Do you want to learn how to sell online courses? Or you may be looking for the best way to sell your completed online course.
Today solopreneurs, coaches, mentors, and educators can reach a near-unlimited audience. Courses allow them to scale their time – not exchange time for money.
The Internet allows anyone to create, share, and promote physical and digital products worldwide. And the number of support tools for online businesses continues to grow daily.
Yet, many business owners or creators need help with their online course business. They have zero or few course sales, which can be heartbreaking and demoralizing.
That’s because creating an online course is no small feat. It takes significant time and money.
For many, it's several weeks or months of hard work, recording and editing course content. Creators often spend thousands paid to course maker consultants, writers, designers, etc., before making a single cent.
The good news is if you're struggling with course sales or just starting, this guide will help. It'll show you how to sell a profitable course, the best online course platforms to use, and ways to address hindrances affecting any course you currently have up.
Who buys online courses?
All course creators must understand their target audience much like any other type of business.
Why will the audience want to buy your online course? What are the pain points that matter most to the customer? Does your online course address these pain points?
Consider those questions to identify why someone would purchase your course (core reasons).
You should do some research for the answers. But generally, people who want to experience change through the shortest path buy online courses.
More specifically, people buy online courses for the following top reasons.
- The transformation. What people want is the transformation your course makes possible. That's what you're selling – the desired result.
- Information overload. You can find almost anything online, so picking out the good from the bad is challenging and time-consuming. People want logically organized information that leads them to the result fast. This is why online courses are booming despite free content. More choices also increase indecision.
Begin by committing to the process and seeing everything through
It takes lots of time and effort to create a great online course. So why do it?
Some people do it for an additional source of income. Others create and sell online courses full-time because it makes their business more scalable. Whatever your reason, an online course is a powerful way to generate revenue. It's a product you can sell an unlimited number of times.
Courses also help creators build clout or plant themselves firmly as an expert in their industry. And the demand for online courses keeps rising, fuelled by the ever-growing knowledge economy.
Young and older demographics are committing to lifelong learning. And more people are embracing online learning because of its flexibility and affordability. For example, it doesn’t require seating in class for 3, 4, or 5+ years, and online courses cost much less.
So it’s no surprise that the global e-learning market is projected to reach nearly $400 billion by 2026, according to Statista. The same study also reveals online e-learning is the largest market over all other segments.
In fact, the global e-Learning market surpassed $315 billion in 2021, according to Global Market Insights.
Experts also project a 20 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2022 to 2028. North America alone is valued at $120 billion, with a projected CAGR of 27 percent.
So without a doubt, online learning is booming.
But without committing to seeing things through, you may never finish your online course. So make your commitment now.
10 steps to selling your completed online course like a Pro.
One of the greatest online business ventures right now is selling courses. So there’s probably something wrong if you already have a course but are struggling to get students.
The good news is the reason your course isn’t selling most likely has nothing to do with the quality or value. In most cases, other critical factors like price point could be the culprit. Most creator courses flop because they are either not promoting enough or made a miss-step somewhere.
With that in mind, here are all the possible reasons your course isn't performing and practical solutions you can implement.
You’ll also learn how Subkit.com helps creators apply solutions and get more signups for their courses.
1. Price your course for long term
Scenario: Considering the economy, the price of your online course could be hindering conversions. A higher price in the hundreds or more will decrease the likelihood of someone registering. People will more likely search for an alternative that fits their budget instead.
Asking a potential consumer to pay an upfront cost is a disadvantage.
- Offer subscription. Let students pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee for access. That can ease things out for people, allowing them to take as much time as needed to learn. It’s also great for creators to make more revenue over time. However, it involves adopting or creating membership sites (a website that offers member-only content for recurring fees).
- Ask the audience. Asking people about what they are willing to pay and other pricing-related questions can be a good move. It should provide some great insights.
- Split the cost or offer a payment plan. In other words, divide the price across multiple months, such as three small installments. Payment plans make courses seem more affordable.
