Selling online courses has become a very accessible and profitable practice for all those who wish to publish interesting content on the Internet.
Maybe you are from the time when to do a school or faculty job, you had to look for information in the Encyclopedia.
Or, perhaps, you used the encyclopedia to discover in which country cricket was played, in order to be closer to the whereabouts of Carmen Sandiego.
What nostalgia has entered you?
For a few years, things have changed a lot. Has it occurred to you that more and more we have all kinds of information and services at hand?
Today you can make purchases by mobile, study and consult everything you can think of online. And it is on this last topic that we will speak today.
In this super complete post, we will teach you all about how to sell online courses and make money with your knowledge. Look it here!
Learn about the most important items to sell online courses:
- Choose the best segment of the market;
- Get to know your audience thoroughly;
- Define the format of your online course;
- Investigate the subject
- Create your online course
- Host your online course on a good platform;
- Promote your course on the Internet;
It is likely that you need more detailed information and, therefore, we elaborate everything steps by step to create and sell online courses, from the development of the material to the first sale. Then, get comfortable and know now:
1.Choose the most profitable segment to create a digital product
After having decided to start your business, this is the first step, which will guide all you’re planning. The choice of a niche should be based on your affinity with that segment and, of course, on the profitability, you can get in the market.
In this step, you must expand your possibilities through the analysis of those niches that can provide you with the most positive results.
Start by making a list of issues of interest to you and also consider those that, even if they do not attract you so much at the beginning, can give you a good audience.
You may be an incredible musician and you know how to play the accordion very well. With that, it would be more intuitive to create and sell online courses that teach how to play that instrument, is not it?
However, you may end up realizing that the accordion is not a sought-after musical instrument. Then, it is preferable to think about other topics that are more sought after, such as classes that teach reading scores, for example.
You may not be an expert in this topic, but since you already have a little more affinity for being in the same area of action, it will surely be easier and more pleasant to learn about the subject in order to teach it.
But do not make any choice considering only the opinions and beliefs, that is, do not limit yourself to what you think can be profitable.
The Internet offers several resources that allow us to confirm if our assumptions are true. Then, use resources to help you with that decision.
You can use SemRush, Keywordtool.io and Keyword Planner, which will offer you the volume of searches for each term consulting. You can still use Google Trends to discover how these terms have evolved over the years.
In general, the more open the topic, the greater the volume of queries, as well as its competence. The more segmented the subject of your online course, the easier it will be to acquire authority in that niche.
Continuing in the example of the accordion course, selling online courses about music is a very broad market, so the competition is high.
But if you specify more the subject, such as a score reading course or even more, an accordion score reading course, your market will be segmented and, therefore, it is easier for you to become a reference in this topic.
Of course, the more you segment, your audience becomes smaller. But the advantage of working with very specific market niches is that you manage to be more objective in the offer to your audience.
In addition to that, an audience that knows exactly what they are looking for is much more likely to buy your product than a very large audience that still does not understand what they want.
2. Get to know your audience thoroughly: analysis of buyer person
As important as defining a profitable niche, it is to understand exactly the characteristics of the public to which you will offer your product.
In addition to identifying general representative aspects, such as sex and age, we must analyze specific features of your ideal client. For that reason, I introduce you to avatars or “buyer people”.
The buyer people are semi fictional characters that represent the ideal client for your business, based on the analysis of real customers of that market.
In addition to demographic data, you will have to register behavioral standards, professional and personal objectives, possible problems they face and that your product could solve them.
When you understand exactly the audience you are dealing with, the more accurate you will be in the promotion actions of your online course.
Take a look at one of our buyer person examples:
Tip: If you are going to start a business from scratch, we recommend mapping only one person, so that you can focus your efforts. As you mature your digital venture, you will eventually discover other profiles of buyers who also need your attention. At this time you will be able to identify new buyer people or avatars.
Know more about the power of off page SEO
If you already have a business and you want to convert it into an online course, interview your own clients/students and understand what is the standard among them to define your buyer person.
3. Define the format of your online course
One of the great benefits, in addition to those already mentioned, is the diversity of formats offered by the Internet for the creation of online courses.
There is no ideal format in the world of digital products, but the one that best transmits the content of the course to your audience.
It is a very popular format among online courses because ebooks are easy to create and access.
The ebook adapts easily to any device that has a compatible digital reader and there is no need for the Internet to access it if it has already been saved on the device.
This online course format is also very practical and easy to create, even if you have no experience with video tools.
The smartphones themselves have cameras of excellent quality, capable of capturing a video in high resolution to produce attractive video classes for your students.
