Your First 1000 Students: How to Sell and Online Course

May 31, 2023

Why are you teaching?

Before you create your course, it's important to consider why you are teaching this topic. The answer can have a big impact on how the course is designed and what kind of experience students have while they're taking it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I teaching this?
  • What do I want my students to know or be able to do after taking my course?
  • What qualifies me as an expert in this field?

What's the most important thing people need to know about your topic?

The most important thing to know about your topic is that it's huge. The one big idea you want students to take away from it? That's going to be a hard one.

The reason why this question is so difficult is because there are so many ways you could answer it, and each way would lead down an entirely different path of content creation and marketing strategy. If I were teaching a course on how to build houses, my thesis would be something like: "Houses are made up of lots of different parts." But if I taught a course on how houses are built by professional contractors who specialise in that kind of construction work, then my thesis would probably sound more like: "You should hire someone who knows what they're doing when building houses because otherwise your house might fall down."

What's your thesis for the course?

Your thesis is the single most important part of your course. It's what makes your audience want to buy it, and it should be compelling and succinct.

Your thesis should be a simple summary of what your course is about: "I am going to teach you how to cook." Or, "This class will help you create an app in just one week." Or even better: "In this course I'll show you how to make $100k as a freelance designer by next year." The point here is not only that these statements are clear but also that they're bold enough (and believable) that people will want them - they're motivating!

The best way I've found for coming up with good titles or subtitles is by thinking back over my own experience with buying online courses myself; I remember being drawn into certain ones because they promised something specific - for example, "How To Get Your First 1000 Students" or "The Secret Sauce For Writing A Book In 30 Days".

What is the one big idea you want students to take away from it?

The one big idea is the most important takeaway from your course. It's what you want your students to remember and apply, long after they have finished watching or reading. The one big idea should be something that makes your course unique and better than other courses available on the market.

The best way I've found to come up with a good one big idea is by brainstorming with others who know nothing about what you're working on. Ask them questions like: What do they think would make this course successful? Why would people buy it over other similar products? Or perhaps even more simply - if there were only one thing that could help someone achieve their goals in life (whether physical fitness or financial security), what would it be?

What's a secret you can share that will entice your audience to purchase the class?

You want your audience to take away one big idea from the course. This can be anything from "I will never forget how important it is to clean my keyboard" to "my life will never be the same again."

As an example, here are some possible titles for courses on my topic:

  • How To Be More Productive at Work (Thesis: Your time is limited; make sure you spend it wisely)
  • How To Make Money in Real Estate Without Having Any Experience (Thesis: If you know what you're doing, real estate investing can be very profitable)

Create a course outline.

You've got a great idea for an online course. The next step is to outline the course content, structure, format and schedule. This will help you avoid missing any important details and ensure that your first 1000 students are happy with their purchase.

  • Outline the course outline: A good way to start is by making some notes about what topics you want to cover in each module of your online course. You can also think about how these modules fit together as part of a larger whole (e.g., if there are going be three separate sections or if they're all part of one bigger unit).
  • Outline the structure: Once you've got an idea of what topics need covering and how they'll be organised into smaller chunks, it's time to decide how those chunks will fit together into larger sections - and then even bigger units! This might sound like a lot but don't worry; it doesn't have to take long once we get started on this next step...

Choose your mediums.

When you're planning your online course, it's important to choose the medium that will be most effective for your learners.

  • Video: Video is an excellent way of teaching because it helps people learn better than text alone. You can record videos on your own or hire a professional videographer to do it for you (and if you don't have time for the latter option, check out my free video editing course).
  • Text: Text-based content is great if what you want to teach requires a lot of reading and analysis - for example, if it's an advanced course in statistics or philosophy where students need time and space away from distractions like other people talking in their ear while they try to study! Text also works well as supplemental material alongside more active learning methods like quizzes and tests.

Create a unique course identity.

You need to create a course that is different from all the others. Make sure it is clear what your course is about, and make sure it's not just another generic online marketing course.

For example: "Your First 1000 Students" or "How I Created My First Online Business".

It's just like any other product creation process, you just have to understand how to make it fit online with video and text resources

It's just like any other product creation process, you just have to understand how to make it fit online with video and text resources.

