**Edit: Udemy algorithms may have changed since writing this article
What makes an online course a ‘best-seller’?
Many online instructors think that getting a course to best-seller is all about simply getting a truck load of people to join your course, and therefore use the strategy of giving away their courses for free to ‘get numbers’. While this certainly gets your courses noticed by the algorithms that increase your courses search results, it’s only temporary AND importantly, it doesn’t earn you ANY money.
I’ve seen online instructors bragging in forums that they’ve got ‘10,000+ students in a month’, but they’ve only got $20 in their bank account. There isn’t much ‘best-seller’ about that if you ask me.
I want to show you the strategies that I have used to not only get high student numbers, to get my course into ‘top notch and trending’ out of over 30,000 courses, but ones that actually PAY you for your lovingly developed IP too.
The biggest questions that all online instructors have is “now that I spent hours and hours lovingly creating my course, putting tons of content in place, how do I actually start making money from it? How do I sell it? How do I get out there?”
I’m going to show you by first explaining to you what the top success criteria are when it comes to having an online course best-seller.
In one of my online courses, I have put together for you the TOP 100+ ONLINE COURSE MARKETING STRATEGIES, the hacks, tips, techniques and ways that you can promote, market, sell and maximise the sales and passive income from your online courses so that you can create that online learning lifestyle that you’ve been after.
Strategy 1: Getting Numbers
Getting numbers – ie signing up students as soon as possible from your launch is very important when it comes to getting a best selling course.
The sudden influx of students in a short space of time gets your course noticed by the various algorithms in the host platform you’re using our search engines, and increases the ranking of your course. There are a number of methods you can use to do this including giving away free coupons to your course, or discounted coupons to early bird enrolments.
There are however some serious pros and cons you must be aware of when choosing which of these methods you will use for your course, which I go into in detail in my next article (Part 2) “Should You Give Away Free Coupons To Get A Best-Selling Course?”or in my online course, so I won’t go too much more into that now.
Although important, it’s not the best, nor is it the only strategy we need to be implementing, as there are other criteria that are used to determine your online course best-seller success.
Strategy 2: Continuous Enrolments
The reason why the ‘numbers’ game isn’t always the best option is because it often doesn’t have sustainability. Instructors who do one major push at the launch of their course and then do nothing, are the ones whose courses slowly crawl into a cave.
This then takes us onto the second critical success factor for a best-selling course, which is to implement strategies that draw in continuous enrolments. This not only maintains a high positioning for our course on search engines and list pages, but it also brings in continuous income.
If we don’t have continuous marketing going on for our courses, then they’ll either just fizzle out or will will quickly get taken over by instructors who are who are doing continuous promotions, and we’ll get pushed down that best-selling list.
In my online course, I will show you over 100 ways that you can continuously have students signing up to your course as well as bringing in a continuous trickling of income.
Strategy 3: Student Engagement
The third critical factor behind a bestselling online course is having high student engagement.
To increase your best-selling status and therefore sales, you need to make sure that you have continuous discussion and interaction in your course and that students are actually watching your content. Student engagement, discussion, activity, messaging, responses from and in between you and your students actually carries significant points when it comes to getting noticed by the systems and that also increases your rating.
Your response time to student messages, comments, questions and discussions is very important to your bestseller ranking.
If it takes you a few days to respond it decreases your engagement rating and pulls you down that list. If your response time is very fast it lifts you up. So, if you are looking a passive income by being an online instructor be aware it’s not allpassive. If you really want to be up there making the top dollars, make sure you’re putting in the time for engagement as well.
Strategy 4: Student Completion Rates
Another critical strategy that we need to be aware of in terms of how our course gets rated, is related to the completion rates of our students – meaning how many students actually finish your course.
Low completion rates means a drop in in your popularity ratings and therefore a plummet in your best-seller status.
In all good online learning platforms, instructors can access a private dashboard and look at their course analytics. Within these analytics you can see how many of your students are getting all the way through the lectures, how many of them are dropping off part-way through lectures and which lectures are being skipped past altogether.
This tells you which ones are popular (increasing your ranking) and which ones are not (decreasing your ranking).
In this article series and in my online course, I will take you through some strategies to help you increase your course completion and retention rates so that your ranking stays high.
Strategy 5: Reviews and Ratings
And finally, reviews and ratings are absolutely vital when it comes to getting a best-selling online course.
In online course platforms such as Udemy, there are two different types of ratings.
Internal course ratings and you have external (public) course ratings.
In Udemy, when you’re students have completed approximately 10% of your course; they will automatically receive a pop-up box within the course itself that’s says something along the lines of “how are you enjoying the course so far?”, and then asks them to rate it out of five stars, providing written feedback if they wish. Although not public, these internal ratings are quantified in addition to your external (public) ratings, which then affect your overall course ranking.
What we want to be doing is getting many of our students as we possibly can giving us good, honest reviews both internally and externally.
I will take you through some of the tricks, techniques and warnings we can use to do that in the rest of this article series and in my online course.
So, if your aim is to create a bestselling online course, ensure that all of your marketing strategies result in increases in each of these critical success factors to ensure that you are positioning your course to get you maximum long term sales.