So, you’ve been working your heart out on your online coaching business, and it’s finally paying off. You have achieved reasonable growth and are generating steady paychecks, and that’s cool. Keep ’em coming!
But deep down, you know there’s potential for more. More territories to tap, more profit to earn, and more freedom to enjoy. In short, “earn money while you sleep.” That’s the dream, right?
Honestly, if you are sitting on a thriving course, there isn’t a more logical goal. Yet, most people hold back thinking it’s a journey uphill that is likely to fail.
But cashing in on a successful online course is easier than you think. Cost-effective even. All you need is a little know-how, proper guidance, and a crafty approach towards boosting the profitability of your course.
And that’s precisely what we’re here for.
Sounds like it’s time to think big and act bold, doesn’t it? In other words, it’s time to scale your online course.
So, let’s get down to it with these six savvy, fail-safe techniques that will take your online course from ordinary to extraordinary!
1. Create standalone lectures that lead to course purchase
Not all your offerings need to be full-fledged courses. You can even create condensed lectures (paid or unpaid) that prime your audience to purchase your flagship course when you finally launch it.
For example, let’s say James is in the process of creating an elaborate digital marketing course which he plans to release in a couple of months. He is bogged down by its enormity and wishes there was a way to sell it sooner. Or maybe just test the waters and assess the response to his course.
In such a case, a standalone lecture or a beginner’s module on say “Digital marketing explained in 5 minutes” or “Digital marketing tutorial for beginners” can just be his ticket!
He could be capitalizing on these tiny chunks of knowledge and generating income and simultaneously continue working on his flagship course on the side. Cool, right?
What we are saying is, you don’t necessarily have to go all-in with a full-blown course. In fact, you can deliver the same course packaged as multiple, standalone microlearning experiences over an extended period of time.
Neil Patel’s “Welcome to Instagram Unlocked” is a shining example of a lecture series. His 6-part course was uploaded on YouTube over two weeks and garnered massive attention from audiences.
The added benefit? You get to collect feedback from your audience after every module and plan subsequent offerings accordingly. It does not just make for a valuable learning experience but also ensures better retention of information amongst your students.
What’s more, if you decide to make your lectures chargeable, you can actually sell the series at a higher rate than the course! If not, think about the massive traffic, prolonged engagement, and impact you stand to generate!
Say you’ve bought a new turtle neck, and you want to know how you can style it with a midi skirt.
You’re headed to a meeting in China. Before you land, you look up a quick tutorial on how to use chopsticks.
Your laptop keeps crashing, so you Google how to format and clean install your operating system.
All these are examples of standalone content ideas. Basically, the idea is to offer educational content, possibly in the form of a series of targeted lectures, or a set of how-to documents, to encourage your audience to purchase your flagship course. Each caters to a single learning objective or solves a specific problem for potential customers.
If you go for video-based microlearning modules, you are typically looking at videos of 45 seconds to a few minutes that are short and digestible.
Check out this 5-minute YouTube tutorial on “how to install MySQL Server” by Intellipaat that sells popular post-graduate and master courses to students. In the video, the person breaks down the comprehensive MS SQL Server Installation process into a concise, step-by-step process.
When you create microlearning modules such as these, you attract niche-specific customers to your channels and mesmerize them with the incredible value you have to offer. It engages them on a visceral level.
It gets a prospective customer thinking, “I like their teaching style. They simplified it really well.” And you know what happens when students resonate with your narrative and teaching methodology, right? They turn to you for formal pursuits of education.
Another way to go about microlearning is by leveraging a multi-part email series where you send a brief email once every day or week addressing a subject relevant to your audience. These can serve as powerful “lead magnets” to get students to register for your course.
For instance, Alan Weiss, the Million Dollar Consultant, had a Common Sense Consulting email series a while back where he sent his subscribers a short video every week tackling a specific subject ranging from “how to start a meeting?” to“how to outmaneuver large firms?”
The subscription-based model was a big hit amongst his clients, who got their weekly dose of useful information to incorporate into their day-to-day routines. Win, win? We’d say so!
Do you know what the best part about creating standalone lectures with a focus on microlearning is? There is little to no effort involved on your part. You are essentially repurposing existing content.
Ventture’s School Builder even has this cool feature where it allows you to add professional-looking lectures to your school and sell them separately from your course. Audio, video, text, .PDF, .ZIP — choose any format of your liking! And the process is pretty much the same as adding courses.
With your lecture content sorted, you can move on to spreading the word about your new offering. Plugin your lectures to your social media posts, or create a separate microlearning YouTube channel for them — whatever does the trick, the priority should be on providing high-quality content.
