Creating an online course is a great way to monetize your expertise, build a customer base and present your business as an authority on a specific topic. It can also help generate leads for your business’ other services or products.
On a WordPress site, it’s easy to create and sell courses with the help of a learning management system, such as Learn Dash or Member Press.
The challenge, though, is to create content that is enticing enough for visitors to purchase and promote your online programs. Here are 5 tips for marketing and selling online courses.
1. Create Irresistible Course Curriculum
Making your curriculum as irresistible as possible will make it easier to market and sell to customers.
When creating your first online courses, make sure the content lines up with the needs of your target audience. When building a new site, you’ll often focus on the different visitors to your site and the different needs and goals they have. This process is similar to marketing personas. Instead of focusing on just demographics or geographics, consider the psychographics of your target market.
Whether you are selling a product or providing a B2B service, talk to team members who engage regularly with your customers and discover the common questions customers are asking.
Next, make sure the course content can be structured well and in-depth. It should be more exclusive than other free content that’s online in articles and videos. When you are setting up the course, make sure you are also considering the different learning styles of your customers.
Most learning management systems will allow you to set up multiple deliverables as part of a course and lessons. Some customers may learn better with video while others prefer reading lessons and completing small assignments.
2. Design a High-Quality Landing Page
In order to get the best results from your marketing, you want to drive traffic to create a high-quality landing page for the online courses.
The dedicated landing page should explain the course program, outline the value visitors will get out of the course, and have clear calls to action to sign up or enroll.
A custom designed page compared to a template provides more flexibility and storytelling in the web design. Offering a short video about the course or a preview of a lesson can make the page more interactive and show what visitors are signing up for yours.
Building trust and credibility symbols into your design will help boost conversions. For online courses, customers want to know that the course is being taught by an expert and is credible. You can show trust in several ways, such as by displaying reviews from past students, showcasing the achievements of the course teacher, or displaying logos for affiliates or endorsements.
When writing the high-level messaging for the page, consider what is important to your ideal customers. Adding an FAQ section to the page is a great way to address visitors’ concerns.
3. Drive Conversions with Intuitive Calls to Action
For an online course, you are often selling the course as a product where a customer needs to process a one-time payment or sign-up for a subscription payment.
Even if you aren’t selling courses and offering a course program for free, you are asking for a lot more from a visitor than having them fill out a basic contact form. Therefore, it’s very important to have clear calls to action that drive visitors to convert. You want to consider how the CTAs for the courses differ from any other CTAs on your site.
Another key point in driving conversions is to make sure the process is intuitive and easy for visitors. When integrating the learning management system (LMS) into a WordPress web design, reduce the number of steps involved in the course sign-up and payment process as much as possible.
Also, consider the user flow throughout your whole site and which pages you’ll be driving traffic to for marketing. There may be blog posts or long-form articles on your site relevant to the course curriculum and you’ll want to have calls to action on those pages that steer visitors to the course landing page.
4. Build an Email Marketing List
Email marketing is a critical part of building up a customer base and promoting your online courses to other segments of your business.
Encourage all web visitors to your site to subscribe to your email list. You can do this by setting up a gated piece of content where visitors need to submit their email address and subscribe in order to download an e-book or white paper. The topic of the e-book can even relate to the course curriculum.
When setting up your online courses, make sure any enrolled customers are added to your email marketing list. Then segment and personalize the follow up emails to customers who are enrolled in the courses and the rest of the email subscribers.
Most learning management systems will also offer an add-on feature to send email notifications to customers as they progress through a course. These email notifications are a great way to encourage each customer to complete the course.
Similar to any subscription or membership services, you want to avoid a high churn rate. With an online course, this could translate to customers wanting a refund or wanting to cancel the subscription. With email marketing, you can also target customers who have completed courses with specific email campaigns that promote your business’ other products or services.
5. Invest in Content Marketing & Guest Blogs
Content marketing can be a helpful way to expand your brand’s reach and promote your courses on other content sites. This marketing tactic can include publishing articles on your website and on other sites and publications.
One way to drive traffic to your site is to write long-form content articles that are optimized for specific keywords. This is an effective search engine optimization strategy to drive traffic to these articles to sign up for your online courses.
Guest blogging is also an opportunity to present your business or specific executive as a thought leader in the industry. Try to publish articles on other large content sites or popular sites in your industry on topics related to the course curriculum.
With an off-site article, you may also have the opportunity to add a link back to your site and gain valuable backlinks. Some larger content sites also offer paid advertising opportunities and sponsored posts.
Finally, expand to podcasts and webinars with partners in the industry. When searching for opportunities, consider where you can reach your ideal clients and what content sites or platforms they frequent.