The growing competition in the online education market suggests entrepreneurs may need to take bold action to compete while meeting the needs of learners. The online education market is growing as it is the most cost-effective way for prospective students to learn and grow.

Also, many people prefer flexible and convenient learning options rather than commuting for physical classes. And this provides the best opportunities for online course sellers.

The increase in demand is undeniable, and a broad set of prospective students are seeking online education from all over the world. The online education market will reach US$166.60 billion in 2023, with a projected annual growth rate of 9.48%.

With more and more platforms for online education, it has become easy to create online courses. So, if you are seeking to monetize your expertise, you must know the right online course platforms and ways to make money from online courses.

Let’s explore how you can make money selling courses online.

1. Choosing a Profitable Course Topic

Everyone has a course idea when they plan to start selling courses online but building a profitable course topic is more than this. It would be best if you chose a course topic that addresses the need of your learners, and they will be willing to pay for it.

In addition to choosing a profitable course topic, it is equally important to recognize the significance of promoting your courses effectively. Promoting your courses ensures that your target audience becomes aware of the valuable knowledge you offer, increasing their willingness to enroll and pay for your courses.

Don’t know where to start? Follow these simple tips to choose a profitable course topic.

  1. Identifying Your Expertise and Passion
  2. Researching Market Demand and Competition
  3. Niche Selection Strategies for Maximum Profitability

Identifying Your Expertise and Passion

Start with your expertise and passion. Evaluate your skills and knowledge regarding an area of study you can teach prospective students. Or if you have a topic, you can teach to a particular niche. Also, before you create an online course, map out the learning gap in the market, and focus on those online course topics.

Remember these 5 aspects when choosing a profitable online course topic.

  • A topic that solves a problem
  • A clear market gap
  • Narrow down your niche
  • Discover the pain points of your audience
  • Make-evidence based decisions

Most importantly, make money through online training courses that can have an impact and be easy to put together.

Researching Market Demand and Competition

Think thoroughly: will anyone want to buy this course? Determining the market demand for your chosen online course topic is essential. Check courses on marketplaces, browse popular topics, and review the course outlines of the most trending courses.

Also, you can benefit from online keyword research tools to understand what your prospective students are looking for on search engines. For example, if you Google search for “ad copywriting courses, you can see paid ads for brands like Udemy.

choosing a course online from google

Source: Google

Walk through these simple questions to validate market demand for your online course:

  • Why would a student pay for this course?
  • How is it different from others?
  • What is the demand for this course in the next 5 years?

Once you’re done analyzing the market demand, narrow your scope and look at your competitors. Create a list of the top 10 online courses within your topic category, and understand how you can stand out from the crowd.

Niche Selection Strategies for Maximum Profitability

You’re hooked on the law of attraction and decided to sell an online course, but you don’t want to settle for the first niche that clicks your mind. The most profitable niches are not always the most popular ones.

In that case, here are some niche selection strategies for maximum profitability.

  • Channel your expertise into a niche
  • Create a new demand and provide a solution
  • Look for high-dollar options within your selected niche
  • Track the trends in a category 

2. Planning and Creating Your Course

A well-defined course helps prospective students understand what they’ll learn and ensures you make money. Firstly, plan, shape, and streamline your course outline. Create a basic road map, gather materials, and develop guidelines for your online course.

Since there’s much to get excited about when creating your course, we can help you plan the journey with these simple steps.

  1. Defining Clear Learning Objectives
  2. Structuring Your Course Content Effectively
  3. Selecting the Appropriate Course Format
  4. Creating Engaging and Interactive Course Materials
  5. Incorporating Multimedia Elements for Enhanced Learning

Defining Clear Learning Objectives

Once you’ve decided on the course topic, it’s time to define clear learning objectives. For this, you must determine your differential while providing a plan for prospective students.

Ask yourself questions like would you pay for this course plan? And is this worth your time and resources? So you can clearly explain these deliverables to your prospective students. While clear learning objectives will help you set the right target audience and create course content accordingly.

Structuring Your Course Content Effectively

If you conduct research, you’ll see that top online money-making courses are those with structured course content. You need to figure out how to organize course content in an exciting yet practical way. At the same time, you can structure your courses into different formats, such as:

  • Step-by-step course content 
  • Week-by-week course content 
  • Lecture wise content
  • Reference course content

For example, this online course on Udemy has structured course content into lecture series.

course content of online money making course udemy

Source: Udemy

Selecting the Appropriate Course Format

You must select the appropriate course format to promote an online course effectively and make money. You can use video, text and audio course formats to attract more students and make it easier for them to understand. While some courses are better with videos, others may require step-by-step workflows. For some courses, audio is important to trigger discussions and amplify the impact of learning.

Creating Engaging and Interactive Course Materials

As online education has become increasingly popular, students seek online courses that are engaging and interactive apart from being convenient. Some courses can be dry, resulting in poor retention rates. Therefore, you must make the experience engaging and easy for students to remember.

