How To Create A Best Sales Funnel For Online Course?

sales funnel for online course

Having an effective sales funnel for online courses is the lifeblood of any successful e-learning business in the competitive market. 

This tool can help you generate leads and convert prospects into paying customers. From that, it maximizes your business revenue. 

Can you build a sales funnel even when you’re a newbie in this industry? In this article, you’ll find:

  • Online course funnels foundation
  • The key ingredient of your online course funnels
  • Evergreen sales funnel template

Let’s get into the details now!

What Is An Online Course Sales Funnel? 

Best online course sales funnel

An online course sales funnel (or a sales funnel for online courses) is known as a sales method that starts with many potential customers needing an online course and gradually brings these customers to the proposed course through specific actions and goals.

A sales funnel for online courses includes many stages of marketing content and strategies to lead more people to a website for more sales. Hence, professionals call it the “purchase funnel,” “lead funnel,” or “marketing funnel.” 

This form of marketing involves many options, such as email campaigns, Facebook ads, social sites, etc. So, it’s more crucial than other marketing tactics. 

So you must know how to lead your potential customers through their whole buying process. This way, you can build a close relationship with your prospects, which helps you convert strangers into loyal customers. 

Do you seek marketing tactics to create a successful sales funnel?

It’s advisable to execute all your marketing methods at scale and strategically. Like other sales funnels, a marketing funnel for an online course should have five stages.

  • Awareness: This first stage focuses on grabbing the target audience’s attention to your online system. 
  • Interest: At this phase, you attract your audience by offering attractive, in-depth content to keep their interest. 
  • Desire: You gain ideal students’ trust at this stage. You need to demonstrate your business can solve their problem to establish authority. 
  • Action: Offer your online course at this step. Show your learners your course’s objectives and strengths over other competitors. Ensure to give them steps to make a purchase. 
  • Loyalty: It’s the step to convert your leads into loyal learners. Apply marketing strategies to maintain the trust you’ve built.

What Makes A Sales Funnel For Online Courses Work?

If you want more lead generation and course sales, you must understand the elements that create an effective marketing funnel. 

Here are the primary components that make it work:

#1. Trust

build trust in your business

Before building brand awareness, it’s essential to build trust because it is the most significant power of this marketing form. Earning someone’s trust is the primary purpose of any sales funnel’s value ladder.

They should know how to make your potential clients trust the following things:

  • You know exactly what problem they face.
  • You are the best business to solve this problem. 
  • You’re worth what they spend money on.

How to build and earn your customer’s trust? The answer is not too complicated! All you need to do is give value before asking your prospects for money

Your prospective students will stick around if you can provide more value than the expense it costs. 

Once your customers spend money or time on your service or product and recognize that it’s worth it, they will be willing to make the next purchase.

#2. Ideal Student

find ideal customers

Having an ideal student is essential to making your marketing funnel for online courses work. 

How to find an ideal student for your online course funnel? The key is to get specific. You must find and interview strangers you believe will suit your study. 

Market research the challenges and problems these students are facing. Most importantly, ask whether they will spend money on your online course to solve their issues.  

#3. Offering Value

offer massive value

After finding the prospective students, you should tell them your value upfront. When you give them value, they will trust your business more. 

Determine what your clients want to know if you plan to show special incentives at the top of your funnel.

#4. Software

It’s worth mentioning that most sales funnels must have some software to work well. What should you set up for your funnel? It depends on the purchase funnel type you want to build. 

However, a marketing funnel for your courses should have software to drive leads, nurture prospects, and deliver the online courses.

Find the best software to build sales funnels here

Why Is A Sales Funnel For Online Courses Important? 

You may wonder whether you need a sales funnel for online courses. Consider the reasons why this tool is essential.

Improve Customer Retention

Improve Customer Retention

What is customer retention? It is how you determine methods to keep your customers returning to your course. People often overlook this criterion, which is as crucial as customer acquisition. 

As you know, one of the most effective ways to grow your business is to retain clients. Creating a good sales funnel to achieve your goals would be best. It should help you maintain existing clients by providing an excellent experience. 

