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Every Effective Way to Marketing an Online Course

  • Be recognized as an expert on the topic outside of the course platform.
  • Create a YouTube channel and create regular free videos with useful information about your topic
  • Start an email list and regularly email your readers with useful information about your topic
  • Create or join a LinkedIn group devoted to your topic (no spam, but genuine help)
  • Create or join a Facebook group devoted to your topic (no spam, but genuine help)
  • Find questions on Quora to answer (no spam, but genuine help)
  • Find questions on StackOverflow to answer (no spam, but genuine help)
  • Partner with someone who already has a following
  • Buy ads
  • Join HARO (help a reporter out) and help reporters answer their questions
  • Pinterest
  • Give free coupons only to people who have big followings (influencers) and may possibly recommend your course to their followers

Have any more ideas? Let me know!


Like Cyber Monday Sales? Want More?

  • ​“November has been awesome!!!”
  • “Craziest sale since I joined Udemy in 2012”
  • “November is marvelous”

You might find yourself saying those things, or seeing others raving, about what has happened over the last couple of days.

Black Friday (and now Cyber Monday) has always been an interesting time of year. Some of us have been saying this all year, while a few notable instructors have been saying that “it’s not possible that it can be something special”. As we can all currently see, Udemy can turn on the jets when it needs to.

The next big sale is January New Year’s sale. You may want to take some of the tips from my Udemy SEO course, apply them to your courses, and put yourself in a bit of a better position for January.

I’m going to steal Jason Dion’s quote in the Udemy Instructor Club at this point:

  • “Scott Duffy, thanks for the SEO course that I bought this weekend. I finished it this morning and spent the afternoon updating all my course descriptions, titles, etc. I think the course is a must watch for any Udemy instructor to stop and think about how they are displaying their courses to the world!”

Thank you Jason. I just saw you hit the $40,000 mark, and I’m super thrilled that you’re doing well. I have no doubt next year will be a double of this year for you.

I’ve seen a lot of nice feedback on the Udemy SEO course which I just re-recorded on Black Friday day. So to catch the freshest content (can’t get fresher than “recorded last Friday”), you should grab this now. And be prepared for January.


Why Help People?

Recently there was a question posted in a Facebook group I am in, and I thought it was worth capturing outside Facebook for posterity. I think it’s a good question.

I said:

I’ve used Quora in the past by answering questions on my topic. The internet is a big place, and there are people asking “how would I do X?”. It’s so easy to just start to provide answers to people. Not to sell them something directly. But to help them and build your authority as a smart person in that topic.

My tip is to be genuine. Just help people. Don’t try to sell. The more you help, the better you will do on Udemy. I swear!

And the question came back:

How does being known in Quora help you to sell courses? By students doing a google search for you or do you have a chance to have a link in your profile or something? I’m not familiar at all with Quora, sorry.

Which is a good question. How does helping answering questions on the Internet help you if you are not directly pitching your thing to them at that same moment.

It doesn’t have to be Quora. It can be any place where people ask questions and you can answer. Facebook, Twitter, Stack Overflow, Reddit, Yahoo Answers, basically any question and answer site.

Have a look at this:

The idea is that you put yourself as a true authority on the topic.

If someone was searching Google for TOGAF, they might stumble upon that answer. And they’d see my name with the green check mark. They might see my name a lot when it comes to that topic. And maybe in the future they see I have a course, and they think “oh that name sounds familiar!”

More directly, those platforms allow you to have a profile, and you can certainly talk about your career being an online instructor there. And Google indexes that too.

It’s about being an authority in a topic. You can anoint yourself an authority, but it’s much better if many other people see you as an authority too.

Hopefully, that’s clear.

There is benefit to being viewed as an authority on a topic. If you teach a course on the “ancient Japanese paper folding art of Origami”, then creating free YouTube videos talking about Origami, having an Origami blog, answering questions about Origami all over the web should be part of you being seen as THE Origami expert. That will lead to more course sales.


How Can Cloud Mining Ever Work?

This post is not so much about video courses, but allow me a chance to talk about something else I follow closely – Bitcoin and Crypto. In this post, I want to talk about “the dream” that is cloud mining.

