writing great content for your online course

Sell Online Courses Successfully: Your Essential Guide to Creating Profitable Courses

Why should you start selling online courses?

Why do people create and sell online courses? What drives them to create their business using their expertise?

According to Global Market Insight, by 2027 the e-learning industry will be worth up to 1 trillion (with a T). This means that business is booming for online courses and the sky is the limit. The switch to learning from home has made education more accessible for everyone, allowing people to manage their time better and learn their way. Even before the pandemic, online courses were growing at an amazing rate, bringing the classroom right to the customer.  As a course creator, this means more demand for your courses and the opportunity to earn additional revenue using the knowledge you can provide to others.

When broken down step by step, creating your online course can easily become a source of passive income for you. Once your courses are set up on the platform of your choice, all you need to do is market them to your desired audience.

Building an Amazing Online Course
  1. Choose your topic. Remember to consider what people want to learn about.
  2. Research and outline your course. Having an outline for your course will make it easy to follow.
  3. Create your content. Film and edit the videos you will be selling and make sure they are of good quality.
  4. Look at platform options. There are various types of platforms you can choose from so do your research.
  5. Getting The Most Out Of Your Online Course Content.  Make sure your platform offers what you want.
  6. Decide on your price. Remember to look at how your competitors sell their online courses.
  7. Launch your course. Don’t forget to spread the news.
  8. Increase your value. Upsell and offer more to your customers always!
  9. Market your course. The success of your business relies on your marketing efforts long term.

Person on a computer creating profitable online course

What You’ll Need To Create and Sell Online Courses

Not only is making an online course profitable, but it is also easy to do with the right tools and planning. All you need to get started is:

  • A recording device to film your videos classes. Whether it is a brand new SLR or a smartphone, you just want to make sure it is capable of filming in HD.
  • A computer with editing software so that you can polish your lessons.
  • Internet for uploading your videos to your preferred platform.

As you grow you can also start looking into audio gear, lighting kits and so much more.  But for now, let’s keep it to just the essentials.

1. Choose Your Topic To Sell Online Courses

The first important step you need to take to create your course is to pick a topic to teach others. Not only does this need to be something you are knowledgeable about but it needs to be in high enough demand. What subjects are you able to teach?  What subject do people want to learn about? There is a market for just about every topic you can think of.

Are you skilled in technology? Do you have a passion for art or writing? Maybe you’ve been in the business world for years and have the knowledge you want to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs? Bring your passion for wellness, fitness, math, or science to your online course and your students.

Within these topics, you will want to narrow down your scope to really dig into a niche market that will have demand for your product. After that, create subtopics within your niche to better understand what you’ll need to research in the next steps.

2. Research and Outline Your Course 

Once you have honed in on your subject, you will need to start researching your niche. You can do this online and also offline depending on your subject of choice. To help with this research, break down your topic into refined searches that you can manage. Make a list using keywords that will help your top searches better reflect what you are looking for.

Digging through various pages will get difficult if you are unable to refine the searches. This not only will help in your research but will also make selling your course much easier as you will know what SEO keywords you should rank for.  Once you have your sources, make sure that you are using credible websites for your information.

Organizing all of this information can be difficult to do. The best way to do this is to take all your information and separate it into chapters like a book. Every section should go in-depth about the subtopic. Organizing these sections in chronological order will help your audience better follow your course and make their learning easier. Before you dive into any chapters, make sure you include a section in the beginning that will include a table of contents so your audience will know what your course will cover.

Research Your Competition

Another part of your research includes looking at your competition. By doing so you will be able to learn three things:

  1. Current trends in your niche and a better understanding of your audience.
  2. General pricing practices for your topic.
  3. What the competition is missing in your industry.

This can give you a tremendous advantage in being able to find weaknesses with your competition and capitalize on them as opportunities.

Choosing the content to sell online courses

3. Create Your Online Course Content  

Once you have your outline for your first course, it is time to create your content. Can’t sell online courses, without the content! This will be a quick overview of what you need to consider while filming your content. For a more in-depth dive into content creation, check out our comprehensive guide.

Filming

You will need to have the proper equipment to film your course which will consist of many different items. First, a good camera is necessary for your filming, there are many different options for cameras that you can use for videos. Next is lighting, having poor lighting will bring down the overall quality of your videos. Professional studio lighting can be found online or just use a naturally well-lit room in the daytime. If you do decide to purchase additional lighting, there are lots of options you have from simple ring lights to professional lighting kits.

Filming your course

The audio is another very important part of your video. If your audience has to focus extra hard to hear your lessons through background noise, your content will not be easy to use for your viewers. There are different types of microphones you can use. Make sure to also test out different locations for filming to get the best audio quality.

