Professional way to create prepare and sell courses online tips you should follow if you want to create and sell online courses
Selling online courses has become a very accessible and profitable practice for all who wish to publish interesting content online.
For a few years, things have changed a lot. Has it occurred to you that we increasingly have all kinds of information and services at hand?
Today you can shop on your mobile, study and consult everything you can think of online. And it is on this last topic that we will talk today.
In this super complete post, we will teach you all about how to sell online courses and make money with your knowledge. Look it here!
Learn the most important items to sell online courses:
Choose the best segment of the market
Get to know your audience thoroughly
Define the format of your online course
Research on the subject
Create your online course
Host your online course on a good platform;
Promote your course on the Internet
It is likely that you need more detailed information and, therefore, we elaborate all the step by step to create and sell online courses, from the development of the material to the first sale. Then, get comfortable and know now:
1. Choose the most profitable segment to create a digital product
After having decided to start your business, this is the first step, which will guide all your planning. The choice of a niche should be based on your affinity with that segment and, of course, on the profitability that you can get in the market.
In this step you should expand your possibilities through the analysis of those niches that can provide you with more positive results.
Start by making a list of topics of your interest and also consider those that, even if they don’t attract you so much at the beginning, can provide you with a good audience.
You might be an amazing musician and you know how to play the accordion very well. With that, it would be more intuitive to create and sell online courses that teach how to play that instrument, isn’t it?
However, you may end up realizing that the accordion is not such a popular musical instrument. So, it is preferable to think of other topics that are more sought after, such as classes that teach reading sheet music, for example.
You may not be an expert on this subject, but since you already have a little more affinity for being in the same area of action, it will surely be easier and more pleasant to learn about the subject in order to teach it.
But do not make any choice taking into account only opinions and beliefs, that is, do not limit yourself to what you think may be profitable.
The Internet offers several resources that allow us to confirm whether our assumptions are true. Then, use resources to help you in that decision.
You can use SemRush , Keywordtool.io and Keyword Planner , which will offer you the volume of searches for each term consulted. You can still use Google Trends to discover how these terms have evolved over the years.
sell online courses – google trends image
In general, the more open the subject, the greater the volume of inquiries, as well as their competence. The more segmented the subject of your online course , the easier you will have to acquire authority in that niche.
Continuing in the example of the accordion course, selling online courses on music is a very wide market, so the competition is high.
But if you specify the subject further, such as a score reading course or even more, an accordion score reading course, your market will be segmented and, therefore, it is easier for you to become a reference in this topic.
Of course, the more you segment, your audience gets smaller. But the advantage of working with very specific niche markets is that you manage to be more objective in offering to your audience.
To learn more about the subject, read our full post on how to choose the ideal niche for your first online course.
On top of that, an audience that knows exactly what they are looking for is much more likely to buy your product than a very large audience that still doesn’t quite understand what they want.
2. Know your audience thoroughly: buyer or avatar buyer analysis
As important as defining a profitable niche, it is to understand exactly the characteristics of the public to whom you will offer your product.
In addition to identifying general representative aspects, such as sex and age, we must analyze specific features of your ideal client. For that reason I introduce you to avatars or “buyer people”.
The buyer people are semi-functional characters that represent the ideal customer for your business, based on the analysis of real customers of that market.
In addition to demographic data, you must record behavioral standards, professional and personal goals, eventual problems they face and that your product could solve them.
When you understand exactly the audience you are dealing with, the more precise you will be in your promotional actions for your online course.
Check out one of our buyer person examples:
sell online courses – information image of a buyer person
Tip: If you are going to start a business from scratch, we recommend mapping only one person, so that you can focus your efforts. As your digital venture matures, you will eventually discover other buyer profiles that also need your attention. At this time you can identify new buyer people or avatars.
If you already have a business and want to turn it into an online course, interview your own customers / students and understand what the standard is between them to define your buyer person.
Here is a video of our Hotmart Tips series where Rosario explains everything you need to know about buyer person:
3. Define the format of your online course
One of the great benefits, in addition to those already mentioned, is the diversity of formats offered by the Internet for the creation of online courses.
