11 Ideas for Promoting an Online Course in 2023

Are you ready to take your online course to the next level and reach more students than ever before? Of course, you are! 

After all, you put in all that hard work creating the content and perfecting your teaching methods. Now it’s time to get the word out and start making some sales.

But here’s the thing: promoting an online course can be tough

With so much competition out there, it can be challenging to get your course in front of the right people. 

Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help. 

In this post, we’re going to share eleven of the best ways to promote your online course in 2023. 

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for a while, these strategies will help you attract more students, grow your business, and expand your reach. Let’s get started!

The challenges of selling online courses

While online courses offer a fantastic opportunity to share your knowledge with a global audience, promoting and selling them presents several challenges. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of these challenges and how you can overcome them.


One of the biggest challenges course creators face while selling online courses is the sheer amount of competition. 

With so many eLearning entrepreneurs out there, it can be tough to attract and retain students.

You need to find a way to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd.

Reaching your target audience

Knowing your target audience’s needs, pain points, and where they spend their time online is crucial for successful promotion. 

For example, if your target audience is small business owners, you may find that LinkedIn or your YouTube channel is a better platform to reach them than, say, Instagram or Quora.

Building trust and credibility

To sell online courses successfully, you need to establish yourself as an expert in your field and build trust and credibility with potential students. 

This can be challenging, especially if you’re just starting out. 

Sharing testimonials from satisfied students, creating a professional website, and developing a strong personal brand can all help build trust.

Course creation and production

Creating high-quality online courses that are engaging and informative can be time-consuming and require specialized knowledge and skills. 

For example, you’ll need to have a good understanding of instructional design, video production, and eLearning platforms. 

However, investing time and effort into creating a high-quality course can pay off in the long run by attracting more students and generating positive reviews.

Marketing and promotion

Successful promotion of your online course requires a solid understanding of digital marketing, SEO, social media, content marketing, and other digital channels. 

This can be challenging for those who don’t have a background in marketing or who are not tech-savvy. 

Fortunately, there are many resources available online, such as courses, blogs, and forums, that can help you improve your marketing skills.

Pricing and monetization

Finding the right price point for your course can be tricky. 

If your course is too expensive, it may deter potential students, while pricing it too low may suggest low quality. 

Additionally, you’ll need to consider how you’ll monetize your course, whether that’s through one-time payments, subscriptions, or upselling other products or services.

Technical difficulties

Technical issues such as website glitches, payment processing problems, and video playback errors can negatively impact the user experience and damage your reputation. 

Ensuring that your website, course platform, and course are fully tested and optimized for different devices and browsers can help minimize these issues.

Measuring success

Measuring the success of your online course accurately is essential for making data-driven decisions and improving your course. 

However, it can be challenging to know what metrics to track and how to interpret them. 

Tools like Fathom Analytics and online course platforms with a built-in LMS functionality, like AccessAlly, can help you track user engagement, completion rates, and revenue.

Nevertheless, by understanding these challenges and developing a solid marketing strategy, investing in high-quality course creation and production, and leveraging the right course marketing tools and resources, you can overcome these challenges and build a successful online course business.

The first thing you need to do here is establish your marketing goals.

Why establish your marketing goals first?

Imagine taking a road trip without a clear destination in mind. 

Sure, you might enjoy the journey for a while, but eventually, you’ll get lost, run out of gas, or end up somewhere you never intended to be. 

The same is true for promoting an online course. 

Without clear goals, you’ll be driving aimlessly, wasting time and resources, and potentially missing out on valuable opportunities.

That’s why it’s essential to establish your marketing goals first. 

Having targeted marketing goals can:

  • Give your marketing efforts direction and focus.
  • Enable you to create a marketing plan.
  • Let you align your overall business objectives.
  • Empower you to evaluate ROI.
  • Help you measure success.

By setting measurable marketing goals, you can track your progress and make data-driven decisions.

In a nutshell, setting marketing goals is like setting a destination for your road trip. 

