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Online courses can help you make more money, save more time, and help more people.

Today, I want to share the keys—the three crucial principles, plus the ten practical steps—that will help you do the same.

Before we get into it, though, we need to talk a little bit about why online courses are great—as well as who they’re not for and why you shouldn’t do them. The truth is, courses really aren’t for all people and all businesses. I think the most important thing is to first realize: what are the problems and the pains and the needs of your audience? And then ask yourself, “Does it make sense for me to build an online course, and to sell it in order to help them through those problems?”

Okay! Now that’s out of the way, let’s cover the three psychological principles behind why people buy online courses. These are the things you have to know about the psychology that motivates people’s purchase decisions, before you try to sell any online course of your own.

The 3 Must-Know Principles of Selling Online Courses

So, you want to learn how to sell online courses? Maybe they’re your own courses or you’re an affiliate for somebody else’s courses. I’m really excited for you, because there’s an incredible amount of opportunity with online courses!

Over the years of building and selling my own courses, as well as promoting other people’s courses, I’ve learned a ton by experimenting with different ways to promote online courses. There are lots of tactics to choose from when it comes to promoting an online course, from emails to funnels to Facebook ads to podcasts, blogging, videos, and more—but the tactics don’t matter unless you get three things right. These are the three psychological principles you need to bake into everything you do, or you’re not going to be selling anything.

And they are . . .

#1: Sell Outcomes, Not Courses

People don’t want to buy online courses. Wait, what? It’s true, though. Nobody wakes up and says “You know, I think I’m gonna buy an online course today.” What people really want are the outcomes and the results that an online course can potentially give them. And so, the secret to selling anything, is to convey the results, the outcome, the way someone’s life will be different after taking your course. If those outcomes are not clear, then your work promoting that course is going to be much harder.

For your sales page, don’t focus on the features of the course, but the outcome.

#2: Trust and Proof Are Key

Selling an online course is not easy. When it comes to selling online courses, trust and proof are going to be your best friends.

Now, when you’re selling an online course, you need to build trust before selling your course. You can do it over a long period of time, through content marketing, for example. You can also do it in a shorter period of time, perhaps through ads or webinars. Whichever option you choose, the proof is really important. You need to demonstrate real-life evidence that this course actually works, and the best way to do that is typically by sharing testimonials and success stories of previous students who’ve taken the course.

A special note for establishing trust with affiliate courses: The most important thing to do is to convince your audience that the person creating the course is the right person to teach them that material, and that your audience can trust them. There are a few ways I like to do that it. Most of the time, I promote courses that I’ve used myself, so I can talk about my own experience and what I loved about it. I’ve also interviewed the founders or creators of courses on my podcast, which is a great relationship-building tool. And again, proof and testimonials from other people too, specifically those in your audience, is valuable here.

#3: It’s Not About the Information

When it comes to most online courses out there, the information in those courses can be already found elsewhere on the internet. So why would people ever buy these courses?

So does this mean people are just too lazy to complain and ask for a refund? Not at all. Trust me: if people are unhappy with their purchase, they’re going to be quick to ask you for a refund. A big reason people buy online courses is because they’re convenient. You’re saving people time by having all that information they need, and only the information they need, collected and compressed in one place for them to take action and get results.

Also, people often want their hand held, and they want accountability through the process, whether it’s through things like weekly office hours, or just structurally through the framework of the course. When a purchase is made and nairas are spent, it’s that person saying, “Yes, I want to do this. I’ve put skin in the game, and I’m going to make it happen.” And it’s your responsibility, as a course creator or as the person who’s promoting another person’s course, to make sure that they achieve that result.

The 10 Steps to Build an Amazing Online Course

Now that we’ve covered the psychology, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of creating your course! Here are the ten steps you need to follow to create an online course from scratch that people will love.

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