There is no ideal format in the world of digital products, but the one that best transmits the course content to your audience.
Before going into detail, we will know the main types of info products in the market:
It is a fairly popular format among online courses, as eBooks are easy to create and access.
The eBook easily adapts to any device that has a compatible digital reader and there is no need for the Internet to access it if it has already been saved on the device.
In a few steps it is possible to learn to create an ebook. Check it in our post.
This online course format is also very practical and easy to create, even if you don’t have experience with video tools.
The smartphones themselves have cameras of excellent quality, capable of capturing a video in high resolution to produce attractive video classes for your students.
This format combines, above all, with issues that need some kind of demonstration, such as gastronomy classes or physical exercises.
We recommend to the shyest people to train a lot in front of the mirror, record some drafts or invite an expert who has more unpacking in front of the cameras. And you can also read our tips to improve your performance in front of the cameras .
They are videos that are captured from a computer screen . You only need a screen capture program, an editing program and a microphone to narrate voice commands, while doing some demonstration on your computer.
They are ideal for spreadsheet presentations, such as a course on finance or any model that needs some computer simulation.
The audiobook has become popular for allowing knowledge to be absorbed while the person performs another activity: driving, cooking or practicing physical activity, for example.
In addition, audiobooks are very useful and important for the blind.
They are similar models to the audiobook and their advantages are exactly the same.
The difference is that a podcast can have more interactive content, even carefree, as in a radio program. The advantages are that in the podcast the listener chooses the topics that interest him most and can hear the content when he feels like it.
The monthly subscription has a very interesting format, because it offers periodic content and you charge a monthly fee for access.
A practical example:
You can sell a unique combo of video classes in which you teach culinary art techniques at a higher price, and every month you will have to conquer new clients to maintain your income; Or you can create a monthly subscription and offer weekly videos (or as often as you prefer) with new techniques at a lower and accessible price.
This is convenient for the student, who will learn the content with the ideal time to learn and practice, and it will be an advantage, since you will have a more solid business and ensure recurring income over the coming months.
This model is ideal for those who have a large volume of content about a niche. What you will need to implement this type of digital course is from a platform that has a member area , as Hotmart Club currently does.
Through a program for members, you can follow the students’ progression, answer any possible questions on the platform itself and make the content more interactive.
They are electronic journals and have a defined periodicity, in the same way as printed journals. This model tends, increasingly, to replace the physical format.
They are combinations of various types of digital products, which can be complemented to convey the complete content. In this way, it is possible to transmit an online course as completely as possible, according to the need of the subject.
The digital producer must understand his market and audience very well, to define the best format for his product.
I hope that, with the examples mentioned above, you have had an idea of how to produce your online course.
4. Research the topic as much as you can
The next step is the one in which you must immerse yourself in the chosen topic, make sure that you will know it thoroughly, then share it with other people.
Do not stick to your knowledge, even if you are an expert in the chosen topic. In this case, you can search for new sources and references that you still didn’t know about the subject.
If you have proposed to sell online courses without being an expert, you will have to dedicate yourself even more to transmit all the content with confidence and fidelity.
Google will be your great partner at this stage, since it is possible to find various materials on virtually all areas of knowledge on the Internet.
Identify the great references on your topic, read materials from foreign sources, teaching methodologies, interview experts on the subject and talk about the content, to gain confidence in your explanations.
The more you study, the more ownership you will have when talking about the topic of the course you are selling. With that, people will notice that you are the ideal reference they should look for when they need a certain solution to their problems.
Now we are going to start, in fact, the process of producing an online course.
Everything ready to start?
5. Create your online course
Finally, we will get to work!
Now that you are aware of your niche, you know your audience very well and you have defined the format of your digital course, you must make the draft of what your product will be.
No matter if it is going to be a video or ebook, the outline, as it is also known, is what will guide you to the end.
It is clear that if your goal is just to sell online courses, you can skip the production stage and go directly to item 7 of this post, which talks about ways to spread your product.
