3 STEPS on How to Sell Online When You Don’t Have a BIG Audience

“Obviously,” you say to yourself, “I need to reach more people.”

And so, you buckle down to build your audience.

You blog. Post. Share. And like. You comment. Send emails. And go live.

You buy one program after another, trying one tactic after another.

You do all that on top of doing your job and taking care of your family. Because that’s what it takes to find your 1,000 true fans, right?

But it’s been hit-or-miss, expensive, and a whole lot of work just to figure out what works. No surprise there: you’re an expert in your field, not in marketing. On top of that, you really don’t like selling. Makes you feel like a used-car salesman. Ick.

You know they’re out there, the people who want your online course and will happily open their wallets for it. If only someone would put up neon signs to point you in the right direction.

Why Being Popular Is Not Enough

Selling online courses - traffic strategy

It’s easy to think that the more traffic you have, the more students you’ll get.

But that’s not necessarily true.

It’s possible to get a lot of traffic—people who encounter you and are exposed to your marketing messages—and still not get a lot of students.

Reaching an audience isn’t the end-all and be-all of selling your course. It’s a “necessary but insufficient” factor, as my economics teacher used to say.

Traffic is only half of the equation. To sell your online course, you need one other thing: conversion.

A conversion is when somebody takes a “profitable action” (hat tip to Andy Crestodina for that definition in his book, Content Chemistry).

What’s a profitable action?

It’s either an outright purchase or something that leads to a purchase down the road: When someone subscribes to your email, follows you on LinkedIn, joins your Facebook group… those are all conversions.People rarely buy from you the first time they’re exposed to you. A sale is often preceded by several micro-conversions. They warm up to you gradually… Click To Tweet

People rarely buy from you the first time they’re exposed to you. A sale is often preceded by several micro-conversions. They warm up to you gradually until, one day, buying your stuff is the easiest, most natural thing for them to do.

Here’s the formula for selling online courses (or anything else):

traffic x conversion = sales

While you may have been focusing on getting traffic, I suspect you’ve been overlooking the conversion part of the equation. That’s an easy mistake to make.

“The challenge isn’t getting traffic,” says Danny Iny, founder and CEO of Mirasee, “it’s converting that traffic in a way that is affordable and cost-effective. If you fix conversion, then you can keep driving traffic to it and sell your course.”

Ponder that for a minute. (I’ll wait.)

Overlooking conversion is like standing in front of a stadium full of people during a football game and trying to sell them a Magic Chopper. You have all the traffic right there, but few of them will buy your kitchen gadget!

Back to top

But the Gurus Said So!

By now you’re probably thinking, hey, I’m trying something that worked like gangbusters for this or that person. They’re now making a gazillion bucks and now they’re sharing their blueprint, step-by-step, tried-and-tested, and I’m doing exactlywhat they’re doing.

If it worked for them then it should work for me… right?

Well, that depends.

As you’ve already discovered, there are many ways to get traffic and there are many ways to get a conversion.

To sell your online course, you need to choose the traffic and conversion approaches that are appropriate to you and your business.To sell your online course, you need to choose the traffic and conversion approaches that are appropriate to you and your business.Click To Tweet

If you’ve been trying a lot of things, but nothing’s been working well or consistently, then you’re probably using the wrong strategies for where you’re at right now.

You may be copying the tactics of other entrepreneurs who are successfully selling their courses and still fail to sell your course. Why? Maybe they have a bigger email list, to begin with. A bigger budget. VAs, graphic designers, and other outsourced help. Connections with A-listers. Better copywriting and sales skills.

Given all that, would you get the same results by doing what they do?

(When I was starting out online, it took me a while to realize why the guru methods I was following didn’t work for me. They were men who spent 16 hours a day in front of the computer. I was a wife and mom of three children, including an infant who was still breastfeeding, snatching minutes here and there to work.)

Besides, even if a certain tactic does work for you right now, that doesn’t mean it will still be a viable way to generate sales six months from now. “My list is burned out,” is a common complaint among people who’ve been marketing for some time. It’s a sure sign that you need to switch to other strategies.

Back to top

The Secret Weapon to Sell Your Online Course, No Matter Your Audience Size

selling online courses - starving crowd, gary halbert

The late copywriting legend, Gary Halbert, used to teach copywriting and direct mail classes. He would ask his students, “If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who could sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side to help you win?”

They would answer a variety of things. The best burger. The best buns. The best location. The best price.

Gary would say, “O.K., I’ll give you every single advantage you have asked for. I, myself, only want one advantage and, if you will give it to me, I will (when it comes to selling burgers) whip the pants off all of you!”

What was the advantage Gary would want?

A starving crowd!

In the same way, the secret to selling your online course is to find a starving crowd and sell to them.

This is also what Dan Kennedy calls message-to-market match. In terms of selling online courses, it means making sure you offer what potential students are already hungry for. One of Dan’s 10 Things to Do Each Month is “Find people with unmet specialized needs and match yourself to them.” Notice, you identify the unmet need first and then match it.

Don’t create your product first and then find the people who want it, which is what most of us tend to do.

Back to top

Step 1. Create a Great Online Course

I’m assuming, of course, that you have a pretty darn good online course, to begin with. If not, take a step back and learn how to create a great online course.

The process we teach of piloting your course before creating your full course is powerful and sets you up for successful marketing. It helps you find a starving crowd and, based on their feedback, create a course that matches their hunger. Because you’re letting your students co-create the course for you, they’re likely to become happy students who will gladly spread the word about your course.

And the success of your pilot students will speak volumes about the ability of your course to deliver what it promises. It means you’ve gotten as close as possible to creating something you know people want. Proof that you’ve got the hamburgers!

But if you haven’t piloted your course yet, then neither you nor anybody else knows if you’ve got “the goods.” You would be like the rabbit in this poem for advertisers:

A Lion met a Tiger
as they drank beside the pool.
Said the Tiger to the Lion,
“Why do you roar like a fool?”
“That’s not foolish,” said the Lion,
With a twinkle in his eyes,
“They call me the king of beasts,
Because I advertise!”
A Rabbit heard them talking,
And ran home like a streak.
He thought he’d try the Lion’s plan,
But his roar was just a squeak.
A Fox then heard the Rabbit.
He had dinner in the woods.
So when you advertise, my friends,
Be sure you’ve got the goods!

If you’re just starting out, and you’re offering your course for the first time, you have no track record or proof that your course will deliver the outcome you’re promising it would. You’re like a rabbit trying to be a lion.

In this case, you’d have to rely completely on the power of marketing to convince people to buy your course. And you can expect marketing to be extremely hard, and that’s okay. You must squeak before you can roar.

In other words, first, validate the demand (Is there a starving crowd?). Then, validate your ability to meet the demand (Do you have hamburgers?).

And when you have a solid course to offer that people are interested in, then you can…

Back to top

Step 2. Choose Your Conversion Mechanism

Selling online courses - conversion mechanisms

“Conversion mechanism” refers to how you will present your offer to potential students and inspire them to buy your offer.

You can choose from many conversion mechanisms, and we’ll go through some of them in detail below.

Whichever conversion mechanism you choose, you’ll follow the same basic steps:

  1. Give valuable information around your subject matter. Attract the right people by talking about or creating content related to your online course.
  2. Build rapport with you, the expert. Position yourself as the knowledgeable and approachable expert on the topic. A good way to do so is by giving helpful tips and advice.
  3. Highlight the problem or desire of the customer. Remind the prospect of how much pain, aggravation, and trouble they’re experiencing due to the problem or unmet desire (that your online course addresses).
  4. Educate them about the transformation that is possible. Talk about your online course and how it can move your prospect from someone experiencing a problem (or having a desire) to someone who has solved that problem (or achieved what they desire). If you’re offering the course for the first time, talk about how you achieved the transformation yourself.
  5. Ask for the sale. Tell them how much your course costs and how they can pay. Accept their payment. You may find it extremely helpful to first create an offer outline, which you can use as a script or structure for your conversion mechanism.

Choose your conversion mechanism depending on the scale of reach you already have and your level of marketing sophistication. Below, I’ve grouped the conversion mechanisms based on audience reach. Within each grouping, you’ll find options ranging from simple to more complicated.

Another thing to consider is the mechanism’s suitability to your course. For example, if you have a low-cost, uncomplicated course, it’s probably not a good idea to use a complex conversion mechanism, no matter how sophisticated a marketer you are.

Note: You can use conversion mechanisms recommended for someone with a smaller scale of reach, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Someone who’s a minor influencer cannot use conversion mechanisms appropriate for major influencers.

Here’s an at-a-glance view of the various conversion mechanisms we’ll be exploring in the rest of this post:

Conversion Mechanisms If You Only Have Personal Reach

When your audience reach is mostly just personal networks and relationships and you have fewer leads coming in, you need higher-touch conversion mechanisms. This means you’ll have to give potential students more personal attention to convert them into buyers.

Use these conversion mechanisms even as you’re building your audience reach:

  • 1-on-1 conversations – Reach out to contacts who may be interested in your course. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sell to personal contacts. You can also do sales calls without being obnoxious.
  • Hosting or attending local meetups – Go to networking events attended by people who may be your ideal students. Danny, an introvert, used networking to build his consulting business. You can adapt the same approach to sell your online course instead of services.
  • Conference booth – Get a vendor booth at an event related to your course and meet prospective students. It’ll probably be too busy for you to make a sale there, unless someone’s clearly ready to buy. Focus on starting a dialogue, get their contact information, then follow up with them later on with a 1-on-1 conversation.
  • Small group presentations – Look for opportunities to address small groups of people might be interested in your course. Give great content related to your course, then offer the course to those who want to learn more from you.

Conversion Mechanisms If You Have Minor Influencer Status

You have minor influencer status if you have a small list and an engaged audience. You can use medium-touch conversion mechanisms, such as:

  • Speaking at a conference – Similar to small group presentations above, but this is to a larger group.
  • Email sequence – Set up an email sequence that will warm up readers to your online course over several emails. Pitch your course towards the end of the sequence. This sample email sequence will give you an idea of how this works.
  • Sales page + video – Drive your audience to a sales page for your course with a video embedded on it. You’ll need to have copywriting skills, or be willing to hire a copywriter, to do this effectively.
  • Bootcamp/challenge (e.g., in a Facebook group) – If you have sizeable social media following, host a free bootcamp or challenge where you support people to implement practices related to your online course. Give participants the option to get even more support from you by joining your paid online course.

