Marketing December 9, 2016 Last updated September 19th, 2018 1,307 Reads share

8 Common Online Courses Marketing Mistakes

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Online courses are one of the best gifts we received from the World Wide Web. Thanks to them, people are no longer forced to travel the world for a high-quality education. Gone are the days of mandatory university courses and ludicrous bank loans for a second or third college.

Unfortunately, teachers rarely have the same skills in marketing as they do in teaching. Thus, no matter how educational, spellbinding, and entertaining their classes may be, a valuable course might not enjoy the worldwide popularity that powerful marketing can create.

The good news is that all they have to do is pay attention to 8 mistakes that are common to online courses marketing techniques.

#1. Hiding The Persona in Your Closet

Most of the online courses are spread all around the web without a predefined purpose. This way, large budgets are being wasted while the valuable courses reach the sight of uninterested people.

In order to deliver your content directly to your target audience, you need to create a persona. This persona is the psychological image of your ideal student: demographic details, age, gender, hobbies, present and past jobs, spare time activities, etc. All these pieces of information are at hand for everybody nowadays. Unfortunately, people unintentionally choose not to use the power of information.

What you have to do to find the students who need your courses, is gather all the raw data you can find on your present list of connections and mix them up with educated guesses. Multiple sources of information are reachable thanks to the Internet, so check social media and even ask students questions through surveys or questionnaires. Since online courses are an elevated field, you should also pay attention to their book preferences, article shares, liked quotes, and favorite movies.

Once you gather all this information in an Excel sheet, extract from this mass only attributes most of them have in common. Your persona will be built around them, and you will have a simple sketch of what your ideal student is like.

#2. Prices Are Pushed to Extremes

There are two cases in which people start thinking about the price tag:

  • “I am new in the e-learning market, so students will notice my product if I make it free. Afterward, I will build a long student list and start promoting my paid courses.”
  • “I have enough experience in the e-learning market, and my price tags should profoundly reflect that.”

However, these two cases are not only an incorrect reflection of the price-content relation, but they are also damaging the market.

Setting the right price is a difficult mission, there’s no doubt about it. But some marketing parameters do exist to make this job easier. First things first, take a look at your competition. Research any online course that has a similar subject with your field and analyze their price-content relation. You will develop a sense of pricing and start making educated guesses about how much a certain online course is worth.

However, don’t stop here. You should assess the resources you invested in creating your product: investment, duration of script writing and filming, and most importantly the number of years it took you to build your expertise. Set the price in a way that respects the findings of your market research. Also, make sure your invested resources will be covered after a reasonable number of product purchases.

#3. Sticking Only to The End Product

The Internet has become a fertile ground for any online product, so you should create the perfect conditions for your course to take root in the digital ground.

For SEO purposes, as well as for correctly informing the interested students about your online courses, you should create a website and blog. Research the main keywords in your field with Google Trends and use them abundantly on your website. These basic SEO strategies will make your blog visible on the Internet, which means that your ideal students will find you more easily.

The blog is the new content marketing branch that attracts leads. It involves writing articles that educate readers about the benefits of your courses. Content marketing also promotes a healthier and more humane relationship between marketer and client. It’s based on communication, which is good news for teachers as they are good at conveying important information to their students. So, update the blog 2-3 times per week with interesting articles that handle your topics of interest, and you will raise awareness and curiosity regarding your online courses.

Use numerous platforms to talk about what you believe in the most: your product. Once the viewers or readers understand that you have a strong foundation in your field, you will gain your trust and they will access your online courses.

#4. Writing an Unsatisfying Description of the Course

Another marketing mistake that people sometimes do is that they are not choosing the right wrapping paper for their online courses. You finally finished your course, and you devoted lots of sleepless nights to make it perfect. How is the audience going to know they discovered a quality lecture if the label is short of description?

Ultimately, it’s a normal reaction to try to keep as many details as possible hidden from visitors and choose only enticing words to convince them to purchase your courses. However, there are fewer chances students will invest in your courses if they don’t know what to expect of them.

Studies show that 81% of consumers conduct research online before deciding to buy a product. Your mission is to make sure that once they write a search inquiry, they will get all the information they want about your online course.

#5. Lack Of Support

Teachers can always learn something new from their students. They always ask questions, and it may be about matters that never occurred to you before. It might be a new approach to an old problem or just a question that encourages you to find a better way of explaining a topic. And the rule is that whatever your students might ask, you must always be there to provide an answer. Otherwise, the online course might be seen as too vague or too complex, and it might lose its worth.

Always assure your viewers that they can reach you at any time and not just through the slow correspondence of email. Make yourself open to discussions on forums, platform chats, and even social media. Encourage them to contact you on Facebook or Twitter.

#6. Ignoring or Hiding Bad Feedback

You are content with how marketing strategies are working for you, but it may not be the proper time to rest your case. Once they reach the pick of their progress, most businesses marketing strategies limit their focus on the revenue. However, your revenue comes from students, and they dictate the success of your uploaded content.

So, you should constantly take the pulse of your public. If negative feedback starts increasing in numbers, you should take action to answer them. Update your online course to satisfy the needs of your students and don’t forget to offer the updates for free to your older viewers. Become proactive and ask them about the source of their dissatisfaction and make the required improvements.

However, there might be cases when the negative comments are depicting your limits. It is not the case to hide or delete them. Your mischief will be disclosed one way or another, and its consequences will be irreparable.

People need to know what to expect from a new purchase, including the disadvantages. If the course is well-researched and rich in content, it is likely the disadvantages are too few to even consider.

#7. Staying In The Shadows

Your field of expertise should be a passion for you, so make your voice heard among the masses of professionals.

Join conferences where you know your target audience will be present. Be active and take part in the discussions with your own lectures that add a unique and interesting take on topics in your field. More importantly, get involved in debates with the participants and listen to their problems. See if your online courses represent a solution to them.

This way, you will activate the power of the word of mouth, which acts like a real-life, physical version of the Internet. You will be recommended to friends, colleagues, families, and your online courses will have higher chances of becoming viral.

#8. Neglecting Your Devoted Students

A common mistake in handling the activity around online courses is that teachers focus too much on increasing the number of viewers. They might neglect the community they created over the years and risk losing devoted students. It’s a significant loss that should never be underestimated. Your loyal audience can turn into advocates of your brand. The secret is to keep their connection with your world alive.

So, create a list of all your students that can become advocates for your class and keep their curiosity piqued through quality newsletters. Avoid repetitive or irrelevant email subjects, and create a series of emails that form an amazing story together.

In a short matter of time, your old students will start mentioning your name as a quality source of information in forum posts and online platforms like, or others focused on your field of expertise. Consequently, your name will gain greater recognition, and people will hesitate less to invest in your online courses once they see who the author is.


The world’s trends are constantly shifting, especially when it comes to marketing. Online courses may seem like a one-time effort that triggers a stable and passive income. However, it is entirely up to you to spread the word about what you have created and increase the number of pleased students. Quality will never cease to beat quantity, and it take dedication to transform your content into a must-read.

Image: Online Courses concept with workstation on a wooden desk



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