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How To Sell Online Courses: Ultimate Guide for 2022

how to sell online courses

Today the knowledge economy, where information is power, is growing, and it has increased the demand for online courses. 

Many businesses have started selling online courses as an additional source of income. Online courses are inexpensive to create and don’t take that much time. Because you can host a course on an online platform, there are no shipping costs involved.

Elearning has become a booming market, and it’s definitely worth looking into. If you want to create and sell courses, there has never been a better time.

In today’s article, we present how to sell courses online and make your knowledge your biggest power!

Why is it worth creating online courses?

Anyone can create and sell online courses, but why should you? Any reason is good, but we present to you the most persuasive ones:

  • By 2025 the e-learning market would be worth $325 billion
  • Global e-learning and course usage has grown during the pandemic, and many experts expect it to continue.
  • Once you have an established customer base, selling courses online can be a source of passive income 
  • Online courses are also a powerful marketing tool to reach your target audience more easily.
  • You create and establish your brand. Build strong relationships and watch how your brand loyalty grows.

If you decide to create an online course, you probably start to wonder how to sell it. Next up, we walk you through the entire process of making a profitable course and selling it.

sell online courses

How to sell online course

Selling online courses doesn’t have to be hard! If you follow the steps we presented, you will be able to sell courses in no time.

Choose the right course subject

Before even creating your course material, you need to choose your course topic.

Your topic should include your unique selling point and what you’re trying to convey in the course. That’s why you need to know who your audience is. Get to know their problems and how you can teach them to solve those problems.

You need to create a course there is a demand for; otherwise, no one would buy it. The highest-selling courses are often career-related. People usually want to gain knowledge for a career change or boost their career opportunities.

If you want to create a successful course, think about what expertise do you have in these most profitable online course subjects:

  • IT and computers
  • Business and money
  • Health and fitness
  • Writing
  • Personal development and psychology
  • Science and math
  • Social sciences
  • Arts and crafts
  • Entertainment

If you have expertise on any of the above topics, you should consider it to make it a focal point of your online course.

However, these are broad subjects, and you should make your online course more specific. Broad topics usually are more competitive. If you choose a more focused niche, it will be easier to share your expertise.

But the most important thing of all when choosing a topic is having expert-level knowledge. Know what you’re talking about; otherwise, people won’t listen to you.

Remember that being an expert doesn’t mean you have to be a genius or have significant credentials. However, being an expert on a topic might mean you have better-than-average knowledge and have a great way of sharing it.

Make an outline and set goals

You may wonder why such a tedious task is crucial for selling online courses. Setting the goals defines what your course is about and what it can do for your students. And creating an outline will help you stick to those ideas.

It’s important to create an online course curriculum or an outline because people hate content about nothing. If you won’t keep things concise and get straight to the point, people won’t buy your course or won’t recommend it further.

It’s not school, and people don’t have to be here listening to you. If what you say is boring, people will simply tune out.

how to sell online courses

Create an enticing title

A good title can make a difference when selling a course because it’s the first thing people see.

Your course title should reflect your brand or your work and can potentially describe you as the best-selling trainer in your field.

The right title determines whether or not a potential student will download an online course. A successful online course title has to be able to catch someone’s attention and encourage them to click. It also works well for SEO purposes so that it shows up in search engine results.

It’s simple to produce an effective title since you can start working on it immediately. If you need assistance, however, the following techniques may help you in producing your own:

Conduct keyword research – see what comes up in terms of keywords in Google and what are the most popular search queries and phrases. Then, look at the bottom of the Google page and see the number of times they appear in the results.

Determine your target audience: make sure you know who you address in your course. Think about their characteristics and what they expect to see in your lessons.

Keep it simple: a title doesn’t have to be too long to make a point. Usually, brief and direct titles can describe what the course is about to perform better.

Quality is key

Most online courses are in video format, and we strongly encourage you to choose this format for your course.

You will be able to further visualize your point to your audience, making your course look more appealing.

You’ll need some video equipment to make the best quality videos possible.

