15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses (and Counting)

Looking to sell online courses, but confused by all of the platform choices? This post highlights some of the top online course platforms and helps you narrow your list. While you are here, be sure to grab the free platform selection guide to help you make the right choice faster and smarter. And, if you are ready to create online courses and other online education content, be sure to check out the free Learning Revolutionary's Toolbox!

Image of e-commerce related to sell online courses and online course platforms

To sell online courses, it used to be that you had to master an authoring tool, license a learning management system (LMS) – or come up with a workaround – figure out hosting and e-commerce, and then somehow deal with end user support. These days, you can get across the finish line with little more than the digital video camera in your phone, an Internet connection, and one of the platforms listed here.

In this post, I draw on two decades of experience working with online course platforms to narrow down the options and take a quick look at some of the best of what’s out there for helping you create, market, and sell online courses on the Web. [Read more…]

Does SCORM Matter for Selling Online Courses?

Does SCORM Matter - graphic of e-learning data

If you are looking for a platform to sell online courses, there is a a good chance you will come across the term “SCORM” at some point. But what is SCORM? And, when it comes right down to it, does SCORM matter for selling online courses? [Read more…]

What’s the best way to market online courses?

market online courses - photo of person putting credit card info into Web site

What’s the best way to market online courses? Or any other courses, for that matter?

I recently responded to a question on this topic that I received from a Learning Revolution subscriber. The person who contacted me:

  1. already has a course up and running on a platform, and
  2. was trying to figure out how to market it.

So, this wasn’t a “how do I plan in advance for marketing an online course successfully” question. It was an “I’ve already invested time and money to build something and now I need to figure out how I am going to make money” question.

I get that kind of question a lot, and it always pains me.

In this case, because I prefer to stay positive in providing advice, I didn’t actually give my #1 answer to this question in responding to this reader. If you have read Leading the Learning Revolution, you will know that my #1 answer is to build an audience before you build your course. Ideally, you want to have a decent-sized group of people who have already shown they are interested in what you are doing – preferably by signing up for your e-mail list – and who will be likely to buy when you launch the course.

It doesn’t even have to be a large group of people. Indeed, if you take my advice about how to avoid course failure, you will likely only tap into a relatively small, but targeted audience to run a pilot course before you ever get into creating a full-blown, scalable offering.

Either way, if you wait until after you have developed an online course to figure out who you will sell it to and how, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

But, of course, that answer isn’t of much help if you hear it once you have built the course.

So, what’s the best way to market online courses if you haven’t already built an audience and run a pilot?

Based on my own experience selling a variety of educational products, one of the first places I would look for opportunities is with “mid-tier” podcasters and bloggers. These are people who have a decent-sized audience in the niche you are targeting, but have not yet jumped into the big leagues. Definitions of “decent sized” can vary greatly, but I’d be looking for at least 1000 subscribers, and preferably a lot more. (Lower numbers can be okay if the audience is really targeted to what you are offering.)

(You can, of course, also aim for the big leagues, but my aim here is to suggest a strategy that I feel is readily achievable for most of the people reading this post and that will have substantial impact.)

These people are almost always looking for content, and if you have developed a course, it should not be a stretch for you to do a brief audio or e-mail interview in which you provide three to five highly useful tips from the course. Easy for you. Easy for the podcaster or blogger. High value content for prospective buyers of your course.

And, by appearing on someone else’s platform, you get a nice dose of social proof and validation of your authority – two key elements of influencing your market and winning over your audience.

A real bonus is if you can find individuals or companies running Webinars successfully in your niche. Offer to present and discuss some of your key course content through a Webinar and ask for the registration e-mails for the Webinar to help with building your own list. At the very minimum, get a link to the landing page for your course included in the host’s follow up e-mail for the Webinar.

Teachable-smIf you are interested in how to launch a profitable online course as a vehicle for your subject matter expertise, I recommend Teachable’s free weekly Webinar on 7 Steps to Create and Launch Your First Profitable Online Course. And check out the Teachable platform in general. You can create a free course right away, and I know you will like what you see. – Jeff

Don’t hold back.

When you market online courses, it’s critical to put some of your best stuff out there so that people will trust that they will get even more value from the actual course. This

“Amplify” the podcast episode, blog post, Webinar – whatever it is – like crazy in the social media channels where you have the most traction. And don’t just do it once – keep repeating over time, potentially using a scheduler application like MeetEdgar (which I use myself).

And make sure you always provide a link to a well-designed landing page to drive actual sales.

That’s what’s worked for me. How about you? What have you found to be most effective in your efforts to market online courses? Drop me a line and let me know.

Jeff

P.S. – Looking for great tools that can help you to market online courses (as well as building and growing your online course business in general)? Check out the Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox.

Audio Fuel for the Online Learning Entrepreneur

on-fireReady to become an online learning entrepreneur on fire? In this podcast interview, John Sweeney of Academy of Mine and I cover a range of the topics that are central to Leading the Learning Revolution.  It’s been a while since I have had a solid discussion with anyone about most of this stuff, and I found myself really re-energized after listening to the recording. The opportunities in the learning economy are huge. Listen in, and then make your plans to launch.

Easily Publish and Sell Online Courses – An Interview with Pathwright’s Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson of Pathwright PhotoGot a great workshop, speech, book or other intellectual property you would like to turn into an online course that you can sell? Listen in to this episode of the Learning Revolution podcast to find out how.

One of the key catalyst in transforming the lifelong learning landscape has been the incredible new potential for small organizations and individual subject matter experts to easily create, publish, and sell content online. These days, that includes sophisticated online courses with a learning management system behind them.

In this episode (#15) of the podcast, I talk with Paul Johnson, co-founder of Pathwright, about his company’s platform for easily authoring and selling online courses as well as about the overall market for online education. If you are eager to get your educational content out to the world, you won’t want to miss this one.

Listen in, and don’t forget to share this episode with your tweeps.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen in below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | iTunes

Get the Show Notes

01:45 – Introduction of Paul Johnson, co-founder of Pathwright.

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