Selling an Online Course Without Having a Fan Base or Spending Money on Ads

March 20, 2024

Online Course Platform: Choosing the Best Creator for Sales Success in 2024

In today’s digital age, online learning has rapidly become a popular method of acquiring new skills and knowledge. Consequently, the market for online courses is quickly expanding, providing an excellent opportunity for individuals to create and sell courses on various topics. To be successful in this competitive market, course creators must carefully choose a topic that caters to a niche audience, have organized and engaging course material, and select the best online course platform to host and sell their course.

Table of Contents

Before creating an online course, the creator must evaluate their sales funnel, from the course marketing strategy to the sales page design. This ensures that potential customers are enticed to make a purchase and gain access to the course content. Moreover, integrating a thriving course community can facilitate additional exposure and a supportive environment for course creators and their customers alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a niche course topic and create organized and engaging course material.
  • Select a suitable online course platform for hosting and selling
  • Carefully evaluate the sales funnel, from marketing strategy to sales page design

Choose A Niche Course Topic

Choose A Niche Course Topic

Choose a Topic

When selecting a course topic, consider your interests, expertise, and the market demand. Research potential topics and identify a niche with an audience seeking knowledge. Look for subjects with limited competition yet strong customer interest.

  1. Brainstorm: List your passions, hobbies, and skills.
  2. Market research: Use Google Trends, forums, and social media to gauge the popularity of various topics.
  3. Analyze competition: Review existing courses within your niche and identify gaps in the market.

Create Your Course

Once you’ve chosen a niche topic, start creating your course content. Focus on quality over quantity, and ensure your content is engaging, informative, and actionable. Here is a step-by-step guide to course creation:

  1. Outline: Draft a detailed outline that includes the course’s structure and main topics.
  2. Content: Produce various formats (e.g., text, video, quizzes) to cater to different learning styles.
  3. Review: Ask peers or experts within your niche to provide feedback on your content.

Build a Course Sales Funnel

A strong sales funnel helps convert potential customers into actual sales. Follow these steps to create a sales funnel for your course:

  1. Generate awareness: Use content marketing (articles, blog posts, social media) to showcase your authority and expertise.
  2. Capture leads: Offer lead magnets (e-book, checklist, webinar) to collect email addresses.
  3. Nurture leads: Send emails to educate, build trust, and, eventually, pitch your course.
  4. Close the deal: Direct leads to a sales page with compelling copy, testimonials, and a call-to-action.

After You Sell a Course

Once you’ve made a sale, don’t stop there! Continue building and nurturing your relationship with your customers. This will lead to repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals.

  1. Onboarding: Provide clear instructions and support for accessing the course material.
  2. Engagement: Encourage discussion and interaction within the course through forums or community groups.
  3. Feedback: Request reviews and testimonials to improve your course and build credibility.
  4. Up-selling: Offer additional courses or services to your existing student base.

Organize Your Course Content

Set Your Learning Goals & Objectives

Clearly define the learning goals and objectives you want your students to achieve upon completing your online course. This will help potential customers understand what they will gain from enrolling in your course. Use bullet points to list your primary learning goals:

  • Goal 1: Learn essential programming languages
  • Goal 2: Develop problem-solving skills
  • Goal 3: Gain experience working on real-world projects

Create a Course Outline

Develop an organized course outline to guide your students through the material. Break your course into modules or sections, each with a specific focus. Create a table to display the structure and make navigating the course accessible for your students.

Module Topic Subtopics
1 Introduction Background, Overview
2 Course Foundations Concepts, Tools
3 Practical Skills Tasks, Exercises
4 Advanced Techniques Applications, Case Studies
5 Final Assessment Exam, Projects

Create the Content

Design the course material that your students will engage with. This can include text, images, audio, and video content. Be creative and use a variety of formats to engage your learners and appeal to different learning styles.

  • Text: Write clear and concise lessons explaining the concepts you want your students to learn.

  • Images: Support your content with relevant and informative visuals, such as graphs, charts, or screenshots.

  • Audio: Offer supplementary materials, like podcasts or interviews, to extend your course’s content.

  • Video: Create engaging and informative video lessons that can help demonstrate complex concepts or procedures.

