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Course Creation

How to Sell Online Courses: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Get the info you need on how to sell online courses so you turn your knowledge into money.

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By Scott Winstead

how to sell online courses

The popularity of online courses has soared in recent years. In fact, the global eLearning market is projected to exceed $848.12 billion by 2030? With such tremendous potential and golden opportunity ahead, why not leverage and seize it to your benefit?

In this guide, I’ll show you how to tap into this thriving market and show you step-by-step how to sell online courses. As someone who’s been in the eLearning space for nearly 20 years, I’ll discuss the marketing methods, pricing tips, and other useful strategies me and my colleagues have used that can help you capitalize on the surge in online education demand.

Let’s get started…

How to Sell Online Courses: 4 Key Steps

Step #1: Crafting Your Course: From Idea to Reality

First things first, if you haven’t finalized a course yet, it’s time to do so. eLearning offers vast opportunities, and with the right idea, you can share your expertise worldwide. Let’s dive into finding the perfect course that aligns with your passion and resonates with your audience.

Brainstorm Ideas

I always recommend starting by generating a list of potential course ideas based on your expertise, passions, and what you believe would benefit your target audience. I’ve seen some aspiring course creators who get caught up in chasing trending topics that they don’t really have expertise in or a passion for, and it almost never works out.

Really take the time to be honest about your unique skills, knowledge, and experiences that you can share with others. Consider in-demand topics, that align with your interests, and can provide value to learners.

Course Builder Assistance

Whether you’re new or an existing player in the industry of selling online courses, taking assistance from an expert will elevate your A-game.

With online course platforms like TrainerCentral, Teachable, and Thinkific, you can easily design your courses and add interactive elements to your curriculum.

These platforms offer several great features like:

  • Effortlessly build a comprehensive online course that engages learners.
  • Design any course, set up a unique structure, and enhance learning with engaging assignments and handouts.
  • Bundle multiple courses for exceptional value.
  • Engage with learners in real time through live virtual classes and seamless video broadcasting.
  • Clarify concepts using a virtual whiteboard and interactive Q&A.
  • Automate learning schedules and create a well-structured curriculum.
  • Ensure course compliance with ease, focusing on exceptional educational experiences.

Narrow It Down

From your brainstormed list, narrow down the options to a few promising ideas that you feel most passionate about and confident in teaching. It’s essential to choose a subject that excites you, as your enthusiasm will shine through in your course content.

Step #2: Market Research

Once you have a shortlist of potential course ideas, conduct thorough market research to understand the demand and competition for each topic. I can’t stress enough the importance of market research before diving into course creation.

Look for online forums, social media groups, or platforms where people discuss topics related to your course ideas. Pay attention to the questions and problems raised by potential learners. It will help you identify which idea resonates most with your target audience.

Competitor Analysis

I recommend delving into what’s already out there. I look at existing courses covering similar subjects, scrutinizing their content, pricing strategies, and, importantly, customer feedback. This exercise isn’t just about finding a gap in the market; it’s about understanding how I can bring a fresh perspective or a more comprehensive solution to the table. My goal is always to create a course that not only fills a need but also stands out in a crowded marketplace.


Before investing significant time and effort into creating your course, I always like to validate my idea further. One effective way is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) or a smaller version of your course. Promote it to your target audience and gather feedback to gauge their interest and willingness to pay for a full-fledged course. Their engagement and feedback are crucial indicators of whether there’s really a market for a more detailed course.

Surveys and Feedback

I like to conduct surveys or interviews with potential learners to understand their preferences, pain points, and expectations from an online course on the chosen topic. This direct feedback will help refine your course idea and ensure it addresses the needs of your target audience effectively.

Step #3: Pricing Your Online Course for Success

In my years of creating and selling online courses, I’ve learned that pricing is a delicate art. It’s about striking the perfect balance where your course is both accessible to learners and profitable for you.