Subkit allows you to poll your audience with questions about pricing and subscribing to your online course.
2. Break it up into digestible pieces. Don't make content too time-consuming.
Scenario: Folks are busy and pulled in many different directions throughout the day. So your content may seem intimidating to digest all at once. Prospects may also be worried they won't have enough time to consume your course content.
Solution: Break your course content down into digestible pieces. For example, you could offer subscription pricing and deliver your content weekly in bite-sized chunks. This can make your course easier to fit into people's schedules and bring in more revenue.
3. Get more eyeballs (traffic)
Scenario: You can’t sell a course without getting enough traffic to the offer, so look at your analytics. Is traffic increasing? Is traffic decreasing or stagnant?
If traffic is increasing, then you probably have a traffic quality problem. In other words, your website isn’t attracting the right prospects – people who are a good fit for your digital product. However, you certainly have a traffic problem if traffic is decreasing or stagnant.
Solution: You’ll need better strategies for getting quality traffic to your site. And while you can do that in different ways, search engine optimization (SEO) is a good way to grow organically.
That's because search engines control most of the web's traffic, and searchers typically have high intent to purchase. However, while you can leverage every search engine, Google alone holds more than 80 percent market share.
Leveraging Subkit’s domain ranking will help drive high-quality traffic to your online courses.
Types of traffic sources to guide your marketing
There are four types of traffic sources; understanding each will put you in a better position to succeed.
This refers to any unpaid inbound traffic source. That includes social media, search engines, question-and-answer sites (e.g., Quora), and any platform where you don’t have to pay to generate traffic.
However, most websites today can’t attract enough organic traffic without search engines, making SEO the best way to leverage organic traffic sources.
The search Google giant has many options for marketing your course, but using PPC (pay-per-click) may be the best way. That's because you'll only pay for each click, and your CPC (cost-per-click) can be very low with good optimization.
However, the amount of competition on Google for your niche may be too great, which can drive your CPC up. So using Google Ads might not be possible.
Here are some quick tips to help in that regard.
- Find and optimize your content for the right keywords. Choose terms that work for your online course and target goals. Then, identify where each keyword fits in your sales funnel and create content accordingly.
- Don't become too focused on keywords that you neglect quality. For example, overstuffing your pages with search terms could trigger one of Google’s spam algorithms. That can cause your site to lose all or most of its rankings.
- Focus on highlighting the things that make your online course unique. Think about why someone would register for your course instead of others and address each in your copy. Do it in a way that supports your SEO efforts. For example, you can find questions through keyword research and address each in your content.
- Build links to your website. While this seems complex, it's pretty straightforward. Reach out to sites that can link to your own website or add your business to relevant sites (e.g., online business directories, social platforms, etc.). You can also create free content to attract linkers. For example, someone may cite information from your article in their blog post.
- Publish content regularly. That’s the best way to improve your online presence and attract more traffic organically.
- Share your content on social media. While social media won’t directly affect SEO, it will do so indirectly. Social media can give you free or cheap access to your target audience. The more users you get to engage with your content, the more positive signals search engines receive about the publication (links, bookmarks, etc.).
- Ensure your site is user-friendly. That means the website should be easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, mobile-friendly, and fast (load time). The user experience should be a good one across channels and touchpoints.
- Measure your results. Use analytics tools to track traffic growth and how prospects behave on your site. This information can help you improve your SEO and the user experience.
This is any traffic that arrives on your site from emails, such as click-throughs from cold email messages and newsletters. And the best way to grow your email traffic is through email marketing.
Email communications are great for building relationships with an audience and driving traffic to essential assets, such as blog posts. However, you must properly tag your emails with trackable URLs to count visits accurately.
The Subkit team has resources that can help you with that and more. Here are some different ways to improve outcomes from email marketing efforts.
Personalize your messages
Email personalization is the process of using customer data to send personalized communications.
