Don’t let anyone fool you: selling online courses takes a considerable amount of effort. Still, there is a misconception that you can simply put together a few videos, set-up a payment system, and you will soon be counting your money.
I think we all wish it were that simple, but I also think we all know that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Creating elearning in itself is hard work – at least if you want the course to be any good. When you sell courses, not only do you have to put in the effort to make sure the course is top-notch, but you also need to understand your market.
You will find a lot of information out there on how to create effective elearning. It is broken down into many different instructional design components. There are a countless number of theories and best-practices available for reference. However, when it comes to marketing a course online, it often just gets lumped under a generic label: internet marketing.
A quick Google search for “internet marketing” will yield many pie-in-the-sky websites promising you the biggest secrets and easy paths to success. I’d encourage you to just ignore those, or you’ll end up wasting both your time and money.
To be honest, the term “internet marketing” puts off a lot of people due to some reputation issues.
Nonetheless, internet marketing is just that: marketing your course strictly through online outlets (by the way, you shouldn’t limit your course marketing efforts to just online – but more on that at a later date).
When I talk to people who have completed their course and are ready to start marketing, they want to know which techniques they should use.
- Do they need to worry about Twitter?
- Should they create a Facebook account?
- Will Google ads be a good place to start?
The list of questions goes on, but the answer is always the same: don’t worry about any of this until you do adequate market research first.
Research will give you some indication as to what you should consider doing “right now” versus down the road.
Now, if you already created an online courses with the intent to sell, you probably have at least some idea of the industry.
Assuming you have found a viable market, your research should be focused on finding the gap in the marketplace, and then compete in that gap. You find these gaps by analyzing by the market in general and the way your competition defines their offering.
You’re intention of doing this research is not to copy your competition but instead to determine how you are different. You have to be unique in a way other than price if you want any hope of finding success selling your course online. Playing the “me too” game is even worse, yet extremely tempting for many. Again, this won’t do you any good either.
Before rushing to learn more about marketing techniques for your elearning, first go through the process of market research. Afterwards, your business will be in a much better position.