Selling Your Online Course Without Paid Ads

You should always be looking for ways to promote your online course. After all, the more people who know about it, the more likely you are to make sales.


But when you’re just starting out with your online course, the idea of spending money on advertising might seem crazy. Especially if you don’t have any sales yet!


In this article, I’ll show you some of the ways you can promote your course without paying for advertising.


When people first start learning about marketing their courses online (either as a standalone product or as part of an existing business), one of the first things they worry about is whether or not paid ads will work for them.




There are two common arguments against using paid ads:


When you’re just starting out with your online course, the idea of spending money on advertising might seem crazy, especially if you don’t have any sales yet.


When you’re just starting out with your online course, the idea of spending money on advertising might seem crazy, especially if you don’t have any sales yet.


But all that time and effort spent creating your product, building up a website, perfecting marketing copy and creating social media content?


It all eventually adds up to nothing if no one knows about it.


When I first started selling courses through my site (and not via an affiliate link), I had less than 100 subscribers on my mailing list. I was earning maybe $50-$100 per month in course sales without any paid advertising or marketing budget at all.


And then something changed:

I sent out an email campaign to everyone who had ever signed up for one of my free resources—the same people who weren’t paying me anything anyway—and asked them what they wanted from me next in terms of resources and information.


The response was overwhelming: People wanted to learn more about how I took actionable steps towards building successful online businesses! They wanted help getting their ideas into reality! And most importantly for me...they were willing to pay for it!



In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can promote your course without paying for advertising.

As the name suggests, online courses are online. All of your students are going to be accessing your course from a computer and will likely be on the internet at the same time. It’s no surprise then that social media is one of the best places to find potential customers for your course.


Although Facebook is by far the largest social media platform with over 1 billion users and YouTube has almost as many (1 billion monthly active users), Twitter isn't far behind with 300 million monthly active users.


You might think that spending money on paid advertising would be necessary in order to reach these people—but it turns out that there are plenty of ways you can promote yourself without spending a cent!


A huge chunk of your potential students are already hanging out on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—so why not meet them there?

When you're trying to sell an online course, the first step is getting people to come to your landing page. You've probably heard that you should use paid advertising—but in reality, Facebook and Twitter are full of potential students who are already hanging out there.


Why not meet them there?


There are a lot of platforms where you can start connecting with potential students: Facebook and Twitter, sure, but also Instagram (for visual learners), Pinterest (for foodies), LinkedIn (for professional development).


And if it's a technical topic like coding or knitting or SEO that you're teaching on Udemy, then social networks like GitHub or Quora will be more relevant for your audience than something like Snapchat would be.


Here are some tips to help you attract more interest in your course using social media:

To attract more interest in your course, you'll want to share value on social media by providing helpful hints and tips for people looking for information about the topic you teach. And don't just post once—post consistently!


Here are some tips to help you attract more interest in your course using social media:

  • Build a community around your content. Don't just sell yourself or what you have to offer; rather, be helpful, friendly and genuine in your interactions with others. You can do this by answering questions that other people have posted online or by responding to their comments on social media posts. Your goal is not only to build relationships but also prove that there's value in what you're offering so that potential customers are willing (and able) to invest their money into purchasing it from you later down the road.

  • Use hashtags (but only if they make sense). Hashtags help users find relevant content when searching for specific topics on Twitter or Instagram tags so consider creating them if there isn't already one out there already being used by someone else with similar interests as yours -- just be careful not overdo things because too many hashtags might make it look spammy instead of stylishly hipster cool ;)



1. Share value on social media by providing helpful hints and tips

Social media is the best place to find and engage your audience, so you want to start there. But don't just share links to your product! Instead, try providing helpful hints and tips that are relevant to their interests. This way, you're not just hitting them with a sales pitch from out of the blue. You're communicating value first and then offering something of interest in return for their attention.


While each platform has its own unique features (and quirks), there are some general rules about how best to use social media for marketing:


Share regularly but not too frequently - People will get annoyed if they see too many posts from one account in a day or on other platforms connected with yours (like an email newsletter). Posting on a regular basis makes it easy for people who follow you consistently…but don’t post too often though!


