The Top 10 Ways to Sell and Market Your Coaching Course Online

Are you thinking about building a course but are overwhelmed with the following steps after you create it?

You started your research excited but quickly realized that even if you create a course, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make money from it. So doubt creeps in, and you wonder if investing your time and resources into building one is a good idea.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it is! The world needs your expertise. Marketing your digital products can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start - but it shouldn’t dissuade you. Instead, think of it as a collection of strategies that gets your course in front of people already looking for it. That’s not such a scary idea, right?

This article will demystify the marketing and selling steps of course building, giving you the confidence to take that leap of faith and start creating.

#1 Figure out who you want to buy your course!

Before creating a course, knowing who it will serve is best. Brainstorm what kind of person your ideal student will be. Considering your clients' pain points is a great place to start if you're a coach. Why did they hire you? What are they trying to accomplish by working with you?

Understanding who your ideal student is before creating your course will help you narrow down what to include in it. You'll save a lot of time knowing what your students actually want to learn from you rather than throwing a dart in the dark.

You'll also want to research existing online courses related to your topic. Go to sites like Skillshare and Udemy to see how they outline their lessons. Which courses are the most popular? Read through the reviews and see what their students say to determine how to differentiate your approach from others. Take notes on the pros and cons highlighted in the reviews of the courses you're researching. Use this as a guide for how you should organize yours.

Starting your course knowing what needs to be different to stand out will make it much easier to sell it once it's completed. In addition, because you'll see the value your course will provide your future students, your marketing messaging will be consistent and more powerful!

Another way to make your life easier is to figure out what your ideal student is typing into search engines to find the knowledge you are selling. You can pinpoint keywords related to your course topic through tools like Google's Keyword Planner. If using a tool like that is a little advanced for you - use the notes you've collected from your research of other courses - and circle the words or phrases that come up the most. Then, use the language precisely in the reviews - because those are the words that your students will be using in the search engines. Not the jargon found in the course descriptions. Make sure to include those words in the title of your course. It'll help ensure your course pops up when a potential student searches for your topic online.

Knowing your ideal student and what they are looking for before you build your course will set you up for success.

#2 Create a Sales Funnel for Your Course!

Once your course is created, you will need a strategy that gets your potential students from knowing about your course to buying it. This is called a sales funnel. It outlines all the points at which your potential student will engage with your content before they are ready to buy your course.

There are four main stages of a sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

The Awareness stage is how your potential customer will learn about your course. This can be either through your social media presence, blogging, or anything that positions you as a person of authority on your topic.

The Interest Stage is the narrowing of your possible leads. These are the people who, after they were introduced to your brand, wanted to know more. During this part of the process, you would choose something of value to give, such as a mini course or webinar, in exchange for lead capture, such as their email.

The Desire stage is where you motivate your leads to take action. Once you have access to their contact information, you can send more targeted content to increase engagement and desire.

The Action stage is where your potential lead becomes a customer. After engaging with your content, you can provide a promotion they don’t want to miss out on or some other creative payment option that makes your course a viable option for them. And then continue to send marketing materials to keep your course at the front of their mind.

As you’ll see in the options below, there are many ways to market and sell your courses. Having a clear vision of all the steps your future students will take, from learning about your course to purchasing it, will make it much easier to figure out which marketing strategies you should use.  

#3. Create Social Proof through Testimonials

After you’ve built your course, you’ll need an enticing course sales page that leads your future students to purchase it. Adding student testimonials is a great way to influence a buyer’s decision because it provides social proof. AKA - it showcases that others have gained value from your course, leading your potential student to deduce that they will also gain value from your course once purchasing it.

Add positive testimonials to your course sales page from other students who have taken it. If no one has taken your course yet, let a few past clients, friends, or trusted colleagues take your course and give you a review to post on your sales page.

You can also exchange services with a blogger in your industry that already has a following. Offer them free access to your course in exchange for a public review on their blog. Use an affiliate program to sweeten the deal, where the blogger gets a percentage of the sales from each person converted into one of your students through their review.

Once you have students taking your course, ask them for a review or testimonial as part of your correspondence strategy. Use positive reviews in your marketing, and use negative reviews as a way to improve.

#4 Optimize your Online Presence!

If you're considering selling courses, you likely already have an online presence. It doesn't need to be big to be impactful.

You should first update your bios for all your social media accounts to reflect that you are an expert in your field. Then, make sure to include the link to your main website. If you have multiple links, invest in a service like Linktree that will let you add all associated links to one place. An easy path to your course sales page will help eliminate obstacles for potential students to purchase your course.

You'll also want to shift your social media content to represent what you're selling. Social media is a great place to start the Awareness Stage of your sales funnel. You'll have access to a much larger audience than your blog. Because Instagram and YouTube compete with TikTok, your posts will be shown more with minimal effort when you create short-form video content. Post videos of quick and digestible tips related to your subject to find new students. The people who engage in your content will be the ones you'll want to reach out to and start conversations.

Create a Facebook Page for your online course to take advantage of Facebook and Google search engines. Because a Facebook Page is public, the content you share will appear in Google searches. As a result, your course will get ranked in Facebook's search results whenever someone searches for your course topic on the app. That's why it's vital to add all the information on where to buy your course in the Page's About section.