Conversion Mechanisms If You Have Major Influencer Status

If your audience is large and engaged, then you have major influencer status. You can use low-touch conversion mechanisms that are more automated and sophisticated, like:

  • Email sequence
  • Sales page + video
  • Email + video – This is a combination of the first two. The email sequence eventually leads to a video on a sales page
  • Bootcamp/challenge + free consulting calls – In this hybrid approach, you provide free consulting calls to people who participate in your bootcamp/challenge. After giving valuable advice during the call, you pitch your online course.

Once you have a conversion mechanism that’s working, then you can figure out how to get more traffic to it.

Back to top

If you’re ready to jumpstart your online course, then join our Course Builder’s Bootcamp-FREE!

LEARN MORE

Step 3. Choose Your Traffic Strategy

The right traffic strategy depends on your sophistication as a marketer.

Below are a few suggestions for marketers of varying experience. Sophisticated marketers can use any of these strategies. If you’re a new marketer and you want to try a more sophisticated strategy, we recommend signing up for a course on that specific strategy first. Alternatively, you can hire someone who is an expert in that strategy.

Traffic Strategies for New Marketers

You’re a new marketer if you’re new to online marketing and have few resources, especially a small marketing budget. You probably have more time than money to put into attracting traffic.

Content Marketing

In his book, Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing, Andy Crestodina writes:

Content marketers create and promote useful, relevant information with the goal of attracting and engaging website visitors, and then converting those visitors into leads and customers.

Both inexperienced and sophisticated marketers can use this strategy.

Advantages

  • low barrier to entry
  • requires little to no investment, depending on the content platform you use
  • fun for most

Disadvantages

  • requires that you know your customer well
  • requires content creation skills, such as writing and image creation
  • takes time and consistency to get traction

5 Steps to Implement

  1. Choose a platform. A blog is the most common platform, but depending on your audience, other platforms may make more sense, such as a podcast, YouTube channel, Instagram, etc.
  2. Do keyword and audience research. Find out what topics your audience is actively looking for and engaging with online. Use tools like Google keywords and Buzzsumo.
  3. Create high-quality content to address your audience’s questions and needs. Build an editorial calendar, monitor your results, and stick to it!
  4. Publish three types of content. In his book, KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age, Mark Schaeffer says you need 3 types of content:
    • Hygiene content, which answers your audience’s common questions
    • Hub content, or addicting content that inspires your audience to consume everything you create
    • Hero content, or something so brilliant and spectacular that it goes viral
  5. Extend your reach. Get yourself out there. Nurture relationships with other content marketers as well as your potential students, gently promote your best content, and promote other people’s content, too.

Networking

Networking means meeting people face-to-face, usually at industry events. Look for in-person events where your potential students already congregate. This is a good traffic strategy if you’re outgoing, love to meet people, and enjoy putting yourself out there.

Advantages

  • still the best way to make strong and lasting connections
  • can be fun, a break from work, get to visit new places
  • get people’s reactions in real-time

Disadvantages

  • takes a lot of time and energy, can’t be automated or delegated
  • not for the shy and introverted
  • can take longer to make a sale

5 Steps to Implement

  1. Get compelling business cards made. Pass on the free business cards that look like everybody else’s. Make yours stand out with a good design, unusual material (have you seen those metal business cards?), and an irresistible call to action. But give your card only to those who ask for it.
  2. Prepare a meaningful answer to “what do you do?”. Be ready with a good, concise elevator pitch that entices the right people to continue the conversation. You can use Danny’s Instant Credibility Formula to create a ready answer to this question.
  3. Don’t try to sell. Meeting someone for the first time at a networking event isn’t the best environment for making a sale. Instead, focus on the next step….
  4. Set up a future conversation. If someone appears to be a strong candidate for your course, then arrange to meet again after the event.
  5. Follow up. Email potential students soon after the networking event to make sure they remember you, and to firm up the details of your meetup.

Be ready with a good, concise elevator pitch that entices the right people to continue the conversation. You can use Danny’s Instant Credibility Formula to create a ready answer to this question.Click To Tweet

Traffic Strategies for Sophisticated Marketers

You’re a sophisticated marketer if you have a few years experience in marketing. You have a good handle on what’s likely to work, and you have the budget to test your theories. You’ve also established yourself as a knowledgeable person in your field.

Joint Venture Partnerships

According to Investopedia:

A joint venture (JV) is a business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task.

In a joint venture, you partner with another business owner to get your course in front of their audience in exchange for something else. For example, you could offer your partner a commission (50% is typical with an online course) from every person in their audience who ends up buying your course. Or, if you have your own audience, you could agree to promote their product to your audience.

This traffic strategy is best for someone who has connections with people who reach the same kind of audience you want to reach, but whose products don’t compete with your course.

If you don’t have connections yet, the prospect of finding joint venture partners is a good reason to start working on those networks ASAP.

Advantages

  • low up-front costs
  • your partner endorses of you to their audience
  • a good way to reach new people and to keep them, if they join your list

Disadvantages

  • requires you to have connections in the first place
  • if you give a commission, then you won’t keep all your sales
  • you can’t control everything your partners say about you or your course, or how they promote it

6 Steps to Implement

  1. Identify potential partners. Make a list of people who would make good JV partners. They should share your values and reach the audience who are a good fit for your course. And they should be either at the same level as you are, or a little farther along in business. Don’t start with the A-listers–yet–you can approach them as your business grows later on.
  2. Outreach. Reach out to the potential partners, beginning with those you already know. For others, see if someone you do know can make the introduction. This increases the likelihood that you’ll get a response. Introduce yourself and suggest a few ways you could work together, emphasizing what’s in it for them.
  3. Outline the deal. If they agree to be a partner, write down what each of you agrees to do, including how much commission will be paid, and what the key dates are for promotions and so on.
  4. Establish your selling method. Set up the logistics for how’ll get sales from the traffic your partner refers. This will depend on whether your course is evergreen, which means people can enroll anytime, or if it opens only on specific dates. Make sure you can accurately track traffic and sales from your partner.
  5. Reciprocate. Go beyond what you’ve agreed on to help your partner out in return. Pay the commissions that are due them and see if they have something they’d like you to promote to your audience.
  6. Repeat and scale. Keep repeating the process with other partners. As your business grows, you can approach “bigger” partners. Eventually, the A-listers will want to partner with you, too.

Advertising and funnels

Advertising means paying a communication platform or medium to get your message across to their audiences. And a funnel is a way of automatically moving those people through a process that warms them up to buy from you.

Here’s an example:

Advertising is best for you if you have more money than time. Results rely as much on your budget as on your marketing skills.

Advantages

  • enables you to reach a very specific, targeted audience
  • if online, you can measure and track everything
  • good for testing marketing messages and offers

Disadvantages

  • costs money
  • requires technical skill to optimize returns
  • traffic flow stops as soon as you turn off the ads

3 Steps to Implement

  1. Choose a lead source. This is the platform or medium where you want to place ads to get traffic. For example, you may choose Facebook, Google, or an influencer’s website that accepts ad placements. A lead source can also be offline, such as a trade journal or industry event.
  2. Design the funnel. Devise a marketing funnel or process to turn the cold traffic from your ads into warm traffic that’s ready to buy from you.
  3. Optimize. Run your advertising campaign and funnel and track your results. Tweak your ads  so you get more people clicking on it. Adjust your landing pages so you get more people opting into your list. And keep changing your offers until you have more people converting into leads and sales. You’ll want to see your return on investment (ROI) going up until you’re making a good profit.

Speaking

Speaking is similar to networking in the sense that you meet people face-to-face. The key difference is, when you’re speaking, you’re at the event as a presenter because you’re recognized as an authority in your field. Whether you’re delivering the keynote, a member of a panel, or guest lecturing, speaking automatically builds your credibility.

Speaking is best for you if you have some clout in the industry and are comfortable with public speaking.

Advantages

  • puts you in a position of authority and thought leadership
  • some event organizers will allow you to pitch your course from the stage and you can make sales at the back of the room
  • address a group of people, not one-to-one

Disadvantages

  • requires good public speaking skills
  • not for beginners; you must have legitimate authority
  • risk of coming off as too salesy

5 Steps to Implement

  1. Brainstorm topics. Make a list of topics that are valuable on their own but also naturally lead to your online course.
  2. Find speaking opportunities. Look for events where your expertise will be highly regarded. If you’re not yet an experienced speaker, start small. You can begin by speaking to small groups of not more than 10 people in your locality.
  3. Set up your payment portal. Decide if you want to accept payments right there and then, or if you want to direct people to a sales page for your course–or both. Set up whatever facilities you need to be able to sell your course (Important: Get the organizers’ permission first before pitching your course!).
  4. Tweak. Record your presentations, gauge the audience’s reactions, and keep improving your content and delivery.
  5. Level up. Rinse and repeat steps 1 to 4, gradually moving onto larger industry events, including those that are outside of your city or country.

How to Choose the Right Strategy for YOU

Selling online courses - How to make the right choice for you


You’ve just read through a ton of options, both for converting people into students and getting your course in front of people.

No doubt you’ll come across many other strategies, including those from people who claim that their way is The Best Way.

To help you evaluate your options, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. “Is this strategy right for me?”

Considering your resources, audience reach, and marketing sophistication, gauge if the strategy will jibe. For example, if a strategy requires paid advertising and you don’t have the budget for it, then it’s not the right strategy for you.

2. “Which activities build on my existing strengths and skills, and are easiest to do on my own, without additional help?”

Begin with the low-hanging fruit, or those strategies that you can easily implement on your own, right away. As you get more students, you can invest in your own training to learn other strategies or in hiring people who can implement them for you.

3. “Which type of marketing aligns with my audience and industry?”

As the saying goes, “fish where the fish are.” If your target market is made up of millennials, then Instagram is probably a better audience source for you than Facebook.

Answering these questions truthfully and logically will help you resist the shiny, new objects in marketing that are popping up all the time.

I hope this post helps you get your online course in front of a starving crowd and get more paying students.

If you’ve been thinking of creating and selling online courses and want to jumpstart the process, then register for the Course Builder’s Bootcamp. You’ll be learning by doing and getting your hands dirty.

Either way, these options are free!

