How To Sell Online Learning

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If your concept of selling online learning is something like reinventing cinchbooks, you’re not alone. Those of us with decades of experience in online education on our resumes get asked a lot whether we should just sell the courses we create. Are you crazy? Is selling over-priced online education stupid?

Is selling online education stupid? Hardly. No, in fact, it’s pretty much the opposite, since the best way to sell is: you can’t avoid selling. If you’re not selling, you’re not making money.

Honestly, if you think you can’t sell online learning and it’s somehow written off as “stupid,” it’s only because you’re not aware of the hundreds of success stories of people who have outsold the field, who earned more than their first tuition bill because of their understanding of how to become an online salesperson.

1. Don’t use too many words.

Online classes allow you to showcase your mastery of topics, including short descriptions of the course content. For example, I’ve sold a $1,995 yoga program in five different articles, using 23 words in each article. I’ve sold several courses at the lowest price by packaging 3 classes together, using 25 words for each article.

That all matters, because the bottom line is that simply telling people you have the “Institute of Tasty Yoga 101” program for sale means you can’t claim to have delivered a single-subject course. But in today’s marketing space, avoiding words like “yoga” is like cooking in your own kitchen and saying that your culinary experience has been disappointing because you never see the sum of all the different ingredients in the kitchen at any time.

2. Market your audience.

Some people think that only people with time, money, and drive can successfully sell online learning. However, there are plenty of people who fall outside these categories but who can quickly understand the strategy behind selling online learning.

Let’s say a customer is concerned that the number of students and/or enrollment a university has means the likely success rate of the course they are considering is very low. They might be concerned, but this is typical of any course. To overcome this worry, you might say that being offered on college campuses may be less expensive, but it isn’t guaranteed to be better or more interesting, and it is not something that the customer should spend money on if they aren’t planning to.

Instead, you might be able to argue that being a university’s online program gives them a great chance to serve the community.

Or you could say, “You are busy… Want to do something that allows you to give back without dropping into debt? Take me.”

Alternatively, you might say, “The course gives you the opportunity to become more organized, which will make you feel like a better mom.”

3. Dabble.

Even when you know everything you need to know to sell online learning, learning everything yourself might be a great way to dive into something new. Many people sell online learning courses because they know how to program, but they haven’t built an online personal finance product because they haven’t felt the pressure to build up their time, money, and drive to help people actually overcome the very same financial problems they want to take down.

That means they can drop knowledge learned in a particular program into a particular area of your life and still feel like they have succeeded.

4. Use a “self-branded” approach.

I’ve observed that most would-be online learners don’t know where to start looking for an online learning program. Instead, they look around for something they think they might like, with the intent of buying.

What this means is that you must start at home with self-selected lists of lessons they want to learn more about and leave things open-ended, suggesting they take the resources for themselves but leave it open-ended.

So I teach that you learn something just by reading! Then you decide how to learn it! Then you decide how to do it!

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