Creating profitable online courses is the new hot trend in 2023.
With demand skyrocketing for digital skills training, what better time to turn your expertise into a money-making course? But fair warning – this isn’t as simple as filming some videos and calling it a day.
Doing this right takes strategy.
In this guide, I’ll walk through the whole process, from identifying which topics sell right now to choosing the best platform for hosting your course. You’ll learn:
- Why online courses are poised to thrive in 2023
- How to brainstorm smart niche and topic ideas
- Tips for outlining and creating binge-able online content
- Where to host your course for maximum visibility
- Clever marketing techniques to get enrollments rolling in
- Pricing models that balance profit with value for students
- Common pitfalls when launching online courses
My goal is to equip you with all the tools to build successful online courses that make bank while delivering real value. Get ready to become an online course master!
Why You Should Know How To Sell Online Courses
As we dive into the details of successfully creating and selling online courses, it is essential we first establish why this path is so promising, specifically in 2023.
In brief – the demand for specialized digital education is surging, platforms are making course creation more accessible, and multiple avenues exist today to market to interested learners globally.
Specifically, choosing an optimized online course platform can streamline the technology and delivery behind selling online courses.
This allows you to focus on quality content creation and impactful marketing to drive enrollment. With care and strategy, it is entirely feasible to monetize your knowledge into a popular and profitable online course.
The conditions are perfect for entering this high-potential market.
Later, I will equip you with specific steps to identify winning topics, develop binge-able online content, choose the ideal course platform for your needs, market effectively, and price appropriately.
But first, let’s deep dive into the advantages of selling an online course.
The Advantages of Creating and Selling Digital Courses
With the stage set on the immense potential of selling online courses post Corona Virus, let’s shift lenses to the unique advantages creating and selling digital courses offer compared to conventional education models.
In short – the flexibility, scalability, and profitability can’t be beat!
Let me say that one more time: online course creation brings in the big bucks!
Also, the ability to build and sell online courses puts you in the driver’s seat.
You set the framework, content style, pacing, and messaging.
While complex to create initially, once your course infrastructure is solid, future iterations become easier to replicate for expanded offerings.
Additionally, selling digital courses allows infinitely scalable reach, students, and unlimited earnings without being limited by physical factors.
A well-designed online course can be marketed and sold just as effectively to an audience of 10 students or 10 million global students.
Automated delivery platforms remove bottlenecks of location, seating capacity, or tutoring bandwidth.
The potential profit margins are alluring, too.
Unlike traditional education models, most costs are upfront fixed expenditures.
Marginal costs per additional student are near zero. Coupled with the viral marketing potential of digital products, this allows for prospering income at scale.
Clearly, for knowledgeable entrepreneurs, the advantages of selling online courses are too good to ignore.
Let’s now deep dive into the step-by-step process to create high-converting digital courses and unlock this lucrative opportunity.
How To Start The Course Creation Process?
We’ve covered why selling online courses is so promising right now and the unique upsides this model offers.
Now, let’s get into the good stuff – how do you actually start the course creation process?
Here’s the kicker – while you obviously need strong content, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. A practical online course is a cohesive mix of substance, style, and marketing.
The process really starts by conceptualizing what a viable minimum course includes, then iterating to polish each element.
First, analyze winning courses in your niche to identify must-have foundations like structured learning paths, assessments, community discussion boards, and post-course materials.
Determine early on what online business model suits your topic – paid enrollments, tiered membership subscriptions, in-course purchases, or ad revenue.
Next, start outlining your course content, ensuring bitesize modules that balance depth with retainability.
Supplement core lesson content with corresponding assessments, downloadable job aids, and real-world resources.
Finally, design dynamic visuals, promos, and sales copy to attract your target learner demographic.
Weave in hooks to pique interest, social proof signals to build authority, and urgency cues to nudge towards purchase.
If this sounds complex, don’t worry!
Later, we’ll recommend online course platforms that simplify creation and marketing.
We’ll also get into specifics on strategically defining your niche, pricing tiers, promotion tactics, course content creation, and more.
For now, focus on broadly mapping your online course model first. Details come later!
Where To Sell Courses Online
We’ve covered the foundations of conceptualizing and creating a winning online course.
But all that hard work designing great content means nothing if students can’t find and enroll in your course!
That brings us to the incredibly important question of where to sell your course.
The good news is you aren’t limited to any single platform for selling online courses today.
Global online course marketplaces like Udemy and Podia make it easy to reach large audiences interested in skills training.
Alternatively, you can build branded course portals on dedicated learning management platforms like Teachable, Skool, and Thinkific.
Or even sell directly from your website with homegrown funnels.
Each approach has pros and cons. Marketplaces grant access to vast user bases but charge commissions.
White-label course platforms require more marketing efforts but allow higher profit margins per sale.
The key is objectively determining which best aligns with your online business model, target students, niche dynamics, and revenue goals.
