Discussion Forum: Digital Marketing
Ways to Make Money Selling Online Courses
How to make a profit in online education.
Online education is a booming market, but with all the competition, it can be difficult to find a way to profit from an online course. In fact, many would-be educators wonder if this is possible.
Well, we believe so. To start, here are 7 proven ways to make money selling courses online.
1. Press on the front.
A one-time fee at the beginning of a course is usually the easiest for students to understand - and the easiest to implement. It also fits better with the model that most of us have to pay for education. We are used to paying for courses in advance. It is easier to justify and less intimidating than the idea of a recurring payment that never ends.
The initial fees also make it easier to sell more courses in the future. When your students are already paying a monthly subscription, they may hesitate to pay more because they feel they have already paid their debts. An upfront fee makes it easy to set expectations about what users are paying.
2. Offer the course for free and then charge for certification.
This the model was successfully used by Coursera to earn more than $ 1 million in its first year. It seems counterintuitive because you are offering the "valuable" part of the course (the learning) for free essays. But it can work for you for several reasons:
This builds confidence. Students can enroll in their courses without worrying about whether they are making the wrong decision.
You can quickly create an email list of people interested in marketing.
Certification has professional value - and it is something people pay for.
Given these benefits, charging for certification may just be the easiest way to sell your course online.
3. Charge a subscription.
I said before that we are used to paying for education in advance, as a monthly fee. But this is not entirely true. Most of us are willing to pay recurring fees for ongoing lessons - music lessons, private lessons, sports - as long as we believe that we will continue to gain value from those lessons over time.
This also applies to online learning. Students are hesitant to sign up for a subscription service if they think of their course as a ready-made program. But creating a continuous learning program that will keep your students coming back indefinitely requires much more commitment from you and your students.
4. Use a layered payment system.
You do not need to charge the same fees for all services. If you operate on a subscription model, some levels may be free, but then you will be charged for “premium” functions. Likewise, you can offer free or reduced-rate introductory courses and start charging more as soon as your students enter advanced material.
5. Pre-sell your course.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, entire sectors of the Internet are built on pre-sale products (see: Kickstarter and Indiegogo). In fact, not too long ago, I dropped a good part of the change myself, funding the development of an online learning application. So, when I say that pre-sales work, I'm talking based on the buyer's experience.
Pre-ordering is a great idea for several reasons:
You don't have to guess what your students are interested in.
You avoid the sunk cost fallacy because you are not tempted to keep pouring resources into a course that doesn't sell.
You can use a free pilot lesson to test your idea and build a list of subscribers.
You will have ample motivation to take your course, without wasting energy and wondering if it will work.
You don't need to be ashamed of that either. If you have an audience, go ahead and do some research on which course would be most useful to them. Then, create a fundraising campaign. If you don't meet your goal, don't take the course.
6. Sell your course online for free - then channel it to a product or service.
This is another way to make money from "free": use your course as part of a sales funnel for something else. You may have a side business that sells a product line. Create a course on how to use them. Or perhaps you have written a self-help book: offer your course as a free benefit to anyone who purchases it.
Better yet, use your online course to sell consulting services. You can set up an online scheduling system and conduct private sessions with those who need individual training.
Likewise, if you already have a significant online presence (you are a blogger, you sell a successful product, you are an online consultant), creating an online course is a natural extension of your business model.