Heights Platform Expanding an Online Course Business From Local to International: All You Need to Know

Expanding an Online Course Business From Local to International: All You Need to Know

5 minute read

If you had success selling your online course in your local area, you might want to reach a broader audience by selling your course internationally.

Expanding your reach to an international audience can be challenging and confusing if you have been focusing on your local area until now.

The good news is that online courses are extremely versatile products that, by nature, are easy to deliver and access even across borders. So while the technical side of selling internationally is easy, there are a few considerations you need to make in terms of content and promotion before you start selling overseas.

In today's article, we will outline the benefits of selling your online course to an international audience and what you need to do in order to succeed.

Why You Should Sell Online Courses Internationally

There are many ways to make money online and start an online business: selling online courses stands out from other business models because of its countless benefits.

Other than the fact that you can start your online course business with a relatively low investment and that you are working around your passion, there are many benefits that make online courses the perfect product to scale and sell internationally.

Learn more about the benefits of selling online courses here: The Benefits of Selling Online Courses vs Other Ways to Make Money Online

Online courses are a digital product, meaning that there is nothing physical involved unless you decide to also sell books or merchandise. In most cases, however, your online course can be delivered to your paying customer with a simple click of a button.

This makes it the perfect product to sell to an international audience since you don't have to worry about shipping a physical product, paying shipping fees, dealing with delays or returns and many more hassles that come with selling physical products.

As an online course creator, you get to work with total freedom from anywhere in the world! All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. Wherever you are located, you can connect with students from potentially any county!

If you have been only focusing on selling your courses to your local area until now, bringing your business internationally will help you:

  • Reach a broader audience
  • Increase your sales
  • Gain more feedback on your content

That's great!

Before you make the jump however, you should consider a few factors that can make your transition a bit challenging. Keep reading below to learn what you need to do to be prepared to sell your online course internationally.

Do Market Research

Conducting online market research means collecting data from the internet about your potential customers, their behavior, the level of competition in your chosen topic, the ease of entry in a new market and much more.

Check out this article from our blog to learn all about conducting market research for your online course business: Why You Should Do Market Research Before Starting an Online Course Business + How to Do it

Market research allows you to get a better idea about your target customers and understand how to succeed in a new market.

When you are conducting market research before entering a new market, learn the story of other international businesses who entered your chosen market, what they did to succeed or if they made any mistakes; check if there are other online courses similar to yours that operate in your market and see what they focus on, how they approach marketing and so on...

Another tip is to find your main competitor in this new market and read their customers' testimonials to understand what your potential customers want to see in an online course and how you can improve your content to better fit the new market.

Get a Local Partner

Partnering with another entrepreneur in your new market can be a huge help in navigating these unchartered waters.

A business partner can help you better understand the local market dynamics and set you up for long-term success by entering the new market smoothly.

If you personally know someone that you could partner with to promote your online course in a new country, that's great! Otherwise, you can do some online research to find a pool of potential entrepreneurs that could benefit from partnering with you.

The advantage of finding a partner in a new market and setting up a joint venture is that you don't need an audience to get started: your local partner will send you customers by promoting your course to their followers or newsletter subscribers. In return, you can promote their business to your audience or offer something else in return (depending on each individual case).

Before starting a joint venture with a partner from a different country, make sure to check the regulations in the local area about business relations.

Consider Cultural Differences

Another important thing you need to consider before selling your online course internationally or entering a new market is cultural differences. This really depends on your chosen topic, but it is still worth addressing.

First of all, there is language. If your online course is in English, then do some market research to see if your new business destination has a good understanding of the language and if people are used to taking online courses in English.

If not, you might want to hire a translator.

Language is not the only cultural difference to consider. Before entering a new market, check if the topic of your online course is appropriate and something that your new potential customers are interested in.

For example, if you teach how to cook the perfect steak, you might not want to sell your course in India, where cows are sacred and the vast majority of the population doesn't eat cow meat! This is an obvious example, but there might be other more subtle differences you need to address within your course content. Learning about the new culture or asking for the help of a local can help you better spot these inaccuracies and fix them.

Address Your New Target Market

Another thing you can do to better ensure the success of your course in a new country or internationally is to directly address your target audience.

The same as niching down, you need to make sure that your ideal customers know that your online course is perfect for them!

This starts from the title or subtitle of your online course, which we describe in more detail here: How to Choose the Perfect Name for Your Online Course

Consider Your Working Hours

Selling your online course internationally means that your customers might be located in different time zones and need assistance from you at unpleasant hours.

Depending on the level of assistance or 1-on-1 sessions you provide, make sure you consider how this move will affect your working hours.

To avoid negative reviews, make sure you clearly communicate your availability to your audience so they know what to expect.


Moving your online course business internationally can be scary, but it is definitely worth it: you get to reach a broader audience, increase your sales and visibility and improve your content.

The technical side of targeting an international audience is relatively easy since there is no physical product involved, and everyone in the world can access your online course instantly, no matter where they are located.

Instead, you should pay attention to cultural differences, language barriers, and different working hours. Make sure you conduct thorough market research before targeting a new audience, or even get a local partner to kickstart your business in the new area.

Whether you choose to keep your business local or target the whole world, Heights Platform is here to help you grow and scale your online course business.

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