Today, stories abound of online course creators making careers (and fortunes) out of selling their courses. Learn to master the art of going digital
03 December, 2020
Online course creators who have successfully launched their product seem to have multiplied exponentially in 2020. Financial viability and a strong consumer base are now distinct possibilities, rather than a far-fetched hope. This holds true across the entire online learning ecosystem. However, this wasn’t always the case. When online
course marketplaces such as Udemy first launched, the idea of packaging and
selling your knowledge and expertise online was a novel idea. And to be able to earn 6 figures doing so? Absolutely preposterous.
But despite this rocky start, recent events have conspired to reshape the scenario entirely. Now, stories abound of online course creators making careers (and fortunes) out of selling their courses. So, what prompted this drastic shift?
What do top-selling course creators have to say?
To get to the bottom of this phenomenon, top-selling creators were posed one simple question:
“How exactly are you doing it?”
Although this resulted in a wide array of insightful responses, the one thing that every creator agreed on and stressed upon was the importance of rigorously marketing their online courses. As a consequence, it should come as no surprise that one of the key factors differentiating top-selling course creators from
everyone else is the presence of an online marketing system. The ability to efficiently locate key demographics, inform them of your product, and convince them that it will benefit their lives is a priceless weapon in the arsenal of any salesperson.
But while an active marketing mechanism may play an integral role in the ultimate success of an online course, it’s important to remember that the best marketing campaign in the world won’t compensate for poorly made, unprofessional content. Only by pairing top-notch content with a marketing system will creators see the sales figures they deserve. The second finding from this activity had to do with course pricing. Namely, that most creators were reluctant to charge the full worth of their product. In this situation, many creators took to underpricing their courses, believing that it wouldn’t sell if the price were too high.
However, the data shows us that this situation is a race to the bottom. While short term courses that are priced at under INR 1,000 vastly outnumber the longer, more specialised classes that can go all the way up to INR 20,000, it might surprise you to learn that it’s the latter that prove the most popular. This is down to the simple fact that people realise that quality content doesn’t come cheap. And they’re willing to pay for the best. When you change your course’s worth, people are
fully invested in it. This belief in the value of what they pay for drives them to not only complete the course but to actually apply their learnings in the real world. The successful execution of these tasks provides them with tangible results, which in turn leads to positive testimonials. And once this cycle has started, there’s no stopping it. You will have developed a self-sustaining fan base eager and willing to vouch for the efficacy of your course.
Should online course creators spend more time developing a course or marketing it?
Now that we’ve established the crucial role marketing plays in the success of an online course, we’re left with an interesting question: would online content creators are better served spending more time developing their course, or marketing it?
As with so many other things, the key to success lies in finding the right balance between the two. A creative and enthralling course needs a strong marketing hook to develop an audience; similarly, a marketing campaign needs to be built upon the foundation of a brilliant course to truly achieve any measure of success.
It’s also important to avoid approaching online course creation with purely financial motives. While money is undoubtedly a vital consideration, it should not be the sole driving factor for entering this business. Content creators do the work out of passion. They love a particular skill or talent, they’ve dedicated hours to master its intricacies, and now they want to share it with the world. Any course that isn’t created with this same spirit, and is viewed purely as a vehicle to earn money, will fall far short of expectations and end up impressing no one. Instead, a good course should combine expert domain knowledge with an interesting mix of content. This can include pre-recorded video lectures, weekly live sessions, quizzes, online assignments, and live tests. When all of these elements are combined, the end result is a brand that guarantees long-term success.
Establish an online presence and make sure people can find you:
If you’ve created an online course, you’re aware of your audience and their needs. To ensure that the reverse is true as well, provide them with a free sample of your work, either through your website, Youtube channel or as a free course. Ultimately, there is no ‘secret sauce’ to success. All you need to do is follow the steps that have been outlined to show people that your course is a powerhouse.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
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