It gives you direction, purpose, and a way to measure your progress. Without it, you risk getting lost along the way.

11 strategies for promoting your course and increasing online course sales

Now that we’ve established the importance of setting marketing goals, let’s dive into the various strategies for promoting and marketing online courses

From leveraging social media to paid advertising, SEO to webinars, there are many effective tactics to boost online course sales and increase enrollment. 

Here are eleven ideas for promoting an online course in 2023, with actionable insights and know-how to help you reach your target audience and grow your business.

1. Create a highly targeted landing page

A highly targeted landing page is where your potential students land when they click on your promotional links. 

It’s your chance to make a great first impression, build trust and credibility, and increase the likelihood of enrollment. 

Here are some characteristics of an ideal landing page:

  • A clear and compelling headline that instantly communicates what your course is about and the benefit it offers.
  • A clear overview of your course, including the structure, topics, and learning outcomes. Visitors should understand what they’ll learn and how the course will benefit them.
  • Testimonials and reviews that can help build credibility and provide social proof that your course is high-quality and has helped others.
  • Detailed information about the course, including the duration, format, pricing, and any bonuses or additional resources included.
  • User-friendly design that is easy to navigate, helping visitors quickly find the information they are looking for and make an informed decision.
  • Mobile device optimization, as nearly a third of learners are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web and enroll in courses.
  • Conversion-focused copy that can successfully get a visitor to enter their details so you can follow up with email marketing. 
  • Effective opt-in forms, created using advanced tools like PopupAlly, to create a powerful landing page that converts.

While creating a landing page for a new course, ensure that it is designed and optimized based on the above guidelines for effective promotion and improved conversions.

PopupAlly provides customizable templates that make it easy to create a visually appealing and effective landing page in minutes. 

You can choose from a variety of designs and customize them to reflect your brand and message. 

Additionally, PopupAlly offers advanced targeting options, allowing you to display your opt-in forms based on specific user behaviors, such as time on page, scroll depth, or exit intent. 

With PopupAlly, you can capture visitor information and follow up with them through targeted email marketing campaigns, increasing the likelihood of conversion and enrollment.

2. Create free content as a lead magnet 

Offering free content, like a tutorial or a complete guide, as a lead magnet is an effective way to promote your online course and generate new student leads for your paid courses. 

Coursera, one of the most popular online learning platforms, offers a range of free courses that provide users with a glimpse of the course topics they can expect from the paid courses. 

These free courses help build trust and establish Coursera as a credible source of online education, while also providing users with valuable learning resources.

You also have LinkedIn Learning, which offers a free trial period for its courses. 

This allows users to sample the course content before committing to a paid subscription. 

With this strategy, LinkedIn Learning attracts potential customers and builds a loyal following of engaged learners who are more likely to enroll in paid courses.

AccessAlly helps you set up similar free course opt-ins to attract leads and build your email list. 

With AccessAlly, you can create an engaging opt-in page that provides users with a tangible idea of what they can expect from your paid course. 

From there, you can use email automation to upsell your paid courses and provide valuable content to your subscribers.

Offering a unique value proposition and establishing trust with potential customers are great ways to build an engaged audience.

3. Offer discounts and free trials

Learners love discounts. Offering a special deal can incentivize new users to commit to buying, and a follow-up offer can encourage those who have engaged with your content but haven’t converted to take the plunge. 

Besides, offering discounts in exchange for customer referrals can also help increase conversion rates, revenue, and word-of-mouth referrals.

You might have heard of Udemy, the world’s largest eLearning platform with 57 million+ learners

Udemy offers new users significant discounts on their first course, often as much as 90% off the regular price

This kind of welcome offer incentivizes users to sign up and commit to their first course, increasing the likelihood of repeat business in the future.

However, it’s important to be cautious when using discounts and free trials. 

If they are offered too frequently or without clear value, they can lower the perceived value of your course and undermine your pricing structure

Make sure to use these strategies sparingly and strategically, and always communicate the value that your course provides.

