Are you looking to sell online courses in 2023 but need help figuring out where to start? Creating an online course business is an excellent way to make money while you share your knowledge and build a community interested in what you want to teach. But what arete the best steps to creating these types of digital products?
Courses can be sold as a standalone product or belong to a larger business strategy, making them quite a flexible option to try. In this article, we will show you how to sell online courses in 2023 and make six figures.
Which Industries can Benefit from Selling Online Courses?
Online courses have consistently grown more popular over recent years, to the point where there are now easily as many types of online courses available as there are types of businesses. You can use courses to learn about real estate marketing, mental health, wellness and well-being, and coaching or teaching itself!
If you want to help people learn more about a topic, you can definitely take those skills and create your own course that’s accessible to people from all over the world.
Let’s take a look at some popular eLearning course ideas. Some of the most searched-for online classes include:
- Coding and programming
- Web development and design
- Business and management
- Arts and crafts
- Well-being and health
- Education and coaching
Of course, that’s not to say other courses aren’t profitable. However, it’s a good idea to see how many people look for classes similar to the ones you’d like to create to see if there’s an audience you can attract. You can look for this information using websites like Google Trends, which shows the latest and most popular search engine requests users are making.
What are the Benefits of Selling Online Courses?
The income you can generate with online courses is, of course, one of the main reasons many people choose to create them. What’s more, those earnings (being more-or-less passive because you can sell the course long after you’ve made it) allow you to expand on your course materials and reach a wider audience. So, online courses are not just profitable – they are also highly scalable.
This is why it’s so important to be able to target the right market so you can raise your price point and create more revenue for your business. Increasing your earnings is all about balancing the costs, the course price, and your target audience’s needs.
Online courses are an excellent way to share your knowledge and expertise with others. As we mentioned, they can help you build an audience, increase sales, and act as a lead magnet for your business. The online learning market is also a growing sector with lots of opportunities.
“The online education market is forecast to grow to $350 Billion by 2025.”
Additionally, online courses are well-positioned to become the number one option for education seekers in the future.
“Digital/online coaching is becoming the mainstay of how coaching takes place compared with previous years. Various surveys in recent years show a dramatic growth in online coaching. Virtual coaching increases accessibility, is more time-efficient for coach and client, creates higher levels of flexibility, and may make coaching more affordable.”
Megan Hudson, on LinkedIn, 2022
How do I Set Up a Successful Online Course? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)
Though it may seem daunting at first, the key to finishing any large task (and this applies to online course creation as well!) is to break it down into steps. Here are the steps you should take to set up a profitable online course.
Selecting a Platform for Your Course
There are many platforms you can use to sell your online courses. Two popular options are Teachable and Udemy, which can definitely help you get the job done. However, these platforms don’t have all the features you need to run a successful course business.
Both Teachable and Udemy allow you to create, host, and sell your courses through their portals, but they are not a complete solution. For example, while they support setting up a landing page, course content, and include a live coaching tool and some integrations (such as Mailchimp for email marketing, Zapier for automation, and analytics), you also need to pay a considerable annual fee just to host the course online. And, if you choose any of the options other than the ‘Business’ plan, you won’t have access to advanced theme customization, making it much harder to brand your course content as you would like.
When you’re looking at different online course platforms, you should always consider: How much support do you need? Does the platform offer marketing tools to help you promote your content? How about design tools? Most importantly, will your chosen platform be prepared to help you if the course needs significant scaling after a big boost in sales?
AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin that is uniquely equipped to help coaches who already have an engaged audience create and sell their courses online. AccessAlly has everything you need to scale your online business – from beautiful enrollment forms to advanced analytics. And, because it was built by a coach to help other coaching businesses, you won’t find a better solution!
Here are some key AccessAlly features that can help your course stand out and make it a top seller:
- One comprehensive solution: AccessAlly is a single plugin that contains everything you need to run a successful online coaching business. While other solutions require a combination of different platforms or plugins (for example, a separate learning management system, membership site, or website builder), or a lot of time to make sure everything is working together, AccessAlly is easy to use and won’t cut into your profits.
