How Can I Market My Online Course For Free: Proven Strategies

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Marcelo Beilin  (Updated Jun 1, 2023 )

You've crafted an incredible online course, a beautiful amalgamation of your knowledge, your skills, your passion. You've poured countless hours into it, working late into the night, fueled by coffee and an unshakeable belief in what you have to share with the world.

You've fine-tuned every lesson, agonized over every quiz, and you're finally ready to unveil your masterpiece to the world.

And there lies the challenge — how do you get your course in front of those who would benefit from it?

You might find yourself standing at this crossroads, a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead. You've climbed the mountain of course creation, only to find another peak looming in the distance: the peak of marketing.

And as an aspiring online course creator, you might find your resources limited, and the thought of investing heavily into marketing may seem daunting.

But here's the good news — marketing doesn't have to be a costly affair. In fact, you can effectively market your online course without spending a single penny. Sounds too good to be true? Stick with me, and I'll show you how it's done.

Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure). 

Why is Marketing Your Online Course Important?

So, you’ve created your course, with its immense potential to change lives and inspire learning, and it deserves to be seen and appreciated. It deserves to make a sound.

That's where marketing steps in, acting as the megaphone that amplifies the voice of your online course, broadcasting it far and wide.

Marketing your online course effectively can take it from being a hidden gem to a shining star in the online learning space.

But why exactly is marketing your online course so crucial?

Firstly, it's all about visibility. The internet is a vast ocean, teeming with information and content. In this ocean, your online course is but a drop.

Marketing helps enlarge this drop, transforming it into a wave that stands out. It ensures that your course isn't drowned out by the noise, but instead, it cuts through it, reaching the eyes and ears of those who would benefit from it the most.

Secondly, marketing helps connect your course with the right audience. Your course might be perfect, but if it's not reaching those who truly need it, its value diminishes.

Marketing helps bridge this gap, identifying and targeting the individuals or groups who are most likely to be interested in and benefited by your course. It's like a matchmaking exercise, pairing your course with learners who are seeking the exact knowledge you're offering.

Thirdly, marketing establishes credibility. In the online world, trust is a valuable currency. Effective marketing, especially when it's consistent and value-driven, helps build this trust.

It positions you as an authority in your field, signaling to potential learners that your course is a worthy investment of their time and energy.

Finally, let's address the elephant in the room: cost. The term 'marketing' often conjures up images of expensive ad campaigns and hefty budgets. But here's the truth: effective marketing doesn't have to break the bank.

In fact, some of the most impactful marketing strategies cost absolutely nothing! It's not about how much money you pour into marketing; it's about how wisely you use the resources at your disposal. And this guide is all about that — marketing your online course for free.

So, are you ready to let your course make a sound? Are you ready to amplify its voice, boost its visibility, connect with the right audience, and establish credibility, all without spending a dime?

If the answer is a resounding yes, then let's dive right into the world of free online course marketing.

Leveraging Social Media for Course Promotion

Leveraging Social Media for Course Promotion

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. It's where we connect with friends, share experiences, and even catch up on the latest news. But did you know it's also a powerhouse for promoting your online course?

Far from being just a platform for selfies and food pictures, social media can be your secret weapon in getting the word out about your course.

Let's dig in a little deeper and see how you can harness the power of different social media platforms:

Facebook

Facebook isn't just a social networking site; it's a bustling digital universe with billions of inhabitants. It's a place where communities form around shared interests and passions, making it a goldmine for course creators like you. So, how can you tap into this potential?

Start by joining groups relevant to your course topic. These are places where like-minded individuals gather, making them perfect for sharing your course.

But remember, effective marketing on Facebook isn't just about broadcasting your course link. It's about adding value to the conversation.

Share insightful content related to your course topic. Engage in discussions. Answer questions. Be an active member of the community. As you do so, you'll build trust and interest in what you have to offer.

And when you do share your course, it won't be seen as self-promotion but as a valuable resource from a trusted community member.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social media platform for professional growth and networking, making it a perfect fit for marketing online courses. It's a place where people come to learn, making your course a welcome addition to their feed.

