5 Biggest Challenges For Making Money With Online Courses

Making Money With Online Courses
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Summary: Discover the key things that can go wrong with launching and selling online courses.

What Are The Challenges For Making Money With Online Courses?

Being stuck at home (thanks to COVID-19) has led people to ask questions like "What can I do?" and "What should I learn?" This has resulted in a big market for online courses. You'll see varied offers for short courses on almost anything under the sun! With such massive competition, how will your course stand out so that people will choose your offer over others?

Continue reading to learn more about the 5 most significant challenges you'll face as you make your online course and how to get past them so you can start gaining profit.

1. Understand Your Buyer Persona

Your goal is to sell your course to a potential buyer. To do that, you should consider a critical aspect of selling: connecting with your buyer. A common mistake that you should avoid at all costs is trying to market your products to everyone. Connecting with everyone means connecting with no one. Thus, the first and single most important step in marketing your online course is to know your ideal buyer. Who do you want to reach? If you know your buyer, you'll learn how to connect with them and where to find them. You will have an insight into their needs.

Talking about needs, the conventional way of marketing products is by creating demand by selling how awesome their work is and why it's better than other products or by promoting their edge and uniqueness, flashy testimonials, and certificates. The problem with this is most buyers don't even know the difference! The reality is people are lost in the overwhelming market of online courses and don't even know what they need or want! So instead of selling them something they don't even know they need or want, you should tap into an existing want and sell that to them! What do they need? Results! Ask yourself how your online course can solve their problems and, from there, position it in a way that gives them what they desire to have. Who buys the food? Starving people! What are your buyers looking for? Make sure your online course gives it to them.

Now that you know their problem, the next question to ask is: How are they currently solving it? Position yourself as the expert and look at loopholes in their process. This action gives your product greater value because you are tailoring your approach to their perceived need. From this position, it will be a lot easier to know how to reach them, but from the looks of it, I'm sure they'll be the one calling out to you!

Since zero connection means zero sales, it is tantamount that you find ways to connect to your client. Newsletter? Email list? Find out what works for them if you are excited to start your online course and you do not have any idea how.

2. Create An Online Course Many People Want To Pay For

Imagine this scenario, you are selling lemonade. What kind of lemonade should you have so it will sell more?

  • More ice?
  • Good lemon quality?
  • Aesthetic stall?
  • Lower price?

Do you know what you need? You need thirsty people! Position your stand near a place where people are parched, and I'm sure your jars will be empty in no time. With the millions of topics to choose from, how do you decide which one to offer?

Know The Trends

Picking a course topic is less about what skills you have and what you can offer and more on what you should teach first. You are likely planning to start an online course because you have something to offer. The challenge is to know where you can provide the most value to your buyers.

Do your research and study your buyers.

  • What are people interested in?
  • What's on Google's top hits?

Not only should you study your buyers, but you also have to learn the market! Check large online course websites and see the top categories. What are your competitors selling? Again, since the assumption is that you have expertise in one or more fields and will want to run a course related to your interest, you can already narrow down the extensive list with consideration of the skills and expertise you have. Since we are working on finding out the set of people you want to serve, you may still want to narrow down your options, which brings us to the next point:

Know Your Buyer’s Struggle

Go back to your buyers. Your students will always be drawn to the course they can identify themselves with. Make it specific to them! (Tip: You can always add up courses to cater to more specific audiences as you go along.)

How do you do this? As already mentioned, it is crucial to know their problems, issues, and struggles. Now that you've narrowed down your list to the relevant and most sought-after courses, ask your potential buyers and make a list of their desires, blocks, and frustrations.

Discover their most urgent pains and triggers.

The More Specific, The Better

Instead of just knowing that they don't know how to build a website, dig deeper. So instead of having an online course on building a website, you can make it more specific by offering a course on building a website on WordPress. You can "niche it" further by looking into the type of website they are looking to have. Having one significant outcome in mind for your online course will speak to your specific audience better, and your online course will be up and running in no time!

It is also crucial that you consider markets that you already have connections with, such as an existing email list. Usually, a group of people under the same market would have similar struggles and pains. Just go back to the process above and "niche it down" until you have a big outcome in mind.

Offer Solutions

It has to be reiterated again. Buyers won't buy your course because they like what you are selling. They'll buy it because they have a problem that you can solve.

Since you have a set of skills and expertise that you want to teach, and you already have a specific topic and a big outcome in mind, you are ready to position your service in a way that you can give your buyers what they want. Remember, they are not buying the service that you're offering, they are buying the results your service is offering! That makes a huge difference.

Now that you have a specific course in mind let's go to pricing. Read further!

3. Pricing Your Online Course for Maximum Profits

Out of all the steps in making an online course, pricing is one of the most challenging decisions course creators are faced with. Many get stuck here because the pricing of your course will determine every aspect of your online course trajectory, which includes the money you will spend on promotions and ads (if you're considering doing this), the types of students your course will appeal to, and of course the profit you will have from the course.

Charging too little will decrease the perceived value of your course, yet charging too much will likely hinder people from buying them, pushing you to sell yourself one way or the other looks bad for your overall image. Since you are barely starting on this venture, you may have the temptation to sell it low, and here are the reasons you should resist it:

Same principle as above. Want to sell your lemonade? Look for parched people. While there are indeed people who are willing to sift through free information online, there are also those who are willing to pay a premium for relevant content wrapped in a red ribbon. They will be glad to pay for the privilege of accessing your expertise. As long as you did your job as mentioned above to create an online course, many people actually want to pay for a blog willing to provide value and serve their needs. People will be lining up for your services. Aside from decreasing its perceived value, "this course is cheap, this must be worthless," charging low inhibits you from advertising your course. In addition, selling a course no matter the price will entail the same effort, so you might as well charge higher.