- Dedicated support: When you look at other online teaching platforms, all the support they offer is for basic functionality, such as using their drag-and-drop interface to create a course. AccessAlly has a dedicated support team that can actually help you design your lessons according to what your customers want and what sells best.
- Enrollment manager: This tool allows you to track student progress through funnels, which help you nurture them through the different stages of the learning journey. AccessAlly’s enrollment management can help you set goals for your learners and keep you connected to them so you can track engagement. This, in turn, can help you prevent drops and retain more customers on your courses.
- Built for scalability: If your goal is to create a high-earning business selling courses online, AccessAlly is the ideal tool because it’s built for businesses that want to scale. Not only does it provide the tools to facilitate this and templates to make your courses look unique, but the plugin also helps you create a community built around growth, sharing success stories and tips.
Creating and Engaging With Your Course Audience
When you create a new online course, it’s likely your first customers will come through your existing email lists or social media followers. This is why having an audience is a vital part of creating a new course.
An effective way to build an audience is by sharing your expertise online using social media (such as Facebook groups), blogging, podcasts, and even online forums. If you post consistently and make sure you engage with your audience, you will know they will keep coming back for more.
So, our tip for engaging better with your (potential) students is to communicate with your audience often. Keep an ear to the ground so you can learn about their concerns, questions, and goals. You can do this by posting polls, asking highly engaged community members to complete surveys, and hosting live webinars taking questions, just to name a few ways.
Choosing a Topic for Your Course
There are a few ways in which you can define a topic for your online course. For example, you can use FAQs, pain points, and gaps in information that readers see in their industry to decide whether something might work. It’s always better to have a very niche topic your audience cares about rather than a general topic that “might” get more attention.
The key is in researching and having real numbers to back up your theories on what might be helpful. For example, you can survey ideal customers, run polls, ask questions, and be open to pivoting your topic if it seems it’s not very sought-after.
Another vital path to picking the best topic for your course is to focus on making your current target audience happy; after all, they’ve made a choice to follow you already, and it costs less to convert them into customers than it does to nurture a lead from scratch. We’re talking about how to build a six-figure business from zero, so lowering your cost of acquisition will help keep you bringing in that income more efficiently.
Defining a Price for Your Online Course
Although this step can feel like a guessing game for many online course creators, it’s always good to spend some time getting familiar with the context before you set a price for your classes or set up a sales page. Average courses cost between $50-$200 depending on the amount of competing offers, your expertise, and how niche your topic is. Doing some research on the target audience for your course will come in handy here, too, particularly to ensure pricing aligns with their income level.
Charge according to a payment model that works for you. For example, one payment for lifetime access or membership fees for course content + extra content like weekly videos and newsletters, etc. You can also use payment plans for higher-priced courses. What will your audience prefer? Don’t be afraid to ask them using a poll or survey!
Creating Your Course Content
The best way to get started is to write out a script and prepare materials (if any) that will be complementary to each part of your course. This way, you can reference them through the different lessons.
Creating the course content is, in itself, also a step-by-step process – and one that‘s worth taking your time on because it will determine whether your classes are attractive. The production level of the course should be worth paying for (for example, you should have high-quality content, video, and audio). And, since it’s paid content, it should also provide your students with valuable know-how, sound good, and have good lighting.
Don’t be afraid to spend some money on buying the necessary equipment. It’s always a good idea to invest in a decent camera, studio lighting setup, and the best software for editing your video content. Or alternatively, you can hire a team to do this for you and save you some time you can use on other creative efforts. Lastly, try to always record in front of a green screen, so you have more flexibility when creating the videos.
Promoting and Selling Your Online Course
For many course creators and coaches, the question may not be so much how to create the lessons, but rather: How do I sell my course?
It’s always best to engage potential buyers early and offer subscribers on your email list an exclusive discount. You want revenue to start coming in as early as possible, even if it means pre-selling your content, so you should have a somewhat ready course before launch. This will kickstart that revenue stream and keep your momentum going.
One good option to promote your course is to use pay-per-click (PPC) ads: Set up Facebook Ads campaigns targeting the audiences that are most likely interested in purchasing your offerings. For example, you can focus on people who have signed up for free trials but haven’t purchased anything yet. Every visitor you lose means marketing dollars going down the drain, so make sure you spend on retargeting ads to bring these customers back and increase the potential revenue.
