, if somebody gets really excited about lead magnet, you’d be like, stop, slow down, you need to focus on the order bumps and upsells first, yeah, and it’s out of those specifically, its order bumps first. Because what happens is, if you try and do increasing your email list size, well, you’re not making any more money from that, because you’re not sending in promotions through email list. So it’s gonna take it takes a long while to build your email list. Even if you four times the number of leads you get per month. If you’ve got 10,000 email subscribers at the moment, and you’re getting 300 a month. Well, now you’re getting an extra 1200 a month. But it’s going to take another 10 ish months to get that up another 10,000 with people unsubscribing and you weren’t making money from them or promotion. So you get frustrated and you stop. But if you’ve already making let’s say, an AI $4,000 a month, right? And you do order bumps on top, and now you’re making an extra $400 to $800 a month with no extra work. You’re like Cool, cool, man. That’s three and that took like let’s say you set it up for all of your products version one in three days. Like I did three days and now I make an extra $500 $600 a month. This John guy knows what he’s talking about, Cool. Now let me go to step two and do the upsells. And then as you work your way through, it’s like each one takes a little bit longer out of those the order I put them in. But the so you do the short, what are the quick ones that get you a quick result. And then you move on to the next one. The next one, the next one.

Chris Badgett: Is there any thing you’ve noticed, just with working with so many course creators around pricing, I see a lot of people get lost in pricing. And I know it depends on what the market is and what the product is and what the offer is. But any just general pricing advice to help people, you know, have less friction when for their customer?

John Ainsworth: Yes, and nearly all course creators who fit into the profile, I’ve been describing a price in their courses too low. And the reason that you can tell, the way that you can tell is if you are making sales, most of your sales directly through the website of traffic goes to your website, and then they just buy, then your price is too low. It’s very, very straightforward. It’s like a hard and fast rule. That one’s really, really easy. So what you do is, after you’ve started, you’ve done your order bumps, your upsells, you started sending email promotions, and you’re making sales to your email list, and then you’re building your email list, then one of the things you do is you increase the prices. And you say in one of your email promotions, let’s say you’re you because you sell each course one at a time, you never do a bulk sale of all of them.

You say Right, we’re putting up the price of this course. And it’s going to go up and it’s never going to go back down. Again, this is the lowest price it’s ever going to be at the current thing and we’re going to put the price up for that is the biggest sale you’re ever going to have of that course. And then you do that, again, as you go through each of the courses, you put the price up for each of them.

And then you will see that there are less sales directly on your website. But if you’re still getting quite a few sales directly, it’s still too low. So then you go back through and you can put it up a little bit more people will pay more when it’s through an email promotion than they will when it’s directly on your website. There’s more context, they trust you more, you’ve had more content that’s going out about that topic. So pretty much all course creators, that’s the that’s the main problem with pricing.

Chris Badgett: I know there’s a couple of different ways to do it in terms of like you’re mentioning ala carte core sales versus like bundles, like in a membership or whatever. Do you if you had your way? Would you like steer somebody one way or the other to in terms of ala carte memberships or both?

John Ainsworth: Yes. So it’s, if you’ve, if you really want to do a membership, then it’s both. But don’t do a membership unless you’re really sure about what the membership is for? Like, why is it that someone buy a membership? Now, most people who do a membership they do it because it’s feels easier to them? Or why not just charge someone a monthly fee? Yeah, recurring revenue? I’d like that. Wouldn’t that be great? For me? It’s like, Right, but why is it better for the customer. So people want that people don’t trust you yet. So they’re not going to buy a membership. A lot of the time, if you sell individual courses, it’s much easier for them. If you’re in the hobby niche, it’s normally between 79 and maybe 199. You know, relationships or languages, that kind of thing. If you’re in b2b, then we might be talking more expensive courses.

