How to Sell Online Courses: Everything You Need to Know
Creating an online course is one way to generate an extra revenue source without lifting a finger. Because there are people who want to learn from your expertise, there’s money to be made.
More so, many people prefer to learn from the comfort of their homes and to learn at their pace. Hence, online courses have come to stay.
So, if you’re ready to create your first course, by all means, go ahead. This article will show you how to create an online course and most importantly how to sell your online course.
Why Should You Create an Online Course?
Because online learning is the new normal. At least 60% of internet users have indulged in online learning. This is because they can comfortably do it in the comfort of their time and place.
More so, by 2026, the online learning market size would be worth around $400 billion U.S. dollars with a cumulative annual growth rate of 8%.
The online learning market is a booming market and you could be earning anywhere from a few hundred dollars a year to six figures a year.
So, creating and selling online courses can serve as a way to build your personal brand online and position yourself as an expert in your chosen field. Use it to show your audience that you are a good source of knowledge and watch how they become attached to your brand.
Through marketing and promotional efforts, you can build relationships with your clients and show them what makes you better than your competitor.
The good news is that anyone can create and sell an online course. As long as you have good knowledge about a subject and are willing to teach it, you are good to go.
How to Create an Online Course
Here’s how to create an online course easily;
#1. Decide on a course topic that sells
The first step to creating a successful online course is by choosing your course topic. What are you most good at? What profitable ideas do you have and can teach comfortably?
Many people defer to online courses because of the following reasons,
- They want to learn a new skill,
- They want to add to their knowledge,
- Or they are bored and are looking for something new to learn.
So, feed their desire with your course. There are lots of topics you can choose to teach but the best bet is to go with a topic you have deep knowledge about.
Conversely, if you think you can easily learn a new topic or subject, and having background knowledge isn’t a criterion for teaching, then one way to decide on a good course topic is to ask your audience.
Come up with five strong topic ideas you think you can comfortably teach and ask your audience to choose what they’d want to hear the most from you. Ten is okay. But five is to help you understand the point.
Your audience knows you better and whatever their choice is, should be what you focus on creating.
#2. Research & outline your topic
Once you have your course topic ready, the next step is to research what it is about. Researching your topic can be both offline and online. You can start with academic and professional books on the subject, then other free and paid material online.
You can also search online for people’s experiences and thoughts on your topic. Do not forget that whatever topic you choose, isn’t a new invention. You just need to be more creative about it.
After research, you outline your course topic into subtopics. For example, if your main topic is Content Marketing, you can break it into sub-topics like content and SEO, why content marketing is good for your business, etc.
Arranging it in a logical order, helps your students have a better understanding of your course. Selar has an in-built feature that helps you to structure your curriculum.
Have other ideas? Here are the 10 Best Digital Products to Sell Online
#3. Set your course goals and objectives
What feat do you want to achieve as a course creator? How many students do you want to enroll in your course? What extra knowledge do you want your students to have after listening to your course?
With these, you can set a learning goal for yourself and your students. Learning goals for your students gives you a direction in which to create your course.
Also, it can help you come up with great pitches for your course. Because now, you have a clearer understanding of your course outline and what it will achieve for your student.
You’re not left out, as creating a course can teach you a few organizational and focus skills along the way.
#4. Create your course
The next most important step is to create your course. Based on the research you’ve made and the outline you’ve put out, you’d now need to start producing your course.
Depending on your course type, you’d need various media productions for your course. Remember, people are going to pay good money for your class, so you might as well want to give them high value for their money.
Your courses should have higher quality than what you’d get with an average YouTube vlog.
You may decide to repurpose your old content to make a course. But we recommend you start from scratch. Conduct new research, get more ideas, and create something better. Of course, your old content can come in handy at some point. But it shouldn’t be all that you use to create your course.
To start, you’ll need;
- A good HD camera
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III Digital 4K Vlogging Camera or a Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V770 are good options.
- Good lighting
Again, people are going to be paying good money for your course, so you do not want to look like you recorded with a low-camera phone.
Lighting rings are a good way to get enough lighting for your online course. There are good studio lighting kits on Amazon that you can get for about $100.
Your thoughts need to have a direction. Without a script, you’d jump on different ideas from different angles and everything may just turn out scattered.
With a script, you have an idea of how your teaching style should be. The right words to say and when to pause. Apps like Teleprompter lite can aid you in turning a laptop into a teleprompter.
- A green screen
A green screen allows you to change your background for any image you want. It is useful when you want to add images and graphics to your video.