The first thing you need to do is understand what your audience wants. There are so many options out there that if you don't know what they want, then how will they find your course? Secondly, you need to create something that stands out from the crowd of competitors in this space. If there are already dozens of courses on Udemy about teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), then yours needs something special about it if people are going pay for it instead of opting for free alternatives.

FAQs on Selling an Online Course

Selling an online course requires a strategic approach to attract students and generate enrollments. In this FAQ section, we address common questions about selling online courses, providing insights and tips to help you achieve your goal of reaching your first 1000 students.

How do I identify my target audience for my online course?

Identifying your target audience is the first step in creating an online course. If you don't know who is going to buy your product, then how do you expect them to buy it?

It's important that you have a clear picture of who will be interested in what you have to offer. You may think that everyone would benefit from taking your course, but this isn't necessarily true! Some people have no interest in learning about what interests other people (and vice versa).

The most effective way for me when identifying my target audience was by asking myself: "Where am I located?" Then I asked myself another question: "What am I passionate about?" And finally another question: "Who are some of my close friends and colleagues?" This helped me narrow down on one specific group of people who were very similar to me and had similar interests as well as location/backgrounds so that I could create content specifically targeted towards them instead of wasting time trying to create generic content meant for everyone when really only 5% would ever use such information anyways...

What are the essential elements of a high-quality online course?

Here are the essential elements of a high-quality online course:

  • A clear purpose. The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want your students to get from the course, and then make sure that every aspect of the class reinforces that goal. If they don't, remove it or revise it until it does.
  • A clear target audience. This should be obvious - you can't teach everyone all at once! So when creating your content, think about who will benefit most from it and create material just for them (and not everyone else).
  • A theme or underlying message throughout all of the lessons in your course that supports its overall purpose and helps guide students toward reaching their goals by taking actionable steps along their journey toward mastery in this area of interest/expertise/professionality/etc., which will likely require multiple steps over time because no one learns everything overnight!

How can I establish credibility and authority in my field to attract students?

In order to attract students, you must establish credibility and authority in your field.

  • Make sure the content of your course is high quality. This can be achieved by:
  • having an established blog or website with a large readership (e.g., if you have a personal blog with 100k visitors per month, that's good). You should also have some sort of social media presence (e.g., 10k followers on Twitter). In addition to this, make sure that when someone searches for information about something related to what they want their course on - and finds multiple results - you're one of them!
  • Write guest posts on other blogs in the same niche as yours; then link back from there into whatever site/course page it is where they can learn more information about what it is exactly that makes up these topics so well explained by yourself! Writing guest articles like these will give potential students an idea about what kind of person writes them since many people read these articles before deciding whether or not they'd like more info about purchasing something from someone else's website/blog/etcetera.

What are some effective marketing strategies to promote my online course?

If you're going to be successful selling an online course, you need to get the word out. Here are some effective marketing strategies:

  • Social media - Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread the word about your new offering. If someone follows your company or brand on social media, they will be exposed to any updates or announcements regarding new products/services that are available through their feed. This can help build trust with potential customers by showing them that you're serious about offering high quality products and services in addition to being an expert in your field.
  • Paid advertising - Paid ads allow businesses like yours who sell digital products (like ebooks) reach thousands of people at once by showing up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). You'll pay based on how many clicks each ad receives so it's important for companies like yours who want exposure but don't have large budgets for advertising campaigns should consider this option carefully before making purchases because there's no guarantee how many conversions will happen after clicking through from SERP listings onto landing pages where registration forms exist.

Should I offer discounts or incentives to attract students?

Discounts are a great way to attract students. You can offer discounts for different periods of time, such as a one-month discount for early bird registration or a three-month discount on all courses if you get 100 students enrolled. You can also offer discounts based on level, such as offering an additional 5% off if they sign up for the intermediate course instead of just the beginner level course. And don't forget about the types of students! If you have multiple types of courses (for example: one focused on web design and another focused on graphic design), then create bundles that give people access to both at once at an even greater savings than buying them separately would provide.


So, there you have it: the basics of how to create an online course. It's not as difficult as it may seem at first glance, but there is a lot that goes into creating high-quality content for your students. Making sure your course is well-designed, filled with engaging lessons and activities, and marketed effectively will help ensure that people buy it - and then stay engaged with what they're learning long after they purchase it!

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