15 Ways to Grow Your Course Business Today
Need to breath some life into your efforts to sell courses online? Here are 15 ideas you can take action on today.
1. Improve your landing pages
One of the most immediate ways to grow your business is to convert more of the people who visit your web site into customers, or at least into subscribers to your email list (who you are then able to contact directly about your offerings).
Landing pages – pages dedicated to asking prospects to buy or sign-up – are a key conversion point and even a few small changes to your main pages could make a big difference. So, take some time to understand How to Create Landing Pages That Convert and also check out the Best Landing Page Software for Creators.
It’s well worth scheduling some time to review your most important landing pages and experiment with adjustments to help them convert better.
2. Create a new (or first) lead magnet
Make sure you have high-value downloads, videos, checklists, etc. targeted to the major groups of prospective learners you are targeting. These types of lead magnets help you grow your email list and establish a sales funnel for your offerings while also clearly demonstrating your authority and the value you can provide to learners.
To help you with this one, here are some solid lead magnet ideas.
3. Improve your SEO
Getting people to your landing pages, lead magnets, and ultimately, your courses requires helping them find you in the first place. There are many ways to do that, but showing up near the top of search results for terms related to your course topics is one of the best.
Why? Because anyone who is searching on those terms is likely to be a pretty qualified prospect for whatever you offer. And, if you are able to claim one of the top search results spots, you will begin to passively and organically attract prospects to you, as opposed to having to continually run webinars or pay for ads.
So, make sure you have the basics covered when it comes to search engine optimization. For more on this, see Using SEO to Sell Online Courses.
4. Raise – maybe even triple – your price
Pricing is a powerful tool, one that is often overlooked or used poorly. Learn to use it effectively to communicate the real value of your courses and create a business that is sustainable and profitable.
As a starting point, check out How To Price Online Courses – 10 Tips from 20 Years of Experience and The “Triple Your Price” Exercise. And keep in mind that you can almost certainly raise your current prices by 10 to 20 percent starting today without damaging your sales volume – which would mean immediate growth in net revenue.
5. Improve your home base
Your “home base” is the Web site you actually own and manage – not Facebook, not Udemy, not even your online course platform in most cases – and you really have to take it seriously if you want to succeed at selling online online courses. Check out Getting Serious About Your Home Base and be sure to invest in a good website hosting service.
6. Write a new (or first) pillar post
I’m going to make the assumption you have a blog. (You do, right?) The benefits of having a blog are enormous. Your blog should feature multiple “long form” posts (more than 1000 words) that really go deep on providing useful, actionable information on topics your readers really care about.
These are often referred to as pillar posts because they are like pillars that hold up your Web site and your business. Usually, you are going to want a pillar post for every major topic you address in your courses or business. Then, over time, you can continue to write and publish supporting posts that lead readers to the pillar post and build up its traffic and authority.
A pillar post, by the way, is a great place to feature a lead magnet of some sort. (See #2 above).
To go deeper, see Use Blogging to Market Your Course Business.
7. Guest post on other blogs
If you want to build an audience – and you really do if you want to grow your online course business – you need to be seen in places that your target audience hangs out. Hopefully that includes your own site, but to get to people who don’t already know about you, posting on other, relevant blogs is a great idea.
8. Get interviewed
Getting interviewed by bloggers or podcasters in your niche or related, relevant niches can be a great way to jump start your marketing efforts and reach target prospects who may not know about you yet.
For additional thoughts on this, see What’s the best way to market online courses?
To help with getting booked on podcasts, you might want to check out a service like Podbooker.
9. Gather and publish testimonials
Testimonials are a powerful form of “social proof.” If you don’t have any or many high quality testimonials from your customers, make it a point to start getting them today and putting them on your sales pages and other relevant parts of your site.
Always get a photo (or video) and name to go with the testimonial. Here’s Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner talking about How to Use Testimonials in Your Marketing. And see what Smart Blogger has to say about How to Write a Testimonial: 7 Tips (+ 9 Examples).
10. Speak at Events
Okay, this one can be quite a bit tougher these days, but face-to-face events continued even at the height of COVID-19 and they are re-emerging rapidly now that the pandemic is (mostly) waning.
And, of course, virtual conferences boomed during COVID and are not likely to go away, so there are plenty of options to speak online without leaving home. To find speaking opportunities, consider using sites like My Speaker Leads or Speaker Hub and reach out directly to any trade or professional associations that serve your audience.
If you are going to deliver a recorded presentation, be sure to check out 7 Steps to Record a Successful Virtual Presentation.
11. Host a virtual event
As mentioned above, virtual conferences are booming as are virtual events of all types. So, don’t just rely on appearing at other people’s events. You might host a Webinar or Webinar series. Or, a free virtual summit in which you recruit a variety of guest experts to participate. Or, it might be a virtual conference for which you charge a fee.
The first two are great for building your audience and e-mail list, the third a potential source of new revenue.
12. Recruit high quality affiliates
Affiliates market your courses in exchange for a commission when a sale is made based on their referral. Most decent online course platforms include the ability to sign up and manage affiliates for your course, but finding good affiliates requires work. If you can get the right ones, though, it can be a real boost to your business.
For additional thoughts, see Qualities of Good Affiliates for Selling Your Courses.
13. Outsource non-strategic activities
As much as possible, get other people to do the things that do not really contribute to the distinctive value of your course offerings. Like, for example, keeping the books, maintaining your Web site, or even doing the nitty gritty parts of developing your courses (See Where to Find Help Creating Online Courses).
Figure out one thing you could outsources today and go find help on a site like Fiverr.
14. Diversify your income streams
If you are creating online courses, you undoubtedly have expertise that can be leveraged in other ways. Check out these How to Monetize Your Expertise Online — The Ultimate Guide as a starting point.
I also encourage you to think of your online courses as part of a portfolio of offerings that form a Value Ramp. Learn more in Thinking Beyond Online Courses: Building Your Value Ramp.
15. Improve your course quality
Last, but far from least, keep in mind that the easiest customer to get is one that you already have. Spend a little time reviewing your courses and make sure you are confident that you are really delivering the goods – i.e., creating the highest value outcomes you possibly can. See Adult Learning Learning Theory for Edupreneurs and The Secret to Killer Education Products? for additional thoughts.
Also, if you would like some brief, focused training to help you up your skills as an online presenter and teacher, check out our free course Presenting for Impact.
Stay tuned for more, and share any experience you have with the above or additional ones you have to offer in the comments.