According to one estimate, Americans spend 37 billion hours each year simply waiting for taxis, trains, dentists, doctors, lawyers and so on.
You might say we get plenty of practice waiting.
But this doesn’t mean marketers should simply take that waiting for granted, especially when it comes to grabbing attention and building demand for online courses.
A HYPOTHETICAL WAITLIST PAGE SCENARIO
One day, between watching a clip of the Olsen twins eating pizza at freakishly slow speeds and someone in a panda costume dancing, you stumble across an announcement of his upcoming online course: “How to Survive The African Wilderness With 3 Socks And A Shark Tooth”.
You click the link, slam your email address into the crude page that greets you, and then impatiently count down the days.
You barely bother to look at the page that greeted you… and you’re not alone.
Your demand wasn’t created by a waitlist page. For many, it’s just a placeholder that goes up until it’s time to start promoting the course “fo real”.
In fact, you might get away with a typical waitlist page that looks a little like this:
MOST OF YOUR AUDIENCE ARE NOT DIEHARDS!
They might deliver a nice “bump” to kick off your course launch, but that leaves a much bigger chunk of interested yet skeptical prospects carefully scrutinising your latest offering the moment it’s announced.
Throwing up a “meh” waitlist page isn’t going to get them onside. In fact, an amateurish effort might lose a lot of them there and then. This makes your waitlist page something you can’t afford to slack off with (unless your reputation hovers around the “Amy Porterfield” level… and by then, you’ve got the resources to have no excuse!).
So, now that you’re completely convinced a waitlist page is worth the effort, let’s look at some of the principles you can apply to drive demand the moment a visitor lands on the page.
7 PRIME PRINCIPLES TO PRODUCE A PEERLESS WAITLIST PAGE
How to do it: Basically, don’t be a wallflower. Make sure your name goes up in lights on the page, and plaster a prominent photo of yourself on the page.
SEO That Works
Principles Used: Personal Reputation, Proof, Why
Brian Dean’s waitlist page for his SEO course isn’t spectacular. A nice headline that spells out the benefits (or “why”), a little supporting copy and a few big publication logos as proof. But it’s the prominent photo of Brian himself that’s the centrepiece of the page… and that’s because his reputation when it comes to SEO is almost unrivalled.
Scarcity / Urgency
The same goes for a limited-time campaign. If your course doors are only going to be open for a week — or even better, a few days — make sure your prospects know from the waitlist page to prime them.
Heck, you can even cap waitlist numbers to really drive home the urgency of what you’re offering.
How to do it: Is there a limit on how many people can join your course (or waitlist)? Is your course only available for a set period? If so, declare these limits boldly.
How to do it: Social proof typically comes in the form of testimonials, case studies or data points (e.g. numbers who’ve taken the course, review scores). Use these to give your waitlist page a handy “proof push”.
Principles Used: Personal Reputation, Proof, Social Proof
While Marie Forleo’s (and B School’s) reputation is unmatched, she doesn’t rest on her laurels with her waitlist page. The case studies give prospects ample social proof that others just like them joined the course and went on to bigger things in the business world. (Oh, and the “We’ve helped over 50,000 entrepreneurs…” copy is another tid-bit of social proof to ice the cake.)
Many waitlist pages are super short, and that’s 100% OK. The waitlist page is an important part of your funnel, but it’s only the first step. Plus, you’re not trying to get them to open their wallets, just add their email so they get the “heads-up” when your course becomes available.
How to do it: Avoid the ramble or add things that don’t help persuade visitors to sign up to your waitlist. Show them why they need to join the waitlist RIGHT NOW and leave it at that.
If you’ve read Cialdini, this is the classic “reciprocity play”. When your audience comes to your waitlist page, give them a pleasant surprise with an offer when they join the waitlist. A mini-course related to your upcoming launch is a perfect “teaser”, while a big dollar discount can motivate prospects to jump on the waitlist to scoop up a saving. Plus, as per Cialdini, giving people something leaves them feeling like they owe you… making them more likely to sign up when the course pops up.
How to do it: A mini-course, video or email sequence can build the desire and anticipation with a freebie when they sign up. Or, just bribe them outright by slashing the price for anyone who joins via the waitlist.
High End Empire
Principles Used: Offer, Social Proof, Why
Ingrid Arna’s waitlist page for her High End Empire program is packed with winning principles to persuade prospects onto her waitlist.
There’s the bullet points that talk about transformation (a form of the “why”).
There’s eight testimonials that provide a truckload of social proof.
And right near the top of the page, there’s an offer: save $1000 off the course price by just joining the waitlist.
Waitlists are often as simple as a list that lies dormant until the next launch. Then, it springs to life with a “hey, here it comes!” series of sales emails.
But that’s not the only way to do it. Instead of having your course drop out of your audience’s minds, you can keep them engaged and excited so they’re as pumped as you when the launch date rolls around.
With engagement, there’s no trying to build momentum or force the pace: your people have been with you the whole time.
School of Greatness Academy
Principles Used: Engagement, Why, Offer
When you jump onto Lewis Howe’s waitlist for “School of Greatness Academy”, you won’t be cooling your jets for a few months. No, siree… Lewis wants you!
That’s why you’ll get emails about what previous students found with SOGA, details about what you’ll learn, and even a workbook that primes you for the course (a nice little example of the “offer” principle at play).
You’ll also see his “why” just under the header section. He’s not shy in sharing this with his target audience, and it’s neatly summed up in a single statement.
Everyone knows the “why” made infamous by Simon Sinek. And on first glance, this probably looks like a “bazooka on a rabbit hunt” level of overkill to put on a waitlist page.
But I’m going to split away from that definition to give you two variations of a “why” on a waitlist page:
- Stating YOUR purpose or “why”
- Stating your PROSPECT’s “why” (or in other words, reasons to join)
That said, your prospect knows why they’re here. But a waitlist means they’re not getting that “why”, whether it’s yours or theirs, today.
In fact, it could be months away. By restating a “why”, whether it’s your mission and purpose or the benefits and transformation your prospect gets once into the course, you remind them that even though there’s a wait, it’ll be well worth it.
Digital Course Academy Affiliate Program
Principles Used: Why, Offer
Lewis Howe’s SOGA waitlist page was a great example of stating his “why”.
Amy Porterfield’s DCA Affiliate waitlist page (yes, she’s big enough to have a waitlist for affiliates) is a fantastic example of a “why” for potential affiliates.
Of course, her very voice is purpose-driven, so the page is lightly whipped with her mission, exemplified by the first subheadline: “The DCA Path to Affiliate Profit with Purpose”. But it’s what follows that gives readers THEIR “why”, starting with the commission and then into a long list of benefits and reasons to join the waitlist.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE YOUR COURSE “WAIT WORTHY”?
With these tools and techniques, you’ll now be able to make the wait for your next course… well, less “waity” and more exciting. So, what are you waiting for?
- Personal Reputation
- Scarcity / Urgency
- Social Proof
This Is Just The Start…
The waitlist page is often one of the earliest stages of your funnel, which means there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge before your prospects get to shelling out cold, hard cash. To find out how to do more the “cogs” in your funnel — whether it’s ads, a landing page or email sequence — schedule a free, no-strings-attached copy consult right here.