As an expert in your field, you can share your knowledge with people in a variety of ways. Selling an online course is one of these possibilities. The advantage: many people can benefit from the courses on an online platform – around the clock and from any location. These are decisive advantages compared to traditional face-to-face events such as seminars. But how exactly can you sell online courses? What is important and what to consider? Here you will learn what you need to do to successfully offer and sell your courses online.
When it comes to creating and marketing online courses, many consultants, coaches, trainers and experts go about it without a concrete plan in place. After a long and tedious process of creating an online course, you often find that it just doesn’t sell. This is not necessarily due to the content of the course, but if you don’t really know how to market your course and make it known to your target audience, it won’t generate much or any revenue for you. If you want to know how you can already create a foundation for a successful online course by defining and getting to know your target audience, providing concise and clear as well as varied content lessons, and building trust, I’ve summarized everything you need to know in the article on creating an online course.
Successfully selling online courses – explained step by step
If you want to offer online tutorials or sell online courses, it’s not enough just to create the online courses. To successfully share your expertise, you need to consider several things. Basically, selling your digital products is similar to selling something in a traditional retail store. You need to make your customers aware of your offer, explain the products to them and answer their questions. You also have to convince them of your products. You also need a payment system, where your customers can pay. Last but not least, make sure that everyone only takes what they paid for. Applied to your online digital course business, this means you need:
- Your own website with landing pages
- An automated payment processing system
- A secure access control
- A members area to support your users
- A host for your online courses, videos, etc.
- An email list of potential customers
Sell a course online – here’s what you need to do
First of all, here is an overview of the things you need to sell an online course or digital products:
- a domain, a landing page (sales page), a website
A sales page (landing page format) – this can be on your website or elsewhere
1. Set up your own website with landing pages
Of course, you have the option to sell your online course through one of the big marketplaces like Digistore24 or Udemy. On the one hand you have the advantage that you do not have to worry about marketing and sales and can concentrate on creating online courses. On the other hand, there are numerous competitors and as part of Udemy’s marketing program, there are often discount promotions, some of which offer all courses in the marketplace for a fraction of the normal price, which of course has a negative impact on your revenue.
That’s why I recommend you to use your own website, which you can build and design individually according to your preferences and sell your online courses via landing pages. For this, there are all-in-one solutions from Germany such as Elopage or Spreadmind and American online course platforms such as Kajabi , Teachable or Thinkific . An all-in-one solution like Spreadmind also takes care of the complete sales of the courses and provides you with an online course platform with website builder as well as numerous useful online marketing tools. In addition, you are not bound to a certain media format, as is the case with Udemy – there, an online course must consist of at least 80% videos.
You also have the option to create landing pages as sales pages for your online courses. This is where customers learn all about your product and can buy it. You should pay attention to several things.
- Convince your customers of your video course. Explain to them how they can benefit from it. What problems does your offer solve, what advantage do they get from it? For example, if you are a coach and your course provides knowledge that improves career opportunities, make it clear to your users what opportunities are available to them through your offering. It makes sense that you introduce yourself and your own expertise in more detail and formulate the concrete benefits for the interested parties.
- Take the perspective of your customers. This is the best way to communicate the benefits of your offering to them.
- Ultimately, your landing page should sell. This means you need an order button that leads your customers to the shopping cart. And that brings us to the next topic:
2. Use an automated payment system
If you want to sell video courses or online courses, you have the choice of selling them yourself in your own name or in the reseller model, which means that a provider of an online course platform takes over the payment processing for you. Although the payment provider keeps a portion of your revenue in the form of percentage transaction fees for himself, he takes care of the invoicing and the complete payment processing. In addition, the correct calculation of the applicable sales tax for the various digital products to different countries. All German payment providers in the reseller model can be found here in a large comparison .
The administrative work you have to do with bookkeeping etc. is not worth the effort. The amount of money you would have to handle yourself would otherwise be enormous once you sell several courses per month. Also make it as easy and convenient as possible for your users to pay through your website – the "Cancel" button is not far away. You should be able to offer your customers all common payment methods:
- Direct debit
- Credit card
- Instant bank transfer
- and other payment methods that are popular abroad such as Giropay, iDeal and EPS
The advantage for your customers with an automated payment system is that after payment they immediately receive an invoice and also the required access data to their course. So you can get started right away. You do not have to worry about these things. Notice: You should sell your digital products and online courses through a reseller, as described above.
So you don’t have to worry about the often complicated taxation and invoicing of your offers when selling online courses – it all runs by itself. In Germany, there are only a handful of providers who can act as resellers for digital products and handle payment processing for you. Only two of them have an already integrated solution for your online course platform and only one of them also takes over the receivables management including dunning and collection procedures, if the payment morale of your customers should not be so good. You can find all German online course platforms in our big comparison article .
