Course Incubator

7 best ways to promote an Online course in 2024


Online courses are in more demand than ever before, mainly because of the rapidly evolving landscape of digital education. This evolution gives users incredible flexibility around when they learn, as well as easy access to the knowledge that global subject matter experts have to share in their field.

Online courses serve a traditional base of learners who are serious about developing their skills and expanding their knowledge. The low overheads and huge reach of digital online education make it easy for online course provider entrepreneurs and educators to share their knowledge while generating revenue from it.

However, for people who want to know how to promote an online course effectively and sell it, creating an amazing curriculum is only half the job. The other important element is how to market your online course masterfully. Understanding how to promote online courses is just as crucial as developing the course itself.

Regardless of whether you’re an established education provider, an individual expert, or a beginner in the e-learning space, the challenge is the same: to promote your online learning effectively to tap into the vast market of online learners. The effectiveness of your promotional campaign is key because there is a big gap between attracting leads and then converting those potential customers. As a course seller, you must not only reach the e-learners – you must also persuade them to sign up for your online course.

If you didn’t realize it already – the online learning niche is hugely competitive. In your area of knowledge, you’re likely up against thousands of others right across the globe. Assuming you’re a competent online education provider offering a high-quality course, you don’t need to worry about every competitor out there. 

However, you should always benchmark yourself against the best in your niche and try to outclass them. To stay ahead of the competition, you must develop a multi-faceted approach on how to promote your online course.

If you’re looking for information on how to promote an online course, read on. This article will answer how to market your online course by touching on seven highly effective methods. These are proven ways that the most successful and well-known course creators use to boost their online education.

Ranging from leveraging the power of social media, through to sending out targeted emails (yes, emails are still a thing!), each strategy discussed in this article will help you boost the sales of your course.

marketing channels for marketing channels

  1. Social Media

You won’t be surprised to hear that social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are great ways to promote an online course. While we may not see the statistics underlying this, we know first-hand that social media works because we constantly find ourselves being bombarded by advertisements when we’re using these platforms. 

On the flip side, we also know that we don’t pay much attention to many of these ads and simply skip past them. This demonstrates clearly that if your advertisement doesn’t stand out from the crowd, your target audience will probably do the same.

In this section on how to promote an online course on social media, we’ll go through two real-life success stories that illustrate how powerful these channels can be. We’ll explore the key takeaways and highlight common strategies that successful course sellers use.

Success story: Graham Stephen

Those who are interested in the topic of money and personal finance will know Graham Stephan as a popular YouTuber in this domain. Having outgrown this social media platform now, he is well-known for providing practical advice on how to increase wealth by investing and trading the right way, how to save money to achieve financial goals, and how to achieve financial independence. What we are most interested in learning from Graham, however, is how to market your online course.

When he appears in podcasts as a guest and answers the question of how he achieved success, Graham gives credit to his ability to build a dedicated audience base on YouTube. He chose the discipline of personal finance because it interested him the most, and he developed significant expertise in it. He educated himself on a wide range of complex concepts and provided a vastly simplified explanation to his audience, which made him easy to understand for most of his followers.

Graham knew his audience wanted to understand the practical steps that they could take to become wealthy, so he made sure that his videos showed just that. This made it easy for him to promote and sell his courses on personal finance.

Key Takeaways:

Graham’s example shows us that YouTube can be an extremely potent platform for promoting online courses, but that is not all. We also learn that:

  • For your online course to sell on YouTube, you will need to first become a successful YouTuber. This means you will need to become personable and relatable to your audience. This may require you to work on your tone, speech, body language, and dress sense. You will need to sell your personality to your audience before you can sell them your course.
  • To get buy-in from your audience, you will need to build their trust in your knowledge. This means you will need to go well beyond learning the basics of the niche you are targeting. You may have to read a lot about your subject, watch a lot of videos, and consider many different viewpoints on the topic before you start talking about the subject in a YouTube video and present yourself as an expert.
  • Providing all the information and leaving little to no curiosity in your YouTube video will cost you customers. Put another way, this means you’ll need to leave your audience curious and wanting to know more after they’ve watched your video. A good practice that successful course creators follow is to tell their audience that you will provide a high-level overview of the topic in your video to avoid it from becoming too long. Then, follow this up by saying that your viewers should invest in your course to get all the details. By ‘teasing’ your potential learners in this way you give them enough information to prick their curiosity and encourage them to want more.

