“How do I increase my lagging online course sales?” That is a question that nags many edupreneurs. Creating an online course is the easy step, as crazy as that sounds. Making a steady income from it? Well, that’s another matter entirely.
There is a certain level of self-satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are an expert or authority in your field.
Expertise comes with benefits, among them, being the confidence you get from it. But being knowledgeable in a subject area also opens the door for you to make money from sharing that knowledge.
That is the primary reason why people create online courses. Selling online courses is an excellent way to earn passive, recurring income.
There are also other reasons, of course. Online courses make it easy for your students and customers to access your training.
Either way, your course is not going to market itself. After you have created an online course, you must set plans in place to increase sales so that you can generate a profit.
So here are 14 strategies that you can employ to increase your online course sales:
1. Create a Website
It is almost no longer feasible to run a business, especially an online one, without building a web presence. If you consider your online course a business (and it is), then you have got to create a website that will help you to market it.
I’m serious, building and optimizing a website that will contain all of your products will blow your sales exponentially.
MOOC platforms for individual course instructors are great and have their place. But you want a personal website that will grant you all the access and control that you need to market your online course to your preference.
To build a website for your course, you need a lot of information about domain names, web hosting platforms, and many more. You can find all the guides and tips that you need over at WebHostBros and WebsiteBuilder101.
2. Start a Blog
Perhaps due to the prevalence of social media these days, it is easy for owners of online businesses to forget the power that running a blog has in terms of helping you to increase your sales. But a blog is an excellent medium to promote your online course to the huge online market.
You should consider your blog as a channel for your online course content. And so, you must create blog posts with that in mind. Invest some time in learning about SEO and how to optimize keywords. This will help your blog rank higher and will channel lots of visitors to the blog.
You should also be careful about the name that you give your blog. It should be creative and possibly reflect what your blog and online course are all about.
If you have built a website, then you should link your blog to it. The link should be clear to everyone that visits your website. So you don’t want to hide it in an obscure corner on the homepage of your site. The top bar is where your blog link should be, and clearly too.
All the information that you need for starting and running a blog can be found at Blogamigo.
3. Create a YouTube Channel
YouTube is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. But what a lot of people do not realize is that it also acts as a search engine. Tons of people go on YouTube to search for an infinite variety of things. If you do not have a YouTube channel, you are missing out on serious exposure.
So, create a YouTube channel that centers on your course topic. It is free, and a bonus is that you may find creating videos on YouTube to be quite fun. But you must ensure that you stay on topic as closely as you can.
You don’t want to create a YouTube channel that’s based on your Data Science expertise and then go uploading cooking videos on the same channel.
Regularly creating and uploading helpful videos around your course topics or areas will help get a lot of people to know you. Be sure to name-drop your course and add links in the description.
4. Upload Some of Your Short Course Videos to YouTube
Now you’ve created a YouTube channel that you post content to based on your niche. But that’s not all you can do to milk the powerhouse that is YouTube.
To maximize the publicity of your online courses, you have got to upload a selection of them to YouTube. 10% of them is a good place to start.
That way, potentially millions of people will get to have a feel of the course. If you have put in the work, this is certain to translate into more sales of your online course.
Again, you must not forget to add all relevant links that direct to your main course. Also, you should include all the strong keywords that are related to your course in the video title and descriptions.
5. Build an Email List
An email list can have a mind-blowing impact on your online course sales and increase them significantly.
When you have built a website, one of the ways that you can use it to increase your online course sales is to build an email list. As the name implies, this is a list of emails that are collected by your website.
An email list comes with lots of direct benefits that can potentially translate to more sales. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, for every $1 that a marketer spends on email, the average ROI is $44. It helps you easily get messages across to your customers and will prompt visitors to return to buy more courses.
Should you buy an already curated email list? No. The idea may seem tempting as it saves you a lot of time and work, but you will likely be marked as spam by most people who do not remember signing up for your email list.
Trust me, that is not a reputation that you want for your business. Besides, most of them will likely be uninterested in what you have to sell anyway.
6. Grow Your Social Media Presence
Blogs are important, but so are social media.
Building a social media community around you and your online course can be a slow and painful process. But it is ultimately a rewarding one. Social media is an ever-present market waiting to be tapped by any edupreneur that gives all it takes.
First of all, your bios or profiles on your social media pages should be updated to reflect who you are and what you are selling. You should also include direct links to your website or your courses.
The type of social media platform should determine the type of content that you put out concerning your course.
Each platform has its own quirks, and you don’t want to upload the same generic content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube. That is unlikely to turn out well.
For example, Instagram is a social media platform that is very visual. Long text posts like you would post on Facebook will not work there.
Instead, you can make creative and visually-appealing images and banners that carry information about your course. And of course, include links.
You should also take advantage of Stories and Fleets. These are short 24-hour avenues to put out photos, text, and short videos on your online course.
7. Online Paid Advertising
Paid ads get a bad rep these days. But you cannot always avoid spending some money to make more money. If you go about it the right way, paid ads have a big potential to result in massive sales ROI.
I mention going about it the right way because paid ads can become a huge money-drainer if you aren’t careful.