For example, a company could address its customers by their first names, which is the simplest form of personalization. So instead of "Hello there," it's "hello John." Another example is when companies send personalized product recommendations based on the customer’s shopping history.
Personalization can transform online course sales from mediocre to terrific when done right. It's just too powerful to ignore. One study found that 80 percent of consumers are likelier to open personalized emails.
Additionally, according to McKinsey, personalization can reduce customer acquisition costs by 50 percent and raise revenues between 5 to 15 percent.
Segment your subscribers
Segmentation means separating your email list subscribers. Essentially, creating subsets based on specific factors like needs, demographics, shared interests, and other behavioral or psychographic criteria.
When you segment your email list, marketing campaigns become much more targeted, which can improve open rates, leads, and sales. For example, separating people by course purchase can help promote certain courses to those who have not enrolled.
And while most email marketing software or CRM (customer relationship management) makes segmenting simple – segmentation is only as good as the data you collect.
Collect the data you need upon user subscription if you plan on creating different subsets.
Send mobile-friendly emails
Many people open emails on their mobile devices and expect a great experience. Email messages where design elements are out of place, texts too small, etc., are among the main reasons for high unsubscribe rates.
These hiccups increase dissatisfaction, which can cause customers to opt-out of communications altogether. So ensure your email communications are mobile-friendly.
Any visit you receive from paid sources, such as ad marketing campaigns on YouTube, is paid traffic. And while paid traffic is a significant investment, it can help businesses grow faster.
Many online course businesses combine paid and organic channels. For example, a creator may use Facebook ads and SEO simultaneously. Eventually, their paid marketing expense will drop as organic traffic grows. This method can also lead to better conversion rates.
Paid traffic sources to consider for your own online course include the following.
Facebook is still one of the most affordable advertising options available. The average CPC is only $1.68 across industries. And there’s a good chance you can achieve a significantly much lower CPC depending on the target audience.
Also, since Facebook owns Instagram, you can show your ads there often without increasing ad spending.
YouTube can be a great place to market your paid course. It’s cost-effective despite the competition, easy to measure, and highly targeted.
The cost of video views is typically between $0.10 and $0.30. However, your location, target audience, competing products, and other factors may affect those numbers.
For better results with YouTube, ensure you’re targeting large audiences already on the platform. Plus, speak directly to the specific customer type and offer strong proof of any claims.
LinkedIn is good for generating solid leads. The platform has over 870 million members worldwide, and the audience is primarily professionals looking to expand their network, upgrade skillsets, and capture new customers.
So LinkedIn might be the perfect marketing tool for your paid course. However, the average CPC on LinkedIn is similar to Google. It's between $8 and $11 for sponsored content and $3 to $6 for text ads.
You can use several of these paid traffic sources or pick one and stick with it.
4. Optimize converting prospects to paying customers
Scenario: Creators, coaches, or educators who’ve had a course offered up for months with low or no sales typically means conversion-specific issues are at play. Things like a confusing checkout process, subpar copy, bad landing page design, etc., can cause visitors to leave without adequately considering your offer.
Solution: Take a look at optimizing your pages for conversion. With some research, you can identify the proper steps to take. Consider hiring a conversion rate optimization (CRO) expert to review your landing pages and address conversion issues.
Leverage Subkit's membership hubs to drive conversions by strategically focusing on customers subscribing to a plan – no need to hire a CRO expert.
5. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
Scenario: You are not converting views to customers, or people aren’t consuming your online course, so you have a weak referral volume.
Solution: Build and leverage a referral program or use an out-of-the-box referral tool.
A strong referral strategy (word-of-mouth marketing) is a great way of acquiring more students. One Nielsen study revealed 92 percent of consumers trust opinions and suggestions from family and friends over advertising content or the given business.
So a referral program can potentially increase your monthly sales tenfold.
Subkit offers an out-of-the-box referral program that allows you to incentivize both the referrer and the one referred.
