Nancy was extremely excited she finally got clarity on the idea for her online courses but she wondered how to sell online courses.
Like Nancy, many aspiring course creators struggle with figuring out their offer, ideal client and marketing strategy.
After playing around with the A.I., tool ChatGPT, Nancy was able to get a comprehensive overview of her offer, big promise and ideal client in granular detail.
However, before creating her course she needed to have a chat with her prospective students in a group setting, like a Facebook Group.
This will help her validate her offer and course content as well as enrol her first students at a beta price.
Major Tip: Before you sell online courses it’s important to get really clear on your offer, ideal client, big promise and course content – see the ChatGPT videos below for more.
Looking to Start Selling Courses Online?
Are you looking to start selling courses online? If yes, then hold tight as I give you a deep dive into this interesting topic. It has all the information you need to get started on the right foot.
In this post, you’ll learn some great insights into how to start selling your very own online course. I’ll highlight best practices as you consider how you will proceed with your digital products.
Selling courses online has become extremely lucrative over the last decade. This explosion in popularity is forecasted to continue. The eLearning market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025. This is good news for those who have exciting online course ideas.
Selling courses online is a great way to earn passive income. The key to success lies in creating high-quality content. If you understand and are passionate about your subject you can succeed in creating courses that appeal to students.
There are several ways to go about achieving this.
As I go through this resource, you’ll also learn how to increase your course conversion rate and how to focus your marketing efforts.
Why Make and Sell Your Own Online Course?
There are many different ways to monetize your skills and knowledge. You can make money online with an online course.
It doesn’t matter if it is your first time teaching or if you have some experience under your belt in the education field. With hard work, passion, and a good idea you can make a lucrative digital course.
Online courses are a growing industry making them a great option for breaking into the work-from-home space. With an online course, you are also your own boss and in control of your online business.
You can create a course that requires little oversight from you that has a passive income. The flexibility and growth of selling an online course are some of the greatest benefits of the endeavour. If you’ve ever dreamt of creating a more secure and stress-free lifestyle for yourself, online course creation is the way to go.
Content creation can also be a stimulating experience for course creators who are passionate about their subject. In turn, this passion helps you create content that students will enjoy and learn from.
Making your passion your business is a great idea since it allows you to engage with what you love whenever you work. Your knowledge of your field will also grow as you research and create content for your students.
Why Is Having an Online Course Profitable?
Online course creation has a very low barrier to entry. You can essentially create an online course for free. Your greatest resource is your expertise in your subject matter after all.
If repurposing content the investment of time can be minimised as well. Expenses you may face in creating an online course are all optional. Some things you could choose to invest in are:
- Software programs to create graphics or edit video
- Video and audio recording equipment
- An editor for written content
- A graphic designer
- A professional videographer or photographer
Keep in mind that these are all optional! You can choose to spend as little, or as much, as you’d like to create your online course. Since the cost of course creation is low you can create a profitable online course.
Another cost to consider is hosting your online course. Different platforms for hosting come at different price points.
Their models also vary. You can choose to subscribe to a course creation service or you can choose to share revenue with a site. It is also possible to create your own course. This will require coding knowledge or the ability to find free WordPress plug-ins.
Creating online courses is a popular path to online revenue due to the low cost of entering the field. The low costs also create high profitability.
Another interesting thing about the profitability of online courses is that the revenue can become passive income. Your course can generate sales long after you complete its creation.
Once you create your course the costs to maintain it is lowered apart from marketing expenses and hosting fees. You can set goals for yourself to recoup your costs and then sit back and let any additional sales become extra income.
How Do You Make a Successful Online Course?
To sell your online course you need to have one! Even better if it is a great course full of good content and well-researched. I’m sure yours will be! Let’s go through the steps to a successful online course together (at the end I’ll show you a cool hack to sell it successfully).
1. Find Your Niche
Assess your areas of expertise. What are you most knowledgeable about and able to teach others? From there, think about what people might want to learn about in your field.
Do market research to see if there are any gaps in the market for your field. You can create multiple courses if you identify several areas that meet the requirements for course creation. You can also consider developing a series of courses that build on each other.