Choosing the wrong keywords, for example, will lead to very dramatic reductions in your ROI. You get significantly more value for your money by researching and then targeting the right demographics.
There are various channels for online ads. The largest of them include Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, Google Ads, Twitter Ads, and banner ads on websites with large traffic.
Remember, you should put some time into understanding how paid ads work and the best strategies to employ. There are lots of useful books, articles, videos, and other resources that can teach you how to optimize paid ads to help balloon your online course sales.
8. Post in Relevant Discussion Forums
Online discussion forums were social media before social media. But that does not mean that they have been driven all the way into obscurity. There are still tons of discussion forums on the internet centered around different topics.
They can be a great way to get the word out there about your online course. You should look for online discussion forums that revolve around the topic of your course, and establish a presence there.
Make your expertise felt and appreciated. Participate in discussions and answer questions. That way, you will be regarded as an authority on the subject.
If it does not break the forum rules, you should post content with backlinks to your blog or website. But only after establishing that the knowledge that you possess would be worth paying for.
Even if there are forum rules preventing links, you can hint at your course and receive potential buyers in your inbox.
9. Create an Affiliate Program
An affiliate program is an excellent way to gain exposure to your online course while getting other people to market your course for you. The incentive for them, of course, is that they get to make money for themselves.
That incentive can be great for your online course sales. The more money that your affiliate partners make, the more that you make for yourself. Affiliates bring in their own perspectives and strategies to help generate sales for your course.
If you decide to set up an affiliate program, you should be proactive about finding affiliates. They will not simply appear out of thin air, after all.
A great strategy is to contact people that you know have large followings of people who may be interested in your course. These include influencers on social media and public mentors. Your students can also make great affiliates.
10. Introduce a Refund Policy
A money-back guarantee is a proven strategy to increase your online course sales. The premise of a refund policy is that if your students are not satisfied with the content of your course, they can get back the fees that they paid in full within a set period of time.
This serves an important purpose for a course creator. It assures potential students that your course is not a rip-off.
A money-back guarantee removes any doubts that they may have about how good your course is, and assures them that you are not a scam. That way, it builds some level of trust.
Besides, it shows that you are confident in the quality of the course that you are selling. After all, not just anybody can offer a money-back guarantee. An edupreneur with a bad course will invariably set a fixed price with no refunds.
But you must realize that there are people who will try to take advantage of a money-back guarantee. These sorts of students will register for the course, watch all your videos, and then demand a refund, claiming to be unsatisfied.
To mitigate this, you should limit download access to your course content until after the money-back guarantee period has expired. Secondly, lock down all bonuses for limited periods of time.
11. Create a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel (also called a revenue funnel or sales process) is a stepped processor model that illustrates a potential customer’s journey to purchasing a product.
In this case, your online course. All the strategies listed above are good and fine, but you need a sales funnel to convert potential customers into actual customers.
Failing to do so will mean that you don’t make much money from your online course. Your primary objective should be to move potential students through each stage until they are set to buy your course.
Your sales funnel should include the marketing strategies that we have discussed above.
12. Translate Your Course
English is the unofficial language of the internet. Nevertheless, you would be making a mistake if you thought that the market for your online course only consists of English speakers.
There are billions of people who speak other languages, and turning some attention to them will reap lucrative benefits.
To make the most impact in this area, you should focus on the other languages that are spoken the most, apart from English. This includes languages like Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, German, Russian, and French.
13. Buy Promotion Tweets or Posts
This is also a form of paid ads but through a social media influencer channel. There are lots of these influencers on online marketplaces like Fiverr who sell promotions on their pages.
For a reasonable amount of money, you can pay one or two of them to make posts or tweets that are focused on your course.
Selecting the right type of influencer is important for this strategy to work. For example, it is not a great idea to pay an influencer with a large audience of teen music fans to promote your online course that is centered on Project Management.
14. Use the Tiered Pricing Strategy
Finally, you should offer tiered pricing for your online course.
Tiered pricing is a strategy that businesses use to provide their products at different price points. They do this by limiting or expanding different product features corresponding to each tier price.
You can use this strategy in much the same way. Instead of a single price for your course, you can introduce different tiers like Basic, Pro, Premium, and Ultimate.
What you decide to call them depends on you, but you should keep the levels down to two or three. Basically, the higher levels will come with perks and bonuses unavailable to the lower rungs.
Q: Are online courses profitable?
Yes. You can make a lot of money creating and selling online courses.
In a short time, even. The e-Learning market is exploding and is expected to reach and exceed $325 billion by 2025, according to Global Market Insights.
But making a lot of money is not guaranteed by simply creating a course and putting in half-hearted efforts to sell it. You must employ proven strategies to increase sales for your online course.
Creating an online course requires that you have an appreciable level of expertise in a subject area. But your expertise does not guarantee that you make impressive sales of your course.
To be able to increase sales for your online course so you can make steady profits, it is important that you take deliberate steps to market your product. This list helps to guide you in that direction.
If you have found the strategies listed above useful, please don’t hesitate to check out our website, LMS Hero. You’ll be sure to discover lots of other guides and tips to help you succeed as an edupreneur.