This format combines, above all, with subjects that need some type of demonstration, such as gastronomy classes or physical exercises.
To the timidest people, we recommend to train a lot in front of the mirror, record some drafts or invite an expert who has more disdain in front of the cameras.
They are videos that are captured from the screen of a computer. All you need is a screen capture program, another editing program, and a microphone to narrate voice commands while doing some demonstration on your computer.
They are ideal for presentations in spreadsheets, such as a course on finance or any model that needs some computer simulation.
The audio book is popularized by allowing the knowledge to be absorbed while the person performs another activity: driving, cooking or practicing physical activity, for example.
In addition, audio books are very useful and important for the blind.
They are similar to the audiobook models and their advantages are exactly the same.
The difference is that a podcast can have more interactive content, even casual, as in a radio program. The advantages are that in the podcast the listener chooses the matters that interest him most and can listen to the content whenever he wants.
The monthly subscription has a very interesting format because in it you offer regular content and charge a monthly fee for access.
A practical example:
You can sell a unique combo of video classes in which you teach culinary art techniques at a higher price, and each month you will have to conquer new customers to keep your income; or you can create a monthly subscription and offer weekly videos (or as often as you like) with new techniques at a lower and more accessible price.
This is convenient for the student, who will learn the content with the ideal time to learn and practice, and it will be an advantage since you will have a more solid business and will ensure recurring income during the next months.
This model is ideal for those who have a large volume of content on a niche. What you will need to implement this type of digital course is a platform that has a membership.
Through a program for members, you can follow the progression of the students, answer any doubts in the platform itself and make the content more interactive.
They are electronic journals and have a defined periodicity, in the same way as printed journals. This model tends, increasingly, to replace the physical format.
They are combinations of different types of digital products, which can be complemented to transmit complete content. In this way, it is possible to transmit an online course in the most complete way possible, according to the need of the subject.
The digital producer must understand his market and audience very well, to define the best format for his product.
I hope that, with the examples mentioned above, you have got an idea of how to produce your online course.
4.Research the topic (as much as you can!)
The next step is one in which you must immerse yourself in the chosen theme, make sure you know it thoroughly, and then share it with other people.
Do not stick to your knowledge, even if you are an expert on the chosen topic. In this case, you can search for new sources and references that you still did not know about the subject.
If you have decided to sell online courses without being an expert, you will have to dedicate yourself even more to transmit all the content with confidence and fidelity.
Google will be your great partner at this stage since it is possible to find various materials on practically all areas of knowledge on the Internet.
Identify the major references on your subject, read materials from foreign sources, teaching methodologies, interview experts on the subject and talk about the content, to gain confidence in your explanations.
The more you study, the more property you will have when talking about the subject of the course you are selling. With that, people will notice that you are the ideal reference they should look for when they need a certain solution to their problems.
Now we are going to start, in fact, the process of producing an online course.
5.Create your online course
Finally, we’ll get to work!
Now that you are aware of your niche, you know your audience very well and you have defined the format of your digital course, you must make the draft of what your product will be.
It does not matter if it is going to be a video or ebook, the outline, as it is also known, is what will guide you to the end.
It is clear that if your goal is just to sell online courses, you can skip the production stage and go directly to item 7 of this post, which talks about ways to spread your product.
But you may realize that you have something to share and, therefore, in addition to selling the courses, it is also interesting to produce them to have your own material. Then, follow the steps below:
This is the time to do your brainstorm. That is, it is time to write down all the ideas that come to mind.
At this moment you can let yourself be carried away by creativity and imagine what form your online course will take.
I recommend you use Google Docs because it saves the file in the cloud and you can access it easily when you need it – even by mobile. And believe me: the least expected day you’ll have some idea to include in your material.
Search references for other courses, even when they have nothing to do with your subject. This way you will realize that it has been done and you can be inspired by great ideas for your own material.
That said, let’s go to the next step:
With the draft in hand, it’s time to write or record your content. It provides all the material for the production of the course: computer, cameras, microphone, lighting and everything that is necessary.
If you are going to record videos and do not have any experience with the team, hire a video maker who can do the production, or opt for the cheaper version: ask a friend for help.
Make sure that the audio of your material is clear, without noise. The public tolerates low-quality images, but bad audio will surely be the target of criticism.
Remember, also, to think of a striking title!
The review is essential if the material you are creating is an ebook, but do not think that the videos do not need to be reviewed either.
It may be that you end up forgetting a topic or put something else in your material that you later realize is not necessary.