But you might realize that you have something to share and, therefore, in addition to selling the courses, it is also interesting to produce them to have your own material. Then, follow the steps below:
This is the time to make your brainstorm. That is, it is time to write all the ideas you can think of.
At this time you can get carried away by creativity and imagine what form your online course will take.
I recommend that you use Google Docs , because it saves the file in the cloud and you can easily access it when you need it – even by mobile. And believe it: the day less thought you will have some idea to include in your material.
Look for references from other courses, even when they have nothing to do with your subject. This way you will realize that it has been done and you can be inspired by great ideas for your own material.
That said, let’s go to the next step:
With the eraser in hand, it’s time to write or record your content . It provides all the material for the production of the course: computer, cameras, microphone, lighting and everything that is necessary.
If you are going to record videos and you have no experience with the equipment, hire a videomaker that can make the production, or opt for the cheaper version: ask a friend for help.
Make sure the audio of your material is clear, without noise. The public tolerates poor quality images, but bad audio will surely be the target of criticism.
Remember, also, to think of a striking title!
The review is essential if the material you are creating is an ebook, but do not think that the videos do not need to be reviewed either.
It may be that you end up forgetting about a subject or placing something else in your material that you later realize is not necessary.
Therefore, check everything so that later you don’t have the rework to take out what is already ready.
Ideally, wait a few hours or a day after the end of the work, so as to avoid a stale eye on that content. Another idea is to ask a sincere friend with a critical look enough to offer you feedback on your material.
Edit / Layout
Once produced and reviewed, you must take that raw material and transform it into a technically refined content. In the case of an ebook, you must present to your audience a sophisticated design, of course.
The same goes for videos. If you are not able to do so, ask for help or hire someone trained.
Now, if you are one of those people who is always looking for new knowledge, it is possible to learn to edit video tutorials that you find on the Internet and, with practice, you might discover that this path can be quite long.
Want to learn more about video editing? Be sure to read our post with 9 video editing programs to start using right now.
6. Host your online course
This is the time when starter entrepreneurs generally have doubts. “How to put my course on the Internet?”
One of the great advantages of becoming a digital entrepreneur is that there are complete and free platforms, such as Hotmart , that are prepared to host digital products.
This means that you do not need to know how to develop even a line of code to keep your product on the Internet. The process is simple: you enter the site of the chosen platform , register and send your product for approval. If that’s all.
After being approved, your product will be available for sale. But of course we are not going to give you only this information.
Understand now the main aspects you should consider when choosing the right platform:
Ease to organize your content
Your content needs to be organized in a didactic way for your clients and future students. As a digital producer you will take care of this task, so you should look for an intuitive system that will facilitate the process, especially if you are going to use a member area.
Automatic email list manager
Do you remember the saying “less is more”?
Well, it is also valid for the processes that involve the management of your product: if you can manage your emails and contacts in one place, why have the job of sharing this task between two or more systems?
Find platforms that offer you some form of interaction between your email firing system and the one that manages and hosts your product.
Listboss is an exclusive Hotmart tool that allows you to perform automatic configurations and segment your communication, ensuring that each type of client receives the correct message.
All this without you repeating the process several and several times. Thus you gain more time to focus on what really interests you: deliver a quality product.
One of the most important aspects of your product, whether physical or digital, is its relationship with customers. After all, it is they who will determine the success or failure of the venture.
Therefore, invest time in the search for a good support service. And if the service already offers the platform that hosts your course or product, so much the better, since this way you centralize your attention and don’t add new steps in your client’s day.
To choose well, you have to carefully analyze the reputation of the companies that interest you, as well as their experience in the market, and use this item as an essential factor in the choice of accommodation service.
Remember that the assistance to the buyer will be your spokesperson and will represent the image you want to convey as a producer.
Digital Producer Assistance
Everyone knows that it is normal to have doubts when starting a project. And with infoproducers is no different.
You take your time to understand each process, detail, terminology … But this process does not need to be as arduous as it may seem. You just have to ensure that your hosting service offers you good assistance.
