Looking for marketing tips to help sell your online course fast? In this blog post, we’ll share 12 that you can use to convert more prospects into customers. We'll look at how to create a plan to make the process of marketing and selling your course simpler and more predictable, how to leverage key partnerships to reach more customers, and why you need to spend time developing key online real estate to drive as much traffic as possible.
12 Online Course Marketing Tips to Sell Your Course Fast
1. Create a Plan
There’s no getting around how important it is to have a plan for selling your online course. Like any worthwhile business endeavor, reaching your sales goal isn’t a product of hope, it’s a result of strategy and calculated execution.
Here’s a basic four-part framework to help you plan your sales success:
Establish a Goal
Often, goal-setting gets a bad wrap. It seems somewhat fluffy and inconsequential, but that’s not true. People who struggle to set and achieve goals typically don’t have effective execution plans, or set unrealistic goals. When setting your sales goal, be ambitious, but realistic. It would be great to sell $1 million in courses, but you’re not going to get to that number in a week. You could, however, do so in one or two years. But to achieve that goal, you’ll need to account for your resources.
Identify Your Resources
By identifying resources you have available, you'll be able to work with more realistic figures. For example, $1 million in sales may be out of reach right now, but a marketing budget of $500 a month could help you generate as much as $5000 in sales, if not more. Once you have exact ROI figures, you’ll also be able to calculate how to scale your brand based on your available marketing budget.
Another key aspect of establishing realistic goals is to think of time. We've addressed the idea of knowing how much marketing budget you have, but how much time can you dedicate to promoting your online course? Is it one or two hours a day? Are you able to set time aside to create content each week? Can you dedicate a few hours each week to sending outreach emails to network with potential partners? Getting a handle on how much time you have will help you identify where to spend your time, too, allowing you to focus on the tactics that will yield the greatest results in the shortest time.
Identify Your Knowledge Gaps
Once you've established your goal and identified resources available, it's time to identify what knowledge you're missing to be able to successfully execute and reach your goals. Often, knowledge gaps restrict results because entrepreneurs simply don't account for the variables at hand. While the idea of identifying knowledge gaps may seem like a chicken and egg scenario, it's not.
For example, if you know that you use social media to promote your online course, you'll need to know how each platform works, how to create content for each platform, and everything that goes into leveraging social media to reach your ideal customer.
Create a List of Action Items
With an idea of the knowledge you'll need, it's time to identify what steps you need to take. Start by listing everything you need to do to achieve your goals. Assign a timeline, and most importantly, be specific about what each step entails. Once you've hashed out each step, start arranging them in sequence. You need to know what to do and when to act.
And there you have it, a complete framework for helping you create a plan for selling your course as fast as possible.
2. Create an Affiliate Program
Affiliate programs are powerful. Creating one opens your course up to a wide audience of entrepreneurs looking to generate revenue by promoting your material. To do so, they'll create entire campaigns around your course content and recommend it to their audiences, supercharging sales.
The good news is, affiliate programs aren't difficult to set up. If you created your course on platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Kajabi, you have automatic access to an affiliate suite of tools. Most course platforms allow you to create an affiliate page to accept sign-ups, or invite affiliates you feel can help you reach your goals.
3. Use Social Media
Social media is a must-have marketing tool for online courses. When used effectively, it can get your course in front of the right customers and drive traffic to your sales page. To use social media for results, have a social content strategy. Create campaigns that focus on various aspects of your course, include holiday promotions you can run, showcase testimonials, and more. Your social content strategy also needs to be turned into an executable plan. This means creating a social media calendar, content, and tracking your success. If you’re new to the idea of creating social media calendars, read our comprehensive blog post on how to build yours.
4. Use Paid Ads
Online paid advertising is usually something that most entrepreneurs associate with risk. That's because it requires upfront investment to generate results. And today, most people fear that results are unquantifiable, especially if they have never used paid advertising. The truth is, paid advertising generates results faster than organic promotion. When you understand how paid advertising works, you can control everything from the amount of money you spend per day to the kind of ads to run to reach your audience.
Paid ads also help you leverage advanced tactics like retargeting customers who visited your course sales page but didn't make a purchase. By retargeting these customers, you can serve up specific messages that are designed to convert them into paying customers.
Not sure how to go about using paid advertising? Refer to tip #1.
5. Start a Blog
Starting a blog might seem like one of the slow ways to generate success for your course, but today, blogging is still an important marketing tool. To get the best out of your blogging experience, make sure that you understand the basics of SEO from the get-go.
