How To Sell Online Courses In 2024: 4 Simple Steps To Take

Are you a professional wondering how to sell online course in your field of expertise? Here's your guide through every step of the process!

Key Takeaways

  • Selling online courses provides passive income and boosts your personal brand.
  • Upfront costs include course creation, marketing, and platform hosting fees.
  • Effective marketing strategies are crucial for reaching your target audience.
  • Regular content updates are essential to maintain and grow your audience.

Being an expert in your field in the 21st century has some bright points. However, it can get frustrating trying to share what you've learned with other people in the open marketplace of ideas that is the internet.

Well, you're not alone in your quest to spread knowledge, and other experts have turned to online courses to solve this puzzle.

 Learning how to sell online course can help you establish a successful online career, build your brand, and even launch other digital products. Here's everything you need to know to do just that.

Why You Should Consider Selling an Online Course

If you're wondering what's the appeal of selling your knowledge in the form of an online course, here are a few reasons why you should consider it:

  • It's an excellent additional revenue stream: Online course creators enjoy passive income from their offerings at no extra cost.
  • It can help your personal brand gain recognition: If you want to shine in your field of expertise and gain a loyal following, selling online courses can help you.
  • It can launch a successful career in coaching or writing: You can transition into your dream career as an author or coach through online courses.

Problems With Selling an Online Course

Although selling courses online can be an enticing venture, there are still some downsides. It wouldn't be fair to mention the pros without the cons, so here's what to look out for if you consider selling online courses:

The upfront cost can be high

Hosting the courses on your website, an online course marketplace, or on an online course platform requires some initial investment.

This means you'll pay out of pocket even before you get any revenue from the courses.

You need a solid marketing campaign

To reach prospective customers, you'll have to implement effective marketing strategies. Using email lists, social media, and other traffic sources is as crucial as it is challenging.

You need to know your pricing plan

Pricing your course too high or too low can make you lose leads. Consider your competition's pricing but also keep in mind that you'll need to learn skills to help you market your course.

These include creating sales funnels, upselling, and knowing when to use discounts to make it a profitable online venture.

The courses will require continuous updates

To keep your audience engaged, you need to keep your content library up to date so your potential students don't go elsewhere.

This means spending extra time and energy on the content you've already created.

What You'll Need to Sell an Online Course

Here's what you'll need to start creating and selling your courses online:

1. Video Content

Whether it's been filmed at an in-person lecture/seminar, or you've chosen to go the route of professionally filmed content, you'll need content for your course.

The former is easy enough to acquire by filming yourself speaking to an audience, but the latter requires a higher production quality.

Grab a nice camera, microphone, and lighting to make the final content library as pro as can be. You can also use a teleprompter app to make it easier for you to read scripts while looking at the camera.

You might also need to learn how to master the editing process to produce a polished final result.

2. A Hosting Website

You can host your courses on one of these options (we'll discuss each in detail in the following section):

  • A personal website
  • A third-party online course platform.
  • A course marketplace.

Each of them has its upsides and downsides, depending on how hands-on you want to be with the marketing of your course.

3. Powerful Marketing Tools

Directing people to your courses requires marketing to your target audience through multiple strategies.

Consider everything, from organic content and SEO leads to more involved tactics like email marketing campaigns, Facebook Ads, and cart features that support upselling.

Where to Sell an Online Course

When it comes to finding the right place to sell your courses, you have three options:

1. Your Personal Website

Selling courses on your website simplifies the process to an extent. If you have your own WordPress blog, you can just add an LMS (Learning Management System) plugin and you're good to go.

You can also look into creating a new website from scratch, although that's much more pricey and requires you to be pretty tech-savvy.

2. What's Great About this Option

Cutting out the middleman lets you keep all your profits and not fall victim to the absurd revenue shares some course marketplaces take. It also gives you creative liberty and removes many restrictions about what to post.

  • Fees: Running your own website can set you back anywhere from $200 to $5000 per year. This depends on how large your content is and how many potential students you might have.
  • Payment Methods: You can offer as many payment options as you'd like, credit card payments or PayPal, for example.

3. Online Course Marketplaces 

You can opt to host your courses on a marketplace like Udemy or Masterclass. They usually require a fully realized course with certain prerequisites when it comes to topic and quality. The website always takes a larger percentage of the sale than the course creator. 

What's Great About this Option

Online course marketplaces take care of the majority of the marketing for your courses. That should direct more traffic to your content library without you coming up with any sales pitches or marketing strategies.