- Editing Software
For all the times you’d make mistakes, you need good editing software to help you produce a good video. If you have no editing experience, we recommend you hire a professional video editor to get the job done.
When you’ve got all these, it’s time to record your course. Set up your equipment and record your first video. It’s exciting!
How to Sell your Online Course
Now comes the hard part, selling your online course. Marketing is an important part of any business. The whole point of creating the course is to sell it. The profitability of your online course depends on your marketing efforts.
So, if you want to get amazing results, you need to be ready to go all in. You’re marketing, there’s no need to be cute about it. You will need all the resources you can get to market your resources. So, here are the steps to take to sell your online course.
#1. Choose the platform you want to host and sell your online course
Before you can sell, you need to have a place to advertise your goods. Your online course is not any different as you need to host your courses somewhere before you sell it.
More than just hosting the course, you’d need a platform that makes your course easy to access and allows you to brand it and look professional.
You have two options. You can;
Self-host your courses
This means you set up your own server with a hosting company and create your website to enable you to host and sell online courses from your website. While this method may be expensive and technical, it allows you to have complete control over your material.
Use a course hosting platform
A course hosting platform is designed to meet all your needs as a course creator. So you do not need to go through the expense of setting up a website or hosting, or any of that technical jargon. You just need to focus on creating your course.
With a hosting platform such as Selar, you get everything you need to create and sell courses and more. There are in-built features that assist you to retain customers and view their progress.
Marketing automation, tool integration (Mailchimp, Zapier, Facebook pixel, etc.), drip content, and course curriculum, are some of the features Selar provides that make it easy to create and sell a course.
Looking for where to host your courses? See Why Selar Is The Best Platform to Host Your Online Courses
#2. Price your online course
This is often the second hardest part after deciding to sell your course. Pricing can be very tricky as the market is always changing. So it’s going to take a few guesses and trial and error to get it right.
Pricing all depends on your course, and how much value you give out in your course. It is not until you create a course and understand your audience that you know how much to sell your course for.
Generally, the price of online courses goes from $5 to thousands of dollars. Your course will likely fall within this range but it can vary based on the topic, audience, and value given.
When deciding the price of your online course, consider the following
- Course length. How long is your course and how much tie and effort was put into creating it?
- Competitor price. How much do your competitors sell their online courses? What makes their course different from yours?
- Audience. What kind of people do you intend to sell to? How much do you think they’d be willing to spend on a course?
With these, you can get an idea of how much to price your courses. But it doesn’t end there. You need to structure the payment for your course. Here’s what I mean. Would it be a one-time payment with lifetime access to your course? Would it be a recurring payment? Every month? Would it be a multiple payment structure where people can spread the cost over time?
Again, understanding your target market is key in setting a price for your online course.
#3. Increase the value of your course
Why settle for less when you can do more? Give yourself an opportunity to compete with others by increasing the value of your course. There are several ways to increase the value of your course. You can;
- Offer discounts and coupon codes
- Give a free material
Offer discounts and coupon codes
People will always be interested when they hear they get to pay less than what something is worth.
Price is a strong motivator. While a high price shows a premium product, a discount screams “You can enjoy this premium course too, you don’t need to have a thousand dollars!” Using discounts and coupon codes, you can drive more people to your online course.
Selar offers you a coupon feature that helps you advertise your discount prices. With these, you can attract new clients and encourage old ones to buy more of your courses.
Also, coupon codes are a good way to offer a limited deal to your audience, share with affiliates, and send to lots of people.
Offer free material
Nothing excites your customers more than when they hear “Free.” So leverage that and offer free material to your audience.
Ensure that the material you are offering for free is valuable to your audience. It could be the research you conducted, a worksheet, case studies, or templates. Whichever one it is, ensure it is something your audience wants. More so, offering free content helps you build a relationship with your customers.
#4. Create a sales funnel
A sales funnel is a marketing concept used to describe a customer’s buying journey. It shows you the processes your customers go through before finally making a purchase.
It turns your website visitors into buyers who subsequently become loyal to your brand.
There are five stages of a sales funnel;
- Awareness: You created an ad to lure people to your online course landing page.
- Interest: You pique their interest by offering something of value in exchange for a lead contact (email address)
- Desire: You strategically position your content to arouse the interest of your customers and prepare their minds for purchase.
- Action: You offer a discount they can’t resist that gets them to make a buying decision. Afterward, you modify your marketing efforts to retain them.
- Loyalty: Here you have customers that can stick with you through thick and thin. They become loyal to your brand and will always buy what you sell.