2. Identify Course Type
Once you have a topic, think about how it is best presented. Most courses take several hours to complete and are performed at the student’s pace or at dates set out by the teacher over several weeks.
Choosing between these two versions comes down to how much you need to be involved. If you are going to mark projects it is good to set dates for completion.
When students are submitting work based on their own timing you might not have time to grade their materials in a timely manner. If your course grading is all automated you can let students work at their own speed.
You can choose another format if it works better for you. Consider a Bootcamp that condenses your teaching into a couple of high-intensity days of learning.
This is currently a popular option for coding but can be used in other fields of study as well. This format might appeal to students so that they can achieve results quickly and stay motivated.
A mini-course is a good option for covering a small, niche area of your field. If teaching photography, for example, your mini-course could deal with adjusting just one setting on the camera.
In addition to being a good format to cover just one niche topic, mini-courses can also serve as marketing tools. You can offer a mini-course as a bonus for signing up for your course to create value. You can also give mini-courses away, as a bonus, in exchange for the student’s email. Then add the email to your email list to market your other course offerings.
3. Choose the Best Medium for Your Course
Courses can be presented through a few different content types. Images, videos, texts, and audio are all popular choices. Which you select will depend on the type of material you are presenting. The best practice is to vary the content throughout your course to keep students interested and motivated.
Within the field of video content, you also have options. You can make the image displayed as a slideshow and just have a voice-over. This combines graphics and audio. You can also present to the camera directly. Consider supplementing with images if recording yourself.
4. Produce Your Own Online Course
Make sure your instructions are clear and concise. Don’t assume that everyone knows everything about your topic already. They are in your course so they see a need to learn more. Instead, explain things step-by-step. This makes it easier for learners to follow along and understand exactly what you’re asking them to do.
Make sure to include quiz questions and assignments. They give learners immediate feedback on their understanding of the material. They also encourage students to practice what they’ve learned.
Ensure that your course materials are accurate and high-quality. Avoid looking like you’ve rushed the process and thrown out a product without care.
5. Select the Best Course Platform
Consider where you are going to host your online course. There are several options in this area as well. You can host the course on your own website. You can use a platform that hosts your course.
Some of these sites are also marketplaces where you can also sell your course to students. The different course platforms each come with their own sets of pros and cons that we will cover later.
6. Establish Course Pricing and Sales Targets
Choose a price for your course that values the effort that you have put into creating it while also being within your students’ budgets. Consider doing market research to see how similar courses are priced. Stay competitive without undervaluing yourself.
It is always good to be working toward your goals. Establish sales targets that you can motivate yourself to work towards. You can make money selling online courses but you need to stay motivated.
7. Launch Your Online Course
Launching your course is not as simple as just clicking a button and making it go live on the web. You should consider carefully a launch strategy to start making money from your online course fast. Create a buzz about your launch.
Some options you consider for your course launch are a countdown timer to the launch date, a special offer for signing up early, or an opening webinar. If you are excited your new students will be excited too!
8. Create a Community
Once your course is launched, create a community for your students to connect and learn from each other. This online community will be a great study tool. Students can also clarify each other questions about the class procedure.
You can use a service like Facebook Groups to achieve this, make a subreddit, or use a connection feature on another platform. Using a social media platform as a host for your community has the advantages of being free and being a place where your students likely already have log-ins.
You can also consider creating a community on your website. While this requires the upfront work of making it, it does have its advantages. You are in complete control of the content and the user experience. You can also charge for access to the community.
Remember as you go through the work of creating your online community that it will benefit your students. It will also benefit you by serving as a marketing tool for your online course.
9. Promote Your Online Course
Once your course is created and launched you can further devote yourself to promoting it. Digital marketing is an essential piece of the course creation puzzle and will help you reach your sales goals.
Continue to stay involved with your email list of potential students via a newsletter or promotional offers. Promotional offers could include limited-time-only discounts or freebies for signing up for the course. Consider placing ads across the web with a service like Google Ads that will advertise your course on platforms that appeal to your target students.
Social media marketing is vital. You should be actively using your social media platform to reach potential students. Respond to comments and post consistently. You can also use paid advertising services to reach potential students who don’t follow you.
