Conversion Optimization

4 Reasons Online Courses Flop

Launching an online course? Stay far away from these major mistakes.

Source: z_wei / iStock / Getty

Launching an online course has become all the rage for many businesses because it’s passive income, you can cast yourself as an authority in your industry, and it allows you to serve on a topic you’re passionate about. But with the number of online courses floating around the Internet, it’s hard to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. Here are four reasons online courses flop—and how to avoid the same mistakes.

  • Your prelaunch time frame wasn’t long enough. In order to launch a successful online course, customers need to already trust you, meaning your content marketing strategy needs to be on point for at least 3–5 months before you launch or pitch your course. Whether you’re blogging, hosting in-person events, podcasting, or even just hopping on Instagram Live every week, make sure you’re connecting with potential customers and giving them the information they need to feel comfortable purchasing your course.
  • You didn’t have a firm grasp on what your customers needed. Is the information you’re teaching what you want to give or what your customers want to hear? Those two things aren’t always aligned, and if you miss the mark, you’ll see it in your sales. Your course should be on a topic your customers have frequently asked about in the past.
  • You under-delivered. If you promised an engaged Facebook community and no one participated in it or tactical tips in your videos and then took a shallower route, your customers will ask for refunds, which is the worst-case scenario. So, make sure you put a lot of time and energy into deciding the format of your course so that your promises align with reality.
  • Your pricing was off. This is often what marketers jump to first when it should be what they look at last. If you truly feel like your content is rock solid, you may simply be pricing incorrectly. Look around at similar courses in your niche, and try to get a feel for what people are spending. Also, remember to keep your audience in mind—college students can’t afford the same courses as Fortune 500 CEOs. You could also offer tiered pricing with bonus add-ons included in higher levels. Remember that it’s better to raise the price eventually than have to knock it down, so don’t be afraid of starting smaller.