You’ve got some serious skills as a creator, no doubt about it. Whether it’s mastering yoga poses, creating mouthwatering cakes, or teaching those killer dance moves, your expertise is top-notch.
But here’s the real challenge: turning that expertise into a lucrative online course. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this journey.
Selling online courses isn’t an exclusive club for a select few. It’s an achievable goal for anyone, including you, with a bit of planning and a ton of passion.
This article is your ultimate guide, packed with valuable tips and real-life success stories from fellow creators who’ve mastered the art of selling courses online.
Ready to dive in and discover the secrets to making bank with your online courses? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Is Selling Online Courses Profitable?
Online courses have been a topic of debate lately, with some questioning their profitability and the effort involved. While it’s true that they might not be the quickest route to riches, selling online courses can be a good way to make money from home.
According to Global Market Insights, the elearning industry was worth a whopping $399.3 billion in 2022, and experts project it to grow by a solid 14% annually, surpassing $1 trillion by 2032.
But it’s not just about the numbers. More and more college students are opting for eLearning, with at least 33% taking online courses. Why? It’s cost-effective, and studies show they learn five times more than from traditional college courses.
And it’s not just students; businesses are hopping on the eLearning bandwagon too. Companies are increasingly using web-based courses to train their employees, resulting in revenue boosts and improved productivity.
Here’s the kicker: creating and selling online courses isn’t just a side hustle – it’s a thriving business model. You can engage with your students, offer upgrades, deliver advanced courses, and create a steady stream of passive income.
But that’s not all. Selling online courses has some major perks:
Low Cost of Entry: You don’t need deep pockets to start. It’s more about investing your time and knowledge.
Sell Anywhere: Forget about setting up a booth at a local market. You can reach your audience from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the internet.
Customization Galore: You can teach virtually any topic you’re passionate about and stand out from the crowd.
Diverse Revenue Streams: You can sell courses individually or offer them as part of a membership, creating a steady flow of income. Memberships can lead to substantial long-term revenue growth.
In a world that’s increasingly embracing online learning, selling courses is not only profitable but also a smart business move.
How to Sell Online Courses
Step 1: Choose a topic for your course
Selecting the perfect topic for your online course is the key to success. It’s like finding the sweet spot that resonates with your audience and aligns with your expertise.
Your niche is the heart and soul of your course. It defines what you’ll teach and filters out distractions. But here’s the catch: picking a niche isn’t always a walk in the park.
In the creator’s world, a niche is like a specialized segment of your market, tailored to a specific group. For instance, imagine you run a YouTube channel dedicated to dance, and your followers are die-hard hip-hop fans. Your niche might involve teaching a beginner’s course covering:
- Essential moves like the two-step, running man, or cabbage patch.
- Hip-hop lingo, from “pop” to “lock.”
- Basic conditioning for strength and flexibility.
Your niche is your compass, guiding you towards the most relevant course for your audience. So, what makes a winning niche?
When deciding on your niche, consider these three crucial factors:
When you’re developing an online course, it’s important to establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your students. Here are some signs that you have what it takes:
- Years of experience in the industry
- Extensive knowledge and skills in your subject matter
- Understanding of the industry’s history and future
- Ability to communicate information effectively
- Awareness of common mistakes and how to avoid them
- Credentials or accolades in your field
- Proven track record and positive references
- Thought leadership with a large online following
Pay close attention to your audience’s needs. What challenges are they encountering? What subjects are they eager to explore? Take note of their online discussions, community chats, and newsletter surveys.
In the end, for your online course to thrive, it must meet a strong market demand. Consider these indicators when selecting your topic:
- Opt for a growing industry, not a declining one.
- Look for high search volume on search engines.
- Be aware of competition from similar courses in your niche.
- Focus on skills that are in demand.
- Identify an audience that is currently underserved in your chosen topic.
While not every point on this list needs to be met, having a blend of expertise, passion, and market demand will enable you to create an online course that sets itself apart. And remember to validate the market demand for your course topic before fully committing.
If you’re in it for the long haul, profitability matters. Not all courses are equally lucrative. Assess your course’s potential by examining:
Monetization Models: Will it sell best as a standalone course or part of a membership? Not every model fits every course. For instance, an advanced animation course might thrive as a one-time sale, while a series of beginner yoga classes could shine under a membership model.
Competition: The more rivals you have, the tougher the competition. Identify your competitors and evaluate their offerings. How can you outshine them?
Once you’ve locked in your course topic, you’re all set to dive into the exciting world of content creation.
Step 2: Create an Online Course
To make a successful online course, focus on solving problems or providing valuable information that your audience needs. Here are key aspects to consider:
Choosing the right title for your course is crucial. A dull title won’t attract clicks. Your course’s main topic should be clearly reflected in the title.
Let’s say you’ve developed an extensive course covering all aspects of Amazon FBA, including product sourcing, inventory management, marketing strategies, and optimization techniques. While a straightforward title like “Amazon FBA Course” is informative, it may not grab the attention of your target audience effectively.