And people are happy to pay that a lot of the time don’t want to sign up for long term membership. The membership sits behind that people have bought courses from you. And then you have a good reason why there would be in your membership. Maybe there’s q&a calls with you every so often. Maybe you’ve got a forum that goes with it, maybe there’s some other benefit. There’s some reason that fits, that makes more sense to be a long term thing, rather than just a one off sale. And then you have that set behind the individual sales.

Chris Badgett: That’s cool. Let me ask you a product question based on your experience. Deals always fascinated me. I’m looking at her site. She has like these meditations, books, quotes, gift cards, other types of cars, she has events, workshops, other kinds of training, then she’s got her online courses, there’s so many different things in the product mix. What’s your advice to course creators? And I know some people are like, I’m primarily online courses and programs. And some people are like, I’m primarily physical products, and I’m just getting into courses. But what makes a healthy product mix? Or how should somebody think about that?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, so tills actually got too many. Okay. Don’t model that. That’s just something that’s happened kind of organically over time.

So I would say that the huge I mean, I could be biased, but I don’t think this is fair. The huge benefit of courses over physical products is the margin from a business point of view. Right now, if you’re not someone who’s been making courses, and you’ve selling physical products, and you’re doing really well with it, great. Keep it up. Awesome. But the margin on each course you sell is 100%. And the margin you make on each physical product is like I don’t know. So let’s say 60%, something like that depends on what you’re selling, right. And so that gives you a lot more room to play with. So I think as a business overall, they tend to be a better model for most people to be in. But like I said, if you’re already good at ecommerce, you’re already good at selling physical things and then then crack on.

I don’t know about a mix. I think if you’re selling courses, I would not suggest to start selling physical things as well. Like, if you look at just been studying my old, I’ve been checking my old marketing professor. So I’ve been getting back into some some stuff, right? There’s something called ANSOFF matrix, and it’s about market expansion versus product expansion. And the general rule of thumb is, the least risky thing to do is market penetration. So sell more of what you’ve currently got to the current market, that’s probably easy. And don’t stop really, until you’re swamped. And most course creators want to make more things rather than sell more of what they’ve got. And it’s like, for the amount of return you get, that’s the worst one to do. So start making new courses, if you’ve already got a bunch, or making physical products, when you’ve already got courses, it’s like it’s almost certainly a waste of time. Like really, in terms of actually making more money. So my advice is sell more of what you’ve got, as a general rule.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I was on your website, and I was clicking on free training, and you have a pimp your funnel training. You mentioned in the copy that one of the things you teach is you show some success examples. We also show three failure examples, tell us some of this failure, like where do people try and fail, besides just not doing the marketing, per se, but some of the things we talked about? But where does the what are the most common failures you see out there that we can learn from today?

John Ainsworth: And remember, what I’ve got in the training is the three failures. And I also realized, as you ask him that I was like, I should have shared more successes in the in the podcast today, I kind of talk about the concepts are not always about the successes, but let’s think failures that people have with this. Okay, so one of the biggest ones and I have kind of mentioned this before, but I see it all the time is people trying to do the perfect version to start with, and what was your quote there, you said implementation, then optimize, implement, then optimized, like you cannot go to the really good version straightaway, you can’t do it, it just not how it works. Of course creators have that they have the perfectionism and the imposter syndrome and it compounds and then nothing happens. Yeah, it’s terrible, isn’t it, I don’t go through it as well, like I get it, I understand it. But it’s like, that’s why we have a coaching program. So the vast majority of our coaching program is not teaching people what to do. Because we’ve got a course as part of that, that teaches people what to do. It’s encouraging people not to do the all the other ideas that they’ve come up with about, you know, like, no, don’t do these seven other things. Don’t put four products on your sales page to follow the system. And like helping them to work through the emotions and like to stick with it. So that’s definitely one I’ve seen people do is spend a month on making the perfect order bump, instead of getting the perf instead of getting something they’ve already got up. Like that’s a really, really common one.

