If you’re thinking about creating and selling online courses but you’re unsure how to get started and you don’t know which course platform to choose among the dozens out there, keep reading.
Our 5-step guide will take you through the process of creating and selling online courses and you can check out our top course platform recommendations for online course selling.
How to Create and Sell Online Courses
When it’s time to create and sell your online course, the bottom line is, you’re presenting a solution to your customer’s problem through an online course.
This can be about anything from developing better time management skills, learning how to become a virtual assistant, discovering how to grow food in your own garden, etc.
Creating your course will benefit you and your audience. You can”
- Teach your customers something valuable
- Connect with an audience in your niche
- Build your reputation as an industry leader
- Strengthen your brand
- Generate an additional income stream
Digital education is booming, projected to reach over $370 billion by 2026.
It’s easier than ever for anyone to hop online and learn something valuable to help them better their life, whether they want to further their career, become a better parent, learn something new for personal enrichment, or any other reason.
Once you can figure out how to solve your audience’s problem, teach it in your course, then appeal to your target audience and sell your course online.
Step 1: Pick a Topic
Choosing your course topic is your starting point. This can determine how successful your course sales will be. You want to pick a problem-solving topic that will be a solution to your audience’s problem such as:
- A beginner’s guide to meditation
- How to become an expat for people who want to relocate to a different country
- How to build an indoor garden for apartment dwellers
- How to run Facebook ads for local businesses for people who want to make money in a side hustle and help others
When you choose your topic, make sure you keep your audience in mind and make your course as niche as possible. Teach skills that are actionable and can be adopted by others.
By the end of the course, your students should have learned something valuable that they can put into action.
If you know your audience well, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pick a course topic on target. Once this is done, next it’s time to validate your idea.
Step 2: Validate Your Idea
Validating your course idea means you’ll test it on your audience to see they’re interested in it. Seeing if it’s valid will save you a lot of time and effort. You don’t want to build your course without validation, only to find out that your audience has no interest in it.
Through course validation you’ll be able to:
- Test the market
- Determine if there is a demand
- See if your course idea is revenue-producing
You can achieve this through a pre-sale.
When you pre-sell your course, you’re selling the idea of your course. You don’t have your course built or fully developed yet but you are gauging interest .
You’re testing the market to see if there’s demand for your course idea and if it can be revenue-producing.
The best way to presale is to actually put up a sales page and market your course idea to your audience. If you sell courses in this pre-sale stage, then that’s a good indication that you’ve chosen a good course topic.
As an alternative, you can also poll your audience:
- Put up a poll on your Facebook page or Facebook group
- Survey your email list
- Ask a community where your audience hangs out (Reddit group, Facebook group, Discord, etc.)
Step 3: Create your Course Content
After validating your course idea, it’s time to create your course. Start with outlining your ideas and breaking the content into lessons. Keep in mind, shorter lessons are easier for your students to digest so keep each lesson focused on one specific topic.
You can build your course with:
- Text-based lessons
For more on this, check out our 9-step guide for building a course.
Step 4: Get Course Hosting
Getting course hosting is about picking an online course platform that will host your course for you. This is the platform on which students will access your course.
Course platforms have a lot of built-in tools to help you build out your course, price it, add coupons, certificates, gift cards, manage sales, build a sales page, and manage payments.
These are some of the top online course platforms on the market.
Teachable is a beginner-friendly online course platform you can use to host your course. It’s great for course sellers at all levels.
They make it easy to upload your video, text based, or a combination of both to their platform and then your students can log into Teachable to access your course.
You can create a sales page, multiple pricing levels, coupons and more. They also handle the collection of payments, including subscriptions, and any returns.
Their plans start at $29/month when billed annually.
Thinkific is a popular choice among course creators, having hosted over 75 million courses and tens of thousands of course creators. They offer an easy to use site builder that allows you to customize the branding of your course as well as templates that help you build out your course quickly and using best practices.
Thinkific has a free forever plan where you’ll get access to their core features plus quizzes, surveys, and limited courses. Paid plans start at $69 per month when billed annually.
Alternatively, you can sell courses from your own website. If you have a WordPress site Learndash will allow you to host your course directly on your website.
Learndash is a WordPress plug in where you can upload your course content right into your site and have a student portal that only paid members can access.
Pricing starts $199 per year and supports unlimited courses on one site. If you need more site licenses, the mid-tier or upper-tier plans might be a better fit.
Step 5: Market Your Course
Lastly, you’ll market your course.
Some ideas for marketing your course include:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid Facebook ads
- Influencer marketing
Now, here are some of the best online platforms to sell courses online you’ll find on the market
Final Thoughts on How to Sell Courses Online
Online courses are convenient and affordable for students to expand on their education, increase their knowledge and learn a new skillset. Connect with your audience, educate, and make money sharing your expertise.
For more on selling courses online, check out our article on how to get started selling online courses.