Technology August 20, 2020 Last updated August 19th, 2020 2,038 Reads share

How to Sell an Online Course Before You Even Create One

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Online education is skyrocketing right now, with a whopping estimated growth of the industry to more than $319 Billion by the year 2025.

Even top universities like Harvard & UCL (University College London) started offering online courses. This tremendous growth of the industry is caused by multiple reasons, such as the ease of education it provides for both learners and teachers, the ease of creating valuable content from experts and institutions, and the infinite reachability of this method.

The internet and this continuous advancement of technology allowed for teachers and institutions the ability to reach any of the billions of people online.

Another main reason for this massive growth is because of the continuous rise of the traditional education cost, and the immense convenience eLearning has over conventional learning.

People like comfort. They like ease, and they want to learn things quickly. And online education has provided them with all of these things, without the need to pay big bucks or spend tremendous time. And that has created limitless opportunities for both learners and teachers—and experts—like you.

You might think that this has nothing to do with you—and that this business is just for the big guys—and that you’re no expert. But in fact, you are.

Everyone is an expert, at least in one or two things. People can learn and benefit from you, and you could provide them with value. A value that they will pay top dollars for.

Stick with me in this article, and I’ll show you how to create an online course, how to protect yourself from failure, and how to sell an online course without the need to go through the tremendous effort and hassle of creating one.

1. Pick Your Best-Selling Topic

The first step is to choose the topic of your course. If you don’t have one already or if you want to make sure yours is as good as you think, here are some things to consider:

  • Solve problems for others.
  • Teach something people want to learn (this could be a skill you’ve mastered).
  • Help others achieve a goal.
  • Show others how to overcome certain obstacles you overcame (think in business, career, or even relationships).
  • Figure out a pain-point people have and show them how to deal, overcome, or solve it (the greater the pain-point, the easier it is to sell)
  • Check the market demand (what are the courses people already paying for?)
  • Something you’re passionate about (that has others who are too).

Hopefully, this has provided you with an idea of how your course should be like and what it should do. And keep this next sentence in mind when going about the process of creating and marketing to sell an online course; strive to solve a problem people would pay for. This should help you come up with a best-selling course topic. Now, let’s head to the next step.

2. Research and Plan Your Online Course

First, you need to determine what your course is going to be like. Is it going to be a Mini-Course? A Masterclass? Is it going to be Couching, or is it a MOOC? Here is a quick definition for each:

  • A Mini-Course is short, requires fewer recourses, and is about 2-hours or less.
  • A Masterclass is a course given to students of a particular discipline by an expert in that discipline.
  • Couching is when an expert provides the learner with guidance and training in a specific area.
  • A MOOC (massive open online course) is created once, can take unlimited participation, and is easily accessed through the internet.

After you pick the idea and the type of online course you want to create, it’s time for you to do your research. Research everything about your topic, watch the courses already made about your topic, absorb as much information as you can—come up with a plan—then start outlining your course.

3. Specify the Goals and Objectives of Your Course

What are your ‘learning goals’? How much will your students change after the course? What problems would they be able to solve? And you also need to define your objectives; what would your students be able to do after your course? What will they learn? How can they evaluate themselves?

If you’re a bit confused about goals and objectives, hang on, I’ll show you the difference:

  • A goal is the desired result one wants to achieve.
  • An objective defines the specific-measurable actions one must take for the achievement of the overall goal.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of goals and objectives if it’s still not very clear (via Academyofart ).

Once you define your goals and objectives, you can now think of assignments to achieve those objectives. The activities students must take to achieve the objectives of your online course, to fulfill their desired goal or outcome.

4. How to Sell an Online Course (Before Creating One)

Now that you’ve picked your bestselling topic, you’ve researched and outlined your course, and you’ve specified the goals and objectives of your online class; it’s time for you to presell it.

You don’t want to spend weeks or even months on creating a course, then panickily find out there is not enough demand for it that no one wants to buy it. If you can avoid failure, then why not?

There is simply no stronger validation for what you have to sell than actual money from actual customers.

You get instant feedback from customers, you build your email list, and you can even fund your course creation process with the money that you get. This is a win-win for you, but how do you go about it? There are two main ways; presell your course, or create and launch a mini-course.

A. Presell Your Course

You can presell your course by creating a captivating sales-page for your course in whatever platform you choose (make it clear when will the course be available, and make sure you deliver—in the exact time-frame—what you’ve promised your customers).

Then, you can direct your targeted customers to a webinar that explains what your course is about, how it will benefit them, and gives clear expectations of what they’re going to get. Here is how to host a killer webinar (via Youpreneur).

But you need to channel quality traffic to your webinar, so you can capture your customers’ emails and presell your course for them. You do that by marketing your course to the right people at the right place.

Market it in your blog if you have one. Make a Facebook AD or a YouTube AD. Consider growing a following in a social media platform, or something similar.

If you’re a bit foggy about this whole marketing hassle, here you can find 55 ways to market your online course. Wherever you decide to market your course, make sure your ad/content include the following:

  • Shows social proof you have (can be for both for yourself and the topic your course is about).
  • Educating your targeted customers.
  • Has a clear CTA (call-to-action).
  • Relevant to your customers’ pain-point.

(Whatever way you choose to market your course, make sure you’re marketing to your targeted audience at the right place).

B. Launch a Mini-Course

Launching a mini-course (small trail-version of your course) is a fantastic way to presell your course and the best way for getting feedback and social proof (testimonials) from targeted customers.

By launching a mini-course, you can get actual feedback that will help you improve your full-course, or, tell you why making the actual course is a waste of time anyway.

A mini-course is also excellent for giving your customers a taste of what you have to offer, and if they like the taste, then you can rest assure they will love the main course too. This will give you confident—especially if you’re new to course creating—that you can provide people value and teach them something they genuinely need.


If you came up with a solid strategy to sell an online course, including marketing and all the business side of things, and you’ve marketed your course in front of the right people—but still no one buys—it’s okay. This is a good thing.

Because now you’ve saved yourself precious time and resources that you could have lost creating this course.

But does that mean you should abandon this whole online course business? No. Of course not. Maybe you can create another course with a better topic, and with a better marketing plan. And who knows? It might become a bestseller.

If you have any idea or experience on how to sell an online course before having to create one, let me know!

DepositPhotos – online classes

Mohammed Nadir

Mohammed Nadir

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