Creating and pricing your online course is only half the story, which isn’t complete until your target audience get their hands on it for the price you’ve set. No matter what your topic, here are tips to help you market and sell your online course with ease and confidence.
1. Identify your audience’s needs
Before you finalize your course, it’s important to make sure you’re building a course that your audience is looking for. An easy way to do this is to survey your audience, using free tools, like SurveyMonkey.
2. Offer a unique value proposition
To stand out in a crowded market, you’ll need to ensure your course offers something unique to your potential customers. Research related online courses to see what they’re offering and then find something to offer that they’ve missed.
3. Understand your ideal student
As you build your course, think about your ideal student. Make sure your course is specifically designed for them and then create marketing materials to solve their problems.
4. Use keyword research to title your course
Once you’ve developed your course with your ideal student in mind, be sure to name it in a way that will help that ideal student find it. Find the best search terms using tools, like Google Keyword Planner.
5. Create a dedicated webpage for your course
Set up a new page for your course on your website or blog. Include all the relevant information and a link to purchase the course. There are several platforms to choose from, including Kajabi.
6. Collect student testimonials and reviews
If you have previous courses, use testimonials from former students in your marketing materials. If this is your first online course, do a limited free release to a few people in exchange for their honest review. Have a look at some examples of effective testimonials here.
7. Use your blog posts to promote your course
If you have a blog that’s related to the topic of your course, be sure to include a link to your course page in your posts. This is one of the simplest ways to use content marketing to sell your online course.
8. Create a video for your course
Whether you have video content in your course or not, video is a great way to market and sell your online course. Write a good title and description based on your keyword research to rank in search results on YouTube and Google.
9. Publish additional video content
Start a YouTube channel to market your course. Include the same topics you cover in more detail in your course. Link to your course’s page in your video descriptions and include an easy-to-type link in the videos themselves.
10. Start an email list
An email list might seem kind of old-school, but it still has one of the best ROIs. Once people are subscribed and receiving regular and relevant content, they’re more likely to be ready to buy your course because you’ve already proven your value.
11. Add your course link to your email signature
Speaking of email, you’re probably sending a lot and never know when your course title might catch someone’s eye. Including a link to your course in your email signature is quick and easy.
12. Release a mini-course for free
A great way to get people interested is to give them access to a free mini-course that showcases your topic. Then invite students to continue with your full course for a deeper dive into the topic.
13. Host a webinar on your topic
A webinar will help position you as an expert in your topic and give people an idea about your style. A live webinar gives you the chance to answer questions and interact with your audience.
14. Use your recorded webinar to generate continued interest
A recorded webinar can be a great resource, see Pat Flynn’s example. Be sure to send out the link to people who signed up but didn’t attend live. Also create an automated way to access the recording to generate ongoing sales.
15. Cross-promote through all your courses
If you have other online courses, include links to your new course in them. Cross-promotion can be very effective because your existing customers know what to expect from you.
16. Build discounted bundles
Once you’ve got multiple courses, offer discounts on bundles of related courses. You can even do a build-your-own bundle if you have a variety of topics and let people choose the ones they’re interested in.
17. Try podcasting
You’ve got a blog and a YouTube channel, but have you started a podcast? Podcast listeners are often quite engaged so they’re a good potential audience for an online course. iTunes, Google Play and other podcast platforms have large numbers of users who may be searching for your topic.
18. Market yourself to other podcasts
Whether you have your own podcast or not, you can find podcasts that are related to your course topic and reach out to the host to be a guest.
19. Update your social media profiles
Your social media profiles are a great place to mention your new course and your area of expertise. You can even change your profile link from your website’s main page to your course page for your launch.
20. Solicit reviews from current students
Ask for reviews when people buy your course. Their testimonials will be great additions to your marketing and will help to sell your course to those who are unsure.
21. Start a local group
While much of your marketing is going to be online, there’s value in meeting people in person. You can reach out to your online audience and invite locals to meet up.
22. Visit local events
Find some local events that are relevant to your course topic and see if you can give a presentation. Make sure it’s not all sales: give people some valuable content in exchange for their time and attention.
23. Write an eBook
It’s easy to write an eBook that gives the solution to a small aspect of your customer’s pain points to attract buyers to your course.
24. Write guest posts for related blogs
A guest post is a useful way to promote your course. Pitch to blogs that are relevant to your topic and make sure the article you provide is a good fit.
25. Get reviews from bloggers
A good review is a great sales driver. You can provide free access to the course in exchange for an honest review on their blog. This can send tons of traffic to your site.
26. Write an eBook for kindle
Self-publishing on Amazon is becoming easier, so drill-down on some of the ideas in your course. These eBooks can be sold at a super-low price to attract more buyers and expose more people to your course mentioned in your eBook.