What else we had that’s go? Right, a giant one is trying to do more complicated tactics. And we used to do this right, we used to do these automated webinar funnels and all kinds of clever stuff, without having had the basics in place first, like this, this is the stuff that I like encouraging him to do is the real fundamental basics. But people underestimate how long it takes to get the basics in place and want to jump ahead and go and do too many things. And so doing a clever via video sales letter or doing an automated webinar funnel, when you don’t have an order bump is just madness. And I see that quite often.

Other mistakes with… it starting ads before you’ve done any of these things.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. All the time. At what point? Do you recommend ads, it’s like more of a scaling strategy after you’ve got all that other stuff figured out?

John Ainsworth: Exactly. So once you’ve got your converting your existing traffic into your email list, you convert your email, listen to sales, you convert your sales into higher revenue sales, you’ve got good sales pages, good checkout pages, all of that stuff. Then what you do is you build a front end funnel, and we recommend something called a tripwire funnel. I won’t go into the details because it would just be it’s too much detail for him but but it’s like the basic idea is you take one of those things we’ve talked about with a cheap product and upsell an order bump good sales page, good checkout page and you put it behind your lead magnet so someone signs up for your lead magnet and then they see an offer then if they buy that’s a more expensive offer this kind of thing. Quick question. 

Chris Badgett: Quick question for a tripwire for a course creator. What’s most common is it like a mini course or like a what to make it low cost? Like what do you..

John Ainsworth: Yeah, I could huge discount on one of your cheaper courses, or so take just one for example. Yeah, the lead magnet is five free meditations.

Chris Badgett: Which, by the way goes back to what you said, that’s something I can just implement right away. It’s not something I have to read and work at. I just plug it in and go, right. Yeah, exactly. Right. So really, really simple. The tripwire product is 27 meditations. So you bought some meditations? Well, let’s get you some more of those. Yeah, the upsell is, I believe, the self love course, which doesn’t fit 100%. Exactly, but it’s her best selling course. And so it’s, it’s makes sense, because it’s the one that is the best thing that fits in, I forget what the order bump is. We could go look it up. But so that’s the basic kind of idea is like you have that kind of a funnel that sits behind the lead magnet, you see if you can get it to be converting? Well, you keep optimizing, optimizing it once it’s converting at least 3% of the people who get the lead magnet, then buy that tripwire product, then you can test out running ads to the lead magnet, but not before that point and not until everything else is in place. And then the stage were..

Chris Badgett: You went faster, but I just wanted to know..

John Ainsworth: Sorry.

Chris Badgett: Good, I just want to make sure that people captured it that the ad was to the lead magnet not to the course, like the paid course or whatever. So you’re when you’re doing ads, it makes a lot more sense to advertise free stuff and content than in most cases. But..

John Ainsworth: Yeah, it’s it’s an interesting one, because the actual technical states steps are that you do ads to the lead magnet. And that way, you’re definitely getting leads and you’re getting new people on your email list. And you’re testing that out and then you see does the that cold traffic convert to buying that tripwire product. Then once you’ve run that for a while, and you know that that does work, then you can test ads straight into the tripwire product. Because sometimes that converts better overall in terms of the amount of money you make from it. And you’ve run that test as well. But like we’re talking here, like, this is like a year and a half into the whole process before you get to this like this is way past where anybody is like start with order bumps, you know.

Chris Badgett: That’s cool. That’s cool. Is there another success story? Like what you could share that you’re really proud of?

John Ainsworth: Yeah, they got loads. So let me find let me find one. I got some notes here. So we had somebody who was selling a course about Google Shopping ads, a guy called Dennis, and he had been running it for quite a while he built up an audience and his best month ever was $7,000. And he was still doing consultancy. And the core sales was like, you know, his side thing. And he done that one time. And normally it was like 3000ish. in month three of us working with him he hit $17,000. Wow. And then he just stuck at that level. So he’s now making 20,000 a month, like pretty much pretty much every month.

