How to Sell Online Courses

Books have always been the primary source of knowledge in the history of education. However, in this digital age, physical books and printed handouts are slowly going off-grid. Today, audiobooks and online courses aggressively dominate the industry for personal development and in the academe. For instance, Coursera is now offering students a degree with its courses led by the top professors in ivy league schools themselves!

In selling an online course, you don’t need to be too technical and formal. With the diversity of subject matter topics in online course platforms, anyone who has the expertise in a particular subject can teach; all you need is an internet connection and a laptop – no need for certifications and other legal requirements.

As for the subjects, the topics covered by online courses are massive – from Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management to the Basics of Korean Language and even to make-up tutorials, basically – almost everything. 

So, if you have no idea how to set up your online course, read on as we give you a step by step guide on how you can effectively sell online courses. 


Who Should Create Online Courses?

Aside from career educators and professionals, anyone who wants to make money through online courses can do it, including fitness experts, athletes, dancers, artists, cooks, and others who want to earn money while sharing their skills and knowledge with students. So, if you’re an expert at something and you want to monetize it by sharing it with other people, then making an online course is the best choice.

How To Create Your Online Course

1. Pick your Online Course Subject 

The general rule is to choose a subject in which you are an expert and match it with a topic that has an established audience. Having a good topic means covering a relevant and useful subject paired with a specific target audience. Essentially, something that would impact many people. 

Once you figure it out, make sure that you only cover a specific topic and avoid making fluff. The best online courses are direct to the point and those which stay on topic. To ensure that your students learn, make sure that you only cover one main topic with several subtopics. It cannot be multiple main topics since this will confuse your students. Remember that your course must be carefully outlined, designed for students to get the best value out of your subject topic.

2. Validate your Subject Topic

Upon finalizing your subject topic, you’ll need other people to critic your ideas. This will help in validating if there’s an actual need for your chosen subject topic. In this part, what we’re avoiding is to have someone develop an entire course only to find out in the end that no one is willing to pay for such a subject matter. 

3. Choose a Platform

Once you have a good foundation for your online course, the next step is finding the right platform to offer your online course. There are many available options for you, whether you want to build your website or have it hosted on a platform. If you choose the latter, make sure to take into consideration several factors that will affect your marketability and convenience. This includes choosing a platform with a user-friendly interface, engagement and analytics tools, reliable customer support, and extensive third-party app integrations.

4. Offer Course Pre-Selling

Now, once you’ve initially validated your proposed online course, the best way to check if it’s in demand is to offer it for pre-selling. Essentially, at this point, you’ll know if people are willing to pay for your online course. Furthermore, this should tell you if your online course is marketable or not. 

5. Launch a Pilot Course

If your online course had a favorable result in the validation, the next step is to run a pilot course. This should cover the basics of your chosen subject and not necessarily the complete course content. The way to do this is to accept only a few students who will be your first set of students. During the class, you should get an overview of which particular subtopics should be included in your course. However, please note that your pilot course should be priced lower than the ordinary course since it still lacks in terms of content. 

6. Complete and Organize your Online Course

Once you’ve validated your course topic, determined its market demand, and identified the necessary outline that it should have, the next step is structuring your entire course. This should now contain all the inputs that you’ve gathered from your pilot course. 

In organizing your online course, you should put much thought into the chapters, hierarchy, and levels. This ensures that your students understand that they have to go through small wins first before completing the entire course.

7. Add a Section for Student Assessments 

You need to keep in mind that your online course’s primary purpose is not only to have someone complete your course but actually to educate someone, so you need to ensure that your student will learn something in every content you create. However, this isn’t easy to gauge if you’ll only base on the course completion rate. The way to do this is to deploy a subject assessment for every end of the chapter or video; this should give you an idea if your students learned from your discussion. This will also give you a chance to improve your content based on your students’ assessment results. 

8. Document your Content

Now that you have everything you need. You can start taking videos of your course content. This is your chance to make your course engaging than a typical crash course. Like a vlog, your videos must be short, easy to follow, and informational. You don’t want to make it too technical to allow beginners to keep up.

For non-academic topics, you can be as entertaining as you want, but for academic subjects, it has to be formal at the very least, as this will add to your credibility. Also, bear in mind that you should have a clear CTA at the end of every video.

9. Publish your Online Course

Once you’ve completed your entire course, the next step is creating a sales page and publishing it. Your sales page must have a detailed overview of the course, including its description, the outline, and other necessary information. More importantly, it should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who should enroll in this course?
  • What will they learn from this course?
  • Why should they enroll?

Once you have the answers to these, you can already make up your online course’s value proposition. This should make up the actual content of your sales/landing page. It will also help if you include testimonials as you grow your students. Lastly, it’s also essential that you put in all other important information, including money-back guarantee terms and, of course, the price or a promotional deal if you have one.

10. Market your Online Course

Upon publishing your online course, you want to get the word out and start getting students instantly. To do this, you need to be aggressive in marketing your online course. The good news is that there are tons of ways that you can do this other than launching paid ads. You can try boosting your course by offering free training sessions, doing live stream content through affiliate marketing, referrals, and uploading a related video on YouTube. 

The key here is to not come out strong in terms of push-selling. Instead, you need to do your part of building the value first either by making content about the issues being solved by your online course or, basically, something that your target audience will relate to. Remember to follow the stages in the customer journey from awareness to the decision stage. One cannot start immediately by targeting the decision stage; otherwise, you are bound to fail. 

So, these are the essential steps you need to follow to start selling online courses. Once you follow these steps, you’ll be sure to have a good foundation in this industry. I hope that this article was able to answer your questions about online courses. 

Do you have other questions regarding online courses? Let us know in the comments below!

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