How to Create the Perfect Lead Magnet to Sell Your Course

To sell a course you need (A) prospects & (B) a sales process. 

Here’s a way to help you remember this. 

  • They come
  • They try 
  • They like
  • They buy

Unlike with a regular product or service the “try” portion will be different. More on that below. 

Let’s start with the different levels of awareness. 

  1. Don’t know who you are
  2. Know who you are
  3. Cold
  4. Warm
  5. Hot
  6. Buy

The lead magnet fills stage 3. 

Someone who did not know about you has seen the ad and clicked over to find out more. 

This next part is very important. 

Your role at this point is not to teach or sell. The lead magnet needs to be a bait that is tied into your offer. If you attempt to sell the solution in this step then the prospect will “mark the problem” as done then they will not take further action. A course is not a product. Giving information does not sell more of the same type of information.

Think of the time you wanted to learn something. You went on Amazon, but the book on the topic and put it on the shelf. This is now done (even though you have not read a page) but you’ll get to it later. 

This is the “try” part. Instead of giving them a portion of your course, a book or anything else that they can consume, set up the environment. 


if you’re selling a course on SEO > explain how to audit their site

If you’re teaching them the piano > give them finger exercises

Set the student up for success without letting them feel that this problem is now solved. 

To create the right bait your job is to listen, pick up on the trends and then join the conversation. Every one of us already has conversations going on inside of our brains. They’re tied to our hopes, aspirations and things we don’t like. This idea was first introduced in “The Robert Collier Letters” book. You can read the main lessons and insights from it here

To summarize the steps:

  1. Acknowledge what the person is thinking
  2. Describe the problem 
  3. Mention something unexpected when speaking about the solution 

This immediately attracts attention. 

The goal of the lead magnet is to “grab their attention” and position you as someone that is interesting & can help further while setting them up for the rest of the sales process. Nothing more. 

The format of the lead magnet doesn’t matter. You can create a checklist, guide, video, exercise, challenge etc.. but it shouldn’t take long to consume.

Here’s why.

The lead magnet is followed by a warm up email sequence. If your content takes a week to consume you are now introducing a lot of time for the prospect to cool down before you even begin to get them warmed up. This results in high unsubscribe rates. Also trying to sell immediately after the lead magnet leads to the same result. Look back at the levels of awareness above. Don’t try and skip one. 

There’s one exception.

Let’s talk about webinars. 

Often course creators want to tie in the sales process into the lead magnet. This complicates things. Not recommended for beginners. Your sales process has to be dialed in for this to work. A webinar has to go through all of the awareness levels in one take. Since you take out the other steps of the funnel it’s impossible for you to see exactly which portion is working and is not working. The webinar either sells the course or fails. 

A webinar has three components.

  1. You (why someone should listen to what you say)
  2. Sell the prospect on the idea that the problem can be solved*
  3. Offer the method (sales pitch)

*This is where you mention something unexpected that makes your solution unique. If you have a large following and are an influencer, author or a celebrity this is no longer necessary. Different rules apply at those levels. 

To Recap

  1. Beginners should focus on lead magnets
  2. Join the conversation & introduce bait
  3. Information does not sell more of the same information
  4. A lead magnet should setup the environment
  5. Do not try to sell to a cold audience
  6. Once a sales process is dialed in test a webinar



Tom Libelt is a host of ‘smart brand marketing’ and runs ‘we market online courses’. He’s worked with 170+ course creators to help them sell more courses.