Success story # 3: Jasmine Star

Those on the popular image-heavy platform Instagram have probably discovered the well-known photographer Jasmine Star. Jasmine is a classic example of someone who turned their passion into a highly paid living. She is now a successful business strategist and expert in using social media for personal and business branding. Her online courses elaborate on everything she has learned and developed throughout her online ventures. She is regarded as a world-class educator who uses social media to its full potential.   

Jasmine currently has more than half a million Instagram followers. She achieved this feat by strategically using the platform to showcase her expertise and provide valuable practical tips on building a successful business. These practical tips resonated with her audience and led to her followers snowballing very quickly. 

Something Jasmine does very successfully is to share glimpses of her life outside of her professional setting to build a personal connection with her audience. While this degree of transparency isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it shows how important it is to connect with your audience and build trust.

Looking at Jasmine’s Instagram, it becomes apparent very quickly that she is very consistent in delivering high-quality content that covers a wide range of topics within the domain of social media strategy and branding. She used Instagram stories, posts, and IGTV as the main source to sell her online course.  

Key Takeaways:

Looking at Jasmine’s success on Instagram, we learn that:

  • Visual appeal is the key to building Instagram followers. This shows that to be successful, you’ll need to use high-quality images and videos that showcase yourself in an aesthetically pleasing way. You will also need to maintain a consistent visual style to create a cohesive and recognizable brand identity.
  • It is important to build authenticity around your brand. This means that you must encourage your audience to share their experiences and successes after following your course’s advice. A good way to do this is to feature user-generated content (UGC) on your profile.

4 Successful Social Media Strategies

  1. Successful online course creators build a substantial following by sharing valuable content before they promote their online courses for sale. They ‘tease’ their audience.
  2. They build authenticity and trust by sharing their personal journeys and providing evidence of the effectiveness of their method.
  3. They develop their courses based on their audience’s interests. This maximizes the chances that their audience will progress from free content on social media to more in-depth paid learning.
  4. It is important to note that successful course sellers not only know how to promote online learning on social media, but they are also very patient. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to become noticed on social media and the results can take some time to come to fruition.

seo for online course promotion

  1. Content Marketing

Successful content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) means you need to first understand how to promote online education delivered through online courses. In this section, we will look at three examples where people have successfully marketed their online courses through content marketing, content optimization, and having a global strategy for content-based marketing. We will look at the key takeaways from these success stories and the common strategies among them.

Success story # 1: Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo, a famous entrepreneur and author, is a real-world example of using content marketing to successfully promote an online program. She is the founder of ‘B-School’, which is an all-online business school. The purpose of this school is to focus solely on the modern-day challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their solutions.

While she is very knowledgeable on the subjects that she teaches, Marie ascribes her success to her exceptional content writing skills. She believes that creating consistent and engaging content on her blog and other social media channels laid the foundations for the success of the B School. As proof of her success, the school has had thousands of students and graduates, and it generates several million dollars in revenue each year.

Marie makes a point of saying that she makes sure that each of her blog posts is valuable to her readers. She describes how she remembers being extremely critical of her own content, which at times led her to discard her blogs for not being insightful enough. She created video content for this purpose and encourages others to diversify into other social media channels. But she strongly advocates playing to one’s own strengths which, in her case, is content writing.

Key Takeaways:

Marie’s case study is a good example of how to promote an online course through content marketing. As a course seller, you must:

  • Be consistent with the quantity and quality of your content. You will need to proactively plan the publication schedule of your content and ensure a consistent flow of up-to-date and relevant content.
  • Publish only the content that provides real value to your audience. This means that to prefer quality over quantity, you will need to be critical of your own work. You may even have to discard content that at times may have taken you tens of hours to create.

Success story # 2: Neil Patel

Neil Patel is an expert in digital marketing who founded the Neil Patel Digital company. His success is a great example of using content optimization to sell online courses. He made tremendous use of various SEO techniques and keyword research to increase his outreach and used data-driven insights to optimize his blog and website content for search engines.

As evidence of his success, Neil Patel’s blog gets millions of visits every month, making his content rank very high in search engine results. He is also estimated to have a net worth of more than $30 million, most of which has been generated from his online course sales. Fact-checkers have confirmed that the traffic on his blog is fully organic.

