Look no further!

Well choosing an online course platform is kind of the same experience. After you’ve set your goals, sit and have a cup of tea before embarking on this decision because you’ll need a clear head to decide on which online learning platform you want to use. Why? Because there are so many and so many features to consider! Online course creation is a challenging feat. You want an online learning platform that will best serve your goals and online course creation needs and enable your online business to maximize revenue.

And because this is such a huge topic, in many sections we’ve included “TG Tips” and links to a number of great resources for creating courses online and how to sell online courses. Get ready to bookmark these!

So then, what are the 10 steps to creating and selling online courses?

We’ve organized this guide into the following sections. Click on any of the links below to go to the section which interests you.

Feeling old school? Do you prefer to print and peruse this guide offline at your convenience or don’t have time to read the whole post? Click to download the PDF version!

01

Set Goals for Your Online Course

“Oh I love setting goals!” Said no one. Ever.

Would you invest your hard-earned money into or work for a business that had no strategic or sales goals? Or one that had no idea why it was in business in the first place? Sounds pretty silly, right? Ask yourself then if you should do that for your own online course business?

How much money do online courses make?

  • Before you set money making goals for creating and selling your online courses, you might want to get an idea of just how much money you could make.
  • You might want to start off with a read of two of our articles on this topic. One is an estimate of what top Udemy instructors make and the other is on advice from top Udemy instructors to get some inspiration.
  • The reality is, like any business, how much money you can make creating and selling online courses is up to you, your efforts, planning, time and motivation, as well as some external factors such as competition. So keep this in mind as you set your goals for becoming an online course creator.

So, how do you set goals for your online course business?

Open up a Word/Google doc and write down some goals (any goals!) that you want to achieve as you begin to create online courses. Answer some or all of these questions:

  • Is creating and sellig online courses a serious career option for me, a means to grow my existing business, or a passive-income generating hobby for me?
  • Is my goal to be an “edupreneur”? - An online course creator that sells education as their product?
  • Am I just “testing the waters” right now, or do I want to create multiple courses and build an online course business?
  • Am I doing this to pay for ________(fill in the blank – my kids’ college, vacations, a new car, etc.)? Selling online courses is quite a profitable past time when done right.
  • Given this, what is an appropriate annual income goal? What does this breakdown into on a monthly basis?
  • How many online course enrollments at a price range of $X-$Y do I need to meet those monthly goals? Can I do that by creating one online course or do I need to create and sell multiple online courses to get there?
  • How much time do I have to devote to creating an online course? How much time do I have to devote to selling courses online? Is it enough to meet my goals?
  • What do I need to do concretely to market and sell online courses to meet those enrollment goals? What kind of budget supports that?

These are just questions to get your started. And you don’t have to have perfect answers, you can always go back and change them once you get going and reality sets in. Essentially the goals you want to put numbers next to are:

  1. Your overall business/career revenue
  2. Online course revenue
  3. Time spent creating and selling courses
  4. Budget/investment
You can set goals for whatever motivates you to create and sell your online courses.

The point is Just. Set. Some. Goals.

TG Tip:

After your goal setting exercise, it’s a good idea to create a road map or a kind of checklist of things to do for achieving the goals you set for your online course that links your goals to concrete steps. It may take a while and require a few iterations, but it will help you focus on what’s important. The following steps will help you create that road map so read on!

02

Determine What Is the Best Online Course Platform

Ever gone into a mobile phone store and started looking at phones and plans? It’s hard to know where to start. Each phone has different features at different prices, plans have promotions but the price of the plan goes up later. There are bundled services. It feels like no matter what you choose, it may not be the right phone and plan or you might be overpaying. Sound familiar?

Choosing

Well choosing an online course platform is kind of the same experience. After you’ve set your goals, sit and have a cup of tea before embarking on this decision because you’ll need a clear head to decide on which online learning platform you want to use. Why? Because there are so many and so many features to consider! Online course creation is a challenging feat. You want an online learning platform that will best serve your goals and online course creation needs and enable your online business to maximize revenue.