Beyond that, focus on producing crisp, professional-looking lectures. You can either collaborate with a videographer for lectures or use simple animations with voice-overs of your content. For text-based courses, concentrate on captivating illustrations, and user-friendly typography.
You see, microlearning is an ideal fit for the current mobile-first generation. And, it only makes sense that you use it for your own gain, so go get ’em, edupreneurs!
2. Repackage your content to use as lead magnets
Assuming you’ve been in the course creation business for a while, you will have a trove of valuable content lying around — videos, emails, articles, infographics, blog posts, etc. — basically, anything that your audience has never set eyes on. Shouldn’t it be put to better use? We say, hell yes!
But how can you use existing content in a way that strategically scales the profitability of your course? The answer, of course, lies in content repurposing.
What is content repurposing, you ask? To put it plainly, it is a popular marketing hack where you reuse existing content to enhance your reach or get in front of a new audience. This typically includes updating old content, repackaging it into a new format, or bundling it into something more comprehensive.
Think remixed albums and TV show reruns to get an idea.
Similarly, with online courses, there’s a host of formats to repurpose content into and tremendous mileage to gain. Not to mention, you save tons of time.
Let’s begin with ebooks — the crème de la crème of the early digital entrepreneurship days, both widely popular and profitable. Digital books are still preferred by many because of how hands-on and cost-effective they are. For course sellers, they are the best lead magnets one could hope for.
You need to use this strategy to your benefit by turning your big-ass courses into crisp and interactive ebooks and offering them as complementary products. Go ahead and pick a self-sufficient course module and email it to subscribers as a sneak peek or free preview into your course.
Other offerings that can effectively function as lead magnets are PDF downloads, white papers, how-to guides, or podcasts.
It basically has to be a quickly digestible piece that solves a problem, provides value, and showcases your expertise.
For example, if your course is a master class on playing the guitar, you can create a free lesson on “Exercises to Fix Your Chord-Switching Problems Fast.“
Or, if you have a graphic design course, you can create a downloadable PDF or an ebook on the “Basics of Logo Design.”
Get the idea? Now, let’s move on to our next tactic.
3. Offer one-on-one consultation to address specific use-cases
Courses usually contain generic content, right? While they do address the majority of a learner’s pain points, you might come across clients with concerns that go beyond the contents of your course. Or those that can be better addressed through individualized attention.
That is where one-on-one consultations step in.
Learning consultations usually involve sessions conducted via Zoom or Skype where the instructor works with the student to determine a case-specific approach to solving their problem points.
For instance, let’s say you teach a weight training class and are approached by a potential customer who recently lost the use of both their legs. To help them achieve their desired goals, you would need to put together an individualized program that panders to their specific needs and convenience. And what better than a one-on-one consultation to go about it, right?
The session would help you both, teacher and learner, to gauge whether you’re willing to go down the road.
An example here is the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning that offers virtual learning consultations to students to understand their goals better and help them adjust to the learning environment.
This is a worthwhile way to meet qualified leads who are on the lookout for your course.
What you essentially have here is an opportunity to convert a prospective customer into a student. All you need to do is address their concerns adequately, and we don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t register for your course right away.
And it certainly works! Let’s face it. Someone who books a 1:1 session or reaches out to you for advice is obviously closer to purchasing your course than someone who just read your ad copy.
It is especially common among lawyers and therapists/psychiatrists who run online schools. A one-on-one consultation is pretty much built into their business models since a sense of trust and confidence is necessary before customers can proceed to make a purchase decision. Even financial advisors come in this category.
Wondering how you can incorporate one-on-one consultations or advice sessions into your course? You can begin by manually reaching out to them via emails or text enquiring if they’d like to take up a 1:1 session. If you find enough willing prospects, you can include the feature on your online school so students can directly sign up for it.
It is a tried-and-tested tactic to establish a rapport with your customers and help them determine if your higher-priced flagship course is a good fit for them.
Plenty of online schools already have a similar feature where they offer free counseling services. Check out how BYJU’s uses free online counseling sessions to serve as lead magnets to capture emails.
4. Optimize your course for SEO in 3 simple steps
As a course creator, SEO is probably not your first priority. Or even second or third. And that’s understandable. All your efforts go into creating a valuable course, and seemingly complicated subjects like SEO are cast aside.
But consider for a moment someone who is looking for the course you have to offer and might actually pay to acquire that knowledge, can’t find you. Why? Because your content is not optimised for Google’s search rankings. How awful, right?
You are missing out on a huge opportunity to power your course profits!
Yes, SEO is tricky. Yes, Google algorithms are updated numerous times every year, and keeping track of them is no mean feat. And yes, chances are, what works for you today won’t tomorrow.
