In this day and age, the Internet is the most powerful way to profit from selling your knowledge. And its success principles are the same as ever; they’re just more complex. “You build it and they’ll come” is not enough anymore. You can build and publish whatever you want, but that alone does not mean people will flock to buy it. They still could, but they most probably won’t. Your online competition — and their online choices — are just too many.
Yet some people still manage to sell their online courses — and sell a lot! What kind of ace do they have up their sleeve? How come their courses are so appealing to the public?
First of all, be ready to invest yourself 100%. In a time when people have become more selective, your product needs to stand out. Chances are that your idea is not unique on the market. But it doesn’t have to be. Your way of delivering it has to. You can become a successful online course creator and seller and attract a paying audience by seasoning your course with two key ingredients.
The two ingredients of successful online courses
The basis of any course is one great idea. Every successful project has a well-grounded foundation. Analyze it, plan it, structure it and start creating your course. Then transform your idea into a product worth selling.
Online courses can tackle any subject whatsoever, but their success depends exponentially on two things:
Creating valuable content
No matter what you do or try to sell (baking courses, crochet courses, martial arts courses, DIY for pets courses) make sure the content you create is valuable for anyone that comes across it.
You can start by considering what your target audience needs. Once you establish this, you should structure your course so that any learner can study it, revisit it, share their results, receive constant feedback and eventually apply in their own environment the knowledge they have acquired taking your course.
Make your course clear, give step by step instructions and provide valuable tips and tricks that will make your learners feel enthusiastic and experience first hand the benefits of your teaching. Remember that you are not the only one selling a course. Try to be original and meet the needs of you target buyers. If you enjoy creating the course and you are really good in your area of expertise, learners will take up your course, benefit from it, and eventually contribute to your rise as a provider of online learning materials.
You should take into account that your learners can have different levels of knowledge in the field so you need to provide adapted content and not to limit your course only to a niche market. Furthermore, supposing your subject is more practical than theoretical, you can make the course more engaging and entertaining by using videos, tutorials, webinars and adding interactive and challenging tasks.
As the saying goes, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”. Get your learners involved and create the possibility for them to be part of an exclusive group and everyone will be motivated to finish their course and continue using your teachings in the real world. And this will mean free and constant marketing from your satisfied buyers in time.
Marketing your course continuously
Market. Market. And market again. Seriously, start marketing your online course even before you finish creating it, just after you published it, and do not think the work is done once you hit that publish button. Continue marketing it.
First you need to set up the scene for your product to be published. You can do this by creating anticipation. Make your followers intrigued about your course by giving them a sneak preview of what’s to come. You can do this on every online platform that you have been using so far. Another way of persuasion would be offering free or discounted products for the first learners who sign up for the course.
Once your course is online, that’s when the real advertising begins. You may have a few members enrolled eager to learn. However, your goal is to have as many people as possible buying your course. Your first learners are key. They can promote your product as long as you show them you value their feedback. Asking them to give a review when completing the course or setting tasks that include promoting it by using hashtags would be a good start. In addition, you have to be active on the most important social platforms, continuously giving everyone reasons to join your community of learners.
Finally, as you’ve made yourself known online and your course has reached the wished number of members who’ve signed up for the ride, it’s not the time to leave your guard down. It’s time to market it again and promote the results you’ve had so far. Nothing makes things more plausible than their record.
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Keep an eye on the INDIE Blog!
One simply can’t be successful at selling online courses if their content is less than stellar, no matter how good they are at marketing it. Conversely, one can’t be a successful online course creator and seller if nobody knows about their course, no matter how valuable the content might be.
How to intertwine the two — creating valuable content and marketing it — so that the right people can find it, be impressed by it and buy it? Well, keep an eye on the INDIE Blog. There are many more things you could do to successfully advertise your product and have it on the online market for as much time as you’d like. But that will be a subject in our future blogs.
INDIE Guide: Creating beautiful online courses using INDIE
Diana has years of experience in the education field and knows first-hand that learning doesn’t stop when school stops. Knowledge makes the world go round.