Therefore, check everything so that after you do not have the rework to get what is already ready.
The idea is to wait a few hours or a day after the completion of work, in order to avoid a stale look on that content. Another idea is to ask for help from a sincere friend with a critical enough eye to offer you feedback on your material.
Once produced and revised, you must take that raw material and transform it into a technically refined content. In the case of an ebook, you must present your audience with a sophisticated design, of course.
The same thing happens with videos. If you are not able to do it, ask for help or hire someone trained.
Now, if you are one of those people who is always looking for new knowledge, it is possible to learn to edit videos of tutorials that you find on the Internet and, with practice, you might discover that this path can be quite long.
6. Host your online course
This is the moment when initiating entrepreneurs generally have doubts. “How to put my course on the Internet?”
One of the great advantages of becoming a digital entrepreneur is that there are complete and free platforms, that are prepared to host digital products.
This means that you do not need to know how to make even a line of code to keep your product on the Internet. The process is simple: you enter the site of the chosen platform, you register and send your product for approval. If that is all.
After being approved, your product will be available to be sold. But of course, we’re not going to give you this information alone.
Understand now the main aspects that you should consider when choosing the right platform:
Easy to organize your content
Your content needs to be organized in a didactic way for your clients and future students. As a digital producer you will take charge of this task, so you should look for an intuitive system that facilitates the process, especially if you are going to use a member area.
Automatic manager of email lists
Do you remember the saying “less is more”?
It is also valid for the processes that involve the management of your product: if you can manage your emails and contacts in a single site, why have the job of sharing this task between two or more systems?
Look for platforms that offer some form of interaction between your email trigger system and the one that manages and hosts your product.
All this without you repeating the process several and several times. So you gain more time to focus on what really matters: deliver a quality product.
Assistance to the buyer
One of the most important aspects of your product, whether physical or digital, is its relationship with customers. After all, it is they who will determine the success or failure of the venture.
Therefore, invest time in the search for a good assistance service. And if the service already offers the platform that hosts your course or product, so much the better, since this way you focus your attention and do not add new steps in your client’s day.
To choose well, you have to carefully analyze the reputation of the companies that interest you, as well as your experience in the market, and use this item as an essential factor in choosing the hosting service.
Remember that buyer assistance will be your spokesperson and represent the image you want to convey as a producer.
Digital Producer Assistance
Everyone knows that it is normal to have doubts when a project is started. And with the info producers, it is not different.
You take your time to understand each process, detail, terminology … But this process does not need to be as arduous as it may seem. You just have to ensure that your hosting service offers you good assistance.
Consider that you may need help with something important to keep your product fully operational and, therefore, you should opt for a company that can respond with agility, as well as being able to offer suggestions, tools, and useful tips.
Simple and personalized checkout
Ensuring that your buyer has a pleasant experience from start to finish is an important step in the history of your digital product.
Hence, you use a simplified checkout, which requires only the data and essential actions of your customers, and personalized, which allows your audience to identify, immediately, that it is your product, which generates more confidence and security.
At some point in your life, you may have heard some comment from someone who is afraid to buy online.
Given the ease of appropriating the data of another person in the virtual world, this fear is justified and is another reason to deal with the financial information of your clients with care.
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To ensure that all data is in good hands, it is essential to use a system that acts according to global digital security standards such as PCI Compliance and CSE Security, for example.
Thus, your clients and you will have the opportunity to know that all information and transactions are encrypted and secure.
Automatic delivery of content
Imagine that the number of sales of your product multiplies quickly. If you micromanage every detail, such as sending the course to each buyer, you will be exhausted and you will not even have time to take advantage of the success of your business, is not it?
That is why it is essential to optimize processes and add resources and tools that help you simplify your experience and that of your users.
So it requires a platform that offers the automatic delivery of the content you sell and an intuitive system that allows you to control all your processes. This way your customers will have immediate access to your product and they will feel even more secure regarding the purchase.
When a consumer buys something, he expects quick confirmation and delivery, right? With the Internet, it is not different. The more time it takes to approve and finalize a purchase, the more unsatisfied and frustrated the customer is.
Therefore, investigate beforehand if the platform that will host your product has an intelligent payment system, which offers an automatic confirmation.
If so, excellent!
Now, another important point that you have to take into account, in case you think to expand your business to the world – and why not? – , is the choice of a system that has the ability to accept currencies from several countries. Thus, you will already have the necessary tool to conquer more and more territories!
The system contains all the mentioned interactions and other functionalities that will be very useful to you – as payment with two cards.