Another excellent idea is to use an affiliate program to give your most loyal fans another reason to preach about your course. Building a six-figure online course business doesn’t mean you will get to keep every penny – give your number-one fans a chance to make affiliate earnings for bringing in new customers. You can actually use AccessAlly’s built-in affiliate software to track the traffic that is being brought in, the course sales that traffic results in, and export everything to PayPal to send payment to affiliates.
Getting Feedback and Improving Your Course
The last step is to make sure your course continues improving over time. To do this, you can add surveys and other ways for your students to check in on how they’re finding your course. Don’t hesitate to engage with all those who finish the lessons to find out what drove them to get to the end and remind them how you can support them in the future.
You can also improve your online courses according to feedback, industry updates, and acquired expertise to keep the course relevant and successful.
Tips for Building a Six-Figure Course from Successful Creators
Let’s now go through some tips from actual course creators and coaches who have successfully launched their own initiatives and are happy to share a few helpful tricks. All of these course creators have used AccessAlly.
Greg Jenkins, Monkeypod Marketing
Monkeypod Marketing is a platform offering marketing automation courses for entrepreneurs so they can maximize return on efforts for their small businesses. Here’s what founder Greg Jenkins had to say about their business:
“If the responsibility is on the customer to determine if and where they’re getting ROI, then they could easily overlook different ways your work together has been impactful. So instead, help them actively call out the growth or results they’re looking to create, and then help celebrate the different benchmarks they pass as they make progress.”
This creator recommends using forums and places where your learning community can gather and discuss the topics they are learning about.
“For someone building a group coaching or membership business, it can be tempting to feel like you have to solve every problem that arises, which is both draining and daunting. Instead, cultivate a culture where questions are welcomed and solutions are celebrated. The distinction is subtle, but important – rather than being expected to have every answer, you now are the curator of a space where problem-solving takes place.”
Alexia Vernon, President of Step into Your Moxie
Step into Your Moxie is a woman-owned organization that empowers and mentors leaders in public speaking. Alexia Vernon offers the following advice to fellow course creators:
“Spend ample time cultivating your audience before you launch. Whether that means growing your own audience through free content, getting in front of other people’s audiences through speaking or affiliate relationships, or a combination of both, you want to make sure you have a robust group of people who know, like, and trust you before you launch.”
And about the advantages of offering free demo lessons so you can get some valuable feedback you can use to promote your courses:
“At the beginning, consider offering complimentary coaching (ex. 3–4 sessions) in exchange for a referral or testimonial. You can say something like, ‘I’m growing my coaching business, and I’d love to gift you a few complimentary sessions. It would be an honor to support you with your goals! If I do an extraordinary job, I’d love for you to consider offering me a testimonial or keeping me in mind if you know others who could use my services.’ As you get results for clients, even if they are pro-bono, you build your confidence – and also word of mouth referrals and buzz.”
Selena Soo, Selenasoo.com
Selena Soo helps leaders establish themselves with publicity to reach clients and position themselves as the go-to source in their industry. This is what she considers important when creating an online course:
“When launching your first online course, it’s essential to get the messaging right. Do market research to make sure it’s what people want and need, and use key phrases they share about their pain points and dreams in your marketing copy.”
Start Your Journey to Creating Successful Online Courses
If you want to create an online course, the first thing you should do is define your course’s topic, goals, and selling point. Then, choose a platform that can help you not just set up the lessons themselves but also promote and manage your courses and keep track of your students’ progress. Polish your topic, define your price, and start selling! And, of course, remember to ask your customers for feedback, so you can keep improving your course!
Taking these steps will benefit both your business and your students. With the right tools and the right content, your audience will grow and channel their trust in your skills into helping you build a six-figure business selling your courses online.
Take one step that’s approachable today and get the process of creating and selling a course online started! AccessAlly is the best online course platform for the job, built by and for coaches who want to set up and promote their courses easily. It offers a single, all-in-one solution containing everything you need to acquire clients, unlock revenue opportunities, and build that high-earning business you wish to have.