How to Sell an Online Course


When you spend weeks or months pouring over the creation of the perfect course, it can be heartbreaking when nobody buys it. Here’s are some things to consider before you sell an online course.

What Problem Does Your Online Course Solve?

When coming up with an idea for your online course or membership, the first step is to decide what problem you’re going to solve.

  • Do they have trouble getting healthy dinners on the table after a long work day?
  • Do they wish their dog was easier to walk?
  • Are they planning a trip to Walt Disney World and wish they could understand all of the things they need to do beforehand to make the trip a success?

People have problems. Your product offers a solution.

Who is a Perfect Fit to Buy Your Course?

Once you’ve decided on the problem you’re going to solve, talk to five to 10 people you know who have that problem.

These should be people who are the perfect fit for buying your online offer. They don’t have to even know that you’re planning a course right now. Just get on the phone with them to find out a little bit more about their experience with the topic that you are covering.

Ask them:

  • What their biggest struggles are
  • What do they wish that they could get help with?
  • What do they wish they had known before they got to the point that they’re at right now?

Once you’ve interviewed these five to 10 people, you’re going be able to look at them and see commonalities:

  • Are they all parents?
  • Do they all like a particular sports team?
  • Do they work a nine to five job?
  • Do they have a side gig?

Take careful note of what they say. Record it, if you can, because you’re going to take the words and phrases and questions they have, and use it in all of the writing that you do when you start to promote your program.

If you’re interviewing them on Zoom, just hit that record button, and then you can have the call transcribed pretty easily using something like Otter, Rev or Descript.
You’ll have the exact phrases, the exact language they used when talking about their problem to you. That language is gold because when you’re creating your copy to sell your program, you want people to wonder,

How on earth did she know exactly the struggles I’m going through?

It’s because you’ve talked to people just like them, and you found out what language they use to describe the problems that they’re experiencing.

Get Clarity on People’s Struggles

Once you’ve figured out some of the different language they’re using. Look again and see where there are similarities. Are a lot of people struggling with the exact same thing?

Are they struggling with something that you’d never even considered before, or is no one struggling with the idea that you thought you were going to develop a whole course around?

If, after you’ve done these interviews, you find that no one actually has the same problems you were thinking they have then you may need to change what you were planning to offer.

Maybe you’re going to need to switch up the topic a little bit or maybe they came up with a problem you had never considered, but now you know  you need to.

Do Your Research Before You Try to Sell an Online Course

If you don’t know anyone personally who would be the perfect person to buy what you have in mind, do a Google or YouTube search. Is anyone else out there doing exactly what it is that you want to do?

If it’s not on YouTube and it’s not on Google, then chances are, it’s probably not going to sell. The reality is there are very few new ideas in the world. There’s a high likelihood that someone else tried what you’re considering and it didn’t work.

If, despite your research showing that no one else is doing what you’re doing, you are still determined it is a great offer, I would encourage you to start small by giving people a quick win through a free offer: a lead magnet or freebie.

This could be just one tiny component of what your bigger offer would be. Send it to your email list. Offer it to friends or to other people that you think might be interested and see if people are interested in it.

If it turns out that no one really is all that interested in your free offer, there’s a good chance it isn’t going to sell because no one wanted it when it was free. Try tweaking your offer and, and then putting it out there free again, to see if that gains traction.

What Type of Content Should You Create?

Now that you’ve done all your interviewing, and you’ve collected all of your data, start thinking about your people in terms of the types of content they like to consume.

Do they watch videos or are they readers? Maybe they’d love a webinar that would kind of introduce them to this topic and solve one or two little quick problems that are a symptom of a bigger problem.

Be sure to create the type of content they like to consume. If you create a video product for an audience of people who like to read, they probably aren’t going to be interested.

If you keep all of these tips in mind and work to create exactly the product your ideal clients are dying to buy, you’re going to wind up creating a course that is exactly what people are looking for.

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