6. Use management systems platforms or software that optimize the user experience and conversions.
Scenario: There are many online course platforms on the market, but few stack up well when it comes to having the tools necessary for marketing your online course. Many lack good SEO features; worse, these platforms are often expensive, costing $2,400 a year on average.
If you're paying that kind of money but not getting the desired results, it's time for a change. You need a platform that gives your students a custom, professional learning experience. It should also facilitate conversions and organic growth.
Solution: Use a course platform that fits the consumption needs of your customers and has performance-based pricing. That way, instead of paying a monthly fee, you pay a percentage of your sales. This will ensure you’re getting the best return. The best platforms have some form of performance-based pricing.
Choosing the best platform for hosting and selling your online course
Every online course lives somewhere. There’s always a host or platform that makes it possible for people to find and access the course. The solution you choose will considerably impact the effectiveness of your marketing and sales.
Some solutions provide advanced features to support creators further, while others solely focus on hosting the content.
Here are the three main solutions for online course platforms.
- Ready-made course platforms: These are out-of-the-box solutions designed to meet the needs of course creators – from hosting to marketing to collaborations and much more. However, features will vary depending on the given platform. This is the best option for most creators.
- Self-hosted solutions: Think of web hosts like Bluehost or GoDaddy. You can register for website hosting with those brands, build your site or online course platform, and start selling. This route provides more control but often requires a significant investment. That’s because you’re building your own website or platform. So it’s best for tech-savvy individuals or people with enough funds to invest.
- Online course marketplaces: A learning marketplace brings together various creators to offer courses. Udemy and Masterclass are good examples. This might be the best option if you don’t mind some convenience in exchange for a chunk of your profits. For instance, Udemy creators only receive 37% from sales where the purchaser did not use a coupon or course referral link.
Platforms vs. LMS
The difference between a platform and a learning management system (LMS) is worth noting so there's no confusion.
Unlike online course platforms, LMS is a complex software or web-based application typically used by prominent educational institutions like Universities and Colleges. These systems are highly customizable and built for scale, allowing institutions to apply custom codes or programming to just about anything.
Organizations use them to plan, document, implement, track, assess specific learning processes, and deliver educational programs.
In contrast, course platforms are out-of-the-box web-based apps that let users easily design and deliver online courses. They are incredibly user-friendly, with many featuring drag-and-drop interfaces and tons of extra tools, such as sales page creators, email services, etc.
For example, Subkit has many standard and advanced marketing tools to facilitate SEO, referrals, and collaborations.
With Subkit, you can:
- Easily create and host your online course on an SEO-optimized landing page built to facilitate conversions.
- Get an out-of-the-box membership hub for your students or subscribers.
- Host and offer physical and online products, including digital downloads.
- Offer multiple pricing options, such as subscriptions and tiers.
- Grow your creative network and collaborate with others, such as rev share, bundling, and cross-promotion. You can even collab with businesses that are not yet on Subkit.
- Turn your social media followers and email list into paying subscribers by following a proven step-by-step process.
7. Make the core benefit or value of your course clear to prospects
Scenario: Your marketing messaging doesn’t clearly demonstrate value. You know the transformation your online course brings to people's lives, but no one will purchase your digital product if that value isn't clearly defined.
Solution: Concisely communicate your course’s value repeatedly. Email marketing is very effective in this regard because you can communicate directly with potential customers and consistently present yourself as a thought leader. And over time, that nudges people to become paying customers.
BONUS: Elements of a successful course sales page
Your sales page is critical for moving prospects to the point of purchase. It encourages potential customers to stick around long enough to learn about your course and make a decision.
Here are some of the ingredients that make a successful course sales page.
For online courses, in particular, using a primary and secondary headline on your sales page can be very effective. The former should convey a bold benefit, and the latter can provide additional clarity.
For example, “Become A Personal Trainer In 2 Weeks” (primary) and “Learn Personal Training, Transform Lives, And Make More Money” (secondary).
