You’ve now finished creating your course and are quite sure that it addresses problems that are relevant and real. Now, the next challenge is to let everyone know what it exists and that they should subscribe to it.
Properly marketing your online course as you are going to earn from it through the number of people that actually paid to sit through it, not just know about it. As is with anything online, there is no hard and fast rule as to what works when marketing your online courses. However, there are several tried and proven methods that you can use to generate enough interest for your course here are a handful of them.
Unlike almost every other strategy that will follow this, the first three strategies are the ones that you should really not skip on doing. In fact, the success of your online course lies heavily on how well you pull these off.
- 1. The Student AvatarSimply put, you should identify what kind of personalities your students have as well as their preferences, needs, and problems being faced. This will really help your marketing as it gives you an idea as to the kind of people that you should target your course to.
Take the time to write down the qualities that your ideal student should have and keep these traits in mind as you craft your other marketing strategies.
- 2. A Unique Value PropositionHere’s the thing: you are not the first person to tackle the same subject. On the other hand, this can be an opportunity for you to cover the things that your competitors missed or address the same problem in an angle that nobody else has attacked it with.
It really boils down to your skills and experiences in determining what to include to make your course stand out. You can even tap into a new niche that nobody else has reached out to. The point here is to make your value proposition so unique that everybody else who even approaches the same problem with roughly the same strategies would be considered a copycat.
- 3. Keyword Research
Online visibility is something that every course creator should achieve and this can\’t be made possible if you don’t learn how the search engines work. Without getting too technical, search engines scour the entire world wide web for pages that match the query that a person puts in and then ranks the results in ascending order according to relevance at the results page. The more relevant the page, the higher it is placed in the SERPs.
This is why you need to come up with certain keywords that people often use when searching for information regarding the topics that your course tackles and then add them in key places at the course. However, keep in mind that bots are also on the lookout for keyword stuffing which means that you have to moderate the use of your keywords. A few mentions here and there should be enough to get the attention of the search engine which should improve your pages’ rankings in the results page.
And now, on to the rest of the good stuff…
- 4. Create a WebsiteBeing hosted in a place like Udemy is good as it allows you access to an existing community of potential students. The problem here is that you would have to share the space with other course creators. If you really want to funnel all customer conversions to yourself, it would be better that you set up a website yourself. Putting one up these days is not hard or expensive as there are tools that you can purchase that are easy to use and a domain name should not cost you more than $20.00 per year to maintain.
- 5. Create a Sales PageSet up a page where your audiences can see every offer that you currently have with brief descriptions of each. Keep your descriptions short and sweet as you want to get your potential student’s attention within 1 to 3 seconds. Lastly, every page you have should be linked to this page as this is where conversions of potential customers to paying ones will occur.
- 6. Go to YouTtubeYouTube is the second most visited site in the world right now (next only to Google) and has an average of 30 million people per day. Setting up a channel here gives you a platform where you can publish your video promotions and have them linked to your main page. An added bonus here is that all of your video content will be archived in your channel, ready for reuse sometime later in the future. Just make sure that you follow community guidelines, though, if you want to stay in YouTube for as long as possible.
- 7. Improve Your Social Media PresenceYour accounts in sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter should be doing more than just sharing pictures and useless updates. Use them as a direct platform to interact with your audiences, giving them updates to the progress of your courses or any changes that you might have introduced in them. You can use your pages for other activities like polls, challenges, and other ways to incentivize your audience’s interaction with your courses and other web pages.
- 8. TestimonialsIt’s a well-known fact that no other promotional tool out there beats the effectiveness of a testimonial of those that have tried your product first hand. Whenever you get a favorable review of your courses, do not hesitate to add it to your course’s front page. You’d be surprised at how much weight a single testimonial has over a handful of advertisements. There is also the option to offer free enrollments to students in exchange for testimonials if this the first time you have published that course.
- 9. Invoke the Power of Influencers
If a testimonial of a single person can be effective, just imagine how effective the testimonial of a particularly influential person can be. These people have built a relationship of sorts with a community who would not hesitate to follow them on their recommendations.
Simply put, if an influencer likes the course you offer them to review on, they will tell their followers to subscribe to you. More of then than not, being backed by an influencer can result in a drastic spike in your course’s sales figures.
- 10. Be a Guest ContributorOne way to have access to a well-established community is appearing in a reputable site as a guest poster. While there, you can post topics that your course addresses and subtly (key word on “subtly) lead your audience to your main page, sales page, blog, or any other page you have. Just keep in mind that you mostly won’t get paid for your post but the exposure you get is a reward in itself.