If you’re not aware, there are companies that will “rent” you servers to mine bitcoin. The servers live in their data center, use their electricity, and they take care of everything. You give them money, tell them your Bitcoin address, and they’ll turn it on for you.

Let’s use Genesis Mining as an example, although there are others.

Today, I can “rent” 100 MH/s of Etherium mining for a 2 year contract, for US$2799.

Using a web based calculator, I can see that 100 MH/s is expected to profit US$129.66 per month at current rates. Or $1577 per year, or $3140 in 2 years.

So would you pay $2800 today for $3140 in 2 years?

That’s about a 5% return on investment if nothing bad happens. Given the risk of crypto-currencies, and the up and down fluctuations of prices, there is a certain level of risk to this.

5% annual return in a high-risk investment seems a bit foolish. Put that $2,800 in a low-fee stock index fund instead.


Equipment I’ve Used to Make Courses and Videos

Decided to record a video today to talk about the tools and equipment I’ve used over the years to make videos.

Note: Some links may be affiliate.

There’s some software that I commonly use:

And various bits of recording equipment.

Very little of it is required to get started. But over the last 3 years, I’ve picked up a few items to help me go faster.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of it.


How I Create Promo Videos for my Online Courses

Today I decided to re-record the promo video for my top-selling course. I do that every year, usually just before the fall Black Friday period. We’re 3 months from Black Friday, and so now’s a good time to make those landing pages and promo videos better.

First- here is the video that I just created.

So, let me tell you the 12 steps it took to make this video.

Number one, it starts with the script. I write what I want to say in a text file. Now over the years, I’ve learned how to write a promo video, and if I’d give a couple of tips about that it would be this.

  • Keep it short.
  • Focus on the outcomes for the student. Nobody wants to learn PHP, for instance, but people do want to get a high-paying web developer job or solve problems with their website without having to ask someone.
  • And ask for the sale at the end.

Number two, I import the script into my iPad using a software called Prompt Smart Pro. It’s not free, but it’s paid for itself easily for me. The cool thing about this software is that it listens for my voice, and as I talk, the script automatically advances so that the next thing to say is always on screen. The problem I had in the past with teleprompter software was it would advance at a constant speed, and so I was sometimes waiting for it to catch up, or having to talk faster to keep up.

Number three, I record the talking head using my DSLR, Canon T5i. I put the iPad in my telepromter, turn on the lights, plug in the microphone, turn on the camera, and go. I have a permanent studio in my basement so that I can record talking heads without having to do a lot of set up or tear down after.

Number four, I take the video off of the camera. I have an external hard disk (WD My Cloud) where I save all my raw videos to. Every raw video I have ever recorded lives in one directory on my external hard disk.

Number five, I clean the audio. I import the video into Audacity, do some volume adjustments (Equalization) and do some noise removal. Depending on the audio, I remove heavy breaths, remove ums and ahs, and silence any noises that shouldn’t be there. I can do this fairly quickly since I’ve done it so often.

Number six, I use editing software called Adobe After Effects to merge the original raw video, with the cleaned up audio. I trim the beginning and end, so that the talking head part of the video is “clean”. I mute the audio of the original video so that only the edited audio is playing.

Number seven, now I start adding effects to it. I created a pre-roll a year ago for my Azure courses, and I use that same pre-roll on each talking head video in the course. Note that I don’t use the pre-roll on most videos. Just on the talking heads. I will “fade to black” at the end of the video to give it a professional effect at the end.

Number eight, I usually add music to the background of my talking heads. I turn the volume of the music down to -20 decibels or lower. I don’t want the music being annoying, but I do think certain music adds energy to a short video and keeps the brains attention.

Number nine, I add a small animated name tag that I bought off Themeforest. I bought a pack of animated graphics for After Effects that I can modify to say what I wish. I have a favorite one that I use that has my name, and I can change the title to whatever is appropriate. Another thing that makes it appear professional.

Number ten, I’ll use Adobe After Effects to add text on screen where needed. Especially for promo videos. I don’t normally do this for videos inside the course. But if I want to highlight something, I’ll add some text.