Includes action words and phrases
Ultimately, you need to engage the audience, and action words or phrases help a lot. They can motivate prospects to learn more about your online course and buy. For example, “jumpstart," "get," and “start” can prompt visitors to make a move.
Includes social proof
Share things that show you’re credible or a trustworthy authority on the topic. For instance, you could include testimonials, endorsements, or earned media on your sales page.
Infographics, video content, and presentations are all types of visual media that can improve engagement.
For instance, visual content that shows before and after results from applying the things taught in your course is powerful. Similarly, a short video that explains what students can expect and who you are can help immensely.
8. Develop trust
Scenario: Your audience doesn't know you or your brand.
- Show the audience you’re a real person or brand that cares. For example, share some personal experiences or examples of how you helped others.
- Delight with free content. For example, you can make some of your course content free, allowing interested people to preview the course. In addition, value-driven content via email and social media are great ways to delight potential buyers and build trust.
- Share testimonials. Successful courses yield social proof which is important to prospects when buying from an unknown provider. Many rely on the opinions of other people to help guide their actions.
- Interact with your audience more. For example, run a weekly webinar or Q&A session. Such things go a long way toward building trust. Bring the audience together for interactions as much as possible.
- Offer a solid money-back guarantee or free trial. This is another way to build trust and address doubts or concerns.
9. Develop a light SEO and marketing strategy
Scenario: You have no idea about the best approach to market or leverage an SEO strategy.
Solution: It’s easier than you might think. You just have to know the critical pieces to the puzzle and follow best practices.
A good SEO strategy typically includes the following.
- Keyword research. Discover suitable content topics for your online business website, including commercial terms. You can find keywords using research or search engine marketing tools like Ahrefs and Moz.
- Content creation. Create content that targets the right keywords uncovered during your research. Subkit will allow you to check your rankings for all published content.
- Internal linking. The more you link to other pages within your site, the better. Google and others use links to discover content.
- Link building. Develop a strategy for acquiring backlinks or links from other sites that point to your site. The quantity of backlinks you have is an essential search engine ranking factor, but all links are not equal. Search engines value some more than others.
- Start building your email list early
It’s a good idea to start building your email list before launch. That can help you more easily sell your online course after it launches – because email is the best way to form relationships with an audience.
Everyone receives important and personal communications in their inbox (e.g., emails from family, friends, etc.). So naturally, your messages will feel more personal and important.
Further, most online course creators use lead magnets to build a robust email list. Lead magnets are a marketing tool for generating leads by offering something for free to obtain contact information like email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
Your lead magnets can be anything useful, including the following.
- A free guide
- Resource list
- Cheat sheet
- Mini online course
- Email course
- Essential shopping lists
- Video guide
- Free trial
- A discount
Consider what will most resonate with your target market and turn that into a lead magnet. Then decide how you will nurture or build relationships with people that subscribe.
For instance, many successful online course creators publish newsletters to keep their email lists engaged. Some run a weekly or monthly podcast or meet-up. Find what will work for you.
Also, think about how you’ll drive traffic to the lead magnet.
For example, some creators leverage social media platforms and other sites like YouTube to drive traffic to their free offers. They share free advice on their YouTube channel, including the free offer at the end, and provide the corresponding URL in the video description.
In addition, your email list will be yours after building it. In other words, the email addresses you collect become essential assets you have near-full control over, unlike when using services like Facebook.
For example, the social media giant can decide to decrease organic reach, causing many of your followers to miss important posts. Such restrictions don’t exist with email since your subscribers gave permission to send them information. But remember, people can unsubscribe at any time.
Understanding the sales funnel
The profitability of any course rests upon how well the creator executes marketing/sales strategies. And understanding the sales funnel is key to getting off on the right track.
A sales funnel refers to the potential journey customers take to purchase your product. Think of it as a multi-step process that helps you turn website visitors into buyers.