You can also use your course's Facebook Page as another place to post testimonials and an easy option for your past students to leave reviews.

Add your course link to your email signature. Emails are a part of your everyday work experience, so why not take advantage of a tool you're already using? You never know who might see and either pass it along or pursue it themselves.

You want to ensure that every place you exist online has a path to purchasing your course!

#5 Get seen on other creator’s content

Working with other content creators is a great way to bring awareness to your courses. There are two directions you can go. You can either be invited to contribute valuable content to be shared with another content creator’s followers, or you can incentivize shout-outs about your course. Both options put you in front of a captive audience. And when an established content creator approves of you and your courses publicly, it gives you ample social proof to use in your marketing strategy.

There are many different content creators, even within your industry. From podcasters, YouTubers, Instagram influencers, and bloggers - attempting to get access to all of these content forms will burn you out. So start by considering your strengths. For example, are you a great public speaker? Or are you someone who communicates best when writing? Whatever the answer is, use that as a guide to decide where to place your energy.  

Once you’ve decided which platforms you want to be seen on, you’ll need to develop an elevator pitch. Essentially, the reason why another content creator’s audience will gain value from hearing from you. Once you’ve pinpointed who you would like to work with, ensure you absorb a fair bit of their content before you reach out to them. Send each creator a personalized email introducing yourself along with your elevator pitch. Understand that this isn’t the time to advertise your course but showcase that your expertise would be valuable. Mention to them how you would like to serve them and their audience. Either through an interview, an infographic, a mini course - whatever you want to share. You’ll have better success if when you approach another creator to have a plan for what you are offering, rather than letting them figure out what to do with you.

The two most common ways to incentive shout-outs of your course from other content creators is through YouTube and Instagram. On YouTube, find popular videos related to your topic. Then, contact the creator of the video and send them a message offering to pay them to include a link to your course in their video description or even a call-to-action in the video.

On Instagram, you can buy shout-outs from influencers that create content related to your topic. For this strategy to be effective, you don’t need an influencer with a million followers. Smaller influencers are more affordable and can have a more engaged audience because their followers trust them more.

#6 Get creative with your course pricing!

Once your course is created and it's starting to gain awareness, you'll want to ensure it is worth buying.

The first way to do that is to offer a 30-Day money-back guarantee on your course sales page, decreasing the risk foreseen by a potential customer and making it more likely they will invest even if they are on the fence. It also proves that you're confident in your course's value.

To increase sales, you can have a temporary promotional sale. However, it's best to use this tool strategically, for instance, to create urgency when your lead is in the Desire stage of your sales funnel.

Another way to get sales by getting creative with your course pricing is to offer a payment plan. Some people will want to purchase your course but be hesitant because of the sticker shock. However, if they can pay in smaller increments, they will likely see your course as a manageable investment. Providing payment plans on a person-to-person basis, rather than a general policy, will make your customers feel like you are working with them rather than just wanting their money. This will increase the perceived value of your course, especially if you frame it as being passionate about providing your course to your students in whatever way is best for them!

#7 Answer questions on forums like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups

To prove yourself as an expert in your topic, participate in forum discussions where people ask specific questions that could be answered if they took your course.

Forums are online communities where people share a common interest and support each other - think of places like Reddit, Quora, Twitter, and Facebook Groups. You want to ensure not to advertise your course until after you've added value to these spaces. Instead, develop a reputation for responding to questions thoughtfully and engaging with fellow members' content. Like with social media, the more you engage with others' content, the more others will engage with yours.

Make sure to add all of your course information in your profile bio for these accounts. That way, even if you aren't directly advertising within the Forums, you can mention that if members would like more info, it's available on your website.

The goal of contributing to Facebook Groups and answering questions on Quora and Reddit is to develop relationships with your target audience!

#8 Use Ads!

Buying ads through Google, Facebook, or YouTube is a great way to grow awareness and convert interest into sales. These options provide a way to target your audience and data on who is engaging with your ads. However, it does take time to master, so it might be worth it to hire someone who specializes in these specific areas.

#9 Build an Email List

Build an email list! Email is a way to have direct access to your potential students. Once you've developed a way to capture leads, i.e. email addresses, you'll want to create an email newsletter that helps you earn your future student's trust by sending helpful tips and advice relevant to your industry. The more times people see your content and find it valuable, the more likely they will purchase your course when you promote it.

Providing a free email course can help you grow your email list. Take one of the lessons from your course and turn it into a series of emails. Invite your followers on social media to sign up for it. At the end of the free email course, invite your email list to check out your course sales page or even a webinar where you advertise your main course.  

#10 Host a Webinar!

One of the best ways to sell an online course is to host a live webinar for people who are interested in your topic. Then, share some of your best content in the webinar for free! That's how you get hooked. In addition, it presents you as an expert and someone they can trust to teach them something valuable.

After hosting a successful webinar, use the recordings for advertising your course. You can upload it to YouTube and splice pieces of the webinar into digestible chunks to post in a short-form video on Instagram Reels or TikTok!