Tell me, which conversion mechanisms and traffic strategies appeal to you the most that you weren’t even considering before you read this post?

(FREE GUIDE) PODIUMS TO CREATE AN ONLINE COURSE IN 2019

The e-learning and online course market are soaring to new heights and estimated to be worth $325 billion by 2025. With higher education shifting from lectures to virtual classrooms, you can also profit with online course platforms.

I reviewed and ranked the 13 best online course platforms and provided the top 10 ways to create and sell online courses.

This ultimate guide ranks and compares software based on reliability, features, marketing tools, profit potential, technical support, and pricing.

Please note, I may receive affiliate compensation for the links in this article. However, they are merely the best tools I tested for creating and selling online courses.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What Are Online Course Platforms?
  • What Are the Best Online Course Platforms?
  • What Are the Best Online Learning Platforms?
  • How Do I Create and Sell Online Courses?
  • What Are the Most Popular Online Courses?
  • That’s a Wrap

WHAT ARE ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS?

Online course platforms are types of learning management systems (LMS) that provide users with access to digital classes.

These virtual courses are similar to offline classes in a lot of ways: an instructor provides an engaging educational experience through video, image, text, audio, and PDF files.

Students follow along with the LMS software, take notes, perform exercises, and complete exams to test their knowledge.

Source: foundertips.com

Tools like Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Podia, and Ruzuku all feature a robust feature set for course creators.

Their course software includes a dedicated fully-responsive website experience, easy content uploads, the ability to edit the look and feel of the class, marketing features, course completion certificates, a sales funnel, and more.

Course creators choose a platform to use, then charge their students a set fee to access their courses.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS?

The best online course platforms give you freedom: the freedom to spend more time teaching and selling, not getting stuck, or dealing with issues.

Choose a well-developed platform with integrated LMS, e-commerce, and membership capabilities. To be successful, you need to be able to create, organize, and deliver your course content efficiently.

Look for the features you need most. Advanced features may include creating members-only areas for your students, virtual classrooms and live training for professionals, or selling your courses by accepting credit card payments all in one place.

Here are my picks for the best online course platforms.

1. THINKIFIC.

BEST OVERALL ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM (FREE OR $49/MO)

Thinkific’s mission is to power your education empire. They are one platform with a robust set of user-friendly features, email marketing tools, membership site integration for your lessons, and excellent 24/7 customer support.

They are my #1 choice because they are indeed the only platform you need to create and sell your online courses.

First, you can sign up and get a One-Month Free Trial for their most popular Pro Plan. If you want more course sales from the start, this plan gives you the ability to create unlimited courses. It also features memberships and bundles, advanced pricing options, landing pages, certificates, and marketing tools.

Next, you create and customize your course with their drag and drop editor, as shown on Thinkific.com:

After you add in your course content, you build your course site with their high-quality, well-designed templates:

Finally, you can market and sell your course with its advanced business tools:

You can easily integrate Thinkific with over 1,500 apps by using Zapier without the need for a WordPress plugin. By hooking up with your email provider, you can send highly targeted campaigns to the right segments of your audience at the right time.

I recommend the Thinkific platform as my #1 choice for course creators and entrepreneurs who are serious about creating, marketing, and selling their online courses.

2. TEACHABLE.

BEST PLATFORM FOR BEGINNERS ($0-399/MO)

Teachable is my #2 choice for e-learning platforms. By creating an account, you’re joining 22,000 other instructors creating excellent teaching platforms for their students.

You can choose to use the online course platform for free (with $1 + $0.10 for all transactions) or select one of their three plans ranging from $29/month to $399/month.

I recommend their most popular Professional Plan at $79/month as it’s the first plan with zero transaction fees. It also has graded quizzes, custom completion certificates, advanced website theme customizations, and support for up to 5 admin users.

It’s effortless to upload your content, edit the look of your online school, and engage with your students.

3. LEARNWORLDS.

SELL PROFESSIONAL, SOCIAL, ENGAGING COURSES ON ONE PLATFORM ($24/MONTH)

Learnworlds is at the future of eLearning and has everything you need to create and sell an online course.

The first step is creating the look and feel of your online course with their custom landing and sales pages. You can use their library of responsive templates and styles to build your course site and even add additional information pages – About, Pricing, Contact, etc. – all easy to make with Learnworlds.

You can use their theme editor to customize the branding and color scheme of your course with minimal coding knowledge.

Next, when you’re ready to build your course, you leverage their pre-made course catalogs and add in your content. These catalogs include advanced features like interactive video players, online tests, interactive e-books, and downloadable attachments.

Your students also benefit from this customized approached. When taking your course, they can take notes, highlight important points, and get certificates of completion.

When you want to market your course, you can use a full custom domain and white-label your content. For example, Learnworlds will create your custom mobile app for your course and provide coupons and discounts to market to your students.

Finally, they offer social media integration, analytics to optimize your sales, a strong knowledge base, and 24/7 support.

Learnworlds is a great online course builder and my overall #2 choice.

4. LEARNDASH.

THE MOST TRUSTED WORDPRESS LMS ($13.25/MONTH)

LearnDash is an impressive online course platform that integrates with WordPress. Some big websites using LearnDash include Yoast, Infusionsoft, the University of Michigan, and WP Elevation.

One of their first helpful features is their “Focus Mode,” which blocks out all distractions when students run through a course.

LearnDash’s full-featured course builder meshes well with their email drip campaigns. You can build a great online course and match your content with an email drip schedule to send lessons according to a program.

Their Gradebook* technology takes LMS to another level. This technology gives students an overall grade based on quiz and homework scores, creating a weighted average for teachers to review.

In addition to grading, course points award points for actions, and badges and certificates award students for course activities.

If you’re a teacher looking for grading systems that compete with the features of college curriculums, LearnDash is a fantastic choice.

They bill prices annually rather than monthly, and you can get started today with a full 30-day money-back guarantee.Try LearnDash

5. RUZUKU.

THE RIDICULOUSLY EASY ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM ($74.75/MONTH)

Ruzuku allows you to create a step-by-step online course with their learning platform, PDFs, and text in minutes.  You can quickly create course outlines, edit and reorder your steps with ease, launch your course, and generate sales in no time.

Ruzuku integrates with tools like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, and payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal to accept payments – and they don’t charge transaction fees.

They’re also known for their desirable community. When you join Ruzuku, you’re not buying a teaching tool; you’re joining a team to help your students learn.

Called “the ridiculously easy course creator,” Ruzuku comes with some excellent features listed below:

Finally, their platform offers unlimited courses to unlimited students on all paid plans.

6. PODIA.

BEST PODCAST HOSTING FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOADS ($39/MONTH)

Podia allows over 11,000 users to create, host, and sell their lessons with one easy-to-use platform. There are no transaction fees, and a simple three-step process has your course website up in no time.

Although they don’t charge fees, their payment processors have transaction fees of 2.9% + 30¢.

Other features include the ability to add coupons and memberships, pre-launch courses, add sales pages, and leverage “drip” courses. This feature gives access to individual sections of the course at a time, helping students learn in the correct structure.

Where they excel is their membership options. You can grow your own online community by interacting with members, bundling products for specific groups, offering tiered plans, and connecting with Facebook Groups and Slack.

Another awesome feature is the ability to run your own affiliate program inside of Podia. You can view all of your affiliates in one place, view helpful reporting, and make payouts based on your own customized commission structure.

Overall, if you’re looking for strong membership functionality and the ability to increase your sales with the help of affiliates, Podia is a unique and worthwhile course builder to try out.

7. ACADEMY OF MINE.

THE ENTERPRISE PLATFORM THAT IS CUSTOM-BUILT TO YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS ($499/MONTH)

Academy of Mine is a high-end eLearning platform founded on personalized customer success and philosophy of customization. A standard feature of any plan is completely free development hours to help set up and launch your course with customized integrations.

One of their goals is not just to set you up and help you launch. They also want to help sell your course with their marketing tools and analytics dashboards.

Personalization is at the heart of its strategy. Are you a healthcare company that wants to create a full curriculum for continuing education credits (CECs)? They can help with that.

Are you an insurance company that requires continued training due to constant changes in a particular legal code at the state level? That’s also no problem for Academy of Mine.

While these enterprise offerings may be overkill for typical users, they are necessary for small to medium-sized businesses needing a robust training system for their employees or clients.

8. KAJABI.

BEST HIGH-END ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM ($119/MONTH)

Kajabi is a high-powered course builder for in-depth courses. It features powerful course site themes, robust email marketing automation, upsells and digital products, a customizable checkout, and blogging functionality.

Their plans are a bit expensive, starting at $119/month, including the 20% annual discount. However, they really know what they’re doing as they’re trusted by more than 16,000 businesses and have processed more than $675 million through their platform.

Their $119 basic plan gives you one website, three products, three pipelines, unlimited landing pages, unlimited marketing emails, and up to 1,000 members and 10,000 contacts. Their higher-tier plans increase the number of websites, products, pipelines, and contacts, so you can choose a specific plan based on your needs.

Where Kajabi really excels is its marketing automation tools. You can segment users in your list, send emails at certain times based on advanced triggers, and send professionally-branded messages.

If you’re an established business and want to try one of the more advanced platforms on the market, Kajabi is a solid choice.Try Kajabi

9. WIZIQ.

AFFORDABLE LIVE VIRTUAL ONLINE CLASSROOMS ($27/MONTH)

WizIQ offers teachers and educators an easy way to set up virtual classrooms for live interactive online classes. Over 400,000 instructors have leveraged WizIQ to teach over 4 million students virtual classes across 200 countries.

They provide the latest tools for live training such as discussion boards, video streaming, mobile options, assessments, and analytics.

If you are an educator or corporate leader that wants to reach your audience live anywhere in the world, you can get started with their 14-day free trial.Try WizIQBack to Top

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORMS?

Online learning platforms connect teachers to students to educate them on any number of different topics, either for free or at a low cost.

Often called massive open online courses (MOOCs), they are slightly different than paid platforms. Instead of hosting files yourself, your courses go into a marketplace where students can pay for them directly.

The benefit is that you can leverage these websites to reach a new audience. The downside is you won’t earn as much money per sale, and there is stiffer competition in the market.

Ultimately, I recommend using one of the providers above. But if you have no audience yet and want to test a small course on an existing audience, you can use one of the options below.

Here are my picks for the best online learning platforms.