People are much more likely to watch a course with high video and audio quality. Remember, they are paying good money for your course, so make it worth their while. Your courses should be of better quality than what you’d get with average YouTube videos.

Basic video equipment should include:

An HD camera

First things first – you’ll need a camera. There are tons of reviews and tutorials on YouTube that will help you choose the right camera for you and help you use it. Our recommendation would include Canon VIXIA or Sony CX405. They are both great options for filming an online course.

Lighting

Get your hands on professional lighting, and you don’t want it to look like you are recording from the basement of your house. A great option is lighting rings. They are cheap and effective, perfect for online course videos.

If you’re interested, you can find a professional lighting kit on Amazon that includes everything you need, including separate background support, and it’ll cost around $100.

‍Editing software

The editing process can be even more important than creating the content. With good editing, you can ensure that your video is high quality and engaging for the viewer.

There are many different software options on the market, both paid and free. We recommend starting with a free option like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Rush if you’re on a budget. However, if you want to go pro, we advise opting for Adobe Premiere Pro.

‍‍Your video doesn’t have to be perfect.

Even with this equipment, your video doesn’t have to be perfect. People don’t want it to be too polished – it should look and feel natural. Just make sure the quality is good enough that people can hear and see you clearly.

how to sell online courses

‍A good microphone

If you’re going to be talking in your videos, you need a decent microphone. The last thing you want is for your viewers to be distracted by the poor audio quality.

There are many different microphones on the market, but we recommend investing in a lavalier or headset mic.

‍A green screen

The green screen lets you conveniently alter the background with whatever image you choose. In addition, it makes it much easier to add photos, graphics, and b-roll footage.

You can easily find some on Amazon, starting at around $10.

‍A prompter

If you use a full script to make your course videos, it’s a good idea to have a prompter. This way, you can read the script and seem like you’re looking into the camera.

However, you don’t need an additional device. You can use apps like Teleprompter lite that you can use to turn a laptop or tablet into a teleprompter.

It’s understandable if you can’t afford a full studio. Use what resources you have available.

Remember that your audience will value a more professional-looking product, so investing a little in your online course production is worth investing a little.

Choose the online course host

Your online course has to be placed somewhere online. You’ll want a hosting solution that makes the course simple to access, allows you to customize it with your branding, and appears professional.

When it comes to hosting and selling your online course, there are three options:

An online course platform

Online course platforms are designed to meet all the needs of a course creator, from video hosting to marketing. These platforms make it easy to post and format your content, customize the look of your site, and come with built-in payment processors so you can start selling courses right away. 

They also include features like certificates of completion and progress tracking for students that you can notify your students about in automated emails.

Some popular online course platforms are:

  • Udemy
  • Kajabi
  • Ruzuku
  • Podia
  • Teachable
  • Thinkific‍

Self-hosting

You can set up your server with a hosting company to host and sell online courses from your own website. Although it might be time-consuming and technical, self-hosting gives you total control and power over your material.

A course marketplace

The last alternative for hosting is a learning marketplace such as Udemy or Masterclass. The marketplace sites host your course and allow you to design your branding.

You don’t need to worry about marketing or payments, but you will have to share revenue with the marketplace.

These platforms, by contrast, often have stringent rules and may take as much as half of your income.

sell courses online

Pricing your online course

Once you have your online course content ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about how much to charge.

This is one of the most common issues when figuring out how to sell courses online. The pricing aspect is difficult to navigate. To figure out the ideal price, you’ll have to experiment with several variables.

It’s only when you offer and sell online courses on a regular basis that you’ll discover your lifetime customer value. For the time being, you’ll need to estimate and test things.

Online courses can cost from $5 to $2,000. The first online course should cost between $50-$200. This can depend on your topic, target audience, and experience.

When pricing your online course, keep the following things in mind:

  • Length of the online course: consider how long your course is, how much information it contains, and how much effort you put into creating it.
  • Competition: research if there are any other courses in the same niche and do you have the same target audience. Consider whether to price low and get more people or price high and offer more value.
  • Value proposition: Consider the purpose of the course and what you want to share with your students. How much are you changing your students’ life with your course?
  • Credibility and authority: Consider how strong your brand is and its reputation for your target audience. Think about how new customers may view your company and how much they trust your authority on the subject.
  • Your income goals: Setting a financial target may help you figure out your entire income. Consider how much you’d want to get out of this. Set reasonable goals for yourself, but don’t undervalue yourself.
  • Create a pricing strategy: Setting financial goals and expectations is easier when you have a financial plan.

