Want to know how to sell online courses profitably in 2021? You are at the right place. Read on.
If you had asked someone in early 2020 if they would be witnessing a vast majority of students completely transitioning to online education within a span of months, they would have probably said NO. And then came along the pandemic!
Digital transformation of business skyrocketed. Even in the business of education, more people (including employers) started welcoming online courses as equivalent to offline courses. If you have enough knowledge of topics that you think people will pay for, this is the time to make it big.
Launching a course is just one piece of the puzzle. You have to get the rest of the pieces right to actually make money. And better yet, If you’re asking yourself how to sell online courses and make a living out of it in 2021, this post is for you.
Step 1: Find what people are looking for
Before you start creating the course, it is important to know what exactly is it that your students are looking for.
You should have a target audience. If you try to teach everyone, you will end up teaching no one. Make it clear in your marketing message what problem of your target audience will be solved through your course.
How do you find out what your students are looking for? Below are two of the simplest yet effective ways to find out.
Use Google Suggest
You really don’t need anything else other than Google to find anything and everything you might need for your course. If you use it smartly, you can get some key insights into what exactly your students are looking for in your topic.
Assume you want to teach an online course on “CBSE 12th Standard Maths”. Go ahead and type this on the Google search bar. Google will automatically show you what other related keywords people are searching for.
You can find these at the end of the search results page. For example, “CBSE 12th standard maths syllabus”, “CBSE 12th class maths solutions” and “12th maths solution book” are some keywords related to “CBSE 12th Standard Maths” that people are searching for.
You can also just add a space or type in just an alphabet after the keyword you’re searching with to get more suggestions.
If you’re looking for an easier alternative for this, check out the one below.
Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that is specifically built for generating new keyword ideas. Itis exactly what you need to find out the intentions of your target audience using the keywords they use. You can even narrow down searches using filters.
To start using this tool, go to the “Keyword Ideas“ section on the website and type in your keyword and then choose the country. You will then get the following:
- Search Volume: How many times the keyword is searched on Google every month.
- SEO Difficulty: How difficult it is to rank on top of the Google search results page for that keyword organically
- Paid difficulty: How difficult it is to place a Google Ad for that keyword in a highly visible position
The tool also categorizes what students are looking at through Google searches. You can find it right under the “Keyword Ideas” title. You can download these as CSV files.
It is suggested to select keywords that have a search volume of over 5000 and have less than 35 score for SEO difficulty. Once you identify your most relevant keywords, sort them in descending order of search volume.
Suppose you typed in “Class 12 Biology”. You will now have a list of topics your students are looking for in “Class 12 Biology”. Use this list to decide the topic you wish to teach students online. You should ideally include the Keyword as it is on the Title of the course. For example, at the time of writing this article, the keyword “notes for class 12 biology” had a search volume of 8100.
A probable title for the course can be “The most important notes for class 12”. Keep in mind to deliver on the promise set by the title of the course. The course content should not deviate away from the title.
Other places to look.
The above two are the most important places to look for insight. Below are a few more that you can consider:
- YouTube search volume
- Facebook groups
- Forums and niche communities
Further Reading: How to teach an Online Course That Students Want
Step 2: Creating the course content
Now you know what people are looking for and you have fixed a title for your course. The next step is to create some interesting content for the course.
Remember that nobody will get through even the first few parts of your course unless the content is awesome. This can only be achieved using content that is targeted for addressing the problems of a specific target audience.
Too many online course creators try to address too many problems that often lead them nowhere.
For example, you can create a course titled “Fundamentals of Digital Marketing”, add the following modules to it.
- Paid Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
It will be unwise to add a section on HTML here as your audience may not be receptive to it.
Break each module down into lessons. The content can include videos, PowerPoint presentations, eBooks, reading materials, or interactive content pieces. The format is decided depending on the complexity of the topic at hand.
Step 3: Create the website
The next step on how to sell online courses is to build a website for your course. It should speak the language of your target audience in the written content as well as the imagery used. There are two ways you can choose to get a website up.
The first one is hiring a web development team to build your website up from scratch. Such a project usually takes a few months to complete and can be expensive.
The second option is to build it on a Learning Management System like Learnyst and get your site up in less than a day or two. Even better, every webpage built on Learnyst is SEO compliant, and you can even get a custom mobile app to run your course.
Step 4: Build an inclusive sales funnel
This may not turn out to be as easy as it sounds. There is a lot that goes on behind building a near-perfect user journey. This calls for an array of landing pages, forms, social media posts, email marketing campaigns, and much more.
Ideally, there must be a natural flow to the journey. The user must feel like he/she is in control. If they feel like they’re being pushed to do something, they will drop off.
You can try using a free eBook or Whitepaper to lure prospects and nudge them to opt into your marketing messages. This can be achieved by gating the content behind a form, i.e., the content will only be accessible once the user fills out a form.
You can also :
- create discussions between members like on a forum
- set up quizzes for students
- create sales funnels to sell them
- create an affiliate program so that other people can sell them for you
You can also customize your space to your colors so that your students will not be out of place!And the best part is that it’s totally free up to 2,000 contacts.
Step 5: Engage with Email Marketing
By email marketing, we don’t mean just sales emails. Also, send out welcome emails and newsletters to keep your brand on top of your target audience’s minds.
For example, a welcome mail should include:
- Your purpose, i.e., what you do.
- Setting up their expectations from you.
- Call to Action (CTA) buttons that direct users to the best content.
In the welcome mail, inform them that you will be sending informative messages starting from the next 3-4 days. Subtly start introducing your course to them in the process. It is recommended to take your subscribers to the sales page of your best courses first. You can cross-sell other courses from there if needed.
Step 5: Drive Traffic
This is the last step in your journey towards uncovering how to sell online courses profitably. There are many ways to drive traffic. Start a blog (SEO optimized) to drive traffic organically. If your blogs are good enough, you can even get backlinks which are critical for Google rankings.
Use social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to publish opinionated articles and tweets. This is sure to get some attention.
Create some interesting PPT Presentations and post them on SlideShare.
Answer relevant questions on forums like Quora. Try to find niche forums too.
Create and post infographics on Pinterest.
How Learnyst can help
Now that you know how to sell online courses successfully, it is time to know more about Learnyst.
Learnyst is “The Partner” for online education businesses that aim to be profitable and remain profitable for a long period of time. Through us, tutors have launched over 25,000 courses and collectively earned over INR 350 Crores till date. The following are the features that make it possible.
- Custom build website
- 15+ eLearning templates
- Templates for creating content like Quizzes and web pages
- Instant publishing and editing of onsite content and course materials
- Easy integration with third-party tools for marketing and other supporting activities
If you’d like us to help you create a profitable online education business, get in touch with us now!