Do you already have all the traffic you need? Or could you use a little (or possibly a lot) more?
I think we're all in the second boat. And we can always use fresh ideas for generating traffic to our online course businesses.
The time and cost investment to develop an online course are typically pretty high. It's no fun to see zero sales coming in despite your hard work and even worse, no visitors to your site.
So you've got to turn that around and quickly. In order to help, we asked nearly two dozen successful online course creators for their best traffic tips. Here's what we got back …
1. Sam Rexford
~ Sam is the Head of Content at CHILLREPTILE.
“If I had to start over and generate traffic and sales for my courses, I’d do it exactly the same way I did the first time using purely free traffic from social media and SEO, but with a twist:
First I would build an organic audience of true fans via Facebook Groups, an email list, my blog, and social media channels, making sure to always add value and serve their needs. If you can help your audience overcome their biggest problems, and put their success before your own, you will build a loyal tribe of fans that will eagerly participate in your launches and courses.
Then, I would introduce them into my funnels via free lead magnets (downloads, mini free courses, etc.) to build my email list, and funnel them into my paid courses. That’s worked well for me in the past but doesn’t scale quickly.
Here’s the twist and how to scale from free traffic to paid and start 10X’ing your results:Install the Facebook Pixel throughout your funnels and courses from day one and install custom conversion events on each action taken during the funnel to segment users: Lead, Add to Cart, Purchase, etc. - Sam Rexford Click To Tweet
Facebook will take that data and start to create audiences based on those actions, you can then turn those into “Lookalike Audiences,” (people on FB that have similar interests and buying behavior from the audience going through your funnel), and target ads to them giving you the perfect starting point for scaling your courses and driving tons of new leads and sales into your funnel.”
2. Victoria Hockaday
~ Victoria is an email marketing and launch consultant for Course Creators at VictoriaHockaday.com.
“My secret weapon for driving traffic to online courses?
One of the biggest myths about Pinterest is that it’s a social media site for women to dream up their home decor and travel goals.
But Pinterest is NOT a social media platform. In fact, it has a lot more in common with a search engine like Google, and we all know how powerful Google is for driving organic traffic!
This year, I created a mini-course on email marketing and by the end of it I was left thinking “I’ve created a course, now how do I sell it?”I started experimenting with Pinterest to drive traffic to my course. And within 5 months, I tripled my website traffic. Tripled. - Victoria Hockaday Click To Tweet
Here are my two cents on Pinterest:
- Use keywords related to your niche, so that your content bubbles up to the top of your dream audience’s feeds.
- Automate your pinning, so you’re consistent on the platform.
- Re-share your content to highly engaged group boards and Tailwind Tribes.”
3. Stacy Caprio
~ Stacy is the founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing.
“The way I got initial traffic to my website building course was posting a free code for my course in relevant Facebook groups.I drove over 60 people to sign up within a matter of days using my free code in exchange for a review. - Stacy Caprio Click To Tweet
Now my course has more reviews than it would have otherwise and more people have paid to take it on the Udemy platform due to the initial traffic, users, and reviews.
My tip for course creators is to give away your course for free to people who really want it in exchange for a review right when you launch it so you can gain some test users and social proof for your course right off the bat. That way future users will be more inclined to purchase your course.”
4. Tatiana Ceballos
~ Tatiana is the managing Director of Level Up Mentors where she teaches businesses how to get more high-ticket clients.
“We use the omnipresence marketing strategy. And in simple terms, it means to be everywhere… or where your target market is hanging out online. This may sound like a daunting task and just the thought of creating content for every online channel seems very time-consuming. But, we think we nailed the strategy to drive traffic to our online courses.We simplified our content creation by doing one Facebook live a day, 5 days a week. On the Facebook Live, we talk about the most frequently asked questions in our industry for 7 - 15 mins. - Tatiana Ceballos Click To Tweet
We hired a VA to help us with the omnipresence marketing strategy. Here’s what we do:
Every Facebook Live is converted into 5 different formats:
- A podcast. We extract the audio and turn it into a podcast that we distribute through Anchor.fm to the most popular platforms for free. – our Podcast in Spanish is “SMM Rockstars”, The English version “Level Up” for coaches is coming in 2020.
- YouTube Video. We download the Facebook video and edit it…we add an intro for YouTube.
- Blog Post. The video is then transcribed and used as a blog post on our website. The blog post is later on shared on Facebook and Linkedin and pinned to Pinterest.