Consider that you may need help with something important to keep your product fully operational and, therefore, you should opt for a company that can respond with agility, in addition to being able to offer useful suggestions, tools and tips.
Simple and personalized checkout
Making sure your buyer has a pleasant experience from start to finish is an important step in the history of your digital product.
Hence, you use a simplified checkout , which requires only the essential data and actions of your customers, and personalized , which allows your audience to identify, immediately, that it is your product, which generates more confidence and security.
sell online courses – image of a checkout page
At some point in your life you may have heard a comment from someone who is afraid to shop online.
Given the ease of appropriating the data of another person in the virtual world, this fear is justified and is one more reason to carefully treat the financial information of your customers.
To ensure that all data is in good hands, it is essential to use a system that acts according to global digital security standards such as PCI Compliance and CSE Security, for example.
Thus, you and your clients will have the opportunity to know that all information and transactions are encrypted and secure.
Automatic content delivery
Imagine the number of sales of your product multiply rapidly. If you manage every detail, such as sending the course to each buyer, you will be exhausted and you will not even have time to take advantage of the success of your business, isn’t it?
That is why it is essential to optimize processes and add resources and tools that help you simplify your experience and that of your users.
So it demands a platform that offers automatic delivery of the content you sell and an intuitive system that allows you to control all your processes. In this way your customers will have immediate access to your product and they will feel even more secure about the purchase.
When a consumer buys something, he expects fast confirmation and delivery, right? With the Internet, it is no different. The longer it takes to approve and finalize a purchase, the more dissatisfied and frustrated the customer is.
Therefore, investigate before if the platform that will host your product has a smart payment system , which offers automatic confirmation.
If so, excellent!
Now, another important point that you have to keep in mind, in case you plan to expand your business to the world – and why not? – , is the choice of a system that has the ability to accept currencies from several countries. Thus, you will have the necessary tool to conquer more and more territories!
To help you in your choice process, read about Hotpay , Hotmart’s own payment system.
The system contains all the mentioned interactions and other features that will be very useful to you – such as payment with two cards.
Since data is essential to know more about your audience, what they expect from you and where you should direct your communication, it is important to have a service that offers tools for measuring results.
In this way you will get to know your buyers thoroughly and thus serve them better.
7. Promote your online course
Paraphrasing the saying “saint who is not seen, is not worshiped”, in the digital world “product that is not seen, is not bought”. It’s that simple.
Starting from the principle that you have never worked with the Internet, you will have to draw up a digital marketing strategy for your business.
In our free course on digital business, Hotmart Academy , we have several lessons on marketing and digital strategy. And according to our numbers, people who get all the certificates of this course are up to twice as likely to make sales.
We select here some suggestions of actions with which you can start promoting your online course:
The blog is part of one of the great strategies used in Content Marketing. Traditional offline marketing generally proposes a more direct treatment, in which the product is offered to the public already at the first contact.
In a Content Marketing strategy, you should talk 80% about topics of interest to your avatar and only 20% about your brand.
By attracting organic traffic with valuable and interesting content you generate authority around your name or brand and increase the possibility of making sales, by being an expert in that niche.
The purpose of a blog is that the public is convinced that your product is the best solution at that time.
Attending to practice:
Imagine that you are inserted in the language niche and teach people to learn English in a shorter period than traditional schools. You can write posts about the entire universe that this topic implies:
What are phrasal verbs?
How long does it take to learn English?
Main differences between British and American English
How to accelerate the process of learning English?
In which countries of the world do you speak English?
Note that none of these articles necessarily talks about your product, but they are topics that raise the doubts of those who investigate the subject.
The more quality posts you can publish, with consistency, the greater the possibility that your audience will find your blog as a reference on that niche.
You still don’t know how to start a blog? Watch the complete step by step for beginners.
And if we talk in organic traffic, it is inevitable not to mention the next topic:
SEO and organic search
Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ), brings together strategies to improve the positioning of sites and blogs in search tools, such as Google and Bing. This strategy is aimed exclusively at improving the organic search.