27. Polish your course page
As your course sells, you’ll begin to find out what works and what doesn’t. You must always be thinking about how to write the best copy that sells. Consider hiring a copywriter to help.
28. Design a sales funnel
A sales funnel takes consumers from a free product to your online course. Creating a sales funnel helps you build trust as you nurture potential customers. Clickfunnels or Leadpages are just some tools to build sales funnels.
29. Write a good press release
A good press release helps you get the word out about your course in avenues that you may not have considered. If your budget is tight, market your press release on free distribution services.
30. Launch with a limited time discount
Everyone loves a sale and a special discounted price at launch will help you to sell more courses. Upping your sales numbers quickly will help you market your course over time.
31. Run additional sales
Many holidays are known for sales, so they’re a great time to run a marketing campaign. People are on the lookout for sales for Black Friday, Labor Day etc. Use a tool that creates coupon codes to make running sales easy.
32. Create an affiliate program
Affiliate programs are a great way to promote your course. Offering a percentage of the sale to people whose audiences may be interested is an economical way to increase your sales.
33. Build relationships with other course creators
You can benefit from joining forces with other instructors whose courses complement your own. Become affiliate partners or build a bundle that offers a discount on each of your courses when someone purchases both.
34. Host a joint webinar
Find someone whose expertise complements yours and develop a joint webinar that creates something unique. You can reach a whole new audience this way, and maybe even learn some new things yourself in the process.
35. Team up with influencers
An influencer is someone who is an authority in their field and has a significant number of followers. You can get influencers to review your course. Most will want some payment but you could offer an affiliate commission instead.
36. Help a Reporter Out
Joining HARO is a great way to promote yourself as an expert in your field. By becoming a source for reporters, you’ll have the chance to get your name and product out there through avenues you may not otherwise have access to.
37. Answer questions on Quora
No matter your topic, you’ll find people asking relevant questions on Quora. It’s not a place for the hard sell, but you can include a link to your course in your bio.
38. Provide convenient payment options
Make sure that your customers have different payment options. Having a payment plan available can really help people decide that your course is affordable for them. One way Gravy helps course creators and business owners is by giving them the freedom to offer payment plans as they have failed payment recovery and customer retention on lock.
39. Include a money-back guarantee
Help your customers feel comfortable with their purchase decision by offering a satisfaction guarantee. They’ll be more willing to take the risk and make the purchase.
40. Design a presentation for SlideShare
Post your PowerPoint presentation that provides valuable information. Add a link and invite people to find out more about your online course.
41. Run a Facebook ad campaign
Facebook ads are highly targetable, so they’re a great way to reach your ideal audience. If you’re not a Facebook expert, consider working with someone who is, to set up your campaign.
42. Set up Google Adwords
Google Adwords lets you set up ads that will show up in the search results for certain keywords that you bid on, so it can be an effective use of your advertising dollars.
43. Advertise on YouTube channels
Message relevant YouTube creators to buy ad space in their videos. You can set them up as an affiliate so they get paid when someone signs up through their videos.
44. Start social media groups
Start groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to build a community around your topic. This audience can become a great way to market and sell your online course after you’ve provided tons of value.
45. Become a trusted source of advice in Facebook Groups
You don’t need a Facebook group of your own to market your online course. Join existing groups and add value. Build relationships and trust to become the go-to expert.
46. Build a Facebook page
In addition to a group, you can start a Facebook page that makes it easy for people to find you and helps you rank in Facebook’s search results.
47. Participate in social media
Be an active participant in communities that are relevant to your topic. If you’ve included your website in your profile, people will find your online course even without direct selling from you.
48. Remember Pinterest
Promote infographics that highlights interesting facts and statistics on Pinterest. Make your infographic appealing and packed with useful information. You can use free design software, like Canva for your designs.
49. Speak at your local business groups
Contact your Chamber of Commerce or other business group and ask to talk to their audience about a part of your course. You should be able to provide details of the course at the end of the session.
50. Make your course available in different languages
Increase your audience by targeting people who speak different languages. You can hire freelancers to do written and audio translations.
The tips above should give you a great starting point to market and sell your online course. Look out for part two of our series with even more useful tips next week.
51. Meet the needs of modern students
Online courses are becoming more mainstream, but they also need to be engaging, enjoyable and convenient to meet the needs of consumer-driven customers. Platforms like Kajabi make it easy to create, market and sell your online courses to the modern, savvy student.
52. Book discovery calls
Let your students know how your course can solve their problem with a discovery call. These calls allow you to build a rapport and trust with potential students. Software, like Acuity Scheduling, makes it easy for prospects to book discovery calls.
53. Craft an elevator pitch
As an online course creator, you should have an ‘always be selling’ mindset. That means being prepared to talk about your course at the drop of a hat. The best evaluator pitches include the audience, their pain, their desires and how you can help.
