The learning market is gaining momentum. By 2025, the global online education market is expected to reach over $319 billion.
The growth of online education is motivated by several factors, including:
- increasing demand for distant learning solutions,
- lower costs compared to traditional face-to-face studying,
- high effectiveness of modern virtual training tools,
- boost in employees' productivity through online learning services,
- aspiration towards constant self-improvement and training,
- switch to remote work.
Enrolling in distance learning courses powered by technological trends and tools allows students all over the world to get a high-quality education and enhance skills in almost every area, from cooking to engineering.
Online education is more affordable than traditional courses; therefore, it gives an opportunity to get the same result at lower costs. Thus, creating and selling online courses is a profitable initiative for businesses, allowing them to attract users worldwide, generate additional income and build long-term relationships with clients.
Although the idea to sell online courses looks lucrative, it still requires thorough preparation and a clear understanding of the challenges that await the creators and the channels they have to focus on.
Main Challenges Online Course Creators Face
What defines the success of a learning product? Generally, it can be measured by assessing ROI (return on investment), customers’ progress and feedback, total sales, and revenue. Online course creators should take care of two essential components: content creation and a strong marketing strategy to achieve these goals.
You might create an exceptional online course, but it will fail without the proper marketing approach. Also, it’s vital to prepare a course that covers the subject, contains valuable information, and is easy to understand so that customers keep retaining and engaging with the program, increasing the percentage of course completion.
Let’s overview these two pitfalls in detail.
- The importance of creating engaging and easy-to-understand content
As the demand for education and training programs increases, the competition among thousands of creators grows by leaps and bounds. Thus, to succeed, you have to follow a well-organized process of building a training program and creating engaging content.
An outstanding online course is usually interactive, insightful, and supported 24/7. Implementing gamification and interactive elements such as quizzes, flashcards and videos is a proven way to increase engagement. In addition, gamification helps students interact with a tutor more efficiently, which improves their motivation to study, get the best scores, and give positive feedback.
Also, there's a risk that the students will be overwhelmed with information; therefore, make sure that the course is well-structured and understandable. To improve students’ perception of information, consider introducing the microlearning approach.
Microlearning means dividing the entire training program into smaller parts, and preparing separate lessons on subtopics, usually no longer than 10-15 minutes. This approach allows you to explain complex topics through simple concepts from A to Z, avoiding students being overwhelmed with information. Ultimately, this dramatically increases the percentage of course completion.
- The importance of building a solid marketing strategy
The necessity to prepare a solid plan on how to market a course is a serious pitfall. When a product is ready, how do you make customers know about and find it? That is where a marketing strategy comes in handy. You start looking for places to distribute your product and define a marketing budget and promotional channels.
There is quite a wide range of channels where creators can sell online courses. Depending on your niche, product specifics, audience, and business goals consider promoting your learning product via some of the following platforms:
- Marketplaces & online learning platforms
- Google Ads
- Social networks
To ensure the marketing process goes smoothly, start with a few channels and as your business grows, expand into new channels to advertise and sell the product.
Now let’s talk about the most common and efficient channels to sell training programs in detail.
4 Best-Performing Channels To Sell Online Courses
Marketplaces & online learning platforms
Marketplaces are the first place creators should consider for selling online courses as they’re the most visited platforms dedicated to e-learning. The most popular online learning platforms to check are Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, and many more.
However, you should keep all the pros and cons of using this channel. The best thing about it is that marketplaces usually provide the authors with the platform, payment system, and a big pool of potential customers. Selling online courses through a marketplace does not require much promotion and marketing strategy; all the authors have to do is create a high-quality, valuable product.
The main disadvantage of using marketplaces is that the creator does not get the total revenue from sales. A certain percent of the revenue is paid to a marketplace as a maintenance and service fee. Some marketplaces take up to 70% of the course price!
All in all, marketplaces and online learning platforms are a brilliant option at the beginning of your journey as they typically don’t require any investments. So, consider starting to generate sales on marketplaces and cover new channels when getting the first profits.
Having a website presenting your e-learning product is one of the best ways to sell online courses. It takes time and money to build and design the website, create functional onboarding and implement all the necessary training tools that make it easy and convenient for customers to interact with the course.
A good website usually provides the following features:
- Simple and clear navigation
- Clean user interface (UI)
- Reporting and data analytics
- Assessment management and live feedback
- Student information management
- Easy payment system
- Mobile version of the website
Launching your website gives you total control of business flow, allows you to adjust processes along the way, gives you 100% revenue from sales, and helps engage with customers. You can also use the website to present new products or services, make upsells and cross-sells, and build an email list via newsletter subscription forms or eBooks.