Follow these simple tips to keep it interactive and generate traffic for your online course:

  • Use multimedia elements such as video, audio, and text
  • Make use of gamification techniques
  • Leverage cloud-based tools to create quizzes
  • Use collaborative tools to facilitate communication
  • Use additional online resources
  • Ensure your courses can be accessed through all devices

Incorporating Multimedia Elements for Enhanced Learning

In today’s tech-friendly world, it is essential to incorporate multimedia elements for enhanced learning. Highly engaging online courses tend to make more money.

With that being said, don’t go overboard. Just choose multimedia elements that accentuate your course content. Following are some multimedia you can use for your online course:

  • Images relevant to the content
  • Videos for training scenarios
  • Slide shows and presentations
  • Audio or background sounds appropriate to the course content

3. Setting Up Your Online Course Platform

We know what you’re thinking at this point. Is making money with online courses an overwhelming task as you need to look for different course platforms?

The answer is no. With so many online course platforms available, it has become easier for course entrepreneurs to market their courses online.

Evaluating Different Online Course Platforms

You can make money with either zero or little investment with different online course platforms. There is no best online course platform for everyone; you need to explore and find the right one.

So, before you start, remember the following important consideration to evaluate.

  • Credibility
  • Content fit
  • Instructional design
  • Assessment process
  • Interactive content options

4. Choosing the Right Platform for Your Specific Needs

When selecting the right platform, you must ensure it offers the necessary tools and options for your course. Most importantly, look for options like support, scalability, and pricing. Prioritize a platform that suits your needs.

5. Setting Up Your Course on the Chosen Platform

Once you’ve chosen the right platform, start organizing your course content. Create modules, sections, and outline. Explore the platform, and utilize the features to upload quizzes, assignments, and interactive elements. Make sure you understand the platform and can easily navigate through it.

6. Customizing the Course Interface and Branding

Create a custom layout matching your course content, attract more students, and help you make more money. Upload your logo, select a color scheme, and align your identity. Add personalized banners, images, videos, and graphics to create cohesive aesthetics.

7. Pricing Your Course for Maximum Profitability

At this point, you must know how to make money with online courses and set yourself apart from the competition. If you set your price too high or too low, you could lose sales. So, how do you decide the right price for your course?

Follow these steps to generate maximum profitability from your online course.

  1. Assessing the value of your course
  2. Determining the optimal price point
  3. Strategies for offering discounts and promotions
  4. Implementing tiered pricing options for scalability

Assessing the value of your course

Your time and expertise are what make this course. Evaluate the value of your course based on the time taken to develop the course; hours are taken to record lectures, make presentations, and create course materials. Also, how many years of experience are included, and what is the value of skills you share with the learner?

Also, look out for the price set but your competitor in the same category and niche. It will help you maintain market-effective prices.

Determining the optimal price point

When determining the price point for your online course, you need to consider various factors such as market demand, competition, and course content and target audience.

Here’s a general framework to help you determine the optimal price:

  • Market research
  • Unique value proposition
  • Target audience income and willingness
  • Course content and length
  • The total cost of course creation

Strategies for offering discounts and promotions

Discounts and promotions have been used to incentivize sales. Whether you are an experienced online course entrepreneur or a new entrant, you need to understand discounts are the most effective marketing method.

Here’s how you can offer discounts and promotions.

  • Nudge new students with a special offer
  • Increase promotions during the holiday season
  • Reduce abandoned carts
  • Reward referrals from existing customers
  • Offer a discount on subscriptions
  • Promo code

For example, Udemy offer discount for new students to attract them to sign up and register for an online course.

udemy log-in page for registration

Source: Udemy

Implementing tiered pricing options for scalability

If you ask how to sell online courses that attract more students, the answer would be to implement a tiered pricing option. Based on certain features, benefits, and content in each tier. These tiers help prospective students choose the option that suits their needs. Usually, three different options are given to students, with a price for each depending on the length, course, and skills.

For example, Coursera offers a tiered pricing plan for learners to choose.

coursera tiered pricing plan page for learner

Source: Coursera

8. Marketing and Promoting Your Course

Marketing and promoting your course online is a challenging task that requires expertise. It isn’t easy, even with free guides and articles promoting your course. However, you can choose an online education marketing agency to market your course effectively.

To help, we’ve put together some tips to prepare for your marketing campaign.

  1. Building an effective marketing strategy
  2. Creating a compelling sales page
  3. Leveraging social media to reach your target audience
  4. Collaborating with influencers and affiliates
  5. Implementing email marketing campaigns

Building an Effective Marketing Strategy

Online students want to learn from experts. It would help if you built an effective marketing strategy that makes buzz around your name through your accomplishment, expertise, experience, and skill set. Here are 6 steps to develop an effective marketing strategy:

  • Start with a goal
  • Know your customers
  • Define your objectives
  • Outline techniques
  • Set a budget
  • Create a marketing plan

Creating a compelling sales page

If you plan to create a compelling sales page, remember all the key elements that make a high-converting page. Ensure your page is responsive, easy to navigate and doesn’t require extensive design elements.

