Self-Funding Funnels are key to selling more online courses (when you don’t have much money for advertising)

Image for post
Image for post
Self-Funding Funnel © Reachable.agency

A Self-Funding Funnel (sometimes called a self-liquidating funnel) is a digital marketing strategy which aims to recover all paid advertising costs and at the same time increases your database of enrolled students.

With more student enrollments, you can increase course sales by promoting offers to the growing student ist.

The larger this Email List of qualified students the greater the number of course sales will be.

With this strategy, your Email List constantly grows without needing any additional money for paid advertising.

In simple terms, self-funding your ads will provide a constant supply of new student enrolments to whom you can sell your high-ticket courses.

This is a perfect solution if you are struggling to generate course sales because of a lack of traffic to your website or school on Teachable.

It may sound obvious but as with most things, detail and execution are everything.

Once set-up correctly, this sales funnel strategy can literally send your course sales supersonic!

However, before you can appreciate how a Self-Funding Funnel can work for you, there is a mistake you have to avoid when selling your online course!

The No.1 mistake course creators make and their journey into despair!

Many course creators get disheartened with the lack of course sales and they often think their course pricing is wrong or they are just not getting enough visitors to their course sales page.

Their solution is they start to run social media ads to try and get more visitors to their course.

They get lots of “clicks” on their ads and are initially hopeful but after a few days, they see no real improvement in course sales.

So they drop their course pricing (assuming that pricing was the problem) and they run more Ads.

After a few more days there is still no increase in sales! And the ads have cost more than they anticipated.

Disheartened and with little profit left to invest back into advertising the course creator starts a long and slow process of trying to get ‘free’ organic traffic to their course through blogging, posting and podcasts.

Burnt out with this activity and with only a handful of course sales they get distracted and start to create a new course all together!

The basic problem is they haven’t understood the nature of ad traffic and the UPSY model.

Firstly, If you tell networks like Facebook you want ‘traffic’ you will get ‘traffic’ (which can literally mean clicks on your ad and not clicks out to your website from the ad!)

Be careful what you pay for especially if what you really want is conversions and sales.

Secondly, the UPSY model indicates where your prospect is in the buying cycle. (You can get a FREE Copy of Beyond PPC at https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/beyond-ppc-alternative-lead-generation-strategies if you want to learn more about UPSY).

Your prospect may be demographically a match for you but is they don’t understand why they need your course they are not going to buy it. They have to become ‘problem and solution aware’ (UPSY).

If you think about it, if you are selling a course for $399 and you run ads to this demographic audience but the audience have never heard of you or how your course would help them. Then your expectation of selling anything from that ad is unrealistic.

To get people who are just casually scrolling on Facebook to part with $399 the first time they see your Ad for a course is crazy thinking!

But herein lies the issue. How do you know who is ready to buy and who is not ready to buy your course?

The strategy is to move them through the UPSY model until they are in a ‘ready to purchase’ state.

Running Ads is not the problem nor is your course or the course price.

The problem is you’re running the wrong ads to people not ready to buy and you are spending Ad budget hoping the more you spend the more likely you are to get a sale. This is also crazy thinking!

The aim of a Self-Funding Funnel is to advertise to a wide audience for low cost, then to attract interested prospects who click on the ad to take two small steps towards you and your offering before you try and sell your high-ticket course to them.

If you can cover the cost of attracting people through these two initial steps not only can you run ads and thus grow your audience, indefinitely but you will also be building a list of students who have “sampled” your course content.

Making those prospects much more likely to purchase again as they are now a returning customer with experience of you and your material.

With this two-step goal in mind and not running ads to a single-choice (one -step) high-ticket course sale, you can start to create a Self-Funding Funnel.

Re-Structuring your online course for a Self-Funding Funnel.

In order to run ads and get successful results, you need to stop going for the knockout-blow and instead give a couple of really good taps first.

This can be done with some simple restructuring of your course and 1 day of content creation.

Rather than having just one course in your Teachable school (for example at $399) you would have four courses (offers).

Offer 1 Lead Magnet — Free course content

Offer 2 TripWire — The mechanism for felf-funding Ads ($15)

Offer 3 The main course(s) — The real profit ($399)

Offer 4 The drip subscription — No hassle passive course income ($5)

Now there is an important element in any product launch or online success as any guru will tell you… it’s your Email List!

Yes even in the day and age of DM’s, retargeting and spam filters. Emails are still your yellow brick road to online success and emails of prospects who have already bought your products and courses are your fast — track to the emerald city!