Traffic directed to your funnel combined with your content marketing efforts helps you move your audience through different stages of the funnel which eventually leads to sales.
Good thing is, we’ve written a guide on how you can create a sales funnel to sell your online course.
#5. Build your media channels for traffic
Here, you need to start building your followers on all your media channels for traffic. The aim is to eventually sell to them but that shouldn’t be the first step. First, focus on building a relationship with them which will eventually lead to trust.
To build your followers, offer value. Talk about a topic they struggle with, provide solutions and offer to be there when they have questions to ask.
Subsequently, you can lure them into signing up for your email list. then you create an email sequence that leads them to purchase your course.
Alternatively, you can host a webinar and repurpose it to lure them to buy your course.
#6. Leverage your network
Another way to sell your online course is to leverage your network. Use your contact to advertise your course. Let them know you’ve created a course and you’re trying to market it. They can help you conduct reviews, host podcasts or social media live sessions talking about what you do.
#7. Use Email Marketing
64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers according to Campaign Monitor, and there are about 4 billion active email users in the world today. This stat is because a lot of people think that email is more direct, personalized, and cost-effective. More importantly, it has a high conversion rate.
Using email marketing is a good way to make sales for your business. However, to start, you need to build an email list. Building an email list is easy. Offer something of value for free, build a relationship with your customers, and be there for them. They will be happy to give you their email addresses.
While email marketing has been proven to be effective, its success largely depends on the quality of copy contained in the email. Your email messages need to be very effective to drive your audience into your sales funnel. That is why most marketers prefer to send newsletters.
A newsletter is an email that contains informative content for your email list. It can range from a new blog post to an activity in your company, or any random information that’s relevant to your audience.
When crafting newsletters, two things are very important;
The type of newsletter
Would you stick to a blog post recap, company news, or outsider information? What do you want to achieve with your emails?
The subject line
Everyone is sick and tired of generic subject lines like XYZ Company Newsletter or promotional subject lines. People want something that piques their interest and gets them to feel like you are talking to them.
Even better, a subject line that directly speaks to their pain point and offers a solution. E.g; Sophia, here’s why you’re not making sales.
In email marketing, the rule is to give more informative content than promotional content. Give value first, before asking for something in return.
#8. Don’t forget social media marketing
Social media marketing is a huge part of digital marketing and cannot go unnoticed. There are lots of social networks out there, from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to LinkedIn, Pinterest, and lots more. The trick is to find which network houses your audience the most and focus on them there.
Being social in this day when social media is the new order of the day is a great way to boost sales of your online course.
#9. SEO is king
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is a great way to sell your course. This can be done by sharing blog posts that aim to educate your audience and position you as an industry expert.
Blogging is a major part of your content marketing strategy and aims to stimulate the interest of your audience. Quality content helps your online courses rank higher on Google search engine.
This ultimately increases traffic to your site, increases the exposure needed for your business, and drives organic traffic to your course.
Thinking of using Facebook ads? Here are 3 Effective Ways To Sell Out Your Course Using Facebook Ads
#10. Pre-launch your course
Now you know all the types of marketing strategies to use to sell your course. The final step to take is to sell your course before its initial launch. This follows the idea that from the first day you create your course, you need to share your ideas with the world.
Here’s a guide on all you need to know about pre-launching your course.
After Selling, What’s Next?
Firstly, congratulations on launching your course. So, what’s next?
It’s time to make sure your students understand and enjoy your course as much as you had hoped. When they feel like they gained something from your course, they are more likely to refer your course to friends.
More importantly, they are willing to buy other courses from you whenever you release them.
Here are some tips to ensure your students enjoy your course.
1. Build a good experience for them
How do you want them to feel while taking your course? Happy? Loved? Cared for? Empathy is key. So ensure you create your course with an honest desire to solve a problem.
2. Build a community
As people get into your funnel and buy your course, it’s time to build a community. Many successful online courses have communities built around them.
Use social media to build a community with your students and listen to them share their experiences taking your course. It’d help you get feedback on what you need to work on while updating your course.
3. Keep track of your student’s progress
Monitoring your student’s progress is easy to do when you have a tool that helps you automate the process.
More importantly, it helps you know your students learning styles. Periodically, you can send them emails to either encourage them, congratulate them, or just check in.
Generally, happy students mean a successful course and a happy tutor.
FAQs on How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Yes, it is. It is very profitable if you have the right marketing strategy and a valuable course that people are willing to pay for.
By first teaching what you are passionate about so that you have a course that people are willing to pay for.