- We use an app called headliner to create an audiogram to promote the blog post as an Instagram post.
- We resize the Facebook live video for IGTV requirements and we post the preview on our Instagram feed.
Our philosophy is to be pretty much everywhere! With the help of the VA and tools like Zapier and Buffer, we post content every day and then repost the best-performing posts every 3 months, bringing traffic to our offers.
We recommend this traffic-getting strategy to all our students, especially if you’re starting out. You need to start positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your niche.”
5. Faith Mariah
“The best way to get traffic to your course is to solve people's problems for free. Offering free value builds immediate trust and proves to your audience that you actually can get the results.There are so many platforms where you can create content (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, etc.) but the important thing is you pick one and build a community. - Faith Mariah Click To Tweet
This will allow you to establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your audience and they will view you as someone that can help them. Getting people results or transformation for free will make your audience way more likely to want to take your course.”
6. Joe Bailey
~ Joe is a Business Development Consultant at My Trading Skills.
“Here are my tips for getting traffic to an online course:
- YouTube is often the most effective way of promoting an online course.You can promote your course on YouTube through ads that pop up when the user is viewing a related video, or by creating helpful video content for your target audience. - Joe Bailey Click To TweetYou can include links to your website or course in these videos
- Start a podcast on your course subject. This will help demonstrate your authority in the subject matter and increase its visibility.
Bottom Line: YouTube has been our biggest traffic generator to date. You can take advantage of it too for promoting your course by publishing a course promotion ad on the platform or create regular helpful videos on the subject matter, and place links to your website/course within them.”
7. James Canzanella
~ James is the owner of Isolated Marketing Nights.
“I have offered a lot of online courses over the years. I initially get traffic to my courses by giving away free coupons when I first launch the course.Traffic can be found in the form of either Facebook groups or relevant forums (and there's a lot of them out there). - James Canzanella Click To Tweet
I do this for two main reasons.
The first reason is that it allows me to get social proof and reviews from those who have gone through it. The second reason is that it allows me to get even more organic traffic once the free coupons are used up. I've been utilizing this strategy for many years now and despite the fact that you are giving away some copies of your course, it ends up working out well in the long-run.”
8. Mark Webster
~ Mark is the co-founder of Authority Hacker where he teaches his students to take their existing businesses to the forefront of their industries.
“We offer a number of online training courses that range from the very basics to more in-depth, advanced marketing techniques. There are a number of ways we promote our courses but there are certainly a few quick tips I can provide that may be useful.My top tip would be, despite seeming like a contradiction, providing a substantial amount of high quality, free training material that isn't part of your membership site/course. - Mark Webster Click To Tweet
In our case, we use our blog to provide free content to our users and prove our worth when it comes to providing training material. We spend a long time building trust with our audience and don't cheapen that bond with things like display ads or getting overzealous affiliate links.
As a training platform, you need to be trusted, and in my opinion, that involves creating a website that emphasizes quality over profits, as hard as that might be for some! This is something that needs to be done before you even begin to think about advertising strategies.”
9. Eri Panselina
~ Eri is the media relations coordinator at TalentLMS.
“Backlinks and guest blogging are a standard way to improve your course or website rankings in Google search results and, therefore, increase traffic to it. Content marketing is an integral part of our own marketing strategy and has helped our website's traffic grow very fast in the last few years.Even if you don't have your own blog, guest posts are an easy way to start. Identify the most prominent online publications in your industry and pitch your story idea. - Eri Panselina Click To Tweet
To target your audience, write an informative article about a topic related to your course – and don't forget to add your course's URL, which is your call-to-action, in the most compelling part of the blog post.”
10. Tony Bergida
~ Tony is the founder of Howtomasterchess.com.
“My primary method of getting traffic is through Facebook video ads and surveys. The surveys take an assessment of the student and make a recommendation based on the results.Because the majority of my students are from the Philippines, I strive to be active on the social media websites where they are most active: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, in that order. - Tony Bergida Click To Tweet
- Find out where your students are on social media and are active there.
- Use video in your content.
- Offer a combination of free and paid-for content.
- Learn Ryan Levesque’s philosophy for building a successful digital course.”
11. Frank Spear
~ Frank is a content marketer at RafflePress.com.
