1. Craft your ideal student avatar
This is an important first step to take before you implement any of the strategies listed in this article. Understanding who your ideal student is before you start marketing your course will help you craft marketing messages that speak directly to their frustrations, needs, and desires.
Your ideal student avatar is essentially a representation of the ideal student for your course. Write at least a one-paragraph description describing your ideal student and keep them in mind as you implement the marketing strategies listed in this guide.
2. Identify your unique value proposition
Research some of the existing online courses related to your topic so that you have a good idea of what is included in those courses and how they are presented. The goal here is to determine how you will differentiate your course from your competition. What areas of your topic will you cover that your competition missed? What value can you add to your course that is not included in the others?
Identify your unique value proposition (aka a differentiator) and include it on your course sales page and in your marketing messages. Plus, when people ask “how is your course different from XYZ?”, it helps to have a good answer.
3. Survey your audience before you create your course
This step is important because it helps ensure that you create an online course that people actually want to take. If you have an audience (from a blog, podcast, email list, social media, etc.), send them a survey to ask them what topics they are interested in learning about. Create a course based on what they want, not on what you want to create.
Including your audience in your course creation process is also a great way to build anticipation for your course before you release it, plus you validate the demand for your course topic before you invest any resources to create it.
4. Create a compelling course title based on keyword research
Imagine for a moment that you are searching for some information about your topic. What search terms (aka keywords) are you going to use to find the information you’re looking for? If you wanted to learn how to design logos in Adobe Photoshop, for example, you would likely enter the keywords “how to design logos using Photoshop”, or some similar variation of that phrase.
Use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner or BuzzSumo to identify the most popular keywords related to your course topic, and include those keywords in your course title. This will help to position your course as exactly what a potential student is looking for as they search for your topic online.
Here are some things you can do after your course is created to help increase your sales:
5. Promote your course on your blog
Your blog is a great place to promote your course, especially if you regularly publish free content related to your course topic. If you write articles about the same topic that you teach in your course, then every person who reads your blog is a potential student for your course.
Some great places to showcase your course are the top bar of your website (if your blog’s theme doesn’t include a top bar, you can add one using Sumo or Hello Bar), at the end of each blog post, in your sidebar, and on your About Page. Using Thinkific, you can also create Sales Widget for your course and place that sales widget anywhere on your blog.
6. Start a YouTube channel
YouTube is the second most visited search engine in the entire world (after Google). There are literally millions of people searching for “how-to” videos on YouTube on a daily basis. YouTube videos can even rank higher than websites in the search results of numerous search engines.
Start a YouTube channel about your course topic and publish helpful videos on a regular basis. Include a link to your website or course in your video descriptions.
7. Publish a course promotion video on YouTube
Create a short video to promote your course and publish it on YouTube. You could even create multiple promotional videos, each with a different title, to increase exposure for your course. Make sure you include popular keywords related to your topic in your video titles and descriptions so they rank well in search results for those terms. Include a link to your website or course in your video descriptions. If your promo video does well, consider running ads for it using Facebook or Google, for example.
8. Add student testimonials to your course sales page
Social proof plays such an important role in a buyer’s decision-making process. Very few people are comfortable being the first person to purchase a product or service. They want to know if others have bought your course and had a positive experience. That is why testimonials and reviews carry so much weight.
Add a few positive testimonials to your course sales page from other students who have taken your course. If no one has taken your course yet, let a few people take your course for free in exchange for a testimonial.
9. Include a link to your course in your email signature
You probably send and respond to numerous emails on a daily basis, and some of those people you are emailing could be interested in your course if they knew about it. Add a short sentence to your email signature that includes a link to your course. Even if someone who sees your email signature isn’t interested in your course, they may know someone who is and tell them about it.
10. Add a course page to your main website
If you have a website or a blog, add a page to your website that includes details about your course. Once that page is set up, add a link to that page to the main menu of your website so that visitors can easily find it and learn more about your course. Include a link to purchase your course directly on that page, or alternatively, include a link to your course sales page so they can learn more about it and decide if they want to buy it.