So, which then, is the best online course platform?

Don’t fret the answer to this question! Here’s a quick outline of your options. Online course platforms generally fall into three categories to consider:

Online Course Marketplaces

Udemy.com and Skillshare.com are currently the most viable online course marketplaces because they both boast millions of students and thousands of courses. Another less popular platform you might consider is Skillsuccess.com. It has a slightly different business model from the other two in that it does not offer free online courses (but does let you try a course for 30 days free), courses are much higher priced than on Udemy and it offers an “All Access Pass” membership for $25 a month.

The primary reasons to use an online course marketplace are:

  • You want extensive marketing and sales support especially if you’re not social media savvy
  • Udemy and other online course marketplaces do the majority of marketing for you. They draw millions of potential students to their platforms and have extensive affiliate marketing programs.
  • You don’t have a lot of time to devote to your online course business
  • Again, Udemy makes it pretty straightforward to create and launch an online course. As opposed to say launching a course on your own hosted website, launching a course on Udemy is lower risk.
  • You’re just looking to earn passive or opportunistic income
  • You are new to creating and selling online courses
  • You don’t want to pay hosting fees
  • You don’t want to build your own website to create and sell your online courses

Hosted Online Course Platforms

Hosted online platforms continue to grow in popularity thanks to market leaders such as Teachable and Thinkific. These platforms allow you to build your online course website, host your course content (videos, tests, etc.) market and sell your courses, collect payments and interact with students.

Some reasons you might use a hosted online course platform:

  • Compared to Udemy and other online course marketplaces, they offer more course features and functionality such as a course community, assessments, learning paths and the ability to conduct webinars.
  • You own and control your brand and branded website, something that can be useful if you are building an online school or “infopreneur” business.
  • Some of these platforms have integrated sales and marketing tools such as email marketing, upselling and marketing funnel creation
  • These platforms allow for flexible pricing options such as subscriptions and membership pricing
  • You have few technical website building skills but want to host your own online school
Which one to choose?

You’ll need to do a bit of research on the pro’s and con’s of these platforms. You should weigh their features against what your personal goals are from step 1. For example, if you’re just looking to gain some passive income from a course built around your hobby, Udemy might suffice for your goals. If you’re planning to make a new career out of creating and selling online courses and support yourself, then you might consider a platform that provides a branded website that can scale as your business grows.

Consider key factors such as how important in-built marketing tools are to your personal situation, whether you want to be able to host a blog with your site, how important a community is to you, currencies and payment systems and more.

Looking for more information or a comparison? Here are links to 6 of the most popular hosted platforms.

Resources: Rather than reinvent the wheel, we suggest you have a look at these articles containing comparisons of the various platforms:

Hosting Your Own Website

With all the choices and features of hosted online course platforms, you might wonder why would anyone bother creating, hosting and managing their online courses on a personal website?

The main reason that online course creators choose to host their own website is control. Some of the things you’ll have more control over include:

  • Student and course data ownership and storage
  • Costs and revenue
  • Branding and image
  • User experience
  • You’re launching a substantial training course/school and need specific features such as SCORM support.

There are three main options for creating and selling online courses on own online course website.

  • Use plugins for a Wordpress site such as LifterLMS.
  • Hire a website developer.
  • Purchase an online course or elearning software such as Elucidat or Articulate 360 and host it on your own server.
The benefits of hosting your own website must outweigh the costs.

Costs initially can add up to include setting up a learning management system, buying a domain and software licenses, paying hosting fees and purchasing an SSL certificate. Cloud solutions such as AmazonS3 and Google Cloud have made this option more affordable though. That said, you’ll also need to be your own tech support or pay someone to do this. Or just cross your fingers and hope it all works out 😊

Most people who don’t already have a huge following and a slew of courses to market tend to get their toes wet using either the marketplace or hosted platform options. But if you are going for a large scale corporate training program, for example, it may make sense to make an investment in hosting your online courses on your own website. You can always gain traction through blog posts.