“We use online courses as a part of our product package for customers that buy our application. I believe that we get traffic to these courses because we don't just post simple tutorials on our products. Instead, we give actionable advice that business owners and marketers can use to grow their brands with and without our product.If you want to see consistent traffic, provide tangible value to your target audience. - Frank Spear Click To Tweet
12. Quincy Smith
~ Quincy is the founder of ESL Authority.
“I’m a partner in an online TEFL course. We first started driving traffic to the course via Quora, Reddit, and YouTube. Both Quora and Reddit allowed us to showcase our expertise in the field while also linking back to the course. YouTube allows us to demonstrate aspects from the course (pretty much excerpts from the course itself) for people who are looking for very specific tips.We try and answer both Quora and Reddit questions weekly (it was days before our organic traffic kicked in). - Quincy Smith Click To Tweet
We have fallen behind on our YouTube videos as they take so much time!”
13. James Pollard
~ James runs TheAdvisorCoach.com, where he offers several different programs and courses designed to help financial advisors get more clients.
“I've tried many different traffic sources over the years, ranging from SEO to paid ads to guest posts on other sites. Even though I've gotten a lot of traffic from these areas, most weren't good fits for me.
Most people focus on the QUANTITY of traffic. I'd rather focus on QUALITY.The best quality traffic for me has come from LinkedIn. This is likely because I'm serving a specific occupational niche and the people who come from LinkedIn tend to be better suited for my offers. - James Pollard Click To Tweet
LinkedIn allows people to view my profile and get to know me a little bit better. This builds trust, rapport, and credibility before they ever get to my website.”
14. Kayla Pendleton
~ Kayla is the owner and founder of Her Space, a co-working space for women.
“I started generating traffic to my online course through in-person workshops. It has taken a lot of time to build up a local following. But it was the best way I found to start getting people interested.
I spent lots of time networking. I joined all the local chambers, attended every event I could, and began hosting my own workshops. Once people got to know me locally, I gained a following that proved my trustworthiness to others outside of my local community. Recently, we even had someone join our online membership program from North Carolina! (We're located in California).My biggest tip for online course creators is to start local, people only trust you as far as they can throw you, and it helps if they can see you! Once you have some local following, it becomes MUCH easier for others to trust you. -… Click To Tweet
Continue doing workshops, but expand them to online zoom calls as well! This allows people, like our gal in North Carolina, to learn from you and trust you before they buy. For me, my online course programs come as a benefit of membership to my coworking space, but we have a virtual membership option to allow non-locals to participate.”
15. Glenn Allen
~ Glenn is a course creation coach and digital marketing strategist and the founder of The Glenn Allen Show.
“I teach my course creator clients to go live on Facebook once a week to give a quick tutorial on something related to their course topic. Each video ends with an offer for a free guide. We then wait a few days for the Facebook live to run organically before running the live video as an ad. We target the video to a look-alike of people who watched 75-100% of any past videos while running a duplicate of the video ad to a look-alike of the client’s email list.When we’re in an active launch campaign, we email the list and go live on Facebook to promote a webinar where we pitch the online course. - Glenn Allen Click To Tweet
We host the replay on their website and promote it to anyone who didn’t show up to the live webinar.”
16. Ryann Dowdy
~ Ryann is the founder of Uncensored Consulting where she offers online training for increasing sales.
“I run a group online training program – and I used totally organic marketing to grow to about 60 students and have since added in more advertising.
Step 1 – Be SUPER clear on your ideal client and the problem that they have. All of the “traffic” in the world won't help – if you aren't clear on this.
Step 2 – Network, network, and network some more. Show up on the social platform that your ideal client hangs out on – and connect. Provide value. Be a resource. When appropriate – invite them into a conversation about what you do!Step 3 - Run both short and long FREE training (2 hours to 5 days) - to show your expertise, build a relationship with your potential clients and convert viewers to students. -Ryann Dowdy Click To Tweet
The key to this – NO FLUFF! People don't want BS training. They want real, valuable information – and an invitation to work with you when appropriate!”
17. Joseph Tropper
~ Joseph is a Counselor for Core Wellness which offers online webinars, workshops and continuing education to mental health practitioners.
“Some tips that work for us in getting traffic to our home study courses include:
We promote our courses on social media regularly (from Facebook to YouTube).Our blog section is updated with the latest courses and what benefits they have for learners. We feature real reviews online from past students. - Joseph Tropper Click To Tweet
We offer a 14-day risk-free guarantee so if they are not fully satisfied, we will refund them.”