- 11. PodcastsWhether your the host or the interviewer, a podcast is a great way to reach out to your potential audience quickly while also establishing yourself as an authority of sorts. Podcasts function the same way as a radio program or a talk show where you and several other people talk about topics, exchanging ideas while also building rapport with one another. Just remember to minimize on the sales pitching when in podcasts as listeners there are looking for value, not products. If you really want to plug something, just tell them to go to your sites for more information.
- 12. Create an E-Book…
An e-book acts as a text-based version of your course which can be consumed at several platforms (to be discussed in the next item). creating one is easy in theory as you are basically converting your entire course into a book, turning every module you have into chapters. Of course, you don’t have to put up everything in the book as you want people to head on to your online course. Once you have created your e-book, you must then find a place where you can sell it which include…
…and Publish on Amazon
As of now, Amazon is the best marketplace for e-books as they allow readers to get a hold of their favorite books at a considerable price and start consuming it immediately after payment. Publishing your e-book here should boost your visibility in the market while also tapping into a niche that your business has yet to venture into. It’s like completing two marketing goals at a single instance.
- 13. Cross-PromoteIf you have created multiple courses, you can use each course to promote another. For instance, one of your courses might tackle a subject that you feel needs more elaboration. You can use this as an opportunity to direct your students into another course of yours which addresses the topic in better detail. You can even use your courses to promote the ones that you have to create or publish.
- 14. Make Limited OffersHere’s a secret:people tend to purchase things if they feel that such an offer isn’t going to last forever. You can use this to your advantage by offering time-limited discounts and other perks which should prompt your audiences to subscribe in the earliest possible opportunity. All that is left to do once you make your offer is to make sure that the rest of your course is actually well-made and delivering on your promises.
- 15. Offer Bundle Packs
Another way to entice people to your online courses is giving them the option to access several of them for a single payment. A bundle pack is a great way to promote your current content along with the old while giving your viewers an incentive to consume all of the courses you have created. You can even add even more rewards for those that purchase bundle packs like giving them access to the first few modules of an upcoming course or discounts in the next few purchases.
- 16. Become a Resource SpeakerOnce you have built a name for yourself, you will eventually get invited to speak at local meetings and even conferences. This is an opportunity for you to establish yourself as an authority even more while also promoting your current and upcoming content. If you are doing that well, you might even get multiple speaking engagements in the same week. It’s up to you, then, how you would fit in these speaking opportunities within your course creation schedule.
- 17. Issue Press ReleasesPress releases have always been a go-to tool for many businesses in informing the rest of the market as to what they are about to release. For course creators, a press release gives them the chance to inform the rest of the market of an upcoming course through a rather reputable news platform. Of course, there is the fact that being featured in a newspaper tends to boost your credibility up to a considerable degree,
Of course, press release writing is an art. You can’t just put in anything there, especially if you are blatantly promoting your course. It has to be a newsworthy topic that links in with your upcoming offerings in the subtlest way possible. If you have problems creating a press release, there is always the option to hire somebody else to do it for you.
- 18. Help a Reporter Out
News reporters are always looking for credible and relevant sources of information to make sure that their news articles are accurate. You can use this to your advantage by signing up as a Help a Reporter Out (HARO) source. Once listed as one, you’d be given several notifications in a week for your take on a recent issue. Of course, you’d have to reply in order for your take on the matter to be included in the report.
- 19. CollaborateIf you feel that you are not exactly tackling the subject in its whole, you can always collaborate with other online course creators. This can happen in two ways. It’s either you and your collaborators create separate yet complementary courses or all of you pitch in to create one mega course. Either way, you get your name across the market while also contributing to a larger community.
- 20. Google AdwordsIf you really want your pages to appear on the frontmost pages of every relevant keyword search, you can always subsribe to Google Adwords. The program will make sure that your courses are placed front and center everytime someone searches something relevant to some topics that your courses focus on. The only down side here is that your presence in the SERPs will be marked as an ad itself which might put people off from your courses especially if they know how search engines work. Despite that, Adwords is the best way to make sure your content gets front row seating in every relevant search. For a fee, of course.
- 21. Create a Blog
A blog is a great place to promote your course at while also offering your audience with relevant and engaging content. For instance, if you create posts in your blog that talk about parts of your course, and then link your course to that post, every audience you have in your blog becomes a potential student.
However, the key to succeeding here is consistency in your quality and volume. It doesn’t have to be that you have to post blogs every day. Just make sure that your audience gets to read something new once in a week or at a schedule you have set up yourself.
- 22. Let Other Blogs Review YouSimilar to influencers, bloggers also command their own community followers. This means that you can increase sales for your course if you can get these bloggers to review your course. Of course, they won’t give a good rating, or any rating at all, if you don’t offer something considerable to them. The best incentives here include free or early access to the course, discounts, or even inclusion in an affiliate program where they earn a bit of money for every audience they have that subscribes to the course.