Making your customers stick to your online courses helps you build an excellent rapport with them and convert new clients into long-term ones. 

For example, you can give your loyal learners discounts and free 1:1 online coaching sessions via a referral or loyalty program.

Optimize Course Content

optimize your course content

An online course sales funnel is an effective tool for creating or enhancing online courses and training programs. 

You can quickly get valuable insight into your customers via communication with the target audience and qualified leads. This helps your business improve courses. 

Prospects show their requirements, needs, problems, and pain points at the funnel’s bottom. With these pieces of personal information, you can improve your product.

Nurture New Leads

build a relationship with your new leads

It’s hard to nurture new leads without an effective marketing funnel. Thanks to this tool, you will find it easier to lead your online course business. 

You can put this digital marketing tool in a place where you can understand clearly the next step and the time to nurture a specific lead. You can improve your business’s recurring revenue and boost client satisfaction KPIs.

Forecast Effectively

What may be just as beneficial to growing your business? It’s forecasting results and figures. A purchase funnel for online courses lets you know your brand’s conversion rate more clearly. 

In addition, it measures the number of new leads you can capture and convert into paying customers. Therefore, it’s easier to predict your business’s sales volume. You can also manage your marketing efforts and sales more efficiently. 

Optimally Scale Course Business

optimize your business for scale

Scaling is a challenge for all businesses. That’s because it requires many digital marketing and sales strategies.

If you want to scale your e-learning business optimally, you should discover new customer components as soon as possible, like potential student niches. 

You can use a purchase funnel to improve the productivity of your marketing team. Also, using this tool enables you to lessen churn rate and customer acquisition. 

If you do not own a marketing funnel, it’s hard to know the number of new leads you can drive and convert into subscribers and average client lifetime value. 

Before scaling your business, you must get actionable data and metrics. A purchase funnel can help you measure something more important than vanity metrics.

What Are Important Things To Build A Sales Funnel Online Course? 

Do you want to have a powerful purchase funnel for your business? Putting your money and marketing effort into these elements is crucial, as shown below!

An Email Marketing Software

Most sales funnels depend on a strong email list. It serves as a channel to help you guide your potential clients to the phases of a marketing funnel and eventually to your online course sales page. 

It’s essential to have email marketing software. It can send emails to your list automatically. As a result, it helps you save time and trouble contacting your potential students and providing them with product updates.

A Digital Traffic Source 

You have prepared your course and a purchase funnel but are unsure where to find online visitors. 

For this reason, when you start the marketing funnel process to market and sell online courses, you must be sure you have a consistent supply of web visitors. 

The goal of a digital traffic source is to encourage people to join your online course purchase funnel. 

There are some ways you can perform to achieve that goal. Here are some ideas you can consider to grab the audience’s attention to your courses:

  • Blog post
  • Paid ads
  • Social media channels

Platform For Hosting Online Courses

A platform establishes the framework for any business that offers online courses. Thus, spending money on a high-quality platform for hosting online courses that satisfy your requirements is crucial. 

Creating online courses is much easier when you have a platform that manages and takes care of your business demands.

How To Build A Sales Funnel For Online Course?

create sales funnel for online courses easy

Now that you understand the fundamental components of an online course sales funnel, it’s time to create one for consistent revenue. Here are the main steps you should follow to have a successful tool. 

Step 1: Research And Identify Target Audience’s Needs

Identifying your target audience is the first step in building an effective marketing funnel for your e-learning business. It’s essential to comprehensively understand your ideal students whom you try to assist with your online course training. 

After determining your target audience, answer the following questions:

  • What questions your prospective students are asking?
  • What problems are they facing?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are the complaints they have?

How to determine what it is that your target audience finds challenging? Here are some recommendations for online course creators:


research target audience

Do you want to figure out the top forums, blogs, or books related to your online course subject? Consider conducting a Google search and do the next step, such as:

  • Read and research the top options
  • Check reviews on a popular paid search platform like Amazon
  • Answer the questions on Quora
  • Join social media groups on LinkedIn or Facebook

Pay more attention to the frequently asked questions. The new findings can help you come up with new concepts for what and who to join in your course. 