Follow these steps to create an effective online course sales page:

  • Get the attention with a perfect headline
  • Showcase testimonials
  • Have a clear CTA
  • Use videos and images
  • Add course mockup

For example, this sales page on Coursera for the MBA program from the University of Illinois Gies College Of Business has a compelling headline that entices students to up-skill their business leadership.

sales page of coursera for mba program  from the university of illinois

Source: Coursera

Leveraging social media to reach your target audience

4.26 billion people are using social media worldwide, and it will reach almost 6 billion by 2027. For ultimate competitive advantage, social media marketing has become imperative. You can easily promote your online course on social media for a broader reach and engagement.

Here are some actionable ways to leverage social media:

  • Run Facebook ads
  • Create communities
  • Share content related to the course
  • Free lessons for a limited time
  • Share free content or give away
  • Hold course-related webinar
  • Give exclusive discount
  • Share video reviews and testimonials

Collaborating with influencers and affiliates

You can promote online courses with affiliate marketing to reach a larger audience that you cannot reach with your content. Collaborating with influences and affiliates helps you increase brand awareness, enhance credibility, and generate greater ROI.

  • Here are some tips for promoting an online course with influencers and affiliates:
  • Look for influencers in your niche
  • Reach out to them and build a relationship
  • Plan your campaign with them
  • Offer incentives to them

Implementing email marketing campaigns

The global email marketing market is valued at 7.5 billion and will increase to 17.9 billion by 2027. More than 73% of consumers prefer email marketing when communicating with brands. Crafting a compelling email increases conversions and boosts email opens. To promote online courses with email marketing, you must consider these tips.

  • Hook your readers with 8 weeks course, the fastest training session, and course series.
  • Create urgency like today, tomorrow, hurry up, and limited time.
  • Deliver value such as learning from the basics, advanced knowledge of the subject, and learning skills in under an hour.
  • Include a well-design CTA
  • Allow your email to be shared on social media

9. Scaling Your Online Course Business

Scaling means expanding your online course business to make money and sell more courses. When you’re scaling, you must focus on building a sales funnel for your online course to convert leads into sales.

Here are a few key ingredients that can help you ensure the scalability and success of your online course:

  • Irresistible offer
  • Exclusive content
  • Long-term value

Automating processes for efficiency and scalability

Automating processes for efficiency and scalability is the best-kept secret about building an online course business and earning maximum profits. Automation helps you save time and increase your marketing productivity.

Automation is a real game changer for course creators. Here are 4 ways to automate workflows:

  • Transcribe your recorded videos into text
  • Create graphics automatically using tools
  • Save enrolment data into sheets
  • Send feedback form and survey to students after course completion

Upselling and cross-selling additional products or services

And while running for new lead generation, course creators often forget to focus on upselling and cross-selling additional products or services to existing customers. Cross-selling can be done by offering a complement or supplement purchase, such as further study resources or access to a library. While upselling refers to increasing a customer’s value by encouraging them to add on services such as another related course with a 50% discount.

Expanding your course offerings and diversifying revenue streams

Many course creators settle for good and not great once they make money online. The focus should be to look for additional revenue streams and leverage their expertise to test new products.

Here’s how you can expand your revenue streams:

  • Tap into your existing customer base to explore new opportunities
  • Ask your audience to express their interest in specific topics
  • Write a book
  • Launch a podcast
  • Sell your complete course content

Collaborating with other course creators for mutual growth

Collaboration with the right course creator can be a key to unlocking growth and success. You can attract more prospective students by teaming up and tapping into the fellowship base.

Also, course collaboration allows you to tap into each other’s network and target market, promote courses, and generate greater visibility. This exposure can lead to higher engagement and drive more sales.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to be an expert in a specific field to create and sell online courses?

The simple answer is that you just need to know enough about a subject, and have the knowledge and skills to teach your students. You can create an online course without being a certified professional or an expert.

What are some effective strategies for upselling and cross-selling additional products or services?

  • Maintain maximum profit margin
  • Keep upsells easy to understand
  • Offer bundle products 
  • Provide tiered packages and discounts
  • Add recommended courses
  • Give multiple options to add resources

Can I collaborate with other course creators to grow my business?

Yes, you can. Collaborating with other course creators helps you increase your reach, build brand awareness and grow your audience base. It can help you make more money by increasing leads and generating sales.

How much can you make selling online courses?

Your revenue from selling online courses depends mainly on demand, course topic, and conversion rate. You can calculate your revenue through a simple formula, revenue = audience size x conversion rate x course price.

To Sum Up

Feeling inspired? Reach the people seeking knowledge on particular topics, and monetize your content online.

Now that you know how to make money selling courses online, you can start your entrepreneurship journey today. Anyone can start teaching online with knowledge and skills about the subject area. Selling courses online will take some planning and effort, but if done correctly, you can create a passive income.