What is a Course Funnel and Why is it different from a Sales funnel?

Over the last few years, I’ve been building a platform for course creators and just realized what it really is.

You see, my last read, or audio listen, is a book called Play Bigger and it’s all about something called category creation.

The idea is that companies with the most success are category kings and this book explains how the process works.

Anyway, it’s an amazing book, you should check it out if you’re into marketing and sales.

Otherwise, let’s get to course funnels and why it’s different than a sales funnel.

What is a funnel?

If you don’t know what a funnel is, you’ve probably been living under a rock, no offence.

Or maybe you’re just new to online marketing and you found this page just because you are looking to sell your course online.

Either way, let’s just clarify the term.

As I’m sure you know, a funnel is just a tool to focus something in a direction, just like putting some liquid into a small bottle opening.

In marketing or sales, it’s the same – we want to take something that is big and fit in to something small.

What is a sales funnel?

When we talk about a sales funnel, we can mean just the process of taking some cold prospect all the way to a long term repeat customer, or the tools to do so.

In the case of the blog post, we are talking about the tools to do that, but first let’s talk about the process.

In struct sales parlance, there are multiple levels, stages or steps a lead can be passed through and these can be different depending on the product or your choices.

For example, a lead (a person who might buy) can be: new, contacted, presented to, trialing or sold and going from one step to the next requires the previous step to be passed through.

So the process is taking a lead through all those steps which can certainly be a daunting task!

The types of sales funnels

That might make you realize that a sales funnel isn’t going to work for all that.

As a matter of fact, a sales funnel is not only specific to a product and a target audience (or avatar) but it’s actually specific to a lead stage.

Think about it, would you use the same wording, images, videos to try to get a total stranger or a friend to buy your thing?

Of course not, so in the sales world, your funnel will be different for each of those stages.

That means a lot of funnels if you want to be totally prepared and get the best results!

The rest of the sales funnel

Not to scare you away, but there’s something else I didn’t get into yet and that’s everything around a sales funnel.

You see, not only must you know your avatar, what they like or don’t like, what scares them, what motivates them and how your product can help them, but you must also follow up with them.

That means that a funnel doesn’t stop when they leave the web site because if it does, you’re leaving 50-90% of the money on the table!

That’s right, you have to follow up! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the fortune is in the follow-up” and it’s true.

The follow up

So, knowing that the fortune is in the follow up and that without a follow up, you’re leaving 50-90% of the money on the table should make anyone do the work of the follow up, right?

Well, wrong – most entrepreneurs don’t do the follow-up – and I’m no exception although I’m better than I was.

It’s just a natural human instinct to shy away from follow-up because it means they said no to you in the first place.

We don’t want to talk to someone who rejected us because our instinct to protect ourselves by avoiding more rejection.

If we can remember that no doesn’t mean no forever but just not right now, it can help with putting together the follow up emails.

Of course, you need to make sure your funnel first asks for their email and that a valid email is required to get access to what you are giving them in exchange for their email.

The course funnel

What about the difference between a course funnel and a sales funnel?

I mean, isn’t a funnel just a funnel?

Well, yes and no. The thing is that a course funnel is a sales funnel for a course, make sense?

All right, let’s break it down, after all, this is why you even came to this article, right?

A Funnel is really a series of steps that you want your prospect to go through, so the difference between a sales funnel and a course funnel is in the content but also in the steps.

It’s also in the fact that you can re-use all your course materials for lots of it.

For example, you can use the course title, summary and description (and you should) in your funnel pages.

Also, you can use your course lessons as follow up emails, well not the lessons themselves but their titles, summaries, descriptions and goals.


The cool about a course funnel is that it can be relatively simple to create if you have the course created.

Of course, you could improve it but you have to remember that familiarity is an important factor in getting people to take action.

By using the same text in your follow ups and in your course and lessons, when someone sees an email, they will recognize you and your course.

If we remember that it typically takes 7-10 exposures for someone to buy, then it makes sense that you can use the course text for your follow up emails.

Imagine if that could all be created for you when you create your course!

Watch the video for more insights and don’t forget to share.

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