Marketing Your Funnel Course

As we finished setting up our funnel program, the biggest areas that needed the most work—the marketing campaign—has finally been finished. I’m part of a content marketing group and I decided to use all the bits and pieces I learned about full on funnel campaigns into designing one specifically for Aikido. I put this here as a checklist guide so you can build one yourself!

The great thing about this is once they are made, you can re-use them over and over again.

1. Advertisement

What it is: An advertisement, be it virtual or physical, meant to generate interest in the product you are selling. In our case, it’s our 5 week Introduction to Aikido program. It should absolutely be tailored to the market you are hoping to convert. We used Facebook, with a video, to target men and women 18-55 years old, within a 20 mile radius. Facebook’s algorithm automatically optimizes who they target based on how your ad does, so it will do its best to get you the customers most likely to convert. The call to action is “Sign Up” which leads them to the program landing page. Another org in a more metro area found that a 5 mile radius was best, but since we’re suburban, we chose to cast a wider net. Do a zip code analysis of your students to see where the majority are coming from to know your optimal radius.

The Goal: To trigger those who see the ad to achieve what you are looking for them to do (be it purchase a product, visit a website, sign up for a newsletter etc.) This is the “Call to action.” In our case, we wanted to dump them onto our landing page.

Here is our ad copy. The last paragraph will be changed depending on the medium (tear off fliers.)

***Be mindful that for Facebook, you will want to use the BOOST POST function and not the other functions if your video ad itself doesn’t tell people what you’re selling, or else there is a character limit for the post itself. This had been bugging me for months and I finally found the workaround.***

How We Will Achieve This: Utilizing what we learned of the motivations of Aikido practitioners, design Facebook, Instagram, and Paper advertisements using cool videos and copy content that talks about the three major motivating factors of Health, Skill Mastery, and Fun. By clicking on our ad (or entering the URL from tear-offs), they get directed to the landing page.

First 3 hour results. We are right on target with 1%~2% click through rate. We have actually a better than I thought watch through rate (where someone stops to watch the video instead of scrolling right past.)

After 3-4 days:

Although we have not gotten direct sign ups yet, in the last 4 days we did get 1 try out and 2 more this coming week—the first try-out ended up joining our monthly program.

After 10 Days—we’ve had 5 people sign up for the course so far! What the numbers below tell me is that something on my landing page is not converting people to signing up, even though the conversion rate is actually on par with market percentages—but imagine if everyone who clicked the “sign up” button on Facebook to learn more actually signed up?

After 13 days, we are at 6 sign ups with 103 link clicks, so clocking it at around a 6% landing page conversion rate. Not terrible, but I know there are market program creators who are capable of getting 14%… might have to buckle down and shoot some longer more in depth video.

We are a week away from the start of the course with 9 sign ups total (not counting the 5 new students who signed up with us over the course of the last month directly into the monthly membership class.)

At the end of the ad we had 10 total sign ups, and 5 people paid and showed up to the course. Check out the results and notes of the first course here

2. Website Landing Page

What it is: A website landing page is as the name implies. It is where potential customers “land” after engaging with the advertisement of which the sole purpose is to funnel it onto the page. There is some debate over whether or not to allow visitors to this page to click away from it, so you will see some funnel pages are missing the top menu, and the only links available to navigate away from the page are those you deliberately put there that takes them to something that should generate more interest and loops them back around. We didn’t do that, but there is a school of content marketing thought that does.

The Goal: To convert potential customers who visit the landing page into purchasing the product (or whatever the goal of the landing page is.) In our case, we want them to sign up for the funnel course in the embedded form. The reason we chose to embed a form rather than a payment button is because we want to nudge them towards attending the class, and smaller steps are less intimidating than bigger ones.

How We Will Achieve This: We use WordPress for our website, and you can see our landing page here. It includes some cool videos to remind them why they want to do this, a rough outline of what they can expect as far as what they put in and what they will get out of it. The embedded form is from Mailchimp. We decided to create an automated email response to everyone who fill out the form in order to do the final conversion which is to get them to pay for the course. We ended up choosing Mailchimp rather than Google Forms because Mailchimp can automate an email when anyone signs up for this specific form.