Now that you have goals and an online course platform, how then do you create an online course?

03

Research and Validate Your Course Topic (s)

“There’s a course in everyone.” – successful online instructor

The sheer number of courses on Udemy demonstrates the almost limitless possibilities for topics that you can teach. But how do you know that your chosen online course topic will translate into your chosen income goals from step 1?

To sell online courses, you need first to have a topic. There’s a lot of food for thought out there about how to go about choosing your next course topic. We’ve summarized the main ideas here and split them into 2 steps: 1) research 2) validate.

Researching your course topic

Chances are if you are reading this then you have an idea or two for creating an online course. If you don’t have a course idea, you need to generate some! We suggest reading our article that provides 10 tips for generating online course ideas. In it we explain popular suggestions for generating and researching course ideas.

Our top five suggestions for thinking about a course topic are:

  • Create a “transformation” for students i.e. physically, mentally, emotionally
  • Choose a niche topic i.e. a specific type of photography
  • Choose what you know i.e. a hobby, work skill, a problem you solved
  • Choose a trending topic one that shows room for increased demand growth
  • Find an evergreen topic a topic that you can break down into smaller topics or learning levels, and try to dominate over the long term

The overriding theme for your topic regardless of which of these 5 approaches you take is that you should be solving a problem for your students.

TG Tip:

Now’s the time to start thinking about how you can use your potential course topic as a launching pad for future courses, essentially a series. Knowing ahead of time that you can create a series will greatly increase your chances of success with future online courses.

Validating your course topic

How do you make an online course profitable?

The first step to doing this is online course idea “validation”. That’s a fancy word for describing the process of how to become confident that your online course idea will sell.

Here’s a 4-part checklist for validating your course topic idea. You’ll want to open up a spreadsheet or a Word document to keep track of your findings.

  • Define and size up your target audience

    If you have defined a transformation or know what problem you are solving, then it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to identify who would be interested in purchasing your online course. Ask yourself who has this problem? Who needs this transformation? Who would want to learn how to do what I am teaching?

    There are a few ways to identify and size up your audience:
    Surveys

    Create a simple survey for groups and friends on Facebook, Twitter, online communities, friends and family. You can even purchase survey groups on SurveyMonkey if you want to spend the money.

    Ask respondents a brief set of questions aimed at determining 1) if they would be interested in your topic 2) what they would most like to know/learn 3) what experience and outcomes make such a course valuable to them

    Instead of, or along with your survey, you could send a one pager on your course to an email list or social media group and offer your course for free or a discount in exchange for feedback.

    Free mini-courses

    Another popular and productive way to validate your idea is to create a free mini-course. This could even be just a first lesson. You can host a very short course on your website, list it on Udemy for free, or film it and put in on YouTube. Then solicit feedback and survey users. Try to find patterns in feedback and responses that help you hone in on groups that appreciate your course. Another good use for a mini-course is to offer it in exchange for emails to start creating your sales funnel. More on that later.

    Research all channels for selling online courses

    Try and gauge potential size of your audience course enrollments on all types of learning platforms. Also look at other topic distribution channels such as books on Amazon and YouTube videos. Note how many subscribers YouTube channels related to your topic get. What comments are people making? You can even join LinkedIn groups, Quora, and look at what is being shared on Buzzsumo and other social media to try and get a sense of how popular your topic might be, who and where your audience is.

    Assess the Competition

    At Teachinguide we’re all about knowing who your competition is and how they are doing. That’s what our dashboard helps you to assess and track. By looking at competitors you are trying to identify if there is a sweet spot in your online course idea - one where there is enough and growing interest in your topic, but not too much supply, or, there is a gap in the market that you can fill with your course. Selling online courses can be tricky without this kind of information. Make sure that you are well informed about the competition before you pursue online course creation!

TG Tip:

Now’s the time to start thinking about how you can use your potential course topic as a launching pad for future courses, essentially a series. Knowing ahead of time that you can create a series will greatly increase your chances of success with future online courses.