More importantly, think of the people you will attract. Selling it low will likely attract low-quality customers, and these people will be the ones carrying your course brand. Selling it at a higher price will probably attract more qualified and dedicated students. However, there may be valid reasons for pricing low, such as when you are still in a pre-launch period, or when you are using it as a strategy. For example, you have set a deadline before a price increase. Deadlines create urgency and might just cause you to sell more, even at a lower price.

You may also opt to give it for free for various reasons, such as when your course is a bonus to another course purchase, or you want to onboard new buyers, or you simply want to generate leads.

Now that we're past that part, here are some essential guidelines to consider when pricing:

  • The price of your online course should be based on the value you provide and the value of the outcome that they will achieve through your course. You are offering solutions to their problems. This includes your training and support and what you bring to the table.
  • Do not base your price on the length of the course. Again, price your course based on content, not its length. If you can teach a skill in 2 hours, don't hold your students for 5 hours.
  • Check your competitors but don't base your price on their courses. You do this to validate the market.
  • Check your authority in the market. Build your name until you are perceived as an expert in the field. This has a massive impact on the market of your course.

4. Host Your Online Course The Right Way

Now that you have a specific course in mind targeting a particular audience with the right pricing to generate profit, you are ready to make some noise in the market. But exactly how will you do that? It is necessary to plan how you will deliver your content. Putting the course you prepared and planned for with sweat and tears just about anywhere will be a waste of time and effort.

Here are the 3 primary ways to host your online courses:

  • Plug-ins or software on your website
  • Online course marketplaces or platforms
  • Learning Management System

Plug-Ins Or Software

These are like apps that you put on your own website. These plug-ins allow you to upload courses similar to the features of an LMS. Since it's on your website, you have full control over it. Choosing this allows you greater control over its overall look and feel compared to utilizing platforms. While this may be the cheapest option, if you don't know anything about web design, you might need to shell out some money in hiring a developer for your site. Another downside is that websites can crash and require maintenance.

Online Course Marketplaces

Online course marketplaces, while privately owned, are open to the world. They work like supermarkets. So these marketplaces are like Walmart for online courses. They offer different varieties and kinds of courses. What you are after in online course marketplaces is the people traffic, since many people visit these huge websites, you won't have to do any marketing for your course anymore.

Learning Management System

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that is designed to administer, track, and deliver educational courses and training programs. It is focused on online learning delivery and serves as an online content platform, including synchronous and asynchronous courses. You pay upfront for or pay a subscription for it to host and sell your online courses.

Compared to a marketplace, you kind of "own" the place, giving you the liberty to connect to your students, present the services and products that you like, and so on. If they choose to provide you with personal contact details, you can keep those.

Compared to a marketplace that puts students in front of your course, in an LMS, you have to do the marketing for yourself. Things you may want to consider are listed below:

  • Can it export data?
  • Does it have marketing integration and email abilities?
  • Does it enable multiple instructors to teach?
  • Is it customizable?
  • Is an online payment procedure enabled?

Since your ultimate goal is to get more students coming and ultimately enrolling in your course, you have to make sure that whatever platform you wish to have your online course hosted will market your course to the intended audience you designed it for.

5. Market Your Online Course

Like in any business, having a marketing strategy is of tantamount importance to the success of your online course. Which is the best marketing channel to use? How do I know that my efforts are successful?

Continue below to learn more about the best ways to market your online course.

Content Marketing

Provide relevant content to your audience in any form (video, guides, infographics, blogs) to create awareness about your course. What's important here is that you know who you want to appeal to and what action you want them to take.

Build Your Email List

Building an email list is important to keep track of all the audiences and visitors that you attract. Make sure that you provide them something valuable that will entice them to give you their email address. The content you developed above will come in handy. These free resources are lead magnets that are useful in capturing email addresses. You can segment your list, group them together, and place tags. You can create a separate group for active subscribers, and another for those you think you need to follow up on.

Utilize Email Marketing Strategy

Now that you have a list of emails and have a system to keep your list running, now is the time to connect with your audience. How? You need an email marketing strategy to convert those lists of subscribers into buyers. We made a blog to help you understand this kind of strategy even better. This is the secret ingredient in email marketing: send relevant and timely content tailor-fit to your audience.

Optimize Your Social Media

Use your social media to build your authority and personal brand by positioning yourself as an expert. Update all your bios and make sure that all of them reflect your area of expertise. For example, you can write, "I am a digital marketing expert. I help people achieve their goals in online marketing."

Create A Course Sales Page

This is a landing page dedicated to selling your online course. You can optimize the options mentioned above to lead your subscribers to this page. Here it's essential that you pound the value that your course will provide. It should also contain a clear offer and an enticing Call-To-Action.

Aside from those mentioned above, you can also utilize podcasts, videos, webinar platforms, blog sites to name a few. You can even explore starting your own YouTube channel!

There are still a lot of other avenues that you can use in marketing your course. What's important to remember is to view your online course as a product because that's what it is. And just like any other product, you want to make sure that you focus on converting interests and subscriptions into real course enrollments.

Ready To Create A Huge Impact In People’s Lives?

While the information stated above may be a handful, take your time to digest it. Bookmark this article and revisit it when you need to. Know that what is provided in this article are full-proof and tested ways to get past the challenges faced by aspiring course content providers.

Now that you have all that you need in order to start your own online course and now that the challenges have been explained and dissected for you, the task of creating your own course is less daunting. All that is left for you to do now is to start acting on it!

Good luck!