10 Steps to Get the First Student for Your Online Course6 minute read
You had a great idea for an online course, you created your content, recorded lessons and put the course together.
It can be extremely frustrating to put in so much work to create the perfect online course, and get no one to buy it.
Keep reading below to find out how to get your first online course student by following these 10 easy steps.
For the sake of the article, we are assuming that you already have an online course idea and you created some content. If you don't know where to start, check out these articles first:
- How to Find the Right Niche and Topic for Your New Online Course
- 5 Tips on How to Structure an Online Course Effectively
If you already created your online course, or have a better idea about your topic this article is for you! So let's see what you need to do in order to gain your first online course student:
#1. Use the Right Online Course Platform
As the creator, you have a skill that you want to teach others. You want to keep focus, time, and attention on what you do as a creator rather than having to worry about the technical side of things as well.
It is important that you have an online course software built to help your students learn and achieve results from your courses.
Sharing knowledge in an online environment can be challenging compared to in-person teaching, which is why it is extremely important to choose a platform dedicated to helping you build a community that facilitates your students’ learning.
When you are thinking of where to sell your online course, make sure to choose a dedicated online platform that lets you:
- Create functional online courses that help students learn
- Collect payment from students without charging transaction fees or commissions
- Use gamification techniques to engage students
- Access analytics about your online course
Check out this article to learn how to pick the right online course platform for your needs: Top 10 Things to Look For When Choosing the Perfect Online Course Platform
#2. Structure Your Online Course Around a Result
Before we get into marketing strategies to promote your online courses and help you get your first student, it is important to talk about the result of your online course.
This can make a significant difference in the number of sales you will get as a course creator: your online course should help students achieve a specific result, and this should be clearly communicated on your sales pages and website.
People who are looking to buy an online course want to solve a specific problem: they are not interested in how long your course is, how many lessons it has or how much effort you put into it. They are simply looking to solve their pain points in the fastest and easiest way possible.
So when you are choosing the name of your online course, or when you are writing the sales copy on your landing pages, it is essential that you focus on the result your online course is going to provide to anyone who purchases it.
#3. Choose the Right Price
Pricing is another important factor that can impact the buying decision of a potential customer.
There is no right or wrong answer for choosing a price for your online course, however, we generally recommend creators to set a high price that matches the value provided by the course.
We wrote a whole guide on how to find the right price for an online course: Ultimate Guide to Pricing Your Online Course (With Earnings Calculator)
If you followed our previous point (structure your course around a result), then you can aim for a higher price as you are selling something that your audience feels that they need to reach an outcome.
A higher price can also communicate a higher perceived value from your students and help them to further engage with your content since they will look at your online course as an investment in themselves.
#4. Build a Sales Page for Your Online Course
A sales page is the entrance gate to your online course: you need it to drive traffic to your course and introduce new prospects to your space.
If you are not extremely tech-savvy it can be hard to find the right tool to create a functioning sales page. Fortunately, online course software like Heights Platform allows creators to build beautiful landing pages for their online courses in a simple and fast way.
A great sales page should include the following:
- Title of your online course (focused around a specific result)
- A more in-depth description of your course content
- Some pictures of your online course
- A description about you - the author
- Reviews from other students
- Clear call to actions
- Your refund policy (A 100% money-back guarantee is a great way to give potential customers confidence)
#5. Grow Your Audience
To get your first online course sale, you need an audience.
Building an audience is not easy and it takes time and dedication. The good news is that your audience doesn't have to be huge for you to start selling your online course: it only needs to be engaged.
So how do you find people interested in your online course and get them to engage?
There is no magic answer for this question: it is a process and there are many ways to get there.
A good way to build a following is by boosting your online presence. Try to show up in as many places, communities, websites, webinars, live streams in your niche as possible. Connect with other people, join groups, interact with their content and so on.
Another great way to build an audience is to appear as an expert in your field. To do this, together with building an online presence, start creating content about your topic of interest. Create blog posts or write articles for other websites, start a podcast, record YouTube videos and so on.
#6. Reach Out to Your Contacts (Word of Mouth)
Word of mouth is one of the most popular marketing strategies you can use to promote anything, especially an online course.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) means promoting your online course with a system of referrals and suggestions from person to person.
This strategy is especially powerful with digital products as people are trusting less and less what is sold online, while a recommendation from a friend - or someone the consumer values - can have a significant impact on their buying decision.
The easiest - and better - way to gain your first online course customer is by reaching out to your contacts. Have you told your friends and family about your online course?
Let them know that you created a course and ask them to check it out - you could create a special discount for your contacts to gain initial traction. Your friends and family are people who know you and trust you, and they should be ready to invest in you. They don't necessarily have to buy from you, but they are the first step into spreading the word about your online course.
#7. Join Communities in Your Niche
Similar to word of mouth, reaching out to people who share the same interest as you can be extremely powerful.
Look out for online or offline communities in your niche and join them. This can give you the opportunity to promote your online course directly to people who you know for sure are interested in your topic.
Joining these kinds of communities can also help you grow your network and maybe find partnership opportunities for the future.
#8. Promote Your Online Course Organically
A common mistake that online course creators make at the beginning is to start promoting their course only with paid advertising.
Since many famous brands and creators are using ads, you may think that paid ads are the best way to promote your product.
That's not always the case, especially if your resources (experience, time, money) are limited.
Instead, we encourage new creators to start promoting their online courses organically, without spending money on ads. While organic marketing takes more time and effort, it is definitely worth it in the long run.
So start by creating social media pages for your business, write blog posts, record YouTube videos and collaborate with partners to grow traffic to your site. To learn more about growing a business without spending money on ads, check out this article from our blog: Get Your First $100k Without Paid Ads - How to Grow Your Online Course Business Organically
#9. Pre-Sell Your Online Course
Another great strategy that can help you gain your first online course sale is to pre-sell an online course.
This means selling your course before it is finished or available for students. Pre-selling is a great way to validate your course idea, secure a few initial sales and drive traffic to your site.
A good way to pre-sell an online course is by creating a dedicated sales page and possibly offering a discounted price for students who purchase your course during the pre-sale. You will then select a launch date for your course and grant access to students only after the launch date.
#10. Collect Reviews for Your Online Course
Reviews are a fantastic way to convince new prospects to purchase your online course and gather the social proof you need.
But how do you collect reviews if you have no students enrolled in your online course?
Before you can get any reviews from actual students, try contacting friends, family or people in your network and ask them to have a look at your course and leave an honest review.
Here is a list of tactics you can use to quickly gather a few initial reviews for your online course: 7 Quick Tips to Collect Reviews Easily and Increase Social Proof in Your Online CourseCreate Your Online Course Today