25 Ways to Increase the Possibility of Sales for Udemy Instructors
I made a bold claim in Udemy Instructor Club that there were at least 25 things you can do today to move you closer to getting sales or increasing your sales. People asked for the list.
So as a challenge to myself, and a benefit to others, here are 25 things (some easy, some hard, some fast, some long-term) that you can do to increase the chance of getting sales.
There are no shortcuts here. There is no “1 thing” that will magically take you from $0 to $1000. There isn’t. Stop believing in magic. It takes work.
You need to do 1 thing from this list every time you look at your course sales and they are not what you want them to be.
These things come from my SEO course, but here’s the highlights. Take a look at what people see when they do a Udemy course for your topic. I’m talking about the search results page. Look at the top courses in your topic, and look at your course side by side. Chances are their course LOOKS better than your course. Why?
- Look closely at the title of your course. What can you do to improve it? Join some copywriting groups, ask around, and make one small improvement to your course title. You can always change it back right? But your first title idea is not the best title idea. It can be better!
- Look closely at your course image. Does it scream “this is the course! buy me! buy me!” Most Udemy courses have bland images that hardly have anything to do with the course contents. Put some thought and work into what would be a better image. Go to a stock photo site. Find a great one. Buy it. Crop it. Go to fiverr and get an image made. Add your own photo to it. Do something to make that image just a bit better and make the student stop scrolling and look at your course.
- Watch your promo video. Watch it again and again and again. Is it amazing? Would you say your promo video is the best it can be? Can it be better? How would you make it better? Make a better promo video. It’s the first thing a lot of people see. It has to be better than it is. Mention the Q&A forum. Mention the money back guarantee. In fact, watch a lot of promo videos from others, and make notes on what they do that you can copy for yours.
- How are your reviews? 4.9 stars? No? Only 3.9 stars? Why? Don’t tell me competitors are sabotaging you. Don’t tell me freebie seekers are bad students. Why do people feel that your course is not better than they expected? Read your reviews. Read the good ones. Why do they like you? Read the bad ones. Why don’t they like you? Don’t dismiss these people as crazy! Maybe some of them are, but not all of them. Many are good people trying to leave a comment to help you improve or help other students find right course.
A megaphone, a rocket ship, an hour glass, a light-bulb?
Is this course image doing anything to sell the course? No. It’s not meaningful, and doesn’t stir any emotion in the viewer. Sorry. Bad image.
Improve the Product
Making a good course that hundreds and thousands of people want to buy is not easy. It’s not a 5-hour afternoon of work to whip out a course. You need to invest time and energy in it. And it’s not perfect even then. If you’re course is not selling, chances are high that your product can be better than it is. That doesn’t mean longer, it could mean shorter. But it can be better.
- There’s something new in your industry. Or a topic that you should have covered but didn’t have time to get to. Now’s the time. Create a new video and add it to the course. Create a really useful 5-minute new video covering some other topic. And notify existing students by educational announcement to get them to come see. And add this fact to your course landing page. Prospective students want to see that a course is always updated.
- Pretend you are a student, and watch your own course. When was the last time you sat down and watched your own course? Most people say never. Take a day, and start from lecture 1. Watch your whole course. Pay attention. Take notes as you go. In lesson 1, there’s a spelling mistake on screen. In lesson 2, you say something that is actually no longer correct. In lesson 3, you are boring as heck talking for 10 minutes about something that is not really important. Be your own critic. And go back and fix those problems you see. Become a perfectionist, and update videos. Fix issues. Make it better. It should improve your ratings.
- Get someone else to watch your course. Hire someone on Upwork to watch one hour of your course and give you detailed feedback. Tell them to be honest with you. (And tell them NOT to leave a review when Udemy asks because that’s a major policy violation.) That should cost $20-$50. That will be an amazing investment. Reading someone else’s private comments will help you improve. A friend might also do this, but it’s hard to ask for a couple of hours of someone’s time for no compensation and you need someone to take this seriously.
- Add more value. What can you do to make this a better experience for students? Add quizzes. Add a PDF download that summarizes the section. Add links to external documentation on the topic if they want to learn more. Add assignments – make the students do some homework and turn it in for review. Turn your course into something really great!
