FREE Ultimate guide for anyone that plans to create and sell online courses or any other information products as a whole.
We are going to cover everything from choosing a niche, pros and cons of selling courses, planning or outlining the course, few popular sales processes to sell the course and marketing, driving traffic to this sales process.
Ok, with all of that being said let's start with...
How To Sell An Online Course (Pros and Cons)
Selling online courses is a great business model but there are a few negative sides as well. And I want to let you know exactly what they are. In my own personal opinion, of course.
Let's start with...
Pros Of Selling Online Courses
High Profit Margins
So one of the huge pros, the main reason why people are doing that is because it has high profit margins.
So just think about it. If if you're selling a course, all your expenses are basically the marketing of the course. And that's pretty much it, oh you also need to pay for the hosting platform, the place where the course stays, where it lives on the internet (which is not that expensive).
These are the 2 main expenses you can have if you want to sell a course online.
As you know some courses cost like $997 or even $1997 so thats huge profit margins there.
That is the main reason why most entrepreneurs are quickly transitioning from their main business into selling courses - courses have higher profit margins than most physical product businesses because there are barely any overheads.
Very Passive Business Model
Selling courses is almost entirely passive.
Yep, it's almost entirely passive, which is absolutely great.
Now, what does that mean?
You create your course, you setup systems to sell that course, for example, funnels, a webinar or any other way you think of and then all you need to do is run traffic through your funnel.
If you're doing paid advertising, you just set up the the advertising campaigns, and you just need to monitor them and check how they're working from time to time.
And that's it.
It's very passive.
You don't need to buy stock all the time, fill spreadsheets or any of that stuff.
It just stays and lives on the internet which makes creating and selling online courses one of the most passive and easy to automate business models out there.
HUGE Demand For Information (Most Popular Niches)
Online courses are in huge demand (kinda).
Especially these 3 niches, which are also known to be evergreen.
That means that there will always be demand for problem solutions in these 3.
Wealth is the "Make Money Online" niche.
You know...sitting on the beach and making money - that kind of stuff.
Probably 90% of the programs that promise that are of extremely low quality but it is what it is.
If you can teach people how to make money, trust me, you are going to make a lot of money.
This niche can sometimes feel like it's getting a bit saturated.
If you are like me you're probably bombarded with make money online ads around the web.
I am 100% sure that if you can really teach people how to make money, they will love you forever.
The second huge niche is the relationship niche.
How to attract more men/women kinda thing.
People will always want to know how to be attractive, how to be more liked and etc..
The third one is the health niche.
Health, fitness and bodybuilding.
How to build a six pack abs in in one month, how to lose 10 kilograms of weight in in two months - that kind of stuff.
People will always want to look good, be in shape, be healthy.
If you are knowledgable in any of those 3 niches - you have knowledge that can easily be monetised.
Alright, so these were the pros. Let me know in the comments if I am missing anything important.
Now let's move to the...
Cons Of Selling Online Courses
Look, if selling courses was that great and that easy everyone would be trying to do it right ?
It is great, but there are some negative sides as well.
Over-Saturation In Some Niches
This one...I'm a bit confused.
Yes, i know that earlier i said that there is a HUGE demand and now I'm saying that it is saturated.
Sometimes when I am checking my Facebook it feels like everyone is doing that make money online thing.
The reality is that very few people actually are.
If you type a specific key phrase and look at the results for your specific business model, you'll see that people are not that interested actually in digital marketing or funnels and etc..
However if you are paying close attention to a market or a niche you'll get the impression that everyone is doing it.
The second con of selling online courses is...
Difficult To Sell Courses With No Audience
If you haven't got an email list or you haven't got any type of audience, it might be difficult to sell your course at the price that you want.
Now there is a workaround that and that's basically if you try and sell your courses on course marketplaces where your product can be seen by many, many other people.
One of those platforms is Udemy.
Now the problem with that is that you basically won't be able to sell the the course at the price that you want.
As I've mentioned before I am not a big fan of any platform or anything that is taking control away from you.
Also Udemy are having discounts where your course is sold for 20$ and, on top of that, there is a 30 day money back guarantee, similar to Amazon.
People can buy, consume your course and then refund it.
NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
So this is the downside of not having an email list, facebook group or any kind of audience somewhere that you can sell to.
The last comment I want to mention is the fact that your course could...
Quickly Become Outdated
This is a terrible thing to happen.
I know people that actually had to re-do their whole training course because of major redesign changes to the platform the course was about.
