In a world that can’t stop learning (seriously, no matter what you do for a living, if you stop learning you fall behind) entrepreneurs can’t afford to ignore the advantages that come along with creating and selling online courses.
Entrepreneurs who want to create online courses need the right tools to help them build an audience and efficiently sell their content. However, with so much online content available, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially at the beginning.
The basics of selling online courses
The good news is that building your brand, attracting learners and generating revenue can be achieved without enormous costs.
Before seeing any dollar from selling online courses, you need two important things: a great online course and a significant amount of online followers.
Creating a great online course
People buy online courses mainly because they need to solve a problem. Whether we're talking about learning something new or improving a skill that will help them professionally, the single most important aspect of a great online course is its ability to solve a real problem.
Also, you need to be as specific as possible when it comes to the pain your course will solve. Short courses that cover specific problems and solutions are always better than super long courses because they don’t let the learner get lost in information. Cut to the chase, deliver what you promise, and you’ll gain loyal customers.
Don’t worry about design just yet. If you’re at the beginning, try to keep things simple. A whiteboard and a marker can cover the basics. In case you trust your voice but you’re camera shy, try making a screencast — a video of your computer screen. Screen recording and video editing software can have your back at this point, although they require their fare share of your time.
Learn as you go and improve upon your older self. Your first course may not be the best one, but once you’ll create more, your confidence will increase and so will your expertise.
Growing the numbers of your online followers
Selling things to strangers will always be harder than selling things to people you know, even if you don’t know them personally. Growing your online follower base takes a lot of time and commitment, but you’ll benefit from every minute invested in this activity in the long run.
- Tweet your heart out about what you do and how you solve problems with your courses.
- Enter or create specific Facebook and LinkedIn groups to share ideas and check what others do.
- Go to Quora and give thorough and thoughtful answers to as many relevant questions you can.
- Create short videos and share free information on YouTube.
- Comment on relevant blogs and websites to create real connections with the people behind them.
- Find niche forums or subreddits and engage there too.
All these small actions will contribute to people perceiving you as a subject matter expert. The more people consider you this way, the higher your chances to convince them to buy your course.
Deciding on the best way for selling online courses
Once you have a great product and an engaging follower base, all you have to do is to consider your options for the selling platform: your own website, a free marketplace platform, or an LMS for knowledge entrepreneurs.
No matter what you choose, you’ll need a shopping cart or e-commerce platform to actually take payments. The platform will connect your courses with payment gateways so that people can purchase them with a credit or debit card, PayPal, or other methods.
If you choose to invest in your own website, keep in mind that you’ll probably need a lot more time to get your courses to stand out from the crowd than in any of the other two options. Although it’s not impossible to get reasonable results from your new website, you’ll need to deal with all sorts of technical issues besides focusing on what you do best: creating useful courses.
An already established selling platform where you can distribute and sell your online courses online will offer greater exposure, since you can tap into an audience greater than yours. If they feature your e-learning content on their homepage your chances of reaching more people hungry for your solutions are even higher.
A great LMS can give you not only the possibility to create great online courses with beautiful design and excellent user experience, but also to promote and sell those courses, based on extensive data. You have the most control over the success of your courses, as its set of features can support your selling process every step of the way.
Selling online courses today is easier than ever before, but this doesn't mean it can be done without lifting a finger. Creating a great product, finding the right audience for it and putting it in front of them means a lot of work. However, as any successful knowledge entrepreneur would know, mastering the basics is well worth it.
INDIE White Paper: How to build a great site for selling online courses