How To Set the Price of Your Course
You’ve spent hours writing content, creating slides, designing graphics, and putting together videos. Now that all that work is done, you’re still stuck wondering how much money you should charge for your course. You know that a lot of your time and effort went into creating the course but how much is that worth exactly?
Pricing your course is a delicate balance between charging enough to compensate you for your expenditures, knowledge, and time, while also not setting your price so high that it scares students away.
You have to find the sweet spot. A good way to do that is to research how courses similar to yours are priced. Bear in mind that as your course garners reviews it will appeal to more students and you can always increase your prices.
When thinking about pricing your online course you also need to consider HOW to charge for an online course. There are two main methods – subscription-based and fixed-price.
Subscription-based model (membership)
In a subscription-based model, students pay a recurring fee for access to your courses. This model can make sense if you are frequently adding new course material or if your field requires practice. With a subscription model, students can keep engaging with your content and continue to develop their skills.
A good example of a subscription-based online course is online fitness memberships. These memberships offer students access to online fitness courses and other related materials.
Students continue to pay the subscription as they repeat the videos. The fitness instructors also continue to release more videos for their members to access. Fitness is a lifelong journey and continuing to engage with the materials makes sense.
Fixed Price model
In a fixed-price model, students pay a fee and then have access to a set amount of content. You can choose to make the amount of time they have access limited but this is not a common practice.
This model of paying one price for access to content is the most common form online course payment takes. This is also the model on popular online course marketplaces like Udemy.
Course Payment Plan
Another factor to consider in your pricing is whether you would like to offer a course payment plan. In a fixed-price model, students would pay one set price for the course but break it up into instalments under a course payment plan.
A somewhat similar idea in the world of subscription-based courses is tiered memberships. Students can pay a lower price but do not have access to the full features of the course.
A Successful Sales Page for an Online Course
Your sales page is where you present your course to prospective students. It’s possibly the first impression that a potential student will have of your business, so it needs to be well-designed and professional looking.
A good sales page should include:
An introduction to the course (what does it cover?)
You wouldn’t buy a product that you don’t understand and neither will your students. You also want to avoid disappointing students who thought that they were buying a different kind of course or product.
The benefits of taking the course
What will this course help your target student achieve? Lay this out clearly and attractively for them on your sales page.
Will it help them improve their business? Will it teach them a new macrame technique that will allow them to start creating fibre pieces with multiple colours? Lay out exactly what skills your students will level up with your course.
Any extra value your course might offer
Why should students choose your course over the other HIIT course two search results down? Use your sales page to show the value of your specific course. Will your students get any additional materials? Tell them!
Do you have any special certifications relevant to the course or many years of experience? Tell them! Also, include testimonials and reviews so they can see that others have received benefits from your teaching.
The price of the course
Though it might seem obvious, don’t forget to include the price. Your sales page is the moment of decision and your students should have all of the information in front of them.
It’s important that your sales page has a clear call to action (CTA) button that leads students through the process of purchasing your course. The CTA button should lead students directly to the checkout process. If you want to add extra functionality to your sales page such as a free trial, you can link to that as well.
Where Can I Sell My Courses Over the Internet?
Selling courses online is a great way to earn money from home. There are several ways to sell courses online, such as through Amazon, Teachable, Udemy, and others.
The best part about selling courses online is that you don’t need any inventory or physical space to do so. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
Your inventory will be on the internet and you will have a place to put it, in other words, you will need an online course hosting platform. Let’s discuss the different types of platforms for selling your online course.
Through Your Own Website
A great option for hosting your online course is your own website. You can code the course from scratch, use a stand-alone online course hosting platform, or use WordPress plugins.
This option is great for course creators who already have an online audience that they can direct to their course. It also allows you to maintain complete control of your content.
Some downsides to this method are that you are responsible for all marketing and for taking payment. Protecting your students’ credit card and personal data is of the utmost importance. Don’t skimp on setting up your online payment system. You can consider using Stripe as an easy and safe way to take payments on your website.