Don't give them reason not come back again tomorrow by bombarding them today.

Be helpful - Don't pretend like someone else cares about what interests YOU; focus on providing valuable information instead!


Your followers will appreciate knowing what's happening next time they need help choosing between two brands/products or making lifestyle changes.


Be authentic - People know when something feels forced or insincere because they've seen plenty before; keep things real by being honest about mistakes as well as successes so others know what works best when planning their own campaigns.


Make content easy-to-use - Use simple language without any jargon unless necessary...and even then, it should still make sense without having been explained previously!


2. Build a community around your content

The first step to selling a product is building a community.


If you’re not familiar with the term, there are two types of communities:


(1) A community of people who share the same interests, like knitters or stamp collectors or windsurfers. These people don’t need to talk about their passions; they simply live them out in their daily lives and enjoy each other's company when they get together for an event like a scrapbooking convention or a sailing competition.


(2) A Community refers to those who gather around something new and exciting -- like your course! These folks need more motivation than tradition; they want something more specific from you as an instructor (like advice on how to best execute that side kick).


3. Build relationships with potential customers online

Social media is a great way to connect with your audience and build relationships in an authentic way.


You can use social media to engage directly with your audience and answer questions, share content that’s relevant to their interests and help them solve problems or learn new skills.


In fact, it can be pretty easy to just create content for social media without even thinking too much about whether it will sell anything at all!



4. Use social media to research what your audience is looking for

Social media is an excellent way to research what your audience wants to learn about. It's important to find out what people are talking about and how you can provide value.

For example, if there's a trending topic in your niche, it may be time for you to create a resource that answers the question on everyone's mind. You can also use Facebook groups and subreddits as resources for ideas on topics that would interest your target audience.


5. Use hashtags (but only if they make sense)

Hashtags are a great way to categorize your content and find people who are interested in the same things as you. If you’re using hashtags, make sure they make sense. Don’t just add random hashtags like #morningwisdom or #noreallyIjustlovehashtags. Those don’t really help anyone! When you do use a hashtag, include it at the beginning of your post title so that it shows up as part of the post title (and not buried deep within).


You can also use hashtags to engage with others on social media by responding to other people’s posts or even commenting on their posts with thoughtful questions or thoughts. It helps build relationships and gets more eyeballs on your work!


6. Post consistently and at optimal times (when your audience is most active)

You want to make sure that you're posting your content at times when your audience is most actively engaged. It's better to post during the day than at night, and during the weekdays rather than on weekends.


If you want to get more specific, there are tools available for scheduling updates for social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Buffer is a great tool for scheduling posts with social media profiles on these platforms—and it can be used to schedule posts in advance on either mobile or desktop devices (or both).


Another option is Hootsuite which has similar functionality but also allows users to schedule tweets under a brand name account without having an account of their own.



Choose a blogging platform that is easy for beginners to use, but also offers advanced features for when you become more experienced (examples include Wordpress and Medium).

Once you’ve set up a blog, spend time getting to know it—play around with different customization features so that you understand how it works before trying anything too complicated.


When you are just starting out, it’s not a good idea to try and learn too many new things at once. Instead, focus on learning one thing well in order to build your confidence and skills.


If you are interested in blogging, WordPress is an excellent choice for beginners because it offers so many options for customization that users can choose exactly what they need for their sites (for example, whether they want their blog posts to appear as articles or pages).


If your goal is writing rather than blogging, then Medium may be a better fit as its user interface allows people who are not web designers (like writers) to create beautiful websites without having any previous coding knowledge.


Conclusion

In this article, we covered some of the best ways to advertise your online course. We also looked at the pros and cons of paid advertising versus other marketing strategies like social media.

Finally, we walked through some simple steps you can take today to start promoting your course on Facebook or Twitter.


If you need more information on how these platforms, feel free to click here to schedule a free consult so I can set you up with the proper resources to help you get started!

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