Editing

Video editing software will be your best friend after filming your content. Get rid of awkward pauses and include useful transitions with the help of your editing software. Make sure to find an easy-to-use tool for this if you don’t have experience editing videos. Some great editing software options that are free and easy to use include:

4. Look at Platform Options 

Your course will have to be somewhere online. To sell online courses, you must consider how accessible they will be to your customers. Your users need to be able to find you. You have many options that will help you customize, save money, and have added features. This section will go over all-in-one, marketplace, and self-hosted platforms.

Course Marketplaces

The first is a marketplace platform built to sell online courses. These marketplaces put a variety of courses on the same platform allowing users to browse through courses and providers. They are a good way to generate leads that can drive up your users. However, it is important to remember that being marketplaces, they generally will take a portion of your sales for hosting your courses. Some great options for these platforms include Udemy and Skillshare.

Self-Hosted Course Solutions

Self-hosted courses can be another good option if you are ready to create and sell online courses. You are in charge of every aspect of your business including marketing and coding, so you will get to keep all of your revenue. This option also allows you to keep full control of your branding and student learning experience. Another thing to consider though is just how work-intensive these options can be. As mentioned you are in charge of everything meaning that building your online store is also up to you.

All-In-One SaaS Platform

The last is an all-in-one online Software-as-a-service (Saas) platform designed with creators like you in mind. This type of platform is designed to have everything you need, not just to create your course but to manage your website successfully. These platforms are designed to host your videos either integrated on your website or they will provide you with a website.

Yondo is an all-in-one online platform that gives you your very own online e-commerce store to sell your online courses. With the ability to sell online courses through a video membership service, one-time purchase, or pay-per-view rental, profiting is easy. Especially with the online store that Yondo provides so your courses always have a home. This platform has built-in marketing integrations with great tools like MailChimp,  ActiveCampaign, and Google Analytics, so that you work on your business in one platform.

Remember, there is no single best platform to sell online courses. There is only the best type of platform for you and your business. When you make the important decision that is choosing your platform remember what it is that you want. Having a business objective and goal will help you identify your needs and narrow down your choices.

writing great content to sell online courses

5. Getting The Most Out Of Your Online Course Content 

Once you have your platform you will need to upload your content. While uploading your content may be the easiest part of creating your online course, it is a good time to consider how else you can maximize your efforts. Video production can be an incredibly long process, so you will want to squeeze every drop of revenue out of your efforts. On top of uploading your videos to your online course, can also offer them as individual Videos On-Demand or as simulated Live Experience Sessions.

Video On Demand

The Yondo platform not only allows you to create courses but also sell your videos individually. Your main objective should still be to sell your course, however by splitting up your course and offering each of your lessons a la carte, you will be able to capture those who may not be prepared to purchase your entire program. Videos On-Demand may also be another lead generation tactic to increase your marketing efforts. By offering select videos as free rentals on Yondo, you will be able to capture lead email and offer value to your audience.

Live Experience

Another opportunity to make use of the Yondo Platform is the Live Experience function.  Live Experience enables you to host pre-recorded videos as if they were live scheduled events and with real-time interactive chat messaging. For business owners with busy schedules, this can be a great way to engage with your audience in a convenient and timely manner, while giving the complete illusion of a live session. Since you already have your video content ready, you already have the perfect presentation to sell. Whether you offer your sessions along with your course or as a release promotion, the added interactivity can add massive value for your customers.

6. Decide On Your Course Pricing 

Now that you have your content and platform, how will you price your online course? There are three ways that viewers can watch your videos and you can price your courses. You can sell them as a one-time purchase for lifetime access, subscriptions memberships, and pay-per-view rentals. pricing your Yondo course

Sweet Spot

Pricing is a common hurdle that every course creator finds themselves in front of. The goal in your pricing is to find the price that will maximize your profits. Pricing too high will result in fewer buyers and pricing too low will make sure that you don’t receive your profits. Finding the sweet spot of pricing takes some educated guesswork as well as some research into the competition. Courses can range anywhere from $10s to $1000s. It all depends on the value that your content gives your customers. For most online courses, there is a sweet spot between around $20 – $200 depending on the content.

Check Your Competitors

As mentioned above, researching your competition is a key way to find out how much to charge for your courses. Knowing how your competitors are pricing their content, will allow you to make sure that your content is also in line with the industry. What you will want to find includes:

  • What are some other online courses that are offered in your subject?
  • How much time did you spend on your brand and course?
  • What is the income level of the target audience for your course?

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a great idea of what to charge for your course.

7. Time to Sell Online Courses And Get Feedback

Now that your course is ready, launch it to the public! Tell friends and family about your new course, publish it on social media, add it to other course marketplaces if you are selling it on your own as well! How will people know to find your content if you haven’t made a launch announcement?

Utilizing social media is also a great way to get the word out. Don’t forget to use your network to spread the news about your new online course. One of the most important things that you will need to consider while you grow is your customers’ feedback. Giving a small number of people access to your course might be a great idea to start, though you will want to be very careful with who you choose. Selecting friends and family is fine, but many times they will try to be nice and supportive rather than provide you with feedback that could make a huge difference.

