How To Market Online Courses

How To Market Online Courses Effectively in 2023

With the world going almost completely digital post-Corona, online courses have definitely exploded in popularity over the last few years.

As the internet makes education more accessible, a new crop of aspiring course creators wonder how to get their material in front of students.

Marketing an online course takes strategy and elbow grease, but the payoff of filled virtual classrooms makes the effort worthwhile.

This post covers time-tested tactics on how to market online courses effectively in the 2023 market space.

Too long, didn’t read:

  • Use social media and email lists to boost awareness
  • Optimize for search engines to get found by buyers
  • Provide free value to build authority and trust
  • Partner with influencers in your niche to access their audiences
  • Run ads to reach motivated customers where they’re searching

Creating an online course opens up an exciting new income stream.

But your expertise needs eyes on it to start transforming lives and earning money.

This guide details battle-tested methods for getting your course marketing off the ground. With the right game plan, attracting enrolled students gets easier and easier.

The key is developing authority, generating awareness, and closing the sale through targeted promotions.

Execute these pillars properly, and your launch will kick off with a built-in customer base eager to buy access.

5 Effective Ways To Market Online Courses

Getting potential students to plop down their hard-earned cash for an online course is no small feat.

You must convince them the value is worth their limited time and overflowing inboxes.

It takes some savvy marketing to turn looky-loos into long-term, paying customers.

The trick is finding ways to provide little bites of your expertise around the web, almost teasing the in-depth goods tucked behind your course’s paywall.

Drip out helpful tidbits here and there to demonstrate you know your stuff. 

Once learners get a taste, they’ll be thirsty for more and eager to enroll.

Lucky for us digital course creators, we have all sorts of marketing tools at our disposal.

Employ just one, and you’ll already see your course discoverability and sales start to rise.

But combine several strategies, and that’s when the enrollments really start pouring in.

Here are five surefire, modern-day marketing channels to turn strangers into students:

Use a Platform

Online Course Platforms


One of the easiest ways to market your course is by leveraging tried-and-true platforms purpose-built to connect instructors with students. 

Sites like Udemy, Teachable, and Podia handle the logistics of accepting payments, marketing to potential buyers, and technically delivering your course.

They were designed to help you sell online courses!

 With your material tidily packaged on a reputable course platform, you instantly tap into a massive audience browsing those marketplaces daily.

Platforms simplify getting your online program running because they take care of the tech troubleshooting and student acquisition.

That allows you to focus on actually creating a stellar course worthy of five-star reviews and raving testimonials. 

These sites effectively market your course for you with high internal traffic, plus plenty of motivated buyers already on the hunt for their next skill-building fix. It’s an easy on-ramp to start earning passive income from your expertise and experience.

When strategically utilizing a course platform’s built-in audience and marketing apparatus, you have an excellent chance of moving units and seeing real money deposited in your bank account.

It’s relatively hands-off, letting you concentrate on the fun part—curriculum development and teaching!

Create a Landing Page

Beyond just slapping your online course on a platform marketplace, consider building your own dedicated website and sales page.

This gives you complete creative control to highlight your personal brand, tout past student success, and explain exactly why your course stands head and shoulders above the average online offering.

Having a custom landing page showcases you as an authority and allows prospects to learn more before committing.

Send traffic to your sales page from social campaigns, email lists, and other marketing efforts. Use compelling copy, testimonials, an explainer video, and free previews to entice visitors to enroll.

Make it dead simple for interested prospects to purchase right then and there—no need to usher them elsewhere just to buy.

Building a standalone site to capture leads and facilitate course sales lets you promote your program entirely on your own terms. 

No rude platform taking a revenue cut or dictating how you portray your materials.

The flexibility also extends to split-testing different page elements and optimizing conversion rates over time.

Pour some effort into crafting the quintessential course sales page and reap the dividends of higher lifetime customer value.

Use Social Media

What better way to start conversations around your exciting new course than on social media?

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn allow you to directly engage with potential students in your niche.

Share snippets as you build your program, ask for audience input on topics and provide free value related to the subject matter.

Organically posting socially warms up leads so they know, like, and trust you well before launch day.

And don’t be shy about proudly announcing your course release on social channels, either.

Create a substantial digital buzz leading up to the launch that spills over into genuine interest among potential students. 

You can also encourage early enrollees to tag your course posts to gain precious social proof.

A strategic social media presence lends you credibility, gives followers a taste of your knowledge, and builds hype for your eventual launch.

And even after you release your stellar course, keep the accounts active and continue the conversation.

Make it easy for graduates to share their progress. User-generated testimonials help convince others still on the fence about signing up.

