Some service businesses, coaches, consultants and advisors are now leveraging their time by selling their training and expertise as an online course. It’s all very well to develop your course, create your content, make it look excellent and deliver great value – but you need to get it out there. You need to market your online courses successfully and sell people into it. Whilst this article is great for selling an online course, as an experienced business coach and marketing strategist, I know many of this advice and ideas will work for most online businesses (and even some traditional businesses) so read on and make some notes of things you can implement in your business.
Before you start with marketing and putting your course out there, there are a few things you must do:
After you’ve built your course, ensure it works and works well via different platforms and systems. Is the user experience the same (or as good as) for the person on a Mac versus someone via a PC? Does it work as well for someone using a tablet or a mobile phone or really can only be done via laptop or desktop? Keep in mind that most people these days are accessing via a smaller device, so I’d suggest you need to be flexible in this regard. Test it with a few people and ensure that the bugs are ironed out and it’s working well.
Determine your sales process. As soon as a lead or prospect shows interest, what is the next step for them? Do they see a sampler of the course, or taken straight to sign up and pay? How will they pay? Do you offer guarantees? Will there be a Certificate or some recognition at the end? For each course the answer will be different, depending on what you’re offering and the price tag of the course. The larger the price tag, the more wary the buyer, so if you are a larger price tag, then have you got a tonne of client reviews or testimonials? Is there a money back guarantee or perhaps it’s paid via PayPal where you can access a refund if the course is not what the buyer believed they paid for?
Once you’ve done the above and you know how you will manage both leads and that the actual course is working and ready to go, then it’s time to build and implement a marketing plan. I highly recommend you have a marketing plan which is strategic, well thought out, planned and balanced. Smart marketers do not put all their eggs into a single basket; you want to ensure your plan is well rounded and embraces a number of tactics. Ensure your plan not only lists what will be done and when, but specifically who and what the allocated budget is. The best successes are rarely the results of ‘winging it’ or ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ but rather come from thought, planning, strategy and consistent implementation.
So, onto a list of 21 ideas you can use to market an online training course:
- Promote it on your website and ideally have a separate landing page for it
- Posts on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
- Facebook & Instagram advertising
- Facebook or LinkedIn groups mention/post or promo (as allowed in Group rules)
- Market the testimonials as part of marketing the course itself
- Facebook Live or YouTube Live
- Blogging on your website
- Guest posts on other websites or newsletters
- Promotion through your association
- Asking your friends and associates to share the word
- Present at events and mention it at the end, ideally providing a flyer or link
- Google Ads
- Remarketing and retargeting (another aspect of Google Ads)
- Affiliate programs
- Email marketing
- Sourcebottle articles (with a link or mention as part of your bio)
- Be a guest on a Podcast (and if you do Podcasts or YouTube videos, absolutely be sure to promote it in your own media)
- Invite clients (past and present) and prospects to join up
- Advertising in a relevant publication (if pricing reasonable and covering likely excellent)
- Add it to your email signature, invoices and anything else that goes out of your office.
I’m not a fan of discounting particularly on a single sale or products. People come to expect it and it devalues your service and cuts into your profit levels. Online stores are starting to make it standard procedure to offer a discount on an abandoned cart. Buyers are coming to expect that and will often abandon their cart for that reason (or because postage is high and not discovered until the end), so I do recommend you keep those incentives low.
Instead of looking to hand out discounts, value-add. You might add a checklist or a resource that makes it even more appealing. You might also choose to bundle your services or if you are selling by the module, once you buy so many you then get a discount or the last one for free. Just as retail stores will say “buy 2 shirts and get a third free” the concept creates greater sales without diminishing your margin on a single sale product or service. Don’t forget that service-based businesses can offer samples too. Just as you can taste some ice cream or a piece of fudge from a retailer, a service-based business can offer a sampler, which might be a sneak peek at a few minutes of your course. Authors do it; often providing the first chapter, which is a great way to hook in the reader who becomes engaged and is more than happy to then purchase.
If I can assist in any way, as a business coach operating in all regions of Australia, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out to me today at either ringing 0411 622 666 or via my Contact page.