Tips to help market and sell online courses

A market research report recently announced that the global elearning market is set to grow over 17% over the next 3 years [source]. So, embracing the opportunity to get involved with creating, and potentially selling your own content could yield great results.

sell online courses

There are now a range of platforms available that allow you to create or upload your course where you will then be exposed to a large audience, but if you really want to start selling online courses – that’s only the first step. In this blog, guest writer Scott Cooper shares his tips.

Who is your audience?

When it comes to courses, long before you even get to the selling stage you should be thinking about your course content itself – and more importantly, who you are creating it for.

An important step is understanding who is going to be taking your course, and this is going to be a key element in getting started with selling. What gender are they? where do they live? what is their occupation? what age group are they in?

By answering these questions you can then narrow down your audience and start targeting your advertising material to them, and the locations in which they spend their time online. Someone who is a 60 year old accountant is going to respond very differently to someone who’s 25 and working in technology.

If you need some help with this step, try out this handy checklist.

Capture audience needs with this free elearning project plan template


Once you have defined who your audience are, the next step is working out how to engage with them. Are there industry specific blogs or newsletters that you can reach out and be a guest contributor for? Are there Facebook communities where people interact?

Promoting yourself via social media always helps, but rather than just posting a link to the course over and over again, develop a strategy for content that all points back to the course. Think along the lines of how this course will help users, why the outcome is important, and where possible draw on studies or statistics to support your articles.

Unique content

While you are creating your promotional content as mentioned above one of the best things that you can do is focus on what makes your content stand out from other courses like it. What’s unique about your course?

Do you convey messages in a different way? Do you have take away materials that you can only get access to through the course? If you have some factors that set yourself apart from your competitors you are much more likely to increase your sales.

Build a community

Another strategy is to start developing your own online community. If you are planning on regularly releasing new content, this will give you a huge advantage and arms you with a ready made audience tailor made for your content.

This could be a meetup group, online forum or discussion page, a industry based website, Facebook or LinkedIn Group, or anything else you want that allows the voices of others to be heard – rather than just having them as readers or learners.

Use social media, a dedicated website, a blog, and more to keep your online presence known, even when you aren’t actively promoting your course. Always stay in touch with potential customers during and after a sale to let them know you’re truly invested in their success.

Scott Cooper is the VP of Marketing for online learning platform GO1 and well as being a co-organizer of the Bay Area Learning Design & Technology Meetup in San Francisco, and the founder/curator of 

If you want to get started with and start to sell online courses, sign up to GO1 Platform for free.

Further resources