Key Takeaways:

Neil’s case is also a good example of how to market your online course through content optimization. As a course seller, you must:

  • Use tested and proven SEO best practices and available content marketing tools. There is no need to think outside of the box when it comes to the technicalities of optimizing content, although the content development side can use as much creativity as possible.
  • Make data-driven decisions. This means that you must analyze user behavior and internet search patterns.

Success story # 3: Ramit Sethi

Ramit is an expert in personal finance and the founder of an online course called ‘Zero to Launch’. This course teaches new entrepreneurs around the world how they can start and grow their online businesses. 

Ramit attributes his success to his well-designed global strategy for content marketing. He is regarded as a content creator who tailors content according to the specific needs and challenges of a global audience. To achieve this, he uses multiple channels across multiple platforms, each focusing on a specific region or location.

Key Takeaways:

To follow Ramit’s footsteps on the road to successfully promote your online course, you must:

  • Understand the cultural and geographical diversity of your target audience. This will help you to create and promote your course in a way that appeals to them.
  • Diversify your channels and create content suited for specific cultures and geographies. 

3 Successful Content Marketing Strategies

  1. Successful course sellers build an engaged community around their brand. They achieve this through social media, forums, or other platforms as a shared strategy.
  2. They incorporate testimonials in their marketing materials. This helps them build trust and credibility.
  3. They stay up-to-date on industry trends and technology. They learn from both their successes and failures.

facebook ads online course promotion

  1. Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a great way to promote an online course (or any product or service for that matter). There are many real-life examples of how course creators have successfully promoted their courses on these platforms. 

This section covers two such examples, briefly explaining their promotion strategy and the key takeaways for the new course creators. At the end, to give you actionable know-how on how to promote online courses through social media advertisements, we will list some common strategies across these examples.

Success story # 1: Amanda Bond

Amanda Bond is the founder of a premier advertisement agency called The Ad Strategist. Amanda’s go-to format is image ads, and her ad copy follows the methodologies of storytelling, emotions, and product/ service promotion.

Although she seems very young, Amanda has spent years in the social media advertising domain and has gained first-hand experience of what works and what doesn’t. It was logical for her to use this knowledge to her own advantage to promote her course online, which pivots around using social media advertising to boost her product and service sales.

In her course, she teaches a framework she developed called ‘The Strategy System’. This framework helps her clients to convert online attention into revenue, with Facebook as the primary platform.

Key takeaways:

Amanda shows how to promote online education through Facebook and similar social media platforms. Her success story encourages course creators to:

  • Develop expertise in a niche that you truly love. This may require you to keep your head down and work extremely hard for several years before you can consider yourself qualified to teach others in an online course.
  • Build a unique framework or strategy that is proven to work. This needs to be a structured and easily adaptable approach. Importantly, it also needs to be unique and copyright-protected.
  • Never get too invested in current methodologies. Instead, be critical of your promotional campaigns and identify weaknesses to improve them in the future.

Success story # 2: Jennifer Allwood

Jennifer Allwood is another well-known online course creator who teaches small businesses how to grow their presence and convert social media attention into revenue. Her social media promotional style can be described as wholesome, family-oriented, and faith-focused. Her target audience is based in the United States and Jennifer prides herself in being an all-American entrepreneur who helps small business owners run a successful business while keeping their family and faith close.

She started her own interior painting business in 2000 and made a living by transforming her clients’ homes and office spaces. After expanding her business successfully, Jennifer started creating video tutorials on interior painting. Within a short period, she started earning a six-figure income through her online teaching business. This inspired Jennifer to become a full-time coach for small businesses, especially those run by women.

Key takeaways:

If you want to start coaching other people on what you’ve learned through experience years, you must:

  • Reflect on your passions and identify your passion for coaching. Coaching is not for everyone, and it is important to know if it is the right path for you when you’re developing your own online course.
  • Use personal examples to add weight and authenticity to what you are teaching others. This means that you must have your own personal experiences to share.
  • Know when you are ready to start your coaching journey. Looking at Jennifer’s example, she didn’t become a coach right away. Instead, she worked full-time to become an expert in her field first. Only start your online coaching journey if you are well and truly able to translate your knowledge into valuable course material for others.

3 Successful Social Media Advertising Strategies

  1. If done right, sharing personal experiences and personal matters such as stories on family and faith can be a very powerful way to engage audiences and convert them into customers.
  2. Being open to change is very important. A change can come in the form of a minor transition in the professional world like in Amanda’s case, or it can be more drastic like in Jennifer’s case.  
  3. It is essential to have a passion for coaching others.

cold emailing for online course promotion

  1. Cold Emailing

Successful online course sellers who know how to promote online learning continue to advocate strongly about using a targeted marketing strategy like cold emailing. While this method may seem annoying to an everyday email user, cold emails are amongst the most effective ways to promote any product or service. This is because they allow you to directly reach out to potential customers who have already expressed interest in your education niche.