  • Fees: Here's a breakdown of a couple of the most popular websites:
    • Udemy: 3% of all purchases through the creator's links or websites and 63% of all purchases through Udemy.
    • Masterclass: Contracts vary because Masterclass sometimes pays instructors to join, but the website usually takes 70–75% of all course revenue.
  • Payment Methods: Credit card payments.

3. Online Course Platforms

Course platforms are similar to course marketplaces in the sense that they also host your online course.

That said, these platforms have monthly or annual subscription options that give potential students access to the entirety of their content library, not just your courses.

That means you're not paid based on a percentage of your course earnings, but based on other criteria. For example, you could be paid per minute of video viewing (SkillShare) or according to a contract based on seniority (Udacity).

What's Great About this Option

These platforms often give instructors a range of features to produce their content. Their layouts also allow for more customization options based on the tools needed for video tutorials that require hands-on learning.

  • Fees: Online learning platforms don't charge instructors to join. 
  • Payment Methods: Subscription options that ask for credit card information.

How To Sell an Online Course: Step-By-Step Instructions

Now that you know why and where, here's how to reach your potential customers and sell your courses online:

Step 1: Master the Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a powerful marketing tool any business owner should be aware of. It involves several tiers:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Intent
  4. Action

It means you're approaching a random person, making them aware of your product and piquing their interest. Then, you proceed by giving them a reason to intend to buy your product, and finally, allowing them to make the purchase.

Creating a buyer's persona that mimics your target customer helps you envision what would attract them. If you know your target demographic, you can imagine their preferences and what they're looking for in a course and sell directly to them.

Step 2: Package Your Course Well

Once you know who you're selling to, you can create a sales page, blog posts, or video content that answers their questions and prompts them to act. Succeeding in an online business depends on how well you can package your course.

Choose a catchy course name with words that inspire confidence. Pay attention to the course's production quality, from the sales page to the content itself.

Test your course with a seed launch to catch any potential issues you might face during the firm launch.

Step 3: Use Effective Marketing Strategies

Getting a good return on investment when it comes to marketing can be tricky. However, some marketing efforts are tried and true with a better-than-average efficacy.

  • Email Lists: Have a high lead conversion rate. Attract sign-ups with a free mini course and upsell your audience.
  • Affiliate Programs: Online entrepreneurs can give your course a lot of visibility in a short time if you offer them decent revenue. 
  • Blog Post SEO: A long-term strategy that doesn't cost much but has high potential.
  • Social Media Marketing Platforms: Through Facebook Ad Integration and Instagram sponsored posts, stories, and reels, you can reach a much wider audience with an immediate impact.
  • Sign-up Incentives: Limited-time discounts and referral rewards could prompt a large surge of sign-ups.

Step 4: Track Your Performance

Use analytics tools, like the WordPress dashboards, to keep track of how well you're doing.

These should help you find where the largest percentages of lead conversions come from and, in turn, help guide your future investments in marketing campaigns.

Things to Consider When Selling an Online Course

 Here are a few things to take into consideration if you intend to sell courses online as a side hustle:

  • Not all online course ideas are created equal: Some ideas or niches have a wider audience than others. Do your due research before picking a course topic.
  • Some marketing efforts are more rewarding than others: Email marketing can give you a fair return on investment compared to social media. Be wise when choosing a marketing strategy.
  • If you go with a subscription option for your content, you'll need new content pretty often: That's because people won't hesitate to unsubscribe if you fail to stay updated. Try adopting live-streamed content as an incentive for subscribers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best price to sell a course?

Depending on the course content, you can sell your course for anything from $5 to $2000. However, for most business or tech-related courses, the average price is $50–$200.

How much can you make on an online course platform?

This depends on many factors, but the average on a website like Udemy is said to be $1,000 and $3,000 a month. That said, some creators end up making six figures a year thanks to the popularity of their course.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If you're interested in selling online, check out these tutorials:

Wrapping Up

Creating an online course isn't a simple task, but selling one is almost just as challenging.

Knowing what strategies to implement to sell your online course could be a learning curve. However, once you set up your website or instructor profile, selling additional courses should be a breeze.

Using tried-and-true methods like email lists and targeting potential customers in their own language can make this a lot easier. Just keep in mind that all passive income needs some active effort to get going.

So what do you think? Is selling online courses the right gig for you? Let us know what you think in the comments and share this if you learned something new today!

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