As the data is essential to know more about your audience, what is expected of you and where you should direct your communication, it is important to have a service that offers tools for measuring results.
In this way, you will get to know your buyers thoroughly and thus serve them better.
7. Promote your course on the Internet
To paraphrase the saying “saint who is not seen is not worshiped”, in the digital world “product that is not seen, is not bought”. It’s that simple
Starting from the principle that you have never worked with the Internet, you will have to draw a digital marketing strategy for your business.
The blog is part of one of the great strategies used in Content Marketing. Traditional offline marketing usually proposes a more direct treatment, in which the product is offered to the public at the first contact.
In a Content Marketing strategy, you must talk 80% about topics of interest to your avatar and only 20% of your brand.
By attracting organic traffic with valuable and interesting content you generate authority around your name or brand and increase the possibility of making sales, for being an expert in that niche.
The purpose of a blog is for the public to be convinced that your product is the best solution at that time.
Attending the practice:
Imagine that you are inserted in the language niche and teach people to learn English in a shorter period than traditional schools. You can write posts about the whole universe that this topic implies:
- What are phrasal verbs?
- How long does it take to learn English?
- Main differences between British and American English
- How to accelerate the process of learning English?
- In which countries of the world is English spoken?
Note that none of these articles speaks, necessarily, about your product, but they are subjects that remove the doubts of those who investigate the subject.
The more quality posts you can publish, with consistency, the greater the possibility that your audience will find your blog as a reference about that niche.
And if we talk in organic traffic, it is inevitable not to mention the next topic:
SEO and organic search
Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimization (SEO, in its acronym in English), brings together strategies to improve the positioning of sites and blogs in search tools, such as Google and Bing. This strategy is directed, exclusively, to the improvement of the organic search.
Organic search: are the natural results for certain query in the search tools, that is, those that have not been paid for to appear.
You can see that most of the times you make a query on Google you stick to the first page, mainly to the first three sites of the organic search.
This is the common process of most users: the first organic result receives, on average, 34% of clicks, while the second receives 17% and the third 12% – data collected from a study conducted by the Advanced Web Ranking company.
Currently, one of the main factors of Google ranking are the indications that other sites make to their content through backlinks.
If your site is mentioned in a relevant portal, your domain becomes stronger and Google understands that it is relevant to the user, which can cause your site/blog to rise in the searches of the tool.
To get other sites to tell you, you must produce valuable content that serves as a reference in your segment.
How? Through a blog!
Also, take advantage of social networks and email marketing to disseminate your blog posts. Speaking of email marketing! Know now how you can use it to your advantage.
Demystifying that story that no one else uses email, this tool is one of the most precious in a Digital Marketing strategy.
This is because you can establish a direct link with your audience and promote your product effectively.
For this, you will need a tool to trigger emails (there are free versions, such as MailChimp ) that is integrated with the platform chosen to host your product. So you can also shoot emails to those who have already purchased your product.
You can offer free rich materials such as ebooks and infographics on your site and blog and request the emails of your visitors to download this content.
From then on you will have a base interested in your subject and you can nurture it with other contents, even offer your product at the most appropriate time.
The one that is just beginning and still does not have much visibility online can pay to appear in the search engines, advertiser sites, and social networks.
With good images and interesting text, you can direct the audience to your site, blog or directly to the sales page where you will offer your product.
With the right text and segmentation for your audience, it is possible to attract people who will really be interested in your ad and, possibly, your product.
Notice, in the following example, that the second advt is more attractive since the text is easier to read because it is not confused with the image in the background, as in the first case.
Unlike a blog, the sales pages (which you can host on your own site) have the objective of directing the user until the moment of purchase and convincing him that for him that product is ideal.
Thinking about it, your page must answer some questions so that your proposal is clear to the visitor, such as:
- What is the product?
- Why is this product intended for you?
- How to trust this product?
- How will you receive it?
And other objective questions that may influence your purchase decision.
Look at a simple model of a sales page:
Social networks are excellent channels to get closer to your audience and better understand the behavior of customers and prospects of your product.
One point of attention, however, is to discover what social networks your avatar really uses and develop intelligent strategies to speak to you directly.
In this way, instead of creating profiles in all the new networks that arise, the ideal is to discover which ones you really should focus your efforts on. This way you can build a strong base of relationship with your audience.
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It is worth remembering that, especially in social networks, it is not good to talk all the time about your brand (the 80/20 rule is also valid!), But about topics of interest to your audience that can lead your followers to want to know your product.