Sales funnels consist of various steps, usually the top, middle, and bottom. However, these steps can vary depending on your sales model and other factors.
Most creators use a variation of this: awareness, interest, decision, purchase, and post-purchase.
You’ll need to create marketing assets for each stage to move potential customers along.
- Awareness: Potential students become aware of your course. They may arrive at your site through organic or paid channels.
- Interest: The potential customer becomes interested in the product. At this stage, they will typically get to know your business more and explore offerings, including competing offers.
- Decision: The prospect begins to decide whether to enroll in your course. Creating content specifically for convincing people at this stage to move forward is vital.
- Purchase: Here’s where the prospect decides to become a paying customer. A compelling landing or course page is essential to help smooth the buying process. But everything else beyond that must also be great. For example, a horrible checkout experience can turn prospective students away.
- Post-purchase: Providing a great customer experience is essential beyond the sale. So, identify effective ways to engage students regularly. For example, you could use email or WhatsApp to receive and answer questions. Ongoingly engaging existing and new customers can enhance their overall experience and help bring them back to purchase future digital products.
As you can see, your sales funnel describes the whole buying process. Understanding the sales funnel structure helps create better marketing content and landing pages. It’ll also help you utilize the best ways to market the course or properly plan your marketing.
10. Partner with others
Problem: You’re tackling everything alone, but the road to wealth is challenging.
Partnering (or collaborating) with others is critical if creators want to reach their revenue goals. Many businesses are built on partnerships, and selling an online course is no different. It’s much easier to sell when someone the audience trusts recommends the product.
Solution: Search for other online instructors with complementary courses and offer them collaboration opportunities. It's the best way to go.
For example, you could jointly cross-promote each other's work or build a new course product. Similarly, you could bundle your products to offer a special deal or package.
This is any visitor that comes to your website via means of referral. That includes visitors from other websites and customer or other business recommendations.
For example, visitors who click through from a blog post to visit your site are referrals. Similarly, people who visit your website because someone or another business recommended you are referrals.
However, it’s worth noting that digital analytics systems only count referral traffic from other sites. They typically don’t have a way of tracking word-of-mouth. But referrals that enter your website address into their browsers to access it are counted as "direct traffic."
Here are some of the best ways to gain referral traffic.
Find collab partners
You can search for other online instructors who serve your core audience and offer collaboration opportunities.
For example, you could cross-promote each other's work or build a new course product together. Similarly, you can bundle products for special offers or packages. Of course, this applies to physical goods as well.
But make sure their courses are complementary to yours for the best results. For instance, a coffee shop owner can collaborate with their local bookstore to offer a joint subscription. They can provide customers with coffee and book rentals each month for a recurring fee.
Subkit makes such collaborations easy. You can find and collab with other online instructors and create shared revenue plans. Bundle courses, create tiered pricing, work with various product types, and more. Get early access.
Start a referral or affiliate program
You may have heard of affiliate and referral programs. These programs encourage word-of-mouth by providing something in exchange for each referral. So they are pretty much the same thing.
The only difference is businesses typically use referral programs to reward existing customers. On the other hand, organizations use affiliate programs to reward other companies, independent salespeople, or promoters.
For example, offering your customers a $5 gift card for every person they refer would be in line with referral programs. In contrast, paying 20 percent of your revenue for every successful sale is in line with affiliate programs.
Once your program is defined and launched, you should take a proactive approach to finding potential referrals. Look for people who serve your target audience and ask them to join your referral program.
Build a community
You can build a community that may later become a source for referrals.
For example, starting a Facebook group centered on your course idea or subject can attract many potential students. And every post will serve to nurture group members and build trust. In time, some may buy your course or refer someone.
Subkit makes it easy to collab and rev share. You can bundle courses, create tiered pricing, and work with various product types for subscription plans. Get early access.
How to create your own online course if you're just starting out
The biggest challenge is the direction when people decide to create and sell online courses. They don’t know where to start and might make the entire process seem bigger than it is from overthinking.