Organic search: these are the natural results for a specific query in the search tools, that is, those that have not been paid to appear.
sell online courses – image of a Google search result
You can see for yourself that most of the times you make a query on Google you follow the first page, mainly the first three sites of the organic search.
This is the common process of most users: the first organic result receives, on average, 34% of the clicks, while the second receives 17% and the third receives 12% – data collected from a study conducted by the Advanced Web Ranking company.
Currently, one of the main ranking factors of Google are the indications that other sites make to their content through backlinks.
If your site is mentioned in a relevant portal, your domain gains strength and Google understands that it is relevant to the user, which can make your site / blog go up in the searches of the tool.
To get other sites to indicate you, you must produce valuable content, which will serve as a reference in your segment.
How ? Through a blog!
Take advantage of social networks and email marketing to disseminate your blog posts. Speaking of email marketing ! Learn now how you can use it in your favor.
Demystifying that story that nobody else uses email, this tool is one of the most precious in a Digital Marketing strategy.
This is because you can establish a direct link with your audience and promote your product effectively.
To do this, you will need an email firing tool (there are free versions, such as MailChimp ) that integrates with the platform chosen to host your product. So you can also shoot emails to those who have already purchased your product .
You can offer rich free materials such as ebooks and infographics on your site and blog and request the emails of your visitors to download this content.
From then on you will have a base interested in your subject and you can nurture it with other content, even offering your product at the most appropriate time.
The one that is just beginning and still does not have much visibility online can pay to appear on search engines, on advertising sites and social networks.
With good images and interesting text, you can direct the audience to your site, blog or directly to the sales page where you will offer your product.
With the right text and segmentation to your audience, it is possible to attract people who are really interested in your ad and possibly your product.
Notice, in the following example, that the second ad is more attractive, since the text is easier to read, because it is not confused with the image in the background, as in the first case.
sell online courses – good image example for advertisement
Unlike a blog, the sales pages (which you can host on your own site) are intended to direct the user until the moment of purchase and convince him that for him that product is ideal.
Thinking about it, your page should answer some questions so that your proposal is clear to the visitor, such as:
What is the product?
Why this product is intended for you?
How to trust this product?
How will you receive it?
And other objective questions that may influence your purchase decision.
See a simple model of a sales page:
Social networks are excellent channels to get closer to your audience and better understand the behavior of customers and prospects of your product.
A point of attention, however, is to discover what social networks your avatar really uses and develop smart strategies to speak directly to him.
In this way, instead of creating profiles in all the new networks that arise, the ideal is to discover which ones you should really focus your efforts on. So you can build a strong base of relationship with your audience.
It is worth remembering that, especially in social networks, it is not good to talk about your brand all the time (the 80/20 rule is also valid!), But about topics of interest to your audience, which can take your followers to Want to know your product.
Ebooks, info graphics, white papers, spreadsheets, guides, all these are excellent examples of rich materials that you can use to attract leads to your base and make a good email marketing strategy.
Here it is important to highlight that, as much as it is a free content, it must be rich – as the name itself says – and have enough value for your lead to be interested in your main product.
Arrange your rich material on a landing page, on your site, blog, social networks and create email strategies to maintain contact with your audience and, at the right time, make an offer.
Webinars and live broadcasts
From time to time, we broadcast live webinars with our Hotmart Academy students to chat in real time, resolve possible doubts, give suggestions about the digital market and offer as much support as possible to those who wish to become a digital entrepreneur.
Live broadcasts are like seminars, in which you bring together people interested in a subject to teach, discuss and, consequently, position themselves as an authority on the subject.
This can also be an excellent tool to create an email base with leads interested in your topic.
If on the one hand there are the producers, responsible for transmitting knowledge through an online course, on the other there are also professionals focused on the promotion of these materials: the affiliates.
They function as a bridge between the products and the final consumer and receive commissions for each sale made. The producer who participates in an affiliate program is even more likely to scale their business and generate sales opportunities.
The Affiliate Programs make available various products from different niches, so that affiliates choose those they deem most appropriate to promote.
It is worth remembering that the producer is the one who establishes the commission percentage of his product.
