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The 5 Ps That Will Help You Sell Your Online Course

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You’ve created your course and you’re ready for people to learn from it. But, alas! you haven’t had many buyers yet. 

You know your insight’s useful. You know people will benefit from the lessons you’ve recorded. So what can you do to sell your online course? 

This question may arrive with a bit of panic at first. Many course creators figure “if you build it, they will come” only to be awakened from the daze of memorable Hollywood movie quotes to the cold reality of online marketing. 

And the truth is, the building may be completely done, but the work has only just begun.


How To Sell Online Courses

For people to buy your online course, you need to market it, and to market it, you need to consider the 5 core pillars of marketing. 

Product, price, place, people, and promotion.

  1. Product: You have to have a course to sell (easy, you already have that!)
  2. People: You have to know that people want to buy it 
  3. Price: Those people have to be able to afford it 
  4. Place: Your course needs to be easy to find online
  5. Promote: People need to know it exists 

The 5 Ps in Marketing Your Course

As you can see, your product (aka your incredibly insightful, engaging course) is only one piece of the marketing mix. 

There are 4 other Ps to this puzzle. If any one of them is off, your work’s going to be tougher and profits could be a little farther off than you’d originally planned. 

So, before we get into marketing techniques that will drive sales through the roof – let’s consider the sell-ability of your product. 

That means hitting the pause button on creating Facebook ads, postponing your sales funnel creation, putting a pin in that marketing campaign taking a step back to honestly evaluate your course against those 5 Ps of marketing to see how it stacks up. 

It All Comes Out In The (Marketing) Mix

To get a sense of how to sell your course, you first need to assess where you’re at. So, let’s start at the very beginning, with the basic most fundamental ‘P’

Your course is your product, and your product is one side of a very critical equation –  the product/market fit. 

Without a product/market fit no matter how perfectly priced, how widely placed, and how vigorously promoted your course is, you’re not going to sell it.  That’s because, without a product/market fit, you don’t have anything. 

Product/market fit is what sells things. Giving people a course they need is what sells your course. 

Your main job when you’re focusing on selling your course is to make sure you have a course and people that want to learn from it, aka –  a product/market fit. 

When you have that, there’s no need for ‘persuasion’ tactics, or ‘power’ pitches, or ways to appeal to people’s emotions with ‘FOMO’-type tactics. 

So before we get into marketing tips – ask yourself this: 

Are you 100% sure there’s an audience for the course you’ve created?

If you’re going on a hunch,  it may be time to backtrack a little bit and consider getting some cold hard data that proves your instinct irrevocably. 

It doesn’t take much. A little desk research. A bit of social feedback that you can get from online forums, similar course reviews, and social media comments. 

It’ll pay off mightily. Because if they tell you there’s genuine interest in your course, you know it has a market. If they’re lukewarm or uninterested, face the music. It’ll save you going all-in on marketing and wasting more of your precious energy, time, and money. 

Speaking of product/market fit. People! That’s who your market is made up of. Moving, living, breathing, people. 

So it’s important to understand your market and to be 100% sure you have a product that they need and want. 

An effective way to understand your audience is to define your ideal customer’s persona. Having a handy customer persona on hand will quickly remind you who you want to connect with, who you’re targeting in your campaigns, and who you’re speaking to with your copy. It clarifies a whole lot of other things like the marketing channel, tone, style, and approach to choose. 

At the heart of it, your course is about giving your people, your market, something they really really want and need. Whether they know it or not. 

At the end of the day, knowing your audience is what sells your course. They are, after all, one-half of the product/market fit.

How much are you charging for your course? That’s one of the first things people will ask after they get a grasp of ‘what is this course about?’ and ‘who’s teaching it?’. 

Price could be one of the most difficult decisions you make because it’s directly connected with your profitability. It’s also linked to the payment model you’ll choose for your course, so let’s take a look at those options first. 

How to charge for your course:  

There are several ways you could charge customers for your course.

