This Is Why I Won’t Buy Your Online Course

Your marketing goes against everything you’ve just told me

Elle Fielding
3 min readNov 15, 2021


Photo by on Unsplash

Want to know one of the best digital products to sell if you want passive income? I don’t need to tell you because chances are excellent you already know. Online courses top nearly every Best Ways to Make Passive Income in 2021 list.

I’m ashamed to say I’m a bit of an easy mark. As a writer and wannabe-entrepreneur, a course that covers how to make money from writing online is very, very tempting. And on Medium, I can find plenty of these courses. Perhaps you’ve made a course, or you’re thinking about creating one.


I’m not here to judge your decision or weigh in on whether your course is worthwhile. Instead, I want to discuss your marketing. See, even to an easy mark like me, when your message lacks consistency, I’m not interested. If you ignore all the advice you have given me in order to switch me to a paying customer, well, that’s not cool.

I signed up to Medium because I wanted to develop my skills in writing personal essays and I wanted to express myself. And yes, I’ll admit it, I wanted to see if I could make money on the platform. So, if I see you have a free email course, lots of subscribers and I like your writing style, giving you my email address is a no-brainer.

I’m an easy mark but not an idiot. I know this free email course is a lead magnet — a way to pull me into your sales funnel. I don’t have a problem with this. If I like your free course, I’ll pay for the extra information and insight into your success. But if you pull out the same tired marketing hacks that have been taught and promoted widely online, thus contradicting all the advice you’ve given me for free, I will lose interest immediately.

Because you’re treating me like a fool.

If your message throughout your free email course was to be brave, put myself out there, don’t let fear hold me back, yada-yada, please be consistent. Don’t use gimmicks like a countdown clock to scare me into buying your course. Please don’t preach fearlessness then use fear as a tool to motivate me. I will lose trust in you and your message.

Your message should match your marketing. If you’re asking people to buy your course because you are innovative and a pioneer, market to me in a way that demonstrates that fact.

I’m not saying tired marketing techniques are never effective, but we consumers are savvier than we used to be. Trust your readers, trust your audience. Don’t use gimmicks that undermine the hard work you put in to get me to that point of sale. Be consistent and genuine. It’s your authenticity that will draw me in. My desire to connect with you and your message is what will make me push the buy button.



Elle Fielding

Romance writer. Fiction publisher. I serialize books on various platforms. Aussie gal, mum, and wife. New to podcasting, paid newsletters, and personal essays.