3. Email

What It Is: This email is the final step in the conversion, which is for the potential customers to pay for the course.

The Goal: This email should have instructions on how to pay, and begin the onboarding process by familiarizing those who signed up with your school, the instructors, and Aikido in a fun way. It should make them feel welcome, like they already kind of know the school without having set foot into it.

How We Will Achieve This: We decided to include a Japanese recipe for Onigiri from my personal blog since I already have the photos ready, plus some more fun videos, some language tidbits, introducing the instructors and school, a bit about Aikido and the course, as well as reiterating why they want to do this course by reminding them of their motivations.

Feel free to take a look at the copy content for our email, and you can use it as a template.

You can see the template of our email below as well. If this was helpful to you, please send us a message or a comment. It’s important to us that everyone is able to use the information we provide.

4. Optional: Online Payment Button

These next few steps are optional, but recommended, meant to solidify the initial onboarding process. Those who have signed up are likely to pay without any additional prompting, but there may be a few that drop off the radar. You now want them to commit and it’s easier with a trusted payment software like Paypal, but they may miss it. Once they pay, it further onboards them by dumping them immediately into our online waiver form. Paypal has the ability to take them to a URL after payment, so we utilize this as another easy action for them to complete. You must prep them for it, so have it in the instructions on both the landing page and the email. This is part of managing expectations.

5. Optional: Online Waiver

Online waiver forms are great, especially since ours is free and done in Google forms, which dumps directly into the database Adam built. It decreases the work we have to do, there’s no fear of missed signatures because Google Forms can make sections required, and it’s an action that gets them one step closer to committing to class. You get directed into our online waiver form after paying for the course. Since we gave them the option to pay in person, they can also go directly to the waiver form from the email, with instructions on where and why.

You can see our waiver form here.*

If you plan to copy the language of our waiver form, please have a licensed attorney look it over, since laws differ state to state.

6. Optional: Reminder Email

If you have stragglers, those who signed up but didn’t pay through the online payment system, you can send a reminder email. We allow payment in person so we don’t know for sure if they don’t plan on coming, but a reminder email doesn’t have to be so direct or aggressive. It can be a “what to expect during class next week”, fun videos, and more fun cultural tidbits with a single reminder and payment button at the top. Reminder emails are also good for those who have already signed up and paid because if an amount of time has passed, they may have cooled off in interest slightly, but this allows you to rekindle it and hold onto those who may be ruminating about changing their mind.

I’ll provide what we did in picture and copy form once it’s done… Most likely the week before the course begins. It will include the syllabus, which is a more detailed course outline, for this program to further manage and solidify their expectations. Feel free to take a look and copy the syllabus:

Here is the email that was sent out the week before the course starts.

7. Optional: Cold Outreach Email

This is an email meant to to go anyone who has tried a class and left their contact information but never committed to the monthly program, and for anyone who quit before they did their first test.

8. Email from Instructor day before course begins

This touches base with everyone the day before the course begins, in order to make them feel like they connect with the instructor. I decided to validate a possible apprehension (scary to try something new) with reassurances that we will try our best to assuage them.

I sent it to myself while BCCing all the sign ups, this way they individually get the email without seeing anyone else’s (for their privacy.)

Out of the 10 sign ups, 5 paid. This is also a way to improve the chances that the other 5 will show up and commit day of.

9. Completion Certificate at the end of the course

I don’t know what else to call this since Completion Certificate isn’t exactly accurate as it’s meant to get them thinking about joining the general Aikido class now that they’ve completed the funnel course. I plan to have a card that says “Congratulations! This certifies that (Name) completed the 5 Week Introduction to Aikido program at the Long Island Aikikai.”

On the other side will be something like “Only X amount of days until the first rank. If you would like to continue, please present this card to the dojocho to receive $X* off your first month of unlimited Aikido classes.”

*Collaborator Gary Casazza noted that people are more likely to redeem dollar amounts because it looks like cash, more often than percentage amounts.