By creating a lead magnet (a free download or sample course) you are instantly qualifying your site visitors (UPSY model) from casual visitors to interested parties. After all, if they won’t download quality free content on the course subject now they certainly won’t pay for it in the future!

The next offer (your tripwire) is where the magic really happens. Rather than selling a course for $399 for example. You provide a smaller tactical course within a price in the range of $7 — $79.

In the tutorial course for building a Self-Funding Funnel on Teachable, which you can access here https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/course-selling-masterclass-self-funding-funnels the price of the tripwire is just £15 and that is enough to create Self-Funding Funnel which generates 1800 new subscribers and covers all ad costs.

In other words, they get 1800 new additions to their Email List effectively for FREE every time they run the ads campaign.

Your tripwire course should complement but not contradict your lead magnet and serve as a sample of offer 3 and that leads to your high-ticket course.

When you have 1800 emails as per the example in the link above. Then students who have had your free product and those 50 students who also purchased your tripwire course are going to be much more receptive to you and your courses than the initial “cold traffic” seeing your ads.

Therefore you can contact this list with your high-ticket course offer.

To be clear you are not paying for additional Ads to market to this now warm audience, you are using email.

If you keep running the Ads campaign to the lead magnet and tripwire sequence you will be building a larger and larger list to email to for free!

Adding a final fourth offer of a monthly subscription service is a brilliant way of getting a regular and predictable source of income from this list and getting your full wallet-share from your most engaged customers.

If you segment your list properly you will know which contacts have bought which of your offers and you can avoid “spamming” paying customers with emails about courses they are already enrolled in. A full tutorial on how to build this in Teachable is here: https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/course-selling-masterclass-self-funding-funnels

Example of a Self-Funding Funnel — Beekeeping

Image for post
Image for post
Self-Funding Funnel © Reachable.agency

Let us assume you have an existing 10-hour online course on beekeeping!

You would first create an illustrated guide (.pdf) on the different types of bees. This would take you 1 day to compile the content and probably the use of a freelancer on Fiverr to turn it into an illustrated document.

You would then cut some of the content from your 10-hour course. Perhaps part of the existing first section and call it “A beginners guide to the basics of beekeeping” and publish this course as your tripwire on Teachable for £15.

If you have an initial investment for ads of £750 then A=£750 and from there you generate 1800 downloads (enrollments) for the FREE lead magnet. Then (as demonstrated here https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/course-selling-masterclass-self-funding-funnels) you redirect those students automatically to your tripwire.

You sell 50 tripwires at £15 (2.78% conversion and recover all your Ad costs).

Then from the 50 paying clients, you can email them about your subscription offer or full-price course using Mailchimp and Teachable working together.

https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/course-selling-masterclass-self-funding-funnels this paid tutorial will show you exactly how to integrate Mailchimp and Teachable with a screen recording video of a working self-funding funnel being built.

You now have 1800 email addresses (self-funded) which you can put into an automated sales sequence to progress towards your other course sales.

Enrolled lead magnet students are more likely to purchase as they have gotten to know you and the value you bring to them.

In this example (A) = (T) from tripwire sales, but the introduction of (U) covers any shortfall in (T) or if ((T+U) > A) then you can reinvest the profits into a greater Ad spend (A = A — (T+U) and so increase the number of signups bringing an increase in the number of both students and sales in this funnel.

Self-Funding Funnel Conclusion

A Self-Funding Funnel is the most predictable way to scale your Teachable school and course sales.

The pinch points are:

  1. A simple re-structuring of your course for this type of funnel.
  2. Creating a compelling lead magnet and tripwire.
  3. Building low-cost ad campaigns (A <= (T+U))
  4. Pricing the tripwire so that it sells but still generates enough profit to cover Ad costs
  5. Having a high converting tripwire sales page (get a Teachable sale page audit here: http://www.reachable.agency )
  6. Automating the funnel so that the customer journey is as frictionless as possible. (don’t give them a reason to click away)

A Self-Funding Funnel may sound like the nirvana of course selling but by implementing this strategy rather than just selling full-price courses. You are enabling cold traffic reached by Ads to progress along the UPSY model (https://reachable2.teachable.com/p/beyond-ppc-alternative-lead-generation-strategies) and creating paying customers at scale.

If you want to know more about how to build your own Self-Funding Funnel on Teachable (or to sell any online courses using Facebook Ads) as well as pick up other elements on improving your course sales, then the Course Selling Masterclass is perfect for you https://reachable2.teachable.com/

Written by

Making Teachable Reachable through sales funnel solutions! Sell more courses online. https://www.reachable.agency

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store