Selling an Online Course

Step-by-Step Guide, Effective Strategies, Tips & More

This is an in-depth guide on how to market and sell online courses.

So, if you’re looking for tips on:

  • Pricing your online course
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Utilizing webinars and podcasts

Then, you’ll love the actionable steps we’ve detailed in this post.

Let’s get into it.

So, you’ve spent months working on and perfecting your online course. That’s a big milestone but the work is not over yet.

Marketing and promoting your online course is just as essential for its success as spending time and effort creating it.

According to HubSpot, brands that blog…

Get 55% more web traffic and…

57% of online businesses that have a blog to market their product have a better chance of acquiring customers.

In this post, we’ll go over different techniques and approaches you can take to market your online course and increase your reach across different platforms.


How Much Should You Charge for Your Online Course?

When you’re trying to determine how much you should charge customers for your online course, it can involve a bit of guesstimating.

At the start, you should be ready to do some testing. You may find that your online course may not sell as well as you hoped initially. However, after lowering the price a bit, you may see an increase in the number of sales.

Most common price range of online courses:

Online courses can cost anywhere between $10 to $2000 depending on a number of factors such as the amount of course content, your expertise and the course topic.

Typically, you should price your first online course somewhere in the $50 – $200 price range. After that, depending on how well your sales are doing, you can choose to either decrease the price or keep it the same.

To determine the price of your online course, you should think about the following factors:

  • The amount of money you’re spending to create, publish, market and manage the online course.
  • The pricing of your competitors.
  • The income level of your target audience. How much would they be willing to spend?

As for the payment plans, there are three main approaches that you can consider:

  1. A single, lump-sum payment for lifetime access to the online course.
  2. A recurring monthly membership fee for access to your online course.
  3. Lifetime access to your online course that is paid for through multiple payments spread out over a certain period of time.

Choosing between these three choices is going to take some insight into what your target audience is.

Would their income levels allow them to afford a single lump-sum payment? Or would they be more willing to spend money on your online course if they could spread their payments out?

You may have figured it out by now that taking appropriate steps to effectively market your online course is essential.

You’re not going to find many customers if you just create an online course, publish it and then, just forget about it.

There are a number of different ways to market your online course such as through:

  • Email marketing
  • SEO marketing
  • Webinars
  • Social media marketing
  • Podcasts

We’ll talk about the last three in detail later on in this post but for now, let’s look into how email marketing works:

Email Marketing

According to a study by Campaign Monitor in 2016, every $1 spent by a business on email marketing returns an average of $44 as profit.

Email marketing is one of the cheapest and most effective forms of marketing that you can utilize for any business you run including selling online courses.

So, what is email marketing?

It’s a digital marketing strategy that enables you, a business owner, to build a strong, communicative relationship between yourself and potential customers.

It aims to inform potential customers about your brand, the courses you have to offer and how those courses can benefit them.

However, in order to perform email marketing effectively, there are some things you need to know. If you go into email marketing uninformed, you may just end up writing emails that will never work.

  1. Use a lead magnet: A lead magnet is an incentive you provide to potential customers so that they’ll visit your online course’s landing page to check it out. Some examples of lead magnets include access to a webinar, a podcast, a free trial to the first few lessons of your online course, etc.
  2. Create Capture Forms: Capture forms refer to email sign-up forms that you use not just within the emails but everywhere else as well. These forms capture emails of potential customers for email campaigns later on.


It’s a good idea to give an incentive to customers (lead magnets) for them to sign up to your capture form and provide their email.

Hence, you can use lead magnets in multiple ways…

  • Within emails to lead potential customers to your website
  • To collect emails when users visit your website or social media page.

It works both ways.

Once you have a sizable email list, you can then consider developing an email campaign to market your online course.

There are a number of tools that can help you effectively create an email campaign such as…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Through SEO, you’re essentially getting free traffic from search engines once you rank for the searched queries.

It’s important to have a dedicated website for your brand which you can leverage to pull traffic towards your online course.


When talking about choosing a platform to host your online course, we mentioned that you can use already established online course marketplaces such as Udemy and Coursera instead of hosting it on your own created website.

 While this is true, it’s still very effective to have a dedicated website which has external links that lead visitors to your online course on these marketplaces.

