How to Promote and Market Online Courses

Whether you’re just getting started creating online courses or you’re a seasoned veteran in this industry, you know that building your course and creating the content is no small feat. While it may become easier with time as you solidify your process, you’ll find yourself looking for new ways to market your online courses.

We’re exploring both evergreen campaign strategies, as well as open and closed cart launch ideas for promoting and marketing your online courses below.

Let’s dive into the most popular and surefire ways to market your online course.

Market Online Courses Using Existing Content

A great asset to use in your marketing strategy when promoting your online courses is to use your existing content to warm up your cold traffic.

Embed Call-to-Actions in Blog Content

A great way to increase exposure for your online courses is to introduce your cold traffic to your courses using call-to-actions (CTA) within your existing blog content. This could be as simple as adding a line to your post linking to a sales page or using a graphic to capture their attention that redirects them to learn more about your courses if clicked.

Here’s an example of a CTA we use in our blog posts for a free lead magnet.

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Optimize Your Existing Content for Search Engines

Use an SEO plugin and invest time into keyword research to optimize the existing pages, and blog posts on your site to grow your organic traffic. As your traffic increases, your leads will as well. Over time, this increase in your organic reach will begin to translate into an increase in sales for your online course.

Use Testimonials and Endorsements to Promote Your Course

Testimonials help establish credibility for you and your offerings. Not to mention, hearing from past participants might be exactly what your potential course participants need to get them off the fence to make an investment in your course.

Take some time to gather testimonials from past course participants before you open enrollment again, and establish a process for collecting feedback from your new course participants as they work their way through your course or at the time of completion.

This will keep new and fresh testimonials coming in without requiring a lot of outreach on your behalf.

Testimonials Page Example

Adding endorsements from colleagues and industry leaders within your niche can also make your course more appealing to potential customers. If you’ve been mentored by or have a great working relationship with respected or well-known leaders your course participants will resonate with, ask them if they would be willing to share a few words of praise for you to showcase on your site.

Create a Well-Designed and Informative Sales Page

Ensuring your potential course participants can get all of their questions about what they can expect from your course answered when the visit your sales page is key in the purchasing process. You want to ensure you’re highlighting the benefits, outlining your curriculum, and setting expectations for their participation on your sales page.

A well-designed and informative sales page can make a world of difference in your sales conversions. The anatomy of a great sales page is somewhat subjective, but we’ve dissected 10 sales pages across varying industries in this sales page examples post to help you decide which elements to include when creating yours to promote your online courses.

Create a Payment Plan or Offer a Bonus

Offering a discount isn’t always the best strategy for increasing sales in your online courses. After all, you’ve strategically priced your course the way that you have for a reason. Instead, consider creating a payment plan to make the course more affordable for more people by allowing them to make smaller payments over time that add up to the total cost of your course.

You can also offer bonuses as an early-bird incentive for the people who enroll by a specified date or limit this bonus offer to the first 10 signups. Your bonuses are completely up to you but should complement your online course material. Some popular bonuses include a 1:1 coaching call with you, the course creator, or a group coaching call for those that enroll early. You can also offer additional trainings and courses or paid offers at no additional cost if it aligns with your current offer.

Leverage Lead Magnets to Market Your Online Course

Increase Course Sales with Email marketing

Whether you build your email list using an opt-in to receive your newsletter or a free download, your email list is a treasure trove of leads for your online course. These potential customers are already interested in what you have to offer and have engaged with your brand at one time or another. They have already willingly handed over their email address and invited you into their inbox.

It’s up to you to take advantage of that invitation and pitch your paid products.

Evergreen Sales Funnels

If your online courses are open for enrollment year-round, automate your sales process with an evergreen sales funnel. Once a contact joins your mailing list and makes it through your welcome sequence, warming them up, you’ll want to capture their attention while they are engaged with your content and excited about what you have to offer. Automatically add them to your sales funnel if they haven’t already purchased your courses, taking advantage of the window of opportunity you have when they are engaged and excited about your content.

Screenshot of how to create a sales funnel in Infusionsoft

The Login Optin™ Strategy

Free courses are hard to pass up, and the more generous you are with your knowledge, the easier it is to entice your website visitors into handing over their precious email addresses. In this day in age, free downloads are a dime a dozen, but if you can create an experience that will keep your potential leads coming back for more, you’ll start to see your online course sales increasing day in and day out.

You can use the Login Optin™ Strategy to create an engaging opt-in experience for a free course using a membership or LMS plugin like AccessAlly to protect your course content. Once your free course participants are logged into your membership or online course dashboard, they’ll be able to see everything you have to offer. Your free course participants will be eager to unlock the additional courses they see on their dashboard, but don’t yet have access to, naturally cross-selling your paid courses. (Get more cross-selling strategies and examples here.)

