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5 Reasons Your Online Course Does Not Sell

Most online course creators Google for information to learn the size of the eLearning marketplace.

Google returns a staggering number like $150 billion for 2017. Yes, that’s definitely billion. You’ll also get a 5% CAGR (Cumulative Average Growth Rate) thrown at you. When you looking at billions then a 5% CAGR is breathtaking.

There’s zero doubt that the global eLearning Market is HUGE!
AND
It’s growing on at the rate of 5% CAGR, each year.

Based on Google’s statistics, if you’ve ever wanted to launch your online course, NOW is perfect!

But here’s the kicker:

Not every online course makes its creator rich.
A huge number of online courses FAIL.
When online courses fail, it’s most likely because of the following 5 reasons.

Reason #1:
The Course Creator Has Not Validated The Need Of The Course

85% of course creators, create a course that they think, potential students are struggling with.

15% (or less) of course creators, research and identify what their potential students are struggling with. Then they craft their course title and modules to address that specific need.

Research is crucial for all course creators. Research and its evaluation, is what determines whether a course will attract buyers in sufficiently large numbers.

Researching what your target market (i.e. ideal course participant) wants
Delivering this at a price that your target market can afford
This is what makes a course creator . . . wealthy.

Basing course content on assumptions, or gut feel, of creating a course that never sells enough to make the course creator wealthy.

While researching a course creator may figure out:

The niche they’ve chosen is crowded. They need to pivot
There might be other online courses offering what they are planning on offering

Sure, this makes things a little tough. On the other hand, it’s a great indicator that they’ve chosen the right niche.

Validate Your Course Idea In 5 Seconds

There are many ways to confirm whether your course idea works. All these ways take time and effort. You should explore all these options to be 100% sure of your course idea.

There is one thing you can do in about 5 seconds that will help you validate your course idea.

Open your favorite browser. Head over to Google. Enter the keywords that you know people will use when searching for what your course is offering.

Check the results Google delivers.
Are there paid ads created around these keywords? Great!
Are there people selling similar course content to the one you want to offer? Terrific!

The truth is, competition is the ultimate sign of a viable market. If the market is a bad one, then competition wouldn’t exist, would it?

Competition ensures, your course provides a ton more measurable value to a participant. That’s when your ideal course participants will knock down your door trying to sign on to your course.

Reason #2:
Failing to Create a Differentiator

Once you’ve validated your course idea you must:
Arresting course name
List the topics you’ll over in your course
Under each topic create a small brief of what you will cover in that topic

This exercise helps you focus on your course differentiators. i.e. The USP’s (Unique Selling Points) of your course.

Would you just create a course on Search Engine Optimization on Udemy and launch it?

If you did, what are your chances of beating the heavyweight SEO trainers on Udemy? i.e. The ones that have thousands of students?

Politely put – Bleak.

Instead, check if there’s something in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), that’s not done yet in Udemy. Check for SEO skilling gaps that only you fill inside your SEO course.

Such out of the box thinking, pushes you to focus on today’s SEO techniques and tools. Material, other Udemy course builders may have not covered in their courses. Don’t forget, other Udemy courses may have been created a long time ago.

Remember, don’t create your course by rehashing an existing Udemy SEO course. It will not take you far.

Reason #3:
Failing To Choose The Right Course Delivery Platform

What’s crucial to the successful selling of your course? Choosing your course delivery platform.

Let’s say you got 50 to 100 course participants. Then you decide to switch your delivery platform. It can backfire badly. Especially if you are doing the switchover alone and your technical skills are limited.

Let’s say you got 50 to 100 course participants. Then you decide to switch your delivery platform. It can backfire badly

Udemy is a course delivery platform. It offers you access to an enormous audience that it has gathered over the years. They do the selling of your course. They operate on a revenue share model.

My personal opinion is unless you are really restricted for time, re-think using Udemy. It does take a steep commission and have binding contracts.