  • Here’s a simple list of questions to answer in your competitor research:
    Demand

    Do competitors individually and collectively have a lot of course (or ebook, etc.) sales?

    What is the trend in these sales?

    Gap Analysis

    What marketing and promotion strategies are competitors using? Is it working? Can you do better?

    What kind of reviews and feedback do they get? Are students asking for or suggesting something that they are not getting out of the course?

    Can you do better or differently than what they are delivering? What and how so?

    Is the competition’s course material updated and fresh?

  • Do Keyword Search

    In our Teachinguide database we facilitate keyword search for Udemy courses and topics. This is one of the most effective ways to gauge demand for a topic.

    Start by making a list of related topic keywords, narrow or wide. Why a wider list? Because you might find a related keyword that has higher search than your chosen topic idea that you can work into your course topic and name.

    Some topic keyword searches we suggest are:
    Google keyword planner

    Type in keyword phrases and look at monthly search volume and trends. Also look at the cost per click and relative competitiveness. High competition and cost generally means high demand for that topic.

    Google Trends

    This is an easy way to see gauge if demand is rising or fall or stable for your topic over time. Simply type in your keyword and Google will tell you a scale of 1-100 how interested in your topic people have been over time.

    Wordtracker

    This is an alternative keyword search tool to Google keyword planner. You can do up to 12 free keyword searches. Wordtracker also works differently than Google in that it claims to be more comprehensive in terms of search demand.

    Other keyword searches

    Other software and apps provide keyword information. These include Hubspot, Ahrefs, Moz or SEMRush.

TG Tip:

Make note of the highest volume keyword that describes your topic as well as supporting keywords. You will want to use these on your course landing page in the titles, subtitles and text.

Resource 1

This fun article from Ahrefs SEO platform provides a list of 9 free keyword search alternatives to Google keyword planner.

Resource 2

Teachable has created a comprehensive blog article 15 Ways to Validate Your Online Course Idea.

04

Create Your Pre-Sales Marketing Funnel

At least a month before launching your course officially you should begin planning to whom you are going to launch your course. Your chosen online learning platform should allow you to create effective marketing strategies. During some of the previous steps, such as identifying your audience and where to find them, or when you offer a free mini-course, you can begin building an initial audience to promote your upcoming course to. You are going to later try and convert them to a pool of students. This process is referred to as building your "pre-sales funnel".

You want to make the top of your sales funnel as large as possible early in your course launch, in order to create the first stage of what we call a “virtuous cycle of promotion”. Make sure that you put in a lot of time and effort in this stage. In this cycle you:

  • Create awareness of your online course and build trust in your knowledge and your course effectiveness
  • Increase your business through student acquisition while building student loyalty through engagement
  • Leverage loyalty to further build a student base, which in turn through word of mouth and social media sharing from existing customers restarts the cycle of creating awareness about you and your courses.

The goal of building your pre-sales funnel activities is to drive potential students to your course landing page right after you launch.

This especially works well if your course is on a marketplace because by sending potential students to your landing page, the marketplace website will install cookies on their profile and remarket your course (hopefully) whenever they return to that website.

Your imagination is really the limit, but here are some tactics that you can use to create your pre-sales funnel include:

  • Gather email leads

    Collect emails from friends, family, friends of friends, your website, mini course offering or other lead magnet. (make sure you get permission to email them!)

    Create your website

    Start blogging, podcasting, hosting webinars, providing free content and creating links to your courses.

    Create a course landing page

    Create an introductory video explaining what students will get out of the course, when to expect it and solicit feedback. You can provide a link to where the course will be hosted if you have a mini-course or lesson developed and include it here. (Note: You’ll likely have to get through the next two steps before you can do this)

    Create a YouTube channel

    Create a few quick tutorials related to your course topic and upload them to get started. At the beginning of your tutorials/videos put a link to your course landing page as soon as you have it.

    Create a Facebook Group page

    Create a page for your course topic and start posting to it and sharing it.