Use the Power of Video to Promote Online Courses

Create Free Video Content for YouTube

Create short, informational videos to share your insights and tips on topics related to your course content. Throughout the video, you can invite your viewers to visit your sales page to learn how they can go deeper on this topic with you in your online course. The key to making this strategy successful is similar to the free course example in the Login Optin™ Strategy – you want to be so generous with your free content that your viewers are lining up to pay you for your paid content.

When you upload these videos to YouTube and optimize them for search results, you can also add cards with built-in links to your sales page, as well as in the description below the video. Not only is YouTube great for increasing your exposure, but you’re also establishing your credibility with every new view.

Create a Free Video Training Series

Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula (PLF) strategy has been the foundation for many successful online course launches, including courses created by our founder. This strategy usually consists of releasing 3-4 videos on similar topics that you’ll teach in your paid offering followed by a sales pitch for your online courses. This PLF style promotion is a great way to create buzz and excitement leading up to the launch of your online course.

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Host a Live Webinar

A live webinar is a great opportunity for you to promote your online course while connecting directly with your potential customers. Your webinar should provide enough free content to your viewers that they walk away with actionable takeaways, yet leaves them wanting more. When it’s time to pitch your online course at the end of the webinar you’ll have built strong enough connections with your potential customers that they’ll be itching to give you their money so they can continue working with you.

Market Online Courses with Paid Advertising & Affiliate Marketing

Facebook Ads

Facebook remains a strong platform for advertisers to connect directly with their ideal customers. Your ability to target the exact users who your course appeals to most is unmatched by almost any other paid advertising platform. You can even run ads to a wider audience to build your email list or increase opt-ins for a lead magnet during a pre-launch window. Once the members of this cold audience start to warm up to your business you can retarget them with ads for your online courses, maximizing your ROI and increasing your conversion rates.

Create an Affiliate Program

Having a dedicated group of affiliates who are willing to share your course with their audience not only allows you to reach more potential customers, but it also establishes credibility for your offers within your industry. Affiliates who are willing to share your content with their audience believe in your work and trust in you to deliver an experience that will benefit their followers. Learn more about how to create an affiliate program.

Expand Your Reach to Obtain New Leads

Get Reviewed on External Sites

When a past course participant or industry leader posts a review for your online course you’re expanding your reach within their audience, but also through SEO. In many instances, online reviews rank well in search engines and in turn, result in increased organic traffic for your online course.

Host a Daily Challenge

If you’re reading this, we’re almost certain that you’ve participated in a free daily challenge or have heard about how successful they can be leading up to the launch of a paid offer. Our 30 Day List Building Challenge is the prime example of how a free challenge can be the catalyst for creating loyal, long-time advocates for your brand. We’ve leveraged the power of a daily challenge to earn well over six figures.

tablet displaying an opt-in form for a daily challenge

Throughout your challenge, you will provide your participants with daily action items to help move them one step closer to their goal. Daily challenges help you increase engagement with your potential customers leaving them wanting more by the last day. This desire to want to continue interacting with you naturally leads to sales for your online course.

Guest Post on Blogs in Related Industries

Publishing a guest post on a popular blog in your industry or a platform such as Forbes or the Huffington Post is a great opportunity for you to expand your reach. Guest posting allows you to establish credibility and tap into an audience that you may not have been able to reach otherwise. You’re also able to build some inbound links to your website from other reputable sites, in turn improving your reputation with Google and other search engines.

Answer Questions on Quora

Quora is a great forum-style discussion site. You can follow spaces directly related to your industry, and search for related questions to contribute to as often as you’d like. You can even run sponsored ads on the platform to expand your reach.

What we love most about Quora is it gives you the opportunity to be of service to those in need of your advice. Answering questions helps establish your credibility on topics within your industry.

Similar to social media platforms, you can gain followers on Quora and you can even share links within your responses that can direct traffic back to your site.


If you have a strong Instagram presence for your business, be sure to use hashtags to your advantage so you can reach new audiences. This is a great way to gain new followers.

Another great strategy for Instagram users is to ask your followers to tag friends in the Instagram comments if they relate to your content, or know someone who should see your post.

The use of these hashtags and tags will put your brand in front of more potential customers when done well, so be sure to take some time to create your strategy and plan out your hashtags in advance – then use them often!

Get Interviewed on Podcasts

Being interviewed by the host of a podcast is a great opportunity for you to expand your reach. These interviews almost always lead to new followers on your blog or social media accounts, even website visitors who might opt-in for a free gift you have to offer. Some podcast hosts will even allow you to pitch your online courses on their show, so be prepared in advance and always have something to offer listeners who may be interested in learning more about your work.

Which Strategy is Ideal for Your Business?

As more businesses turn to online courses and events in 2020 than ever before it’s important to create a marketing strategy that best supports your business goals.

You don’t have to implement every strategy shared here to successfully market your online courses. In fact, you might find one or two of them yield the best results.  Every industry is different, and each online course is unique in its own way. Find what works well for you and commit to doing it to the best of your ability.

We hope you’re feeling inspired to test out one or more of these strategies with your next online course launch. If you’re new to the online course business, be sure to check out our in-depth LMS comparisons.

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