All-in-One Platforms for Online Courses
Online course creation is made simple with an all-in-one solution. Course creation services in this bracket aim to have everything you need to set up a course, accept payments and market your online course. Examples of all-in-one course platforms include Kartra, Podia and Kajabi.
These types of platforms generally operate on a subscription model. As your course creation needs increase you can move up the payment plan tiers to access more features.
A benefit to using this method is that all that you need is one place. It also takes away the need to have or to hire technical expertise. Some downsides include having to pay an ongoing fee and not having complete control of the platform.
Online Course Marketplaces
Online course marketplaces also help you create and host online courses on their sites. You will have all the tools you need to create a course right there on your host site.
In addition, your course will be added to the site’s marketplace! These marketplaces have students actively searching to take online courses like yours.
These platforms also cater to students as well as course creators. They can come there to browse and search for courses.
In exchange for offering you access to their student pool, these sites will take a share of your course sales. The access to students could also come with the downside of students having access to your competition’s course with the same search.
Is It Really Worth It To Sell Courses Online?
Yes, it is! Selling courses online is a great way to earn money from home. There are several reasons why selling courses online is worth it.
First, you don’t need any inventory. You can get started with computer access and your own knowledge of your field.
Second, you can sell anywhere at any time. You aren’t limited by the constraints of time or place on the internet.
Third, you can set up your own schedule. Since you are not working a traditional 9-5 with online course creation you can make a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
Work from Home
Fourth, you can work from home, at a coffee shop, from a villa in your dream vacation spot, or at the beach. You get it. You can take your online course creation business anywhere you can dream.
Fifth, you can start making money from selling courses right away. You can make a course for a low financial investment. As your first sales roll in you could already recoup your investment and begin profiting.
Find Your Passion
Sixth, you can build a business around what you love doing. Your course should cover something you are not only knowledgeable about but also excited about. Follow your passions. As the saying goes, if you love what you do you never work a day in your life.
Seventh, you can create passive income. Online courses can be created in a way that requires very little ongoing involvement from the creator. As you step away the income you generate becomes a passive income.
Eighth, you can scale your business quickly. Once you create one course you can find gaps where other courses can go. Your students can approach you with other areas they need development. You can then create more courses. Sales of online courses are also limitless. Even with one online course, you can scale. Just keep marketing and finding new students.
Ninth, why stop at one course or niche? You can create an entire range of courses based on market trends, feedback from your students and updates on your course topic.
Tenth, you can grow your business with minimal investment. As you create new courses you can continue to do so on a low budget. Just make sure you are turning out high-quality content. Your marketing costs can also be kept low. You don’t even need to spend on Facebook ads if you can grow your following organically through hard work.
Online course creation doesn’t need to break the bank. You don’t even need a computer if you can access a public library. Don’t let any potential costs stop you from creating the online course of your dreams.
How Can I Turn Prospects Into Students?
The best way to turn prospects into students is to provide them with valuable information about your product or service. Once they find out what you do, they may be interested in buying from you. If what you are offering is unclear or confusing you will have less success in the long term.
When marketing your course, always clearly lay out what you are bringing to the table and have a clear call to action. The call to action should lead them to your lead magnet or sales page. Don’t confuse people by making them navigate through several pages to get to what you are offering.
Ensure that you are creating a sales funnel and email list. Utilise these tools to reach out to people that have expressed interest in your online business so that you can convert them into students.
Consider offering them freebies to sign-up or offering them a mini-course as a taster. You can also offer limited-time only discounts to create a sense of urgency for them to purchase. If they have shown enough interest in what you have to offer to give their email addresses they might just need one more little push to become students.
If you have your own website make sure you are doing these things to turn prospects into sales. To attract new students, you need to create a website that has useful information for visitors.
Include relevant blog posts that establish your expertise in your field. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate and that it loads quickly. Also, include contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and physical address if applicable.
As we have already highlighted in this complete guide, it is important that you lay out what your students will get from your course and what the course is about on this page.
You will also highlight any special offers you might have and include testimonials. Be sure to include a checkout cart for students to input their credit card information and purchase your course.
What Is the Best Way to Market Your Online Course?