Instead, consider a more compelling title like “Amazon FBA Mastery: Proven Strategies for Successful E-Commerce.” This title instantly communicates:
- What participants will gain (mastery of Amazon FBA)
- What the course encompasses (strategies for success)
- A sense of expertise (in the field of e-commerce)
When crafting your course title:
- Emphasize core benefits: Make sure your title reflects what participants will achieve by taking your course. People are more interested in the benefits and outcomes than just the course creator.
- Keep it concise: While providing information is important, keep your title short and easy to understand.
- Test your title: Seek feedback from a few friends or conduct A/B tests by creating multiple landing pages with different titles to determine which one resonates better with your audience.
Now, let’s discuss how to organize your Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) course content effectively. Put yourself in your students’ shoes and create a course outline by breaking down the content into lessons.
The content and lessons in your course will vary based on its type (mini-course, multi-video course, masterclass), as well as factors like completion time and cost.
Once you’ve determined these details, begin by dividing your course into modules. Here’s an example:
- MODULE 1: Introduction to Amazon FBA
- MODULE 2: Product Sourcing and Selection
- MODULE 3: Inventory Management Strategies
- MODULE 4: Effective Marketing for Amazon Sellers
- MODULE 5: Optimizing Your Amazon FBA Business
Now, break down each module into specific lessons, like this:
MODULE 1: Introduction to Amazon FBA
- Lesson 1: What is Amazon FBA and How Does It Work?
- Lesson 2: Benefits and Challenges of Selling on Amazon FBA
- Lesson 3: Setting Up Your Amazon Seller Account
MODULE 2: Product Sourcing and Selection
- Lesson 1: Finding Profitable Products for Amazon FBA
- Lesson 2: Evaluating Product Demand and Competition
- Lesson 3: Selecting Your First FBA Product
MODULE 3: Inventory Management Strategies
- Lesson 1: Inventory Planning and Forecasting
- Lesson 2: Managing Stock Levels and Replenishment
- Lesson 3: Avoiding Common Inventory Pitfalls
And so on…
Next, decide on the format for presenting your Amazon FBA course. For comprehensive, higher-priced courses, video content works well to engage students and simplify complex concepts. However, the best format ultimately depends on your target audience.
Consider surveying prospective students to determine their preferred medium (although video often ranks highly). Regardless of the format, aim to keep each lesson between 10 and 15 minutes, delivering actionable and focused content to enhance the learning experience.
Step 3: Choose a course selling platform
Selecting the ideal platform to sell your online courses is like picking the perfect vehicle for a long road trip. It’s a big decision that impacts your journey. Let’s break it down:
First things first, a course selling platform is your all-in-one solution. It helps you host, deliver, and sell your courses while handling everything from course creation to marketing, payments, and more. It’s your trusty sidekick in the world of online education. Now, let’s explore some popular options:
Best For: Beginners looking for a user-friendly platform with a massive user base.
Udemy is renowned for its ease of use and access to a vast user base of over 24 million learners. However, a caveat is that you don’t get access to learner emails or data for marketing campaigns.
The platform primarily supports video-based courses, and competition among authors is high. While it’s an excellent starting point for newcomers, it charges a significant percentage (50-80%) of each sale for marketing.
Best For: Those aiming to build a brand around their online courses and seek customization.
Thinkific offers the freedom to create and deliver courses on your branded website. It excels in providing e-commerce and marketing tools, allowing you to create sales pages, landing pages, and seamless brand integration. This platform is a great fit for course creators looking to establish a strong brand presence.
3. iSpring Market
Best For: Those eager to kickstart their online course journey with full control over design, marketing, and sales.
iSpring Market offers a user-friendly dashboard that gets you up and running in minutes. You can create your marketplace, put your course on sale, and even upload ready-made courses. It supports various content formats, from videos to text and visuals.
Notably, iSpring Market provides robust analytics to track sales, engagement, and customer satisfaction. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with email marketing tools and other apps via Zapier, boosting your conversion rates.
How to Make the Right Choice?
Still unsure which platform to choose? Ask yourself these questions for clarity:
- Timeline: Do you need to launch your course quickly or are you willing to invest time in mastering a more complex platform for a highly customized experience?
- Course Content: Are you creating interactive courses or assembling simpler ones from text and graphics directly on the platform?
- Website Integration: Do you have an existing website and want to integrate it with your marketplace for a seamless brand experience?
- Marketing Tools: Do you require sales funnel tools to capture more leads and prospects?
- Analytics: Do you want detailed insights into users’ learning activity to enhance your courses?
Answering these questions will guide you towards the perfect platform to embark on your online course-selling journey. Choose wisely, and you’ll be well on your way to sharing your knowledge and making an impact in the world of online education!
Step 4: Price your course right
Choosing the perfect price for your online course is like finding the ideal balance.
To get stated, you should understand that course type plays a major role in pricing, with mini-courses being free or low-cost, multi-day courses in the mid-range, and masterclasses typically at a higher cost.
Certainly, there are other factors that come into play:
- Niche and Course Topic: The industry your course belongs to and your target audience’s price sensitivity. For example, courses on investing might command a higher price than those on social media marketing.