18. Brittany EB Hardy
~ Brittany is the founder of Empty Desk Solutions.
“After spending countless hours and dollars on building that ‘perfect sales funnel page’, I quickly realized that it didn’t matter how great the sales message or design was, or how awesome the course itself was. If I didn’t figure out how to get people to go check out the page (aka getting traffic), nothing matters.
I have tried a number of methods to drive traffic such as Pinterest Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media Posts, etc.
So far the most effective thing that has generated traffic (and more importantly sales!) has been to build and nurture my email list.
The first challenge is getting people on to that list. So I developed an irresistible freebie that they are more than willing to give their email address up for. Then once they are on the list they are sent the free resource and placed into a drip campaign that sends them a few more messages teaching them how to use the resource and tying it to the course I am currently promoting.
The contacts are then pushed into our ‘master list’ where they get our Monday morning marketing update emails with free tips and resources every single week. This ensures that the ones that are engaged will continue to be nurtured until they feel it’s a good time to buy the course.I strongly believe that building an email list is the number ONE way to build success in online courses and provides a level of scalability for launching other courses and products to an already engaged audience at a later date. -… Click To Tweet
19. Brian Robben
~ Brian is the founder of Robben Media.
“Starting out, I had little money and no help. So I did the only thing I knew to move the needle of my online training business.
I drove traffic by manually direct messaging my target audience on Instagram. When I mean DM, I'm talking one by one, a unique conversation each time, at all hours of the day. This was just pure grit, no algorithm or expensive ad budget, to get my message and offer out.
Because of these constant conversations, I noticed patterns. Patterns like what questions would lead to positive responses. Then I could spark enough interest to mention my training and how they can go to my site to learn more. Because I gave someone the time of day to ask questions, be interested in their life, and add value, conversion rates on my site increased as well because they're coming into it with strong familiarity.
DMing isn't the best way to scale. You should do it to send initial traffic to your site in the beginning. Use the language your target audience uses on your website copy to be relatable. And when you have enough money, include that same language in your ad copy to drive major traffic to your site.I'd recommend social media direct messaging for every training business that isn't sure if they've nailed product-market-fit. - Brian Robben Click To Tweet
20. Khabeer Rockley
~ Khabeer is the founder of The 5% Institute where he specializes in sales training.
“The majority of our traffic comes from SEO – being search engine optimization.Our team will write between 3 and 5, SEO optimized articles per week, answering questions our ideal clients will be asking. - Khabeer Rockley Click To Tweet
This ranks our pages and also building trust and authority. When on our site, we have simple opt-in forms allowing them to view a webinar. Then we present our sales program at the end of that webinar.”
21. Shaan Patel
~ Shaan is the founder and CEO of Prep Expert.
“I wanted to quickly touch base about one of our main tactics to get students to sign up for our courses:
Targeted Webinar Funnels. At Prep Expert, we provide standardized test prep courses to help students prepare for the SAT, ACT, and other exams.Our most successful content strategy includes developing and launching tailored webinars to draw in prospective students and parents. - Shaan Patel Click To Tweet
Our primary webinar shares specific test-taking tips, advice on applying to colleges, and help in securing scholarship money.
By offering various subject threads in the presentation, we deploy an array of focused Facebook and Google Ads to highly targeted market segments.
Because our market is quite specialized, competition between the top companies is fierce. But we've seen consistent returns on this strategy in the nearly three years we've been using it.
This funnel provides consistent, real-world value to visitors. It also provides a strong cornerstone to help focus our blog, email marketing, and social media channels.”
22. Yoav Helfman
~ Yoav is the founder of Virtually working on an online education platform that partners with established educators and content creators.
“Our best source of early traffic to our courses consists of direct connections with people facilitated by social media.
Engaging with people on our posts lets us move conversations to private messages. Later we call/skype/email individuals who eventually become our customers.The social media posts that get us the most responses include useful compilations of existing resources or open-ended questions that encourage people to open up about their experiences. - Yoav Helfman Click To Tweet
The most critical tip I can provide is: give people significant value to build trust before asking them for anything. Give them access to free and useful resources or connections that help them solve some of their current issues. Then ask them to check out your course.”
Hopefully, you found a few gems in these traffic tips that you can start applying to your online course business. The last thing you want is to create your course and see no sales which often is a result of little to no traffic to your site.
Make sure to pick a tip and try it out on your business to gain the traction you need!