- Redo the course. If you’ve watched the course, and fixing one video here and one video there won’t do. Fix it all. If you can make a better course now that you have more experience making courses (and perhaps more experience in the topic), then make a plan to re-film the entire thing. Consider deleting the existing lectures and uploading it for existing students to get for free! Not many people are going to do this. BUT if students had v1 of the course, and you create v2 and give it to them for free, what’s not to love about that!
- Survey your students. Send out a Google Forms survey to your students and ask them for one or two things to improve the course?
- Create a new course. You can also help people by creating more relevant products that they will like. So improve your existing course, and then create the next in the series. Always create courses that have some relationship to your existing ones. Makes it easier to sell and builds your authority in the area too.
- Answer students Q&A. A lot of instructors don’t answer questions. So if you’re struggling to get sales, ensuring that you serve your existing students will ensure that they give you higher ratings, increasing your Udemy SEO, and hopefully leading to more sales. Do things your competitors don’t do, and most of your competitors don’t answer students.
- Add surprise bonuses. Who doesn’t love a surprise? The student bought the course to learn X. But you can throw in something of a little more value for them for free! Something they don’t expect. A PDF copy of a complete book on the topic. A free 20-minute call with you to discuss their situation. Post their artwork to your website as a “student gallery”. Give, give, give.
- Add more preview videos. Give prospective students MORE info on which to make a buying decision than the other guys do. If you’re sticking to the 10-minute minimum on your 10-hours course, maybe the student is still not sure they like your style. Give them a bit more on which to make a decision. Make your free preview videos 20-minutes instead of 10. If you’re not getting many sales, it can’t hurt you to give more away to entice people to come in.
Improve Your Brand
So you’re teaching a course on improving relationships. What gives you authority to teach such a course? Why are you such a relationship expert? One thing you can do, that will benefit you beyond selling more courses, is to improve your image and reputation as an authority on the subject. Don’t ignore this. Many people will just want to sell more courses and think this has nothing to do with it. If I don’t trust you to teach me something, I won’t buy from you. As simple as that.
- Start a blog. Write a blog post on your existing blog. Write a medium post. You build your authority by getting your name out there in connection with the industry. So write a blog post relevant to your industry. Make it a good one. Not something with 10 words and a link to something someone else wrote. But a real blog post with hundreds or thousands of original words. Like this. You become an authority by being an authority.
- Time to become a bit more professional. Make your Udemy bio picture more professional. No more goofy picture of you swimming. Make it a picture that looks professional to the audience you hope to teach. Work on your bio text too. Make it seem like you ARE the right person to teach this subject. You’re not just some dude who discovered teaching last week and thought he’d throw a basic course on WordPress Installation up (don’t be that dude). You are a professional in this field, and you’re willing to show people just getting started the way to get to where you are.
- Improve all your web sites. This is a larger branding exercise. Again, as above, there should be a consistency look / feel / language across all your web properties. I don’t know that students will be Googling your name before buying, but certainly if people find your own website before finding you on Udemy, what will they think? Do you even have links to your courses on there? Does it look like a professional’s web site? Spend a little time and money making yourself look like an authority.
- Blog on other people’s websites. Contact people/companies who have blogs that accept guest bloggers, that have audiences that might overlap. Huffington Post comes to mind. But there are big blogs in every industry, and you can write for them. They might not pay you, but this is about building your authority as an expert. They might even let you link back to your own stuff.
- Write an ebook and put it on the Kindle store. Become an authority by expanding the number and types of platforms on which you appear.
- Write a real paper book. Real books are great. Having one in your hand is a good feeling. Hard work to create, but again, authority. More chances for people to be aware of your name in connection with this topic.
- Become a better teacher. Enough with the same old crappy powerpoint slides. It’s time to raise your game. Take a course on video creation, and get better at this. Get the software you need. Free or cheap at first, but be willing to pay if it will get you to a new level. Get the skills to pay the bills. Learn video editing. Learn audio editing. Get soundproofing. Find a better room in your house to record. Become better at this. It’s hard. But try. When you become better at this, your competition falls behind.
