Are you wondering how to market online courses to build your new, educational brand? Demand for online education has grown significantly in the last couple of years, particularly since the pandemic.
Modern students are comfortable using digital courses to expand their knowledge, discover new skills, and even become more successful in their jobs.
Unfortunately, the rising demand for online education has also prompted the arrival of a lot of new, competing educators.
If you want your online courses to stand out, you need the right marketing strategies to capture and convert your audience.
In this article, we’re going to be exploring the things you can do to successfully advertise your online course.
The 20 Best Ways to Market Online Courses
- Start blogging on topics related to your course
- Publish best of articles
- Create a YouTube channel
- Use Facebook ads
- Run Google Search campaigns
- Create a coupon code
- Offer a free mini-course
- Guest post on related websites
- Appear on podcasts
- Create partnerships with other course providers
- Create an affiliate program
- Join discussion groups on Facebook and Reddit
- Add internal ads to your sales pages
- Host a webinar
- Include a link to your course in your newsletter
- Create lead magnets
- Add links to your homepage and website’s menu
- Add links to your course sales page on your social media profiles
- Create a course review page
- SEO optimize your course sales page
1. Start blogging on topics related to your course
People want to learn from industry experts and thought leaders. One of the best ways to prove you know what you’re talking about is to start blogging.
Your blog is a powerful tool for strengthening your reputation and attracting potential students to your course.
Not only does a blog highlight your industry expertise, but it gives you an excellent opportunity to improve your search engine rankings, through the strategic use of keywords.
Research trending keywords related to your course topic. For instance, if you’re sharing courses on digital marketing, you might type “digital marketing” into Google to see what shows up in the “People also ask” and “related” sections. You can also use keyword research tools, like Google keyword planner.
Once you have your keywords, create insightful, well-optimized blog content for each focus keyword.
Concentrate on delivering value by answering student questions, sharing unique insights, and speaking to your audience in a language they can understand.
2. Try “Best of” articles
Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate awareness when you’re learning how to market an online school or course.
What most people don’t realize is there’s much more to content marketing than simply blogging. You can create eBooks to accompany your courses or publish helpful infographics.
One particularly valuable strategy is to publish “best of” articles. This is a great way to draw focus to your course and highlight its value, without being overly promotional.
For example, if you’re promoting your Facebook Ads Course, write an article on the “best Facebook ads courses” and include your course on the list.
Try this technique and you’ll be surprised by the results. You found that this is one of the best ways to sell online courses.
3. Create a YouTube channel
Video content is excellent for generating engagement – particularly on channels like YouTube.
There are 2 billion monthly active users on YouTube. It’s also one of the most popular search engines in the world, just under Google.
When you create a YouTube channel you can:
- Demonstrate thought leadership: Share information and insights valuable to your target audience, focusing on your subject niche.
- Share snippets of courses: Provide insights into what people might get from your courses with small, sample videos.
- Create customer relationships: Build deeper, human relationships with audiences through face-to-face interactions and live-streaming.
4. Use Facebook Ads
While there are plenty of great social media channels to help you grow attention for your online course, Facebook is the most diverse. You’ll find a huge range of potential students here.
One of the great things about Facebook Ads is how targeted you can make them. Through your Facebook ad account, you’ll be able to focus specifically on the people most likely to be interested in your course, filtering by things like location, age, and interests.
When creating your Facebook ads, concentrate on generating excitement for your course through things like discounts and deals, social proof (reviews from previous customers) and insights into what your course will entail.
5. Run Google Search campaigns
Paid advertising campaigns shouldn’t stop with Facebook. When you’re wondering how to market online courses, you need to consider Google too.
A lot of the work you do to improve your course’s position online with Google will involve organic content creation and SEO. But adding a little PPC to the mix can significantly improve your reach.
Google search campaigns and pay-per-click advertising helps to attract specific people to your course subscription pages. Using a careful selection of keywords, your Google Ads will help to position your learning experiences in front of your target audience.
Remember, keeping an eye on the results of your Google Search campaigns, and updating your strategy as you go can help you to save money on advertising efforts.