54. Use Reddit
Reddit normally flies under the radar in terms of social media, but it’s the sixth most visited site in the U.S. Offer valuable and original content most of the time to build trust (give 80% and promote 20%). This Social Examiner post takes a deep dive on how to market on Reddit.
55. Publish on LinkedIn
Publish articles that are jam-packed with value on LinkedIn. Make connections with your target market to up the chances of the right people seeing your work. Include a link to your course landing page in your LinkedIn bio.
56. Include Twitter
Twitter is still a good way to get influencers’ attention. If you’ve mentioned an influencer in your course or landing page, let them know and politely ask for a retweet.
57. Set up interviews
Success by association is a useful way to market your online course. Contact influencers and ask for an interview. Keep it short and sweet. Publish this interview on your site or on social media, like LinkedIn.
58. Create an expert roundup post
Roundup posts are where you get a bunch of expert answers to one question. Ask influencers to answer one question that cures the pain point of your audience. Include all answers in one post with details of how your course can fully solve this problem.
59. Organize a virtual summit
A virtual summit brings together leaders and experts around a given topic. Dr. Marc T Wade has a wealth of experience on virtual summits, and has recently launched the keys to hosting a one-day summit. Here’s his blog with a lot of great information. This online course marketing technique exposes you and your course to thousands of new potential students.
60. Hang out in forums
Find specific forums related to your course topic and be on hand to answer questions. Find the right forums by searching for your course topic and “forums.”
61. Start with your network
Use the people you already know to help you spread the word about your course. You can even use your close network to provide reviews and testimonials if they’ve found your course useful.
62. Create a swipe file
Swipe files are an easy way to grow your email list. They allow people to copy and paste the information to use as-is. Digital Marketer’s Ultimate Social Media Swipe File is a good example of this type of marketing technique.
63. Maximize your images
Images aren’t only there to make your copy attractive. Put them to work by including ALT text. This helps the visually impaired and also prevents some email platforms from blocking images.
64. Maximize Instagram
If your course is targeted at those in their 20s or 30s, Instagram is a great marketing tool. Use images and videos to market your online course. Include a CTA in your profile description, your image and caption.
65. Use Instagram Stories
As an addition to using social media to market your online course, Instagram stories are a great way to tell the story of your course and make your brand more human and more memorable. Research the best times to post and always include a direct CTA.
66. Pre-launch your course
Sell your course before the big launch by offering teaser content to your email list. The aim is to whip up excitement before the course is available, so your subscribers will snag it up.
67. Make phone calls
Getting on the phone can seem outdated but, if you’re marketing and selling B2B online courses, this could work well. Start with companies you already know and have a relationship with.
68. Plan a meeting
This follows on from a phone call. Organize meetings with the contacts you’ve made over the phone. Use this technique to sell your online course if it has a high price point.
69. Offer certificates
Let potential students know that they’ll be getting certificates of completion after going through your course. Your course hosting platform should make rewarding your students easy. For example, Kajabi integrates with Zapier to allow you to send certificates of completion.
70. Provide coaching
Offer a coaching session to develop a relationship with potential course students. Provide enough value to show you know your stuff and point them to your course for more information.
71. Praise your students
If you’re offering a free community as part of your course, highlight one or two students per week who have made great progress. Invite them to share their breakthroughs from using your course.
72. Invite experts
Reach out to experts and ask if they want to contribute to a module in your course or offer a bonus. Choose an expert who has a good track record and large following. Offer affiliate payments to entice the expert to agree to be part of your online course. Include a condition that the expert needs to market your course to their audience.
73. Speak at conferences
Showcase your expertise by speaking at a conference. Give your audience innovative ways to solve problems. Include stories in your speech to help to capture (and maintain) your audience’s attention.
74. Apply to give a TED Talk
If you’re accepted as a speaker at a TED Talk, or even a TEDx Talk, you will be instantly exposed to a captivated audience and your talk could go viral. Check out Brené Brown’s TED Talk that has amassed a staggering 41,452,819 views. Giving a timely, engaging and impactful TED Talk could have a big impact on the sales of your online course.
75. Arrange a virtual bootcamp
Invite your subscribers or group members to take part in a bootcamp. This is where you provide support for people to achieve a quick-win on a topic related to your paid online course.
76. License your course
Businesses as well as individuals need to learn via online courses. Create online courses for businesses and sell licenses. You can ask them to handle the technical parts themselves.
77. Add a free library
Keep all your free resources in one library and offer access by requesting website visitors’ email address. Depending on the resources they download, send them information about the most fitting course. See Melyssa Griffin’s free resource library as an example.
78. Create a membership site
This is a step further from a resource library. Although most membership sites are normally paid, start one for free if your online course has a high price point. Use your membership site to upsell and cross-sell your other courses.