This section will help you understand how to promote online education through cold emailing by briefly covering three real-life success stories that do exactly this. It will share the key takeaways from these examples and conclude by listing common strategies.

There are some powerful cold emailing platforms available to promote your online education. Two great examples are Smartlead and Apollo.

Success story # 1: Bryan Harris – Video Fruit

Bryan Harris, the founder of Video Fruit is a well-known business coach for entrepreneurs who want to grow their online business using email marketing. His courses cover topics like email list building, email content formulation, and product launches.

Bryan is a successful user of cold emailing strategy himself. He used this strategy to reach out to hundreds of thousands of potential students and generated thousands of lead-to-customer conversions. In his emails, he captures the audience’s interest by offering them free resources and guides, immediately showing the value that potential learners can get simply by joining his course. Initially, students sign up for his free course and complete the basics. Then, if they still see the value in continuing, they pay for the full course.

Key takeaways:

To successfully sell your courses through email marketing, consider the following:

  • Make sure you show the value of your course upfront. Bryan always does this by offering free resources and guides to the audience in his targeted emails.
  • Be sure to segment your email list based on your audience’s interests and behaviors, allowing for more targeted and relevant courses. This means you may need to further segregate your email ID list after you obtain it.

Success story # 2: Derek Halpern – Social Triggers:

Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers is another online coach who has successfully sold his course using email marketing. What makes his courses unique from other sales-boosting gurus is that he focuses on human psychology and how people react to promotion stimuli. He specializes in marketing psychology and communication, which enables him to give expert advice on this subject.

Derek credits his email marketing campaigns as having generated most of his course sales. He used off-the-shelf providers of email IDs such as Apollo. Derek’s success was helped by adding his background as a marketing psychologist to the power of a cold email marketing platform. His emails are highly informative and they educate the reader while subtly promoting his course.

Key takeaways: –

Consider the following when promoting your course online through email marketing:

  • Focus on creating engaging emails with the initial aim of capturing the attention of your audience. Approaching the audience with a sales pitch right out of the blocks will probably cause you to lose leads.
  • Your targeted emails should include educational content that provides actionable insights and strategies to your readers and subtly promotes your course.

Success story # 3: Ramit Sethi – I Will Teach You to Be Rich:

In addition to using content marketing as discussed earlier in this article, Ramit Sethi has also successfully used email marketing to promote his online courses. In particular, he uses an email marketing strategy to sell his bestselling book entitled I Will Teach You to Be Rich. In this book and his other courses, he offers expert and actionable advice on personal finance, budgeting, investing, and entrepreneurship.

Having a stable base of subscribers allows Ramit to have his own list of email IDs that belong to interested students. He frequently engages with his audience through emails, offers them valuable insights, and promotes his courses. He makes a point to tailor these emails to deal with specific pain points his audience is likely to be facing.  

Key takeaways:

If you have an existing list of email IDs of potential customers, you can maximize their potential by considering the following:

  • Emphasize personalized communication and tailor your emails to address the specific needs and pain points of your audience.
  • Your emails should focus on providing value upfront and show expertise in your shared insights.

4 Successful Strategies for Cold Emailing

  1. Divide your email list based on interests, anticipated behaviors, and demographics then send targeted emails to these segments instead of sending them all to your entire email list.
  2. Follow a gradual approach of capturing your audience’s interest first, then subtly promoting your course.
  3. Create engaging content that is quick to read, visually appealing, and comprehensive.
  4. Clearly communicate a call-to-action (CTA), advising the readers what you would like them to do next.

webinar for online course promotion

  1. Webinars and Livestreams

The ability to engage directly with your audience and build trust with them makes webinars and social media livestreams powerful tools for selling courses. The only downside is that they require dedicated time from your audience. With today’s recognized shorter attention span, this could prove a challenge for online course creators. Marketing experts suggest that, although still valuable, webinars and lives are not as successful as they used to be.

However, these options can still be highly effective for certain types of audiences and therefore shouldn’t simply be written off. In this section, we will delve into three real-life examples of how online course creators were able to successfully promote their offerings through webinars and social media lives. We will cover the key takeaways from these examples and share the common strategies they used.