However, the content is the most important thing for your online course business. The quality of your content will affect how much you earn.
Go through the following steps to stay on track and avoid overthinking or convoluting the entire process of creating a course. Think of it like a checklist.
Choose your course idea or topic
Not sure what to teach?
Think about what you’re good at and have helped people with in the past. Is there a problem you can solve? Are you an expert in something valuable to others?
Your expertise is the place to start, and don't be shy about getting other people's opinions either. Talk to friends and family you trust to garner potential course topics. Source opinions through email or social media if you have a following.
For example, you could share a list of your great ideas and ask people what they would like to see.
Research the subject matter
After picking a topic, the next step is doing your research. The goal here is to ensure that there's a market for the subject and you can create the course.
A nifty tool you can use to gauge audience interest is Google Trends. It’s a website that analyzes the popularity of queries in Google Search based on region. You can compare search volume for various queries over time.
In the graph below, you can see that the term “learn AI” is more popular than “learn PHP" (in the past 12 months).
You can also compare by subregion, which can help with targeting. For example, you can exclude regions where the course topic isn’t popular in your marketing campaigns.
However, while Google Trends is fantastic, you should also use other sources for your research. For example, you can use free online sources, materials on hand, books on the subject, the competition, and academic research papers.
Create the course outline
When drafting your outline, choose a logical order that makes sense. Consider the easiest way someone with zero knowledge can learn the subject. Then divide the topics and sub-topics into sections.
For example, you can organize the course based on difficulty or chronological order. You should be able to take your students from one point to the next with relative ease.
Additionally, consider which sections need supporting information to help students. One of the best ways to provide supporting details is by offering digital downloads. They can be in any format that fits, such as eBook, podcast, video, templates, etc. Specify every digital download within your outline.
For example, you can provide optional video lessons that give greater detail on topics. These video lessons and digital downloads can improve the user experience since they help students who need extra assistance to grasp topics.
Pro tip: Length isn’t the goal here. Instead, focus on comprehensiveness because a longer course doesn’t mean “more valuable." Providing information comprehensively and quickly offers the most value.
Set clear objectives and milestones
The next step is to define your online course's learning objective and milestones.
The objective is the learning outcome. It’s what you expect students to be able to do competently after completing the course. So, for example, “people who complete this course will know how to rank their website on search engines.”
Learning milestones represent the goals for each section of the course. For example, “students should know how to create a sitemap for their site after section two.”
Setting the online learning objective and milestones can help you concentrate efforts and enhance the entire course experience.
Create the content for your course
For this step, you may need several production tools. It just depends on the nature of your online course. However, you don’t have to create all your content from scratch.
If you have existing content, consider repurposing some of them for your course. For instance, you can repurpose macro content like webinars and blog posts. Similarly, you could repurpose micro content like social media posts, mini blog posts, and email newsletters.
Just remember to enhance every content you repurpose, though that isn’t always possible or necessary.
Work on your course title
Try to remember when you last clicked on an ad. What did you read first?
For most, it's the title, and every great course has one. It's the most important element for practically all content. Your title will determine whether a person engages.
Amazing titles have at least two of five core elements.
Ultimately, the goal of any title is to catch people's eye and encourage them to engage further. So your headline should be enticing to the target audience and reflect the promise of value.
In short, it must be compelling. After all, your course will be competing against others. For example, “How Course Creators Create Remarkable Content In Half The Time."
That title captures attention. It offers an invaluable promise that’s too good to pass up. Most creators will love to free up their time.
Your headline should make readers curious about the rest of the content. For instance, “The Secrets To Transformative Success (Change Your Whole Life For Good)."
When someone reads that headline, one of the things that will come to mind is: what are these secrets?
Naturally, the audience will have to click through to find out. The title elicits curiosity.
A bold promise
The title should send a clear signal to the user’s mind that your content is valuable. It should answer the “what’s in it for me?” And the more significant the benefit, the better – as long as you don’t mislead the target audience.