We will dive deeper into reviewing the popular online course platforms later on. We’ll also get into digital marketing tactics to organically promote your course across search, social media, and more.
For now, rest assured you have more options than ever to get your course in front of global audiences hungry to level up their skills.
Which Niche Is Most Profitable?
Now that you know the different ways to sell your new online learning course, let’s tackle another critical question – which niches, topics, and verticals offer the most profit potential in 2023 for selling online courses?
Broadly, skills-oriented subjects that directly enhance earning power or career prospects excel.
Think of high-demand tech skills like digital marketing, software development, cybersecurity, AI, and cloud computing.
But also soft professional aptitudes like public speaking, negotiation, emotional intelligence, and consulting.
Health and wellness represent massive markets, too, spanning fitness, nutrition, lifestyle design, and more.
Don’t underestimate hobbies either – monetizable fan bases exist around arts, gardening, mixology, and beyond.
The most profitable online course niches balance passionate interest with painful problems.
Assess your unique knowledge and expertise through this lens when brainstorming potential course ideas.
Study search trends, competition dynamics, and traction for similar online courses that are already selling.
While profitability and demand significantly influence viable course niches, also consider intrinsically motivating topics you won’t grow tired of creating content around.
We will explore tactical niche selection further soon.
Pricing Structure For Selling Your Online Course
We’ve covered identifying winning online course niches.
Now, let’s shift to determining optimal pricing models and tiers to maximize profits.
Many factors influence effective course pricing frameworks beyond simplistic assumptions.
Want to sell your new course the right way?
As a baseline, analyze competitors’ rates while assessing production costs to identify minimum pricing thresholds.
The complexity of content, module length, supplementary materials, and assessment rigor also dictate base price anchors.
Additionally, consider target student profiles and disposable income levels in your niche when structuring pricing tiers.
Contrast one-time fees versus monthly subscriptions for recurring access.
Experiment with bundled packages, too – specializations combining multiple courses on related topics can warrant 50%+ premiums reflecting cumulative value.
Limited-time discounts and payment plan options stimulate impulse purchases despite higher list prices.
Getting course pricing right is tricky.
What Makes or Breaks A Successful Online Course?
Creating a truly successful online course is no simple feat – it requires nailing both the micro and macro elements.
On the micro side, the course content itself needs to shine.
That means clearly organized lessons, truly valuable information, engaging delivery, and relevant assessments. Videos with bad lighting, dense slides filled with bullet points, and repetitive rambling lectures are out.
But a good online course alone won’t cut it if no one can find your course! That’s where the macro elements come into play.
You need catchy marketing assets like trailers, demos, and testimonials so people know how great your course actually is.
Valuable lead magnets, like free toolkits, help, too. And strategic advertising to drive traffic and sign-ups is mandatory.
In essence, an online course thrives or fails based on this equation:
Killer Content Quality + Magnetic Marketing = $$$$
Bottom line – if your course content sucks, so will your profits
Which Platforms Are Best For Course Creators
While you can build and host an online course from scratch, purpose-built learning management systems dramatically simplify workflow. LMS platforms provide packaged tools for multimedia content hosting, assessments, community forums, responsive designs, analytics, and more.
Top providers catering to online course creators include favorites like Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, Kajabi, and Academy of Mine.
Choosing the right platform to host and market your online course depends on pricing models, customizability needs, built-in marketing options, and ease of use.
Coming up, we will compare top LMS platforms for selling online courses across key criteria like:
- Cost structures – subscriptions, commissions, transaction fees
- Custom branding and tailoring options
- Marketing tools – coupons, bundles, drip content, affiliates
- Analytics dashboards
- Scalability features
- Third-party integrations
Sam Ovens really did his research when it came to creating this beast we know as Skool. Used as an alternative to platforms like Teachable and Thinkific, Skool has gained massive popularity over the last few years.
Let’s see how it stands out overall
- Intuitive course builder with templates
- Integrated email marketing automation
- Smooth payment processing with Stripe
- Simplified review workflows
- Third party friendly integrations
- Currently, only one pricing tier
- Maturing analytics and insights
- Less customization than enterprise LMS platforms
- Unproven scale for large online course catalogs
In summary, Skool hits the sweet spot for easily creating beautiful online courses with built-in marketing at reasonable prices. The trade-off is less customization and analytics than heavier LMS platforms.
But for most solo course creators, especially those just starting out, Skool is an appealing option to sell courses in 2023.
How’s that – clear and concise?
With over 90,000 online businesses powered by its platform, Teachable stands tall as a long-time stalwart solution for hosting and creating an online course. Founded in 2014 by Ankur Nagpal to simplify course creation for non-techie experts, Teachable is a mature platform balancing power with ease of use.