Here’s how I approach setting the right price:

  • Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to understand how similar courses are priced within your niche. Analyze competitor pricing strategies and identify trends in the industry. Key insights into pricing norms will help you position your course competitively.
  • Know Your Audience: Understand your target audience’s preferences, financial capabilities, and what they consider valuable. Tailor your pricing strategy to align with their perceived worth of the course content.
  • Evaluate Course Content: Take a critical look at your course content and objectively assess its quality, depth of knowledge, and practicality. Consider the unique value your course provides to learners compared to other offerings in the market.
  • Offer Pricing Options: Offer basic, standard, and premium packages with varying levels of access, features, and support. This approach allows learners to choose the option that best fits their needs and budget.
  • Use Promotional Pricing: During the launch phase of your online course, consider offering promotional pricing or early-bird discounts to encourage early enrollment. This limited-time offer creates a sense of urgency and entices more learners to sign up. Implement Tiered Access: If your course includes multiple modules, bonus content, or additional resources, consider offering tiered access based on different price points. Learners who opt for higher-priced tiers can gain access to exclusive content and personalized support.
  • Use the power of upselling. Upselling and cross-selling can enhance customer lifetime value. After students complete a course, offer complementary or advanced courses that align with their interests and needs. Partnering with influencers or industry experts can significantly expand your course’s reach. Their endorsements and collaborations can attract new learners and enhance your credibility as a course creator.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: Offer a risk-free money-back guarantee to instill confidence in your learners. This refund policy removes the fear of making a wrong decision and demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction and success.
  • Regularly Review and Adjust: Continuously monitor the performance of your online course and gather feedback from learners. Stay responsive to market demands and learner expectations. Be willing to adjust your pricing strategy if necessary to better align with your audience’s needs.

Step #4: Ongoing Marketing

As a beginner (or a seasoned player) in the world of online course creation, marketing your course effectively is crucial to reaching a wider audience and building a successful brand. To take some burden off your shoulders, I’ve found one-stop solution I often recommend to others. TrainerCentral’s Course Marketing feature serves as your trusted partner in the step-by-step marketing guide.

It offers the following amazing features:

  • Design a Fully Branded Website: Establish your unique online presence with a fully branded website that reflects your expertise and personality.
  • Host a Webinar: Conduct live interactive sessions to showcase your expertise, build trust, and promote your courses effectively. Utilize email marketing to nurture leads and promote your courses. Personalized and targeted emails can increase conversion rates and keep learners engaged.
  • Your Own Domain: Take ownership of your brand by using your domain name for your website. This professional touch builds credibility and trust among potential learners.
  • Set Up a Digital Store: Transform your website into a digital store where learners can easily access and purchase your courses. With a platform like TrainerCentral, for example, you can enjoy a user-friendly interface to streamline the buying process.
  • Create Attractive Sales Pages: Craft compelling sales pages that showcase the value of your courses. The best course platforms let you create visually appealing and persuasive course sales pages.
  • Boost Your SEO Score: Increase your online visibility and attract more learners by optimizing your website for search engines.
  • Smart Digital Marketing: Utilize TrainerCentral’s smart digital marketing features to reach your target audience effectively. Leverage social media platforms and invite multiple learners to join your courses at once, saving time and effort.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Be responsive to their inquiries, actively participate in discussions, and provide personalized support. When students feel valued and connected, they are more likely to stay enrolled and recommend your courses to others. Ensuring the happiness and satisfaction of your students is not just an act of goodwill but a strategic approach that can lead to a thriving online course business. Happy students are the cornerstone of a successful educational venture, and their positive experiences can have a profound impact on your brand reputation, enrollment rates, and long-term growth.
  • Zero Transaction Fees: Keep more of your hard-earned revenue by using a platform that has zero transaction fees. You get to enjoy 100% ownership of your efforts, ensuring that your earnings remain yours.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights, answered your queries, and inspired you to take the first step toward selling online courses. As you venture into the world of online education, remember that success lies in delivering value to your learners.

For a seamless and empowering start, I highly recommend exploring TrainerCentral. With its Course Builder and array of user-friendly features, you can create compelling courses and build a thriving online business.

TrainerCentral: An all-in-one training platform TrainerCentral: An all-in-one training platform

With TrainerCentral, you can turn your passion and knowledge into a thriving business. This comprehensive platform allows you to easily create and manage online courses in just minutes.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Now, armed with knowledge and motivation, it’s time to embark on your journey as an online course creator. Embrace the opportunities ahead and make a positive impact with your expertise.

Have any questions about how to sell online courses? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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