    Join Facebook Groups

    Join groups related to your topic and start interacting and engaging with others.

    LinkedIn

    Start interacting with groups and people on LinkedIn in your topic area and start writing articles and posting here.

    Bloggers

    Start reaching out to bloggers in your topic area who might share a free version of your course, or a mini-course with their readers, or at least an announcement or review. Aim to have at least one blogger agree to do this before launch.

    Other social media

    Open Twitter and Instagram, Quora, Pinterest and Reddit accounts. Start posting and trying to interact with and attract followers and following others in your field. Start answering questions on Quora related to your topic so that eventually you can post links to your online course in your replies.

TG Tip №1:

Send out free coupons to your pre-launch followers and community a few days before launching your course with a deadline for a day or two after launch. In this way you will garner enrollments and reviews quickly which will help to propel your course sales.

TG Tip №2:

Remember that mini-course idea? You can send your mini-course or introductory video out to drum up interest in your course launch. It will keep your funnel engaged and create a sense of anticipation for your course!

05

Design Your Online Course

We could write an entire guide on course design. In fact, some people get a PhD in course design. (We’re not suggesting you do that!) We’ll summarize that yet-to-be-written guide to course design with this mantra:

The goal of online course design is to focus on learning rather than teaching.

How do you do achieve a learning focus as opposed to worrying about teaching? Here’s two key steps you should take.

  • Define learning outcomes for your students

    Remember back in step 1 when you were told that you should be solving a problem with your course? Your solution to those problems should be framed in the form of measurable learning outcomes.

    Ultimately those in your target audience will purchase your course because of their expected personal outcome, whether that be a new career skill that lands them a job or a hobby that eliminates some of life’s stress.

    Fill in the blank promise to your students below:

    “By the end of this course you will be able to ___________ (fill in the verb).”

    Create the same sentence but with different verbs that support the overall learning outcome for each course chapter and lesson that you create.

    What do you do with these learning outcomes? Communicate them.

    Be sure to communicate at the beginning of your online course what the learning outcomes will be. Then throughout the course, remind students of these and where they are on the path to achieving those learning outcomes. This will motivate students and also help you to organize your course better. Remember that selling online courses is not just about the money but more importantly, to help students.

  • Create an online course outline

    The other use for your newly minted learning outcomes is to use in order them to back into your course outline. Work backwards from these learning outcomes by asking what steps do your students have to take to achieve these learning outcomes? What information do you have to convey and when, in what order and how?

    Unless you think through how to specifically achieve learning objectives, you’ll be teaching without a compass and you and your students will be lost.

    The main principle of creating a course outline is to take your learning objectives and break these into chunks of learning steps. These chunks can be broken first into broader modules or chapters and then into more specific lessons and even specific activities and resources that build up to your course’s overall learning outcomes. Each of these sections or chunks in turn will ideally have its own learning objectives.

    Don’t just create a lesson outline in this phase. Brainstorm different types of content and activities you can include for each section you create and make notes.

    Make script notes for each section as well. You may think you’ll remember what you wanted to say in each section, but once you start putting the whole thing together and once you start filming each section of your course, it’s quite easy to forget. Creating scripts for each section will also help you later to assess if the flow of the course is consistent.

    Make notes about what types of engaging content and visuals you will create for each section. After finishing your outline, go back over these to see if there is enough variety.

TG Tip:

Rather than starting to create your outline in a document or spreadsheet, start high level with colored post its or a whiteboard with colored markers. Write out your chapters, lessons and activities on them and experiment with moving them around to see what flow works best before committing pen to paper.

Resource 1

We recently wrote an article, 6 Principles of Online Course Design based on research into instructional design.

Resource 2

Want to really nerd out on instructional design principles? Check out this blog that covers the 4 major instructional design models.

06

Develop Your Online Course Content

After all of that researching, list building, blogging and outlining, you’re ready for the fun part – creating your course! Our one piece of advice here is:

Simply repeating information that you have gathered without regard to student focused activities and learning outcomes is the greatest online course pitfall to avoid.

