Skip to content

How To Presell Your Online Course [Ep. 51]

Want to learn how to presell your online course?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, we’ll be going over how to use preselling to validate your online course idea — so that you don’t waste time creating something people don’t truly want.

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand:

  • Why a course presale is beneficial to both you and your students
  • How to do a course presale
  • What to say in a course presale email
  • Why you don’t necessarily need a course sales page
  • How to resell your course after it goes live
  • And more!

Our special guest for this episode is Lisa Lisson of Are You My Cousin?, who will be sharing all of the above and more.

Note: This episode on using your platform for good contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Table of Contents

How To Presell Your Online Course [Podcast Episode Audio]

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts/iTunes

Click here to listen on Spotify

Click here to listen on TuneIn

Click here to listen on Amazon Music

Free Travel Blogger Resource Library

To help you really jumpstart your blogging success, I’ve added 55+ blogging resources like printables, video tutorials, and workbooks into a FREE resource library for travel bloggers.

These resources are meant to help you grow your traffic, community, and income faster and with less overwhelm!

Create & Presell Your Online Course With These Helpful Tools

Teachable. This is my favorite platform for creating profitable online courses. Their support is fantastic, too. My affiliate link gets you a 14-day free trial — no credit card required!

ConvertKit. A feature-rich yet user-friendly email marketing platform made by bloggers for bloggers. My affiliate link gets you a 30-day free trial — no credit card required!

how to presell your online course

How To Presell An Online Course [Episode Transcript]

*Note: This is the edited down and paraphrased version of the episode. For the full episode, listen to the audio version linked above.

One of the biggest fears for bloggers wanting to monetize through online course creation is that they’ll spend a ton of time creating their course, only to have nobody purchase.

Luckily, though, there is a way to totally avoid this pitfall called pre-selling – which is exactly what our special guest Lisa Lisson from Are You My Cousin? will be helping us to do.

We’ll be going over what a pre-sale is, how to do a pre-sale, tips for seeing success, and more!

1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips! To start, can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Lisa Lisson and I am the creator over at Are You My Cousin?. I’m a genealogy researcher and writer and blogger.

Basically, I like to try new things and see what I can do to encourage engagement and help others find their ancestors.

2. So today we’re talking about preselling; as in, selling a product before you fully create it. Can you tell us about your course and why you decided to pre-sell it instead of doing a live product launch event like many creators do?

One of the reasons I wanted to presell my course is that I had this idea to do an ecourse and I really didn’t want to go through creating an entire course and then have it not be what my audience really wanted.

My course idea was to focus on finding female ancestors and researching the women in family trees because there’s a lot of unique challenges that come up when it comes to researching our female ancestors. I knew that people would be interested, but I wasn’t sure if they would respond to this format.

So I sat down and I sent out an email to my email list and I said, “I have had this crazy idea and I don’t know if it’s going to work. Tell me what you think.”

In the email, I laid out my idea, exactly what I planned to create, and what would be included. Then I asked people to let me know if they’d be interested.

The response was incredible!

3. What did the course pre-sale look like?

It was mainly just the conversational email.

And then as I could tell that my audience was interested in it I would mention it in my weekly emails — because I do email my list regularly. So I would say, “By the way, yes, I’m moving forward with creating the online course. Watch my emails for more details coming up.”

It was very casual, which is the tone that I try to have when creating website content anyway.

This sort of preselling email is one of the types of emails that can boost your income.

4. Did you do anything specific to grow your audience or warm up your existing subscribers before pre-selling your course?

I’ve focused on growing an email list for a while, so I have a very active email list.

And I do email them pretty much weekly, which I tell them upfront when they subscribe that I’ll do. I’m very passionate about genealogy and love sending out educational broadcasts to engage my email list.

So, yes, I had done some prepping, but not really a lot. But because I email my list often about genealogy — and particularly about the unique challenges related to finding women in a family tree — I’d already been naturally warming them up to the course topic.

5. Once your pre-sale ended, how long after did your course go live?

It went live in about three weeks.

Note that it was a six-module ecourse, but I did not create all six modules prior to going live. I only created the first one. From there, we met as a group once per month, so I would create a new module each month.

This allowed me to get up and running fairly quickly. I had the bare bones and I knew the outline and I knew the order, but I didn’t have to have it all complete.

This allowed me to then ask students, “You know, as we talk about this particular topic next month, what are the specific questions you might have?”