Start by sharing snippets from your course — a compelling quote, an interesting insight, a powerful statistic. These posts can pique interest and drive engagement.

Also, consider writing thought-provoking articles related to your course topic. LinkedIn Pulse, the platform's publishing feature, is a great place for this kind of longer-form content.

Don't forget about the power of networking on LinkedIn. Connect with industry influencers and engage with their content.

As you build these relationships, you may find opportunities to promote your course, whether through collaborative projects, guest posts, or simply through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Instagram

Instagram is the land of visual storytelling, making it a perfect stage for marketing your online course. If your course is visually appealing, or if you can encapsulate its essence in enticing snippets, Instagram can be a powerful promotional tool.

You can leverage Instagram's features like Stories and regular posts to share the highlights of your course. Share behind-the-scenes content, testimonials, or quick tips related to your course.

And don't forget about hashtags — they're your ticket to reaching a wider audience. Just make sure your hashtags are relevant and popular, but not so popular that your post gets lost in the crowd.

Twitter

Twitter is all about brevity and engagement. With its short-form posts, it's perfect for sharing quick updates about your course, engaging with your followers, and participating in relevant conversations.

Share tidbits from your course, post links to related articles, or simply share your thoughts on topics related to your course. And don't forget about the power of hashtags here too.

A well-placed tweet, armed with a relevant hashtag, can reach far and wide, landing your course in front of a whole new audience.

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and if you're comfortable in front of a camera, it can be a game-changer for marketing your online course. Creating engaging videos related to your course content can attract learners like bees to honey.

You can create how-to videos, explainer videos, or even vlogs about your course creation process. The key is to provide value to your viewers, enticing them to check out your course for more in-depth learning.

Not only can YouTube videos direct viewers to your course, but they can also boost your course's visibility in search engine results. That's right — Google loves showing YouTube videos in its search results, especially for how-to queries.

This means that a well-optimized YouTube video can help your course pop up in both YouTube and Google searches, giving you double the visibility!

Remember, social media marketing is not about instant results. It's about building relationships, establishing trust, and growing your audience over time.

Be patient, be consistent, and most importantly, be authentic. The more genuine you are in your interactions, the more your potential learners will connect with you. And when they're ready to learn, it's your course they'll choose.

Blogging and SEO: Your Best Friends in Content Marketing

Blogging and SEO are two powerhouses in the realm of content marketing. They work hand in hand to attract potential learners to your online course.

Here's how:

Blogging as a Lead Magnet

Blogging is an influential tool that can attract potential learners. How so?

Each blog post is an opportunity to provide value to your audience, position yourself as an authority, and subtly promote your online course. These posts are like breadcrumbs that lead readers straight to your course.

Every blog post you write is also a chance to rank in search engines, making your course more discoverable. By regularly posting high-quality, relevant content, you increase your visibility on search engines, which in turn leads more eyeballs to your course.

Essentially, blogging is a way of pulling potential learners towards your course, rather than pushing your course onto them.

Demystifying SEO

SEO might sound complex, but it's not rocket science. It's essentially about understanding what your potential learners are searching for online, and then providing content that answers those queries.

Think about the questions your potential learners might be googling, and then answer those questions in your blog posts.

For instance, if your course is about digital marketing, your audience might be searching for "how to create a digital marketing strategy" or "best digital marketing tools".

By creating blog posts that answer these questions, you align your content with their search intent. Over time, with consistency and patience, you'll start to see more organic traffic coming your way.

Keyword Usage

Keywords are the terms that people enter into search engines. They're the bridge between what people are searching for and the content you provide to fill that need. Using keywords naturally in your content and meta descriptions is critical for SEO.

However, remember that while keywords are important, they're not the be-all and end-all. Google loves content that provides real value to readers.

So, avoid any sort of keyword stuffing, where you overuse keywords in an attempt to manipulate your site's ranking. This can lead to a poor user experience and may harm your site's ranking.

Instead, focus on creating useful, engaging content that your readers will love. When you do this, keywords will naturally find their place in your content, pleasing both your readers and search engines.

Providing Value through Content

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of both blogging and SEO is to provide value. The content you create should not only be interesting and engaging but also useful. It should answer questions, solve problems, or provide new insights.