Number eleven, I sometimes like to record b-roll. B-roll is this concept of recorded moving videos that play while you are talking. This is good because the viewer does not spend 2 straight minutes looking at you. Every 30-45 seconds, a short clip plays showing something relevant. I recorded the Microsoft website in a couple of places, and play that for 10 seconds or less during the promo.

Finally, number twelve, I added a couple of images like “take this course” at the end. Sometimes I like to show the “30-day money back guarantee” as a logo. But the image highlights the call to action.

That seems like a lot of work. Twelve steps. But honestly it takes me about four hours to do all of it. And by making my course seem fresh, up to date for August 2017, I think those four hours will add several thousand dollars to my income over the next 8-10 months.



Parlaying Success with Selling Digital Goods Online

parlay (noun): a cumulative series of bets in which winnings accruing from each transaction are used as a stake for a further bet.

So let’s say you have at least one digital product out there (let’s say an online course but could be anything) and you are making a steady amount of money each month from that.

Let’s say, for sake of example, that you’re making $1000 per month from selling one course on Udemy. What’s the one thing you can do to increase that to $1,500 or $2,000 per month?

a) create more free content (blog posts and YouTube videos) to drive to the paid product

b) work to improve that product, answering student questions, redoing videos, and in general make it better

c) create a new course on a related topic

d) try to get someone famous to tweet out a link to your course

I could go on, but I’ll stop. If you said (c), you win a lollipop.

One reliable way to turn one success into the next is to create something ELSE for that same audience and give them the opportunity to purchase it from you.

Beyond the “initial launch”, those few days after you email the link to your list for the first time, the ongoing effect on organic sales is also immediate and long lasting:

  1. Gives future students more than one thing to buy from you at once. You won’t believe how many students buy 2, 3, 4 or more courses from me at a time. Happens every day.
  2. Increases your authority on the topic. (You instruct one course on X? Cute. You instruct 5 courses on X? Now I’m listening to you.)
  3. Gives a student who finds you and doesn’t like your first product another option to buy from you. So let’s say they don’t like “beginners guide to X”, but you offer “intermediate guide to X”… that might catch their attention. So you get a sale you would not otherwise get.
  4. Increases the chances of being found. One more thing for Google to index. One more entry in the Udemy search results. One more thing for someone to blog about with a backlink. Also you dominate the marketplace. You’re everywhere. There are categories like music and bread making (and TOGAF) where students have virtually no choice on who to buy from. When you dominate in a category, you tend to take the air out of the room for your competitors.

Some of those might seem like minor things, but if you’re successful on a topic, you’re just on the first rung of the ladder. The way to get to the top is to move up to the second rung. And then the third.


What’s the Big Deal with Udemy Live? (2017 Edition)

I just got back early in the morning from San Francisco and Udemy Live 2017, and thought I can drop some thoughts on my experience while they’re still fresh.

I arrived in SFO on the Thursday, and had a few good things happen. First, my hotel was ready for me at 10am so I was able to check in and get settled pretty much as soon as I arrived. I stayed at the Palace again, and it’s a “nice hotel” with a “nice hotel price”. I mean, it’s really expensive but I couldn’t find an alternative that was close to where I wanted to be. But got there and got checked in. The hotel was great.

Later that day, I met up with Sarah Cordiner and we went over to see some of our Udemy friends at their Airbnb. We had a nice dinner and some drinks, and it was nice to hang out and chat for a few hours there.

Friday was when things got serious. Met up with some folks at a bar, and then headed over to Udemy HQ. Got to meet the Udemy for Business folks, and got a good sense of their excitement in building that business. Got some cool UFB socks.

Then it was downstairs to meet the larger Udemy team. I felt rushed because I had to leave early for another Udemy event, so this meet and greet went by quickly. Got to see the new Udemy CEO for the first time, and talk to some old friends.

Then I had to rush off to dinner with some fellow instructors. Great chance to sit with Phil Ebiner and his wife, and we got a chance to have a long chat. The steak was good too, as were the views.

Saturday, the conference started in earnest. Up early, before 7am, to shower and rush downstairs. I wanted to be there super early, and probably got in the door around 7:10am. Good thing I did, as I was able to sign up to a few one-on-one sessions with Udemy staff to talk specifically about my business and my courses. That was a great idea, and was so glad to catch that.

