This post was contributed by Lindsay Kirsch, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.
I remember when I purchased my first online course. It was only a few years ago… I was still working a corporate job, but I it was slowly killing me. The daily 9–5… (or really, like 6–6) was wearing down my body, mind and spirit.
I knew I could do more with my expertise. If I were on my own, I’d really be able to leverage my full capabilities.
I could create a life of flexibility and freedom… and not have to stick with what’s expected and the status quo of working a corporate job.
I just needed some help to get started building my digital business. A digital business in which I would share my expertise via consulting and coaching services along with various products.
Meanwhile, there was a course that kept popping up in my Facebook feed. It promised to teach me all about digital marketing. I had a bit of background here, and I was already starting to set the foundation of my business in place. The more I saw the ad, the more I KNEW this course could be the magic key to break me out of corporate.
I decided to take the plunge. As a newly divorced and single mom, I didn’t really have the extra money at the time. This was the first big investment I decided to make towards my future business! I was ready, but I was really nervous.
I pulled out a credit card and placed an order for a seat in an advanced digital marketing class.
Immediately, I felt an adrenaline rush of excitement, but also, apprehension.
Did I make the right choice? Is this actually going to help me build my business? What happens next?
The post-purchase “not so comfortable” zone
If you have ever purchased a premier online course before, I’m sure that you have felt similar emotional anxiety.
These investments are not cheap. You can be spending thousands of dollars on the expertise of someone that you’ve never even met before.
It’s exhilarating and scary at the same time!
The marketing for these products is designed to elicit an emotional response. The goal is to trigger our emotional pain points and offer us an immediate solution to feel better… sort of like taking some ibuprofen when you have a killer migraine.
When we are marketing our digital courses or other information programs, we are hitting the emotional heart strings of our audience. We are teasing our customers into making the decision to move forward, and make a purchase.
The key point here is you aren’t out to create a quick buck, nor to trick your audience into buying a crappy product. You are here to deliver value; building your credibility as a go-to expert and leaving them wanting to come back for more.
This can take our audience out of their comfort zone, into a place of uncertainty and potentially even buyers remorse. Don’t believe me? Well, the stats don’t lie.
Lead your customer to success
Unfortunately, analysts estimate nearly one-third of all online purchases are returned.
Mistake purchases, refunds, dissatisfaction–we want to put all of those impulses out of our buyers’ minds, right away
You know your content rocks! How can you get people to the happy place of also realizing this once they have purchased, but before they have even started your course?
Refund requests can be demoralizing. There is nothing that stinks more than people who want a refund before you course even begins.
As a new leader, building trust both before the purchase of your course, but also immediately after is where you want to focus.
So how can we bring our customers back into the comfort zone and help them feel excited and ready for their latest course, rather than remorseful and ready to ask for a refund?
Create a positive customer relationship right from the get-go
Helping your buyer gain confidence that their purchase is a secure investment and worthwhile isn’t always an easy thing to do when you could be 1,000s of miles apart.
However, you can use some simple marketing automations to help them feel confident and increase their excitement to begin your course.
Create a post-purchase automation sequence focused on building trust can create a bridge between purchase date and course start date, especially if it is not a course that starts immediately upon purchase (such as a synchronous learning group course).
This may seem like a lot of up-front work, but when you see how much this can reduce refunds and chargebacks, it will be worth it’s weight in gold!
Email 1: Receipt and order confirmation
The first email your purchasers should receive, right away, is a receipt and confirmation of their purchase directly to their email.
Soothe your customer’s fears, by including a note that says something to the effect of, “You’ve made a wise and exciting decision! Here’s what some of our past customers have said” and include some testimonials to help juice up their excitement and remind them of why they purchased your product in the first place!
Email 2: Confirm communications
There’s nothing worse than someone who signs up and is hearing crickets! Use the confirmation email to make sure they are actually getting your communications!
Similar to using a double opt-in for a lead magnet, getting confirmation from your customer that they are receiving your communications and instructions for how they can set up a filter to make sure they continue to receive your course communications at the top of their inbox.
You may even segment your customers so that you can have a task automation to reach out directly to someone who has not opened or read this email (it might have gone to their spam!)
It’s also a good idea to remind your buyers of how they can contact you for any questions or if they need help. This makes your product seem more human, as well as concerned with the well-being of your customers!
Email 3: Get in the group
If your course includes some type of group forum or Facebook group, put your customers in it right away and get them chatting it up. Feeling a part of a larger tribe will help your customer feel connected, even if the course hasn’t started yet.
Help your audience feel involved immediately by getting them directly connected with their peers. Engagement increases curiosity. Audiences that are engaged with talk, explore and ask questions. The more engaged your audience is, the more potential there is for them to learn from each other.
Email 4: Share your commitment
Studies have shown that publicly sharing your progress can actually help motivate you to accomplish your goals. Sharing a commitment helps individuals anchor themselves into completing something; it creates stakes and accountability.
Make it easy for your customers to share their new commitment by including direct “share to social” buttons in the email. (This is also free promo for your course itself!)
Email 5: Important dates
It’s time to get your customers serious about their commitment and get time booked on their calendars. If your course is self-paced, meaning, they do it on their own in their own time, you might recommend a schedule for them (say 1 hour a day for 2 weeks… or whatever it takes).
If your course is a group program, provide the dates, times and a click to add to calendar link directly in the email. Make this easy for them to remember! (Having more people complete your course and give you testimonials is definitely worth this extra step!)
Remember – the better they plan, the more successful they will be… and the more likely they will be to purchase from you in the future and recommend your program to friends!
Email 6: Success tips
In this email you might offer different tips to help your customers be successful in your course. Rather than coming directly from you, ask people who have used your product before and directly quote them – what advice do they have on how to achieve success?
Email 7: Affiliate info
Finally, you may offer the customers that have purchased your course the opportunity to become an affiliate.
Include information on how to apply for the affiliate program as well as the benefits to them for being an affiliate.
It’s not too late to automate!
This pushes the line between marketing and what is learning—but according to Gallup, a customer who is fully engaged represents an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer.
In stark contrast, an actively disengaged customer represents a 13% discount in those same measures.
In short, when customers believe they are getting more out of a business, they give more to it.
This is why, if we want our customers to be successful in our course, we have to get the engaged even BEFORE it starts.
Remember, focusing on just the sale is a short-term solution. Continuing to build the relationship with your customer beyond the initial purchase is the key to long-term sustainability and repeat loyal customers. You won’t be able to build your tribe and have customer advocates if your customers are asking for refunds or not evening finishing your course.
Take a week and plan these emails out. Believe me when I say this small investment of time and automation will pay you back for years to come!
Let me know in the comments below—what type of post-purchase engagement do you use to help your customers get excited about their purchase?
And, of course, click here to get a pre-made post-purchase automation (complete with swipe copy).