With AccessAlly, you can easily set up free trials and create discounts that expire after a certain time frame. 

This can help you create a sense of urgency and encourage potential customers to take action.

4. Utilize popups

Popups are a powerful tool for promoting your online course and generating leads. 

With the right timing, design, and messaging, they can effectively capture visitors’ attention and encourage them to take action.

Using popups to promote your online course allows you to:

  • Highlight your most compelling offers, such as free content or special discounts.
  • Encourage visitors to sign up for your email list or free trial.
  • Collect their contact information and follow up with targeted email campaigns and retargeting ads.
  • Convert visitors into paying customers.

However, it’s essential to create and use popups in a way that’s relevant and non-intrusive to the user experience. 

Overusing popups or displaying them at inappropriate times can lead to a negative user experience and result in fewer sign-ups.

That’s where PopupAlly comes in. With PopupAlly, you can create popups that are highly targeted and relevant to your audience and offerings. 

You can customize the design, messaging, and timing of your popups to ensure they provide value and enhance the user experience.

PopupAlly offers a range of customizable templates to choose from, making it easy to create a professional-looking popup that fits seamlessly with your website’s branding. 

You can also choose when and where to display your popups, such as:

  1. When a user tries to exit the page or 
  2. After a certain amount of time has elapsed.

Providing value and offering incentives for signing up can help increase conversions and build a loyal customer base.

5. Send out regular email campaigns

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for promoting your online course. A well-crafted email campaign can enable you to:

  • Build relationships with your audience.
  • Reduce cart abandonment.
  • Drive traffic to your course sales page.
  • Improve conversions.
  • Track success.
  • Reach your audience regularly.

Here are some tips to optimize your email campaigns for conversion:

  • Divide your email list into different segments based on demographics, interests, behavior, or engagement level to deliver more relevant content and offers that resonate with each segment.
  • Use your subscribers’ first names and any other relevant information to create personalized emails. This helps to build rapport and trust with your subscribers, leading to higher engagement rates.
  • Use responsive, mobile-friendly design, larger fonts, and clear calls-to-action to make it easy for your subscribers to read and take action on your emails.
  • Write a clear, concise, and attention-grabbing subject line with action-oriented language and relevant content.
  • Include a strong call to action that can drive conversions.
  • Use email automation to send welcome emails, follow-up emails, abandoned cart emails, and more to improve top-of-mind recall among your subscribers.

There are many email marketing tools available, like these affiliate links for companies like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Keap, and ActiveCampaign, that offer email automation, segmentation, A/B testing, and analytics to help you create effective email campaigns that convert. 

With the right strategy and tools, email marketing can be a powerful driver of sales for your online course.

6. Run course enrollment cohorts

Running live cohorts for an online course often creates a sense of urgency and excitement, which can in turn help increase conversions and drive revenue for your course.

By limiting the enrollment period and the number of spots available, you can create a natural deadline that encourages people to sign up before it’s too late.

In addition, when everyone is going through the course at the same time, it can be a shared experience that fosters engagement and discussion, creating a more positive learning experience for your students.

You can also use social media in conjunction with email marketing to promote the enrollment period, creating a sense of anticipation among your audience.

AccessAlly’s enrollment limits feature makes it easy to set start and end dates for your course cohorts, as well as limits on the number of students enrolled. 

This allows you to cash in on the principles of urgency and scarcity, which are powerful motivators for conversion.

You might change your mind about what features you want, so you need a platform that's flexible.

Get your own free demo sandbox account so you can experience the flexibility AccessAlly has to offer.

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7. Leverage the power of social media

According to Statista, there were over 4.21 billion social media users in 2021. This number is projected to grow to 6 billion by 2027.

Social media is a powerful tool and has become the most popular digital marketing channel in many countries. If used wisely, it can be an excellent way to make your course content go viral.