If your course is about something specific, let's say "how to use Facebook ads" it can quickly become outdated if Facebook makes a lot of changes to their platform.
So what do you need to do about it ?
Well, you've got 2 option really - keep updating it (which is what most people would do) or leave it as it is (makes sense if your course is cheap and is not worth it).
Alright, so know you know what the pros and cons of selling courses are.
In my opinion it is an extremely lucrative business model and is definitely something that you should consider !
How To Plan A Course
So how do you come up with ideas?
What course can you actually make if if you don't have the knowledge on let's say, you don't know how to make money online.
Let's assume that you have no knowledge in the 3 evergreen niches.
If you are an adult I am sure that there is something that you know about.
What's your experience, what are your hobbies, what is it that you know ?
There is something !
In my case, I've been a waiter for many years.
So there ya go :
" How To Be A Successful Full Time Headwaiter (Running 6 Tables) Without Even A Single Day In The Restaurant "
You like how that sounds ?
This is an example of a course that I could build without knowing anything about the internet or how to make money online and etc...
I have even done a little research. A course like that costs about 33$ ( LOL).
That is in the UK though, where being a waiter is not the greatest job.
In America is more popular and as far as I'm aware waiters are getting a lot of tips.
Meaning that type of course can be sold for more in the USA.
All of that is guesswork but I'm trying to make a point here.
You can build and sell course from any type of knowledge as long as the demand is there.
Now, the second question that you need to ask yourself when you're coming up with your niche selection, or what your course is going to be about is, what problem is my course actually going to solve.
That's what people are looking for.
The solution that your course is going to provide.
Let's use the waiters course example again.
Someone wants to apply for a waiting position in a prestigious London restaurant.
In the job offer it says "You need to be comfortable to run a section of 6 tables or more".
But he ain't.
Your course is offering to solve that problem.
This is your customers final destination, their goal - running 6 tables all at once.
So how do you outline the course, how do you plan it ?
We are going to use an escape and arrival system.
This is not something that I have invented or anything.
I have actually seen other people doing it.
This is what I would use if I was creating a course.
What this is is basically a straight line with some small milestones on it.
We're going to use a waiting course for this example.
In the beginning of the straight line, you've got the starting point of your students.
They've got no waiting experience and that's main problem.
Their final destination or goal is to be able to run six tables all at once, because that's what you're claiming your course will do.
The problem in their current situation is the starting point point of the escape and arrival system.
The end point is what your course is claiming to give them, which in this case, is going to be to be able to run six tables all at once.
Then we've got these small milestones here.
They basically describe the path to achieving their results.
For my waiters course example we can use :
- How To Set Up Tables
- Rules Of Serving
- Different Types Of Service
- How To Clear Tables
- Silver Service
And so on... You get the point.
Then what you need to do is divide the milestones into even smaller pieces.
This is how you're going to create a lot of content of a topic that seems to be straight forward and difficult to create content about.
I so this is a very simple straightforward system that you can use to outline or plan your online course or create a course syllabus.
This can help your students and yourself.
It's a very straightforward process that will help you create a lot of content and will tell you what content to create for your course.
Your students starting point if the beginning of the escape and arrival system.
The solution to their problem is the end (make sure it's visible on the sales page of the course).
Use milestones for every step along the way and you will quickly be making a lot of content.
With that done, let's find where to build and eventually sell our course.
Best Online Course Platforms
Which are the best platforms for you to create, host and sell your courses ?
Now the first start with...
How To Sell Online Courses From Your Website
Yes, you can sell online courses from your own website.
We are going to use WordPress website for this example but can be done with any other CMS.
The way to do that is by using a third party plugins that you can download from the WordPress marketplace.
You have to buy them actually, not just download.
Some are cheap other not that cheap.
But if you are trying to do anything you'll have to spend some money right ?
Now please be aware that I'm talking about wordpress.org website and not wordpress.com website.
Now the way to do that is by installing or signing up with one of those free plugins that I'm going to mention in a bit.
There are many other plugins doing the same thing, so I'm not going to tell you which one to choose.
If you are reading this you probably know how to do research and find out which one is the best for you.
The plugin that I have used in the past to build a course inside my WordPress is called...
Apprentices is basically doing exactly that, creating courses inside your WordPress web site.
The thing with Thrive Apprentice is that you can't actually buy it on its own, you need to get the whole Thrive membership(which by the way is not expensive, offers immense amount of value, has a 30 day money back guarantee and is what this website is built with).
The Thrive membership gives you absolutely everything except a cart functionality.
