The online learning industry is now valued at over $250 billion and rising.
Because of that, there’s a lot of competition out in the market. If you’ve created online courses that people actually want to pay for, then you’ve already overcome one of the hardest hurdles of creating an online course business.
But now, you want to push your business to the next level, elevate your sales, attract more paying members, and find concrete ways to get previous students to opt-in to a new course you’re offering.
While this can sometimes feel like an insurmountable goal, we guarantee that it’s not only possible, it’s much more manageable than you think.
Ahead, we have five concrete ways for you to grow your online course business. These techniques are based on what we’ve seen work for the hundreds of course creators and entrepreneurs turning their online courses into multi-million dollar subscription businesses with Mighty Pro.
1. Create a community
One of the most effective ways to grow your online course business is actually to create an online community to go alongside your courses. While the expertise you provide in your course content is indispensable, it’s important to remember that another powerful aspect of learning is community and shared knowledge.
When you build an online community for your online course business, you solve a few challenging problems that all online course creators must solve. The biggest is your retention of past students.
Online communities provide you a place to build a social learning environment for your students to connect with other people and form connections.
When your students build relationships with others it makes your community more valuable to them because it’s the place they go to learn new skills and connect with their friends who are passionate about the same things.
Ashley Fox, a highly successful course creator on Mighty Networks, uses Mighty Pro to host her online community, Wealth Builders. Within her community, she offers online courses, virtual events, monthly challenges, and a quickly growing member base that connects over personal finance.
While Fox had been offering courses and coaching before launching her network, she saw a surge in sales through migrating her large following over to the Wealth Builders apps she created on Mighty Pro. In the first two weeks of her launch, she made over $100,000 in sales.
A key differentiating factor that has worked well for Wealth Builders is the recurring revenue of the monthly and annual memberships that give members access to a library of courses, instead of trying to sell everything piecemeal.
2. Offer an accelerator program
Accelerator programs are a tried and tested way of onboarding new people into your content offerings and they are great for selling online courses.
Here at Mighty Pro, we think that accelerators are perfect for getting people up to speed on a topic quickly to engage with your other offerings. M5 Entrepreneurs is an online community for small business owners to connect and provide support to one another on their entrepreneurial journey.
M5 Entrepreneurs offers a Small Business Accelerator Program that provides six online course modules (over 20 hours of content), personalized workbooks, and more detail all the steps of running a business from creation to marketing to logistics.
This is a smart way of getting people in the door to your online course business and after they’ve finished the accelerator program they still have a vibrant community network to be a part of which can propel your members to continue buying more courses and memberships.
You could tailor this accelerator to be perfectly in line with your other courses and in turn set up a clear funnel for people to continue buying your content because it’s familiar. This will create more member retention and increase sales of your online course.
3. Collect social proof
At the end of the day, you know just how valuable the online courses are that you offer, but there is something incredibly powerful about hearing how transformational your expertise was from someone else’s mouth.
Social proof is the gold nuggets that showcase just how much impact your courses are having on real-life people around the world and because of that, you should seek it all the time. The most standard way of doing this is having your members leave reviews and testimonials about your courses for you to use in marketing material.
One example of great reviews from a Mighty Pro customer is Lifebook. On their landing page, they feature eight unique testimonials from people representing vastly different backgrounds. It’s a great way to showcase that your courses are for a variety of people and that their so impactful people want to tell the world about them.
Another example from a Mighty Pro customer is Octomembers. On their website, they feature live tweets from members praising their online community and branded apps. A key insight to remember about growing your online course business is making clear to new prospective customers that members love your work, and tweets are sometimes more powerful than reviews because they come across as a bit less prompted and much more spontaneous.
Another option that works wonders for selling online courses or any online product you offer is creative partnerships. While social media can be exhausting these days, there are still concrete use cases for it that will get your online courses in front of more people.
Successful influencer Sadie Roberston Huff, the creator of the LO Sister app which she built on Mighty Pro, has found a way to incentivize her community members to leave reviews through partnerships.
Within her community, members can become “ambassadors” for the community and partake in Instagram takeovers documenting their daily life and talking about why the LO Sister app is so great. This is a great incentive because it puts these members in front of thousands of people, but it’s also a genuine testimonial that doesn’t feel stuffy.
4. Host a virtual event
Virtual events are a great way to drum up excitement for your online courses because they are a flexible, more informal format, that allows you to show your course expertise in a lower-stakes environment.
One way to go about this is by offering a free hour-long seminar, presentation, or workshop that anchors itself around one particular topic relating to your online course content. The best part about this is you don’t even have to make a whole new module or piece of content to deliver this virtual event. Consider adapting one of your pre-existing lessons into a bite-sized package for prospective students to check out.
You can also view virtual events as a new opportunity to showcase your online courses differently. The Self Care Space is a holistic therapy and wellness community that offers online courses, events, coaching and had a successful launch of their community through leveraging partnerships and virtual events.
Megan Sherer co-founder of The Self Care Space, partnered with Katrina Wright, a successful social media influencer and online creator, to put on short virtual events that gave a peek into the kinds of courses and experiences that would be available in the community. This was incredibly effective because Sherer tapped into a large audience of people who were already enthusiastic about the community because of Wright’s seal of approval. This push allowed The Self-Care Space to launch and made $30,000 in 48 hours.
5. Diversify your content offerings
Finally, it’s important to remember that sometimes you can’t grow your online course business unless you experiment with new ways of delivering your expertise and tapping into others’ perspectives.
If you primarily offer self-guided courses, what might happen if you offered a “live” course where you met with a small cohort of students twice a week over Zoom? This is a dynamic way to offer online courses and build community between your students. Other great options are workshops, guest speakers, online coaching, monthly challenges, and small groups.
Kahilla, an online community for working women looking to elevate their careers handles this perfectly. The key to their success? Allow other voices to be heard in your online courses. Within their online community that houses all of the online learning content, they have guest speakers who give talks, coaches that members can work with, and plenty of live events.
This is so effective for growing an online course business because it allows you to appeal to a variety of different people and build community between your members which you can use for social proof, new course content ideas, and more.
Ready to start?
If you're ready to start building your online course business or move your existing business to a dedicated platform with custom apps, come build with Mighty! Our cultural software platform lets you mix community, content, courses, and commerce. And our flexible Spaces mix in live streaming, live events, member profiles, discussion forums, and your own custom apps, book a call and we'll show you what we could build together!