6. Create a coupon code
Everyone loves a great deal.
Offering coupons and discounts are particularly helpful if you’re relatively new to the online education space. When deciding whether to take your course, your students will be weighing the costs of the education with the potential benefits.
A discount code makes your would-be customers feel like they’re taking less of a risk with your offer.
You can also use the initial customers you earn through coupon codes to collect feedback about your course – perfect for both product optimization and attracting future clients via social proof.
Offer discounts for:
- Early birds: people who sign up for your course first
- Loyal customers: people who take multiple courses with you
- Advocates: early customers willing to share reviews
7. Offer a free mini-course
Perhaps the only thing more exciting than getting something valuable at a discounted price is getting something for free.
When designing your marketing plan for an online course, it’s worth asking yourself whether a free “mini-course” could give you the initial boost you need.
While giving something away for free might seem counterproductive, it’s an excellent way to generate trust among customers, and make a name for yourself in your niche.
Just look at how the most popular online learning platforms regularly offer free trials of their products.
Just try not to give away too much in your free course, or your students might not think the paid version is worth it.
8. Guest post on related websites
Producing content for your own website and social media pages is crucial when marketing a course. However, you also want to develop a presence in the overall community too.
Guest blogging on websites closely related to the topics you want to cover can help raise brand awareness too.
Guest blogging is also excellent for SEO purposes, as it helps to create backlinks from related companies to your website. Search for well-respected (but not competing) companies, podcasts, and websites in your space and reach out to them.
These days, most websites are keen to get their hands on as much quality content as possible, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding someone willing to work with you.
9. Appear on Podcasts
Today’s consumers don’t just read articles and watch videos; they also listen to podcasts.
78% of Americans are now familiar with “podcasting”, and more than 5 in 10 have listened to a podcast. Appearing on a podcast is a great way to reach people who might not have time to consume other kinds of digital content.
Appearing on a podcast with a well-known content creator in your industry has a similar impact as guest posting, as it helps to position you as an expert in your field.
Since podcasting is growing at a rapid pace, there are a large number of podcasters looking for people to interview these days. Try searching for your topic on Google or Apple podcasts to find experts to reach out to.
10. Create partnerships with other course providers
When figuring out how to market online classes, partnering with other course providers can be an excellent strategy – if done correctly.
Notably, you’ll need to be particularly cautious here to ensure you’re not reaching out to course creators who may become competitors in your niche.
The best partnerships are the ones you create with course creators who operate in a complementary niche to you.
For instance, if you sell courses related to graphic design, you might partner up with content creation or marketing course creators who can also help your students.
Other professionals in your industry can give you new ways of building “course packages” to attract a wider range of customers.
Plus, partnering with other content creators means you can have another team of professionals selling your courses (for a commission), to increase sales.
11. Create an affiliate program
Speaking of leveraging other companies and professionals to help with selling your courses, an affiliate program can be a powerful tool too.
About 81% of brands have an affiliate program that involves paying a group of people a commission for promoting and selling your courses.
Affiliate strategies can involve asking people to post about your course in their blogs or talk about your courses on social media. You could even place ads on popular websites.
It’s important to research your affiliate marketing options to ensure you’re offering your affiliates a decent amount of payment for their time.
12. Join discussion groups on Facebook and Reddit
Figuring out how to promote an online course involves a lot of strategizing to get your name and your course in front of as many people as possible.
The most successful course creators are the business leaders with the best online image, and a strong focus on broad promotion.
One of the easiest ways to boost your reach and improve your reputation is to join discussion groups on Reddit and Facebook.
These groups are excellent for tracking down specific students interested in the topics you want to cover.
You can use your position in groups to answer questions, and (occasionally) link back to your own courses as a source of information.
Try to focus on genuinely offering values to other group remembers, rather than just promoting your course, however.
13. Add internal ads to your sales pages
There are various ways to make your website more “conversion-friendly” as a course creator. When people are browsing through your blog, checking out your latest reviews, or just learning about you as an industry expert, remind them they can purchase your courses.