Success story # 1: Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield is a well-known expert in online marketing and business strategy. Her initial experience was working with Tony Robbins, where she was a content creator and online marketer. She gradually developed her expertise in entrepreneurship and started writing on this subject, where she gained prominence in this field.

Her podcast entitled Online Marketing Made Easy made her into an internet personality. In her podcast, she provides actionable advice about list-building and email marketing. She also coaches course creation and promotion, which means that – in addition to teaching online marketing – she also teaches how to promote online courses

Amy also conducts webinars to promote her online courses, which are designed with in-depth insights into digital marketing. Her engaging webinars allow people to contribute their thoughts and ask questions live.

Key takeaways:

To follow in Amy’s footsteps and make your webinars successful, consider the following:

  • Use a structured webinar format. This lets you provide a breakdown upfront of how the webinar will proceed, which will establish your audience’s expectations.
  • Make sure to include storytelling and case studies in your webinar. Also, make sure that you allocate sufficient time for Q&As at the end. Develop a system for choosing the most relevant questions from your audience and be sure to advise people of these criteria.   

Success story # 2: Russell Brunson

Russell Brunson co-founded ClickFunnels, which is a popular marketing automation platform. He has established himself as a seasoned entrepreneur, author, and expert in sales funnels and online marketing strategies. He is a great example of using webinars for selling books, software products, and online courses.

During his webinars, he creates excitement within his audience by advertising that he knows the ‘secrets’ of the trade and by providing a step-by-step blueprint. The degree of openness in these webinars is unique and it creates a sense of exclusivity and value for his audience. It is fair to say that he dominates conversations on social media that cover the topic of sales funnels.

Key takeaways:

From Russell’s example, we learn the following:

  • You can take a bolder promotion route like Russel which involves sharing more knowledge than the average course seller in the introductory free webinar.
  • You can use a combination of urgency and scarcity approach by offering limited-time bonuses or discounts to encourage people to enroll immediately.

Success story # 3: Marie Forleo

In addition to using content marketing, Marie Forleo has also successfully deployed the strategy of using webinars and social media live to sell her online courses. She is known for her online show ‘MarieTV’.

Her audience knows her as an accomplished entrepreneur, life coach, motivational speaker, and show host. She has built a strong brand around her personality, with a strong emphasis on combining business and personal development. She covers a range of topics that are designed to be interesting to a wide audience base. Her topics are related to business strategy, personal growth, and online marketing.

Key takeaways:

From Marie’s example of using webinars and lives, we can learn the following:

  • Consider using multiple platforms like Facebook and Instagram for conducting webinars and lives simultaneously. This is a common and highly effective practice that’s followed by many podcasters these days. You can take questions from the audience one by one from various platforms during a webinar or live stream.
  • Provide personal anecdotes when answering questions to add authenticity to your response.

3 Successful Strategies for Webinars and Livestreams

  1. Audiences can easily lose interest in a webinar and a lengthy social media live, so keep the interaction concise.
  2. Make limited-time offers to your audience and offer exclusive bonuses and discounts to create an urgency to enroll.
  3. Consider your audience when choosing which platform to hold a webinar on. For example, include options of Zoom and Google Meet to engage with a more conservative audience, as they may not want to use social media websites to engage.

google ads for online course promotion

  1. Google Advertising

If you’re someone who understands how keywords work and how to optimally use different types of keywords, you can easily sell your online courses through Google Ads. The key is to reach your target audience by matching their search history with your keywords. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a ‘spray and pray’ tactic, but a very precise and specialized approach.

In this section, we will cover the six important types of keywords, followed by three real-life examples where this strategy is used to promote an online course.

  1. a) Broad match keywords: As the name suggests, these keywords help your ad appear for a broad range of internet searches. These include keyword variations, synonyms (similar words), and related terms to cast a wider net.

Example: Using “online courses” as a broad match keyword, your ad will appear for searches like “digital classes” or “internet learning.”

Phrase match keywords: These keywords help your ad appear for exact phrases or close variations. This may reduce your reach, but it provides higher quality leads.   

Example: Using “business courses” as a phrase match keyword, your ad will appear for searches like “best business courses” or “business courses online.”

  1. c) Exact match keywords: These keywords help your ad appear only for the exact word or its close variation. Here, you trade quantity for quality of search results, like the previous keyword type.