Implement SEO 

Want students to discover your online course quickly and organically? Then, you need to nail down search engine optimization (SEO) as your go-to marketing strategy! 

The better optimized your promotional materials and course sales page are the higher you’ll rank in Google and other search engines. This means when potential students query topics related to your course, your stuff appears on that coveted first page.

This is one of the least time-impeding ways to help you market your course. 

Optimize page content with relevant keywords and natural-sounding long-form text. Share your hard-won knowledge for free, demonstrating your subject authority.

Make sure to include semantic signals like section headers, meta descriptions, alt text, and XML site maps, too. Every bit of SEO juice helps push rankings higher.

Search visibility essentially lets you cast an invisible net, catching motivated learner leads without ongoing effort. SEO separates consistent, organic traffic drivers from unsustainable marketing tactics that only offer short bursts.

The beauty of this stealthy promotion continues to benefit your course for months and years to come.

Promote Your Course via Email Marketing

Want to connect with warm leads who already know you directly? 

Start building your email list way before even creating your course. Use lead magnets like free downloads, minicourses, or webinars to get signups.

Email marketing allows ongoing conversation to nurture long-term relationships with potential buyers.

Send quality content, ask for feedback, and promote launches…the engagement options are unlimited, and it’s one of the best ways to sell a course.

Announce your new course availability to people already familiar with your work and personal brand.

Email subscribers represent low-hanging fruit since they already like and trust you.

Segmentation lets you target specific segments of your list with tailored offers. 

Recent downloaders get shown special launch discounts, while inactive subscribers are reengaged with fresh content.

Used strategically over time, email is quite possibly the most powerful way to directly promote your online course again and again.

Every message further cements yourself as the authority buyers can rely on.

As long as you continue to create content, people will inevitably buy your course.

Best Practices When Marketing Your Online Course

Marketing channels help reach new audiences, but crafting an irresistible offer seals the deal. Your promotional materials themselves must capture attention and spark enrollment.

For example, write compelling copy spotlighting student transformation stories. Or produce an informative video clearly explaining your course’s life-changing potential.

Overall, focus on communicating tangible value right upfront.

Emphasize unique course benefits versus surface-level features.

Offer payment plans to reduce financial friction. Make signing up stupid simple requiring minimal effort.

Essentially, once in front of eyeballs, thanks to your marketing efforts, your course itself still needs to impress and convert.

Remember that it takes time for people to buy your product. Consistency is the name of the game. More often than not, people need to know, like, and trust you before they purchase. 

Key areas to optimize for direct response across all materials—emails, ads, landing pages, and beyond.

Unconventional Ways To Promote Your Online Course

We’ve covered a handful of surefire marketing tactics to spread the word about your new online course.

Now, let’s get creative and discuss some out-of-the-box methods to continue driving enrollments.

Sometimes, you need to shake things up to cut through the noise and capture attention in an increasingly crowded market. The unconventional promotion ideas below work phenomenally when layered on top of your core marketing campaign.

The key is recognizing different lead types respond better to certain types of outreach. Not everyone enters the sales funnel by casually browsing social. Some prefer old-school word-of-mouth or one-on-one conversations.

By diversifying your promotional mix, you increase the chances of resonating with multiple buyer personalities across various channels. More avenues by which potential students discover and enroll equals greater course sales.

Here are several overlooked yet highly effective options for spreading news about your online course:

Word of Mouth

One of the most underestimated yet significant ways to promote your online course is plain old word-of-mouth recommendations. Simply getting existing students to talk about your course and its incredible value acts as free and credible advertising.

Word spreads fast in niche communities once transformative learning experiences stemming from your course get discussed openly and honestly. When people publicly post about career breakthroughs, health improvements, or life upgrades, thanks to your teachings, it catches on.

Their organic advocacy offers more persuasive testimony about course benefits than any marketing claim you could make. Objective third-party confirmation – not paid advertising – breeds trust. Various online forums then pass student referrals back and forth based on real merit and outcomes your course manifests.

Slowly, over time, genuine person-to-person sharing about your program continually raises awareness and prompts sign-ups. It costs nothing yet lifts perennial demand thanks to delivering killer educational materials others deem shareworthy.

Local and Global Networking

Local business events and industry conferences offer an incredible way to promote your course directly to relevant audiences ripe for the learning you provide.

Prep some eye-catching flyers that clearly describe key course details and value. Then, work the room and try selling your course.

Chat with prospective students/prospects about their goals and pain points.

Mention how your course topics teach the sought-after skills that can manifest the results they desire.

Plant that initial seed even if they aren’t ready to purchase yet. 

Consider collecting email addresses for future sale nurturing, too.