Consider delivering your course content via your own website. It’s harder to do if you have limited skills. Consider using WordPress. There a several, excellent. WP Learning Management System (WPLMS), plugins available.

Their creators offer excellent, modestly priced, support. The WPLMS plugins have a learning curve. There are excellent video based tutorials that offer superb support a course creator.

There are other course delivery systems. Learn Dash, Social Learner, Thinkific, Teachable and more. There are definitely more expensive than the WPLMS.

They are intuitive, easy to use. They are expensive. Most deliver excellent support services. These are built into the monthly cost of using them. They offer superb Internet access. Most are cloud-based. Unlimited numbers of course participants can take your course.

Here’s what’s best though. You can revise your course content. Its terms and conditions . . . and more. Without any contractual interference from the course delivery platform, you’ve chosen.

You own all the:

Leads
Revenue
Data
You can control every aspect of page design, functionality, and marketing

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Reason #4:
Failing to Promote

Course creators are usually an authority in what they have chosen to teach. They have the education, the work experience, and very often the life experience to back all that up.

90% of course creators feel they have done enough after they have:
Validated their course idea
Ensured that their course had several measurable differentiators
Chosen a sound course delivery platform
AND
Launched their course

Unfortunately – that’s a sure way to fail.

90% of course creators never promote their courses. Perhaps because they do not know how to. Perhaps because they feel there is something unpleasant about marketing.

Whatever the reason, it’s highly likely that they do not sell their course to any course participant.

What course creators MUST do is reach out.
They must show the whole world the brilliance of their course.

They must let the whole world how much value their course delivers.
That to, in no uncertain terms.

Prospective course participants must believe that they have to take that course.
There’s too much to lose if they don’t.

Some things course creators must do:
Guest posts
FB Advertisements
Free Giveaways
Free Podcasts
Email blasts
Social broadcasts
Forum posting
Blog commenting
Reaching out to your niche bigwigs and seeking reviews

That’s when prospective course participants will know that a specific course exists. That’s when they will sign up for the course. That’s when sales happen.

Reason #5:
Failing To Charge The Right Price For Your Online Course

Many course creators have a block when defining a cost of their course. Many find it embarrassing to price their course. They price their course too low. Other’s price their course much more than the benefits their course delivers.

Very few course creators get their course price just right. i.e. A perfect balance between course price and value delivered.

If it too low most participants will instantly dismiss you course as being unable to deliver value at the price quoted. If it’s priced too high, participants will leave your sales page and move on because they cannot afford it.

As a course creator, always look at your course price through your course participant’s eyes. When you do you’ll get an insight into how your prospective participant perceives what you are offering.

Remember, you always have competition. Therefore your course participant has choices. Course buyers today are a savvy lot. They will compare your offering to that of your competitor. Make sure that you justify your course price perfectly on your sales page.

Test your pricing plans to see what works best. Especially if you are selling your course to financially stressed participants.

Even the most methodical course creator, make mistakes, (doesn’t everyone?). Even if one takes a great deal of care when creating a course and offering it slip-ups occur. These are priceless business lessons.

Have you dropped a few clangers, big ones or small, when you were selling your online course? I’d love to learn what went wrong and how you fixed it in the comments below. What a learning that will be.

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Ivan Bayross
Digital Marketing Evangelist, International Author & Business Mentor
I've been an entrepreneur for more than 33 years.

I've taught marketing and finance at a few MBA schools in Mumbai, India. These subjects are like a horse and carriage. You can't have one without the other.

I am technology savvy too as I am armed with an M.Tech from Manchester University, UK. In that sense, you could call me a geek-marketer, as I’m comfortable with both technology and marketing.

I have written and published 83+ books in tech and digital marketing. Many of these are available on Amazon.

I've been working in digital marketing for around 24+ years. I love to teach the subject, plus define, execute, and tweak digital marketing strategies for my own websites and my clients.

I'm moving my love for teaching to the web.
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