Think about offering a free trial to your audience through social media giveaways as this will not only generate feedback but also increase the engagement of your social media accounts. Any feedback that you receive should be considered and potentially implemented to better your product and learning experience.

8. Increase Your Value 

While we have already discussed the ways you can reuse your video content, you can also expand your products to add value and increase revenue. One great way to do this and make more money on your course is by offering additional services for your viewers. These are called upsells! This business strategy creates more opportunities for your viewers to purchase another product from your business.

The Yondo Platform offers features such as Live 1-to-1 consulting sessions, Webinars, Group Classes, and Live Experiences, all of which can be used to expand your online business. Whether you would like to offer private training or even live group training, you can use your courses and your reach to further promote your business. Yondo offers a call-to-action panel that you can include at the ends of your online courses videos. These customers have obviously already purchased your course so we know that they are a bit hotter of a lead than others. Why not capitalize that while you have their attention.

Interacting with your students

9. Marketing Your Online Course

Building your online course is just half the journey of making sure that your course is a successful one. Hopefully, at this point, you have had a successful launch to kickstart your business but the buck doesn’t stop there.  To attract customers, you have to continue marketing your courses to your target audience. This not only builds awareness but will also build relationships with your customers and encourage them to engage with your business.

A few of the most major digital marketing strategies you will need to consider include Social Media, Email, and Webinars. Of course, you will need to make sure that your website has a sales page that your customers can purchase from, but if you are using Yondo, this should already be taken care of for you. This page will not only inform customers of your course and persuade them to purchase but will also serve as a lead generation tool that you can use to build your contact lists.

Email

Email marketing has proved to be one of the most productive marketing tools around, bringing in around $42 for every $1 spent according to Litmus. With 4 billion users worldwide, it is easily one of the largest methods of communication. However, you do need to know where to send your marketing emails before they go out. The more emails you can gather the bigger your reach. Adding pop-ups to your web pages, creating subscription forms,  and offering free content in exchange for contact details can all be very effective ways to build your email list.

Aside from list building, you will also need to create meaningful and valuable emails that will be impactful, informative, and occasionally personalized. The biggest must that each email should include however is a Call to Action. Whether your intentions are for your customer to buy your course, sell a private training session, or even just provide feedback, you need to ask them for their action.

 Social Media

Social media is also another way to send traffic to your business. Create socials on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter to easily communicate with your audience. Posting on your social media accounts is a great way to not only provide information about your offerings but also to show your customers that you are active in the industry.  It is a great tool to expand brand awareness as it can show the world what you have to offer. Having accounts will not only serve as a way for you to communicate with your customers but it will allow for your customers to send feedback directly to you.

Occasionally the need for sponsored or paid posts will come into play as organic growth is becoming harder especially on Facebook and Instagram. Social media ads allow you to reach your target audience with incredible accuracy. You can advertise directly to people on specific social media groups and to people with certain demographics and interests. This gives you the ability to refine your messaging depending on the type of person you are trying to reach. Just remember as always to include a call to action that encourages your following to take the specific actions you are looking for.

Webinars

Another great way to connect with your customers is via Webinars that apply to your topic of expertise. Just as we mentioned in the section above,  Yondo allows you to sell online webinars for up to 1000 people. But that doesn’t mean you have to sell them. Webinars allow you to connect and interact with your customers on a more personal level.

They are a great way to build up your credibility and will give your customers the confidence you actually know what you are talking about. Any emails or contacts generated from webinars are generally a bit more qualified than others, as they have gone through the process of actually signing up for them. Many webinar platforms allow you to view who actually attended your presentation as well as see how long they attended. This can be extremely useful in gauging a person’s interest in your topic and your course. The more interaction they have with your webinar, the more likely they will purchase your online course.

All of these methods are great but when combined together will help you maximize your marketing efforts.

Conclusion

Just to recap the steps to start to sell online courses:

  1. Choose your topic. Remember to consider what people want to learn about.
  2. Research and outline your course. Having an outline for your course will make it easy to follow.
  3. Create your content. Film and edit the videos you will be selling and make sure they are good quality.
  4. Look at platform options. There are various types of platforms you can choose from so do your research.
  5. Maximize your video content. Using your videos for VOD and Live Sessions can increase your revenue.
  6. Decide on your price. Remember to look at how your competitors sell their online courses.
  7. Time to Sell Online Courses And Get Feedback. Feedback will be crucial to growing your business.
  8. Increase your value. Upsell and offer more to your customers always!
  9. Market your course. The success of your business relies on your marketing efforts long term.

Now that you know what steps to take, go and create your course. The market is booming and you should cash in on the opportunity.

Yondo: your online live class platform

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