Selling An Online Course: 10 Ways To Increase Sales

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So you’ve done the hard work and created your own online course. Well done!

If you haven’t created one yet, be sure to check out my guide on how to create an online course.

The next challenge is actually selling an online course.

Imagine spending months of hard work to create the best online course you can.

You know the course is valuable. You know people will love it.

But, you won’t make a single penny if you don’t market your course properly.

Below, I have put together a list of 10 ways that will help you when selling an online course and increase your sale conversions.

Create an awesome landing page

This first tip may be obvious, but I cannot stress it enough – having a compelling landing page is vital to selling an online course.

The landing page is basically a one-page advert for your online course. It’s where customers will ‘land’ and it is your job to convert them into a sale.

At a bare minimum, your landing page should contain the following, but not necessarily in the same order…

  1. The problem (the hook)
  2. How your course will solve the problem
  3. Who you are
  4. Testimonials (reviews)
  5. What is included in your course (course curriculum)
  6. Pricing

The landing page has to have a flow to it – this is otherwise known as a funnel.

Customers should be taken on a journey starting at the major problem that is relatable to them – the hook.

Example of landing page hook
The above is an example of a landing page with a hook. This was taken from Pat Flynn’s Smart from Scratch course, created using Teachable.

Once hooked, they should be shown how this course is the answer to all of their problems. Show the customers why this course is the best thing for them.

Include what is inside the course (ie the curriculum) and any bonuses.

Then, and only then, do you reveal the pricing of the online course.

By the time they have reached the end of your landing page to see the pricing, customers should be throwing their money at you!

That right there, is how an awesome landing page should be set up to convert customers.

Most online course platforms have landing page builders in them. I use Teachable and their page builder is very easy to use to create attractive landing pages.

Master the art of email marketing

Email is one of the most influential marketing techniques you can use to sell your online course.

If you’re selling an online course, you really do need an email list.

An email list should contain people who are really interested in your content and do not mind being contacted by you.

Ideally, you should be growing your email list before your course actually launches. That way you have a starting point on who to advertise to.

Be sure to include sign-up forms on your website to slowly build up subscribers.

Even better, give visitors something in return for their email address.

Examples of what you can give away for free in exchange for their email address include…

  • A short e-book
  • Cheat sheets
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • A short online course

The possibilities are endless!

People are more likely to give you their email address in return for something free.

To manage your subscribers and keep in contact with them, you need to use an email marketing platform.

There are so many email marketing platforms to choose from. I use and recommend EmailOctopus.

EmailOctopus has a Free plan that allows you to have up to 2,500 subscribers and send out 10,000 emails per month – this is more than enough to get you started.

They also have a landing page and sign-up form creator so you can start reeling in those subscribers.

Add testimonials to your landing page

Testimonials, or reviews, from students who have taken your course are always great to include on your landing page.

Testimonials can come in different forms:

  • Standard written reviews
  • A video review
  • A screenshot conversation

Written reviews are the most common form of a testimonial. They should contain a brief (a few lines) review of your course.

If you do manage to get hold of a review from your students, try and go that one step further and ask for a picture of them to put alongside the review.

Some online course platforms, such as Thinkific, have an in-built student review system to easily collect testimonials.

Otherwise, you could create a simple review form by using SurveyMonkey, which is what I do.

Video testimonials are much harder to get hold of simply because students may shy away from showing their face. But, if you can get one, they are more powerful than standard written ones.

Here is an example of a video testimonial from one of Pat Flynn’s courses that he creates and sells using Teachable.

Example of a video testimonial for an online course
An example of a video testimonial on the landing page of Power-Up Podcasting – a Pat Flynn online course.

Here, potential students can actually see this is a review from a real person.

There is more credibility when a review is associated with a customer’s picture or video.

Another type of testimonial is simply a screenshot of a conversation between yourself and a student.

Screenshots look more natural than standard reviews written on your landing page. The more casual the conversation, the better!

If you do manage to get a screenshot, always get permission from the student before uploading it to your landing page.

Use a social proof tool on your landing page

Reviews and testimonials are described as social proof.

Social proof is a marketing technique companies and entrepreneurs use to influence or sway a customer’s feelings towards their product.

Another way to use social proof when selling an online course is to use a social proof plugin.

I use the social proof plugin ProveSourse on my course landing page.

With ProveSource, and other social proof plugins, you can add a nifty little notification in the corner of your landing page that notifies customers when someone has purchased your online course.

Social proof ProveSource example
A section of the landing page for my online course showing the ProveSource social proof in the lower corner.

In the example above, I have set the social proof to display previous students who purchased my course.

It provides general information including their name, location as well as the time since they purchased the course.

Not only that, but see the little tick icon? This means the sale has been verified by ProveSource, so customers know I am not making it up!

With ProveSource, you can also change what notification is displayed. For example, you can have a recent Facebook review shown instead.

The plugin itself is compatible with most online course platforms (I use Teachable with mine) and is really easy to set up.

Best of all, ProveSource has a Free plan that is more than adequate to get you started with social proof.

Give out coupon codes

Everyone likes to save some money and grab a bargain, don’t they?

Well, by giving out coupon codes you are essentially dangling a carrot in front of customers!

Most online course platforms have the function to create your own coupon codes. Again, Teachable has a coupon function on their Basic plan – this is what I use.

Creating a coupon code in Teachable
Creating a coupon code in Teachable is really easy.

When you create a coupon code, think about giving it an expiry date or limit the number of codes available, instead of being evergreen.

Coupon codes with limited availability create a sense of urgency – meaning your customers will not want to miss out.

Once you have your code, share it with your email list, your social media channels and your website. Don’t forget to add the expiry date and/or the number of codes available.