Send your potential learners a quick survey via email after creating polls. After that, collect and gather votes or responses on a LinkedIn or Facebook group. 

Next, it’s time to talk to these ideal students. Ask them what the problems and difficulties they are experiencing. You may be surprised to know the number of audience members who open up in the discussion.

After identifying your intended learners and studying their pain points and questions, create a marketing funnel for your business and build your brand awareness.

Step 2: Offer Free Content 

This stage aims to gain the trust of your audience and establish your authority by providing value and helping solve a problem. 

Consider using podcasts, video tutorials, or blog posts. The content doesn’t matter. The critical point is whether it is relevant, informative, and valuable to your learners. 

However, you must answer, “Why will people invest in my course while I offer free content?”. That’s the problem! Ensure your free content only addresses one of the issues of your intended clients. Your online course has the solution to more significant topics they can’t find in the free materials.

Step 3: Provide A Free Tool To Compile A List Of Ideal Clients

The next stage is motivating your intended audience to discover more and engage in your online course after building brand awareness. 

But how can you do that? One of the most effective tools is a lead magnet. It usually appears at the top of the majority of purchase funnels. 

A lead magnet is something compelling and valuable that you offer your potential customers for free, and you can get their contact details. So it generates consistent leads.

You can nurture these people until they turn into your loyal customers. If a prospect exists in your purchase funnel, it’s essential to retarget follow-up email campaigns and advertisements. 

Relevance and simplicity of consumption are essential components of a successful lead magnet. You can understand your customers more clearly thanks to effective lead magnets. It’s easier to determine trends and build customized, targeted offers for your audience’s needs by collecting customer information. 

Check the successful lead magnet recommendations below:

  • Checklist
  • Case study
  • Blueprint
  • Short ebooks
  • Tutorials
  • Templates
  • Webinars
  • Challenges
  • Resources and tools
  • Cheatsheets
  • Quizzes
  • Previews
  • Panorama

It would be best if you prepared your lead magnets well. After getting these things ready, you should persuade your potential customers to use them. 

Ensure you have built a landing page for your lead magnets with salesmanship to show advantages and value when getting your incentives. 

Do you want to make your landing page high-converting? It’s crucial to have creative and excellent copywriting skills and attention-grabbing design. 

Elements for a landing page with a high conversion rate

In addition to images, a few additional components can significantly influence your landing page’s conversion rate. For instance: 

  • A compelling title that highlights your lead magnet’s value. 
  • Use a thorough description of your potential client’s situation to hit the pain points. 
  • Explain the way in which your lead magnet helps to address that problem.
  • Confirm your assertions with testimonials and reviews.
  • Use attractive calls to action if you want people to connect. 

Follow these guidelines, and you can build an effective lead magnet landing page. As a result, you can lead to more conversions. It eventually helps your business grow. 

Retarget the landing page for your lead magnet.

When people visit your lead magnet page, they are interested in learning more about your online course. However, they are too curious to get your incentives and provide their email. It’s time retargeting comes into play!

Consider including a code on your landing page to retarget visitors who go to your website but do not purchase. That way, you can make your business reappear. Hence, you will have more chances to share your stories and why your customers need your incentives over competitors. 

Create a Thank You page.

Your potential clients at this phase take time to look through your checkout page and be willing to provide their email addresses. They are interested in your incentives but don’t yet trust your course. 

It’s time to create a “Thank You” page. So you can share your story, provide gifts, and send them an invitation to join a community on Facebook for free. 

Nevertheless, never overwhelm your customers, but continue offering value if they pay attention to your online course. 

Retarget your “Thank You” page.

Retarget your new customers by adding code to your “Thank You” page with paid ads. They already give you a minor commitment. From here on, you can establish a rapport and win their trust.

Step 4: Start A Drip Campaign

Now, your ideal clients agree to discuss so you can propose an offer. When someone joins your list, send them an initial welcome message and begin an automatic follow-up sequence. 

The process is simple! Introduce your business, and add a download link for the complimentary content you mentioned. After that, encourage your customers to pay attention to your business and contact you via email and social media. 