Choose a Course Membership or LMS Platform

Choose a Course Membership or LMS Platform

Selecting the right platform is crucial for the success of your online course. This section will explore the main options for course creators: Online Course Marketplaces, WordPress LMS Plugins, and Self-hosted LMS.

Online Course Marketplaces

Online course marketplaces are popular choices for those new to course creation. These platforms usually handle the technical aspects, such as hosting and sales



pages, allowing you to focus on creating excellent course content. Some popular marketplaces include:

  • Udemy is a well-established platform with a vast student base but lower profit margins due to its revenue share model.
  • Skillshare: This site offers creative and practical courses. It offers a subscription model for students and pays instructors based on their watch minutes.
  • Teachable: A user-friendly option with a wide range of features and a customizable interface, but comes with a monthly fee.

WordPress LMS Plugins

For those with some technical expertise or willing to invest time in learning, WordPress LMS plugins offer more control over course design and marketing. These plugins integrate with your existing WordPress site and add LMS functionality. Popular WordPress LMS plugins include:

  1. LearnDash: Versatile and feature-rich, this plugin supports numerous integrations and offers a range of monetization options.
  2. LifterLMS: A comprehensive plugin with advanced features such as quiz builders, certificates, and group memberships.
  3. WP Courseware: A user-friendly option with a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies course creation.

Self-hosted LMS

Self-hosted Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide even greater customization and control for your online course. However, they require more technical knowledge and management. Notable self-hosted LMS options are:

LMS Benefits Drawbacks
Moodle Open-source, extensive features, large user community Steeper learning curve
Open edX Scalable, advanced analytics, high-profile users Complex setup
Chamilo Easy to install, user-friendly, multilingual support Limited integrations

Choosing the right platform for your course depends on your technical skills, budget, and desired level of control over course design and marketing. Analyze your situation and select the best option for creating and selling your online course in 2024.

Decide Where to Host Your Course

Decide Where to Host Your Course

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when creating and selling online courses is where to host them. This section will overview two popular options: WordPress and SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms.


WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) that allows you to set up your online course platform easily. Using various plugins, you can turn your WordPress website into a fully-featured online course platform. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of using WordPress to host your course:


  • High level of customization and control
  • Large selection of plugins and themes
  • More affordable in the long term


  • Requires technical knowledge to set up and manage
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates
  • Potential for security issues

_Bolded for emphasis: Remember, you need technical expertise to manage and maintain a WordPress-based platform.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS platforms are pre-built, cloud-based solutions that provide all the necessary features to create, host, and sell your courses without having to set up or manage any infrastructure. Some popular SaaS platforms for course hosting include Teachable and Thinkific. Here are the pros and cons of using a SaaS platform:


  • Easy setup and user-friendly interface
  • No need for technical knowledge
  • Regular updates, maintenance, and security are provided
  • Built-in marketing and sales tools


  • Limited customization compared to WordPress
  • Ongoing monthly or annual subscription costs
  • Dependency on a third-party service

To recap:

  • WordPress offers more control, customization, and potentially lower long-term costs but requires more technical knowledge.
  • SaaS platforms provide a convenient, user-friendly option with built-in support and features but may have limitations in customization and ongoing costs.

Consider your requirements, technical abilities, and budget when deciding where to host your online course.

Build a Course Sales Pages

Your Offer

The first step to building a course sales page is clearly defining your offer. Highlight the unique selling points and key benefits of the course. Identify the target audience and explain how the course will help them achieve their goals. You can use bullet points to present information in a concise and organized manner:

  • Key benefit 1: Achieve X outcome
  • Key benefit 2: Save time and effort
  • Key benefit 3: Gain access to unique resources and support

The Landing Page

The landing page is potential customers’ first impression of your online course. Design the landing page with compelling headlines, engaging visuals, and clear calls-to-action (CTAs). Here are a few crucial elements to include:

  1. Engaging headline: Catch the reader’s attention and communicate the main value proposition of the course.
  2. Course description: Provide a brief and informative summary of the course content, objectives, and expected outcomes.
  3. Instructor bio: Introduce the course creator, showcasing their expertise and credentials.
  4. Testimonials: Include social proof through student endorsements, reviews, or case studies.
  5. CTA: A clear and convincing call-to-action, such as “Enroll Now” or “Sign up for the Course.”

A Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a valuable resource offered to potential customers in exchange for their contact information. This can be an e-book, checklist, template, or other related material that complements the course topic. Use the lead magnet to build an email list of interested prospects and guide them through the sales funnel. Here’s a sample lead magnet structure:

  • Title: “Top 5 Strategies to Master Your Course Topic”
  • Content: List the five strategies and provide actionable tips for implementation.
  • Call-to-action: Encourage the reader to sign up for the course to learn more and access additional resources.

A Sequence

Develop an email sequence to nurture leads and encourage them to enroll in the course. The sequence should provide valuable information and insights related to the course topic while emphasizing the benefits of enrollment. Consider using a mix of educational content, storytelling, and promotional material to engage and inspire action. Here’s a brief four-email sequence example:

  1. Email 1: Welcome and introduction to the course topic, plus a link to download the lead magnet.
  2. Email 2: An educational email that explores a specific aspect of the course topic, showcasing your expertise.
  3. Email 3: A success story or case study demonstrating the positive results of past students.
  4. Email 4: A promotional email highlighting the unique selling points of the course, bonuses, and a limited-time offer to encourage enrollment.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Improves Their Daily Life

Online courses can potentially improve daily life by providing valuable knowledge and skills. Many creators design their classes to help learners save time, increase productivity, or solve a specific problem. For example, an online course about time management may provide practical tips and tools to help users better structure their day and minimize distractions.

Improves Their Health

Health-focused courses can guide learners toward a healthier lifestyle. From physical fitness classes to meditation courses that promote mental well-being, online courses offer various options to support and maintain a healthy life. This may include:

  • Exercise routines: Home workouts, yoga classes, or strength-training programs.
  • Healthy eating classes: Meal planning, cooking techniques, or dietary recommendations.
  • Mindfulness: Meditation training, stress management techniques, or mindful living practices.

Provides a Career Boost (Promotion/Raise)

Online courses can help learners develop specific skills or certifications that translate into career growth. For example, an individual might take a project management course to improve their leadership abilities, making them more valuable to their employer and increasing their chances of a promotion or raise.

Changes Their Life

Life-changing courses focus on personal growth and transformation. These offerings help learners foster positive habits, improve relationships, or conquer personal challenges. For instance, an online course on achieving financial freedom might provide the tools and knowledge necessary to help learners become debt-free and build wealth.

Teaches a New Skill or Hobby

Many online courses cater to individuals seeking to learn a new hobby or develop a new skill. These courses can provide instruction in various areas, from creative pursuits (like painting or writing) to technical skills (such as coding). They offer a way to discover new interests and allow learners to expand their knowledge base.

Offers a Valuable Certification

Some online courses offer certifications or credentials that can enhance a candidate’s resume and make them stand out in particular industries. For example, an individual might take a first aid course and obtain a CPR certification, making them more apt for jobs that require such a skill. Additionally, accountants or marketers may seek certifications in their respective fields to demonstrate their expertise and dedication to continuing education.

Utilizing Unique Selling Propositions effectively in your online course business will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract the right potential customers to your course offerings.

How to Price a Course


It’s essential to research your competitors when deciding on a course price. Analyze similar courses in your niche to understand the average cost and identify the range of prices. Create a table, like the one below, to organize your findings:

Course Title Creator Price
Example Course 1 Creator 1 $99
Example Course 2 Creator 2 $149

By understanding the competition, you can ensure your pricing is competitive and aligns with the target market’s expectations.

Value & Impact

The value and impact of your course must be factored into the pricing. Focus on the potential benefits the course offers to customers, such as:

  • New skills acquired
  • Opportunities for mastery
  • Potential career advancement
  • Personal growth and development

Quantify these benefits by introducing specific and measurable outcomes, if possible. List these value propositions and use them as a basis for determining an appropriate price point:

  • Skill improvement in X area
  • Y% increase in productivity
  • Z months to master a new topic

Brand, Credibility, and Authority

The reputation of your brand and your credibility as a course creator are crucial factors in justifying the price of your course. Establishing authority in your niche will allow you to command a higher price. Build your brand by:

  • Showcasing testimonials and reviews from past students
  • Publishing authoritative content, e.g., articles, blog posts, podcast episodes
  • Collaborating with influencers and experts in your niche
  • Obtaining relevant certifications or credentials

By strengthening your brand and credibility, you enhance the perceived value of your course, justifying a higher price.