But the good news is that there are still some ideal SEO practices you can follow to get before relevant crowds and rank higher on search engines. To put it simply, you don’t necessarily have to be an SEO expert to tick Google’s vital boxes. In most cases, creating quality content does the trick.
On the road to ranking high on search engines, SEO tactics are your building blocks. So, here are three best practices for online course sellers to nail SEO fundamentals:
a) Research high-volume keywords
Begin with determining keywords that best reflect your course content, both in the eyes of Google and your customers.
For instance, say you have a photography course where you cover “wildlife photography,” talk about the “best photography equipment,” and suggest “editing hacks to dramatically transform wildlife photos.”
See what we did there?
It’s a simple enough concept — all you need to do is get in the minds of your readers. You can leverage tools like SEMrush, Google Keywords Planner, and Google Trends to identify relevant keywords.
Another reliable option is to look for related search results at the bottom of the page when you type keywords. For instance, type “wildlife photography course” on Google search:
Make a note of these. The idea is to incorporate them in your course content — title, description, blogs, etc.
b) Try your hand at blogging
Blog posts are excellent content options to include relevant keywords for SEO optimization. Blogging doesn’t just increase your visibility but also cements your position as a thought leader. We aren’t saying all content you create should be for SEO purposes, but SEO should be your priority at all times.
We refer to this as on-page SEO, which essentially means optimizing blog posts to get them to rank higher when users search for you. This also means optimizing URL addresses and header tags.
Oh and, if you plan to use WordPress for blogging, make sure you download the Yoast plugin. Thank us later!
Remember, Google gives credence to quality and relevance more than quantity. So, don’t sweat yourself generating piece after piece every day of the week to satisfy the SEO gods. So long as you create content that establishes your credibility and authority, you are good to go. Google will have organic traffic coming in, all of which is likely to lead to course purchases.
This brings us to our last SEO aspect —
c) Get Google’s seal of approval with guest posts
How do you build authority on Google? What validates your course in Google’s eyes?
One word — backlinks.
Go ahead and search for a keyword on Google Search. The top results you see are not by chance; they’ve earned those spots by providing reliable solutions to problems people searched for. And an effective means to unleash the magic of backlinks is through guest posts.
Guest posting or guest blogging is when you reach out to bloggers in your niche for a collaborative opportunity where you publish content on their site in exchange for an SEO-friendly link that redirects to your site.
You establish authority among their audience, drive them to your site, and the backlinks get Google to rank you higher. Win-win? We call this off-page SEO.
That’s about all there is to it. Of course, you’ll need to be thorough when finding guest posting opportunities. The general rule of thumb is to look for established websites in your niche with an audience that might be interested in your content. A simple Google search should help you out!
Your ability to scale your online course rests on your creativity at marketing it. We know all this sounds overwhelming and time-consuming but optimizing your course for search results is nonetheless a crucial step.
Even with a massive following on social media platforms, it’s impossible to reach audiences at scale without paid advertising. With SEO, on the other hand, you can organically drive tons of traffic to your course every day. And this number increases exponentially as you gain popularity!
Plenty of opportunities to convert your visitors into leads once they land on your page, right?
So, if you can set aside time for SEO purposes, well and good. If not, we suggest you hire an SEO agency (provided you have the budget for it, of course).
5. Run paid ads to get in front of relevant audience
Ever wonder why a certain online course does exceedingly well and why another falls flat? More often than not, the difference is in how they advertise it.
Most of what we covered so far was focused on nurturing organic promotional strategies that display results over time. But if time is of the essence, the ideal way to move forward is with paid advertising campaigns.
Now, the options in this regard are endless but let’s look at the ones that make the most sense for course creators:
a) Facebook ads
It’s no secret that Facebook ads are extraordinarily powerful.
With an active user base well in the billions and a powerful platform dedicated to targeting (and retargeting) techniques, Facebook is exceptionally precise in its reach and substantially robust. Course creators have reportedly spent over 100 million dollars collectively on Facebook ads to advertise their online courses. And it’s paid off!
But where does one begin? With a customer persona, of course. That’s basically what targeting is all about.
Develop a comprehensive understanding of what demographic your prospective customers belong to, what languages they use to communicate, their pain points, interests, habits, etc.
It is based on this information that you will target your prospects. Keep in mind that you’ll need at least 3 to 5 image and video ads to analyze click-through rates, ROI, conversion rates, and the works.
We won’t lie, Facebook ads are sophisticated, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But they ARE an indispensable tool in your sales arsenal. So, like it or not, you need it.
If you’re struggling with it, you can opt for an agency to take care of paid advertisements on social media platforms, YouTube, Google, etc. All the more time to concentrate on doing what you do best, right?
b) YouTube ads
YouTube is another opportunity to scale your course that you don’t want to miss. However, it’s not for everybody.
