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As online course creators, your main focus has to be driving more customers.

It’s all well and good improving the learning experience, creating content, & providing great customer service, but if you’re not able to generate consistent streams of leads and customers, all your hard work is for nothing. 

Generating sales is a challenge for any business owner and online course sales are no different. But with Facebook advertising, generating leads, and customers for your course doesn’t have to be a struggle.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to generate leads for your online course using Facebook ads. 

Related: Ways To Market Your Online Course & Increase Sales

The #1 Mistake Course Creators Make When Advertising On Facebook 

Whenever I speak to course creators, I always ask them: “have you tried running ads on Facebook?”

They always say yes.

When I ask them if they’ve been successful… almost everyone says no.

So, why do most creators fail to get results from their advertising efforts?

Having worked with lots of content creators over the years, I’ve found there to be one main reason: they go straight for the sale.

As creators, we are passionate about our courses and how much of an impact they can have on our customers’ lives. Because of that, we often fall into the trap of thinking all we need to do is put up a simple ad on Facebook asking people to buy our course.

But as you’re probably aware, it’s not that easy.

Picture this: You’re walking down the street and a salesperson stops you, attempting to sell you something. 

They might have the most incredible offer in the world – but because of the nature of how they tried to sell to you, you’ll likely dismiss them. 

You don’t know them, you don’t like them and most importantly, you don’t trust that person. 

Trying to sell to a stranger on Facebook is exactly the same. 

People don’t buy from people they don’t know, like or trust… and so when thinking about generating sales for your course using Facebook ads, don’t think it’s going to be a simple case of sticking up an ad and being inundated with new customers!

We need to take a step back first.

Breaking down the funnel

In order to build that know, like, and trust we need to move away from trying to immediately make the sale and instead focus on building a relationship. The way we do that is through what’s called a funnel. 

A funnel is simply the steps someone takes from going from stranger to customer and it can be broken down into three parts.

A diagram of a funnel, from awareness, to leads, to sales.

For someone to buy from you, they need to trust you. Before they trust you, they need to like you. And before they can like you, they need to know who you are.

Sounds simple, right? But this is often so overlooked.

For us to have success with our advertising, we need to communicate with our prospects based on where they’re at in this journey with us. If someone doesn’t know us, trying to sell to them won’t work. But if they know us, like us and trust us… then it’s a different story.

Below I share three ways you can generate more leads and customers for your online course using Facebook ads.

Related: The Ultimate Facebook Advertising Strategy For Selling Online Courses

Top 3 Advertising Funnels For Course Creators

There are endless possibilities when it comes to making Facebook advertising work for your course, but having worked on hundreds of course campaigns, there are 3 that we’ve seen work time and time again. In no particular order:

A Webinar Funnel

Like I’ve mentioned before, to get someone to buy from you, you need to build trust with them – and a webinar funnel is a great way to do that.

Typically a webinar will consist of you putting on a presentation around the topic that you teach inside your course. You’ll invite people to the webinar to learn about that topic. 

At the end of the webinar, you’ll then offer those attending the webinar to sign up for your course (typically at a discount).

They work really well because the people attending get to know you, your teaching style and will get a feel for whether your course will help them achieve their goals. There’s even the opportunity to build relationships with live Q&A’s.

Facebook advertising is the most effective way to drive sign ups to your webinar as you’re able to target the exact people that you want to attend.

Because you’re giving people the opportunity to sign up for free training (just like they would if it was a conference or seminar), they always perform well. It’s a great offer.

You’re no longer trying to sell something to someone, you’re offering them the chance to learn about something. This is key, because it’s the first step in building trust with your potential customers.

Offering a free trial

Offering a free trial is arguably the easiest and lowest-barrier-to-entry funnel you can use. It works every time.

This is perhaps most suited to membership style courses, where your customers pay you monthly, but it can work for all models.

You simply offer your course to people for free (for a limited number of days). This gives them a chance to “try before they buy” and is by far the most effective way to get people into your course and consuming your content.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should jump and start granting free access to their courses.

The problem with offering free content is that you can often attract the wrong people. Everyone loves a freebie, and often people will sign up for things just because they can. 

But it becomes a numbers game. If you’re able to convert enough of the people signing up to your free trial, it can be an incredible way to build your list and drive customers using ads.

Offering a “mini” version of your course

Similar to the free trial is offering a mini version of your course. 

It’s super simple – rather than trying to pitch your full course in an ad, you simply take a section of your course (or create a separate mini version) and offer it for free. 

For example, let’s pretend you offer a course on video editing. You could take one of the modules (ie. Selecting the best editing tool) and offer that for free.

When people sign up to the mini-course, they can consume the content for free, but they’ll also see all of the other content that’s “locked” until they buy the full thing. If they like what you have to say in the mini-course, there’s a strong chance they’ll want to upgrade!

Offering a mini-course also makes a great offer for your Facebook ads. People sign up knowing that they are going to learn something for free and get to learn about you, your style of teaching and will quickly know whether the rest of the course will be valuable to them.

It’s also a great pre-qualifier because if someone signs up to your mini-course, you can almost guarantee they are a perfect customer for your main course – and so you can continue to nurture and market to them regularly. 

Related: 3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales


There we have it! Three ways to generate more leads and customers for your course using Facebook ads. Like anything we do in advertising it’s important to test different things to see what works best for you. 

For some industries, webinars can work really well, whereas for others, offering a free trial might be more profitable. What’s true for all three though is, if you do them you will build your audience, generate more leads, and will attract potential buyers.