Why Creating Free Content Won't Hurt Your Online Course Sales [Plus How to Do it]5 minute read
Many creators struggle in finding the balance between creating free content and feeling confident that they can offer added value in the online courses they are selling.
Offering free content in the form of blog posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes (etc) is important in order to build an audience and promote your online business.
But how can you do this without giving out too much information? Will potential customers still buy your online course if they can find much of the same information for free?
In today's article, you will learn how to find the balance between free and paid content and why people still prefer to buy online courses anyways.
Why Should You Generate Free Content?
Before a potential customer purchases your online course, he or she undertakes a journey of decision-making based on the information available about you and your online course.
What is often referred to as the "buyer journey" is the series of steps that a potential customer goes through before and after purchasing your product.
So how do you bring a customer from initial awareness about your online course to the point that they purchase? In other words, how do you convince them to trust you as an expert?
Creating free content can help you in building an audience and develop trust.
This is a general rule that applies to all industries, but in the case of online course creators, it is even more crucial.
Since the success of an online course depend on the creator's ability to teach and help students learn, offering content that helps potential customers gain value for free is a great way to increase your chances of generating new sales.
We've spoken with many successful coaches and course creators and a recurring theme among them was that they offered 90%~ of their content for free.
Through your blog posts or YouTube videos, your viewers can understand the value of your teachings and - if you do this right - they will want to come back for more.
In addition to this, creating content is a great way to increase your online visibility and boost your SEO.
Learn all about growing your online course with free content in this article from our blog: Get Your First $100k Without Paid Ads: How to Grow Your Online Course Business Organically
How to Give Out Free Content While Still Offering Value in Your Online Course
So now you know about the importance of offering free pieces of content in form of blog posts, videos, podcasts and more.
But how can you do this without lowering the perceived value of your online course?
You may ask yourself: if I give out too much free information, will people still buy my online course?
Most of the time the answer is YES.
There are three main levels of service that your online course could offer: "Do it yourself", "Done with you", and "Done for you". These levels of service are priced accordingly, with "Do it yourself" courses are generally priced under $100, and not much different than what you might be able to find on YouTube. "Done for you" is the highest-priced option and is generally something more similar to one-on-one coaching. We encourage creators to build a "done with you" offerings because this has the balance of providing the most value to their customers while still allowing the creator to leverage their time. This type of offer is something that free content alone cannot replicate.
Before we get into the different ways to find the right balance of free content, it is important to note that an online course by itself is already much more valuable than pieces of content scattered around the internet, even if they contain the same exact information.
Yes, what you teach is important, but it is also important how you teach it. With an online course, students are guided through the learning experience lesson after lesson in an exact step-by-step process. There is no distraction and all the information they need is structured in a clear way.
When a customer enrolls in your online course, they start a learning journey they can share with other students, they get rewarded with gamification tools, they can ask questions to the creator and feel part of a community. None of these aspects are possible by simply watching a YouTube video or reading a blog post.
That said, let's see the ways you can implement to find the right balance between offering free content and keeping your online course valuable.
#1. Don't Give Out All The Details
A good way to find the balance between offering free content and creating valuable online courses is to restrict the amount of information you give out for free.
In your free content, try to explain certain concepts to your audience, without fully offering the whole explanation or know-how.
For instance, if you are selling an online course where you teach people Yoga, you could create videos where you explain the benefits of Yoga, while keeping the tutorials for your online course students.
Another way to do this is by only offering part of the "how".
You could give out full information about a few topics and tell your audience to purchase your online course for more.
This strategy is even better as you are offering real proof of your teaching style to your audience.
Going back to the same example of the Yoga online course, you could create videos teaching one or two Yoga poses and direct your viewers to your online course if they want to learn more poses.
Finally, another way to do this is to give out all the information ("what" and "how") but reserve the details for your online course.
With the Yoga online course example, your free content could show teach all of the Yoga poses you also have on your online course lessons, but without many details on how to do them correctly.
#2. Offer Personalized Guidance in Your Online Course
A great way to differentiate your online course from your free content and justify the price is by offering personalized guidance, group coaching, or even one-on-one coaching to your clients.
Depending on your business model, this can be done in different ways.
You could decide to offer some individual teachings, such as a weekly or monthly individual or group live session with your students. Or depending on the price of your course or coaching product, you could focus solely on coaching each one of your customers individually.
If your online course offers any kind of personalized approach, its value will be immediately clear to potential customers who are looking to solve a specific problem, and they will be more inclined to invest in your program.
When you are offering individual assistance to your students, you don't have to withdraw too much information from your free content, as your online course value proposition is clearly higher in the eyes of your customers.
Let's say you are selling an online course where you teach business owners about digital marketing. To promote it you could create free pieces of content where you explain many aspects of digital marketing, therefore offering a high value. You can explain the same things in your online course, but since you are offering personalized guidance, you would apply your teachings to each client's situation.
Conclusion: People Still Prefer Online Courses to Free Content
You can hear this everywhere: "we live in an age with information overload".
With a simple Google search, you can find any information you want about any topic. So why do people still pay for expensive online courses?
Too much information from too many different sources can be extremely confusing. Online courses offer a structured learning experience where students can gradually learn about a subject to reach a specific result and don't have to worry about where to find the right information.
Your job as an online course creator is not only to provide valuable information, but organize it in a way that is beneficial for your learners and helps them achieve results.
To do this, Heights Platform offers the perfect tool to create online courses designed to guide learners from point A to B, using gamification tools, community-building features and an easy way to structure your program into modules and lessons.Create Your Online Course Today