- 23. Create a Mini-CourseA mini-course can be a great teaser for what your upcoming course is going to be all about. It can even serve as a product in itself as there are marketplaces for mini-courses out there that are filled with thousands of people per day. If you can’t convince them to purchase the more comprehensive version later on, then at least you can earn from the mini-course for every enrollment it generates.
- 24. The Infographic
Believe it or not, you can have the plot of your entire course reduced to an entirely visual medium. An infographic is a great way to introduce your topic into the market without it looking like one massive info dump for your audience. You can use tools like Piktochart to create your infographics while you can have them post in image-sharing communities like Pinterest for maximum effect.
- 25. AffiliatesLetting other people market your course is a cost effective strategy. However, you can make this even more appealing to people if you introduce them to an affiliate program. How it works is simple: whenever they successfully convince someone to enroll at your course, they get to earn a portion of that enrolment. Sure, the money they earn per enrolment is not that big but, in time, the amount they generate for every successful subscription would be considerable.Not bad for a job that merely involves telling people what to do.
- 26. Start a ForumDiscussions tend to go beyond that of the confines of your course which is hwy it would be better for you to set up a separate forum where potential audiences and students can discuss what they have learned (or want to learn) from the course. It also functions as a mini community of sorts where people can exchange information at a mostly immediate manner.
As the course creator, it would be a good idea if you maintain an active presence in your forums or wherever you are a guest at. Take the time to answer inquiries, respond to criticisms, and even engage in some playful banter here and there. If you can add value to that forum, you can slowly start promoting most of your content there.
- 27. Answer the Why
Perhaps the best way to market your course is to simply answer the question as to why it exists in the first place. Create a post that explains why you created that course or what were your inspirations for it. This will give readers a glimpse into how your mind works and why you think it was necessary for this course to be made. It also helps that opening up a bit about yourself makes you more endearing which should help in sales.
However, it is necessary that you don’t exaggerate things with this post. If you can, share the truest version of the story behind your course, you might just be surprised at how people are more interested with a story the more grounded to reality it is.
- 28. ChallengesThere’s nothing that can encourage people to participate in the promotion of your course than making the entire thing fun right from the start. Activities like daily challenges, quizzes, and giveaways give the impression that your course is interesting which should generate sales. Your challenges and rewards need not be that elaborate. You can even offer something as simple as early access and discounts as incentive for your activities and this should be enough for people to participate. Just make sure that you can deliver on your promises if somebody does win, though.
- 29. Banner AdsYou can also reach out to your target audience in other websites by buying banner ads for the pages there. How this works is simple: when your banner ad is activated, it will show up on wherever page of that site the person goes through,
Just to be safe, you can ask the site owner to run your ads for a month at least and see if there are considerable changes in your sales figures. You must also offer unique coupon codes for every site you show your banner ad on so you can track from which place that potential student might have come from.
- 30. The E-Mail Route
You can also have your entire course divided by its modules and sent them through a series of e-mails. A free e-mail course is one way to create an e-mail list of potential students for your proper course. By the end of that e-mail course, you must prompt your students to head on to the main page of your course or to other products that you might have on offer while waiting for the course to be published.
- 31. Go Live!Live videos are all the rage nowadays in sites like Facebook so it’s best to jump on the bandwagon. Use the live video function to start a webinar of sorts where you present some parts of your course to those who follow you. In most cases, a live video would be a more inexpensive option than your typical webinar, which requires a different program to be hosted at. To make sure that everyone who follows you knows that you are going to host a live video, make sure to announce the schedule beforehand.
- 32. Buy Ads in YouTubeLike Google ads, YouTube ads allow a short video promotion of your course to pop up somewhere in the middle of another video. This is a great way for people to get introduced to your course even if they are watching a separate video covering mostly the same topics. YouTube does have its own mechanics and guidelines for how ads should be played at the site so it’s best to get familiar with them first before buying ad space.
- 33. Go Multilingual
Let’s face it: not everyone in the world speaks English or is a master of it. You can expand the reach of your online course if you can translate it to another language. You can always start with another language that you personally know but there’s no stopping you from hiring a translator altogether. Sure, some ideas might get lost in translation but the core of your message should remain the same from one language to another. It’s just up to the translator to find out how to translate your course to a different language while keeping intact all the core concepts.
There’s a certain art to marketing your online courses. You can’t just expect people to come flocking into your courses if they don’t know that it even exists. You don’t exactly have to follow these plans as you can come up with your own, either. If you’ve come up with something that works particularly well for the kind of courses that you offer, that’s all well and good. The point is that a solid marketing plans can do a lot in reaching out to your potential audience while also ensuring that your content remains evergreen for as long as possible.
What other strategies have you used to market your online courses? What challenges have you faced and how did you deal with them? Let us know in the comments section below!