How Much Can You Make Selling Online Courses?
If you've been following along in our series of articles on creating online courses, then you may have read our course pricing guide and how much it costs to create an online course. (Tip: You can save a lot by using our white label courses.) Now you may be asking yourself if it's profitable to sell an online course, and how much you can earn. In this article, we'll walk you through how to estimate your revenue and how you can increase the return on any time and money you invest in creating your course.
Your Starting Point: Estimate Number of Course Sales
In order to calculate how much you'll earn from your course, you need to make a rough estimate of how many students will pay to enroll in it. The number of course sales you make depends on 3 things:
It doesn't matter which area you coach in, these are the 3 things that determine your course sales, so we'll go into each one separately.
How to Determine The Size of Your Audience
Your audience is the current number of people you can reach. Make a list of:
Total this up and you have the size of your audience.
Your audience grows and shrinks over time, so building your audience is an ongoing part of your marketing activities.
What Is The Price of Your Course?
This is the amount you are currently selling your online course for. Your course price can vary from $27 with a low-ticket offer to $1997 with a high-ticket offer. Naturally, you can sell your programs for less or for more, but this is the most common price range for online courses.
You can also offer upsells, down-sells and cross-sells (where you promote additional services) and these will boost your profits. If you're starting out, don't worry about them just yet. But if you're a coach with a course already, then consider adding in one or more of these offers to increase your revenue from your course.
Estimate Your Course Conversion Rate
A lot of people think that multiplying your audience size by your course sales gives you how much money you can make with online courses. It's a big number and NOT realistic. For example, look at what would happen if all your followers bought your course:
7,000 x $27 = $189,000 is what you get when you multiply your audience size with a low ticket offer of $27.
I'm sure you recognize that this is a complete fantasy figure. Your audience conversion rate needs to be factored in. You might have an audience of 10,000 and a conversion rate of 1% (100 sales). Or you might have an audience of 100 with a 90% conversion rate (90 sales). The sales for each audience are only separated by 10, but the conversion rates are dramatically different.
Be realistic and understand that you will not convert 100% of your audience, so look at the types of conversion rates you've had in the past and use those as your baseline estimate. Then recognize that even a small increase in your conversion rate can make a huge impact on your revenue.
What Are Good Conversion Rates for an Online Course?
Is How Much You Make Solely Dependent on Course Sales?
The simple answer is 'No'.
You are not limited by the number of individual sales that you make of online courses. There are other areas where you can increase your profit in addition to your course sales.
Take for example our Sales Pages That Convert course. You can use those ready-to-teach materials to create your own online course for this topic, and as you do the research, you may realize that your audience would LOVE a sales page tool to help them. So you introduce them to Thrive Architect, which is a plugin that works well on WordPress sites. However, not everyone is on WordPress. So you introduce an alternative, LeadPages, for those without WordPress.
Now take a look at how much you can earn from your course:
- 10 course sales at $197 = $1997
- 3 Thrive Architect sales via your affiliate link at $97 = $140 affiliate commission
- 3 LeadPages affiliate sales via monthly subscription of $49 = $100 affiliate commission
- Total from your 10 course sales = $2237
That means you can gain an extra $240 from selling your course on Sales Page That Converts through affiliate commissions.
That's an extra $240 for being helpful and supportive to your students by recommending valuable resources.
What Sales Goals Should You Set for Your Online Course?
Your first goal should be to sell your online courses to your ideal customers. This validates your course idea and helps you recoup your initial investment. Set yourself a goal of between 2-5 sales. You may only make $54, but then you know your audience is interested in this topic, and you can now laser-focus your marketing to make more sales. If you can sell one, you can sell 10. And if you can sell 10, you can sell 100.
Sell One Course a Day
If you sell one course a day, you can make $810 for each 30-day month. This might not sound a lot, but it makes a difference to your income.
Scaling up to Selling 3 Courses a Day
If you scale your course marketing activities, you can grow to $2,430 a month. Now this starts to have a bigger impact on your business.
Keep raising your goal for revenue from your online course as you see what works. You'll be more confident and more targeted with every launch.
5-Figure Course Launches
Some course creators use the launching method to sell their courses. A launch involves intense marketing activity and a limited time that the course is open for enrollment. Launches tend to be high-energy experiences and can bring in a lot of course buyers. Again, this depends on your audience size and your conversion rate. If you have a highly-engaged audience throughout your launch, you can hit 5 figures. Most online course launches tend to be priced in the $197-£1997 range.
But Wait... What about XXX?
Whether it's the economy, a natural disaster, seasonal dips, or local issues, there will always be something that might impact your sales.
This is partly a mindset issue, and it's also partly about understanding your audience and pivoting where needed.
When the current economy is a challenge, you'll find one audience may be declining, but another audience is rising. For example, when house sales slow, remodels and renovations increase. With the Covid pandemic, in-person training declined, but online course sales increased dramatically! Changing your audience slightly means you'll sell more courses.
When it comes to a natural disaster, you can compassionately address that in your marketing - in a sensitive manner. For example, you can donate a % of your sales to a relief organization. You can make a donation from your launch sales. You get to choose how you position yourself. When Ukraine was invaded by Russia, many Ukrainian marketers put together bundles of courses and products to send the money to their home country. When the floods happened in Pakistan, marketers raised money to send to the Red Cross.
Seasonal dips are also a mindset issue. When you decide no-one will buy your course in December, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you think of the summer 3-month school break, where do you think that happens? In the UK, the summer break is 6 weeks. In France, it's 2 weeks in August. And in Australia and New Zealand, it's winter for the northern hemisphere. You can also blend seasonal slumps into your course promotion and increase your sales.
Local issues can be tough to tackle, but if you keep your marketing relevant, you can win many new customers into your coaching business. You know in your heart what will make the biggest local impact and how you can be supportive, so stay alert to what's going on in your geographic area.
What you don't want to do is pause or freeze the marketing of your online courses. It doesn't benefit anyone if you stop offering your courses. You just have to figure out how to continue in a way that resonates with your audience and meets their immediate needs.
Is it Profitable to Sell Online Courses?
You've gone through all the steps now for estimating the revenue you can earn from online courses? But that doesn't take into account your cost of creating your online course!
How much profit you make from your course can be calculated as:
- Revenue from Sales - Cost of Creating Your Course = Course Sales Profit
While you'll still have taxes to pay and some other overhead, you'll get a good sense of how profitable your online course will be based on those estimates.
How Can You Earn More from Your Online Course?
Naturally, you'll want to maximize your online course profit And all of your expenses and time will eat into your profit if you decide to create your course from scratch. You could end up spending thousand of dollars or months of time (which could be spent with paying clients) in order to create a course.
Or.... you could purchase a white label course and brand it as your own!
Here at Content Sparks, we help eliminate the "will it sell?" factor when it comes to online courses and workshops. We spend hours researching the hot topics that will ensure that your audience thinks of you when it comes to learning new skills.
And once you purchase a license to a course, you get the rights to:
- Edit the material however you want
- Add your own name and branding
- Convert it to different formats (like video) or repurpose it
- Launch and sell it for 100% profit!
Browse our selection of hundreds of white label courses and marketing content in our Shop