Remember that mantra we just gave to you?

Write it on a post it and stick it on your laptop while you design your course content. As yourself periodically, what am focusing on teaching material or how to get students to achieve my learning objectives? There’s a subtle but important difference between these two things.

You must incorporate course content that enriches the learning experience of your students and increases their chances of achieving your promised learning outcomes. Keep in mind the following factors that contribute to your overall content development. Understandably so, it can be quite cumbersome to create a

Planning and Time Management

This part of the process is going to be long. There’s no getting around it. To stay motivated and on track, take your course outline and calendar each section and associated tasks. Be realistic about the time you have to dedicate including any technical or marketing learning curves you may need to address. Creating and selling online courses can be a time-consuming task. It would be best if your plan ahead.

Types of content

  • Videos

    Generally speaking your content will like contain talking head video. You’ll need to create at least a basic video studio, even if you are just using your iphone. We’ve written an article about how to create a basic video studio. This is the stage where those scripts in your outline will come in handy.

  • Visuals

    You might be doing a PowerPoint with voiceover or your talking head in the margin. Or you may want to create a mashup of slides or other visuals with video. Whatever you do, include visuals that support the learning objectives of each model. You can even make some, such as infographics, available for download. Watching a talking head for 3 hours is not all that entertaining!

    Resource

    We put together 10 online presentation tips in this article to get you started thinking about visuals.

  • Projects and Assignments

    Depending on which online course platform you use, you will be able to create a variety of assignments and projects. For example in Thinkific you can create assignments such as “create a video” and make them required if you want.

  • Assessments

    Depending on what online course platform you are using, you can create different assessment formats. Quizzes are the most popular. Assessments can

  • Resources and downloads

    Your imagination is the limit here in terms of what you can offer that enriches the learning experience. Lists of resources, checklists, how to guides, community building, etc.

Learning Styles

Recalling our mantra again, it’s important to at least be aware that even though you envision all of your students learning the same way, that is to say sitting in front of their laptop or on their smart phone watching your course, the fact is they don’t all learn the same way. We’ve written an article about the importance of taking into account different learning styles when designing your course.

TG Tip:

At this point, once you’ve created some content, many online instructors would recommend that you test out your course, or a portion of it, with a small audience to garner feedback and reviews if you haven’t received either of those in your pre-sales marketing funnel activities. Try it out on friends, colleagues, people in your Facebook group, etc.

07

Launch and Sell Your Online Course

Obviously, we are not going to cover all you need to know about launching and marketing your course in this one guide! And besides, there are many schools of thought, tips and techniques for how to go about promoting your course. A lot depends on the platform you are using, your audience, location, industry and more.

With that said, here’s our top “to do’s” to lay the foundation for marketing your course.

  • Landing/sales page

    Before you launch your course you will need to create a landing page or sales page if you haven’t already done so in >Step 4.

    The goal of your landing page is to convince people to buy your course.
    How do you convince people to hit that (big) “Sign Up Now!” button? On your landing page be very clear about:
    Who the course is for

    Is it for beginner’s or advanced students? Is it for people seeking to do “X”? Try to convey this with a catchy headline if you can.

    What students will achieve

    Tell them, “By the end of this course you will be able to (fill in the blank)”. Again if you can capture this in your headline, all the better.

    What benefits will students get out of your course

    Will they qualify for a new job? Lose weight 3 x faster? Be specific!

We highly recommend that you include an introductory video (which you would already have if you created one for YouTube or in your pre-sales funnel creation phase). Both in your video and in your landing page copy be specific about the three items mentioned above and use language on the page that feels personal in tone. Aim to tell a story that evokes emotion – about yourself, why you created the course, who you want to benefit from him, hopes, aspirations, etc.

Finally we all know that we are more likely to choose one product over another if it has better reviews or social proof. If you have reviews or feedback from any pre-sale or pre-launch activities, post them on your landing page. No reviews of your course yet? Include reviews of yourself or your business to build trust and credibility. Or send your course to friends and ask for reviews.