Chris Badgett: Give us another one. And then I got another question for you.

John Ainsworth: Okay. We’ve got a client in the language learning space. And she was averaging a few 1000 a month, she had a big YouTube audience. And she’s now just hit that magic 83 84,000 a month, which means she’s on track for a million a year. Oh, my goodness, like, yeah, she was at 7000 a month. So about three about 320.

Chris Badgett: Okay, what was the big unlock there?

John Ainsworth: I mean, it was still email list. She already was converting people onto the Melissa that she had a big email list to start with, which is great. But she wasn’t doing email promotions. So it’s, it’s all of these things compound, right? They all add on top of each other. But that was the big one for her was just she wasn’t doing email promotions. Yeah.

Chris Badgett: And for you often think about this in terms of course creators, you mentioned it in the beginning, like your perfect ideal client. Some people some course creators get really focused on themselves and like, I need to make money and I’m trying to build this online business and give freedom for my life and all this stuff, which is not bad. But you got to serve and you got to help people. And what amazes me about you is that even your business model is like I don’t get paid unless you get paid. Right? Am I understand that? Right? Can you tell us the story of getting to that because that’s like so aligned as an offer. The it just seems easier to sell, like, I just want to learn from you. And for the audience, like how do we put skin in the game like that where we’re we get the upside, but we also get the downside. If it doesn’t work, we’re tied to the results. How did that happen for you?

John Ainsworth: So the way it happened was that we are obsessed with results. And lots of people say oh, yeah, we’re all about results. I’m like, I talked to them. I’m like, No, I don’t I think that you’d be right if it just does, okay. And I’m like we are obsessed with things working really, really well. And the problem we had with that was if we have somebody who we put extra effort in for and we make the more money we don’t get anything more back from it so it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t align. And also, our clients never believed that they’re going to make as much more money as we tell them they will they never believed us. And I get it because it’s like, it would be so wonderful if it happened. But come on, it can’t really because everybody says that you can make more money and whatever else, right? So I’m like if they don’t believe us, and that’s why they’re not signing up, we have to show them that we believe it more than they do. So let’s, let’s line it up, let’s make it so that if they make more money, we make more money. And if they make less, if they don’t succeed, then we don’t get paid. Like, basically, we would never take a client on if we weren’t sure that they could do this and couldn’t make money with it. So I’m like, well, then, if we’re already doing that, why don’t we go the next step and actually set it up. So that will you know, make make it aligned more, but still, I thought it’s like a year ago, and I still hadn’t done it. And then I got two friends who run YouTube ad agencies, and they do the same model, right, they only get paid as a percentage of the, the results that they bring in. And they were just telling me how they done it. Because they felt like it was the right thing to do. And it made them more money. And it made it easier for people to sign up. And I was like, oh, I should be doing this. It’s like, it’s such a win win for everybody. It makes people more comfortable, it makes them more money, it makes us more money. It just makes the whole thing fit. So it took a lot of like building up to it to be able to do it because it feels nerve-racking. Right? Like, okay, well, what if we have a client and they don’t do their part of the work, or we have somebody who, you know, we make them loads more money, and then they decide not to pay us? And I was like, okay, suck it up, just sit with it be alright, with the fear. It’s okay. Just do it. It’s the right thing to do. 

Chris Badgett: That’s cool! In terms of working with you, and like, who does what I noticed on your site? It’s, you have done with you. So like, what is the course creator? Do? What do you do? How do you work together to achieve the outcome?

John Ainsworth: Yeah. So what we do is we provide them with all the insights and the understanding of what it is that needs setting up. And then we support them to do it. Now there’s a couple of reasons for this. Why don’t we just do it as a done for you?