Example: Using “data science courses” as an exact match keyword, your ad will show for “data science courses” searches without any additional words.

  1. d) Broad match negative keywords: These keywords prevent your Google ad from appearing in internet searches that contain a particular set of keywords. This is also done to filter out unwanted traffic.

Example: Using “-free” as a broad match negative keyword will prevent your ad from showing up in searches related to free courses. You can use this if you are advertising a premium course, for example.

  1. e) Phrase match negative keywords: These keywords prevent your ad from appearing in internet search results that contain an exact phrase.

Example: Using “-discounted classes” as a phrase match negative keyword will prevent your ad from showing up in search results that use this exact phrase.

  1. f) Exact match negative keywords: These keywords prevent your ad from appearing in internet searches that contain a specific word.

Example: Using “-beginner courses” as an exact match negative keyword will prevent your ad from appearing in search results that use this exact word.

Success story # 1: Neil Patel

As discussed earlier in this article, Neil Patel is an SEO expert and a master at using keywords and phrases. He boasts a healthy lead-to-customer conversion rate using Google Ads. Looking at his keyword selection, Neil targets terms like “SEO strategies” and “content marketing tips” to do a broad match of keywords.

On the other hand, he excludes irrelevant searches by using negative keywords like “-free resources” and “-beginner guides”.

Success story # 2: Coursera

Coursera is a globally recognized online learning platform that offers courses on a wide range of subjects. No one knows how to promote online learning as well as Coursera and they have grown their user base effectively by using this technique.

Because Coursera is not a subject-specific platform and it offers courses on a wide range of subjects, they have the luxury of being able to use keywords that relate to all the subjects they offer. As an example of a match phrase, they use keywords like “online programming courses”.

Success story # 3: Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn is the creator of the brand called ‘Smart Passive Income’. His specialization is in entrepreneurship, business strategy, and passive income. Following his success selling online courses, he launched a new brand entitled ‘’.

To promote online learning to a wide range of potential learners, he uses broad phrase match keywords like “passive income courses” and “online business training”. He also uses phrase match keywords like “passive income ideas” and “entrepreneurship classes”, and exact match keywords like “smart passive income courses”.

4 Successful Strategies for Google Advertising

  1. Conduct thorough keyword research to list relevant words and phrases related to your course.
  2. Group keywords based on themes and use them in the relevant ad groups.
  3. Monitor your Google Ads performance and continuously optimize your ads through bid adjustment, adding negative keywords, and improving the ad copy.  
  4. Align your landing pages with your keywords and ad copy.


  1. Word of Mouth and Testimonials 

When working out how to market your online course best, word of mouth might not strike you as a great way to promote it. As a standalone, it isn’t the strongest strategy to use for promoting an online course. However, it can most certainly be a beneficial add-on to the methodologies we’ve already discussed.

The reason why word of mouth is still effective in the modern day and age is that it is an organic form of promotion built on the foundations of trust, authenticity, and social proof. In this section, we will look at three real-world examples of course creators who successfully use word of mouth as a complementary way to promote online courses.

Success story # 1: Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers is the founder of an online independent music distribution company called ‘CD Baby’. Since starting CD Baby, Derek has become an entrepreneurship and decision-making coach, which launched when he started creating his own courses. He has also written a number of books like Useful Not True, How To Live, and Hell Yeah or No.

While Derek uses approaches like social media marketing to promote his courses, he also fosters a community where people love to learn and connect with like-minded individuals. He generates organic discussions and recommendations within the community that contribute to his success as an online course seller.

Notable Best Practices

  • Creating spaces for learners to interact and share experiences will develop a sense of belonging. People tend to spread the word when they feel a sense of belonging and they want to share it with others.
  • Referral programs are an effective way to promote an online course. People tend to spread the word when they are incentivized to do so. With this approach, each student can potentially become a brand ambassador for your online course.

Success story # 2: Angela Yu

Angela Yu and her online coding courses offer a complete case study on the importance of testimonials for marketing and promotion. Angela founded The App Brewery and is regarded as one of the best coding coaches, with a strong focus on app development. When visiting her website, it’s easy to see how good her course is from reading the wonderful testimonials that her former students have written.

Angela boasts of training students to not only code but also to launch their own apps. Like Derek’s success story, Angela primarily uses other methodologies for promoting her course and testimonials are the icing on the cake. They are a compelling narrative to pull new visitors to her website to enroll in her course.