Ebooks, infographics, white papers, spreadsheets, guides, all these are excellent examples of rich materials that you can use to attract leads to your base and make a good email marketing strategy.
Here it is important to highlight that, however much of free content is concerned, it must be rich – as the name itself says – and have enough value for your lead to be interested in your main product.
Arrange your rich material on a landing page, on your site, blog, social networks and create email strategies to maintain contact with your audience and, at the right time, make an offer.
Webinars and live broadcasts
Live broadcasts are like seminars, in which you gather people interested in a subject to teach, debate and, consequently, position themselves as an authority on the subject.
This can also be an excellent tool to create an email database with leads interested in your topic.
If on the one hand there are the producers, responsible for transmitting knowledge through an online course, on the other hand, there are also the professionals focused on the promotion of these materials: the affiliates.
They function as a bridge between the products and the final consumer and receive commissions for each sale made. The producer who participates in an affiliate program has even more possibilities to scale his business and generate sales opportunities.
The Affiliate Programs make available different products from different niches so that the affiliates choose those they deem most suitable to promote.
It is worth remembering that the producer is the one who establishes the commission percentage of his product.
The promotion will be a constant process in your business, mainly if you want to make many sales and achieve excellent results with your online course, which I think is your biggest goal.
Who can sell online courses?
Educating is a noble art and the one who intends to transmit knowledge has an important mission towards the one who receives the teaching. And not only professors are apt to embrace this mission, but anyone who can contribute their professional or personal experience to teach and help other people.
It may seem cliché to say that anyone is capable of doing it, but the truth is that, if you think about it because we are plural and singular at the same time, we absorb different perceptions of the world and that is when everything happens.
But do not think that only the content producers that can sell online courses.
If you have persuasion skills, you have already noticed that you can positively influence the people around you or you are easy with numbers and you can calculate your investments well, as we said in the previous topic, it is possible to participate in a program of Affiliates.
The strategies we show so far should also be followed by those who do not want to create a digital product but want to work on the Internet.
Define an area of action and, within it, choose the product that you will disclose in exchange for commissions.
That said, I hope you’ve convinced yourself that you, who at this moment read this text, can become an Info producer or Affiliate even today. And the first steps you will find in the next points.
Advantages of creating and selling online courses
If you still have doubts if it is worth it or not to create your own course and maybe have the possibility to work at home or wherever you prefer, we offer you the main advantages that online courses can provide you:
Have more flexibility
Once you decide to create an online course, it is possible to define where and how much time you will dedicate to your business.
Although you sell digital courses only to have an extra income.
Scale reach and gains
If in a common job you charge per hour, through the Internet you break the space and time barrier and you can make simultaneous sales to people from all over the world who have an interest in your digital material.
You choose how you want to transmit knowledge to your audience.
As there are several formats of online courses (we will talk about them even in this text) you have several options to create the ideal material for your niche market.
Get a practical logistics
Unlike physical products, the delivery of your digital course to the buyer is much simpler and, best of all, immediate!
The moment the payment is approved, the buyer will have access to the acquired course.
All this is possible thanks to the digital product hosting platforms.
This facility saves you time and allows you to use more energy in the promotion of your online course.
Produce material with low cost
The cost of production itself of a digital course is exponentially lower than that of physical materials, which are marketed per unit.
An online course will occur only once and will be distributing thousands of times to thousands of people.
From the moment you reach the point of equilibrium on production expenses, all your profits will be interest and capital to reinvest in your business, either in Digital Marketing strategies or in contracting services that automate your work.
Have more quality of life
This point is very relative since many people are extremely happy in their work and have an excellent quality of life.
For all the others who are dissatisfied with their work, who do not enjoy free time as they would like or who do not manage to spend enough time with the family, this is a very important reason to become a digital producer.
Having a business of your own means a lot of effort and work, but it also means that, over time, you can enjoy benefits like the ones mentioned above.
It should be remembered that even managing a business from home, your online course will demand a lot of work and dedication, especially in the initial phase, when people barely know it.
Surely there was a lot of information to digest at one time and I hope this material is useful for you whenever you have any doubts while producing and selling your online course.
Although this is a complete material to sell digital courses, you must always keep updated with new content and, of course, you can count on us, here on the blog and in our other channels, to learn a lot about the digital products and marketing market digital.
Now, I have a very special invitation to you! Since you’ve come this far, you probably have a lot of ideas to start selling your online course, right? If you already have your content ready, perfect! But if you need to start from scratch to create your material, there is a perfect opportunity for you and it will be very useful.