Marketing online courses can be done in a variety of ways. There is no one-size fits all answer to marketing and will depend on the other choices you have made along the way to creating your course.
Social media marketing is a great tool in the online course creator’s marketing toolkit. Using this method will require setting up profiles on various social media sites with the goal of promoting your online course. Using these pages you can interact with interested potential students and push sales of your course.
If you are looking for a simple way to get more students to sign up for your course, social media marketing can be the answer. Social media marketing has become one of the most effective ways to market your products or services like online courses.
If done correctly, it will help you reach out to potential students and build relationships with them. Social media marketing is an affordable way to promote your business and increase traffic to your website or course sales page. It’s easy to set up and use, so don’t let it go to waste!
Email marketing is another excellent way to market. Create an email list with emails generated from your lead magnet or other sources, and send out emails periodically.
This is a great way to keep people engaged and interested in what you’re doing. You could also include a link to your website or blog so that they can learn more about you and your work.
Gather email addresses from people interested in your topic by offering them freebies like a template or newsletter. You can then leverage these email addresses by sending them marketing materials and information that they will find value in.
The options for marketing don’t end at social media and email. You can also participate in a podcast or host your own. You can give a TedTalk or create an online community. The options to market are endless.
Good Marketing vs Bad Marketing
If you want to be successful, it is important that you know the difference between good marketing and bad marketing.
- Is focused on your audience
- Has a clear goal
- Is measurable
- Is repeatable
- Does not focus on your audience
- Adopts a hope-and-pray mentality
- Is only interested in aesthetics
- Focuses on vanity metrics (likes, followers, views, etc)
As this list shows us, good marketing has a clear target in mind and a clear goal to achieve. Marketing should not be a shot in the dark.
It is also best if you can measure how successful your marketing strategy was so you can make any necessary tweaks before beginning a new campaign. Create good marketing and a great course and you will be making money from online courses in no time.
How Important Is Social Media in Selling Online Courses?
Social media is an EXTREMELY important part of selling courses online. It is a powerful tool for building your brand, creating social proof, and connecting with potential students.
Social media platforms are where people communicate, build communities, and even get their news. You want to be a part of that ecosystem. If an ad runs in the woods and nobody sees it, was there ever an ad?
You can leverage social media for a variety of purposes. The first thing that might come to mind is digital marketing. This kind of marketing via social media can take two basic forms. But all in all, it’s about engaging with your audience and creating content that keeps them interested. You should try to be informative while also entertaining.
One way to market is via your posts on the platform. You will create posts with calls to action that implore people to buy your course. These posts will resemble more traditional advertising.
You can also use advertising tools on social media. These are paid ads that will reach an audience beyond your followers. You can repurpose posts on your own page for these ads to keep the content more organic.
Social media is useful beyond just traditional-looking marketing, however. All of your interactions on social media platforms do not need to be salesy to be useful toward your goal of selling an online course.
Engaging with people in your field, or interested in it, can help you find students and course ideas. By contributing to communities you can build a good reputation for yourself and your brand. You can also use social media to create your own online community to support your online course.
What Is the Most Effective Method for Determining Who Your Target Students Are?
The best way to determine who your target customers are is through market research. Market research is the process of gathering information about your potential customer base. This includes asking questions:
What Needs Does Your Course Fill?
People make purchases to satisfy their necessities and desires. Just by thinking about how your course could fulfil that you can work backwards to find the type of person who would be interested in purchasing your course. You wouldn’t sell ice to Eskimos after all.
What Makes Your Course Different?
Lots of offerings might be able to fill the same need your course does. This is where you need to think about what sets your course apart. Does your course feature lots of audio content making it easy for people on the go to engage?
Does it come with a planning section when others skip over it? When you find what is special about your course as compared to comparable courses you can get an idea of who might be interested in that special feature and find your target student.
Who Already Engages With Your Content?
When considering who will buy your course, think about the people who are already exposed to your content. That is your built-in market. If you have a sizable social media following, those users can become students.
While this tip skews more towards selecting a course topic it is still important to keep in mind when creating a model of your target student.