This is the type of content that readers love and share, and it's also the type of content that Google loves to rank highly.

So, don't be intimidated by the technical jargon. Blogging and SEO are simply about understanding your audience, providing valuable content, and making that content easy to find. Master this, and you'll be well on your way to driving more traffic to your online course.

Harnessing the Power of Email Marketing

Picture having a direct line of communication with an audience that's genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Sounds like a dream, right?

Well, that's what an email list can provide. Building a robust email list is like having a golden ticket to your audience's inbox, where you can engage them on a personal level and subtly guide them towards your course.

But how do you get started?

The first step in building an email list is attracting subscribers. You can do this by offering something valuable for free, such as an eBook, a mini-course, or exclusive access to resources related to your course topic.

This 'lead magnet' acts as an incentive, encouraging people to exchange their email address for your free offer.

Once you've secured their email, it's time to nurture the relationship. But don't just bombard them with emails promoting your course.

Instead, provide useful, relevant content that aligns with their interests and needs. This could be tips, insights, or resources related to your course topic.

One great strategy is to send out a regular newsletter. This not only keeps your subscribers engaged but also gently reminds them of your course without being too pushy.

When you do promote your course, make sure it feels like a natural extension of the value you've been providing.

Remember, effective email marketing is about building relationships, not about spamming. If you consistently send out valuable content, your subscribers will start to know, like, and trust you. And when they're ready to buy a course, you'll be the first one that comes to mind.

Networking and Collaboration: Expand Your Reach

collaboration

As an online course creator, you're part of a vibrant, diverse community. There are countless other course creators, influencers, and industry leaders out there. Connecting with them can expand your reach, boost your credibility, and open up new opportunities for course promotion.

Consider guest blogging on relevant websites. This not only exposes your course to a new audience but also builds your authority in your field.

You can also consider collaborating on podcast interviews or social media collaborations. These platforms offer a more personal way to connect with potential learners and share your passion for your course topic.

Remember, effective networking is about giving as much as taking.

So, approach every potential collaboration with the mindset of, "How can I provide value?" Can you offer a unique perspective on a topic? Can you share insights from your course creation journey? Can you provide actionable tips that their audience can apply right away?

The more value you can offer, the more successful your networking efforts will be.

Free Webinars and Tutorials: Show What You've Got

Free webinars and tutorials are a brilliant way to showcase your teaching style and the value of your course. Think of them as a 'try before you buy' scenario. They give potential learners a taste of what they can expect from your course, without any commitment on their part.

During these free sessions, aim to provide as much value as possible. Cover a topic related to your course and delve deep into it.

This not only helps your audience but also positions you as an expert in your field. And once your viewers see the value you're offering, they'll be more inclined to sign up for your full course.

But remember, just providing value isn't enough. You need to guide your viewers to the next step.

So, at the end of your webinar or tutorial, include a clear call-to-action directing them to your course. This could be a special offer, a limited-time discount, or simply a link to your course page.

Testimonials and Reviews: Word of Mouth in the Digital Age

In the digital age, word of mouth often comes in the form of online reviews and testimonials. These can significantly boost your course's credibility and make potential learners more confident in their decision to sign up.

Encourage your students to leave reviews upon completing your course. Genuine, positive feedback from satisfied learners can serve as powerful social proof, making potential students more comfortable with purchasing your course.

Highlight these testimonials on your course page and in your marketing materials to showcase the value your course has provided to others.

Negative feedback, while initially disheartening, can also be valuable. It provides an opportunity for you to learn, improve, and demonstrate your commitment to providing a quality learning experience.

Address any concerns raised openly and honestly, and make necessary adjustments to your course. Potential students will appreciate your transparency and responsiveness, which can ultimately strengthen your course's reputation.

Leveraging Existing Platforms: Udemy, Coursera, and Others

Online learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera have made it easier than ever to reach a vast audience of eager learners. These platforms host thousands of courses on a wide variety of topics, attracting millions of students from around the world.

By listing your course on these platforms, you can significantly increase its visibility and tap into an established customer base.