So, if your dedicated website does not host your online course, what does it consist of? Well, you can write articles about your related niche. This would be the niche that your online course is about.

And of course, you can have links and Calls-To-Action (CTAs) within that website which direct visitors to your online course.

When you’re writing articles about topics related to your niche, be sure to use relevant keywords that have a higher chance of pulling traffic to your website.

You can identify such keywords by using SEO tools such as:

For a detailed guide on how to start an email marketing campaign and how to perform SEO marketing, you can check out our post on marketing online courses effectively.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we say that social media is an extremely powerful tool to increase your reach regardless of your target audience.

According to Statista, approximately 3.78 billion people use social media worldwide. That’s almost half the population of the world.

Keeping that in mind, it’s safe to say that if you’re not utilizing such platforms to increase your reach, you’re clearly missing out.

So, let’s talk about the different ways in which you can use social media platforms to promote your online courses:

Using Facebook Live to Showcase Your Online Course

Facebook has the highest number of users out of all the popular social media platforms.

You can use it to conduct Facebook live sessions via either the Facebook page for your brand or via your own personal profile (though, we recommend the former).

Previewing your online course in this way will get people interested and curious about what you have to offer.

Furthermore, you can also address concerns and questions that people may have regarding your online course through these live sessions.

This will make them less apprehensive about buying your course.

Interacting with the Community on Twitter

Twitter is a highly powerful tool that you can use to market your online course organically.

Whatever the niche of your online course is, you should ingrain yourself within that community and participate in their discussions.

This can eventually result in you becoming a prominent member of that community and you can then, leverage this exposure to attract customers to your online course.

Promoting Your Online Course via Instagram Posts and Stories

Instagram is quite versatile in terms of the approaches you can take to market your online course.

Firstly, regular posts about your online course are the simplest approach to promoting it. You can detail the salient features of your course as well as inform students about what problems they’ll be able to tackle once they finish it.

You can also address concerns through the comments on these posts.

Furthermore, you can also preview and give sneak-peeks to your online course via the Stories feature.

Lastly, once a few students have bought your online course, have gone through it and are satisfied with it, you can ask them to write testimonials about your online course.

These testimonials can then be shared through Instagram.

Using Social Media Ads to Promote Your Brand

All of the approaches we’ve talked about above are a way to reach an audience organically.

 While organic reach is definitely more beneficial and effective in gaining customers, the best approach is to have a combination of both organic and non-organic approaches.

Social media ads on Facebook and Instagram can do wonders to promote your brand and deliver the message to a bigger audience.

As an online course creator, you may not have a lot of budget to invest in such ad campaigns so it’s a good idea to start off small.

If you start seeing results from these ads, you can then consider increasing their scale.


We’ve detailed all the important steps to take when marketing on social media in our social media guide to selling online courses that you can check out.

We mentioned earlier in our email marketing section how you can use webinars as “lead magnets” or incentives for people to go and visit your website.

The purpose is to have them learn more about your online course.

Now, let’s talk more in detail about how powerful of a tool webinars can be when trying to convert your audience into paying customers.

73% of marketers say that webinars are among the best channels to generate leads and convert audiences.

It makes sense when you think about it. A webinar essentially consists of you speaking directly to your potential customers and describing how your course can benefit them.

Not only does it allow you to build a human connection with your audience but it also gives you the chance to address any concerns and apprehensions they may have regarding your course.

This is much more effective than merely sending them an email about your online course that they can easily ignore.

Addressing Concerns

While it’s true that you will talk mostly about what your online course has to offer within your webinar, but it should also be specifically tailored towards people that are on the fence about buying it.

There can be a number of reasons why some people may not be convinced about buying your online course such as:

  • They believe this online course isn’t the right solution for them.
  • They think what you’re offering is appropriate for them but they still won’t find much success even if they buy your course
  • There is some other factor that is causing them to have concerns about buying your online course.

Thinking about these things will help you structure your webinar in a way that addresses such concerns and hopefully, changes the minds of people who may be on the fence about buying your online course.

Standing Out Amongst Your Competitors

In our post about choosing an online course topic, we detailed how you must target a solution that not many of your competitors have made courses about.

This helps you stand out amongst your competition within the context of the content of your course.