Which brings us to our second to last point. Make sure that in your video and on your landing page that you establish yourself as an authority to be trusted on your topic. No one wants to purchase a course from a newbie!

So then, what’s the last thing you should do on your landing page? Tell your customers to buy your course! Don’t forget to include a big ole compelling call to action!

TG Tip:

Offering a money back guarantee for a certain period of time will help convince students to take a chance on your course.

Resource 1

Check out one of our favorite Udemy instructor Phil Ebiner’s introductory video for a great example of what sells.

Resource 2

Neil Patel is THE guy for landing page conversions. Check out his Guide to Creating High Converting Landing Pages.

  • Grow Your Course Sales Funnel

    You need a strong sales funnel to back up your course launch. As we wrote in an article on launching a course email sequence, email marketing is THE way to promote your course and get people to move through your sales funnel.

    People simply read email more than social media Tweets and posts.

    So now’s the time if you haven’t already done so to set up an email sequence (i.e in Mailchimp or Hubspot) to have anyone who enrolls in a course added to your promotional email sequence.

    At the end of the email sequence, you will offer a free or discounted coupon to enroll in the paid course by a certain deadline and present a call to action to “enroll now!”.

    In your sequence of emails, you can include useful stuff such as blog posts, webinars, and other content. Webinars are a great way to grow your course sales funnel.

  • Price Your Course
    Price is of course the biggest decision for selling online courses and a big determinant for how profitable your online course will be. Setting a price for your online course is part of marketing your course. There are as many theories about how to price your course as there are online instructors. So what should you do? Well, here are a few key principles we’ve picked up along the way:
    No matter what price you choose for Udemy, chances are you will hardly ever get that price so just be ready.
    On other platforms, many experts say that most people underprice their course. Some even say think of a number and then double it. The double it again!
    If you mess up and overprice your course, you can always offer a promotion or discount.
    If you are pricing on the high end, just remember that generally the longer the course is, and the more support you provide, the more it is perceived as valuable in the eyes of potential students.
    It’s rarely a good idea to price a course that is lengthy and full of useful content below $100 unless of course it’s a 30 minute course. In the words of one expert “It’s a race to the bottom” price-wise.
    Finally we’ll add that price should be based on value, right? So consider some factors that define value:
    How much expertise you bring to the table and how relatively rare or not it is.
    What results or transformation are you offering? Is it small? Huge?
    How unique, plentiful or valuable is the content and resources you are providing?

TG Tip:

Remember in Step 1 when you set goals? You should have had an idea of what kind of price you wanted to charge for your course. Now that you have created it, go back and compare. Is it the same? Why or why not? Thinking about this will help you further reality check your pricing assumptions.

  • Affiliate Marketing

    By now most of us know what affiliate marketing is. We’ve all seen the review websites that list the “Top 10 ‘X’of 2019” and provide links with discounts to the products on Amazon.

    Why not have your course be included in a review website? Wouldn’t it be nice to have others talking up your course on their websites and social media?

    Affiliate marketing just makes sense! Sure, you have to pay a fee to the person promoting your course, but think of the selling opportunities. Someone else is doing the marketing for you!

    How do you set up an affiliate marketing network for your online course? There’s an app for that! They’re actually very simple to set up. So there’s really no reason not to use affiliate marketing.

    The “easy way” to set up an affiliate program is through the platform that you sell your courses on. In the case of Udemy, this is as simple as checking a box to sign up for their affiliate program. We like that fact that Teachable offers affiliate marketing capabilities in their basic package.

    Other platforms such as Podia offer affiliate marketing capabilities within the platform for a higher hosting fee.

    If you want to DIY it or if you are hosting your courses on your own website one very popular option is Rakuten Marketing, a marketplace that matches people selling products and services to affiliate marketers.

    Another option if you have a WordPress website is to set up your own affiliate program with a plugin called AffiliateWP. Two other easily integrated plugins for any website are Tapfiliate and Rewardful.