Here are some reasons why social media can be an effective way to promote online courses:

  • Social media platforms give you the opportunity to reach a large audience, making it easier to target your ideal customer and promote your course to people who may be interested.
  • Places like Facebook groups are an excellent platform to build a community around your course. By creating engaging posts and encouraging discussion, you can foster a sense of belonging among your followers and build a loyal customer base.
  • By consistently posting content and engaging with your audience through live webinars, you can build brand awareness and make your brand more recognizable.
  • Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website or landing page. By including links in your posts and YouTube videos, you can encourage people to click through to your site and learn more about your course.
  • Compared to traditional marketing methods, social media marketing is relatively inexpensive, making it an excellent option for businesses on a tight budget.

Of course, it takes time, effort, and experimentation to build an effective social media marketing strategy for your course.

Here are some tips that can help you leverage the power of social media:

  • Identify your target audience: Knowing your target audience can help you create content that resonates with your ideal customer and increase the chances of converting them into paying customers.
  • Develop a content strategy: Do your keyword research and present a memorable point of view to make your content stand out. Develop a content calendar to ensure you post consistently and have a mix of different types of content (such as educational posts, promotional posts, and behind-the-scenes posts).
  • Post regularly: Consistency is key when it comes to social media marketing. By posting regularly, you can keep your audience engaged and increase your chances of being seen.
  • Use visuals: Visual content is more engaging than text-only posts. Use high-quality images and videos to make your posts more attractive and engaging.
  • Engage with your audience: Responding to comments and messages is an excellent way to build relationships with your followers and show that you care about their thoughts and opinions.
  • Measure and analyze: Tracking your social media metrics can help you determine which types of content are resonating with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The best social media platforms to promote your online course will depend on your target audience and the type of content you want to share.

To leverage the power of social media, you can use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule and manage your posts across multiple platforms. 

Strategic and consistent social media posting can be an effective way to promote your online course and grow your business.

8. Utilize paid advertising options

There are two types of paid advertising: native and display advertising. 

Native advertising refers to ads that blend in with the content of the platform they are displayed on. 

Display advertising is more traditional, wherein the ads are placed in strategic locations, like on a relevant Amazon webpage, in a podcast, or within an app interface. 

Both options have their pros and cons, but it’s essential to choose the type that aligns with your goals and budget.

Some of the most common paid advertising options include:

  • Google ads: Allow you to target users based on their search queries, making it easy to reach a relevant audience.
  • Facebook ads: Provide advanced targeting options based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  • YouTube ads: Great for promoting video courses.
  • LinkedIn ads: Useful for B2B courses.

Retargeting ads are another effective way to promote your online course. 

Retargeting allows you to target users who have previously interacted with your content, such as by visiting your website or viewing a particular course page. 

These ads can be highly personalized and relevant, leading to higher conversion rates and better ROI.

With a well-executed paid advertising strategy, you can drive more traffic to your course, increase visibility, and scale your efforts to reach even more potential customers.

9. Set up an affiliate program

An affiliate marketing program allows third-party brand advocates, such as influencers, to promote your course on their platform and earn a commission for every sale they refer, using an affiliate link.

A well-designed affiliate program has several advantages, such as:

  • It incentivizes people to promote your course through word-of-mouth, which can significantly increase your reach.
  • It is effective if you have limited resources for advertising and promotion. 
  • It can be a cost-effective way to market your course, as you only need to pay out commissions when a referred user signs up through an affiliate link.

AccessAlly is one of the best tools available for creating an affiliate program, allowing you to easily manage and track your affiliates through a sophisticated affiliate center. With AccessAlly, you can:

  • Set up an effective affiliate program.
  • Determine the commission structure.
  • Create your affiliate tiers.
  • Set terms and conditions.
  • Choose individuals who align with your brand and have an audience.

AccessAlly’s advanced affiliate management systems can help you successfully incorporate an affiliate program into your promotional strategy to drive enrollments, reach a wider audience, and boost your course’s visibility.