You can take this same local networking concept globally by having an online presence at top virtual seminars as well. 

Share your expertise and also mention your course where appropriate.

Essentially, networking expands your marketing reach significantly and allows you to directly promote to those interested in your course.

It works by proactively driving conversations that connect prospects’ needs with your course’s upside…which they may later learn more about and eventually enroll in.

Public Speaking

Getting on stage builds authority fast and offers a GREAT way to drive more potential students.

Also, it’s another effective way for them to learn more about your course!

Audiences witness firsthand your knowledge plus on-camera chops. 

Join networking groups that are centered around public speaking. Not only will this teach you how to speak, but you’ll learn how to market better as well!

And events often attract concentrated groups already interested in your niche – prime course prospects!

When brainstorming speaking ideas, identify local meetups or national conferences covering topics intrinsically tied to your course material.

Submit speaker applications explaining your depth of knowledge through compelling personal stories.

Once accepted, actively promote your course availability using the provided links and promo codes.

Most events publish speaker bios and presentations online afterward, too!

So your public visibility gets extended via search engines for months and years – a nice built-in lead generation machine.

Savvy course creators jump at every chance to demonstrate passion and expertise live in the flesh.

The exposure captures highly engaged prospects already self-identifying their learning needs aligned with your teachings.

Cold Calls

Cold calling potential customers might seem old school, but it remains a viable way to offer an online course, especially B2B ones. While manual outreach takes significant elbow grease, calls offer something digital touchpoints lack—real human connection.

Even in our tech-driven era, businesses still value consultative partners who understand operational hurdles and goals. Use call lists to identify roles needing upskilling as your course provides. Customize pitches highlighting how you help companies address pain points.

Cold phone conversations allow nuanced needs assessment so you can explain precise course benefits. And calls build more trust than impersonal emails people ignore anyway. Just be sure to practice an ethical approach when reaching out to leads.

Adding one-to-one outreach to your overall marketing expands visibility so those unaware of your course soon grasp how it fulfills their needs.

Host An Event

Hosting dedicated course launch events or meetups lets you get your program directly in front of excited prospects. Even small local gatherings filled with true fans generate buzz and social proof.

The key is organizing engaging experiences – maybe workshops, panels, or fireside chats – tied intrinsically to your course topic. Publish lots of great free content around the programming to pull in niche audiences already self-identifying needs.

Record testimonials on video while enthusiasm runs high, too.

Then, feature them prominently in your course promotional materials. High-quality photos lend visual credence to future marketing campaigns as well.

Essentially, hosting events offers a great way to promote new courses, demonstrate knowledge, and interface one-on-one with leads in person.

Just stay laser-focused on crafting value-rich programming that leaves attendees eager to purchase what you have now confidently proved you can teach.

Guest Blogging

Landing guest articles on popular industry blogs represent an excellent way to market your online course to hyper-targeted audiences.

Reach out to niche sites open to contributor submissions covering topics intrinsically tied to your course subject matter.

Within posts, provide genuine value by educating readers about pain points and goals.

Organically sprinkle mentions regarding your in-depth program as a solution without overtly pitching.

Include links to signup pages so interested visitors can immediately learn more about your course and increase eventual sales.

The blogger benefits from hosting your knowledge. You win new audience exposure, social proof, and backlinks.

Just focus on topics well aligned with what your course covers.

Readers appreciate learning for free initially before deciding on purchasing the entire program to help them achieve outcomes.

Essentially, guest blogging works by subtly showcasing your expertise around the very things your course teaches. Audiences who know enough to like your authority may soon enough enroll to fully unlock said knowledge.

Create Your Own Podcast

Launching your own niche podcast lets you directly link to your course, leaving the opportunity to generate sales for your online course. 

Just be sure the topic aligns cleanly – interview people in your field to talk shop about subject matters closely related to what your course offers. 

Loading iTunes with free audio episodes demonstrates you know you’re an expert in your field to your dedicated listeners/followers.

Ideally, you share enough value bites initially to entice fans into purchasing the entire program for way more in-depth lessons.

You can also link to related course topics from podcast show notes – niche-related courses, discounts on your course, signup forms, etc. 

Treat it like an audio lead generation machine pointing back to your credentials and offerings.

The main similarity between podcasting and guest posting is that they both market your expertise for free around the topics people are interested in.

Fans often return the favor eventually through course purchases once they realize how much more knowledge you offer.

Wrapping It All Up

As you can see, there are various ways to market your online course business.

Whether through social, SEO, or word of mouth, the options are limitless.

The first step starts with creation, then marketing.

With so many people switching to E-learning, it would be a mistake not to take advantage of the opportunity.

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