5 Ways to Avoid Marketing Your Next eCourse to Everyone

  • March 26, 2013 by Guest Writer

If you design a course for everybody — and try to sell to everybody — you’ll dilute your voice, neuter your material, and be stuck with lackluster sales and unhappy customers.

One size has never fit all!

You probably know this already, right? You know about targeting your market, nicheing down and all that.

But if you’ve created a product, you also know the the desire to share your creation with the whole world, the desire to wield a wide net for more sales instead of a sharp knife.

Here’s 5 ways to stay sharp and, ultimately, make more money being brutally clear about who your course serves — leaving everyone else out. You’ll find tips here to help with both your program design and your copywriting.

Note: this post is by Jennifer Louden. You can find out all about her at the end of her article. We love her “no B.S.” approach to this topic.

1. Find and Sell One Core Idea

Your course or e-book is going to teach people how to do one thing. Not 7. Not 17. Just 1.

And teach them how to do it very well, very simply, or very quickly.

It might be how to write articles that build your list, or how to collect stamps that double in value, or how to tie largemouth bass flies. The key to building a business that includes training is to go “an inch wide and a mile deep” with each offer, and with each lesson or step within your offer. Focus sells!

Honing in on your one core idea helps you identify students who are just-right for your course, and then you can write your sale page to appeal to them. For example:

  • The core idea behind Fizzle is: Expert training + a community of online entrepreneurs.
  • The core idea behind my TeachNow program is: Teach anything with more ease and success, starting NOW.
  • The core idea behind Mark Silver’s Sacred Selling is: Discover how your open heart, your integrity, and the right structures bring your best clients to happily say, “Yes, I’m ready! How do I pay?”


  • Look at 3 courses you own and figure out what their core ideas are.
  • Or go look at the sales pages of courses you never bought. Can you find their core ideas? And if you can’t, is that why you haven’t bought them?

2. Do The Sales Page Dance

Write a rough draft of your sales page – preferably before you design the course. Imagine what your just-right customer wants and needs. Name the take-aways and benefits you can actually provide.

Next pop over to your course outline and add in the material, stories and exercises that will fulfill the promises and benefits you just described on your first draft of the sales page.

As you do this, keep an eye out for “appeal creep”. Are you starting to add in more elements because you think that’s what you need to sell to everybody? Focus in on your just-right students. If you forgot who they are, share your first draft of the course with 3 people who fit the bill, and after they have a chance to look the content over, share the sales page. Ask them: have you created what they want and need?

Once you get your course design roughed in, rewrite your sales page to fit what you actually created.

3. Be Selfish

Keep in mind why you want to create this course as you write your sales page and design your offer. Trying to please your customers – especially all possible customers – takes you out of your center and away from what you have to offer: your voice, your experiences, and your stories.

What jazzes you? What makes your heart beat fast? What makes you livid? Keep that front and center. Marie Forleo didn’t lose her New Jersey girl, her love of hip-hop, or her interest in spirituality. She owned it all and used it to create a hugely profitable brand. What she teaches isn’t unique – not at all – but her voice and style – like yours – is one-of-a-kind.

4. Exclude Boldly

Not many people are brave enough to exclude anyone in their sales copy– and that creates a great opportunity for you if you are willing to be bold and craft a sales page designed to attract only your just-right students. Consider it a form of teaching: You’re educating people so they know whether your course is a good fit for them or not.

Choose testimonials from only your just-right clients and edit those testimonials – with permission – to reflect the benefits you are most proud to deliver. Write your FAQ to not only address objections but also to weed out the people who don’t want what you’ve got. You can even add in a “this is not for you” clause.

Brand Strategists Abby Kerr and Tami Smith of Empathy Marketing are bold:

The Empathy Marketing approach is not right for every business owner. It’s not for people who:

  • Can’t enjoy the freedom of a few constraints
  • Want to serve multiple audiences through one brand or one offer
  • Only want to work in the 1:1 time-for-money model
  • Are ambivalent about wanting to make a profit or aren’t convinced they want to be a consumer-focused business
  • Want to market inspiration instead of concrete solutions
  • Are intent on creating content solely by their own definition of successful instead of making their audience’s needs as important as their own

You don’t need to be negative to exclude – but you do need to claim what you deliver, who you deliver it to, and then continue to hone your copy if you learn you have new or different just-right students. It’s a process!

5. Aim for Graduation

In some marketing circles the aim is to make people dependent, to hook them into believing you have the magic bullet, and the next one, and the next.

When you teach, dare to aim for something much more effective – and difficult to achieve – which is to deliver on your promise to teach one thing so that people become confident in understanding and putting this one thing into practice.

Do that well, and keep offering more courses that build on what people need to know next, and you’ll be rewarded with strong loyalty and stellar sales.


Hopefully, I’ve made a good case for driving your “not-right” people away from your next course or product – so you can grow your business and your impact.  And here’s a fab side benefit: you get to work with grateful and happy customers!

Instead of trying to please everybody, concentrate on creating content that serves, and reach out boldly and decisively to only those people who can learn it best from YOU.

I can’t wait to hear what you think – is this crazy talk? How will you adjust it for your courses and offers? Do tell!

Jen Louden is the best-selling author of 6 books, including the pioneering best-sellers The Woman’s Comfort Book and The Woman’s Retreat Book. She’s also the creator of the popular course TeachNow. You can sign up for a free sampler of the TeachNow course here.