With that being said, potential customers may not be aware of this before they actually buy your online course.

 Thus, it’s your job to make this clear to them with your webinar.

Explain to them why your online course is unique and what you’re offering is something they cannot find in other online courses that explore the same niche.

The Formula for the Best Webinar Funnel

Here are the different steps or pages that a potential customer attending your webinar should go through:

  1. They see an ad or an email detailing your online course and a link to an invitation to your webinar.
  2. This would lead them to an “Opt-in” page which details the timings of your webinar and some details on what you’ll be talking about.
  3. Once they give their details and opt to attend your webinar, it would lead them to a “Thank you” page.
  4. The webinar.
  5. Once the webinar is done, your potential customers should be led to your online course’s landing page.

This landing page would have a general overview of your online course as well as a Call-to-Action (CTA) button that prompts users to buy your online course.

What an Effective Webinar Looks Like

In this section, we’ll detail the different stages that your webinar should consist of and what you should be talking about within each stage:

  1. Your Story: The first section should consist of a brief introduction of yourself. You should talk about your background and how you’ve been able to establish expertise within the niche that your online course is about. Make yourself relatable by talking about common problems that you faced in the beginning and how you overcame them.
  2. Your Online Course: Next, talk about the secrets that you’ve learned over the years and how you will share them within your online course. Talk about the value you’ll provide and directly attack the pain points that your online course addresses.
  3. Testimonials (If applicable): This won’t be possible if you haven’t sold any courses yet but if you have, it can be a good idea to include some case studies of students that have taken your online course and seen success in their fields.
  4. A Q&A Session: This can quite possibly be the most difficult part of the webinar. You should address any external factors and doubts that your audience may have that are preventing them from buying your online course.
  5. Closing Convincingly: In the end, give a summary of all you’ve talked about and re-iterate the value of your online course. Also, if you have any time-sensitive offers (for example, a discount to the first 5 customers), don’t forget to mention them

Tools to Help You Out

There are many useful tools you can use to conduct your webinar and make it easily accessible to your audience.

Some of the best ones that we recommend are:

For more details on how to conduct effective webinars, check out our post on audience conversion for online courses.

Now that you’ve used all your resources to effectively market your online course, let’s talk about how your customers are actually going to buy it.

Setting up a reliable payment method for your online courses is important to ensure you don’t miss out on any money and that all sales are properly accounted for.

If you chose to publish your online course on an already established online course marketplace such as Udemy, Coursera or Skillshare, then this is something you won’t really have to worry about.

That’s because these platforms have payment methods already implemented within their framework.

That being said, you should also know that a drawback of that is that such marketplaces typically take a percentage of profit from every sale for themselves.

 On the other hand, if you chose to set up your own website to host your online course, you’ll have to implement a payment method yourself.

But before you do that, there are a few terms which you need to know about:

Payment Gateway

The primary role of a payment gateway is to securely transfer transaction details to the payment processor.

So, a payment gateway provides a user interface that acts as a communication channel between your customers and the payment processor.

Payment Processor

A payment processor essentially deals with relevant financial institutions to validate the transaction being conducted by your customers.

People often confuse payment gateways and payment processors since there are a lot of vendors that offer both services at the same time.

Some great examples of popular payment processors are:


Chances are that you may already have a Paypal account that you can utilize to receive money from customers.

Paypal is one of the most widely trusted payment processors out there thanks to its ease of use, responsive customer support and secure communication channels.


Stripe is an example of a vendor that offers both an international payment gateway as well as an international payment processor as part of its service.

Its API allows it to integrate itself within your website for free and their overall rates are also cheaper compared to Paypal.


For a detailed guide on how to set up a payment method on your website as well as information on how to choose a payment processor, you can check out our post on payment setup to sell courses online.

You may have heard the term “sales funnel” before but may not know what it means.

A sales funnel can be thought of as a step-by-step process or chain-of-events that allow you to bring a potential customer closer to buying your product.

An example of a simple sales funnel

These normally consist of certain marketing actions such as automated emails, limited-time offers, videos, webinars and landing pages.


So, how do you create a sales funnel?

