Monica Badiu, Email Copywriter & Copy Coach

As a course creator, it’s important to continually optimize your sales processes to make sure you’re able to make the most of your marketing efforts and budget.

This becomes even more crucial in times of economic uncertainty or when platform costs increase, as is the case with Teachable’s price increase in 2023. Your students are impacted by inflation and increasing costs as well, meaning they will become more cost-conscious as time goes by.

In this blog post, we’ll look at a range of strategies and tactics that you can use to sell more courses and navigate the challenges of the current economic climate.

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the course creation game for a while, these tips will help you get the most out of your efforts and ensure that your business is sustainable and successful in 2023 and beyond.

61% of consumers plan to cut discretionary spend in 2023.

KPMG surveyed 3000 consumers from across the UK at the beginning of December 2022 about their spending and saving plans for 2023.

  • Two-thirds of consumers plan to reduce their non-essential spending in 2023.

  • Only 4% of consumers said they will be able to increase their spending in 2023.

  • 43% of consumers with savings are using them to help meet essential costs.

“Current essential costs, fears of how high they’ll rise – including concerns about mortgage rate and energy price changes next year – are all factors in why two-thirds of consumers that we surveyed said they have to reduce their non-essential spending in 2023. 

To do so, consumers are increasingly changing how they shop to save money – including switching to cheaper retailers, buying more value or promotional produce, and swapping eating out for meals in.  Understanding these swaps is critical for brands and retailers looking to still be the first choice for spend.”

Linda Ellett, UK Head of Consumer Markets, Retail and Leisure, KPMG, said:

A similar trend is reflected by a Statista study regarding Americans’ top resolutions for 2023. Saving more money came in 4th.

Numerator’s 2022 New Year’s Survey: Resolutions 2023 also found that:

  • The top financial goals of consumers for 2023 are to save more money in general (57% of those making financial resolutions), track spending more carefully (48%), reduce spending in general (43%), reduce spending on non-essential items (42%), and pay off loans (40%).

  • 57% of consumers making financial goals are doing so because they think inflation and rising prices will impact them.

  • Nearly half (48%) are being cautious of a possible recession. This sentiment is seen across all generations but is slightly higher among Boomers+.

  • 62% of Millennial resolution makers are opting for money-related goals, the highest among all generations.

According to Forrester’s July 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey, the majority of online adults in the US (64%), the UK (59%), and France (55%) are anxious about the possibility of a recession. But it’s not necessarily a sign of recession.

Forrester’s above mentioned study estimates a 5% increase in spending despite the economic uncertainty basing its assumption on the significant savings banked during the pandemic — as much as three to six times compared to prerecessionary periods going back to the 1960s.

However, it means that consumers will be paying more attention to what they’re spending money on. It’s quality over quantity.

For any business owners this is both a risk and an opportunity.

So let’s see what you can do as a course creator to adapt to the economic uncertainty of 2023.

Optimize your sales funnels

Optimizing your sales funnels should be a no #1 priority regardless of how good or bad the economy is. You could have a great course and enjoy tons of organic traffic. It’s all for nothing if your sales funnels aren’t optimized.

This includes:

  • increasing your average order value (add order bumps and upsells into your sales funnels)

  • find your conversion rates and see how you stack against the benchmarks

  • improve your email marketing (includes automations of all kinds such as abandoned cart emails, overall list health and deliverability)

  • figure out your website/landing page performance to reduce bounce rates (and optimize your top pages for mobile, including sales pages and checkout)

  • optimize your sales pages (at a minimum you should make sure your pages are easy to understand and read whether it’s on a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone, have one type of call to action button, mention your money back guarantee and make sure your above the fold doesn’t require a scroll to figure out what the offer is all about)

  • optimize your checkout pages (make sure they’re mobile friendly, are easy to navigate, include a money-back guarantee and an order bump)

  • focus on the 80/20 of optimization strategies to get the most out of your time

Let me give you an example. If you’re hosting your course on Teachable, the 2023 increase in prices is going to impact your revenue if your sales funnels are not optimized.

Teachable has features such as upsells, bundles, order bumps, and digital downloads which you can use to optimize your sales funnel.

Improve your copy

With consumers expected to be more discerning with how they invest their money, now is the best time to make sure your sales pages, optins and emails are as good as they can be.

At a minimum you should make sure that your sales pages:

  • have testimonials and/or case studies showing the kind of success students can have

  • your copy explains how features deliver benefits to your readers

  • add social proof such as endorsements, major achievements and/or awards that make you or your course stand out from the crowd

  • be clear about the minimum outcome possible with the minimum time investment (more and more people care about how fast they can achieve the goal they’re after and specificity can help sell your course)

  • your copy is talking to the person that would most likely succeed with your course not everybody on planet Earth

Run surveys every now and again to hear from your students about what you can improve in your marketing, copy or even communication. Let them tell you what they need from you.

build & nurture your email list

Your email list is where the $$$ is. Many are saying it, but that means nothing if you’re not using it properly. So start to convert your website traffic into subscribers, nurture, engage and convert those newly acquired leads regularly.

Set up automations that do the heavy lifting (welcome sequence for instance) and begin to email your list more often.

Once or twice a year clean it up nicely to make sure that only the people who actually want and need your content will be in there.

Over time, your email list is going to become a major business asset.

Focus on customer experience throughout all stages

This one goes hand in hand with all of the above and it means that:

  • your website should have a logical, easy-to-use navigation structure

    • your landing pages should be clear, easy to read and specific to your target audience

    • remove clutter from your sales pages, multiple call to actions and other elements that are either confusing or not working

    • make the checkout process as seamless as possible

But it doesn’t end here.

Most course creators (and most brands in general) focus more of their efforts on the pre-acquisition stage. Once the lead has become a customer, they go back to focusing on pre-acquisition instead of mapping a journey for the newly acquired customer.

So, at a minimum have:

  • a welcome or onboarding sequence for new students

  • a consumption sequence with milestones that maps the path towards success

  • send quizzes or ask for their feedback/questions every now and again

The eLearning market size is projected to grow from $315 billion in 2021 to more than $1 trillion in 2028.

Data suggests that the online course industry will continue to thrive in 2023 and beyond, with more people turning to online learning as a way to improve their skills and knowledge.

To make the most of this opportunity, it’s important for you as a course creator to continuously refine and improve sales processes. This will help you navigate the challenges of the current economic climate and build a successful and sustainable business.

About the Author

Monica Badiu is an email copywriter and copy coach. She specializes in sales copywriting for online course creators who want to send emails that speak to their ideal customer and generate conversions without using fearmongering or pressure. She’s made clients over $3 million in 2023.

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