- User-friendly interface
- Unmatched customer services
- Add rich features like quizzes and course completion certifications
- Simple coupon, affiliate, and analytic features
- Poor cost-to-value ratio
- High-end features are lacking
- Page builder is limited and overly complex IMHO
- Not as aesthetically appealing as some of its competitors, like Skool
- Starts to get a little pricey once you start adding premium features
Founded in 2010 by Kenny Rueter and Joel Klettke, Kajabi is used by over 50,000 entrepreneurs today.
Kajabi excels at integrated knowledge commerce, spanning courses, community, and full website HQs.
However, it risks overcomplicating goals if you’re only selling a few online courses.
Kajabi is a beast of a platform if your goal is scaling.
However, you might want to look for simpler course marketplaces if you only host a few courses.
- All-in-one platform with website builder
- Membership management capabilities
- Cohesive branding across assets
- Loyal following and community
- Steep learning curve
- Overkill for simple course hosting
- Bundle pricing reduces comparability
Founded in 2014 by Greg Smith, Thinkific has established itself as a quality online course platform with over 50,000 course creators leveraging its simplified teaching tools. The key highlights for Thinkific in balancing the strengths and potential limitations include:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop course builder
- Custom domains and white labeling
- Solid analytics dashboards
- Effective email marketing automation
- Proven track record
- Offers a free plan
- Some paid add-on fees add up
- Steeper learning curve for advanced features
- Pricing leans on the higher end overall
The bottom line is that Thinkific strikes a great balance between ease of use and power features for selling online courses.
The platform enables course creators to focus more time crafting content vs wrestling with complexity.
Custom branding options also retain professional polish. Just account for the slightly premium pricing if you are on a tighter budgets as a new entrepreneur.
In total, Thinkific remains an industry-leading solution for both tutoring community veterans as well as course creators just starting out.
Podia comes from humble beginnings – founded in 2015 by creators Spencer Fry, Travis Northcutt, and Kenny Dominguez, simply seeking an easy way to sell online courses without overpaying for clunky platforms.
What sets Podia apart is how it democratizes robust course functionality for solopreneurs, yet scales elegantly for larger teams, too.
Here’s an easy breakdown of some solid pros, along with a few pesky cons to factor in:
- Dead simple course builder and site editor
- Everything tailored for course creators
- Very affordable and transparent pricing
- Built-in marketing automation
- Flexible plans
- Less established than competitors
- Less customization options
- Mostly DIY support
- Lacks a mobile app feature
Kartra comes from the creative minds of Andy Jenkins and Mike Filsaime, seeking to enable online entrepreneurs with all-in-one functionality for digital business management, spanning help funnels, email, membership portals, affiliate programs, and online course capabilities.
Having used this platform for many years, I will say data tracking is a major upside. The major downside is once you’ve exhausted your “Kartra limits,” the cost of this cool quickly starts to rise.
Some additional sparkling strengths along with a few fuzzy limitations:
- Fully integrated platform creates cohesive user experiences
- Flexible membership management capabilities
- Built-in affiliate and partner tracking
- Packed with templates and automation
- Steep learning curve with so many features
- Base plans lack core functionality
- Transaction fees nibble at profit margins
- Price quickly rises when you go over their limitations
Sell Online Course FAQ
What is the best way to create and sell online courses?
The best way to create and sell online courses is by choosing the best online course platforms tailored to your needs. It involves stages like defining your course content, creating the course material, formatting it properly, and putting it up for sale on a platform that suits your target audience. Remember to use email lists and social media marketing as powerful tools to promote your course.
What should I think about when I create my online course?
When creating your first online course, think about who your target audience is, what they need, and how you can deliver that in a concise, understandable, and actionable way. Use the right online learning platform to offer an engaging and interactive experience to your students.
How do I choose the right online course platform?
When choosing the right online course platform, consider factors such as usability, pricing, support, and the reputation of the platform. Investigate whether the platform allows students to interact and communicate easily and whether it provides the necessary tools to create an enriching online learning environment.
What are some strategies to effectively sell an online course?
Some of the best ways include building an active email list, mastering SEO, making use of content marketing, leveraging affiliates, and offering courses on well-established online course marketplaces. Regularly updating the course content to keep it fresh and current can also boost your course’s attractiveness.
How do I create engaging course content?
Engaging online course content is informative, interactive, visually appealing, and acknowledges different learning styles. Consider using a mix of text, video, audio, quizzes, and interactive components. Ensuring your content is neatly structured into other modules or sections can help keep your students organized and focused.
Are online courses a good online business model?
Absolutely! Online courses are a leading digital product. With the trend of online learning platform popularity rising, running an online course business can be incredibly lucrative. They’re a great way to share your skills and knowledge while also generating income.
How do I create an online school?
Creating an online school involves planning your curriculum, creating engaging course content, and then hosting these courses on a dedicated platform. Deciding how you will manage student interactions and considering how to market your school are also necessary steps.