Now I found, like last year, it was tough to decide which sessions to attend. I wished I could go to them all. Could we turn the event into 3 days? I guess not. But I really missed a few sessions I wish I attended.

So what were the best sessions? Hard to say. The session led by Udemy on “Global Expansion” really stuck with me. I came away thinking about more I can do to make my courses available worldwide. I got to see Mimi G, and she’s got a great brand and a great presentation style. There was a lot to take in.

The Gala event was good, but felt shorter than last year. Maybe it’s just a trick of time.

Afterwords at the bar, I got into a discussion with a Udemy person about marketing. I didn’t have a sip of anything, didn’t even get near the bar itself. I was so taken in with a discussion on marketing courses, that the time just few by and before I knew it it was 1am. Another illusion of time. How did 6pm turn into 1am without feeling like 7 hours?

Sunday’s session was interesting. Watched the closing keynote by Danielle LaPorte. Now I’ve heard of her, but was not really aware of her style or message. It’s fair to say that there were things she said that didn’t resonate with me (something about chakras), but I found her to be brutally honest on stage. She talked about her struggles in business – not from a “slept on a couch and now I’m rich” way that many internet gurus wear like a badge of honor – but she still has struggles even today. She came across as sharing all and not selling.

She’s a creative person and she was trapped running a business and far away from feeling creative. That I get.

I believe in listening to all people from all walks of life. I will listen to a hard core internet marketer, and then listen to someone talking about chakras and opening yourself up to the universe. If you only are open to receiving one message, you’ll be missing out on a lot of truths and buying into a lot of lies.

Was the conference worth it? A strong YES! Yes, I am glad I went and yes I will go again next year. Sign me up.

Was the conference perfect? I mean, there were times I was sitting in a session and wished I had chosen something else.  There were a ton of people I wanted to spend even 10 minutes chatting for a bit, but time just flew by. (Plus they were quite busy making sure the event was going off as planned.) On the whole the sessions were great. I went for the people, and made maximum advantage of meeting new and interesting people, and getting ideas to grow my business.

The end.


Stop Waiting for Someone to Pick You

Success is not a lottery. Most times, success is not the result of luck.

I see people who create things online, and are passively waiting for success to happen. They blog, they create YouTube videos, they create books and courses. Rinse and repeat. More blogs, more videos, more books, more courses. Round and round and round.

And they are patiently waiting for someone to pick them. Waiting for someone with influence to say “Hey everyone! Look at this cool thing”. Or waiting for a big corporation to notice their brilliance and choose to make them popular. Waiting to get lucky.

Sometimes it works like that, I guess. Sometimes a record company notices that singer who’s quietly making good songs on YouTube and offers them a record deal. Sometimes Oprah notices a little-known book and it becomes a million-seller overnight. Sometimes Apple notices that obscure health app and features it as new and noteworthy. And sometimes TechCrunch features startup companies that nobody has heard of and investors rush to invest. Sometimes.

But do you know what happens more often? The gifted singer emails a link to their song to 100 people with connections in the music business. They ask their friends to email anyone they know who works in the music business. They call radio stations and beg them to play their song. They travel to L.A. and will play for free in any bar or restaurant that will let them. They work their butt off to get noticed. And if they’re good, someone notices them.

The talented writer sends physical copies of their books to 100 editors and 100 agents – plus Oprah. The course seller contacts the owners of marketplaces and gets featured on the home page of that marketplace. Any information product seller contacts influencers in their market and gets featured in popular blogs and magazines.

Do you want a feature in Rolling Stone? What have you directly done to let any writer or editor at Rolling Stone know that you exist?

If you want to be noticed, you have to put your hand up. You have to stand apart from the crowd not hide among them. You have to hustle. You have to do uncomfortable things like emailing and calling and sending things in the mail to people you don’t know. I’m willing to bet that success is more likely to happen to someone who has something good plus spends time trying to get people to look at it, than people who have something good and tell no one, hoping to be discovered randomly.


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.

Basic SEO

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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
What's this?

What’s this?


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. Survey your students. Send out a Google Forms survey to your students and ask them for one or two things to improve the course?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


Improve You

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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


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