Most course, creators will pretty much all course creators are an expert in their field. So they can write about that field, they can write about that topic. We can’t like, I can’t be an expert in Warhammer 40,000, meditation, language learning and dog training. It’s like it’s impossible, right? Like it took them years to gain that. But what we know is, how do you structure it? What’s the framework? What do you say? How does it fit. And then what we do therefore is we support them as much as they need with all of those different steps for anybody who kind of qualifies to work with us, because we obviously don’t take everybody on who wants to work with us, we only take on the ones who we think they’re going to implement, they have good courses, they’ve got enough traffic, there’s the potential there for that kind of thing. So what we do is we have a course that teaches them all on the steps. We have templates, we have swipe files, we have group coaching calls, we have individual coaching calls, we have a Slack group where we answer questions, we have an automation expert, a copy chief or strategy person who like work through with people on every single bit that they need help with. And we find that the model that works best in terms of getting the results and being efficient for them. And it just yeah, all kind of fitting together.

Chris Badgett: So somebody who’s like super excited right now and they’re really want to explore working with you, what should they do? Where should they go. So the first step for everybody is to get their course profit report. So most people can increase their average revenue by about 20%. In inside of a week. And so we want to, and it’ll be probably for most people, it’s going to be order bump, right, I’m gonna get spoiled, I’m gonna give you a spoiler on this one. But what we’ll do is we’ll make a plan for you totally for free. We’ll do this for every single one of your listeners who wants it. So people can go to And there’s a form there, people fill in a few quick questions. And my team will then make a personalized plan for their business, they’ll figure out how much extra revenue they could make, what steps to work on what step to work on, first, they’ll century training on how to do it for free. There’s lots of variables in this, it can’t be automated. So it normally takes them a two or three days to go through and set this up.

With some people, if they look like they have loads of potential, they’ll also get a loom video with this. That’s like breaking down their current funnel and where the steps in it are wrong and this kind of thing. And yeah, so that’s the first thing and then if somebody qualifies to work with us from that, then they’ll get invited to come on a call with someone from my team who can just double check, they’re going to be a good fit.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And if somebody is wanting to go deep into your podcast universe, the art of selling online courses, tell us about the show what types of content are on there and what really your mission and vision for your podcast is.

John Ainsworth: So we’ve got three different topics that we cover on there. One is we talk to successful online course creators who’ve done this in some way or another how are they managed to be successful? Loads of case studies. Generally that’s people are doing at least 500,000 a year. Some of them are doing millions multimillionaires, that kind of thing. Second one we have as I interviewed the guys on my team, because it used to be that I was the one who was doing all this work, right? And then I hired really smart people and I train them up, or I might hire people who’ve got experience and stuff already. And then they’ve got way better than me. Right? So I interview Josefa Monica, who use hips are head of delivery, he does all the strategy. And Monica is our copy chief. And so I interview them about what is it that you’re doing right now? Exactly. How did you do the email promotion last month, what order bump worked really well, this kind of thing. So getting into real detail. And then the third one is people who are focusing around driving traffic, because we don’t do traffic. So I’m like, Okay, well, let me go and interview the people who drive traffic people who are doing summits and YouTube ads and organic YouTube and all that kind of thing and finding out what is it that’s working. And so we have those three different themes on there.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. That is John Ainsworth from Head on over to course, profit Any final words for the people John or any any way else they can connect with you?

John Ainsworth: Can connect with me just drop me an email if you want to John Jo HN at datadrivenmarketing Dotco.

If people have got like a specific question about any of this, that’s cool. And in terms of final words, I’m just gonna say it again. Please set up an order bump. Please, you’ll if you do it, right. I had someone messaged me the other day. And he’s like, I listened to your podcast. I went and I set up the order bump. And now I’m making $5,000 more month. Like Thank you. And I was like, Oh, you’re welcome.

Chris Badgett: Thanks, John. I appreciate you coming on the show sharing your wisdom and enthusiasm with us. We really appreciate it.

John Ainsworth: Yeah, you’re welcome in let’s be here.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifter forward slash gift. Go to lifter forward slash gift. Keep learning. Keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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