1. SKILLSHARE.

Skillshare is a large marketplace focused on creative education. Topics include anything from graphic design and music production to fine art and cooking.

They also have classes on more technical topics like data science, analytics, and e-commerce. Skillshare has over 24,000 lessons, more than 4 million students, and over $5 million paid to teachers.

Each Skillshare class is 20-60 minutes broken down into shorter lessons, plus projects and a community discussion forum to connect with other students.

The open discussion is very beneficial for their creative topics, as students can share their progress and get feedback from others. Skillshare also can help premium members with production, course planning, and can even help with online course creation at their studio in New York.

WHAT DOES SKILLSHARE COST?

Skillshare is free for creating a premium course experience. They pay instructors $10 for paid membership referrals and monthly royalties for each minute of content watched.

SKILLSHARE ADVANTAGES

They have a large user base of creators and entrepreneurs. If you are offering content that would be suited for a creative audience, Skillshare is a great platform to get noticed.

Lessons on web design, email marketing, photography, painting, personal branding, and creative topics are the most popular.

The quality of the classes is reliable. Skillshare prides itself on professional, high-quality courses. They can help with outlining your course based on the needs of their audience, and can also assist with production.

SKILLSHARE DISADVANTAGES

Earnings run through a royalty system. Each month, between 30 and 50% of Skillshare’s premium subscription revenue goes to a royalty pool for teachers.

The remaining funds go to marketing and promoting classes, supporting the platform, and running day-to-day operations. This royalty system works for well established Skillshare teachers, as the more minutes watched, the more revenue share you receive.

However, this makes it difficult for new instructors to receive much compensation when they’re just starting. Plus, students who watch at 2x speed only count as half the minutes toward the royalty pool.

Another disadvantage is they only offer email support. Although Skillshare has helpful support articles, the only option to contact them is via email.

SKILLSHARE REVIEW: FINAL VERDICT

Skillshare is an up and coming online course marketplace with over 4 million students. With a large user base of creators and entrepreneurs, Skillshare is a great option for instructors in creative fields.

Their classes are all high quality, and they can help make sure that your class will best match the needs of their audience for maximum impact.

However, based on the royalty system for earnings, and no live support, you may be able to make a lot more sales with a marketplace like Udemy. If you’re a creative course creator and want to reach a new audience, their online courses are worth a try.

Sign up with Skillshare and get 2 months of free classes.Try Skillshare

2. UDEMY.

Udemy is one of the best online course platform marketplaces with over 24 million students, 35,000 instructors, and unbelievable 80,000+ courses. The first step to creating a course on Udemy is to sign up to be a premium instructor.

Once your account is approved, it’s effortless to get started creating your courses. When creating your video content, keep in mind the material has to be at least 30 minutes long and contain five lectures. Source: Udemy.com

Another benefit to adding your course on Udemy is that you can easily promote your class inside their platform. You can use their marketing features to be included in site-wide discounts, be placed in their marketing emails, or join their affiliate program with tiered commission rates.

WHAT DOES UDEMY COST?

Udemy is free to use. They charge a 3% rev share for sales through instructor coupons, 50% for students who found your course through organic search (SEO), and 75% for transactions made through paid search marketing efforts.

UDEMY ADVANTAGES

You get access to a large user base. Udemy’s 24,000 users are all potential students who will pay for your course. But just because you’re on their platform, it doesn’t mean you’ll start raking in sales right away.

You have to develop a strong marketing and sales strategy, much like a new e-commerce company, author, or real estate agent. It’s all about getting your name out there.

They provide a substantial revenue share for tuition fees. Udemy instructors set their course prices and receive revenue at 100% of the tuition fee for new users and 50% for existing users. That’s a substantial commission on sales and a massive benefit to using their platform.

You can participate in Udemy marketing promotions. Every so often, Udemy runs promotions that can help you reach a larger audience on their platform. These marketing promotions are opt-in, so instructors can choose to participate or not.

They have reliable technology and support. Udemy offers free 24/7 support, and they also have a vast library of helpful articles.

UDEMY DISADVANTAGES

There is intense competition with other courses. Udemy instructors are at the mercy of the placement and appearance on the Udemy website, which is controlled by their proprietary algorithms.

It can be difficult to outrank other instructors on particular topics if you’re new to the platform.

There is also stiff competition with other course publishers. Udemy isn’t the only course marketplace ranking on search engines for your course topics.

Other marketplaces like iSpring Learn, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare can compete with Udemy in organic search, which can be a disadvantage for Udemy instructors.

They have lenient return policies. Refunds are guaranteed to all students within 30 days for any reason. Because of this, students could take a course, complete it within 30 days, and get a guaranteed refund – decreasing your sales.

UDEMY REVIEW: FINAL VERDICT

Udemy is one of the most well known, widely used, and professional online course marketplace out there. With a robust rev share model, a vast audience to tap into, 24/7 support, and marketing offerings, you can’t go wrong with their platform.

Although there is healthy competition with other course creators and platforms, the company is likely to maintain its lead in the market.

Try Udemy today.

3. TREEHOUSE.

Treehouse is a relatively new marketplace that believes in the democratization of education. Their platform is “committed to making education accessible to students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds.”

They feature 300+ technical courses on coding and development, over 50,000 students, and over 27,545 minutes of video (and counting).

Treehouse partners with some big names, including Microsoft, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, and Google Developers.Source: teamtreehouse.com

WHAT DOES TREEHOUSE COST?

Treehouse offers a 7-day free trial. Then you can choose from three different plans ranging from $25 to $199 per month.

Their basic plan features on-demand courses, interactive practice sessions, and access to their online community.

The pro plan gives you access to bonuses, beta features, and downloadable content.

And if you’re looking to create a real portfolio and get job-ready skills, their Techdegree plan gives you personalized feedback, real-time support, and a custom curriculum.

4. LINKEDIN LEARNING.

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) is another online course marketplace tailored to business professionals. With over 1,000 business courses on topics like project management, web development, and digital marketing, they’re an excellent platform for working professionals looking to keep their skills up-to-date. Source: LinkedIn Learning

They also offer certifications that you can add to your LinkedIn profile, showcasing your expertise and improving your online resume.

WHAT DOES LINKEDIN LEARNING COST?

Monthly fees tie to a premium LinkedIn membership, which is $29.99/month or $24.00/month if you pay annually.

5. COURSERA.

Coursera is a professional online course marketplace with virtual classes from some of the world’s best companies and universities like the University of Michigan, Duke, and Stanford.

Instructors teach Coursera courses at some of the world’s top universities, take about 4-6 weeks to complete, and include video lectures, peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums. Source: Coursera.org

WHAT DOES COURSERA COST?

Coursera is free to join, and you must be logged in to see pricing information on individual courses. There are three tiers of class offerings at Coursera.

  • Main courses run on a subscription basis and cost $29-99/month. These take the standard 4-6 weeks to complete, and you receive an electronic course certificate upon completion.
  • Specialization courses are for mastering a specific career skill and cost between $39-79/month. In these online courses, you tackle real business challenges with hands-on projects and more rigorous coursework.
  • Online degree programs. If you’re looking for more advanced education, you can even take part in university-recognized online degree programs. These take 1-3 years to complete and cost anywhere from $15 to $25,000.

HOW DO I CREATE AND SELL ONLINE COURSES?

The first step to sell online courses is to start with your end goal in mind and work backward. How are you going to transform your students’ lives and how will they be different once they’ve completed your course?

You should start your course by planning the transformation your students will achieve.

To understand what your students want to learn, hang out in forums related to your topic, and look at the top questions people are asking. Quora is an excellent place for this.

Once you understand how you can solve your student’s problems, create a clearly defined learning path that will guide them to a predetermined goal. During each stage of the course journey, make their outcomes clear.

By setting a learning path and clearly defined end goal, your students will stay more engaged and active with your content.

Here are the top 10 ways to create and sell online courses.

1. FIGURE OUT THE COST TO DEVELOP YOUR ONLINE COURSE.

The cost to develop your learning platform depends on many factors, including depth of content development, research and analytics expenses, and marketing. Studies estimate that a professional online course can cost between $5,850 and $15,600 to produce.

However, that’s a pretty high estimate, including professional video development, paying a subject matter expert (SME) to teach the course, market research, email automation or webinar software, and promoting the course. Source: racoongang.com

If you’re starting and want to create a course yourself, it can be much cheaper. For example, if you have a quality webcam, a microphone, screen sharing tools, and video editing software, you can create a course for under $200.

Your most significant investment is time. Keep in mind that costs rise with your effort. The more effort you put into analyzing your audience, market research, creating an outline, and shooting professional media with an engaging instructor, the higher the cost.

2. USE THE BEST SOFTWARE AND EQUIPMENT.

Creating a course isn’t as simple as add a webinar to a website. You need to produce the course first!

Software and equipment are required to create high-quality content. Remember, you’re replacing an in-classroom experience with a virtual course, so it needs to look professional.

However, you don’t need the most expensive, high-end equipment to get started – but you will need a few essential items.

1. MICROPHONES

Microphones are crucial. Bad audio is much easier to detect than shaky video, and you need a quality microphone for your course to sound excellent.

Use the best microphone you can afford. You can use a standard receiver, lavaliere mics, or even a headset, but I recommend a USB microphone.

One of my favorites is the Blue Yeti. And don’t forget to get some microphone accessories to improve your audio quality further. Pop filters, foam balls, shock mounts, and acoustic panels are critical if you’re recording in a small room.

Try the Blue Yeti microphone.

2. HEADPHONES

Having a good set of noise-canceling headphones will help tremendously during the editing process. They also come in handy when conducting interviews and recording someone.

3. SCREEN RECORDING PROGRAM

If you’re creating a class on a piece of software or computer program, you’ll have to show the screen to highlight the work you’re doing. There are lots of options when it comes to screen recording software, but one of my favorites is Camtasia.

4. USB WEBCAM

Mostly all online courses will require live webinars or videos of an instructor for a personal classroom feel.

Recording equipment can include something as simple as your iPhone or a webcam, or run up to professional DSLR camcorders. The most significant factor is your budget.

On the cheaper side, the Logitech C920S is an excellent 1080p USB webcam.

5. AUDIO AND VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE

Once you’re done shooting your course, the real magic happens with editing. Some of my favorite options include Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. If you’re looking to spruce up your animations, try Adobe After Effects.

