< Back to live streams

How to Sell an Online Course (in the beginning)

> See the full video here <
Live streamed on: 
March 10, 2021

Episode Rundown:

What I learned this week:

This week, on the show, we played around with how to market an online course without any prior marketing plan or much preparation.

We used some simple SEO, a bit of PPC (paid ads), and content marketing - simply because these are the most relevant for my target audience. I'll go over a few other strategies that might make sense for other online course audiences as well.

So, for context, my online course teaches anyone how to build a simple and free outreach funnel to land university speaking gigs. My target audience is anyone that wants to build a speaking career (since university speaking gigs are a good start) or just wants to build a brand as an educator.

Now, the first two marketing strategies likely make sense for most audiences - SEO, and PPC.

My quick and dirty strategy for SEO is just write one or two articles on Medium. If you don't have an existing blog, or a bigger website - Medium is a great substitute in the beginning. Any articles you write there are going to rank quicker and better than one or two lone articles on a personal website anyway.

So, in my case, I might write an article titled "How to land university speaking gigs in the next month" or "How I landed 40+ speaking gigs at universities in 4 months" - whatever. Something interesting, it doesn't have to be that clickbait-y, but you get the point. Write something that answers the question that your target audience has.

Then, give away half your strategy in the article. Don't give them the juiciest bits, but give them something they can use, something they can apply on a small level - and at the end, mention your course. People won't read to the end of the article if you don't give away some value - don't worry about giving too much away in the article.

Great - now in a few months, hopefully your article will rank for some niche keywords, and maybe you'll get a few sales. Obviously, this isn't even remotely an SEO strategy long term, but it suffices for a small course you want to test in the market.

Now, for PPC, I hosted an entire live stream on this, but you don't always have to use Facebook. If you've ever run Facebook or Instagram ads before, you know how to run ads on every single other platform: Quora, YouTube, Google, Reddit, Snapchat, Taboola, etc.

You should know where your audience likes to hang out. Market to them there.

And finally, I used content marketing for my last marketing component. I expect this to work the best for me, because I post regularly about different speaking engagements I had at different universities. I post these humble-brags on LinkedIn, for credibility - and on my profile I've not-so-subtly linked my online course.

If possible, use your social media to showcase the skillset you teach in your course, and then leave an obvious link so anyone curious finds it. Don't directly self-promote online courses you've made, unless you think your community of followers would love it.

However, this strategy works for me because I have an existing audience - maybe you don't. In that case, I would find influencers in the space, and offer them affiliate deals or try to build partnerships. If you sell a course on how to build your own basketball hoop, find small basketball athletes, and reach out to them.

And that should cover it. The quickest and dirtiest marketing strategy for a small online course project. This isn't going to get you far, but it will get you started, and help you test whether or not people care about what you've built and taught before you spend a ton of money and time on a larger marketing campaign that might fail.

Hope it's helpful. :)

< Back to live streams