- Become a better marketer. There are a ton of marketing courses out there. Lots of free ones too. Udemy has some. Coursera has some. Start learning the basics. Learn about funnels. Learn about branding. Learn about Google SEO. Slowly at first. But month by month, get better at it. This is part of your job as a teacher. You need to learn to sell. This will improve your life forever if you get good at this.
- Get better in your topic area. I don’t believe that there’s anyone who’s mastered anything to the point where they can stop learning. At least I haven’t met anyone. If you teach photography, you can learn some new things about photography that will help you teach your students. If you teach Photoshop, you can get better at that. Almost anything you can do, you can get better at. And that will make you a better teacher, more authoritative, and ultimately put you above the competition.
Market Your Course
I put this at the end because many people will skip all of the above and go straight to this. Don’t do that. Why?
Because you can’t sell a piece of crap, at scale.
Maybe you can do it once. But you can’t do it 10,000 times.
I’ll be perfectly honest here. Many people have courses that will just never sell to tens of thousands of students. It’s not the best course on Udemy on the topic. The instructor is not an authority. The student has NO REASON to buy this course compared to the others available. And thus, trying to sell it will be trying to push a rock up a flat wall. It’s very hard to do that for too long.
So please, improve your course first. And improve your authority. And then after that, pushing that rock is like pushing a smooth stone across an ice skating rink… it’s much easier.
But if you are improving the quality of your course and improving your authority as a teacher, you can add some marketing elements to increase your chances of success.
- Add your course to Pinterest. Pinterest is a site that accepts photos and links. Seems a no-brainer to put a course image and a link to the course there. Not many courses are there.
- Add your promo and preview videos to YouTube. These videos are free to view on Udemy anyways, so why not put them on YouTube, Facebook or any other video site with coupon links back to your courses.
- Create specific sales videos for those platforms. The Udemy promo video might be good for selling a Udemy course on Udemy. But consider creating a specific video who’s goal is to get the viewer to click a buy now link at the end. Think of it like a webinar or an evergreen webinar. You create a 10-20 minute helpful video on your topic, and at the end link to your Udemy course. Add these to YouTube and Facebook.
- Udemy bonus lectures. Are you using bonus lectures? Only 1/3 of Udemy courses even have them. Create bonus lectures and ensure you’re linking to your other courses. Update the bonus lectures of old courses from time to time. You’d be surprised that so many bonus lectures are out of date now. Most coupons are invalid. No excuse for that. Keep the bonus lecture fresh.
- Add links to Udemy in your Twitter bio. In your YouTube bio. In your Quora bio. Everywhere. Don’t just have these islands of social media out there. Link them all to one thing. Don’t link everything to everything! Link everything to one thing. Make that your website or make that Udemy.
- Do you have an email list? Email them. I fell into this trap of having a list of 800+ people, and I never email them. Make sure you keep in contact with people. Like this educational announcement which I will send to my students with this blog post. Keep in semi-regular contact with people. And then when you market to them, they won’t mind so much.
- Create more lead magnets. Do you know about the cold > warm > hot strategy? Different marketers call it different things. It can be lead magnet > trip wire > core offer. It could be sidewalk > slow lane > fast lane. Whatever it is (learn about funnels and lead strategies), it can’t hurt to create little pieces of content that you can offer to give away. So create a checklist. Create a 5-page ebook. Create an epic list like this. Create something that is valuable, that is aimed to draw people into you.
- Run ads. Might not be the smartest thing to pay money to send people to Udemy, but if you want to build an email list, or you want to get social proof on your blog post, or you want to build your brand or authority, spending $10 or $20 every once and a while can be worth it.
- Create a generic Facebook group on your topic area. Instead of building your Facebook group around you, build a Facebook group around a topic. Do you teach English? Build the “learn English” Facebook group. Don’t be too spammy or self-promotional. But be helpful. Make a group that thousands of people will naturally join, help them, and then when you have a new course on the topic, let them know.
- Work with others. It’s hard to succeed on your own sometimes. So why not link up with people who can help each other? My friend Ravinder Deol just posted a photo to Instagram about a new Bitcoin course he is working on with two other instructors. Three is better than one. He’s serving his students better (and the other two instructors are serving their students too). Everyone wins, a true win-win.
I guess that’s 33 ways to increase the possibility of sales for Udemy and other online instructors. More than you expected!
Have a great day! Scott