6. LIGHTING AND ACCESSORIES

Quality three-point-lighting is crucial to ensure your instructor shines (pun intended). You can purchase a full studio light set or only some accessories for your iPhone.

Either way, you’ll want to research interview lighting techniques certify you look professional.

3. CREATE VALUABLE CONTENT.

This one is a no-brainer. You need a detailed vision of who your ideal students are and what they are interested in learning. Do they want to develop a new skill and earn an online certificate? Do they want to help grow their own business? By understanding your audience’s pain points, you can create a vision for your course.

Create compelling video courses. Use video plus interactive worksheets, PDFs, quizzes, and other elements to engage with your students on a deeper level. Also, make sure to condense learning into shorter sentences – no one wants to read long paragraphs.

4. DIFFERENTIATE YOUR WEBSITE.

Focus on your niche and provide the absolute best content with a focus on your unique value proposition (UVP). Unless you want to become the next EdX, you have to specialize and be the best at an exceptionally focused niche.

Offer an exclusive hook statement and differentiate your course’s UVP out of the gate. Ask yourself: What makes my course different than the rest? For example, if your niche is graphic design, don’t create a course called “Graphic Design for Beginners.” That’s too broad. A class called “Adobe InDesign for Ebook Publishers” is more focused and more natural to market.

Don’t focus on too many different areas. Your online course should have one focal point and not stray away from it or go off-topic. Only after you see some initial success with your teachings should you diversify into other topics.

5. TAKE TIME TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS.

After pouring all of your hard work into creating your course, your job is just getting started. Now you need to market it.

You need a dedicated website. To help people find you and view you as an expert in your field, you need a professional web presence. Your website should have an active blog with content related to your niche, which is search engine optimization (SEO) optimized.

Build a social media following. Create your own Facebook Business page so that you can engage with your community. Share your latest updates on Twitter and Instagram. Having a regular post schedule and providing engaging social media content will help build a community behind your brand.

6. HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR BRAND.

You should have complete control over your brand. You should be able to set your pricing and policies, incorporate your logo, and make the experience consistent with your business.

If you are developing your brand, you should be the face of the course and have the ability to showcase your personality in the class design.

7. DELIVER AN EXCEPTIONAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

The platform should deliver a great learning experience. You should include multiple content types like audio, text, documents, and more. Other features to look for include the ability to create quizzes and send completion certificates, forums, and “drip” courses sent to students over time.

8. INTEGRATE WITH OTHER TOOLS.

Choose a platform that integrates well with other solutions. You’re going to want to make sure your learning platform can work with other tools like email marketing services, analytics solutions, and more.

Check for popular integrations with tools like MailChimp, Google Analytics, WordPress, and more. For example, if you started a blog and are selling courses with a WordPress site, you need to choose a platform that can easily integrate into your current website.

If you do want to create an online course business with WordPress, you can search their plugin directory for a list of the right plugins:

9. ALIGN SALES WITH YOUR BUDGET IN MIND.

The platform should fit your budget and offer flexible pricing options. To make money selling online courses, you need to spend money. But by looking into pricing information first, you get a better understanding of your potential return on investment.

10. LEVERAGE CUSTOMER SUPPORT IF YOU NEED IT.

The platform should offer excellent customer support and training. A lot of services offer free resources and training, a dedicated account manager, and a helpful instructor community that can help you succeed.

Make use of those resources if you’re stuck – don’t be afraid to ask for help.

WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR ONLINE COURSES?

Whether you want to sell online courses from your website or use another platform, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the most popular classes in 2019.

It’s challenging to come up with great ideas to engage students. The Online Course Report recently came out with their list of the 80 highest rated on-demand courses. Their catalog includes some of the most popular and highly rated online courses:

1. EDX: THE SCIENCE OF EVERYDAY THINKING

The most popular course overall.

2. UDEMY: THE COMPLETE WEB DEVELOPER COURSE 2.0

The highest-rated course on Udemy.

3. UDEMY: SEO BEGINNERS: HOW I GET 1,000 VISITORS A DAY WITH SEO

This SEO class is the most popular entrepreneurship lesson on Udemy.

4. COURSERA: AN INTRODUCTION TO INTERACTIVE PROGRAMMING IN PYTHON

The most popular developer course.

5. TREEHOUSE: JAVASCRIPT BASICS

The most popular developer class on Treehouse.

As you can see from this list, students are looking for highly informative, impactful education. Now you don’t need to top the list to be successful.

But you need to create classes that are not only high quality but also train your students on topics they love.

THAT’S A WRAP

Online courses can help you launch a side hustle, grow your audience, teach students the topics you care about or make money online faster.

When choosing between the best online teaching platforms, remember to do your research: consider the time restrictions, monthly costs, and marketing features available.

Each platform allows you to easily upload your content, provide training for your students, and generate sales. But the critical factor is you.

The success of your course ultimately relies on the quality of your content and how well you can market yourself.

A platform is just that, a platform. Yes, it’s a branded, engaging, interactive piece of media with your insights and experience, but it still needs planning, market research, development, and most importantly, marketing.

When choosing between the best platforms, you must ultimately decide the features that are right for you. There are endless amounts of topics to teach, and millions of students ready to learn from you.

Why not get started today?

If you’re ready to start creating and selling online courses, I recommend you get started with Thinkific.

GREAT HACKS to Sell Online in 8 Easy Steps

Choose what products to sell

Choose what products to sell

Just because you have dreams of an eCommerce business doesn’t mean you’ve fully decided on what you want to sell. Maybe you have diverse interests, or maybe you’re looking for an industry that offers a certain profit margin. In any case, deciding what to sell is the most crucial step in the process. The best way to make this decision is to start with something broad and then narrow it down to a niche. Choosing a smaller niche makes it easier to excel in a particular area and cuts down on competition.

For example, a new kitchen supply store would start out facing steep competition from huge, established brands selling a full selection of kitchen supplies, and the business owner would need expertise on a massive variety of products in order to make the new brand stand out as an authority. “Niching down” to a single type of product, like coffee makers, would allow time, energy, and money to be invested into a much narrower field, which produces stronger results. It’s far easier to position your brand as the world’s expert on coffee makers than on kitchen products in general.

While choosing your niche, think about the types of products that interest you. Starting your business and building your brand will be much easier and more rewarding if you choose an industry you’re passionate about. Also consider your possible suppliers for these items. Are you going to make a product yourself, or will you buy inventory from a wholesaler? Are you going to start out by dropshipping? These are important questions for creating a viable business plan.

Pick the right domain name

Pick the right domain name

Your domain name or URL is the web address a customer would type into their browser to find your website. It’s a good idea to name your business and pick your domain name at the same time. That way, you’ll be able to choose a domain that reflects your business while avoiding problems like choosing a business name that doesn’t work as a domain name or is already taken.

It’s very important to choose the right domain name. Domain names should be short, memorable, and clear. If your business name doesn’t already include keywords related to the products you sell, you should add your most important keyword to your domain name for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.

Your domain name should also be easy to say out loud. When talking about your business, you don’t want to have to go into detail to explain how your domain name is spelled. Stay away from words that sound too similar to other words, digits mixed with spelled-out numbers, and anything else that sounds awkward or ambiguous out loud — including hyphens. People today are used to domain names being written as “all one word,” so hyphens hurt clarity more than they help.

One last pitfall to avoid is the accidental creation of other brand names or words when you combine words to make your domain name. For instance, bobscameras.com has the word “scam” right in the middle, even though it would be intended to say “Bob’s Cameras.” Choose your business name and domain name carefully to avoid this.

Build your online store

Build your online store

Many new business owners are afraid to start making a website because they worry about their own lack of technical knowledge, but today you can create a beautiful, effective online store without writing a single line of code. The key is to find an eCommerce solution that has all the tools you need to build your online store, add products, create a checkout, and other essentials.

It’s important to choose the right platform so you won’t end up paying extra for necessary features and so your business can grow without being constrained by software limitations. 3dcart is an example of a powerful online store builder that provides a fast and easy way to design a website, add products, and manage all your sales from a convenient dashboard. You don’t have to install anything on your computer, either; you just create an account, choose a plan, and start creating. You can even get a free 15-day trial to get a feel for the 3dcart software without having to enter your credit card information.

You can choose your theme first, or start by adding products and categories. You’ll also need to add a few extra pages for your business information, including an “About Us” page and pages for your store policies. 3dcart lets you create these pages with a few clicks.

If you already have a website, don’t worry — you can still build your online store with shopping cart software like 3dcart and connect it to your existing site through the use of a subdomain, like store.yourwebsite.com.

Get payments into your bank account

Get payments into your bank account

There are a few ways you can start accepting online payments, and some are faster and easier than others. You could go the traditional route and open a merchant account, or you could skip that step and use a payment processor that doesn’t have those requirements, like PayPal, Square, or Stripe. These are all great options as they’re easy to set up and already built into most eCommerce software.

Credit cards are the most popular method for paying online, but alternate payment providers are worth including as well. Digital wallet solutions like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Visa Checkout, and Masterpass provide a fast alternative for customers who don’t want to enter their credit card number while they shop. These services provide a method for saving payment information to be used on multiple websites. Other alternate payment types include cryptocurrency, customer financing, and more.

If you already have a brick-and-mortar store, your current POS processor should be able to offer an extension of their service so you can use the same provider to take payment on your website. Conversely, if you’re starting with a website and may open a brick-and-mortar location in the future, your eCommerce software should include a POS system or compatibility with popular solutions like Square POS. This will allow you to keep online sales and in-person sales synchronized to ensure a consistent inventory count.

Select your shipping methods

Select your shipping methods

Shipping is at the core of eCommerce, since your customers are ordering online, and you’ll need a way to get your products to them — unless you’re selling digital downloads like ebooks or music files. If you’re selling physical products, you’ll have to decide which shipping carrier(s) you’ll want to use and determine the appropriate rates to charge the customer. It’s crucial that you understand eCommerce shipping so you can make the right decisions.

While free shipping is incredibly popular for online stores, you’ll need to absorb the cost, so it’s recommended to start out using real-time rates as provided by your shipping carrier. Real-time rates are calculated automatically while the customer puts together their order, ensuring you don’t overcharge the customer or lose money by not charging enough.

