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AP 0979: What Fresh Ideas for Marketing Your Courses Do You Have?

AP 0979: What Fresh Ideas for Marketing Your Courses Do You Have?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 979 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 979 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question coming in today from Tsh, but before we get to that I want to thank today’s sponsor, which is DesignCrowd. Hey, check this out. If you’re stuck on ideas on how to develop your logo, website or business cards, whatever you need designed, you can connect with the people over at DesignCrowd because there’s literally over a half million of them, designers, that will help you crowdsource custom graphics. Whether you’re a dentist, accountant, DJ—it doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, you can get a perfect custom design every time or you get your money back. So check out to learn more and download you free guide to crowdsourcing great logos, graphics and websites for your business, and get $100 off your next design when you enter the promo code, “AskPat”.

Alright, now here’s today’s question from Tsh.

Tsh Oxenreider: Hey Pat, this is Tsh Oxenreider from The Simple Show podcast. As I plan out my content and marketing calendar over the next few months, I’m curious what ideas you may have for marketing things like courses and member sites, especially when they have short open enrollment windows, like two to three enrollment seasons a year that are about a week in length. The go-to defaults I know are getting people to sign up for a free video series, or a free webinar, and then lead into the marketing of a paid course or member site. But that feels overly done, they’re everywhere now and I know from experience that the conversions on those aren’t as strong as they used to be. So I’m curious if you can think of any creative outside-the-box ideas on how to market an enrollment window for a course or member site. Thanks so much.

Pat Flynn: Hey Tsh, thank you so much for the question. I kind of agree with you. I have seen, and I have seen this for years, this sort of project launch formula—PLF formula launch sequence—with a bunch of videos, that then lead into a webinar. In many industries, that still does work. But depending on what industry you’re in, that may be oversaturated. So first of all, I just want to say, Tsh, don’t knock it until you try it because that can still work for your industry. Just because you are familiar with it yourself doesn’t mean that your audience is too, so it might be something worth giving a shot. But it is a lot of work; there’s a lot of things involved. But that’s been the proven method since Jeff Walker released the PLF formula way back in the day, because it does work. There’s a lot of psychological things that go with these really high value videos, in video one, video two, then video three it goes more of a sales page launch sequence, and then there’s a webinar on top of that too. I’ve never done that because the people I’m serving are very familiar with that and I like to take a different, lighter, more Pat Flynn approach to things, which is more authentic, honest—and a few creative ideas to help that launch, which I’m going to share with you right now.

My recent course launches have been just that. Open and close. That is interesting when it comes to content that you’re creating that could be evergreen. Now, what I like to do is drive people into a waitlist. That is great, because psychologically it’s like, “Oh, I’m on a wait list.” Like, “I’m waiting for this thing to open up, and as soon as it opens up, I want to get it.” Now, not everybody’s going to get in, and this is something I know for sure, but it does have . . . Psychologically it’s like when you’re going to a club and you’re on a waitlist. When you’re finally able to get in, you’re like, “Okay, sweet, let’s go. Let’s bring my friends with me.” That’s the kind of psychological thing that comes with building a waitlist.

But after the launch is closed, you can still have that thing working for you. So when people listen to that podcast episode or read that blog post or see that video after it’s closed, before you open it again, they’re still going to be driven to potentially sign up and be on the wait list so that when that course does open again you send them emails until the close. That’s something I would recommend doing for sure. I know a number of other people who treat it that way too. When the open enrollment period comes of course, I’m planning ahead of time, so I have content that leads into this. For example with my podcasting course, Power-Up Podcasting, I started the month of, I think it was June 2017, this year, talking about podcasting. I had some podcast related blog posts and podcasts related podcasts that were things like, why podcasting is the number one content platform, or Top 10 tips for newbie podcasters, or seven amazing things that happened as a result of starting my podcast. Those kinds of things introduce this concept of podcasting, but also plant the seed that, “Hey, maybe you should do a podcast too.” What happens from there? They either join the waitlist, or they download something, like a cheat sheet. I have a cheat sheet available for podcasting as well and that is often offered on those pages too, or if you hear those podcast episodes. That, again, allows me to understand in my email list who’s primed for this, who’s hot on that wait list. Then I can follow up with them in a different way. “Hey, so you’ve downloaded that cheat sheet. Awesome, make sure you do this, this and this and this for it.” Then when the launch opens: “By the way, if you’re still struggling here at the beginning as you’re planning out your podcast, why don’t you get involved with Power-Up Podcasting? Join a community, get access to office hours, get the step by step videos that are going to walk you through not just how to set this up, but also how to market it too.” Those are some things you could do.

One particular podcast episode I’ll share with you that works really, really well was one that I planned to come out mid-week during the launch. This was an episode where I featured three of my previous students. It was me interviewing them about their journey with podcasting. Of course, through that conversation, naturally, my course Power-Up Podcasting gets discussed. They talk about it because they’re successful students—what it did for them and why they recommend it. Even without me really having to push them to do that, they’re going to do that on their own. I feature three success stories. These are people who are now helping, just through their own story, market the show. They help build trust with that audience because it’s not me pitching it, it’s them, previous students. People who are on the other end, who may be on the fence or who maybe even have never heard of this before, they’re going to be interested because they see themselves in those people. I specifically chose different kinds of people, different genders, different age ranges, to hit—for the listeners to really resonate with one, perhaps more than some of the others. That’s something I would do.

Then the last thing: adding some scarcity. Having a close period makes a lot of sense in terms of just that alone, providing that incentive for, “Hey, I want to get in before it closes.” But offering other bonuses or other things on top of that can really drive it home. And then, really just make sure you utilize your email addresses that you’ve collected, so send emails out. On the last day one thing I do is I send three emails on the last day to the people who are on my really, really hot list. One in the morning, just to let them know it’s the last day. Sometimes they see that when they wake up and they’re like, “Oh man, I haven’t acted on that yet, I’m going to get it.” The second one I do maybe six to eight hours before. In this email I include a video. The subject line is—I’m kind of giving you all my secrets right now but this is what I do when you got me rolling. I send an email out, the subject line is something like, “Hey, I shot this video for you.” It’s not a personal video to everyone, but it is a personal video from me shot very raw on my iPhone the day before. I just implant it in there, it’s just an unlisted YouTube video. It’s just me speaking to somebody who’s on the fence and talking about some of the objections that they might be having or the fears that they might have that might be holding them back from taking action. That’s the second to last email. The final email that everybody gets is two or three hours before. That just says, “Hey, this is the final call. This is the last email you’re going to get.” That tends to work pretty well. That—I typically see 65 to 70 percent of my sales on the last day alone.

Hopefully this helps you Tsh. Thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it. Best of luck to you. I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to and you can ask right there on that page.

Thanks so much, I appreciate you. Here’s a quote from Tony Robbins. “If you can’t you must, and if you must you can.” Alright guys, take care. Thanks so much. I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat.

Man, we are closing in on Episode 1000. Who would have thought, back in 2014 when I started this, that we would get to Episode 1000? We are almost there and I’m just so glad I wasn’t a slacker.

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