You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating an online course that represents months of hard work and preparation. And once it’s ready to go, the world will be anxiously waiting to purchase your masterpiece.
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t quite work that way. In addition to creating it from scratch, you also need to know how to sell online courses. For some of you, the thought of selling and marketing is the last thing you want to think about.
Whether you’re just beginning your journey with your online business or have a complete course you’re ready to publish, it’s time to put together your strategies for selling it and getting it into the hands of as many people as possible.
And let’s be real. Knowing how to sell online courses is not the same as knowing how to load a course into a marketplace.
When you have a course to sell, there are basically three options. The first is to upload your course on a marketplace, such as with Udemy, where the marketing is taken care of for you.
Another option is to self-host, where you are in complete control of your product, including the marketing and selling of your course. A third option is a mixture of loading it onto a marketplace and self-hosting so you can drive additional revenue.
If you’re ready to take control of the marketing efforts and figure out how to sell online courses on your own, then you’ve come to the right place.
Strategies to Sell an Online Course
We are going to share the top marketing strategies for online courses that we’ve seen work over the years that put more profit in your pocket.
#1. Create a Website
First of all, let me start by saying that it is possible to sell your online course without your own website. Many course platforms and marketplaces use this as a selling point — how you don’t have to have your own website in order to create a course.
However, a website is fairly inexpensive to create, and it can go a long way towards marketing your course and your brand.
Of course, you need to drive traffic to your site, and there are plenty of ways to do this. But once you get someone there, you can easily introduce them to your online course.
Another tool a website provides is an easy way to gather email addresses. Creating an email opt-in is one of the best marketing tools you can use. These email addresses might become the bread and butter of your site and the ones who end up purchasing your course first.
Creating a website is not only a place to engage with potential customers. You can use it for a variety of purposes. Blogging and selling digital products (like your online course) are two of the many examples of what you can do with your site.
#2. Establish an Email Marketing Campaign
One of the biggest advantages your own website has is helping you gather the email addresses of visitors. Once you entice them with an offer, such as a free download or template, then you have the email address in hand.
But what do you do with these? You send them information about your online course (obviously)!
After you have the email addresses in hand, you have an entirely new way to market your online course to potential customers.
With an email campaign, you can create email sequences. These are emails sent at strategic times with strategic messages, so you can create urgency and lay the groundwork about the benefits of your online course.
Whether you’re launching your online course or marketing a course you’ve had available for months, email marketing campaigns are one of the most effective methods for sending information about your course directly to someone’s inbox.
#3. Use a Landing Page
A landing page, or sales page, is simply a stand-alone web page (either on your website or one provided by a landing page service) to market a product or service. These landing pages have one clear, strong call to action, such as registering for an online course.
Someone is typically directed to your landing page as a result of marketing from your website, social media, Facebook or Google ads, or other places around the web.
The landing page is an essential part of the sales funnel or sales process. The sales process usually consists of a landing page, checkout page, and thank you page. It’s important to get this page right since it’s the first one a visitor sees.
Having a landing page is an ideal way to convey important course information such as:
- The benefit of the course
- Breakdown of the modules
- Money-back guarantee
- And any other pertinent information
You can also lead someone directly to payment information from a landing page. Before you know it, a few clicks later, someone can make a purchase.
#4. Use Paid Ads to Drive Traffic
Driving traffic to your website, where your online course is easily seen and accessible, is extremely important for marketing purposes.
If you already have a website, then you’re likely quite familiar with all the free methods for driving traffic to your site, such as:
- Social media posts
- Using Pinterest
- Writing and sharing blog posts with multiple links from your site
- Commenting on forums and Facebook groups
Eventually, these free routes will only get you so much traffic to your site.
Another option is to run paid ads. Paid ads may not only boost the traffic, but they are another strategy for knowing how to sell online courses. Paid ads are run on popular platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google.
Over here at Laptop Empires, we are big supporters of using Facebook ads for driving traffic and interest in a product or service. However, you need to set the ads up correctly. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and money.
But if you do get it right (and we can help with this, BTW), the result could mean much higher sales for your online course.
Facebook ads are quite effective at targeting the right people, the ones who may even be more likely to purchase your online course. With the right knowledge, Facebook ads could help drive additional traffic to your website or help you get the word out about your online course.
#5. Create a Launch Strategy
When you are ready to publish your online course, it’s important to have a clear launch strategy in place. And if you already have an online course that’s been sitting around collecting dust, don’t worry. You can still go through these steps.
Launching an online course is similar to launching any other product. It takes planning and careful execution, but the result is additional excitement around your product and the possibility of increased sales.
Unfortunately, in this day in age, you can’t simply post a notice on your Facebook feed and call it a day. Think of launch strategy as a multi-prong approach.
Your marketing prongs for launching your course might include:
- Updating your website
- Creating a killer landing page and sales funnel
- An email sequence counting down to the day your course is available for purchase
- Social media blasts with links to purchase
- Running a paid Facebook advertising campaign during the launch period
But a launch strategy may include even more detail, including:
- Guest posting on relevant websites and announcing your course
- Running a contest on a social media platform
- Creating an open/close window where your course can only be purchased for a limited time
- Interviews on podcasts
These ideas are only a starting point. There are numerous other ways to create interest and excitement surrounding your online course. The best approach is to formulate a launch plan at least four to six weeks before your course is available.
Whatever you choose, make sure you put together a marketing plan and don’t simply “wing it.” Today’s consumers have too many choices of places to get their messages, so you have to be strategic with a launch plan to make your message stand out.
The Bottom Line for How to Sell Online Courses
Perhaps there is a misconception that once you’ve created your online course, the online world will naturally gravitate towards it and beg to purchase it. If only it were that easy!
While this may be unlikely to happen, these strategies significantly increase your chances of getting noticed and making sales with your online course.