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.
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.