In summary, when pricing your course, consider your competition, its value and impact, and your brand’s credibility and authority. Remember these factors and adjust your pricing strategy to attract potential customers and maximize course sales.

Improve The Value of Your Course

Create a Community

A community is essential for improving your online course’s value. Creating a space where learners can interact, exchange ideas, and ask questions fosters a sense of belonging and support. This can be achieved by:

  • They are setting up a forum or discussion board for participants to engage in ongoing discussions.
  • We are encouraging peer-to-peer feedback through project collaboration.
  • We are providing social media integration to connect with fellow course participants.

Offer Personal Interactions

Personal interactions can significantly enhance the perceived value of your course. By offering engagement with the course creator or the facilitator, participants feel recognized, leading to a higher satisfaction rate. This can be done through:

  1. Live webinars: Host live sessions for students to ask questions and offer real-time feedback.
  2. Office hours: Set up regular virtual or in-person meetings for participants to discuss specific course-related issues.
  3. Email support: Offer personalized feedback, instruction, and guidance through email communication.

Make Courses Accessible

A valuable course is easily accessible and user-friendly for learners. Ensuring various accessibility options will cater to diverse learning styles and preferences. Consider the following:

  • Mobile compatibility: Optimize the course content for mobile devices, allowing users to learn on the go.
  • Transcripts and subtitles: Provide transcripts for audio content and subtitle options for video content.
  • Multi-language support: Translate course content in different languages, catering to a global audience.

Incorporating these strategies can improve your course’s overall value and appeal to potential customers. However, these enhancements should always be tailored to your target audience and their needs.

Membership Landing Page

Attractive Headlines & Headers

A compelling headline grabs the attention of potential customers. Keep it concise, bold, and clear, addressing the main benefits of the course. For example:

  • Master Python in Just 30 Days: Launch Your Coding Career!
  • Unlock the Secrets of Meditation: A Path to Inner Peace

Headers break up the content, making it easier to read. Use clear, descriptive language, sticking to the same theme as the headline.

The Offering (Pricing/Discount)

Present the price, payment options, and any discounts or promotions. Consider using tables or lists for easy comparison. For example:

Basic Plan Premium Plan
$99/month $199/month
Access to Courses All Courses + Community
Email Support Priority Support

Strong Action Words

Use strong action words to encourage readers to take action. Phrases like Join Now, Start Learning Today, and Enroll Now inspire potential customers to act. Bold and italicize these phrases to make them stand out.

Engaging Media & Video

Visuals help to convey information in an engaging, concise way. Include a well-designed image or a short video that showcases the course and its benefits. For example:

  • Overview video
  • Sample lessons
  • Course author introductions

Testimonials and Reviews (Social Proof)

Incorporate testimonial quotes and reviews to establish credibility and trustworthiness. Highlight the positive experiences of past students and include their names and photos (with permission) for authenticity. For example:

This course changed my life. I never thought I’d be able to learn Python so quickly, but now I’m employed as a software engineer!” – Jane R.

Sign-up or Payment Forms

The sign-up/payment form should be simple, easy to use, and secure. Include only necessary fields to avoid overwhelming potential customers. For example:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Payment information

Offer multiple payment options (e.g., PayPal, credit card) to accommodate diverse preferences.

Getting Traffic

Attracting potential customers to your online course is crucial for its success. This section will cover different strategies to generate traffic and increase visibility for your course.

Social Media Marketing

Leveraging social media platforms is an effective way to reach your target audience. Create engaging content highlighting the course benefits, and share it on your personal or business account. Use popular and relevant hashtags to increase the chances of discoverability.

  • Facebook: Share course updates, behind-the-scenes content, and promotional videos.
  • Twitter: Tweet snippets of course material, join discussions related to your course topic, and use relevant hashtags.
  • Instagram: Post visually appealing images and short video clips showcasing course highlights.
  • LinkedIn: Create insightful articles about your course topic and engage with industry professionals.

