Online courses are more widely available than ever. From high school courses to university courses to hobby classes and more, there are more platforms hosting online courses, more classes and more students. However, all of this online course availability can make it difficult to get noticed. If you’re having trouble bringing in students and growing your classes, here are a few ways to increase your online course sales.
8 Ways to Increase Your Online Course Sales
1. Leverage Social Proof with Testimonials
Even if your course is very unique, there are likely many other, similar courses available. Students have many different educational platforms to choose from and it’s easier than ever for anyone to share their knowledge and create a course. However, this makes it difficult for students to decide which courses are worthwhile. Just as customers look to other customers to decide which products are worthwhile, students look to other students to find the right course. Your current and previous students’ testimonials are some of your best tools for showing and proving that your course is valuable to your new students and leveraging social proof.
To showcase your students’ testimonials, you first have to gather them. It’s easy to automate this process with automatic emails, and easy to display these testimonials on your website or landing page. Choose your testimonials carefully; your past students’ testimonials should be brief enough to keep your prospective students’ attention, but long enough to show authenticity. If you are using text testimonials, it’s helpful to use pictures of your students as well, with their permission. Video testimonials can be even more impactful, as they can convey more information and are harder to fake.
2. Follow Up With Your Students
Generally, it’s a good idea to collect testimonials shortly after students complete your course, so the information is fresh in their mind. However, in some cases, it can be valuable to follow up with students after more time has passed. These testimonials may be longer and more detailed, so they can show how your students’ lives have changed after taking your course.
This type of testimonial, case study or longer video can help to increase your online course sales by showing the outcome or results that a student might experience. With this in mind, you might use an interview script to steer the testimonial towards particular information. As you interview your previous student or provide them with a list of potential questions to answer, consider including the following information:
- Improvements or changes to your student’s lifestyle since taking your course
- Advancements in the student’s career or improvements to their business
- Accomplishments your student has had since taking your course
- Projects students have completed
3. Generate Trust with Your Qualifications
Your previous students can be instrumental in showing prospective students how valuable your course can be and helping to improve your online course sales. Prospective students will also want to know what makes you qualified to teach your subject. By showcasing your qualifications, you can differentiate your course from competitors, create trust with your potential students, and increase your online course sales.
Your qualifications will partially depend on what type of course you are teaching. The following are a few qualifications you might showcase in your profile, on your course landing page, website, or another area students are likely to see.
- Educational credentials
- Years of experience
- Projects completed
- Professional awards
- Partnerships with prominent industry professionals
4. Provide Free Downloadable Content
Getting the attention of more prospective students is one way to increase online course sales. Another way is to improve the conversion rates of prospective students to actual students. Providing free downloadable content related to your course is one way to help turn these potential students into leads and then actual students.
Your free downloadable content should give your leads a tactic, tool, or insight they did not previously have. It should give your leads a small look into your overall course and show them what they can look forward to learning.
In addition to showing your course’s strengths, this downloadable content also gives you a way to stay in touch with your leads and give them more information about your course. They may not be convinced to buy your course at first, but you will have additional opportunities to convince them.
Your downloadable content will also depend on the type of course you’re offering. You might provide a:
- Unique technique or method
- Graph, grid, organizer, or similar tool
- Chapter of your book or section of your course
- Calculator, useful equation, or similar tool
- Guide or checklist
5. Improve Lead Conversion with Email Marketing
With a connection to your leads, you can improve your online course sales with email marketing. Email marketing strategies will help to showcase the benefits and strengths of your course. This will also help to show your leads how your course can help them, and convince them to make a purchase.
Consider the content of your emails carefully. Include testimonials from previous students as well as helpful tools and snippets from your course. Test different subject lines to find which is more impactful. If you can, segment your audience to customize content to different audiences’ needs.
6. Use Your Own Website
You might offer your course on a preexisting platform or on your own website. A preexisting platform may eat into your revenue, however it may also open your course to the platform’s audience. Offering your course on your own website will allow you to keep all of your revenue and give you more control, but you won’t have access to a preexisting platform’s audience. You might also use both of these methods, if you can manage both of them.
Using your own website to market and sell your course has other advantages as well. You’ll be able to optimize SEO on your course landing page and reach potential students who are searching for the information you provide. You’ll also be able to optimize and test your landing page to see which configurations work best. You might also use testimonials on your landing page to improve conversion rates.
7. Create a Social Media Strategy
Social media can give you a direct link to your audience, when used strategically. When creating your social media strategy, consider your target market carefully. Think about what platform your target market is likely to use and what social media content they’re looking for related to your course. Also, consider what type of media your course works best with—text, pictures, infographics, videos, and more—and what platform will best support this.
Connect your social media platform to your downloadable content to make your social media strategy work with your lead generation process. Your social media will help you expand the reach of your downloadable content, generate more leads and, ultimately, increase your online course sales.
8. Advertise Strategically
Advertising is a valuable way to reach your target audience, but this strategy must be used carefully to maintain positive ROI. Consider where your potential students may be looking for your course and how you might position this information effectively.
There are many ways to advertise, and which avenue you choose will depend on what you’re offering, who you are trying to reach, and what media they are likely to consume, in addition to other factors. Consider a few of the following advertising techniques and how these might work for you:
- Search ads (ads at the top of searches made on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc)
- Display ads (ads made on various web pages)
- Trade journals
- Social media ads
- Trade shows
- Newspapers and magazines
- Affiliate advertising
Keep in mind that increasing your online course sales takes time and persistence. As you add more students to your course, get their feedback, so you can share this with other students. Test your marketing strategies and find out what works best for you. Think strategically, and put yourself in your students’ shoes; where would you look for your course if you were a student, and what would convince you to make a purchase? Answer these questions and you can make your course stand out.
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