  • Pay per course model – This is a simple, straightforward one-off payment that your customer pays once for access to your entire course. But don’t let the simplicity of this model fool you. You still need to know what price point you’ll sell your course at that will be the most profitable for you. 
  • Free pricing model – While this doesn’t sound like a lucrative model, offering a free course can help you generate valuable leads for future courses you have in the pipeline. You can also use the leads you generate from a free pricing model to upsell other products that you may have. This model gives you an opportunity to nurture your leads and build an engagement with them that will be easier to leverage when you have something to promote or sell in the future. 
  • Gated pricing model – One way to price your course is by giving free or low-price access to certain course modules. This is a great way for customers to evaluate your course, and if you can show them the value in it first-hand, then they’ll be primed and eager to pay more to gain full access and get more value.
  • Subscription-based model – This is a recurring weekly/monthly or annual price that your customers can pay to access gated content. The price isn’t as high as with a one-off model, so it makes your content more accessible to your customers. However, you will need to have a lot of interesting content to sustain this model or provide different levels of access to suit different price points.

How much to charge for your course:  

You want to get paid what you’re worth. You don’t want to undercharge and miss out on larger profit margins. But you also don’t want to overcharge and price yourself out of your market. 

The wrong price equals missed opportunities which is why pricing could be challenging. You want to seize every opportunity you have by being competitively, yet profitably priced. 

So what is your Goldilocks pricing zone? Not too high, not too low,  but just right? 

A bit of research here can also go a long way. Find out what similar course creators are charging. See if you’re adding more value that could place you at a higher price point. 

For premium course content you could charge $500 or more.  With higher prices consider offering payment plans (installments) instead of a lump sum to make it easier for your customers to afford your course. 

If you are going to charge $500 or more for your course, consider using these great sales strategies for selling courses priced $500 or more. 

Any good appraiser will tell you, when it comes to evaluating real estate, only three things are important: Location, location, location.  

It’s good to keep that in mind when you’re marketing your course by considering where your customers are going to buy your course. 

Is that location easy for them to locate? Is it user-friendly, and easy to access? Is it quick for them to stream or download from? 

To sell well, there are 3 main ‘places’ your course has to have:

  • An online course platform:  They are plentiful. A simple google search will give you the most updated list of ‘best’ options.  If you do go this route, choose a platform that you can afford, and gives you the most access to your specific audience.  
  • A dedicated website: Even if you are using a platform to host your online course, having an independent website that you own is a must. Your website should promote your course and link to a place where customers can buy it. With a website, you can drive Search Engine Optimization that leads more traffic to your course. And that’s good news if you’re looking to sell it. 
  • A Landing Page: Creating a Landing page is a great way to promote your course and increase your sales. Landing pages have a single goal, and in that, they’re very different from your website. On a website, you’re encouraging people to browse around and get more information about you and all the courses, products, etc, you offer. Landing pages have a more focused mission. They are dedicated to one thing and one thing only. By creating one for your course, you have a one-stop-shop that showcases your content, and is entirely focused on getting your audience to sign-up, buy or subscribe.

If all the other Ps are in place, promoting your course is going to be a lot more efficient and effective. 

With content that solves a problem, knowledge that people are waiting to hear, at the right prices point, that you can access easily, you can send out a smoke signal or a pigeon* and you’ll still get the attention you need to sell more courses online. 

Still, there are a few ways that are more effective than others, and you can find them all here in the top 7 best strategies to market your online course in 2022

A few simple ways to get started with promotions is to: 

  1. Blog about topics relevant to your course and add that content to your website 
  2. Curate information relevant to your course and share that on social media 
  3. Create a fan page on Facebook for your online school and post valuable topic-relevant content that prompts engagement with your  personal and wider network
  4. Run a free webinar (you can do this easily on Facebook) to connect with people who may be interested in your course
  5. Reach out to other bloggers to guest blog or interview with them about your course’s topic. This has the added benefit of positioning you as an expert in your field

*Pigeon is definitely not one of the 5 Ps of marketing 🙂 

Wrapping It Up

It’s daunting to think of how to get people to buy an online course that you’ve spent time and effort creating. 

Selling in itself may feel like a remote and intimidating task. But it doesn’t have to be. 

By assessing your course against the 5 Ps of marketing, you’ll have a clearer idea about whether your course has an audience, and who that audience is. 

When you’re clear on your course/market fit, promoting your course will easily translate to more sales, more easily, and more profitably. 

We hope this article was helpful. If you’d like to know more about selling your course online, get in touch! We’re always happy to help. Otherwise, head over to our article’s main page to learn more about marketing, or sign up for our newsletter to get our latest news. 

Need help with marketing your online course?

Now that you know the 5 Ps of marketing, you might be thinking this sounds like a lot. And you would be correct! It is a lot. So, if you need a team of professional online course marketers who can help you focus on what you do best and help you drive top sales results for your online course, we’ve got your back!

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