Advertising & Paid Ads

Investing in paid ads can reach a wider audience and target specific demographics. The most popular platforms for running ads are:

  1. Facebook Ads: Target users by interests, behaviors, location, age, etc.
  2. Google Ads: Use pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to rank higher on search results.
  3. Instagram Ads: Utilize the platform’s targeting capabilities and visually appealing ad formats.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Applying SEO techniques to your course sales page and blog content will improve its visibility on search engines. Implement the following tactics:

  • Perform keyword research to find relevant and high-performing keywords.
  • Optimize titles, headings, meta descriptions, and URLs with appropriate keywords.
  • Create high-quality, informative content that adds value to your readers.
  • Use internal and external linking strategies to improve your website’s credibility.

Affiliate Marketing

Collaborate with influencers and industry professionals to promote your course. Offer them a commission for every referral they generate. This strategy benefits both parties, as it drives traffic to your course and provides income for the affiliates.

Guest Blogging/Podcasting

Contribute articles or participate in podcast interviews related to your course topic. Use this exposure to share valuable information, establish authority, and subtly promote your course. Always include a backlink to your course sales page to encourage interested readers or listeners to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I sell an online course without having a fan base?

A: One way to sell online courses without a fan base is to leverage existing platforms with built-in audiences. You can also use social media and online communities to reach potential students.

Q: Is it possible to sell courses online without spending money on ads?

A: Yes, it is possible to sell courses online without spending money on ads by focusing on organic marketing strategies such as content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media engagement.

Q: What are some tips for creating an online course from scratch?

A: Some tips for creating an online course from scratch include identifying your target audience, outlining your course content, creating engaging multimedia materials, and providing valuable insights and practical knowledge.

Q: How can I effectively market and sell my online course?

A: You can effectively market and sell your online course by building a sales funnel, offering discounts or promotional deals, partnering with influencers or affiliates, and engaging with your target audience through various channels.

Q: What is the best way to get people interested in my online course?

A: The best way to get people interested in your online course is to showcase the benefits and value it offers, provide free previews or trials, gather testimonials and reviews, and engage with potential students through personalized communication.

Q: How can I increase my course sales without investing in paid advertising?

A: You can increase your course sales without investing in paid advertising by optimizing your course landing page, offering valuable course bonuses or incentives, collaborating with other creators for cross-promotion, and utilizing email marketing campaigns.

Q: What are some ways to launch my online course successfully?

A: Some ways to successfully launch your online course include creating a buzz before the launch, hosting a webinar or live event, sending out email reminders to your audience, collaborating with industry experts for endorsements, and providing early bird discounts.

Final Thoughts

In 2024, creating and selling online courses has become famous for sharing knowledge and generating income. Choosing the right platform, creating engaging content, and promoting your courses effectively are crucial factors in becoming a successful course creator.

When selecting an online course platform, consider its features, usability, and pricing. The best platforms provide a seamless experience for creators and learners, allowing easy creation, hosting, and course content management.

Developing a sales funnel can significantly impact your course sales. Begin by identifying potential customers and using various methods, such as email marketing, running ads, and collaborating with niche influencers to guide them toward purchasing your course.

A sales page should effectively convey your course’s value and benefits while addressing your target audience’s needs and pain points. To make your course stand out, showcase your expertise through previews of course materials and testimonials from satisfied learners.

  • Course content should combine quality information with an engaging and accessible format. Break down the content into digestible sections with clear objectives.
  • Employ a mix of text, audio, video, and interactive elements to cater to different learning styles and maintain learner engagement.
  • Regularly update and improve your course materials, ensuring their relevance and efficacy for potential customers.

Establishing a solid online presence is vital for promoting your course and attracting potential customers. Use various channels, such as social media, blog posts, and podcasts, to reach a wider audience and demonstrate your expertise in your subject matter.

Lastly, don’t forget the power of building a community around your course. Support and encourage interaction among course participants to foster a sense of belonging and enhance the learning experience. Networks of satisfied learners can spread the word about your course, boosting your sales and credibility.

By considering these considerations and staying committed to delivering valuable and engaging content, you can create a thriving online course business and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

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