You could even add the coupon code on the landing page itself. If you do, think about adding a promotion countdown timer for that added scarcity.

Add a promotion countdown timer to your landing page

If you’re running a sale, say 60% off your original course price for a limited time, another way you can induce scarcity is to include a countdown timer on your landing page.

A countdown timer generally comes in two forms:

  • A fixed timer
  • An evergreen timer

A fixed timer is a standard countdown that is the same for everyone that lands on your landing page. So, if you have just two days left on your offer, everyone will see the same time left – two days.

Example of a countdown timer showing the time left until a deal runs out
Example of a countdown timer showing the time left until a deal runs out.

Evergreen timers are the next-generation of countdown timers.

The time displayed is personalized for each person that is on the landing page. This way, you can specify a unique promotional time depending on how the visitor engages with your site.

For example, say a potential student goes to your checkout page, but then doesn’t purchase the course.

You could set an evergreen countdown timer to appear on the landing page the next time they visit it.

Why?

Well, you know they are interested in your course since they went to your checkout page. They just need that extra nudge – in this case a promotion – to convert into a sale.

Evergreen timers are powerful marketing tools!

If you’re looking at getting an evergreen timer, check out Deadline Funnel.

Deadline Funnel is an evergreen marketing toolbox where you can create personalized offers and deadlines to increase your sale conversions.

What’s cool about Deadline Funnel is that it can track customers across multiple devices. So, their evergreen promotion will follow them from desktop to mobile, for example.

Best of all, Deadline Funnel integrates with most online course platforms including Teachable and Thinkific.

Give people free access to some of your course

A great feature most online course platforms have is the ability to set some of your lessons within your course as a free preview.

By using a free preview students can have a peek inside your course for free – no sign-ups or payment information are required.

By doing this, you’re giving customers a taste of your course.

They take a free lesson and see just for themselves how awesome it is.

This experience is far more convincing than any social proof!

After completing the free preview they then proceed to the next lesson only to be faced with a screen like this.

Teachable free preview course
What students see after viewing a free preview on a course created by Teachable.

Now they need to enrol in the course to unlock to rest of it.

At this point, the potential students will know first-hand how your course works. They don’t have to take another else’s word for it – they have seen it for themselves.

Giving people free previews is just another simple trick to use to increase the selling of your online course.

Include a money-back guarantee

If you’re selling an online course, just like any product, you really need to give out some sort of guarantee to put peoples mind at ease.

A money-back guarantee is an agreement between you, the seller, and the customer that, should they be dissatisfied with your course, they can get their money back within a set period.

This is known as risk-reversal.

Online course money-back guarantee example
An example of a money-back guarantee on my online course landing page.

Money-back guarantees are usually applied for a period of 30 days – this is the most common period.

Some will even go as far as 60 days!

Money-back guarantees can increase the selling of an online course simply by reassuring customers that they can have their money back if they think this isn’t the course for them – no questions asked.

This way customers will feel like they have nothing to lose.

They can either take the course and benefit from it or get their money back if they don’t.

Ideally, you should place information about a money-back guarantee near your price plans and/or on the checkout page of the course.

Add a chatbot to your landing page

Chatbots are powerful systems that use artificial intelligence to engage in conversations with customers – just like a real human being!

These nifty little bots can sit on your landing page and be on hand 24/7 to answer any frequently asked questions customers may have. Think of them as your own customer service.

Perhaps the most common chatbots available are those that utilize Facebook chat.

Since the vast majority of people have a Facebook account, customers don’t need to sign-up to additional accounts to start a conversation with these bots.

MobileMonkey is a great option if you are looking at getting a Facebook chatbot.

MobileMonkey Facebook chatbot
An example of a MobileMonkey Facebook chatbot.

As well as being a fully automated Facebook chatbot, MobileMonkey bots allow you to perform a live operator takeover.

Say, for example, a customer is interested in your online course and has a presale question, but they don’t find the answer they are looking for through the chatbot.

Instead of them just leaving your landing page without signing up for the course, you have the option to jump into the chat and takeover.

That way, the customer is now speaking to the course creator – you – whether this is on mobile or desktop.

Cool, right?!

MobileMonkey also has a Free plan – so anyone can sign up for a no-fee start.

Include bonuses with your course

Another strategy up a marketers sleeve when it comes to selling an online course is to include bonuses and extras.

When they are contemplating whether or not they should go ahead with the course, seeing an offer that is too good to turn down can increase conversions.

This simple concept works very well in everyday retail. For example, I bet you are a sucker for a buy one get one free offer, right?

Potential bonuses that you may include in your online course include…

  • Access to a student-only social group (eg private Facebook group)
  • Private mentoring with you
  • Downloadable content (eg an e-book, cheat sheet)

When you include any bonuses, also think about associating these with a price.

Think about how much you would sell that e-book for if it wasn’t given away. Maybe $19, $29?

Also, private mentoring with an expert in the area – you – should come at a premium. Don’t price yourself too low!

After totting up all of the freebies, customers can easily see just how much money they are saving.

This makes the deal more attractive than a standard offer.

After all, which would you rather go for: a course priced at $97 or a course priced at $119 with $199 worth of extras included?

Final words

Selling an online course is tricky!

But, the tips and tricks I have described in this article should give you some food for thought on how to sell and online course.

If you implement just a few of these marketings tactics you may improve your chances of successfully converting those customers into sales.

Start by revisiting your landing page and asking yourself – what can I improve?

There is always room for improvement!

Have you got a successful strategy that you use when selling an online course? Let me know in the comments below as I’m sure fellow readers (and me!) will love to hear it!

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