Notable Best Practices:

  • Ensure there is a variety of testimonials that show different aspects of the course’s usefulness. Potential learners have different reasons why they want to learn a new skill, so it’s important to have testimonials that cover all the possible angles.
  • Use video testimonials because they add a personal touch. They allow viewers to see the genuine enthusiasm of former students and hear genuine satisfaction in their tone. 

Success story # 3: Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational platform that provides free online courses, lessons, and practice across a wide range of subjects. Being pioneers in online education, few companies in the world know how to promote online education better than Khan Academy.

As they’re a not-for-profit organization, Khan Academy never undertook aggressive and conventional marketing methodologies like social media marketing. Instead, they relied on good old-fashioned word-of-mouth, knowing that once one student started using Khan Academy and was enthused about it, others would actively come looking.

It’s worth mentioning here that the purpose of Khan Academy is to provide free education, which gives them a slightly unfair advantage over others who are commercially driven. However, it can’t be denied that their success in reaching tens of millions of global learners has been made possible by positive word of mouth.

 Notable Best Practices:

  • Engage with your target audience actively and encourage them to share their feedback. Allow them to be able to do this anonymously, as people are more inclined to provide feedback when given this option.
  • Create discussion forums where your learners can communicate with each other to share insights and support each other. Be sure to moderate these forums.
  • Ask graduates to share their successful course completion (their certificate and achievements) on their social media channels.
  • Use related social media influencers to give a shout-out to your course or brand.


  1. A Multi-method Approach

In this article, you’ve discovered seven proven ways you can promote your online course. While each of these methods delivers results in their own right, it is worthwhile to follow the multi-method approach taken by Marie Foloe and Neil Patel, as explained in this article. 

You can build your strategy to promote an online course into a multifaceted approach. This diversification will help you reach a wider range of potential students and also provide redundancy to your advertisement approach.

We have comprehensively covered how to market your online course. In this section, we will look at the benefits of using a multi-method approach for promoting online courses.

Diversifying audience reach

Using a combination of methods explained in this article, you can diversify your audience reach. Individuals respond differently to different modes of communication; some respond well to social media advertisements and others prefer hearing it from someone they trust. Using a mixed approach will help you convert more leads to customers.

Enhancing brand visibility

Each of the online learning promotional methods mentioned in this article positively affects brand visibility in a unique way. For example, using social media establishes an online presence, content writing and SEO improves search engine visibility, and cold emailing reaches out to specifically targeted audiences through their email inbox. When used together, they create a comprehensive promotional strategy to reach potential students through various touchpoints.

Building trust and credibility

As a course creator, you want to ensure your potential students encounter consistent messaging about your course across social media, testimonials, and other content available online. More skeptical learners will dig deeper into your course before buying it. For example, they may come across your Google ads and start searching for information about your course and its reviews online. If they can’t find additional information, they are less likely to enroll on your course.

This multi-channel approach will increase the complexity of your overall marketing strategy, as you will need to keep information up-to-date and consistent right across the web. However, this extra bit of effort can mean the difference between raging success and failure.

Maximizing resources and budget:

The methods mentioned in this article have different costs associated with their use. Using multiple promotional methods lets you leverage your promotional budget to the maximum. For example, after spending a big portion of your budget on paying a big social media influencer, you may be left with a smaller amount that you can no longer use to pay another influencer. In this case, you can use your leftover budget to pay for a cheaper advertising method like content marketing.

Progressive investment:

It is easy to monitor the success of your advertising campaigns using powerful online tools and techniques. You can make a small start to your promotional campaign using multiple methods and create checkpoints to evaluate the effectiveness of each method. 

If one method performs better than others, you can confidently invest more of your time and budget into the more successful method. That’s not to say that you should necessarily discontinue poorer-performing promotion methods; rather you should make the required adaptations to it.

Partnering with professionals who know how to promote an online course can add enormous value to making these decisions and optimize your online course promotion budget.

Are you ready to take your online course to the next level? 

Course Incubator specializes in marketing services for online course creators just like you. Book a discovery call today and let us help you devise a personalized marketing strategy that will turn your leads into enrollments. Don’t let marketing hurdles hold you back. Together, we’ll make your online course a resounding success!

Ant Tyler
Ant Tyler

Ant Tyler: A seasoned content writer and marketing expert, specializing in crafting strategic, sales-driving content. Experienced in both traditional and digital marketing landscapes, Ant helps brands flourish.

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