Get Your First Students

So your school is all set up and your courses are ready. Creating your courses probably wasn’t easy, but what comes next may be even harder: getting people to actually sign up for them. This article outlines a plan for getting your first students to join your Teachable school.

Building an Audience

When you’re teaching a course, it all comes down to having an audience who trusts you. Not only should they trust you as a person, but (perhaps more importantly) they need to have faith in your skills as a professional. It’s critical to convince your audience that you have knowledge to share and that you’re capable of sharing it well.

How do you create this kind of reputation and build that audience? In a nutshell: you start sharing your knowledge for free, and positioning yourself as a professional in your field. Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy “cheats” for how to do this: everyone has to start from the ground up. However, if you truly have valuable knowledge and insights to share, you might start building an audience faster than you think.

Here are three tried-and-true steps to begin building a “brand” for yourself and providing value to your future audience:

  1. Start a blog or website. Pick the topic you’re passionate about, hone in on a unique angle, and begin filling your site with quality content that educates (and ideally also entertains) readers. Get involved with the blog’s community, accept guest posters on your site, and write guest posts of your own on related sites. Interview other experts in your industry and share news. Not into writing? Start a podcast or video channel that does the same thing.
  2. Create and maintain social media accounts, in both your name and your website’s. Don’t stick to personal profiles only: start pages that people can “like” or groups that they can join. Make posts of your own and share others’ posts, but again, focus on quality content. (That means no cat pictures...unless the cat is doing something that’s adorably relevant to your topic...or cats are your topic.)
  3. Network. In so many cases, it’s all about who you know. Attend events, join groups, and meet people (in person and online). Form professional alliances. Cross-promote one another. Pitch industry publications on an article you could write for them. Get your name out there.

When you’re in the process of doing all this, you should also be engaging with your new readers/fans/colleagues personally. That brings us to the next step.

Creating an Email List

An email list allows you to maintain a connection with your audience in a way that’s hard to do otherwise. When you periodically send emails to readers, you (a) remind them that you exist, (b) can update them on your latest posts/professional endeavors, and (c) can invite questions and replies to start one-on-one interactions.

However, most people will need an incentive to give you their email: they won’t just enter their address in any pop-up box they see. That means it’s up to you to provide an incentive. A few suggestions:

  1. Create a lead magnet. Basically, you’ll offer the reader a special, irresistible piece of content in exchange for their email address. This could be an ebook, a free course, an exclusive interview, or whatever else your audience would value.


  2. Host a free workshop or “webinar” that people can sign up for by providing their emails.

Launching the Course to Your Email List

Now that you have an email list full of people who value your skills and trust you professionally, it’s time to let them know about your upcoming course.

In your emails, don’t get salesy right away. First, “warm up” your readers by getting them thinking about the problem that your course solves. Then, introduce your course and explain what it’s about and how it can help them. Create a special coupon code that they can use to purchase the course for a discount.

You can begin promoting the course even before it officially launches, by creating a sales page for it and directing people there. If you like, you can even pre-sell the course at an “early-bird special” price.

Obviously, none of this will happen overnight. Building authority and gaining a following takes time. If you have a head-start on the process, great! If not, there’s no better time to start than now.

Track Signup Sources

As you grow your online business and audience, you can begin advertising and marketing your course through multiple sources. For example, you can advertise your course through an email list, Facebook post, and any other social media platforms.

If you are marketing through multiple sources, you might be interested in tracking which source your signups find your course through from directly within your school admin. This can help with determining which sources are performing well and best converting your potential audience into paying students.

To help track the signup source of your users, you can add an src code to the end of the URL you are providing to potential students.

To add an src code to a URL, you must add ?src=keyword to the end of a course sales page URL, where keyword can be replaced with any word to represent the source you are posting on.

You can find your course sales page URL from the course Pages menu. Click the More Options icon, then Copy URL Link.


Once you have the sales page URL, you can add the src keyword. For instance, if your sales page URL is, and you want to market your school to an email list, you can format your URL as:

Similarly, if you wanted to market your course in a Facebook post, you can format your URL as:

You can repeat this process as many times as necessary, replacing the keyword for each unique source you are interested in tracking. Once you create the URL, you can send it to your potential audience via email, social media, or whichever tool you use to communicate with your audience.

When a user signs up for your school from a URL with an src code, the src code will be listed the Stats section of the user’s profile.


Additionally, you can add a filter to your Users list to sort your users by signup source keyword. Then, you can click Export CSV to send a .csv report to your email of users who signed up from a specific source.




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