Another option is to create eye-catching pop-ups for your site. Pop-ups can be annoying when used too regularly, but they’re also a good way to convince people to convert, particularly when they offer special deals, highlight the value of your course, and appear at the right time for users.
14. Host a webinar
Another fantastic way to enhance your marketing plan for an online course is to strengthen your position as a leading educator with a webinar. Short, focused webinars can be as simple to make as a basic YouTube video or podcast.
Webinars can be much easier to create than most educators realize. You can follow a specific structured formula, and even use the content published elsewhere on your site to help guide your narrative. All you need is to create a few webinar scripts and distribute them over time.
To promote your class with a webinar, create a presentation around 30 to 45 minutes long concerning a broad topic you discuss in your course.
Touch on your audience’s pain points and offer some simple solutions, then ask them to sign up for the course to get more assistance.
15. Include a link to your course in your newsletter
One of the most valuable things you’ll have as a course creator is your email list.
The people you convince to sign up for email newsletters with your blog posts, special offers, and even dedicated landing pages are more likely to convert into paying customers over time.
With your newsletter, you can regularly keep your would-be students up-to-date about the kind of course experiences you’re currently offering and even share case studies from successful students.
It’s also a good idea to include a link to your course in your newsletter, with a CTA.
The link should tell people why they should consider signing up for your course, for instance, “Click here to master online marketing”.
16. Create lead magnets
As mentioned above, you’ll have a much easier time marketing a course if you already have an email list full of potentially interesting prospects.
You can collect email addresses in a host of different ways, but lead magnets are among the most effective options.
A lead magnet is something of value you can offer your would-be subscriber to convince them to sign up for your newsletter. You can create lead magnets like:
- A free eBook for people who sign up
- Discounts on your courses for subscribers
- Free access to your webinar
Once you have your list of email subscribers, you’ll be able to gently nurture them into conversions with regular emails showing your expertise, social proof, and the value of your courses.
17. Add links to your homepage and website’s menu
Simplicity is an important part of conversion rate optimization.
Today’s digital natives want easy, fast, and convenient access to products and services. They shouldn’t feel like they have to search for your offers.
When you begin promoting your online course, add links to your homepage and website menu, so your customers can immediately visit your course landing page.
It’s worth making these links as easy to see as possible. Plus, they should include a “call to action” which tells people why they should click through to your course.
18. Add links to your course sales page on your social media profiles
Speaking of making it easier for customers to access your courses, make sure a link to your course is also available on all of your social media profiles.
Not everyone will make the decision to sign up for your course when browsing your website.
If someone encounters you on social media and decides they want to learn more about your course, they should have instant access to the sales page at a click of a button.
19. Create a course review page
As mentioned above, a big part of learning how to market an online class is figuring out how to convince your audience your course is worth their time and money.
An online course isn’t just a financial investment; it requires genuine effort from a student. To show your audience they’re going to get a return on investment, it’s important to have plenty of social proof. This means creating a course review page.
A course review page shares testimonials and insights from other students who have already achieved excellent things with the help of your course. You can even include links to case studies where you explore student stories in-depth.
A course review page also helps to improve your ranking with Google, particularly if you have links to third-party services like trustpot.io to boost your credibility.
Here is an example of what our course reviews page looks like:
20. SEO optimize your course sales page
Finally, treat your course sales page just like you would any essential page on your website – by optimizing it. Every aspect of your website should be designed to attract the attention of both the search engines, and your customers.
This means making sure your sales page has:
- Optimized page titles and descriptions
- Header tags
- Intentional image ALT test
- Optimized text-based content
- A strong internal linking structure
- Technical SEO enhancements (for speed and structure)
Be cautious about how you optimize your sales page for specific keywords your customers are searching for, and make sure to track your results over time so you can continue to improve.
Learning how to market online courses can seem complicated, but it’s really just the same as advertising any service or product online. Strategies like social media marketing, content production, social proof, and email marketing will all help to improve your chances of gaining new students.
The more you work on your advertising campaigns and collect necessary information from your marketing tools, the more you can optimize your promotion in the future too.