TG Tip:

Remember Step 4 – Create A Pre-sales funnel? Well if you didn’t do so well at that, affiliate marketing can go a long way making up for the audience you did not create in Step 4! Get you started thinking. If you want the motherload of course marketing strategies, Thinkific put together 55 of them.

08

Engage Students

You’ve launched your course (s) and got your email and affiliate marketing going. The enrollments are flying in (we hope!). Now what? Online course creation is more than just uploading an online course online.

By becoming an online course creator, you have become an online teacher. That means engaging with students regularly as if any instructor would. By obtaining feedback from students you also ensure that you create content that is appropriate for their learning curve.

Creating appropriate content for your students will engage their loyalty. Remember the virtuous cycle of conversion from step 4? The second step of the virtuous cycle was to start building loyalty by engaging your customers, or students in this case. There are a number of ways to do this, here are some ideas:

  • Ask for reviews and feedback
  • Offer to answer questions and then do that
  • Send out educational messages on Udemy
  • Continue your email marketing campaign
  • Continue blogging and hosting webinars. Invite students to engage with this content.
  • Offer discounts on future courses
  • Engage on social media offering tips and advice and answering questions

09

Evaluate Your Online Course

Technology, learning platforms, and student preferences continue to evolve. Your subject matter may continue to evolve. You will improve and evolve. Therefore it’s important to recognize this and to not let your online course become too static. Keep improving your course.

Part of engaging is receiving feedback and reading your students’ needs. This is the “evaluating” part. There are a few ways to evaluate your course including surveys and tracking metrics such as course completion or minutes watched. The kinds of things that you want to solicit feedback on include:

  • Instructional design and course structure
  • Visual appeal
  • Learning materials and content
  • Assessments and assignments
  • Your communication skills
  • Learning objectives

Technology, learning platforms, and student preferences continue to evolve. Your subject matter may continue to evolve. You will improve and evolve. Therefore it’s important to recognize this and to not let your online course become too static. Keep improving your course.

Not only does improving your course make students feel as if they are getting something even more valuable, it engages them and builds trust and credibility. And over time as you improve and update your course, you can include real student examples that you garner from Q&A emails and feedback in your landing page, course communications and so forth, further enhancing your virtuous circle of marketing.

10

Grow Your Online Course Business

How do you make an online course profitable? You do what it takes to grow it into a business!

It’s not only your students who are learning, but you as well. The most successful online course creators keep learning how to teach online and how to get better at it! Here are some things you can focus on to help grow your online course business and sell more online courses:

Here are some activities you can focus on to help grow your online course business and sell more online courses:

  • Get Social Proof

    Keep getting reviews, testimonials and leverage them on your website, in email marketing and social media.

  • Improve your landing pages

    Monitor your conversions over time. Experiment and try different headlines, change up your video, add new social proof etc. See what works.

  • Change up your lead magnets and free content

    If you are offering an ebook in exchange for emails or if you are sending out content via email marketing, keep track of clicks and engagement. Keep improving your lead magnet too.

  • Improve your SEO

    Keep monitoring keywords over time. If you are hosting your courses on your own website, SEO is especially important. This would be a good time to educate yourself more on SEO by doing what else but taking an online course on SEO!

  • Change your price

    Once you get some sales and reviews under your belt and are feeling comfortable, why not raise your course price and see what happens?

  • Keep upping your authority and expertise

    It’s not enough to just make a course as an expert and then call it a day. The best experts are always learning. You should too. Learn more in your craft and incorporate that into new course material. Go out and speak about your topic, go on a podcast, write guest blogs, etc.

  • Start thinking of your next course

    Whether your first course or the most recent course you launched is successful or not, you will have learned a lot and most certainly have ideas about how to do even better with your next course. The key is to keep the momentum going and build your reputation and brand as an online course instructor by leveraging the audience you have worked so hard to create. That’s ultimately how you will get more sales and grow your business!