Now the problem with that is that you can create a course in but you can't sell it with Thrive Themes.
There is no cart functionality.
Which means you need another plugin.
There is one called Thrive Cart (has nothing to do with Thrive Themes), people say it's good.
I've never used it personally.
Again, you need to do your own research and find the one that's right for you.
You can also use a free plugin like WooCommerce.
Unfortunately with the free option the plugin is limited and does not include up-sells, down-sells, cross-sells or any of that.
Still works though as a marketplace type plugin like an online store, which is not the best way to sell info products in my opinion.
Thrive Apprentice is great but it has it's limitations.
The whole Thrive Themes Ecosystemis fantastic.
One of the other plugins that you need to consider is called...
This article is not going to focus too much on these plugins but let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
I'm just trying to explain that you can sell your course on your own website.
Lean dash is a great tool and it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
The third plugin I'm going to mention is...
Membermouse has a cart function included. It's not very expensive either.
It's another great plugin that allows you to sell your courses from your own website.
Another great platform to create and sell online courses and this is one of my favourites...
The Best Online Course Softwares (Outside WordPress)
One of my favourites !
In fact my favourite.
You probably know but I make a lot of content around Kartra.
I think it's a great software.
Then I've got a video on how to make a membership site with Kartra.
It's not just membership site it also has an email autoresponder, landing page creation, cart functionality as well so people can directly buy.
It's an all in one product.
It's a good choice if you want to create courses, affiliate program or pretty much anything really.
Kartrais a great all in one marketing tool.
You can try it for 1$ for 14 days.
Another platform where you can host create and sell your online courses is...
Clickfunnels is probably the most popular software out there.
Russel Brunson the person behind Clickfunnels has made million of dollar selling this software.
It is the most popular for a reason and loads of people love it.
It has the ability to create membership sites which is what we are looking for.
they're two very very similar software Where's doing pretty much the same
Fourth platform that I'm going to mention is called Udemy.
There is a big chance that if you write the word course inside Google you will be shown a Udemy result.
It is the biggest marketplace for courses
Think of it as Amazon for courses.
You can build, host and sell your online courses there.
Being a marketplace and doing pretty much everything for you, expect to pay a percentage to the platform.
Also it has other negative sides which I'm going to mention below.
Now another platform that definitely needs mentioning is the so called...
Teachableis one of the most popular online platforms to build/create your online courses.
Reasonably priced as well.
You get all the bells and whistles of an online course creation software.
Teachable is kind of a hybrid between Udemy and the rest.
It's not a marketing software that can host courses.
It is a course creation platform.
A good one.
Alright, and the six platform that i want to mention is called...
Kajabi is another all in one marketing software similar to Clickfunnels and Kartra.
Again it has all the bells and whistles you would expect from an all in one marketing platform.
My experience with it is limited but I know big names in the marketing world using it.
Obviously it's working really well if Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern and the likes are using it to create online courses.
As you can see it starts at 149$ a month which is more than the rest on this list.
At the end of the day you need to ask yourself what exactly are you looking for and how much are you willing to pay.
These 6 platforms are the ones that I would consider. There are a lot more out there.
What is important is to remember that Udemy and Teachable are platforms designed for courses ONLY.
The rest are all in one marketing platforms with membership sites capabilities.
You can build online courses on all of them.
Now that we know the 6 best platform to build our online courses on.
It's time to think about...
How To Sell Online Courses(3 Proven Funnel Templates)
Now that you have created your online course it's time for us to find a way to sell it.
Using these 3 proven funnels that I'm going to mention below you can sell not only courses but any digital product, or at least, most of them.
You MUST be able to drive traffic to a funnel to make these work.
You can find how to advertise your courses below but we need to build the sales process first before we start driving traffic.
Let's start with the first funnel and by far the most popular way to sell online courses...
The Webinar Funnel
As you can see, if you're in the make money online niche, you can see that 90% of the ads that are promoting make money online courses or products want you to sign up for free training, which is a webinar it's happening right now.
There is creating urgency.
This in most cases is fake scarcity.
You sign up for pre recorded webinar and at the end of this webinar they pitch a course or a product.
Also you collect a good amount of leads by doing so.
If you are looking for a good webinar software there are 2 I would like to mention
A software developed by the people that run Kartra.
Works really well together, think of it like an IPhone and an Apple Watch (LOL).
It has many cool features and is considered one of the top webinar softwares out there.
No prerecorded webinars a.k.a webinars on demand.
There is another webinar software that is called...