To come up with a price for your online course, start by looking at similar courses on the market and seeing how they are priced. If people see that your course is priced much higher than your competitors, they will choose them over you.

You’ll also want to consider how much value your course provides and how much time and effort you put into creating it. This is an important point because you shouldn’t undervalue yourself. If you can’t meet your income goal, there’s no point in pricing your course lower.

Once you have an idea of what’s reasonable, experiment with different price points to see what converts best.

It’s also a good idea to offer discounts or coupons for your course from time to time to encourage students to sign up.

When it comes to pricing, you have a few options:

‍Pay-what-you-want

Students can choose how much they want to pay for your online course with this pricing model. You set a minimum price, and students can decide whether to pay that amount or more.

‍Subscription

A subscription-based online course charges students a recurring monthly or yearly fee to access your content. This is a good option if you regularly add new content or offer updates.

‍One-time payment

The most common pricing model, a one-time payment, means students pay a set amount to have lifetime access to your course.

What about free courses?

Free content is often used to encourage potential customers. It’s a great strategy if you don’t have an established brand and people don’t perceive you as a thought leader in the industry.

You can promote the free course in your niche community through forums and Facebook groups. After you’ve seen how it performs, you will better understand the improvements you can implement.

Free resources are also a great addition to other marketing actions. For example, resources such as YouTube videos, a blog post, and eBooks can turn interested prospects into paying customers.

Create a sales page

Once you’ve launched the online course, you need a sales page. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. It’s where you’ll drive most of your traffic, and it’s where you’ll make your sales.

A sales page is an important part of any marketing strategy for an online course. It’s the first thing potential students will see when considering signing up for your course, so it’s important to make a good impression.

It’s a page that will sell your course by persuading the visitors of its value. Therefore, your sales page should thoroughly describe your course, show its value, and motivate visitors to take action.

Your sales page should include the following:

‍The title of your course and a brief description

This is your chance to sell your course. First, write a catchy headline that accurately reflects what students will learn. Then, follow it with a brief description of the course content and how it will benefit students.

‍Course overview

Give potential students a detailed look at what they can expect from your course. Include a list of topics that will be covered and any special features or bonuses.

‍The instructor

Introduce yourself and tell students a little bit about your experience and qualifications. If you have any awards or accolades, mention them here.

‍Course testimonials

If you have any student testimonials, include them on your sales page. These can be helpful in convincing potential students to sign up for your course. In addition, testimonials are helpful if you want to sell courses online and build your authority in the industry.

‍Money-back guarantee

Include a money-back guarantee to show students that you’re confident in the quality of your course. This can help ease any concerns they may have about signing up.

‍Course price

Of course, you should also include the price of your course. You can also offer discounts or coupons to encourage students to sign up.

CTAs

The last thing you want is for students to get to the end of your sales page and not know what to do next. So include a clear call to action, such as “Sign up now!” or “Buy now!” so they know exactly how to sign up for your course.

An important part of a sales page is a call-to-action placed through the page. This calls-to-action aims to encourage site visitors to complete specific steps.

CTAs help moves more individuals down the sales funnel and closer to purchasing your courses by influencing conversion rates.

The main purpose of your online course landing page is to sell a course online, and CTAs can help you do that.

sell online courses

Create a sales funnel

A sales funnel a process that takes a customer from awareness of the product to the decision to purchase it. There are generally three steps in a funnel:

Awareness: The potential customer becomes aware of your product or service.

Interest: The potential customer is interested in your product or service.

Decision: The potential customer decides to purchase your product or service.

‍There are many ways to create awareness for your product or service. For example, you can use content marketing, paid advertising, or social media. Once you have created awareness for your product or service, you need to generate interest.