For example, “How To Become A Millionaire By Age 25”.
That headline provides a bold promise. It's so huge that the audience will find it hard to resist.
Great titles give the audience enough information so that they can confirm relevance. Essentially, everyone who reads your headline should know whether they should engage or ignore it immediately.
For example, “Learn The Most Effective Ways To Sell Your Online Course."
If a person’s problem is how to sell online courses, they will probably engage with the content.
Headlines with this element move users towards taking action quickly. That’s because people dislike missing out on seemingly good opportunities. For instance, “SEO Masterclass: 3 Days Left To Go Before Course Enrollment Closes”.
The title creates a sense of urgency that can encourage people to take action while informing them about the product.
Some additional tips to consider for titles
- Add your main keywords or the terms people would use to search for your course in the title to improve discoverability.
- Address the audience directly in the title whenever possible. That can help you grab someone’s attention immediately.
- Keep your title short because it doesn’t have to be long to convey the message. However, you won’t be able to do that in some cases. In those instances, ensure the title is straightforward and the target market can connect with it.
Pricing your first online course for success
Earlier, we discussed pricing as a potential hindrance for creators with an online course for sale. But the topic deserves more coverage.
It’s often better to think about pricing after completing your course. That’s because it can help you focus on value during the creative process, not the money. However, this is not to suggest money isn’t important.
So what should you charge?
As a general rule, the price of your course should match the value to the customer (while considering the competition). In other words, charge as much as the course’s value to the target audience.
What is the transformation worth?
You may also want to charge the customer slightly below the value of your course. That’s because overdelivering on value can be a good marketing strategy. It can help ensure most of your students emerge satisfied.
But keep in mind that having some unhappy customers is inevitable. No one can please everyone.
As for pricing models, you can charge students once for lifetime access or collect a monthly or yearly recurring fee. And as previously noted, the recurring model will require creating or adopting a membership site.
Also, while the recurring model is more profitable long-term, it requires significantly more time. That’s because regular updates will be necessary to keep students engaged.
Other considerations regarding pricing include the following.
- You may want to offer some of the course for free if it serves your goals. For instance, you could have a free section and another for premium members. Students who want to learn more can upgrade to premium. Similarly, you can offer free trial access to your own online course.
- Budget for marketing and factor the cost into your price.
Free courses: should you price your course for free?
Giving away valuable content for free can be a good strategy. It’s great for marketing, can position you as an authority, and help generate leads continuously.
But whether creating a free course will be worth it depends on the overall picture. The fact is a free course won't earn you money – at least not directly.
Free courses are a good idea if:
- You intend to use the free course as a gateway to other products, services, or special offers.
- You want to build awareness about your online course before charging people for it.
- You want as many people as possible to enroll, leave reviews about your course, and refer others (building word-of-mouth).
- You want to build your email list fast.
For most creators, charging for their course will be the best way forward.
Downsides to free courses include:
- They can attract too many people that will never become paying customers.
- You may end up with too many students that enroll but never consume the entire course.
- Your online course may be perceived as low value, causing otherwise would-be students to pay for something else.
Consider everything above and decide what’s best.
You can do this!
Creating an online course is one thing; getting it to sell is another. If your course isn't selling, the first step is identifying the problems. Then tackle each one until it's resolved entirely. Going over the potential issues laid out in this complete guide is the right place to start.
In addition, keep the core reasons people buy online courses in mind. These are to avoid information overload and for transformation. You cannot sell a profitable online course without concrete reasons why people should enroll.
Lastly, if you're starting, follow the directions in this guide to ensure a smooth and productive experience. You may want to bookmark this page for an easy way to return to it whenever.
Remember that SEO, referrals, and collaborations are essential strategies for increasing online course sales – and Subkit has many features that facilitate each. The Subkit team handles all the technical aspects, so you can focus on running your business. Get early access.