How to Sell Online Courses

How to Sell Online Courses | Tips & Tricks

Once considered a trend, digital products have changed the way people learn and share their knowledge. In fact, the online course market and distance learning as a whole are experiencing significant growth.

The numbers show that the global online education market is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.23% from 2019 to 2025, when it’s estimated to reach a whopping $319.167 billion.

This growth is a direct result of the internet’s easy accessibility, even in regions where that was impossible a few years ago.

The biggest online course market is North America, unsurprisingly. The importance of distance learning is best observed through the fact that e-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%.

In 2017, about 77% of corporations used online learning, and 98% planned to incorporate it into their program by 2020.

As the number of remote workers increases steadily, a lot of people have overcome the fear of distance learning. This means the popularity of online courses has never been bigger than it is today, and therein lies a great opportunity for online entrepreneurs.

Online courses focus on using a combination of communication tools and technology to enable learning from a distance.

They have been around for a long time, but with increased prevalence of distance learning, online courses are becoming a necessary tool to improve current skills, develop new ones, or gain more knowledge about a certain subject in the comfort of your home.

The ever-growing popularity and significance of online courses are major reasons to start selling them. Other reasons to get into the business of selling online courses include easy scalability, opportunity to work from home, flexibility, among others.

Little to no investment is needed to sell online courses and earn money. You just need to know where to start and how to promote your work. Find out how to sell online courses and generate a profit in this post.

Creating a Course vs. Selling Third-Party Courses

Before you embark on the journey to sell online courses, it’s imperative to know about the options available. Choosing the option that suits you best is the ideal strategy to make this endeavor a successful one.

When it comes to selling online courses, you can earn money in two ways: as a digital producer or a person who creates and sells their own content or as an affiliate, i.e., the person who sells third-party courses where the content that was created by someone else.

Below, you’ll learn more about these two ways of earning money by selling online courses.

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Digital Producer

The digital producer is responsible for the entire process of creating an online course from beginning to end.

As the most important person in this process, the digital producer needs to be thorough and understand everything it takes to create an online course and ensure its success.

The role of a digital producer is largely misunderstood, but it can involve different things such as relationship-building with experts and instructors, production and shooting, copyrighting, talent coaching, planning, and developing lessons, marketing and branding.

In other words, the digital producer is responsible for different parts of creating an online course. The specifics depend on your business, customer base, target demographics and the type of lessons you want to provide through online courses.

The primary objective of a digital producer is to create an online course that is engaging, helpful and able to teach students skills and lessons they can use in day-to-day life.

Basically, the digital producer is a jack-of-all-trades since the job implies having knowledge of just about everything in this market.

In order to sell online courses as a digital producer, you need to have a rainbow of skills under your belt.

For instance, you need vast, expert-level knowledge about a certain subject. You also need to have exceptional teaching skills, communication skills and strong willpower to create your content.

A good digital producer understands the significance of branding, pays attention to every detail, and prioritizes teamwork. Above all, the digital producer needs to build online authority and constantly work on improving it through the online courses they produce.

As seen above, it’s a lot of work to create an online course and sell it. The time-consuming endeavor is also a source of a lot of stress and amplifies uncertainties in the team or business. There’s an easier way to sell the online course and make money, being an affiliate.

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Affiliate is defined as the official attachment of one business entity to another. More precisely, becoming an affiliate implies promoting a product or service with the purpose of earning a commission whenever a sale is made.

An affiliate is not a part of the company with whom it affiliates with.

In the market of online courses and distance learning, the affiliate is a bridge that connects the author or source of the course and the final customer. Affiliates promote online courses, but without involvement in the process of creating them.

The reason why affiliate marketing works so well is that people are more likely to make a purchase when the product is recommended by someone they know or trust. This is a faster and more convenient way to earn money by selling online courses.

That said, to succeed as an affiliate who will sell online courses without too much trouble, you need to be curious and possess excellent sales skills. The market is constantly changing, so an affiliate must keep up with those trends and use them in their work.

The affiliate doesn’t have to be involved in logistics and any other aspect of online course development, other than selling it.

Earning money by selling third-party online courses is easier and faster, but just like the digital producer, an affiliate also needs vast knowledge of the subject (to know how to promote the course) and marketing strategies or paid media.

Building an online audience that will buy online courses is not the easiest task in the world, but don’t let that discourage you.

Working with paid media and boosting the audience online can seem difficult, but bear in mind that most people who sell online courses have started from scratch.

What Do I Need to Sell Online Courses?

Now that you know more about two different ways to sell online courses, you’re probably wondering how to make money and achieve significant success. The truth is that strong willpower and motivation are necessary, but it’s also crucial to follow the tips and tricks below.

1. Choose the best market segment.

Choosing the best market segment is all about clarifying requirements for a target market or customer base. Through segmentation, you’re able to focus on the set of people that are more likely to turn into customers, i.e., buy an online course.

Without market segmentation, it’s difficult to generate a lot of sales since the marketing strategies don’t focus on a certain group of people to address their needs.

The purpose of choosing the best market segment is to look deeper within the general market to identify customers who share similar interests and have specific needs.