You can do this by providing more information about your product or service and how it will benefit the customer. You can also use case studies, demos, or free trials to generate interest.

Finally, you need to get the customer to decide and purchase your product or service. You can provide a special offer, such as a discount or coupon. Y

You can also create a sense of urgency by providing limited-time offers.

Understanding the funnel structure is critical since you’ll have to build one for your business that incorporates effective marketing techniques.

The most common approach to increase traffic to your sales funnel is as follows: 

  • organic traffic from search engines
  • paid traffic from Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.
  • social media
  • email lists
  • referral traffic from mentions by affiliates, students, and business partners.
sell online courses

Lead magnets

Most sales pages will push towards buying. However, some sales funnels include a lead magnet established to further persuade potential customers to buy your product.

A lead magnet helps to persuade prospects on different funnel stages to purchase your online course.

A lead magnet can be an eBook or a checklist to download, watching a video first, or registering for a free course.

Lead magnets are a popular part of content marketing strategy for selling courses, especially at the first stages of the sales funnel.

Once you’ve created your sales page, promote it through your website, social media, and email list. You can also run ads to drive traffic to your sales page. These are foolproof techniques if you want to sell courses online successfully!

Presell your online course

Another way of selling online courses is pre-selling, which basically means that you sell your online class before the official launch date.

If you market your online course the right way and convince people to sign up for your class, pre-selling an online course can be a great way to make money before your work is done. Especially, email marketing is a powerful tool used when pre-selling.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a powerful marketing tactic, especially when it comes to selling online courses.

It proves successful at every stage of the sales funnel, and it provides you with an email base that you can use for future marketing actions.

Email marketing can be even 40 times more effective than social media marketing. It allows you to communicate with your students and give updates about your courses.

It’s also a marketing choice that is practically immune to market fluctuations, marketing trends, worldwide calamities, and being forgotten.

Newsletters and gated content are the perfect way to obtain your prospective customers’ emails. With the right tools, it’s easier than you think.

Many platforms provide email automation. Some are even free, like MailChimp. However, the most prominent platforms on the market are Hubspot and Active Campaign.

Email marketing platforms allow you to write engaging and interactive emails that your prospective customers can’t pass by.

The best part about automated emails is that they can boost ROI effortlessly. You just need to set up the email automation, and it does the hard work for you automatically.

Email marketing is an extremely effective tool for boosting sales. Therefore, it should be a key part of your online course marketing strategy.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising is one of the most effective ways to market your online courses. It allows you to target a specific audience and get your message in front of them quickly.

There are two main types of paid advertising:

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the most common type of paid ads. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The most popular PPC platform is Google Ads.

Display ads: These are ads that appear on websites and apps. They come in different sizes and shapes. The most popular display ad platform is Google Display Network.

Paid advertising is a great way to generate leads and sales. However, it can be expensive. Therefore, you need to have a solid plan and budget for your paid advertising campaigns.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a great way to promote your online courses. It allows you to reach a wider audience and build relationships with your prospective students.

The most popular social media platforms for marketing are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

There are many other social media platforms that you can use to market your online courses. The key is to find the platform where your target audience is most active.

Once you’ve found the right platform, you need to create engaging and informative content to persuade your audience to enroll in your courses.

You can also use social media ads to promote your courses. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have their own paid advertising platforms.

If you want to successfully sell courses online, you should also consider influencer marketing. Influencers will help you reach a wider audience and share your courses with their followers to promote your courses.

Conclusion

Now that you understand how to use effective marketing techniques, you know what it takes to sell courses online.

You can start by creating a sales page and adding a lead magnet to persuade potential customers to purchase your online course at different stages of the funnel.

You can also use email lists to communicate with your students and give updates about your courses. Finally, run ads to drive traffic to your sales page.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to making a profitable online course.


Marketing Executive and Partner at Surfer, responsible for incorporating and executing marketing strategies. Tomasz is passionate about SEO, product marketing and video production. Over the last 5 years, he has consulted hundreds of content teams, and helped them succeed in SEO. Apart from work, he’s interested in geopolitics, energetics, business, and travels.

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