How To Sell Online Courses: And Make Money Online

How To Sell Online Courses

You have now put many hours into developing the content for an online course. You may have already organized a pilot, to which the participants responded positively! After processing the latest feedback, it’s now time to start selling your online course.

Sell online courses are accompanied by a comprehensive and well-thought-out launch strategy. Because the offer of online courses is enormous, your course will not stand out immediately after its launch. After all, why would a potentially interested student choose your new course, instead of an existing course with lots of good reviews?

In this article, we will tell you more about selling an online course and the opportunities you have. As with building the online course itself, it is important to have a clear plan and stick to it. You want to prevent the launch of the course from being messy and cluttered. What ideas do you have to offer your online course?

Start with a launch strategy for your course

We have previously described that selling your product is accompanied by a launch strategy. You want to reach a large audience right away when you have the online course ready for sale. In another article, we’ll go into more detail about the factors you need to take into account when launching your course. For example, you can choose to announce the launch via an email campaign. How many emails does the launch consist of in such a case? How do you take interest from potentially interested students? How do you optimize the conversion rate?

Such factors not only affect the success of a launch strategy. They also play an essential role in the sale of an online course. The launch strategy may provide a large number of visitors to your course’s sales page, but no one is taking a product from it. This indicates a powerful email, but a weak landing page. Conversely, you can have a very strong landing page, but a messy launch campaign. In both cases, selling an online course will be tricky. In short, make sure both elements are to get as much out of the sale of your online course as possible.

Sell online courses on your website

A first and perhaps the most important sales channel for an online course is your website. Create a landing page where you share information about the course and encourage visitors to purchase it. On this page, you could refer to other parts of your website.

Think of the regular services you offer as a company, your professional experience in the field, or a comprehensive article on relevant topics. In this way, your website exudes reliability, which increases the likelihood that an interested member will take a course from you. Always make sure that the pages referenced open in a new tab. This way, you prevent a visitor from finding the landing page or forgetting it. This would be a shame!

Setting up a landing page for your course

Elements that should not be missing from a landing page are a clear and well-striking call to action, a sneak previewof the content students can expect, and a description of the learning goals. The sneak preview and learning goals help an interested party determine whether a course matches his or her level of knowledge. By keeping the learning goals relatively broad, you will appeal to a large audience and thus sell more. The audience logically narrows as you further specify the learning goals. 

Tip: also, put some positive reviews on your landing page! You can ask the participants in a pilot to write such a review for you.

Make sure your landing page is discoverable

You want to sell the course as organically as possible in the long run, in the sense that students should be able to find the course through search engines. For this reason, make sure that you pay sufficient attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In the short term, you can improve the findability of your landing page by investing in ads. 

Platform with a large number of online courses

Your website is not the only suitable sales channel for an online course. There are several platforms on which you can offer courses. Well-known examples include Udemy,  WizIQ Teachable,  Thinkific, or Learndash. See in advance which platform is best suited to offer your course. Some platforms focus on a wide range of topics, while others specialize. 

Think of a platform with language training, a platform with courses in many technical topics, and so on. In some cases, it is possible to offer your online course on different platforms. This varies by platform and the way you offer the course. In this case, please note that you can receive questions from students through each of these platforms. This sometimes makes it more difficult to maintain the overview. Not answering questions can lead to negative reviews. Something you want to avoid for granted!

Platforms are not suitable for live training

On your website, you could offer live training. Set up a live stream, let students sign up to a specific time slot, and offer them the course. When you use a platform, it is usually more difficult. The idea behind these platforms is that you upload the course material, after which interested parties have the opportunity to take the full course. They can then take the course in their own time. The material remains available indefinitely or for several months. The exact conditions may vary from platform to platform.

Benefits of a platform with courses

One advantage of using a platform for online courses is the fact that students can rate your online course. Not only does this provide you with valuable insights for improving the existing course or offering a new course. It also makes your course to gain brand awareness. The better the score of your online course is, the higher it will often appear in the search results within these platforms. For example, students are likely to access your course through the search engine, something that has a positive impact on your earnings!

Refer to your course on online forums

A third option to sell your online course is the use of online forums. You will find a suitable forum for every topic. By being active here for some time, you build brand awareness and reliability, which comes in handy when your online course is ready to be sold. You can refer to the course in your signature on such a forum; you can refer to the course in response to someone who wants to gain knowledge about a relevant topic, and so on. The reliable name you’ve built up on the forum means that other forum members will look at your online course more quickly.

Tip: Try to make it clear immediately what value the online course adds to the person you’re sending it to. In this way, sharing the course does not directly come across as advertising. Something that is often not allowed on forums.

Be active in groups on social media

Similar to touting your online course on various forums, it is participating in groups on social media. Think of a social network like Facebook, where you can find a large number of groups. The chances are that one or more of these groups will focus on relevant topics, which are in line with the content of your course. You can also post about the course on your organization’s business pages, especially around the time of launch. Build the messages you post about the course in the same way that you do with the launch strategy by email. Get followers’ interest, share relevant content, refer them to your course, and end with a thank you to create some social pressure. In our article on setting up a launch strategy, we go into more detail about this.

Take part in major fairs on relevant topics

A fifth option to sell your online course is to participate in business fairs on relevant topics. Make sure you can hand out flyers to the visitors of the fair or rent a stand. In the stand, you have all the space to give a sneak preview of the online course, describe the learning goals, and answer questions from interested parties.

Tailor your message to the public that comes to the fair. For companies, it can be interesting to offer, for example, a company-wide training, rather than a separate course. Such training can then be an interest in individual participants in your

online course to expand their knowledge further. If necessary, combine the company-wide training with a discount on the online course for individuals.

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