Your own website or. Online course platform is the optimal way to sell an online course and build your own online business.
3. Create secure access control
To ensure that every user can only access the content that they have paid for, you need secure access control. It ensures that everyone gets what they paid for. In this way, you protect your content from unauthorized access and, in the worst case, from unauthorized distribution. This way you can not only give your customers and course participants access to a single course, but with a subscription and installment plan you can also offer entire online academy in the Netflix model, giving access to several or even all courses on your website. How such an example of an online academy can look like, you can see in this case study .
4. Provide a member area
A user area is not mandatory if you want to offer an online course. But it is useful in many cases. You can provide individual support for your course participants in a closed member area. You can answer their questions, have them submit homework, or even set up a review system for certificates. Here you can offer your participants a special service and good support. You create a space only for relevant people via an exclusive member area, to which only your course participants who have purchased your online course have access. They can use this for a thematic exchange and communication with each other. You can keep track of everything, offer personal assistance with questions and problems, and see both your courses, the products sold, individual transactions, and the progress of individual course participants. This is how you build a community based on your digital products, which you can reach and manage through community management.
5. Hosting your videos and other digital products
If you want to sell video courses online, you’ll quickly run into a problem with massive amounts of data. In addition, once your customers have purchased the online course, you usually cannot simply send them a video due to its size, which would not be a problem with audio files or an eBook, for example. That’s why it makes sense for you to choose an online course platform that will host your videos and, of course, all the other media files that are part of your online courses. This allows you to store the video courses online and not directly offer your videos for sale to your customers, but only provide access to them. Ideally, you should also have the ability to link to videos from external providers like YouTube or Zoom to hold meetings, Q&A Q&A sessions, or live webinars with your course participants. If you sell your own video courses online, this can be profitable not only for you. It also offers your customers a flexible, uncomplicated way to expand their knowledge from anywhere at any time.
6. An email list and interfaces for email marketing
Of course, marketing is also an important factor in selling your online courses. If you want to attract course participants, it makes sense that you already have your own email list for your newsletter. This is a list of potential customers who are interested in you and your products and who you can inform about further offers and information related to your online courses. This regular contact allows you to build a foundation of trust between you and your prospects. If you don’t have a list yet, this should not deter you from building your course. But once you’ve done this groundwork, you can use an online course platform to make technology work for you. Because often the providers offer automatic newsletters, e-mail series, etc. to. So you can not only send the course to a customer manually by email, but also have this done automatically after the purchase through the platform provider. This way, not only do you not have to worry about sales, but also about delivering your course.
7. A support that cares about you and about your customers
Speaking of automation, it’s of course a great feeling when you can rely on competent, personal support that doesn’t just take care of you when you have questions and problems around the online course platform and the handling of the courses themselves. So that you can really concentrate on your online business and the spreading of your knowledge through online courses, an end-customer support, which takes care of both technical and contract-related concerns of your own customers.
Everything from one source – successfully sell online courses with Spreadmind
Basically, you should consider building your online business on your own or with a competent partner who can provide you with everything you need without requiring programming skills. Some course platforms specialize in certain features such as member areas or email marketing, which means you need to integrate other providers for essential features. Since the interaction of multiple providers doesn’t always work smoothly when selling online courses, it makes sense to rely on an all-in-one solution like Spreadmind, where you get everything from one source. If you’re not completely satisfied with an integrated tool or want to continue using tools you’ve used so far, you can always integrate them for email marketing, for example.
Website, landing page, payment system through a reseller, access management, member area, video hosting, email list – it all sounds very complicated to you? It is! Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about things like this any more than you have to if you want to offer courses. Spreadmind is a web-based tool for online courses , which covers all the necessary functions and combines them perfectly with each other. Here you can host your video course, set up landing pages, use a payment system, look after your course participants and use our end customer support. Everything easily from one interface. Just use the pre-built sample page, add your content and get started. You can find a detailed description in our documentation with all instructions. Spreadmind provides you with all the basic essential functions so you can sell online courses. In addition, it contains many additional functions such as the Drip Content feature, which allows you to play out course content in the subscription area gradually linked to certain conditions, or a variety of useful online marketing tools with which you can optimize, promote and distribute your course.
To successfully offer online courses you need several components. Spreadmind gives you all the elements you need in one tool. It’s convenient and frees you up to do what’s really important: create new content and support your users.
Because that’s our mission: to enable established experts to use their knowledge to improve the lives of more people online in a simple way! Find out now with our feasibility check if your personal project can be realized with Spreadmind!