So you’ve created your first course and launched it, only to find it didn’t do as well as you’d hoped. What do you do if your course doesn’t sell?

My first course was a flop. Although I’d been creating courses for others, and I was very comfortable with the tech my first course just didn’t hit the mark.

So, I thought I’d share the details of the limp noodle that was my first ever course — then tell you what you can do if your first course flops.

I created my first course early in 2020, just after the pandemic moved from “How bad can it be?” to “Oh ok, it’s bad!”. With everyone moving online I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to help people. And my first mistake was to assume that people wouldn’t have money to pay for my course – so I sold it as a “pay-what-you-can” course. (But that’s another story and you can read all about how that went here)

It was called The Overwhelmed Course Creators Program. And it was a course teaching what I know – how to create courses.

Sounds great so far, doesn’t it? But the biggest problem was that I hadn’t done any target audience research – so the course I created wasn’t the course my audience wanted/or needed. And in hindsight, it would have been a great course for people who want to do what I do – but that’s not the market I was aiming it at.

So, it wasn’t a terrible course. It had a clear promise, and it solved a specific problem for a specific group of people (just not the right people). And the course itself was actually pretty good. It was actionable, there were videos and tech tutorials, and I created PDF downloads to accompany each of the modules. I even had positive feedback from some of the people who took it. But it just wasn’t the right course for the people I wanted to help.

So, what do you do if your course flops?

Well, if you managed to make any sales that’s great because you have a starting point to improve on. Now your job is to talk to the people who bought your course and get feedback from them (You can read about getting effective feedback here). Then once you’ve got that feedback, you’ll have an idea about what to do to improve your course. Make the changes then get out there and sell it again.

To help you out – here are the 3 most common reasons why a course doesn’t sell and what you can do about it.

#1 Not enough market research

This was my biggest problem with my course. I created the course I thought my market needed – instead of the course they actually needed. You need to take the time to test your idea with real live people before creating your course. So, what do you do if you skipped this part? Getting feedback from those who bought your course is vital and the feedback they give you is gold. Take their exact words and create new content – or tweak your existing content to match that feedback.

#2 No warm audience

To sell a course you need to get it in front of an audience – and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a big audience. If you have a small audience who knows, likes, and trusts you, they’re more likely to buy from you than complete strangers on Facebook. If you don’t have an audience, then I highly recommend you build an audience before launching your course again. Whether this is on social media or an email list, it doesn’t matter. Build an audience of people who want what you’re selling, and you’ll make more sales.

#3 Not communicating the value well

Often the problem with selling a course is that people aren’t seeing the value in your offer. And that’s where the feedback from those who bought your course can be helpful once more. If the course wasn’t what they expected, then the copy on your sales page may be off. If they felt the course provides more value than expected you need to tweak your sales page to make sure it clearly communicates what people will get out of your course. If they felt the course didn’t match up to their expectations, then what I’d recommend you do is add more value to the course so that you meet those expectations.

The good news is that all that work isn’t completely wasted. Sure, my course didn’t work out, but I’d still do it again. The lessons learned were more valuable than the time I invested in creating it. You see I was able to reuse a lot of the content from my course. And the insight I gained into my audience’s needs was invaluable. And I was able to incorporate all of that into my next offer – The Doable Course Creation Planning Kit. So, it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

So, if you’re like me and your first course doesn’t go as you expected, it’s no biggie. Make a plan, set a deadline to get it done, and try again