To get these real-time rates on your website, you need to use an eCommerce solution that offers a full set of shipping tools for selling online, including integrations with your preferred carrier to pull the rates to your online store while still giving you the freedom to choose the exact shipping methods you want to offer. Depending on your country, you can use carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, Canada Post, Royal Mail, AU Post, or others.

Promote and market your online store

Promote and market your online store

You should start marketing your online store right away to ensure a steady flow of customers. The best form of marketing is a multifaceted approach that includes social media, email newsletters, search engine optimization, and paid advertising. You can also run regular promotions and coupons, like product discounts, and even Daily Deals or Group Deals if your eCommerce software supports them.

Social media like Facebook is a great way to get your name out there and interact with customers. You should create a Facebook Business Page and load it up with images and company information — with a link back to your website, of course. Instagram and Pinterest are also popular means of engagement, and for an additional bonus, you can sell products from all of these platforms. More details about selling on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are included later in this guide.

Email newsletters should be sent on a regular basis to inform your customers about upcoming sales, new products, and other news. Your newsletters should be interesting and fun to read, rather than just blatant advertising, and you shouldn’t send them out too often. You don’t want to spam your customers, after all, so once a month is sufficient for almost every brand. You can also send out an extra newsletter on rare, important occasions like a highly-anticipated product release.

Search engine optimization helps new customers discover your website through searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines. You can boost your SEO through providing high-quality content on your website that covers the appropriate keywords for your products, both in your webpage content and in blog articles. The technical aspect of SEO — such as correct URL structure, page speed, metadata, XML sitemaps, and more — is a little harder to manage properly unless your eCommerce software follows SEO best practices. 3dcart stands out as the best eCommerce platform for SEO, as it includes a full suite of tools, features, and customizations to ensure every page of your website meets the highest standards.

Select your shipping methods

Grow your business

Once your business takes off and you have orders rolling in, you’ll need to process and fulfill these orders as quickly as possible. This can start to become a challenge as your customer base grows, and you’ll need to balance the time you spend on different business tasks with the ability to provide excellent customer service. This is where new businesses often begin to struggle if they aren’t prepared, so it’s important to have the tools you need to grow and sustain your business.

3dcart is meant to be used by businesses of any size, and we stand by that statement by equipping our platform with the features you need to manage your business in as streamlined a fashion as possible. Need to hire employees? Staff user administration lets you give different employees access to different parts of your 3dcart dashboard, so you can assign them different roles. Having a problem with certain website visitors? 3dcart lets you block unwanted traffic by IP address. Need to restock a ton of inventory at once? 3dcart’s purchase order system makes it simple. You’ll also be fully supported with tools for customer service, such as an RMA return management system, waiting lists with back-in-stock notifications, a full eCommerce Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to help you track every issue and interaction with your customers, and email autoresponders that follow up with every customer who makes an order.

To help you understand your store trends, you’ll be able to see detailed, real-time reports about all the traffic and activity in your store. You can use this information to plan your inventory and strategize your promotions. You can also connect your store to Google Analytics to receive valuable information about how your customers are finding you. This knowledge will help you improve your marketing by showing you what led visitors to your website.

That’s not even close to a full list of features built into 3dcart for your business management. And on top of all that’s included, you can also integrate easily with your preferred business software and services, such as QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many others. 3dcart tech support is also ready to back you up. Our Client Success Team is available 24/7, every day of the year, to answer your questions and help you get the most from 3dcart.

Checklist for Selling Online

While you set up your business and website, you can refer to this checklist to help keep
track of everything you need to do before your online store goes live.

Checklist for Selling Online

Did you…

  • Obtain all the licenses you need to run a business in your industry?
  • Ensure your online store has all the necessary security to protect your customers’ information?
  • Choose a design template that works for your brand?
  • Set up a proper category structure for your products?
  • Add all the products you want to have available upon launch?
  • Post your Shipping, Returns, and Privacy Policies on your website?
  • Set up at least one payment option?
  • Set up your correct tax rates?
  • Set up your shipping methods?
  • Post your business’s contact information on your site with a means to provide customer service?

Where Can I Sell Products Online?

The smartest online retailers sell on multiple channels, meaning putting products up for sale on more than one website or marketplace. Imagine multichannel selling as looking like a wheel. Your own eCommerce website serves as the central “hub” for your business, where you can fully show off your brand and company information in a web space that belongs to you. The outer “spokes” of the wheel are the individual channels on which you sell your products, including marketplace websites, social media, and more.

Where Can I Sell Products Online?

Running your business website on 3dcart gives you the additional benefit of integrations with several of these channels. This means your control panel in 3dcart can be used to list products and manage sales on outside channels as well as your website itself.

Not every channel works the same way. Some allow you to post products even if you don’t have a website, while others require you to make a website before you can even get started. However, it’s strongly advised to make your own website, as it will add authority to your brand, make it easier for customers to find you, and let you take full advantage of the selling tools found within 3dcart.

Most marketplaces also have restrictions on the types of products you can sell, usually to help protect that marketplace against certain types of liability. However, you can often use this restriction to your advantage. For example, Amazon does not allow the sale of most vaping equipment, like mods, tanks, or e-liquids, but sales of certain accessories are permitted. If you wanted to open an online vape store, you’d have to keep most of your products off Amazon, but you could still sell carrying cases, charger cords, and similar vaping accessories on Amazon. Customers who find your Amazon products and learn to trust your brand are likely to visit your website in search of other products that Amazon won’t allow you to list. You can use this strategy on any marketplace that forbids certain products while allowing related accessory products. Just make sure to check the marketplace’s Terms of Service or other seller guidelines to learn exactly what’s permitted and what isn’t.

Sell on Facebook

Sell on Facebook

Facebook is a fantastic social media platform for engaging with customers and helping your business become known, but did you know you can sell products directly from your Facebook Business Page? 3dcart makes it easy to send products to your Facebook Shop Tab complete with product images, star ratings, prices, and more, meaning you don’t have to set up your Facebook store separately. Your Facebook store will be connected to your 3dcart website so you can handle all your Facebook sales and website sales from the same place, with your inventory count remaining consistent. Keeping everything synchronized this way will save you tons of time and effort.

Sell on eBay

Sell on eBay

Millions of customers visit eBay every day looking for great deals on thousands of types of products. While eBay is best known for auctions, you can also set up an eBay storefront in which you offer an assortment of items at fixed prices. 3dcart connects to eBay in a similar fashion as it does to Facebook, so you can upload products directly to eBay and handle the sales from your 3dcart dashboard. You can set up listing templates so your products always post to eBay with the pricing you choose, whether you opt for auctions or Buy it Now pricing. If you already have products on eBay, you can import them all to your 3dcart store as well. Either way, your inventory numbers remain synchronized between eBay and your website, and the additional convenience makes it easier to make more eBay sales than ever.

Sell on Amazon

Sell on Amazon

Amazon is one of the largest marketplaces in the world, and the first stop for millions of everyday shoppers. Becoming a successful Amazon seller can be a bit more involved of a process, depending on the types of products you sell and whether those products can already be found on Amazon, but 3dcart still maintains a powerful two-way integration. You can handle all your Amazon sales from your 3dcart dashboard, even for products you may have on Amazon but not yet in your 3dcart store. As with the above platforms, your inventory is kept synchronized between all marketplaces.

Sell on Instagram

Sell on Instagram

Selling on Instagram requires a Facebook Shop, which is easiest to set up using 3dcart’s Facebook connection as described above. Once your Facebook Business Page is ready and has your items available for sale, you can connect your Instagram business profile to it. You must then get your Instagram profile approved for shopping, which is usually a fast process. Once this is all done, you can turn on product tagging and start highlighting your products in every Instagram post you make. You can also add product stickers and make use of other Instagram features. Since Instagram is focused on images, it works great for exciting brands with a heavy visual focus.

Sell on Google

Sell on Google

Google is the most popular search engine, so wouldn’t it be great to get your products right there on the front page? You can sell your products on Google Shopping as well as Google Ads by uploading your product information via a shopping feed. These product listings will appear within Google Search results as well as on Google Shopping. The easiest way to get all your products onto Google is to export them from 3dcart, which will create complete listings with images, pricing, brand name, star ratings, and more. All orders coming through Google can be managed through your 3dcart dashboard just like our other integrated channels.

Sell on Etsy

Sell on Etsy

Etsy is a popular marketplace for artists and handcrafters, and you can sell your own handmade products as well as mass-produced art supplies. Creating an account is easy, and you’ll be able to set up a storefront with a bit of customization. However, Etsy does have some limitations — and charges some relatively hefty fees — so the best idea is to have your own website even if you choose to sell some of your products through Etsy. Many items are prohibited from the Etsy marketplace and it can be hard to make your store stand out from millions of others. Make sure you read up on Etsy’s limitations before you decide to expand onto this channel.

Sell on Pinterest

Sell on Pinterest

Pinterest is a fun platform that makes it easy to share content, and millions of users browse it every day. There are several ways to sell products on Pinterest, including Buyable Pins, Rich Pins, and Promoted Pins, and more. Each type of Pin works a little differently to get your products seen by visitors and provide them with a quick way to buy them. One of the best methods is Shop the Look Pins, which are great for fashion and décor. People often browse Pinterest for inspiration, and with Shop the Look Pins, individual products are highlighted within the image to help customers buy the right items to duplicate the showcased look. You can also use Promoted Pins, which work like paid ads for your brand to drive people to your website.

Ideas for Products to Sell Online

Want to jump into one of the most popular industries for online sales? Check out the top 6 products to sell online

Ideas for Products to Sell Online

Wine and Alcoholic Beverages

It’s safe to say that the wine market is never going to dry up. And today, people love to buy their wine and other alcoholic beverages online just as they do with any product. The simple fact is that the selection online will always be bigger than the selection at the local store, and certain local brews might not be available anywhere else unless you can get them online. This is why selling wine online can be a great business opportunity, as long as you understand how complex this industry can be!

Fortunately, 3dcart provides all the control you’ll need to ensure that every sale is done properly and legally. With age verification and powerful shipping tools, you can make sure only legal customers can access your website. Opt to refuse visitors automatically if they come from a state, county, or city that can’t legally have alcohol shipped to it. Set maximum purchase quantities to comply with local laws. Utilize special payment processors happy to take on a business in a high-risk industry. 3dcart makes this all much easier.