There are a number of different approaches but let’s talk about a simple, barebones approach when it comes to selling online courses:

  1. Refer to your Target Audience: Identify the type of people that would be interested in your online course. Chances are you may have already done this when you were creating content for your online course. 
  2. Provide Value for Free (initially): Once you identify your target audience, you’ll be in touch with the problems they’re facing within their field. You can provide value to them by solving a specific, common problem they may be facing through an email, social media post, etc.
  3. Include a Free Resource: Along with a solution to a specific problem, you should also include a free resource within your email or social media post. This could be a link to a webinar, podcast or a sneak-peek of your online course. 
  4. Create an automated follow-up series: If it’s a social media post, you can use a social media marketing tool. If it’s an email, you can use an email marketing tool. The goal is to continue providing value while directing attention towards your online course with Calls-to-Action (CTAs).

This is an easy example of a simple sales funnel.

It essentially involves getting potential customers interested by providing genuine value and then, directing them to your online course by emphasizing how it provides similar value.

You can check out our post on building sales funnels to sell courses online to develop a fundamental understanding of how they work and how you can use them to your advantage.

Starting a podcast seems like a gratuitous step when you think about it which is why many new course creators don’t bother with it.

However, we can tell you from experience that podcasts can be an extremely powerful tool for you to not only increase your audience but also establish yourself as an authoritative figure within your niche.

The great thing about starting a podcast is that if you’ve already created your online course, you’ll most likely already have everything you need for it.

This would be just a microphone and audio editing software.

Before we start talking about what you should be talking about within your podcast, let’s talk about how it will help you sell courses online:

  • It helps you convert potential customers. People who may be on the fence about buying your online course may attempt to gather more information by listening to your podcast. You can use this opportunity to convince them that your online course is right for them and potentially convert them.
  • It helps you grow your audience. One thing you can do with podcasts is to collaborate with other prominent figures within your niche. These people may share your podcast with their audiences and thus, new people may find you and the online course(s) you have to offer.
  • It helps you establish authority and prominence. When you collaborate and interview other prominent leaders within your niche on your podcast, you will be placed on a similar level to them. Thus, it can be a great way for you to establish authority within your specific niche.
  • It can serve as a lead magnet. In our email marketing section above, we mentioned offering a free resource within the emails that you send to potential customers. One thing you can offer them is access to your podcasts.

So, we’ve established the different ways in which a podcast can help you sell online courses.

But, what exactly will your podcasts be about?

Well, naturally, you’ll be talking about the specific niche that your online course is about.


It can be a good idea to talk extensively about the common problems that people within your niche face and then, emphasize how your online course serves to solve these common problems.

A simple formula is:

  1. An introductory episode to familiarize your audience with yourself. Talk about your background, how you came to be where you are, the problems you faced in your niche and how you overcame them. All of this serves to make yourself relatable to your potential students.
  2. A collaborative episode where you talk about certain problems within your niche with your collaborator. Get their viewpoint on it and how they solved it as well as elaborate on how you solved it as well. Also, mention how you share these secrets within your online course.
  3. Ask your audience to participate. At the end of each episode, mention how you’d appreciate comments and questions that your audience may have. Have some allotted time within each episode where you address questions and comments made on the previous episode.

The Importance of Collaboration

Creating a podcast by yourself is all fine and dandy but you wouldn’t be taking advantage of its true potential if you’re not collaborating with other prominent people within your niche.

We already explained above how collaboration can benefit you in multiple ways as a course creator.

You can either invite these people over to your studio or home to record your podcast in person or you can do it online via certain apps such as Zoom, Skype, Discord, etc.

If you’re doing it in person, you should check to see if the mic you have has multiple polar pattern modes or not.

You will most likely have been recording in cardioid mode when you were recording audio narration for your online courses.

For recording a podcast with other people, you can simply change the mode to omnidirectional or bidirectional and the mic will pick up surrounding sounds rather than just from you sitting in front of it.

If your mic only has a cardioid polar pattern, then you may have to invest in another mic.

If you’re conducting the interview online, then you may have to use a screen recording app such as MovAVI or Streamlabs.

In the end, we’d just like to reiterate and emphasize the fact that your work is not done once you create and publish your online course.

It’s never going to do well if you don’t put in the effort to promote and market it. Thus, do your research and invest heavily in marketing efforts to ensure it reaches the right audience.

How do you market your online courses? Let us know in the comments below.