One of the beauties of life is that we all have our own unique perspectives based on our experiences and interests. All that wisdom you’ve built up over the years is worth sharing with others. And, in fact, you can get paid for doing so by creating an online course.
Online courses are a great way to share what you know with the world and make an income doing it. But if you’re new to this space, it can feel daunting trying to navigate how to not only make a course but also how to market online courses.
Fortunately, if you have a solid game plan and a good software platform to create your online course on, you’ll be up and running in no time. Ahead, we’ve got 10 useful tips to get you started and sustainable in the online course world.
Before you market your online course
Before we can talk about how to market online courses we’ve got to get you thinking about how you’ll create a course in the first place.
Promoting online courses is challenging enough when you have a great foundation. It’s even harder if you don’t.
So, we’re going to start off with steps to take before we think about marketing your online course.
1. Narrow down your perspective
You might be thinking that you have to be an expert to run an online course. Wrong! You have a unique perspective. Figuring out what it is will help you determine how to market an online course.
You can be an expert, an enthusiast, or simply someone with a burning desire to learn more about the topic your online course is about. It all comes down to narrowing down your focus to appeal to a specific audience.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What is my perspective on my course topic?
- Why will my perspective bring people together?
- What are some experiences that I’ve had that can be useful teaching tools for my online course?
If you can answer these questions, you’re one step closer to creating your online course, and in turn, promoting your online course.
2. Who is your “ideal” student?
Once you’ve narrowed down your perspective, the next preliminary step for you to think about is your “ideal” student.
There’s a lot that goes into how to market an online course and a major component is knowing what your audience wants. When we say “ideal” student, we’re talking about your most enthusiastic members. These are the students who will be highly engaged in your topic and content.
When you know who your ideal student is you’ll be able to tailor your content to best suit their needs. Some questions you can think about when figuring out who they might be are:
- How old are they?
- At what stage of life are they in college? Recently graduated? Changing careers?
- What is the goal they are trying to achieve?
- Why can’t they achieve their goal on their own?
The great thing about knowing the answers to these questions is that they blend nicely into creating strategies for marketing your online courses too.
3. How can you help them out?
The point of any online course is to help people learn things, right? So, it’s important for you to know how you can help your students achieve their goals.
This might seem obvious, but the first step in doing that is knowing what goals you’re promising they will achieve. Having a clear roadmap for the content you create and how it will lead them on the path toward success is important.
Remember, you don’t need to promise the moon with your online course. In fact, if you’re trying this for the first time, starting out with something simple as a goal is great. This will allow you to gain some experience with teaching online courses and creating an online course community.
On top of that, when you’ve got an idea for the goals you’re helping students achieve, you can include that in how you market your online courses.
How to market your online course once it’s live
Now that we’ve covered three crucial tips for starting an online course, we can look at how to market online courses.
There are a number of different ways to promote online courses and it’s important to remember that results take time.
We’ve curated our tips around strategies that will help you interact with your audience and get new people interested in the awesome content you’re creating.
4. Create a free micro-course
We’ve all had an experience where we’ve been offered free samples that actually got us to buy the product we didn’t know about prior.
You can do the same thing when you’re thinking about how to market your online course by offering a free sample or micro-course to potential students.
You can take a couple of lessons from your main online course and publish them for free as a micro-course. Then, once someone has completed all of the free content, you can invite them to purchase the whole online course.
When you’re starting out for the first time, it can be hard to gain trust from potential customers. Offering some free content is a great way to market online courses because it gives people a taste of what they’ll be getting when they opt-in.
5. Start a blog
While there are many different tools and approaches available today for how to market online courses, a tried and true method is starting a blog.
One of the hardest parts in promoting your work online is giving people an idea of who you are. In comes your blog! You can use it as a space to promote your paid content, but also show some of your personality.
At the end of the day, if people like you and your perspective, they’re more likely going to purchase whatever content you’re selling. The blog can serve as a nice stopgap for discussing your courses, new ideas, and anything else pertaining to the content you’re creating.
Additionally, a blog is a great way to build a following and create opportunities for organic interaction to happen amongst your followers in the comments section.
6. Create an email list
Email marketing is an incredibly effective strategy for marketing online courses. You can expose new people to the awesome content you’re creating and remind old members about what you’ve been up to.
At the end of the day, the best way to market online courses is to keep their existence ever present in your audience’s minds. Building an email list starts with inviting your “ideal” students. Remember—those are the ones who’ll end up being your biggest fans.
You can help in expediting this process by having a signup bar on your website and various social media accounts too. And of course, the next major step in email marketing is making sure your emails aren’t boring. We’re trying to draw people in, not put them to sleep. Use interesting subject lines and a call to action that will bring traffic to your site.
7. Create a reward system
It may come as no surprise that people like being rewarded for their work. An easy and effective way to get the word out about your products is to have your members help with marketing.
A member might know how to market an online course in a new and exciting way that you haven’t thought of yet. If you’re willing to reward them with a discount on their membership or some other kind of benefit, that will build trust.
8. Ask for student success stories
Everyone likes to hear when they are doing a good job and that their content is making people’s lives better. Another good option for how to market an online course is to ask your students about their success stories.
It’s one thing to hear how great an online course or product is from the person who made it. It’s another thing when it comes from a third party. Don’t worry, we’re not saying you’re untrustworthy. It’s just that people put a lot of stake in customer reviews and stories.
If you’re wondering how this will help market your online course, think about it in these two ways:
- Relationship building: Highlighting student stories is a way to give back to people who support you. When you have systems like this in place, you’re building a relationship with your members and providing them a better experience.
- You’ve got the receipts: When you have your members promoting your online courses, you’ve got the seal of approval or as some like to say, the receipts. This shows that people are not only taking your online course, but they actually dig it too.
9. Bundle multiple courses at a discount
Another hurdle for marketing online courses is getting people to buy more than one. Even if your content is a slam dunk, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people will automatically buy everything you create.
But you know what else raises people’s interest? Discounts. Bundling your courses doesn’t devalue them. View it as an opportunity to get people more invested in the ecosystem of your brand.
If you don’t have multiple online courses though, you can still promote your online courses by bundling them with other kinds of content like white papers, ebooks, and recorded presentations.
10. Be willing to change course
All great leaders are willing to change course when things aren’t working…Okay, that was a bad pun, but the point stands! As you release content for your online courses, you’ll learn what your students like and what isn’t vibing with them.
First off, it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect. No one is a mind reader and teaching people you’ve never met is hard. Being flexible with your content will allow you to ask people for feedback which increases trust and interactions in your online course.
Also, the flexibility you practice with your course design will help in promoting your online course. When you ask your students for feedback on what they like and dislike, you’ll then have a better idea of how to market your online course to reach your “ideal” students.
Create your online course on Mighty Networks
We’ve talked about a lot of strategies for online course promotion, but none of that will matter if you’re not using a great platform.
Mighty Networks is a website builder and white label community platform that lets you bring your community, online courses, and content together in one place, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available on web, iOS and Android.
A Mighty Network lets you create a variety of content to help launch an online course (including everything we talked about today). Plus, it also has stellar community features.
On a Mighty Network, you can divide students into groups and subgroups; charge for online courses and memberships, and enable connections between your students with direct messaging and more.
Basically, when you choose to host your online courses on Mighty Networks, you’re getting a platform that will grow with you, your brand, and your students.
Now the fun starts
We covered a lot today, but hopefully, these 10 tips gave you some clarity and reassurance for how to market online courses.
The new step is the most important: Putting these tips to use and creating the online course you’ve been thinking about.
Get started, today. We’re eager to see what you create!