The promotion will be a constant process in your business, especially if you want to make many sales and achieve excellent results with your online course, what I believe is your main objective.
Who can sell courses online?
Educating is a noble art and the one who intends to transmit knowledge has an important mission towards the one who receives the teaching. And not only teachers are able to embrace this mission, but anyone who can contribute their professional or personal experience to teach and help other people.
It may seem cliché to say that anyone is able to do it, but the truth is that, if one thinks about it, by the fact that we are plural and singular at the same time, we absorb different perceptions of the world. And that’s when everything happens. It is as the CEO and founder of Hotmart, João Pedro Resende, has said :
“The world would evolve faster if all people could always share what they have the most value.”
But don’t think that only Content Producers who can sell online courses.
If you have persuasion skills, you have already noticed that you can positively influence the people around you or you have ease with the numbers and you can calculate your investments well, as we said in the previous topic, it is possible to participate in an Affiliate program .
The strategies we show here must also be followed by those who do not want to create a digital product, but want to work on the Internet.
Define an area of action and, within it, choose the product that you will disclose in exchange for commissions.
That said, I hope you have convinced yourself that you, who are currently reading this text, can become an Introductory or Affiliate even today. And you will find the first steps in the next points.
Advantages of creating and selling online courses
If you still have doubts whether it is worthwhile or not to create your own course and perhaps have the possibility of working at home or where you prefer, we offer you the main advantages that online courses can provide you:
Have more flexibility
Once you decide to create an online business, it is possible to define where and how much time you will devote to your business.
Even if you sell digital courses just to have extra income .
Scale reach and earnings
If in a common job you charge per hour, through the Internet you break the space and time barrier and you can make simultaneous sales to people around the world who have an interest in your digital material.
You choose how you want to transmit knowledge to your audience.
As there are various formats of online courses (we will talk about them even in this text) you have several options to create the ideal material for your niche market.
Get a practical logistics
Unlike physical products, the delivery of your digital course to the buyer is much simpler and, best of all, immediate!
The instant the payment is approved, the buyer will have access to the course purchased.
All this is possible thanks to the digital product hosting platforms.
This facility saves you time and allows you to use your energy more in promoting your online course.
Produce material with low cost
The cost of producing a digital course itself is exponentially lower than that of physical materials, which are sold per unit.
An online course will be produced only once and distributed thousands of times to thousands of people.
From the moment you reach the equilibrium point on production expenses, all your profits will be interest and capital to reinvest in your business, whether in Digital Marketing strategies, or in the hiring of services that automate your work.
Have more quality of life
This point is very relative, since many people are extremely happy in their work and have excellent quality of life.
For all the others who are dissatisfied with their work, who do not enjoy free time as they would like or who do not manage to spend enough time with the family, this is a very relevant reason to become a digital producer.
Having a business of your own means a lot of effort and work, but it also means that, over time, you can enjoy benefits like those mentioned above.
Remember that even managing a business from home , your online course will require a lot of work and dedication, especially in the initial phase, when people barely know it.
Surely there was a lot of information to digest at once and I hope this material will be useful every time you have any questions while producing and selling your online course.
Despite this being a complete material to sell digital courses, you should always stay updated with new content and, of course, you can count on us, here on the blog and on our other channels, to learn a lot about the digital products and marketing market digital.
Now, I have a very special invitation for you! Since you’ve got here, you probably have a lot of ideas to start selling your online course, don’t you? If you already have your content ready, perfect! But if you need to start from scratch to create your material, there is a perfect opportunity for you and it will surely be very useful.
I’m talking about the 30 Day Challenge , which was specially designed for you to create your digital product in just 1 month. Look at some of its advantages:
The challenge is 100% online, that is, you can do it wherever you are, no matter where.
The challenge is 100% free. You do not have to pay anything to register and not at any other time!
The step-by-step videos that you must follow to create your course are didactic and very fun.
It is possible to perform the entire challenge at your own pace, even if you work and have other daily obligations.
At the end of 30 days, you will have a product ready and you can start selling it