If starting a business was easy then everyone would be successful. Selling courses online is no different.
Despite what some people may have you believe, starting a business selling online courses is not an easy path to riches.
When you start a business, any business, you have to be in it for the “long game”.
What does that mean specifically?
It means that every day you are working on promoting your offering and gaining visibility, even if you go months without seeing any sort of return. This is especially true if you are relying on content marketing techniques to drive awareness.
Sadly though there is a perception that because the barriers of entry into online business are so low that making course sales will be just as easy.
Start Marketing Early
My advice to anyone who is selling online course is to start marketing now, even before your course is made.
Whether you choose to use paid advertising with Facebook or a content marketing approach (blogging, podcasts, etc.) then the sooner you can get started, the better.
This may seem counter-intuitive. Why market before you have anything to sell?
Well, you are gauging interest for your course topic. The easiest way to do this is to create some sort of email opt-in where in exchange for an email address you give people something for free.
Don’t know what to give away? Here’s an idea: build out the first two to three lessons of your course and offer them for free.
If you see that you people are signing-up to get this material then you are validating the concept. If no one signs-up despite your website receiving a decent amount of visitors then you know that the messaging isn’t quite right for your audience.
This can save you hundreds of hours of time building out a course that doesn’t sell.
Whatever method you choose for marketing (organic vs. paid), you need to go into it with the mindset that this is your long-term approach. Be consistent and committed. Some days will be harder than others but that’s where successful businesses are born – by forging ahead when you don’t want to.
My only word of caution is that working hard means nothing if you’re not working smart as well. Keep an eye on your data.
Be it your ad performance numbers or website conversion stats. Make changes based on the information you have in front of you. You are doing your business no good if you are writing blog post after blog post for six months and getting no traffic. Something is wrong so make adjustments.
We are fortunate to live in an era where starting a business — be it for side income or a full-time venture — is a realistic possibility to nearly everyone.
But remember that just because something is “simple” doesn’t mean that it’s “easy”.