Fashion and Apparel

Every day, shoppers scour the internet in search of new, fashionable apparel from formal outfits to workout clothes to super-soft pajamas. Everyone wants to look good and feel good, whether or not they feel the need to follow the latest trends. The fashion and apparel industry has exploded online, and with so many brands and looks available, it’s clear there’s a place for everyone’s individual tastes to shine.

3dcart’s features make it a perfect match for building an online apparel store — unlimited categories make it easy to organize your inventory, plus you can create brand pages so customers can choose to shop their favorites. All products can have unlimited variants, including color, size, material, and any other combination you’ll need, as well as Advanced Options for use when a certain variant needs different pricing or other considerations. Plus, high-resolution product photos with zoom capability let customers inspect all the fine details, from seams to leather grain to thread weave.

T-shirts

T-shirts are part of the apparel industry, but they’re also something special all on their own. They’re the favorite daily wear of millions of people throughout the world, and if there’s one thing T-shirts are wonderful for, it’s for wearing your attitude on your sleeve. Whether you prefer slogans, cool illustrations or patterns, jokes, cartoons, band logos, or anything else, there’s a perfect T-shirt out there just for you. Despite all the competition, selling T-shirts online can be extremely lucrative because of the sheer number of customers, many of which are likely to buy their next T-shirt based on its design rather than loyalty to a specific retailer.

3dcart makes it easy to build a great online T-shirt store, with features like unlimited products, super-specific inventory control so you’ll always know how many of each size you have in stock, tons of promotional tools, and more — plus, dropshipping support so you can sell print-on-demand T-shirts.

Jewelry

The online jewelry market is more successful than you might expect, considering the nature of buying online means customers can’t inspect products before purchase. But jewelry of all types and price points sells very well over the internet. Online jewelry retailers are often able to lower their prices due to the reduced costs of running a website as opposed to a brick-and-mortar store, so selling jewelry online is quite profitable.

Of course, whether online or offline, you’ll want the best security while selling such high-ticket items, and that’s another area where 3dcart excels. Not only is 3dcart fully PCI compliant, meaning total protection for your customers’ data, we provide powerful features for protecting the seller as well. 3dcart’s anti-fraud tools such as FraudWatch utilize and compare customer information across multiple points to identify and prevent fraudulent purchases before they can happen.

Vape and CBD Products

The vaping and CBD industries are both booming, and the overlap between the two is partially behind this growth. Some forms of CBD are made for vaping, and some vape shops sell CBD products (or vice versa). Customers are also likely to be attracted to these products for similar reasons — both are popular among people seeking to reduce anxiety and improve health.

Today, selling vape products online and selling CBD online can both be quite profitable, whether alone or together. 3dcart is a perfect platform for these industries because it doesn’t restrict the sales of either product type, unlike some providers which ban CBD. Several included features also come in handy, such as age verification, easy tax rates, unlimited products and categorization, and much more.

Auto Parts

If you’ve ever needed a specific part for your vehicle and ended up visiting 5 junkyards all across town, you’ll immediately see the appeal of shopping online for auto parts! Customers in search of specific items usually turn to the internet first nowadays because it’s the most convenient way to browse thousands of products at once.

3dcart is a great platform for selling auto parts online, with powerful categorization capabilities so your customers can shop by make, model, year, or however else is convenient. Strong inventory control makes it just as easy to sell one-of-a-kind rare items as it is to sell products with huge amounts of stock. Plus, a built-in integration with eBay Motors opens up another powerful sales channel for auto parts sellers.

List of Free Training for Newbie Course Creators

Image of Laptop with e-Learning on scree - Free training for online course creators

What’s it take to be a successful course creator and sell online courses? Mostly it takes the motivation to get started and the will to keep at it, but it also helps to get whatever expert training and tips you can. With a little training and guidance, you’ll be able to avoid common mistakes, leverage the experience of others, and move a lot faster.

So, with that aim in mind, I’ve put together the following list of free training opportunities, guides, and eBooks that cover nearly everything course creators need to know to launch and grow a successful online course business.

Some of these require sign-up. Some are actual courses or video tutorials, while others are text-based and may include both on-screen and PDF versions. Regardless, they are all free. Just pick and choose what’s most useful to you. And, I encourage you to:

  • Bookmark this page
  • Share it with others using the social  links on this page

Now, let’s dive in.

Fundamentals of Creating and Selling Online Courses

These guides and trainings cover all of the fundamentals of getting a course created and into the market. If you are just getting started or want to review some of the basics, this is definitely the place to start.

How to Sell Online Courses – The Ultimate Guide for 2019

This guide/eBook from Learnworlds teaches you how to make your online courses ready for sales and, most importantly, profitable. Topics covered include;

  • Why is having an online course profitable?
  • Making an online course
  • How to Price a Course
  • The Structure of a Successful Title
  • A Successful Course Sales Page
  • How to Market & Sell Online Courses Step-By-Step
  • Offline Works
  • Happy Students Are the Best Referrals
  • Increase the Value of Your Course
  • Resources to Help
  • Moving Forward

How to create, sell, and profit from an online course in 2019

This guide from Podia provides you with everything you need to know about creating, launching and selling a course this year. Topics covered include:

  • Are online courses the right type of online business for you?
  • How do you come up with a profitable idea for your course?
  • Where do you start when it comes to building your course content?
  • What about sales and marketing? How do you ensure that people buy your course?

28 Day Challenge

This challenge is designed to align with a 28-day free trial of the Kajabi platform. Basically, over the course of 28 days the Kajabi team walks you through everything you need to do to build your first digital product and get your first sale. If you are seriously considering Kajabi, it’s a no-brainer. Even if you aren’t considering  Kajabi, this is great crash course in how to get up and running as a course creator – and you can always take what you learn to a different platform if you want.

30 Day Course Creation Challenge

Similar to the Kajabi challenge above, this 30-day challenge from Ruzuku provides you with step-by-step guidance from course idea to finished course. And, again, even if you don’t go with Ruzuku in the end, the learning is portable.

How to create an amazing membership website: The complete guide

I’ve put this into the fundamentals area because subscription membership sites are one of the best models for selling educational content – it definitely pays to learn about them. This step-by-step guide from Podia contains everything you need to know about building and launching an online membership business.

Adding Online Courses to Your Business

If you are an author, coach, speaker, or entrepreneur, online courses can be a great way to expand your reach and create new revenue streams. The items in this section tell you how.

Book To Course Expert Talks

If you are an author who wants to make a bigger impact with your book, engage your community, and earn more revenue, then this free training from Thinkific may be just the ticket. Delivered to your inbox as a series of videos, it gives you access to interviews with 10+ authors and online course experts on how to expand your reach and revenue as an author.

Coach To Course Expert Talks

Similar to the “book to course” expert talks above, this series is for coaches who want to level up their businesses, get more clients and operate at scale.  Through a series of videos featuring more than 10 industry experts, you’ll learn how to get more clients, market and sell your online program, create engaging content, and set up systems to help you scale.

How to Grow Your Business Using Online Courses

Courses are the main focus of some businesses. For others, they are a way to fuel growth for their main product lines. In this guide, Thinkific invites you to find out why fast-growth companies and entrepreneurs are creating online courses for their customers. You’ll learn about:

  • The #1 challenge preventing most entrepreneurs from scaling their business
  • The top 3 strategies for using online courses to grow your business
  • Common misconceptions about creating online courses and why people will gladly pay a premium for your information
  • Real stories and examples from our community of 25,000+ online course creators

Marketing and Selling

There’s no way around it: you have to learn to market and sell effectively if you want to achieve success as an edupreneur. The items in this area cover some of the most essential skills and tactics you will need to market your online courses effectively and pull in sales.

List Building 101 Guide: How to Rapidly Build an Email List

If you don’t have a list, you don’t have much of a business. From choosing the right email service provider to sending a welcome email to your subscribers, this guide from Teachable covers everything you need to build an e-mail list. It includes:

  • Easy wins to start growing your list.
  • Actionable strategies to generate massive growth.
  • Surprising case studies.

The Definitive Guide to Landing Pages

Effective sales pages – aka landing pages – are absolutely essential for success in selling digital learning.This guide from LeadPages is designed to cover the ‘must-know’ fundamentals as well as the most important tips and strategies that have proven to work across hundreds of thousands of business. It starts with the very basics and continues on into the nitty-gritty of effective landing page copywriting and design.

The Ultimate YouTube Marketing Guide for Video Creators & Entrepreneurs

With YouTube being the worlds second largest search engine at this point and video being such a powerful marketing tool for online education, you really need to understand the ins and outs of how to grow your audience and business with YouTube.  This guide to YouTube marketing from Thinkific features insights from top video marketing experts and YouTube channel owners with millions of views.

How To Get Interviewed On Top Podcasts In Your Industry (Complete Guide)

As I’ve written before, appearing on podcasts can be a great way to reach relevant audiences for your courses. This guide from Thinkific covers all the ins and outs of how to do it.

Making Serious Money

I could have included these under Marketing and Selling, but they seem worth their own category. Find out how some of the most successful online course creators are hitting six figures and beyond.

Your First 100K

If you are aiming to make some serious money with your online course, you will definitely want to get Thinkific’s proven path to reaching $100,000 in online course sales.

12 Powerful Secrets of Entrepreneurs Who Made $32.9 Million With Online Courses

Teachable invites you to discover how the best online teachers in the world make a living online with this free eBook covering the anatomy of a top school, how to sell your online courses, and exclusive recommendations from some of Teachable’s best instructors (from among 100k+ schools.)

How Foundr Sells its Premium Online Courses to Thousands of Students

Foundr  is a fantastic for entrepreneurs in general, and the folks there definitely know a thing or two about selling online courses. This post offers a very thorough guide to how the company has  reached more than 10,000 students with the 12 courses it has created to  date. There are tips here you definitely will not want to miss.

Software Tutorials and Training

These are very software-specific, but they  cover three pieces of software that are pretty much universally valuable to course creators: Camtasia, Screenflow, and WordPress. Camtasia and Screenflow are easily the two best options out there for capturing and editing screen recordings and easily editing videos, in general. WordPress is the world’s most popular Web site platform.

Camtasia

Camtasia provides a good series of videos covering essential skills and techniques. Once you are done wit these, you can move to more advanced videos covering advanced editing, animations, and more.

Screenflow

Screenflow provides a comprehensive tutorial series to teach you how to get started with ScreenFlow and then move to the pro level.

