The four pillars of selling online courses

One of the trickiest parts of selling online courses isn’t the course creation itself (though granted this is the first major hurdle), instead, selling your course through digital channels and incorporating an effective digital marketing strategy is the single biggest challenge for course creators.

It’s extremely easy for course content creators to succumb to the uphill struggle of constantly finding new customers to sell their courses to. And while you may think that this might be the inevitable business model for elearning providers, this labour-intensive sales process hinders growth and limits customer’s lifetime value (LTV) to your business.

Rather than focusing on continuous outreach to grow your audience, you can instead choose to put sales on the backfoot and focus on creating ongoing value for your current audience.

Why? 

Because it’s easier to upsell to current customers and in creating loyalty you’ll have a group of ambassadors who will inadvertently do the selling for you.

Bring value

This is the most essential part of your elearning business – to create a profitable online course you need to be innovating – but it’s easier than you think. As a subject matter expert, you’ll need to share your industry knowledge, at the very minimum, and offer consulting and possibly even other courses to maximise the value you can bring to your customers.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Answering questions
  • Sharing tips
  • Free ebooks 
  • Sharing your mistakes
  • Mini courses
  • Webinars (up to 30 mins)
  • Q&As

Build an audience

You don’t even have to go far to find your audience – Facebook has a plethora of specialist groups and active communities which you can get involved in. If you wanted, you could even consider creating your own group to dominate your niche and position yourself as THE expert.

  • Build trust
  • Listen  (gain new ideas, understand pain)
  • Lead magnet (free download)

Create offers

You’ve got your audience, you know what they need, now you just need to create products which will get customers in through the door. Try offering something for free and then linking it to a bigger, higher-value product by adding incentives and time-restricted deals. Depending on the time you have to invest, on a daily or weekly basis, you could offer a variety of different things to entice new customers and upsell existing ones.

Why not try:

  • Live coaching
  • Giving them the framework
  • Cheat sheets
  • Tools
  • Templates
  • Private communities
  • More access to you / feedback

Bringing it all together

The four pillars isn’t a cycle or a process, they are four ingredients which should be combined together, to create an effective growth strategy for your business. You can’t sell more online courses by only doing one or two of these things, otherwise you’ll find that, over time, your ‘strategy’ will lack direction and you won’t be able to effectively measure your success or innovate your offerings further down the line.

Take the time to think of what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it and why this will matter to your target audience – with a highly considered approach you’ll be well on your way to selling more online courses through a synergised marketing and sales strategy.

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