Once you have your answers to these questions, you can create a marketing campaign that appeals to your future students. This is how to best sell online courses. Just as you have your ideal course in mind as you create your online course content it is helpful to keep a picture of your target student in mind as you create your marketing strategy.
What Are the Best Platforms for Hosting Videos for Your Online Course?
The best platforms for hosting videos for your online course include YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia. These platforms offer different features such as analytics, embedding, and commenting. However, they all provide similar functionality. Choosing between them comes down largely to personal preference.
Why do you want to host videos for an online course? Video content is engaging and popular with students. However, when creating videos for an online course ensure they are not too lengthy.
Creating smaller videos allows busy students to break up their study time into manageable chunks. If your video is too long, it becomes difficult to watch and can put off students who would rather read the material than watch a video.
The best way to find out if your audience will enjoy your videos is by testing them yourself. Ask friends and family to test your videos and see what works well and what doesn’t work so well. This will help you improve your videos and increase engagement.
How to Sell Online Courses Using ChatGPT – Training
I’m going to outline step by step how to use ChatGPT to help you map out and sell your online course content.
Give ChatGPT the information it needs to know about you in as much detail as possible. This video gives you an overview of how to get that done.
In the next step you’re going to ask ChatGPT for more information about who it thinks is the best client avatar for your program, this video will show you how to get that done.
Well done on getting this far in the process. Remember to take the results from ChatGPT and add them to your Google document. The next step involves interrogating your ideal client avatar. Watch this video and here to find out how to do that well.
The next step is where things get a little more exciting. You’ll now want to ask ChatGPT to write 5 emails for you in two separate batches. This video here will explain why you’ll need to break up the content creation process in two.
We’re almost there. It’s time to look at your options for lead magnets. In this video, we’ll ask ChatGPT to give us suggestions for lead magnets as well as deep dive into one of the suggestions to create an outline.
Now it’s time to create the welcome email series plus one upsell email. There’s also a bit on creating a launch strategy which you can find in the video here.
Oh goodness!!! I had so much fun creating these ChatGPT hacks for you. In this step, we reviewed the launch strategy given by the tool and we even created an outline for a 10-day series for you to go live on social media with experts in the market. Check out the excitement in the video.
How Simple Is It To Organise Your Content?
Organising all of the content for your course is intimidating but also essential. Your students will respond better to a course that they can follow.
The modules should clearly be building to their desired outcome. Instructions should also be clear and easy to follow. Remember that happy students make referrals.
Maybe you are a super organised person and nothing about this scares you. Or maybe, like most of us, you aren’t.
Don’t give up hope! You can organise a course. I know it sounds daunting but I promise that it isn’t as hard as you think. It is actually quite simple to do.
The first step is to brainstorm everything that will need to be covered in the course. From there you can break down the pieces into component parts that lead to the desired outcome.
For example, if your goal is to teach your students how to write a book, then you’ll want to think about what it takes to get published and make money from writing books.
You might also consider topics like marketing, editing, or even self-publishing. The more specific you are with your goals, the easier it will be to find resources on those subjects.
Once your brainstorming is done put your thoughts on Trello or use Google Sheets. As you are inputting the information, think about how they flow together and in the best possible order. Then review it.
If you have a lot of ideas, it’s good to go through them one by one and see if they make sense in the context of the course. You can also do this for each module of the course. If you find that some modules don’t work well with others, then you may want to split those out into separate courses.
Now that you know the modules and goals of your course, and have an order, you are ready to move forward and begin creating. Keep this organised by making lists you can easily update about the content needed for each section. Review as you go.
Selling a course online is an attainable goal for you. If you have the knowledge to share you can make a profitable course. However, You will need to spend the time to make it great. Ensure that you keep in mind the needs of your audience when creating your content.
Create quality content and compile it in an organised way that appeals to students. Think about your ideal student and what they will need and find interesting.
Create a quality online course that benefits your students and that you can sell successfully.
With your ideal student still in mind, you can create an effective marketing campaign to sell you online.
Utilise different ways of marketing including email lists and social media. Selling a course can be overwhelming so if you need help with the process, schedule a call with me so we can create a great plan for your course idea.