Complete WordPress Beginner Essentials Masterclass

I’ve always urged course creators to maintain a home base Web site that is independent of whatever online course platform they use. It’s the only way you ensure you have complete flexibility and control over your brand. This guide from LifterLMS covers all of the essentials for getting started with WordPress, my top choice for your home base site.

Make a Plan

It’s great to have access to a range of training and education opportunities to help grow your online course business, but let’s face it, access doesn’t mean anything if you don’t actually take advantage of it and make use of these resources.

My advice? Pick one or two of these that are most relevant to you and schedule some time on your calendar each day to go through them. Once you are done, come back to this page (because, of course, you will have  bookmarked it!) and choose something new.

Take that approach, and over the course of a few weeks or months you will become a master of creating and selling online courses. It’s an opportunity that’s free, but priceless.

6 Successful Online Course Creators Share Their Secrets

With the upcoming launch of The Course Course, I thought it’d be fun to host my own little round-up of sorts.

So I asked all of my brilliant internet friends that also have an online course to tell us about theirs, who it’s for, why they created it, how it’s benefited their business, one thing they did right and one thing they’d like to improve. 

And it came out great – I’m excited to share their answers! This post is for you if a) You’re considering adding products to your business model or b) You’re looking for your next course to take. 

1. Brennan Dunn on Charging What You’re Worth

brennan-dunn

Brennan Dunn is the founder of Double Your Freelancing and helps teach freelancers and consultants how to earn more money and work with better clients. He’s the creator of Double Your Freelancing Rate and Double Your Freelancing Clients. His free pricing course, Charge What You’re Worth, has helped thousands of freelancers and consultants charge what they’re worth.

 What’s your course and who is it for?

Double Your Freelancing Rate is a course that teaches creative freelancers how to qualify, pitch and ultimately sell clients on high-value projects. It’s for anyone struggling with low rates and getting paid their worth.

Why did you launch it?

I found myself giving out the same advice over and over via email and Skype calls, so I decided to package it in a way that could be useful to anyone.

First it was released as a book and then I realized that courses are much more actionable. So it has evolved to include templates and case studies, in addition to the evergreen material.

How has it impacted your business?

In the last month I’ve sold ~$40,000 in course enrollments. Since the material is evergreen, the advice doesn’t go out of style. DYFR is a great next step to help people who find my free resources take their business to the next level.

What’s one thing you did right? 

I implemented a post-purchase email accountability course, which basically takes students chapter by chapter through the course and keeps them on track using worksheets. Student success rates skyrocketed after the fact since it helped ensure they did the work necessary to get the desired results.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I’m working on adding software that helps the course go from knowledge transfer to a tangible tool to help them generate contracts and proposals.

2. Sophie Lizard on Getting Freelance Clients

Sophie-Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger

Sophie Lizard’s freelance blogging and copywriting career supports a family of 6, including a newborn daughter of whom she’s ridiculously proud. Through her blog, courses and other resources, Sophie teaches writers how to earn real money blogging for hire.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I run two courses.

Get Started for Freelance Blogging Success is a 28-day training for beginners. The course walks the writer through setting up a freelance business and finding their first clients.

The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Masterclass is an 8-week training for more experienced freelance bloggers. It teaches you how to find and win better, higher-paying clients.

Why did you launch it?

I decided to launch an online course after realizing that although there was a lot of information and training available for freelance writers in general, there was no course designed specifically for freelance *bloggers.*

Having been a successful freelance blogger for the past 6 years, I knew there were some big differences between a typical blogging gig and other freelance writing projects such as white papers, magazine articles or sales copy.

It’s important for freelance bloggers to avoid being misled by advice that’s really focused on other types of writing.

How has it impacted your business?

Launching a course has made a big difference to my business – not only do I earn thousands of dollars from course sales, but I also get to “meet” some of my blog’s most engaged readers when they take one of my courses.

That’s a great opportunity to get to know my audience better and understand what they need to help them succeed.

What’s one thing you did right?

It was definitely launching my course for experienced bloggers before creating a course for beginners. That sounds backwards, because you want people to take the starter course followed by the advanced course, right?

But for that to be possible, you actually need the advanced course to be ready and waiting when students reach the end of the beginner course – so you need to build the advanced one first.

(Your first cohort of advanced students will be people who don’t need the starter course, so that works out fine.)

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

One thing I often consider improving is the training fulfillment medium and platform.

I designed the Get Started course to be presented entirely via email, so that even non-techie students could get to grips with it as easily as possible. Sometimes I think about turning it all into video based lessons, but then there’d be more passwords and technology issues for students to handle, which is not ideal.

The Client Hunting Masterclass already includes videos, and I do think video is a fantastic medium for education. But I’m considering moving that course onto a different platform to integrate more tools for students to submit their homework and track their progress – I want to make sure my students know the path, do the work and reach their goals!

3. Kristin Larsen on Growing Your Business with Pinterest

Kristin Larsen Pinterest Presence

Kristin is a #GirlBoss and the creator of Believe In A Budget. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers and businesses grow their traffic through specific Pinterest marketing techniques. She is also the author of The Ultimate Resource Guide, a book that teaches others how to side hustle and make money.

What’s your course and who is it for?

Pinterest Presence is an in-depth, three part course that is geared towards bloggers and businesses that are interested in learning how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to their website effectively, as well as to create dynamic Pinterest images to engage viewers.

Why did you launch it?

When I reached my cap on accepting new clients for my Pinterest management business, I had to add a waiting list for my services. Because I wanted to be able to help as many people as possible, I created Pinterest Presence so everyone who purchased my course could learn my exact Pinterest applications and strategies when working directly with clients.

(Gina’s Tip: Kristin helped me grow my Pinterest reach from 21K to 180K in just four months!)

How has it impacted your business?

Launching Pinterest Presence has been a game changer for my business. I love when my students email me with success stories! Because my time is so limited, creating a course has been a much more passive method of earning additional income while still being able to help so many bloggers and businesses! It’s been a win-win across the board.

What’s one thing you did right?

I created the course simply because readers and clients wanted me to! After receiving numerous emails with questions from readers and potential clients wanting to hire me, I knew creating a course would be the best thing for them and for my business.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I want the course to be the best course available for my students. I’m currently in the process of adding video tutorials to the course, so my students can see visually see exactly how I rock Pinterest and create dynamic Pinterest images.

4. Bryan Richards on Sponsored Travel Blogging

Bryan Richards on Sponsored Travel Blogging

Bryan Richards followed his taste buds across five continents, 20 countries, and 71 cities. When he’s not traversing the globe, he enjoys the craft beer scene and local food movement in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bryan blogs at The Wandering Gourmand.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I launched 15 Steps to Sponsored Blog Travel in beta. The course is intended for any blogger – no matter their blog size or niche – who wishes to incorporate travel into their blog. Travel brands and tourist boards are starving for attention on their destination outside of the travel blogger space.

Why did you launch it?

I listened to my audience. Several readers reached out to me with the exact email. “How are you getting so many sponsored trips when your audience is a quarter the size of mine? Please share the secret to your success.” So I did.

How has it impacted your business?

I am still in the beta version of my course, so it’s a bit early to report numbers. However, the course netted me $1,000 during the beta sale.

Aside from the numbers, the greater impact is the fact that I own the material. As a freelance writer, everything I write goes to someone else to profit from. Now I can profit from my own words!

What’s one thing you did right?

I charged for the beta.

A lot of folks will give the beta away since it’s still in testing. However, when someone receives a free course, they rarely take it. Studies show that we’ve become digital hoarders with all the free content out there. When someone pays for a course, they have more skin in the game and will actually take the course. This is important in a beta because you want their feedback and testimonials.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I wish I would have launched the course sooner!

I worked on the curriculum for a year before launching it. That’s a year of lost revenue! If I were to do it again, I’d take a weekend as a writer’s retreat to crank out the material.

5. Zina Kumok on Paying Off Debt

ZinaKumok-28

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A trained journalist, she’s covered everything from murder trials to the Final Four. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and writes a blog about paying off her student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I recently launched Student Loan Knockout: A 20-Day Journey to Debt Freedom. It’s designed to help millennials and recent graduates figure out how to repay their student loans early and master the basics of personal finance.

Why did you launch it?

For months, people have been asking me how I paid off my student loans early. I knew that the skills and strategies I used were something anyone could figure out, and I wanted to help more people become debt free.

How has it impacted your business?

I think it’s made me an authority in this niche. It’s one thing to write a blog about a topic, but if you can create a course about it, it really shows you’re an expert. Plus, it’s given me the confidence to know that I can carry out a huge project like this.

What’s one thing you did right?

I got five people to go through the course and offer their advice, suggestions and critiques. You should be prepared for people to offer you advice on how to improve your course.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

My email list is pretty small right now, and I probably should have spent more time focusing on that before launching my product.

6. Sarah Greesonbach on Writing for B2B

SarahGreesonbach - Freelance writer

Sarah Greesonbach helps writers refine their businesses at FiveFigureWriter.com. Her most recent course, The B2B Booster Shot, zeroes in on confidence in pitching and landing B2B clients.

What’s your course and who is it for?

The B2B Booster Shot – The ultimate starter course for breaking into high-paying B2B writing as a new freelancer. I’m really keen on working with my students and helping them succeed, so I’ve decided to only have the course available until June 10 at midnight. I want to give TONS of attention to this first group, and limiting the enrollment will help me do that.

Why did you launch it?

The overwhelming reader feedback I get is always centered around building confidence to go out and land a B2B client. This was the perfect opportunity to re-embrace my love of teaching and build a course that helps writers feel more confident (and then be more successful) in the B2B space.

How has it impacted your business?

The course just launched June 6th, but since it was so targeted to feedback I’d already collected, it started selling as a pre-sale!

My goal is to sell at least 100 spots in the course ($5,900+ depending on who buys it at the reduced price) and then re-invest to make it even more awesome. So far I’ve sold five. Going forward, if I could sell about 25 courses per month I would be very happy with it.

What’s one thing you did right?

By far, basing the course on reader feedback was the key to success. The course I tried to launch before was about what I thought writers needed to know. Turns out people are much more interested in learning about what they want to learn about… go figure!

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I know my landing page could use some love to make sure that the course really speaks to the aspiring B2B writers who land on it. I plan to keep that as a living document and update it as I get feedback from people who take the course and mentors who review the page for me.