Choosing the best market segment depends on the market research, of course. Market research is the process of obtaining information and transforming it into valuable insights. This data contributes to the decision-making process.

To do market research, you need to define your problem, create a questionnaire, determine the target audience, compile and analyze results, then use them to adjust your approach to selling online courses.

Useful tools for market research are pages similar to SurveyMonkey, Social Mention, Google Analytics, Typeform and others.

Once you gather enough information, you’ll be able to determine the market segment on which you need to focus on generating more sales.

2. Know your audience.

In order to sell online courses, we need to choose the right audience, i.e., the customer base compiled of people who are more likely to buy that course. It’s a mistake to assume everyone is a target audience because all people are different, and their interests also differ.

Without knowledge about the audience, you may fail to create a well-structured marketing strategy to sell online courses and earn money. The goal is, after all, to reach the target population and spark their interest. That’s why you need to get inside their head.

Creating a buyer persona is an excellent strategy to learn more about the audience. A buyer persona is an audience your marketing strategy is targeting and showcases all characteristics of a typical buyer.

To create a buyer persona, take some time to think and answer questions such as: Who is a typical customer and why do they want to buy an online course? What are their expectations from the online course? What behaviors and assumptions do they have?

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While answering these questions, make sure to provide detailed information. Details will give you an actual representation of the buyer persona.

Tools such as Google Analytics, keyword research and Facebook business page insights can help you know more about the audience.

3. Have a strong brand identity.

One of the most important steps towards selling online courses is building a strong brand identity. Branding matters not only because it makes a memorable impression on customers, but it also allows them to know what to expect from the online courses they buy.

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For example, if customers find your presence strong and reliable, they’ll also have the same feelings for online courses you sell. For that purpose, you will need to create communication channels in the forms of social media profiles, blogs and landing pages.

The visuals you create represent you, so it’s crucial to work on the quality of your content.

When visuals are aligned with the brand identity, you’ll attract more customers. The main objective is to convey a message that they’re buying from a reliable and trustworthy source.

4. Use digital marketing.

We live in the era of internet and technology. That’s why digital marketing is crucial for promoting and selling online courses.

What’s more, digital marketing has become a cost-effective way to work on branding, reaching a large audience and more. Segmenting marketing actions allows you to get the most out of this strategy.

The use of digital marketing is particularly important for selling online courses since both depend on the internet and reach a large audience.

The best thing is that you can use several strategies to promote online courses and build your brand, e.g., blog, social media, WhatsApp marketing, email marketing and paid ads.

You’ll learn more about each below.


They say in digital marketing; content is king. The blog is the best way to put those words into practice. Indeed, blogging is a great way to promote yourself, build a strong online presence, establish a reputation and make money selling online courses.

Make sure to blog regularly, but always prioritize the quality of the content rather than quantity. Blogs should be optimized to reach target customers who will benefit from the content and thereby purchase the online course.

Social Media

The rise of social media has made promoting and selling online courses much easier.

Post quality content on your social media profiles, especially those that your target audience uses the most. Engage and communicate with them to navigate traffic to your blog or to increase the likelihood of selling online courses.

To get the most out of social media in online course promotion, you may want to share some insights or resources from the course so potential customers get a glimpse of what they can expect to hear. You may also want to give a special offer to followers.

WhatsApp Marketing

WhatsApp marketing is largely underestimated, although the instant messaging platform has millions of users. Bear in mind that Whatsapp isn’t a mass-marketing platform, but you may promote online courses by creating or joining groups and broadcast lists.

WhatsApp groups can contain up to 256 members meaning they’re ideal for direct consultations and focus group studies. They can also help you create a buyer persona and learn more about the audience. Stay away from spam, but focus on the quality of messages.

Email Marketing

Although we live in the era of social media and other digital marketing strategies, email marketing will never go out of style.

Email marketing campaigns can be customized to address the interests of recipients. This can also help promote the online course and learn more about the target audience.

Don’t forget that email marketing also requires quality content.

By promoting an online course, you also need to deliver some useful information that will only encourage them to buy that specific course. Customized campaigns go a long way and are more beneficial than generic emails.

Paid Ads

With paid ads, you pay the owner of the ad space so that you can use their space and promote or sell the online course. When using paid ads for this purpose, it’s important to remember that you still need to target your audience, so use relevant keywords.

Paid ads, whether they’re on Facebook, Google, or some other platform, allow you to tailor the campaign to reach a specific group of people. This is yet another reason why it’s crucial to create a buyer persona.

The more you know about the target audience, the better your paid ad will be, and the more leads you can generate and turn into customers.

Are You Ready to Sell Online Courses?

Have you found the above-mentioned strategies to sell online courses helpful? Throughout this post, you’ve learned how to make money selling online courses, and now you’re ready to start this endeavor.

Selling online courses can turn into a huge success, but at the same time, it requires strong willpower, motivation and desire to always learn something new. The more you invest in your knowledge and diversify your strategies, the better results will get in terms of sales.

Work on branding and building your online presence. That way, your target audience will be even more likely to buy courses you sell because they’ll consider them as reliable as you are. It all comes down to the quality of content you share!

If you want to keep reading about this subject, find out more on how the online course market works.

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