- Marketing Costs: Your marketing budget. The cost of promoting your course should be factored into its price.
- Authority of the Course Creator: People are more willing to pay for a course from a recognized industry leader. Consider your perceived authority when setting your price.
- Competitor Research: Check out how other course creators in your niche price their offerings. Aim to stay competitive but add value to justify your price.
- Sales Goals: Determine your sales goal and use it to inform your pricing strategy. For instance, if you aim to earn $50,000 from your course, you can choose to attract more customers with a lower price or target a smaller, premium audience with a higher price.
Keep in mind that pricing your course too low may lead to the need for more marketing efforts to drive traffic. Sometimes, having customers who are less price-sensitive can be more beneficial.
Step 5: Promote your course
Creating an awesome online course is just the first step. To start raking in those sales, you need to promote it effectively. Here are some tried-and-true methods to help you get the word out:
1. Launch a Blog
A blog, powered by platforms like WordPress, can be your secret weapon. It not only drives targeted traffic but also builds your credibility.
Once your blog is up and running, publish SEO-optimized articles related to your course topic. This will attract organic traffic from Google. Remember, every visitor to your blog post is a potential student. The key is to consistently provide valuable content.
Wondering how to get started? Check out our article “How to Start a WordPress Blog“.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing boasts the highest ROI among all promotion channels. It’s personal and non-intrusive, making it a sales goldmine.
Start by building an email list. Collect user email addresses through your blog, social media, and other channels. One quick way is to offer your course for free for a limited period, creating a buzz and word-of-mouth marketing.
3. Dominate Social Media
With 3.81 billion social media users worldwide, it’s the ultimate traffic source. You can easily connect with your target audience on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Create accounts, post regularly, and share your blog content. Engage with your audience and build a genuine connection. Social ads can also be a game-changer. For as little as $5 a day, you can run Facebook and Instagram ads to promote your course.
Step 6: Collect student feedback and testimonials
Want to make your course truly shine and convince potential students of its awesomeness? Well, you need customer feedback and testimonials. Here’s the scoop: Having real students sing praises about your course carries more weight than just your own words.
To gather these valuable insights, reach out to people who’ve already taken your course and ask for their thoughts. If they shower your course with compliments, see if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for your marketing materials. And don’t hesitate to guide them a bit – ask specific questions about the outcomes they’ve achieved, like “How much more money have you made since taking my course?” or “How confident did you feel before and after taking my course?” The more detailed their testimonial, the better! If you can snag a video testimonial, that’s even sweeter.
But don’t stop at collecting feedback just for testimonials. Take the time to really listen to what your students are saying – what’s working and what’s not. Use the positive feedback to enhance your course and the negative feedback to fix what’s not clicking. This way, you’ll keep improving and providing your students with the best possible experience.
Step 7: Automate your course selling efforts
As your course sales start rolling in, you’ll want to expand your offerings and maximize your profits. That’s where automation comes into play, freeing you up to focus on creating new courses.
To simplify course marketing and sales, consider platforms that offer automation features.
Take iSpring Market: This platform offers seamless integration with Zapier, a versatile automation tool. This dynamic duo allows you to connect your marketplace with various applications, putting your workflow on autopilot.
With this automation magic, you can:
- Automatically add students to your marketing campaigns.
- Enroll new buyers in your courses effortlessly.
- Keep tabs on your website visitors and send them targeted email messages based on their actions.
By automating these essential tasks, you can shift your focus to what truly matters: creating new, exciting courses and growing your online education empire.
Selling courses online, especially through memberships, isn’t just about making money—it’s about forming meaningful connections with your audience. While crafting a course might require some effort, the payoff is a reliable and steady income stream.
Whether your expertise lies in digital illustration, social media mastery, or product management mentorship, you have the power to transform your knowledge into a valuable digital product that benefits others. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to turn your passion into profit.
So, why wait? Dive into the exciting world of course creation today, and start sharing your expertise with the world.
FAQs About Selling Courses Online
Feeling confused about online course selling? Here are some common questions and answers to help guide you:
1. What is the best platform for selling courses online?
The best platform for selling courses online varies depending on your specific needs. Platforms like Udemy are great for selling video course content. However, if you’re offering academic courses, platforms like Coursera may be more suitable.
3. What is the best way to sell online courses?
The best way to sell online courses is by establishing a strong personal or brand presence. Utilize various marketing strategies, including SEO, email marketing, giveaway funnels, and social media marketing, to reach and engage your audience effectively. For more information, you might want to enrol in Foundr’s Rapid Course Formula.
4. What does it take to sell courses online successfully?
To sell courses online successfully, you need:
- In-depth knowledge of your subject matter.
- The ability to create engaging and high-quality content.
- Proficiency in using various online platforms.
- Marketing skills to promote your course and drive sales.
2. What are the pros and cons of selling courses online?
Pros: Selling courses online offers a global reach, scalability, and the potential for consistent passive income.
Cons: You’ll face stiff competition, the need for regular content updates, and may require technical skills to manage certain online platforms.