However, while these platforms offer immense reach, they also come with their own set of challenges. They take a percentage of your earnings, and you often have limited control over your course pricing.

Additionally, you'll be competing with a large number of other courses, which can make it harder to stand out.

Therefore, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to list your course on these platforms. Consider factors like your marketing budget, your target audience, and the unique selling proposition of your course.

If you can effectively position your course and leverage the platform's features, these platforms can be a powerful tool in your course marketing strategy.

In short, marketing your online course requires a strategic and multi-faceted approach. From leveraging social media and email marketing to networking and collaboration, each tactic plays a crucial role in increasing your course's visibility and attracting potential learners.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your course doesn't just fall in the forest unnoticed but makes a resounding impact in the minds of your target audience.

Final Tips on Marketing Your Online Course for Free

Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and this is particularly true when it comes to marketing your online course.

We've shared a wealth of strategies and tips, but as you embark on your marketing journey, here are some final nuggets of wisdom to guide you:

Be Patient:

Achieving marketing success won't happen overnight. It takes time to build your online presence, attract and nurture an audience, and convert that audience into paying customers.

Remember, every piece of content you create, every interaction on social media, every email you send, is a step towards your goal.

Over time, these efforts compound and you'll start to see your hard work paying off. Stay the course, don't get discouraged, and remember that every marketing giant started where you are now.

Be Consistent:

Consistency is the heartbeat of marketing. Whether it's blogging, social media posting, or sending out your email newsletter, maintaining a regular schedule is essential.

Consistency helps you stay top of mind with your audience, builds trust, and establishes your reputation as a reliable source of information.

If you're blogging, try to publish new content regularly. If you're on social media, post consistently and engage with your followers. If you're using email marketing, make sure you're sending emails on a consistent schedule.

Keep Learning:

The landscape of digital marketing is ever-evolving, with new strategies, tools, and platforms emerging all the time. To stay competitive, you must keep learning and stay updated with the latest trends and strategies.

Subscribe to marketing blogs, listen to podcasts, attend webinars and workshops, and don't be afraid to invest in your marketing education. Remember, knowledge is power, and in the world of online course marketing, it's a key determinant of your success.

Experiment:

Finally, remember that there's no one-size-fits-all strategy in marketing. What works brilliantly for one course creator might not work as well for you. This is where experimentation comes into play.

Try different strategies, test different types of content, play around with different platforms. Keep track of what works and what doesn't, and don't be afraid to pivot when something isn't yielding the results you want.

Experimentation is at the heart of successful marketing, and it's through this process of trial and error that you'll find the strategies that work best for your unique course and audience.

Be Authentic:

In a world saturated with marketing messages, authenticity stands out. Be genuine in your communication, stay true to your brand, and don't try to be something you're not.

People are drawn to authenticity and are more likely to engage with a brand that feels human and relatable.

Show your audience that there's a real person behind the course, share your passion for the subject matter, and let your personality shine through in your marketing. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is the foundation of any successful marketing strategy.

Marketing your online course for free is a journey. It requires patience, consistency, continuous learning, and a willingness to experiment.

With these tips in mind and a commitment to the process, you can effectively market your course, attract the right students, and make the impact you desire.

Remember, your course is valuable, and with the right marketing, you can ensure it reaches the people who need it most.

Next Steps

Remember, while it's important to understand and apply these strategies, marketing your online course isn't just about tactics and techniques.

It's about authenticity and passion. It's about connecting with your audience, understanding their needs and desires, and conveying how your course can help fulfill them. It's about creating a community of learners who are excited to embark on this journey with you.

So, go ahead, start implementing these strategies. Experiment, learn, grow. You'll undoubtedly face challenges along the way, but remember, every great endeavor does.

Stay patient, stay consistent, and keep the lines of communication open with your audience. Marketing is not a one-time task but an ongoing process, a conversation between you and your prospective learners.

As long as you stay true to your purpose, provide value, and keep your audience at the heart of your efforts, you will see results.

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About the author

Marcelo Beilin is a Digital Marketing Consultant and blogger who helps clients take their traffic and online revenue to the next level.

He also helps readers find the perfect tools to earn online income at BestTech2EarnOnline.com.

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