Most importantly, remember to ask for your contacts’ permission before sending them emails and to mention the data security policy. Write and include many emails in automatic follow-up emails designed with the email service provider. 

For instance, it’s a good idea to create three follow-up emails. Then, design the automatic response series so that each new subscriber receives one email daily for three days. That way, you can ensure all subscribers get your content.

Step 5: Monitor And Add Non-Buyers To Email List

Before creating a sales funnel for your online courses, you should understand that not everyone you invite will enroll in your course. 

Salespeople must remember that not every person they speak with will become a loyal client. How do you convert them into paying customers?

It’s a good idea to politely ask your new subscribers why they do not buy your online course after you email them. 

People may be surprised at first when you ask them the question. However, if you perform proper methods, you can get feedback from your target audience. 

Some clients may directly answer that they no longer want to receive your email. Nevertheless, others may require less email contact. They still ask some questions about your online course before purchasing. 

You can consider starting a dialogue, adding more information to the landing page, creating a page to answer frequently asked questions, or adjusting the flow of your emails.

Step 6: Fuel Your Sales Funnel

Your purchase funnel for online courses is ready. So, what should you do next? Fill it up now! All your hard work refining your marketing funnel will be in vain if there is no traffic. How to lead traffic to your funnel? Consider the ways below:

Paid ads

The impact of paid ads is nearly immediate. Unlike content marketing, you can drive visitors to your landing page or website right away.

In addition, there are many platforms where you can get paid ads. It means you can choose the suitable ones for your specific purposes. 

However, paid ads also have some drawbacks. They are not free! The cost of each platform may vary. 

Besides, you may find it hard to get started and master these digital marketing platforms to focus on the right potential customers. In some cases, you may waste your ad budget. 

There are many platforms to achieve your marketing goals, but consider the following options:

  • Google: This platform is the most popular for generating new leads for your first sales funnel. 
  • LinkedIn: It’s better suited for a formal business setting and excellent for inbound B2B (business-to-business) traffic.
  • Facebook: Facebook’s targeting abilities make it more economical than other platforms. 

Email List

If you want to market your online courses, you should have an extensive email list. The ROI (Return On Investment) on email marketing is an astounding 400%. It’s the best way to reach your prospects directly. 

Consider spending on ads and creating compelling content. That way, someone may come across your site. 

Furthermore, you can use email marketing to talk with your leads directly. Nothing is better than having a personalized method to reach your new clients.


What Is The Best Way To Market An Online Course?

Check out the methods below to sell online courses before and after publishing them. 

Before publishing online courses:

  • Create the avatar for your ideal learners
  • Identify the value proposition of your courses
  • Survey before creating a course
  • Consider keyword research to create an attractive title for your course
  • Presell a course

After publishing online courses:

  • Promote your online courses on blogs
  • Start building a YouTube channel
  • Post free tutorials on your YouTube channel
  • Add a link to your online system in your email
  • Promote webinars
  • Publish your online course on Amazon 
  • Offer a specific payment plan
  • Create a group on Facebook
  • Use a Facebook story or Instagram Reels

Can You Sell A Course On ClickFunnels?

Yes! You can organize and market your online course on ClickFunnels to reach ideal students worldwide without a third-party program.

How Do You Manage Online Courses?

Here are some recommendations for managing online courses:

  • Remove distractions
  • Use dress code
  • Solve discipline issues quickly
  • Include visual cues in your lessons
  • Flip the online classroom

Wrapping Up

Building the right sales funnel for online courses is a strategic process to boost your sales and expand your reach significantly. It’s essential to understand the concept of this marketing tool to lead your potential customers to your online course. 

Remember that constant optimization and adjustments are the keys to improving your funnel’s effectiveness.  Thank you for reading!

👉 Read more:

Key logo funnel secrets


Key Nguyen

Key is the brainchild behind You’ll often find him analyzing conversion rates, tweaking landing pages, and exploring new marketing automation software. He loves to write about sales funnel building and is always tinkering with the latest conversion optimization techniques!