How To Sell Your Online Courses: A Proven Model
For the past 10 years I have taught instructors, trainers, and small businesses how to launch online academies and sell courses. In this article, you will be given steps to generate traffic to your academy’s website, build trust with your learners, and ultimately sell courses.
Traffic | Trust | Sell
Maybe you already know which groups of people will benefit from your course. The question is, where are they and how do you begin a conversation?
Step 1: Contribute to an online community.
When you think about it, community and relationship is kind of like the chicken or the egg: Which came first? What we do know is that community builds upon relationship and the best way to cultivate a relationship is to have consistent interaction.
With today’s social media platforms, there are many ways to engage with others.
- Pulse: http://linkedin.com/pulse
Pulse provides the space for people to write, share their articles, and get likes and responses. It’s a great way to start or join in on a conversation!
- Groups: http://linkedin.com/directory/groups
Groups allows you to interact with specific types of professionals that share your same interests.
- Google +.
- Communities: http://plus.google.com/communities
All you need is a Google+ profile. Go to the communities link above, find a community that is relevant to your content, and start sharing!
- Subreddits: https://www.reddit.com/subreddits/
Reddit acts like a virtual bulletin board where you can share, connect with others, and facilitate discussions that matter to you.
- Community: http://www.quora.com
Quora is a community of people in need of answers. Choose a question on a topic you know about and submit an answer with a link to your product.
- Growth Hackers.
- Post: http://growthhackers.com
It’s a forum for growth hacking and marketing. See what’s trending or start a trend yourself!
- Product Hunt.
- Post: http://www.producthunt.com
Tech, games, apps and more! This is the place to join in the chitter-chatter on the newest tech products out there.
Step 2: Post a video on YouTube and link to your course.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and a powerful means for product promotion. Start by uploading a short video that introduces your course or post one of your recent webinars. Remember, the key to driving traffic to your video is to include a keyword that your audience is searching for within the title. With an estimated 300 hours of video added to YouTube every minute and 4 billion video views per day, you must create a specific title and description in order for people to find it. Don’t forget to include a link to your course in the video description and tag relevant topics your audience cares about.
Step 3: Find out what learners are searching for and what your competitors are promoting.
To learn more about a product or service, a person will likely google it and view the top results. In order for your course to rank high in a search engine, you will need to use the same keywords your target audience uses.
Another way to position yourself in the market is to identify the keywords your competitors use and what they are promoting through social media.
In buzzsumo.com’s search box, type the domain name of your competitor and find out what they are promoting. Alternatively, type in a keyword related to your course and find out what social channel most prominently promotes that content.
Tweetreports lets you find out ahead of time when specific Twitter chats will be taking place. These chats are conversations scheduled in real time to give users a chance to contribute their thoughts and resources relevant to a particular topic.
Step 4: Bundle your course with a deals website.
Everyone loves a good discount. A price cut often leads to larger purchases and helps sellers tap into large audiences that would be otherwise unreachable.
Here are a few of the top deals sites you could consider posting your course. To leverage them effectively, bundle a few items together and sell them for a discounted rate.
Step 5: Create an email signature and add a link to your course.
Like most working professionals, you probably experience the daily barrage of emails. With so many messages to sift through, it’s important to make sure the ones you send aren’t instinctively trashed before being read.
While there are many marketing tips on this, one step I highly encourage is to create an email signature. A signature adds a touch of professionalism and credibility; a point of reference for who you are and what you do. This is also an excellent opportunity to work in the link to your course!
Here is what my email signature looks like:
EDUonGo, Inc. | EM: firstname.lastname@example.org | PH: 1-800-955-8363 | WEB: www.eduongo.com
Check out my recent article, "A Proven Model For Selling Online Courses"
Here are some helpful video tutorials that demonstrate how to create email signatures:
Step 6: Send an email to your current community.
If you have taught an online course before, make sure to touch base with former students by sending them a mass email announcing your new course.
Remember, these are individuals of a community you have previously engaged with. If they have benefited from your other content, they are more likely to sign up again.
Former students already know the value of your content and are more likely to pay for your next offering.
Here is an email sample you can refer to: https://goo.gl/SfVZaV
Building trust is an essential part of generating traffic. It will keep visitors on your site long enough to read through your content. The goal is for them to subscribe to your newsfeed, register for a free course and eventually pay for the course you are selling.
Step 7: Install Google Analytics - THIS IS A MUST.
Google analytics enables you to get the data you need to make intelligent marketing and business decisions for your company.
Find out the bounce rate on your web pages; for instance, a bounce rate above 30% (which is relatively high) indicates you need to revise the content of the webpage.
I facilitate a self paced online course with materials gathered from Google Academy; it helps people understand how the platform collects, transforms, and organizes data in Analytics. You can check in out here: www.goo.gl/BKfDvP.
Step 8: Integrate Sumome - Another MUST.
Sumome provides intuitive apps to help you build trust with your audience. Below I have listed some apps I use as well as how I use them.
- List Builder.
List Builder converts one time visitors into faithful readers and subscribers. As they leave your website, a window will pop up asking for their email.
- Content Analytics.
If you blog, you likely have no idea of how little or how much content your visitors read. With Content Analytics, however, you can see exactly where your readers stop reading.
- Smart Bar.
Smart Bar sits at the top of your webpage to remind visitors to sign up for your mailing list.
Step 9: Hold weekly open hours (AKA webinars).
Set aside one or two open hours every week to talk to your website visitors. You can use Google Hangout, Skype conference, or any similar tool.
A live online event like this will facilitate more personal interaction with your visitors and strengthen the credibility of your brand.
To organize and keep track of these events, Sumome offers a dialog box feature, where participants can RSVP to your next open hours.
Once you are generating traffic and interacting with visitors, you can focus on setting a price for your course. The question is, how much do you charge?
If you already have a price in mind, ask yourself whether you would pay that much for the course. If you would, charge accordingly.
Connected with this is the final step that can help you hit a homerun.
Step 10: Build a brilliant landing page.
The look of your landing page is key in convincing visitors to register and pay for the course.
I could write another article just on the topic of the landing page. What I will highlight are a few tools that can help you create an attractive presentation page:
- Course Video Intro.
Spend as much time as it takes to create a quality introductory video to your course. Using something as simple as your smartphone to record yourself as well as screen recording can do the job. Here is a sample: http://goo.gl/Ci9fQS
Personally, I like to use Camtasia from Techsmith to do screen recording and editing.
- Course Description.
Write a short and sweet description about your course. You don’t have to make it long if you are including a video intro.
- Curriculum Outline.
Users want to know what they will be paying for. Give them the curriculum outline and mention any media material you will be providing as downloadable inside the course.
Display testimonials of what people are saying about the course and you. It’s a way to show that others have indeed benefited.
- Your Biography.
Write about your passion and highlight your achievements. Write a lot. You want people to feel like they know you, which helps you to gain their trust and inclination to pay for the course.
That’s it. You have reached the end of the 10 step model to help you sell a course.
But before we bid adieu, there is one last thing you need to know. Following these steps will only yield the desired results IF you add this one essential ingredient: Repetition.
If something works, do it again and again. Repeatedly doing what works will generate more revenue. Eventually, you can hire others who can do the repeating for you. And before you know it, you are running an online school.
Speaking of online schools, I actually created a tool that helps anyone the launch their own online school. You can check it out at www.eduongo.com.
Here is a video that explains how to get started with EDUonGo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yH2DCHyGNw
I would love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment!
This post was first published on eLearning Industry.