10. Implement an upsell strategy

Offering additional courses or resources that complement your existing course is a proven way to improve customer experience, so long as it helps them achieve their desired outcomes.

For example, if you’re offering a high-impact fitness program, you could also offer a course on balance and mobility that complements the main program. 

This would not only add value to the overall fitness experience but also give customers an incentive to keep coming back for more.

Upselling is a powerful technique because it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. 

Your existing customers have already demonstrated trust in your brand and are more likely to purchase additional courses or resources from you.

AccessAlly makes it easy to implement an upsell strategy through its “cross-selling dashboard”. 

This feature allows you to set up 1-click upsells on your membership site that can be made visible to logged-in members or on an order confirmation page for new members.

11. Select the right platform to host your courses

When it comes to promoting your online courses, choosing the right platform to host and sell them is crucial. 

AccessAlly is an all-in-one tool that is designed to help you create, promote, and sell your courses with ease. 

It comes packed with built-in features that can help you centralize your efforts, which means you can focus on your core competency – creating high-quality courses.

Some of the best features of AccessAlly include:

  • Powerful affiliate program management modules which can help you leverage the power of third-party brand advocates to promote your courses. This means that you can incentivize your affiliates to promote your courses on their platforms and earn a commission for every referral sale.
  • A range of built-in eCommerce tools, including email automation, creation of landing pages, upselling, and multiple payment gateway integrations (including PayPal and Stripe).
  • Seamless integration with your existing CRM, which means you can streamline your marketing and sales processes even further. If you use Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, or Drip, you can connect AccessAlly to your CRM to create a fully automated course promotion and sales funnel.

AccessAlly is an ideal platform for creating and promoting your online courses. With its powerful built-in features, you can focus on what you do best, while AccessAlly takes care of the rest.

Bonus section: what not to do when promoting your online course

While promoting your online course, it’s crucial to be mindful of some common pitfalls that can hinder your success.

Here are some things to avoid when promoting your online course:

Relying too much on SEO

While optimizing your course pages for search engines is essential, relying solely on SEO to drive traffic can be risky. 

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and it’s challenging to stay on top of the latest best practices. 

Instead, focus on diversifying your marketing channels to include social media, email marketing, paid advertising, and other tactics.

Improper use of popups

Popups can be effective in capturing leads or promoting an offer, but they can also be annoying and disruptive to users’ browsing experience. 

Be strategic in your use of popups, and avoid using them too frequently or in a way that interrupts the user’s journey.

Poorly aligned affiliates

Utilizing affiliates to promote your course can be a powerful way to extend your reach, but it’s essential to choose affiliates that align well with your brand. 

Choosing affiliates who don’t share your values or audience can lead to a disjointed and ineffective promotion strategy.

Spreading resources too thin

Trying to promote your course on every platform or channel available can be overwhelming and counterproductive. 

Instead, focus on the channels where your audience is most active and where you can make the most impact. 

This will allow you to allocate your resources effectively and maximize your chances of success.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can develop a more effective promotion strategy and increase your chances of success. 

Remember to stay focused on your goals, be strategic in your approach, and continually evaluate and adjust your tactics as needed.

Promote your course with AccessAlly

Promoting your online course can be challenging, but it’s essential to drive enrollments and increase revenue. 

We’ve discussed some effective strategies to help you promote your course successfully. 

From utilizing paid advertising options to implementing an affiliate program, and upselling additional courses, these strategies can make a significant difference in your course’s success.

However, choosing the right platform to support your promotional efforts is most critical. 

AccessAlly is an all-in-one tool that comes with built-in features like affiliate programs, eCommerce tools, and integrations with CRMs to centralize the creation, promotion, and selling of your course in one place. 

It’s a game-changer in simplifying the process of course promotion.

If you’re looking for the right tool to support your online course promotion, we highly recommend trying AccessAlly today.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your online course’s reach and enrollments. Explore AccessAlly now and take your course promotion efforts to the next level!

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