By leveraging your site's power with all these tools and search engine optimization (SEO), you get the possibility to drive business growth and build long-term relations with customers. We’ll talk about the importance of SEO for promoting your website later in this post.
Creators actively use social networks to promote their products, raise brand awareness, and keep users engaged with your company updates.
To get started with social media marketing, choose the relevant social platforms that suit your target audience and ensure that they fit the area of your expertise. When you select the social networks, create a marketing plan that describes how you'll advertise your course and interact with potential customers.
All preps are done; it’s time to practice. Publish content related to the learning product you want to sell. You can create many types of content to engage the audience: simple posts, stories, carousels, videos, animations, live streams, etc. Start a conversation with the audience, talk about your course and share a link to the platform where users can buy it.
Utilize the power of recommendations and feedback features to increase interest and trust in your product. For this, you can publish customer testimonials or ask happy clients to leave their reviews on your business pages.
Also, consider reinforcing your organic social media marketing efforts with paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram, which will help you generate a lot of qualified leads on autopilot.
Another way to promote and sell online courses through social networks is by cooperating with influencers who can advertise your product. They talk about your course and share a link to your account or a website, thereby attracting a great number of users and increasing enrollments.
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for e-learning, with millions of visitors every day. It’s the first place people go to find free tutorials or educational information about literally everything.
So how do you leverage the power of YouTube to sell online courses and increase revenue?
Start with creating your YouTube channel and update it with short valuable videos about the topics connected to your course so the audience engages and finds them helpful. Tell more about your course and promote it by linking to your website in the description.
Additionally, take care of your YouTube channel’s SEO to ensure that people can easily find it on the web when searching for relevant educational materials.
4 Most Powerful Marketing Strategies To Sell Online Courses
SEO-based content strategy
Let us tell you a few more words about the importance of SEO for your website. Search engine optimization with the content strategy at the core is one of the most proven, best-performing, and, more importantly, long-term marketing channels for selling online courses.
SEO-based content, created around competitive, quick-win keywords, make your brand stand out among competitors and increase product visibility and awareness. Through high-quality web pages and blog posts optimized with the right keywords, you help worldwide, or local customers find your product on the internet.
With an SEO-based content strategy, your brand will possess a unique tone of voice, increase organic traffic to the site, and ultimately boost lead generation and sales.
Your email list is among the most powerful assets when it comes to selling training programs. Newsletters or cold emails help businesses promote their products and services and eventually make sales.
But how do you build and grow your base of subscribers? Consider creating different lead magnets (some helpful stuff for the audience) such as eBooks, checklists, templates, or discounts available in exchange for users’ emails.
Of course, the success of email marketing depends on the email's quality. Giving recipients as much value as possible and keeping the emails short, sweet, and straightforward increases the probability that users will notice your email and find it interesting.
However, remember that you’re unlikely to generate sales with a single sales email. A good email marketing strategy typically consists of emails that move subscribers through all stages of the sales funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision.
PPC is a pay-per-click type of advertising which means that you only pay a fee when someone clicks on your ad. That’s how PPC works: you set ad campaigns in Google Ads or any other platform, and then your ads appear on the first result page in response to the relevant user’s queries.
You can set ad targeting options based on your audience’s location, age, gender, language, and interests. Thus, your advertised e-learning products will be shown directly to people who match all set characteristics and are potentially interested in your course.
Paid advertising is a truly powerful channel to sell online courses as it helps authors increase brand visibility and provides fast, qualified traffic.
Organizing a webinar is a high-converting marketing strategy to promote and sell training programs online.
Why do webinars sell? The answer is simple. Online learning businesses are constantly looking for new ways to interact with users, and webinars are the best tool to provide such an engaging experience.
First of all, organizing webinars allows you to communicate with the audience in real-time, introduce your brand and the product, and answer peoples’ questions. Live meetings and the close atmosphere at webinars make potential customers more loyal to the brand and arouse their interest in the promoted product.
To make your webinar successful, tell about your unique business story and prove your expertise in a specific area. Then, talk about actual problems your course aims to solve and offer the solution, sharing as much value as possible. Finish with advertising your course and invite participants to enroll.
A great demand for online education allows experts worldwide to share their knowledge and experience with others worldwide. If you want to explore or upgrade your business selling learning, you need a platform that allows you to create, sell and measure the performance of the courses. Platforms like Lambda Suite are designed to meet the demand of growth-focused learning companies.
Lily Roberts is a senior digital marketing specialist with over 10 years of experience in corporate branding and product management. She’s a passionate tech enthusiast spending her spare time sharing professional insights.