Again a great software, same people involved including Mike FIlsaime (very popular digital marketing expert).
This one adds the ability to do prerecorded webinars.
If you are going to use a webinar on demand platform, please don't say that it is live.
Don't do what everybody else does alright ?
Selling using webinars is great, but makes sense for more expensive courses.
If your online course has a lower price point, webinar might not be the best option out there.
Free+Shipping+One Time Offer Funnel
This is another very popular way of selling courses online.
You give something valuable for a very small price "just cover the shipping kinda thing" and then you up-sell them the course at a lower price than what it would cost.
The best time to make an offer is when someone already purchased something from you.
So when they spend 7$ on the shipping, they would most likely be willing to pay again for an actual course.
There is a lot of noise around that free+shipping+oto funnel and there is plenty of information about it.
If you are a Kartra user you can download my funnels for free. They are located in the marketplace.
The third proven funnel to sell an online course is...
The Product Launch Funnel
This one is my favourite.
It's widely used by affiliate marketers to pre-frame people, as part of an indoctrination sequence or as a product launch funnel.
It consist of a number of videos that the lead needs to watch in order to achieve something.
I have created this funnel and you can get it for free inside Kartra's marketplace.
There is a video below where I explain absolutely everything about this funnel to a friend of mine.
So what these 3 funnels have in common ?
They are building a relationship before making an offer.
That's why so many people are using them.
With the webinar you're going to spend 1,2 and sometimes even 3 hours with someone before they make an offer.
The goal is to build a relationship, so people get to know, like and trust you.
Same with product launch funnel - they are going to watch a number of videos before you make an offer.
This is the goal of that type of funnels and that is why they work so well.
There are millions of ways to sell things online.
Some are even using an online store.
All of that is great and you DO need to have a proper sales process in place but...
How To Advertise Online Courses (Without a Following)
How to find people interested in your course ?
If you are a big youtube or if you have a blog with loads of traffic - it's not that hard.
What if nobody follow you ?
There are 3 ways to do it (they will all take some time though).
This is probably the most difficult part.
One of the main skills in the game.
If you learn how to do that...
You can succeed.
Either as an affiliate or some other way...driving traffic is the ultimate skill.
Maybe traffic and selling I would say.
Anyway...here are the 3 methods to advertise your courses online.
How To Create An Affiliate Program For Your Course
If you suck at advertising, marketing and creating traffic, why don't you find someone else to do it for you ?
At the end of the day that's what affiliate marketing is.
Obviously you need to manage the whole thing but some people might find it easier the other 2 that I'll mention in a second.
Most of the platforms, in fact all of them, that I mentioned above allow you to create an affiliate program for your courses.
Share the profits with other people and they will promote it for you.
If you have a money back period don't forget to pay affiliates after this period.
Managing affiliates requires you to manage other people and is not easy at all.
Getting exposure and traffic is never easy anyway.
Next is ...
How To Advertise Your Course With Paid Ads
Of course you can run ads to your course sales page.
There's a variety of different platforms that you can use Google ads, you can do Facebook ads, you can do so many other stuff.
Paid advertising is basically traffic on demand.
Now, obviously, you need to have some experience with paid advertising.
You need to have a basic understanding of what's happening when you're running a campaign.
It's not that difficult if you spend some time learning.
By using paid advertising you are using Googles and Facebook's data so they can find the right people for you and send them through your funnel.
The third and the last way to drive traffic to your funnels and to advertise your courses online is the slowest and probably the hardest way to do it...
How To Advertise Your Course With Organic Content Creation
Or also know as creating an audience.
You can start doing youtube videos, start a blog or post organically on social media.
This will start generating traffic but it's not going to be a fast process.
This method is cheap, in some cases it can be free.
There is an awful lot to do though...
Just think about it, to get the maximum exposure you have to be everywhere.
At least I would try to be...
And i did, guess what, I'm struggling to do it on my own.
Just the social networks on their own are :
And there are probably more out there.
There are tools that can help you with all of that but still, it's a lot.
The problem with that is that it's hard to measure, it's hard to predict...
BUT IT'S FREE
It probably is the best way to start if you are a beginner.
Don't just go and spend money on ads if you don't want, or can't afford, loosing them.
Affiliate programs are great but you need to be able to manage people.
Also you need strict terms and conditions for affiliate to follow otherwise they can easily hurt your company.
Massive thank you if you read this article till the end.
Let me know what you think in the comments down below.
Also give me some ideas on what to write next.
Contact me if you need help with anything of what i've mentioned in this article and I might be able to help.