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Creating an online course - part 3

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Promoting your online course

Congratulations! You have now created a produced your very own passive income course using the lessons from part 1 and part 2. The last and very important step that a lot of content creators forget is to have a strategy to promote your course. Since you want people to buy your course, get ready to reach some new people as well as the ones in your existing network. The key to marketing your course, or anything really, is to understand the problem your customer is trying to solve and present a great solution. We will look at where to find your customers, opportunities for paid and free advertisement and how to create a marketing strategy that works over time.

passive income


  • What do your customers want?

  • Where to find your customers

  • Paid and free advertisement options

  • Learning from your results

What do your customers want?

Think back to when you first created your course outline. What was the most important take-away from your class? Knowing this, think about the type of person who needs to solve this problem. For example, if your course is all about how to design your own website, your customers will most likely have a new business idea but not a lot of money that they could use to hire someone. This way, you can start to narrow down the motivations, questions and fears that your ideal customer might have and you can address them when you promote your course. This is a very similar process to when you create a typical persona.

Once you know these motivations, write each down on a piece of paper. Pick 1-3 different benefits and try to write a description promo for your course. Be clear about what the course will be about and the value you get as a customer. As an example, for one of the ad versions for our branding course we wanted to highlight a sense of accomplishment, it should feel easy and have a great result. Our copy was therefore:

"Design your new logo and brand and feel confident doing it! Our hands-on course uses a tried and tested blueprint so you can create a brand to feel proud of."

Once you have a couple different versions, you can create multiple versions of your promotions and see which resonate best with your audience.

Where to find your customers

Since you are looking for people to purchase your course, you want to reach people when they are in a buying mood. Even though a lot of people might interact with your Instagram content, they might be more ready to buy if they see your content on Pinterest. One way to find out where you will have the best results is to look at trends for different platforms. This guide from Khoros is a great place to start. Here you will find information like the average age of someone using each social media platform, their income and how much time they spend on average. Knowing who your customers are, this information can be a great starting point.

If you are directing your course more at other businesses, Facebook and LinkedIn tend to have better results but this really depends on your brand and audience so don't be afraid to test different options to get real answers.

Lastly, make use of your existing audience. Online or in person, start with the people you know. Ask them to share it with their friends, test it out themselves or even try it for free and give you feedback and a testimonial to use.

Paid and free advertisement options

I used to be very careful about spending any money on advertisement. I still do a lot of research and make a clear plan but recent years have shown me that sometimes all your hard work needs a small boost to give you results. Most platforms will only show your content to a small portion of your followers so just posting content to your own social media and expecting results requires quite a substantial follower base. With advertisement now allowing for very small budgets, I suggest you give it a go with a limited budget you feel ok to loose if it does not create the results you want.

For paid options, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all allow you to have relatively small budgets and you can use your existing profiles for the setup. This way, anyone who sees your ad and wants to find out more about you can click to see your profile and visit your website. Google ads typically require a little more expertise but you also have a lot of options, like setting up negative keywords.

If you are going for a free advertisement strategy, I suggest you try to promote your course both in person and online. Find a networking event where your customers might be and pitch the course instead of your normal business. If your course is good, these first users can refer the next set. Don't forget to use your email list. If you have leads that never turned in to a client, past clients that might be interested or people that signed up to your email list, let them know about your new course.

When it comes to posting about your course online, don't be shy to do it more than you might initially think. Most platforms only show your content to a small portion of your following - and feeds get filled up fast. If you have created different versions of your ad, for example three different images and three different benefits, all of a sudden you have nine ad combinations. By mixing these up, you help potential customers see your value and avoid seeming repetitive.

Learning from your results

When you first get started it is hard to know exactly who will love your course and where to find them. Make it a point to write down each of your little experiments and see what works best. For example, one week you might try to reach technology startups in New York on Facebook. At the end of the week, write down how much you spent (either as money or the time you put in), how many people clicked to see your course and how many actually purchased it.

If you find that you have a lot of people visiting your site but not purchasing the course, try changing the landing page or use a tool like Crazyegg to see where people get confused. The important thing is to keep learning, tweaking and constantly improving your marketing.

This was the last part in the how to create an online course series! As part of your marketing (and because I would absolutely love to see what you have created) please share your new course with the creative community!


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