January 22nd, 2018 Business

Many people who create courses to sell overlook this very lucrative approach.

Under most circumstance course creators think of course sales in the traditional sense: create the course, put a price tag on it, and sell to consumers.

There are a variety of pricing options for businesses like this. It is a simple and proven method for building a substantial income through selling online courses.

But there is one method that people often overlook, and that’s licensing your course content.

What It Is and How It Works

Licensing course content means that other people (or organizations) are paying you on a yearly basis for your courses. They don’t need an LMS because they probably have one already. They only want the content and the guarantee that the content will be continually updated as needed. They will host the content, track user registrations, and take care of all the technical components. You are literally just supplying the content.

There are some benefits to this model. First, you don’t have to worry about the technical structure, such as hosting the courses on your own LMS. However, you should still configure a demo LMS with only some of the course material available so your potential customers can get an idea of what you provide. This takes significantly less time to set-up and manage.

Secondly, your marketing efforts become a lot more streamlined. When you license content you aren’t selling business to consumer as much. Your primary audience will be other businesses. As a result your price tag for the content can be higher than it would normally be for the consumer market. Businesses will pay for the content, and they will pay a lot. The trade-off though is that your sales cycle will be a little longer.

Maximizing Profits from Licensing

While you can build a nice business by licensing your content, one way to maximize the profits is to offer a “hosted for you” option. This is a hybrid approach where you can allow businesses to purchase and host your content on their own LMS, or you can set them up with their own learning portal and you host the content.

While the latter sounds complicated it is actually really easy to do with WordPress multisite. A few clicks and you have a fully branded portal for your clients. Some organizations will prefer this because it means that they just need to pay you and then literally do nothing else.

I have personally seen people who license content offer this option and do incredibly well. It can often lead to additional course licensing sales and also consulting opportunities.

Who Should License Course Material?

If you are a business professional or consultant then you should strongly consider this method. Chances are you already have a client list. They will be the perfect audience for your course, especially if they can license it from you instead of paying (normally high) consulting rates.

This method probably isn’t going to work for those of you who are primarily in the business to consumer niches. For example, if you have a course related to a hobby then this probably won’t be the easiest way to generate revenue.

Finally, as attractive as course licensing sounds, don’t try to do both licensing and business to consumer sales of your course at the same time. The message will be confusing and your efforts won’t have any focus. Maybe you can do this eventually if you really want to but initially you should keep it simple.

Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


12 responses

Leave a Comment

Interesting advice. Thanks

Avatar dipan

Glad you liked it, thanks Dipan.

Hi Justin, I appreciated your article that ‘simplified’ what it means to license your course content. It is an option I haven’t considered yet but was asked recently if I licensed my material and I didn’t really know what they were asking! Now I do. My challenge is to get my handwritten course material ideas in electronic form :). I am considering establishing my online courses via my website (WordPress).

Anyway, I have signed up to get updates from you so that’s great. Thanks, Lesley

Hi Justin appreciated your article
As someone who services collections managers, Accounts Receivables Managers and CFO’s how would you recommend putting together a product to offer

Hello I am from Brazil and I would like to know how to license products online to sell in Brazil if you know we can make a partnership and work together I do not speak English but I use the tradutos

Avatar leandro

Sorry Leandro, I am not aware of Brazilian regulation in this area.

Curious to know how to structure a price when I license my course? I have a course I sell to the consumer for $77, and I have some companies interested in licensing it for use on their employee portal. Some of the companies have several thousand employees. I have no idea where to start to structure a fee to license my course. Any suggestions?

HOW lucrative is this in your opinion? Would you charge based off of contact hours or length of course?

Avatar Kyle Flannery

Im in the process of setting my course up for licensing – im interested in the fee structures and tips or suggestions on what to charge? Annual fee, initial big fee followed by samller annual fee?? I have no idea waht is industry standard :S


Avatar Micca

I am currently searching for video training courses that I can purchase the license to and resell on my LMS. Are you aware of any places I can look to find course creators who are offering their courses for resale? Thank you.

Avatar Andrew

What are the legal considerations in addition to creating a resource that can be digitally shared? How can I alone be the owner of my curriculum and also protect it from people who create a watered down version of my original content that I want to license?

Would live to know if you have a blog that offers guidance on how to determine the licensing rate you would extend to a business wanting to license? Like a formula? Tiered assumed

Avatar Deb Raley

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