If you belong to the martial arts or fitness niche or have a course on cooking, dance, or music, YouTube can do wonders to boost your growth. If not, it calls for some research and tracking on your end.
In any case, the first question to ask here is, “is YouTube where my niche audience hangs out?” Conduct initial research on your own to find out. Look for popular creators in your niche and check out their views and subscriber counts.
If they exceed 100,000, you are mostly good to go. What you should do next is create a short, value-based video and promote it to see the kind of response you get.
For example, if you have a course on interior design, you might post a video on “how to select tiles for your home?”
If you find that your video does well and generates engagement, that’s a good sign to continue. But that’s not all there is to it. Like Facebook, YouTube has a complex algorithm, and if we were to dive into it, it’d take us a couple of pages at least. So, let’s just wrap it up at that!
The key takeaway for you is that YouTube is a gigantic platform with nearly 5 billion videos streamed every single day. And as a course creator, leveraging YouTube Ads effectively can do a world of good for your course sales. In fact, it could increase the ROI for your online course by a margin.
Thinkific’s Nate Smith successfully utilized the platform to increase the revenue of his online course by 1.5 times! You can too!
Just get yourself in front of relevant crowds to take your course sales to the next level.
c) Google Adwords
Despite how effective social media platforms are in spreading the word about your course, Google is still the first platform people head to, to find answers to their questions or address pain points.
Naturally, you, an online course creator who solves problems to make a living, need to get on top of Google Ads. You’d need a Google Adwords account to set your budget, sales goals and create an ad.
But Google Ads is not the only skill you’d need to master. Even Google Trends and Keyword Planner have a pretty important role to play in driving relevant traffic to your course.
Here’s how it works — every time a prospective consumer searches for a keyword relevant to your niche, your course will show up in results. Not just Google Search, paid advertisements are applicable to the entire Google Display Network.
Sounds like something you need, doesn’t it? We promise you do.
But a word of warning first — if you have just begun your online coaching business and have no idea how to leverage paid ads, be it on Facebook, YoutTube, or Google, your little experiment can prove to be extremely costly! It’s the reason why even established course creators rely on specialized agencies to handle their ad strategy and execute it.
So, if you are not an expert, we recommend you hire an agency and leave it to them to determine the best actions for your coaching business.
6. Organize workshops (solo or collaboration) at a higher price point
Workshops have always had a central role in helping entrepreneurs scale their services, haven’t they? Ever since coaches were forced to move their business online, there has been a substantial surge in online workshop purchases (rose from 80% to over 600%!)
As a coach, there’s nothing more worthy than a high-ticket workshop where you sell your expertise on a one-to-many basis as opposed to one-to-one.
For example, Ashley Turner, a top-shelf yoga teacher, offers consultation calls free of cost to attend her live YPS training workshop in Venice, CA.
This is how she filters interested prospects from spam calls: “These 20 min calls are strictly reserved for those students who are seriously interested in attending our LIVE YPS training in Venice, CA.”
A lot of people read blogs, but the majority doesn’t act on it. But a workshop is different. Whatever your students learn, they implement with you in real-time. So, there’s a guaranteed takeaway for them.
This is why workshops prove to be such attractive prospects, and students are almost always ready to shell out big bucks to be part of it. Oh, and considering how short and packed they are, it makes them all the more interesting and sought-after!
So, yeah, offering live workshops is a great tactic to upsell your course. Kinda like the consulting sessions we talked about earlier.
For instance, if your course is around setting up a new business, the workshop you organize could be on setting up a new business in the US. You can hold it both online or offline for a period of, say, two days.
Or let’s say you have an art course, and you constantly post drawings and paintings on your social media platforms. You can organize a live workshop around one or more of your drawings (ones with the highest views and likes, preferably), teaching students how to replicate your drawings.
For example, check out this 13-hour workshop by an art educator on “Beautiful Classy Persian Illumination Art.”
Or this 2-day workshop on Bharatnatyam, the Indian classical dance form:
We are saying that workshops are huge amongst all age groups, and if you plan on organizing one, you stand to expand into new markets and make a lot of money.
And you don’t have to do this alone. You can get influential people from your industry with in-depth knowledge of your course to join you as you organize your workshop. The audience usually digs that. What’s more, you get to charge more considering the value-packed event you’d be hosting.
Reach out to potential guests via email or any collaboration-centric contact details they may have provided. Let them know clearly what the workshop would focus on and what role they’d be expected to play. We bet they say yes!
Did we mention you can record the event and include it in your product offerings later? Awesome, right?
There you have it — six crucial steps you can take to boost the profitability of your course! Do yourself a favor and start implementing them right away. We’re confident you’ll get the wheel rolling and build the business you’ve dreamed of.