How NOT to sell a course: Why our first Twitter course marketing campaign failed (and how we saved it)

Find out why our first Twitter course marketing campaign failed spectacularly, and how we saved it – and how you can avoid making the same big mistake as us!

If there’s one quality you need in business it’s resilience, because even the most successful businesses have ups and downs. Even inarguably successful business people, like Richard Branson, make mistakes and fail sometimes.

But the big difference between those who go onto to succeed and those who give up is their ability to learn from failure. Which is exactly what we did when the first marketing campaign for our Twitter course, Twitter Tune-up spectacularly bombed.

Find out why our marketing campaign failed at first, how we ultimately turned it around, and what valuable lessons you can learn from that. (And how you can be first to hear about our exciting new marketing course.)

We made zero sales from nearly 350 people

To market our first ever Twitter course, we decided to create a free email series, 10 days of Twitter tips. We promoted this series on social media, to our mailing list and on our website, and were delighted when nearly 350 people signed up for it.

The email series was successful, and the engagement rate with the emails was high. As were our hopes when we concluded the 10 days with an email sharing details of our course, and offering everyone £10 off the £65 cost if they signed up within 48 hours.

But as we waited for the sign-up confirmation emails to come in, we were rewarded with… nothing. We didn’t make a single sale.

We were really confused at the time. We thought we’d done everything right: assemble a group of people who we knew needed help with Twitter, demonstrate value with the tips, let them know how they could get more help, and offer them a discount if they signed up within a set time period.

But what we didn’t know then was that we’d missed out one very important part of marketing.

We threw EVERYTHING at selling the course

By this point we’d invested a lot of time and money in creating the Twitter course and marketing it, and were determined to do everything we could to make it a success. So, without any plan and virtually zero marketing know-how we threw everything we had at selling it.

We paid a designer to re-do the sales page. We published blogs about it. We emailed our list more details about the course benefits. We talked about it on social media. And we ran ads promoting it.

This effort wasn’t completely in vain – a couple of sales trickled in – but it still wasn’t delivering the results we needed.

In desperation, around six weeks after starting the 10 days of Twitter tips email series, I held a webinar. I spent a long time planning a class that offered genuine insights and value, and at the end promoted the Twitter course. To help encourage sales I also came up with a free bonus if people signed up within 48 hours. This was a spreadsheet with over 30 formulas to help people write headlines and tweets.

And it was – finally! – a huge success. Over 40 people signed up after the webinar (that spreadsheet is still, to this day, our most popular course bonus). To my then confusion, many of those 40 people had participated in our 10 days of Twitter tips email series. I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t bought with the first money-off offer, but eventually paid full price.

Now I understand exactly why this was, and why our campaign failed so spectacularly at the start.

Why our marketing campaign failed at first

I now know that marketing needs three important things to be successful:

If you don’t get your people, journey and message right, and include ALL of them, your marketing will fail. And that’s just what happened with our Twitter Tune-up marketing at first.

We had the right people – the 10 days of Twitter tips made sure of that. And our messaging was correct – we understood the problems they wanted to solve and were able to demonstrate that we could help them. But we’d failed to nurture people on the journey they needed to take.

You see, even if your product is perfect for someone, they still need to go through a consideration process and get to know you and/or your offering better before they’re ready to buy.

It’s a bit like going on a first date with someone you really, really like. You may think they’re wonderful and be excited about potentially building a relationship with them, but if they asked you to marry them on that first date you’d say “no”. You may even be put off by their eagerness to rush into something you’re not ready for.

We did the equivalent of asking our 10 days of Twitter tips people to marry us in that first email! They’d just started getting to know us in our email series, when suddenly we asked them to buy a course from us. No romancing, no relationship-building… just a stark proposal with a deadline.

So no wonder no one bought. It probably felt quite cold getting a sales email so quickly. They also had no time nor information to really work out whether the course was right for them.

However, when we started creating content and marketing in desperation, THAT’S when we inadvertently started the romance. We let them get to know us better. To spend time with us and see that we were genuine. To become familiar with us and the idea of the course. And we let them find out more about the course and how it could help them in their time, not ours.

The webinar was – again by sheer accident on our part – the perfect end to the campaign. By this point we had lots of warmed up people who were familiar with the course and its benefits, and clearly felt comfortable with us. So when we finally let them know (again) about the course and offered them an incentive to buy, they were ready for the proposal. And many were happy to say yes.

This campaign changed the way we did marketing. But sadly for us, it still took us a while to work out WHY it worked. So all we could do initially was simply replicate what happened. It took us a few more years to understand the marketing process properly, and start building more sophisticated campaigns.

And it’s really only this year that we have defined our own marketing process, one that we can plan and implement with such success that we can even predict how many sales we’ll get with some accuracy.

We want to show YOU how to succeed at marketing too

It’s taken us nearly eight years to really master marketing, but we want to help you get there MUCH sooner. That’s why we’ve created a brand new course Marketing The Easy Way that we’re opening in January. You can’t join the course now, but we have opened a waitlist here.

So if you’d love to stop guessing at marketing (and asking people to ‘marry you’ too soon!) and plan and launch a marketing strategy that you know works, sign up to our waitlist now. We’ll make sure you are first to hear about the course when we open it – plus you’ll get an exclusive, brilliant bonus when you join the course.

Love help with your marketing? Join the Marketing The Easy Way waitlist now.