We had a private course Facebook group, so I’d ask there and have people leave their questions in the comments. This way, I could make sure I covered them in the next module.

6. With your initial student group from your first pre-sale, were there any ways you were able to get students involved in the creation of the course?

Along with getting their feedback about what they wanted to learn and what they needed help with, I would do a monthly hot seat.

We did these about twice per month, and students could let me know ahead of time some of the specific questions and struggles they were having with their particular research. From there, we could sit down I would make sure we went over them and I’d show them how to use specific research tools.

This open dialogue allowed them to learn from me and me to learn from them for a wonderful community aspect and a really nice conversation among all of us.

7. After having a successful course pre-sale yourself, what were some things you did that you think helped and that you’d recommend others do?

Going back to what we talked about earlier, I think it’s important to just be very upfront about what your course or other digital product idea is. You want to be very clear about what you plan to create.

Basically, it’s very helpful to have a good framework upfront; but, you don’t necessarily have to create all the details in the middle of it right away.

8. Now, on the flip side of that, are there any things that you did that you might do differently next time?

I might give myself a little bit more time between the grand idea and the actual implementation.

After doing my course launch, I have a better understanding of some of the tech that is out there and available now to run an online course, so I might suggest experimenting with a few platforms and seeing what you like, and then giving yourself time to fully learn it.

I used MemberVault — which was great, I still them — but it was kind of a struggle learning how to use it as well as creating the course content at the same time.

If I could go back, I’d spend a little more upfront time learning my platform.

9. Will you do a live launch the next time your course goes on sale or will you do a pre-sale again? Why?

I tend to stick with the course presale strategy because it works!

Building on that, what I also do is offer individual masterclasses where I will presell them within a 10-day window.

Then I put the masterclass on my website to sell as an evergreen product, which allows me to increase my blogging income. If you’re wondering how to monetize a travel blog, this can be very effective.

I’ll also sometimes bundle these workshops and masterclasses together to create another valuable product.

10. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! Before we sign off, can you let everyone know where they can find you?

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to presell your course or other product to validate your idea before you create it.

Don’t forget to grab access to the free travel blogging resource library. There are a ton of resources in there on growing your community and increasing your blogging profits.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their sites into profitable full-time blogging businesses.

Happy blogging!

Bonus: Monetize Your Travel Blog With An Online Course [Video]

Also need help understanding how to create an online course?

You can grab my step-by-step strategy for successfully creating and launching an online course as a travel blogger above!

By the way, I regularly post YouTube videos sharing monetization strategies for travel bloggers, so make sure to subscribe if you’d like to be notified when these publish!

Increase Your Travel Blogger Salary With These Helpful Past Episodes:

How To Create A Profitable Online Course

10 Clever Ways To Monetize A Travel Blog

14 Best Digital Products To Sell Online As A Travel Blogger

How To Start A Travel Blog & Make Money

A Powerful Product Launch Template For Increasing Sales

How To Grow Your Travel Blogging Income With A Tripwire Funnel

12 Ways To Grow Your Blog Fast

7 Types Of Emails That Can Boost Your Travel Blogging Income

Create A Profitable Automated Email Sequence (With Template!)


Connect With The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast

Stay In The Loop

Do you want to get notified when new episodes publish?

Then make sure to opt-in for podcast email notifications sent to your inbox!

You can do that by clicking here.

Subscribe + Review (To Win A Prize!)

Love learning new blogging strategies to help grow your website traffic, community, and income?

Click here to subscribe on iTunes to be notified when new episodes publish.

I’d also be extremely grateful if you’d leave a review right here and let me know your favorite part of the episode or a takeaway you walked away with. By leaving a review, you help the show be seen by more people, helping the episodes to have a greater impact.


Each month, I’ll be choosing one reviewer at random to win a FREE seat inside one of my masterclasses.

Winners can choose from:

  • How To Grow Your Blogging Income Through Facebook Ads
  • How To Land Paid Press Trips As A Travel Blogger
  • How To Make Money (Fast) With Affiliate Marketing
  • How To Start A Tour Company In Your Own Backyard
  • How To Start A Blog, Grow An Audience & Make Money
  • Build Your Blogging Profit Plan Masterclass

Winners will be chosen at random from the reviews and will be notified via email, so make sure to send me — jessie (at) jessieonajourney dot) com — your email address so I have it. 


What tips would you add to this guide on how to presell your online course?