79. Set up a challenge
Motivate your subscriber to achieve a goal that’s related to your course. An example could be a challenge to write the perfect blog post if you’re selling a ‘how to start a blogging business’ course.
80. Give chances to spin to win
Who doesn’t love winning stuff? Market your online course by giving your website visitors the chance to spin to win different prices. Neil Patel uses the spin to win technique to grow his email list.
81. Design a quiz
Take advantage of people’s curiosity by including a quiz on your website. Keep it simple and to the point. Ask a few questions and ask for email addresses to reveal the answers. You can then market your online course to these leads.
82. Upsell you courses
Upsell to existing students, if you have more than one online course. You’ve already put in the hard work to market one of your courses, so your chosen platform should make it easy to upsell your additional courses.
83. Add a website welcome bar
Market your online course by adding a welcome bar to your website. Add this to the top of your site to draw attention to important announcements. Check out our welcome bar announcing our big news.
84. Give a cheat sheet
Give your website visitors a cheat cheat, which is a more detailed checklist. They include a process to follow, which acts as a shortcut to an aspect of your online course. Jon Morrow of Smartblogger’s 52 Headline Hacks is a good example.
85. Layout the welcome mat
A welcome mat is a pop-up or a full page cover your visitors see when they first click on to your website. It communicates your message easily. Jeff Bullas uses a full-screen welcome mat with the promise to “Double Your Traffic.”
86. Give away printables
If your online course has a creative element, printables are a great way to market them. For example, Anchored Women has an ultimate list of free printables. These serve as introductions to their paid products, which includes a digital monthly subscription kit.
87. Solve a problem with a spreadsheet
A pre-populated spreadsheet with formulas is a winner when marketing an online course relating to money management. Debthelper offers a free budgeting spreadsheet to take the hard work out of budgeting.
88. Offer a tutorial
Choose a specific aspect of your online course and offer a tutorial. Include how many steps will be included in your tutorial so people who sign-up have a clear idea of what they’ll get.
89. Try audio downloads
Free audio training helps to fill the gap if customers don’t have time to read or watch videos. If you’ve already recorded a video, repurpose the content by turning it into an audio file. Marie Forleo offers free audio training on “How to get anything you want.”
90. Write a manifesto
A manifesto is a simple report that spells out your intentions, ideals and values. They should be the same as your target audience and should therefore resonate. The Writer’s Manifesto: Stop Writing to Be Read & Adored by Jeff Goins is an excellent example.
91. Build a Slack community
There may be times when social media groups aren’t suitable because your target market don’t hang out there. Start a Slack group as an alternative.
92. Open a waiting list
This is a clever way to market your online course as it builds anticipation. Making your online course available only once or twice a year gives an air of exclusivity, which will entice customers.
93. Generate ideas
Your customers may be looking for new ideas. Generators take simple information and provide relevant ideas. HubSpot’s blog topic generator is an example.
94. Write or share a report
This marketing method is useful if your online course is geared towards B2B. Create a report packed with useful stats and insights or share a report by a respected organization. For example, Marketo offers free access to a Gartner report.
Selling your course
Now we’ve given you the lowdown on different ways to get your course out there, here are some ways to sell it.
95. Use an all-in-one platform
There’s so much to think about when creating, marketing and selling an online course, including finding the perfect price point. A tool like Kajabi is an all-in-one platform with the features you need to build your business.
96. Explore discount website
Coupon sites are best known for bagging bargains for goods and services. However, some of them have ventured into the online learning market. For example, Groupon offer a variety of online courses. Most of the courses are heavily discounted, so think about the effect on your bottom line before taking this route.
97. Accept one-off payments
This is the easiest way to sell your online course. The student gets the course when they pay and it’s as simple as that. This payment option works well for low-priced courses.
98. Go for premium pricing
For more expensive courses, think about offering payment plans with the options to make one payment or pay for up to three, six or 12 months. In fact, here are three effective ways to price your online course.
Students normally pay subscriptions for online courses that include a membership site element. The subscription pays for updated content, exclusive deals and access to experts.
100. Accept bank transfers
If you provide online courses to big businesses, you may be required to accept payment by bank transfer. You’ll need to be flexible in terms of how you accept payments when selling your online courses to big companies.
101. Protect your installment and subscription payments
The sad fact is that some students will miss payments. The normal way is to activate automated emails (known as Dunning software) to ask your students to reinstate their payments. This technique can only go so far. Think about partnering with experts in payment recovery like Gravy, who engage your students with empathy and consistency.
Gravy is the industry leader in recurring revenue to boost customer retention. After you’ve put in so much effort into marketing and selling your course, do everything you can to retain your customers. Book a chat to find out how we can help to protect your bottom line and increase revenue by retaining the customers you have already won.