Selling your online course is no easy endeavor. Regardless of how good it is and what a tremendous impact it promises to have on participants, it’s really how you manage to market it that will have the greatest baring in achieving success. Luckily there are many ways to reach and increase your online audience.
It’s important to be flexible about your target demographic and adapt your approach in order to convince them that your course will bring them added value by either making them more successful or providing assistance in overcoming an existing challenge.
INDIE White paper: How to increase your revenue by marketing your online courses
5 Steps to take on the marketing journey of your online course
There are a lot of things to be done in order to properly promote your course online. Here are a few pointers about where to start.
Update your social media profiles
Even though social media does not have very big conversion rates it is important to be present on it and look the part you want to play in you audiences’ lives. All the profiles should include a link to the landing page of the complete course so that people can easily find you and connect or follow.
Since these platforms see a lot of traffic (for example 74% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily, with around half (51%) saying they do several times a day) it is crucial to post new things as often as possible, see what you get the best responses to and encourage sharing. It’s a good idea to be represented in several such online venues as long they present a suitable environment for what you are selling.
Be mindful of the fact that all promoting, imagery and video content needs to abide by the general guidelines of the platform they are uploaded to.
Update your email signature
The days of business cards are all but gone. Yellow pages have pretty much moved online and though they are a good place to search for something they lack that personal touch. We live in an age when familiarity is very important so if somebody is already in your mailing list you have established at least the first level of knowing each other.
Whether you have done business before or not, the fact that your name rings a bell is already a big plus. Adding a link to the landing page of your finished course to your signature will ensure that it gets noticed by those who are likely to be interested.
And if they are not, it’s still very probable that somebody in their list will ask if they know of a course or workshop on that particular topic and your link and information will be forwarded. Peer recommendation is a big selling point.
Announce your course to your audience
I have talked in a previous article about the importance of building an audience for your course even before it is ready. While it’s also a good idea to mail teasers and status reports, crafting and sending a good “it’s finally here!” email can go a long way. We live in an age where we no longer search for the news — they find us via all the networks we join and pop-ups we allow on our screens.
While the email itself needs to contain the basic information about the course and how to sign up, the subject has to be professional yet witty and attention worthy. There may be a few overly curious subscribers who will save the landing page of your course and go to it regularly to see how it is all coming along but the majority will expect a notice from you.
Throw in a discount for the first to enroll in the course or offer some other incentives for timely sign-up and their interest will surely be peaked.
Promote the finished course on your blog
Blogs are increasingly popular these days and make up for great online venues to make yourself known and share information, knowledge and opinions. A personal blog will prove very effective in promoting your course to those who are already following you and thus hold an interest in your area of expertise.
Promotion on you blog does not mean simply using your own online space for advertising. You can write several posts on various concepts and ideas that are covered by the learning material you have designed. The key is to do so at a more superficial level, enough to get your audience interested to learn more. At the end of each post you can then invite them to purchase your course in order to get a better understanding or a deeper knowledge.
All these posts should be interlinked while a visible link to the course landing page should be placed either in the footer or on the sidebar.
Create a mini-course
A great way to convince people to buy a certain product is to give out samples. It gives potential customers a real feel of what they will get from their purchase and shows that you really believe in what you are selling.
The short demo can be either part of an email campaign or based on your most popular blog posts. If your target is an even larger audience you may even consider publishing it in an online marketplace for anybody who is even remotely interested to sample.
While it is important for the mini-course to be interesting and engaging, remember that its point is to act as a good amuse-bouche would do before a fancy five-star dinner – it should only work up an appetite for the main course not be filling by itself.
Taking these steps will ensure your online course becomes visible to the interested parties. The number of people who will actually buy it can be influenced by a number of variables but a good marketing strategy is the key to achieving the real potential of your product.
INDIE Brochure: Sell online courses using INDIE marketing tools
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.