When you optimize content for search engines, you can quickly experience higher rankings sooner. How much time will it take to generate results with your blog? It all depends. Today, you could start to see results in as little as 3 to 6 months if you generate right backlinks to content that's optimized for search and sales.
6. Build an Email List
Growing an email list has long been regarded as a quintessential component of online business success. Why? Because email is a high-converting marketing tool. Research shows that you can generate as much as $42 in ROI for every dollar spent on email marketing. That's impressive. When you start out, use pop-ups and opt-in forms to gather email addresses. To do this effectively, you'll need to offer a lead magnet, or invite your course sales page or blog post visitors to experience a preview of your course. Whatever your offer is, make sure it's a valuable one that prospects can't turn down.
7. Guest Post
Guess posting is a powerful way of generating traffic for your site. To use guess posting to your advantage, find blogs that offer content that's aligned with your online course, but not in competition with it. This may seem tricky, but it is possible. When you find guest posting opportunities, create your very best content.
Produce content that readers will find valuable. Guest posting is as much exercise in sharing expertise as it is building a brand. So do your best word. Another bonus of guest posting is that you'll be able to generate backlinks to your website, something that helps boost search engine rankings for your content.
8. Use YouTube
YouTube is one of the largest platforms available today. With over 2 billion active users and in excess of 500 hours of video uploaded each minute, tons of people turn to the platform to consume video content. What's amazing is that there's video for almost every niche out there. This means that your online course can benefit from access to an audience looking for material like yours.
Creating a channel isn’t difficult either. Beyond the admin of setting up a channel, your goal is to create videos that attract problem aware customers, educate them, and convert them into paying customers. This can be done in many ways. You can create videos about common misconceptions related to your course content or subject matter. To educate your audience, create videos that include tips on performing certain tasks, all of which are covered in depth in your online course.
9. Start a Podcast
Despite what many think, podcasting is not dead. In fact, today, podcasting is thriving. Research shows that as of April 2020, there were over 30 million podcasts episodes published globally. The great thing about podcasting is that you develop a channel of your own. Like your YouTube channel, you’ll create content that helps attract, educate, and convert listeners into paying customers.
And the opportunities are endless with podcasting. While the goal may be to sell more of your course initially, by focusing and subject matter and becoming or positioning yourself as an expert, you'll be able to land sponsorship deals that can help you generate additional income, or monetize your podcast in other ways.
Pat Flynn is an online entrepreneur who uses his podcast to attract aspiring entrepreneurs to purchase his products and demystify online business.
10. Offer a Free Webinar
Webinars are one of the most powerful marketing conversion tools available today. They bring prospects into a uniquely designed environment where you get to expose them to more about your solution. But to be able to sell your course, you must first educate your audience. This happens by identifying a problem or collection of problems and then showing how you’ve solved them. At the end of your webinar, that's when you pull out the big guns and make an offer.
Webinars can be run at whatever frequency you choose. The only important detail to note is that you must promote them in advance to be able to generate as many sign-ups as possible if you want your webinars to be a success.
Amy Portfield often hosts a Facebook live stream to promote her online courses. In this one, she uses her live stream as a tool for generating leads for her course.
11. Create a Free Teaser Course
The idea of creating a free teaser course may seem like extra and unnecessary work, but it's not. Teaser courses serve a psychological benefit. They give customers who are not ready to commit the opportunity to test-drive your teaching style. They get to learn how valuable your content is, the problems you can help them solve, and get to experience your brand.
What goes into a teaser course? A good rule of thumb is to identify the minor but important problem that you can solve fast. For example, if your online course is designed to help entrepreneurs launch a business, your teaser course can be a quick audit of the current situation. It can be designed to help them understand what their mindset is, what resources they have access to, and also provided checklists and exercises that they can use.
12. Offer a Launch Discount
Launch discounts are a smart way of enticing new customers to purchase. When you launch your course, you can offer a discount to a certain number of students, or open your doors for a certain timeframe. Whatever you choose, make sure that discount is incentive enough to make people take action.
Also, remember to spread the word. While your discount may seem enticing, it's not going to be effective without promotion. Take the time to develop your promotion into a social media strategy and create an entire campaign to help get the word out.
Selling your online course as fast as possible will require more than just a few tactics. And while we've included a collection of 12 powerful tactics in this blog post, for any of them to be effective, you'll need to create a plan for each. Plans demystify the complexities associated with new ideas and experiences. If you've never built out an effective marketing and sales campaign for an online course, you deserve to give yourself and your course the best chance of success by doing so.