More than five centuries before the arrival of digital technology, Johannes Gutenberg invented the world’s first printing press. By making books available to the masses, education would never be the same again. It’s long been said that knowledge is power, and the online world has made that knowledge more accessible than ever before. Today, the web is our printing press, which is why it’s often said that data is the world’s most valuable commodity. There’s never been a better time to share knowledge. Instead of relying on printed media alone, we can now enjoy learning through this collaborative, interactive online medium without borders. That’s why the global e-learning market is expected to surpass £300 billion by 2026. If you’ve got knowledge to share, creating an online course is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. So, why should you sell online courses from your own website and what is the best way to do it?
Who should sell online courses?
While most of us are good at something, that doesn’t mean we’re all born to be teachers. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t sell online courses from your own website. Today, many people are quitting their day jobs to follow their passions and share their knowledge and experiences with others. In the simplest use cases, you might create an online course and then sell it over and over, much like you would a book. Other methods include holding regular online webinars, which is popular among YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers, coaches, speakers and authors. In these cases, online courses are an income source.
Companies can offer online courses as well, although not necessarily as an income source. A common model is to offer free online courses to increase customer acquisition, which is what social media management platform HootSuite does. Some companies invert the model and instead only offer their courses to existing customers to help them get more out of their product or service. Although monetisation isn’t the primary goal here, both models ultimately work to increase revenue by delivering more value to customers. A customer whose interaction with a brand leaves them with the feeling they’ve learned something useful is, after all, a happier and more valuable customer.
Build a community to work better as a team
The collaborative and accessible nature of the internet makes it the obvious venue for offering courses across just about any category. People are no longer limited by geographical bounds, which means they can enjoy all the benefits of working together without having to commute to a classroom the other side of town. Online communities can bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds and foster a sense of connectedness that wasn’t possible before. For learning, such an environment can boost morale, enable greater knowledge-sharing and serve as a hotbed of new ideas.
Everyone likes to do things differently, which is why online, community-powered learning is often the better choice. That’s something one-to-one mentoring programmes, for example, have difficulty achieving. Instead of having an environment that encourages people to work together, everything hinges on that one relationship. However, with a community focussed on teamwork and accountability, people don’t just learn from their mentors; they also learn from each other. A community gives them a space to share their experiences, bring new ideas to the table and even bring fresh insights to the person or brand in charge. It’s a great way to increase profit when you sell online courses from your own website.
Create accountability to drive success
There’s a glaring problem with many online courses, and that’s that they don’t do anything to encourage success beyond charging a fee. Just paying for a course often isn’t enough of an incentive to get people to see it through to the end. Factor in the many distractions of the web and the temptation to procrastinate when learning from the comfort of one’s own home, and chances are your students will fail to achieve their goals. Even though it’s not necessarily your fault, it’s hardly going to help you build a strong reputation. It’s a very different matter if people feel like they’re part of a club, and that their success as a team is what drives their individual success.
The best way to sell online courses from your own website is to make it an integral part of your community. If you don’t have an online community already, then it’s time to get started so you can provide your students with the platform they need to connect with one another. By giving them a community to be a part of, they’ll forge relationships and, with every relationship comes accountability. This adds a powerful additional incentive to buckle down and get to work as an effective team. Most successes are a result of a collective effort, such as a team of engaged employees or a class of highly driven students. And, what better way to encourage a collective effort than to build a community that gives people the means to work together?
Trade knowledge to continually improve
While traditional models of education tend to revolve around one-to-many lectures, the online world favours the many-to-many environment. In this model, the conversation is driven and mediated by one or more subject authorities, while students participate to share ideas among themselves and with their teachers. The success of this model is a result of the fact that none of us ever stop learning, and the wealth of tribal knowledge it creates serves as an invaluable educational resource for everyone involved. A community of engaged individuals provides a forum for sharing that knowledge.
To sell online courses from your own website effectively, you’ll need to provide your students that knowledge-sharing platform. By joining the community, they’ll be able to get involved with the experience right from the outset. They’ll have things like news feeds, social interactions and commenting, all of which offer far more incentive to purchase online course. That’s less likely to happen if their only interaction with your company is to read a landing page, make a payment and download a course. Instead, give your customers what they need to start getting value right away. Your community is what makes that possible while also giving members a huge additional incentive to pay for a course.
Go mobile to enable unrivalled accessibility
Keeping your students engaged is essential for ensuring their success as well as boosting your revenue. By being consistently present yourself and having a lively community around your brand, you’ll always be in the forefront of your students’ minds. That means they’ll be far less likely to abandon the course and more likely to succeed and, consequently, invest more. This approach is especially important in subscription models, but it can also help improve your reputation and brand advocacy for one-off purchases.
The key to stronger engagement is being present on the same platforms as your customers. Today, people check their phones during waking hours every 12 minutes on average, so that’s where you need to be not just to sell your courses, but also to keep students engaged. With mobile app stores now being some of the world’s biggest marketplaces, developing a mobile community app will greatly increase visibility, drive traffic to your website, increase community engagement rates and, ultimately sell online courses from your own website.
Disciple community management platform helps people build independent, valuable and trusted communities in a safe space that they own and control. Sell online courses from your own website with your brand community today.