I get it. You have this awesome course idea and you know that people want to buy it! All you want to do is start selling it – like yesterday!
BUT … you just can’t figure out HOW!?
And while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I’m going to break it to you…
There is no “BEST WAY” to start selling your course.
There are at least 10 or 15 different ways that could work really well.
This is what I want to accomplish with this post:
- Help you understand the difference between all of them.
- And then help you make the best decision for you.
All of them provide their pros and cons and the fact of the matter is this:
–> You need to figure out which pros you can’t live without.
–> And which cons you can’t live with.
The opinions in this post are based on my 15 years of working online
During this time, I have:
- set up a course with all of these at one point or another – either for myself or a client.
- or have consumed a product or course with one of these methods.
I’m not going to give you all of the nitty-gritty details – this post isn’t about teaching you about how to use them – I’ll do my best to simplify the different options for you.
Hopefully this will help you decide which 2 or 3 to focus on before making a final decision.
Let’s just jump in…
The 5 ways to sell a course
- You can sell them 1-1 and get paid after sending an invoice.
- You can put your course on an all-in-one tool that accepts payments that hosts everything from your blog posts to your courses.
- You can use WordPress to sell your course with WordPress with a course or membership plugin.
- You can sell the course on WordPress but connect WordPress to an outside course creation tool that hosts your course
- You can create and sell your course on a course creation tool that will host your course and accept payment.
Each one of those options has its own pros and cons.
Let’s look at each option to see how they would work, the pros and cons of going with one of them, and why you might pick one option over another.
1. Sell your course 1-1 and get paid after sending an invoice
How this works. This is probably the most traditional way to sell something. Basically, you talk to someone, offer them something, they agree, and then you send them an invoice.
Pros. Technically, it’s the simplest solution. And you don’t even need to have a sales page. As long as you’re clear on the outcome you’re offering you can basically start selling today.
Cons. There’s no automation to this approach – you’re basically working and hustling for every single sale. You need to master sales, learn how to make amazing proposals, and you have to do a lot of content marketing very regularly.
When does it make sense to do this? This really only makes sense if you’re selling a higher cost course that you’re doing it live with a group (either in-person or on something like Zoom). It’s also a great approach if you’re just starting out or are testing out a new product idea.
Popular tools for doing this with: 17 Hates, WaveApps, Paypal Invoices, MoonClerk. And you’ll have to deliver your course live on zoom (or something like it) or in person.
2. Use an all-in-one website tool for your course and website.
How this works. Basically you set up a website and host your courses in one place. Many of these include email services and landing pages as well as a website, blog, membership, and course area.
Pros. Everything is in one place which makes everything feel less precarious and “frankenstein’y”. You also have one place to contact for support and only one tool to master.
Cons. These can seem a bit more expensive. If you don’t like the tool or the quality of the service declines, switching is a bigger job. Most of the options are either great at websites, funnels, or course delivery. Most aren’t kings of them all.
When does it make sense to do this? This is the way to go if you’re not into technology, you’re doing pretty well in your business, or you have money to spare.
Popular Tools you can do this with: Kajabi, Ontraport, Podia, ClickFunnels, Mighty Networks, Kartra
3. Use WordPress + a course delivery plugin to sell AND deliver your course on WordPress
How this works. Basically, you build your website on WordPress then use a plugin (or two) to sell your course. This puts your course into a different section of WordPress.
Pros. It’s a lot simpler than setting up a totally custom eCommerce site and course-delivery section.
Cons. It’s still a little bit tech-heavy and most of the services don’t have chat support. This means that sometimes you’ll still need to hire someone else to help you set it up. I also find that the user interface for some of these isn’t that intuitive and requires complex customizations to make it work the way that you want.
When does it make sense to do this? This is the way to go if you want 100% customizability. And it feels like the cheapest options and if you can do a lot of it yourself, it is. If not, you’ll either need to have the funds to hire help though.
Popular Tools you can do this with: LearnDash, Memberpress, Zippy Courses Plugin, eLearnCommerce.
4. Sell your course on WordPress but deliver the course on an outside tool
How this works. With this option, people consume your content and buy the course on your WordPress website. BUT they consume the course on the external course delivery tool. You need a Zapier connection or plugin to make this work.
Pros. This combines flexibility with being a bit more tech-friendly. You can create your site or blog however you want on WordPress. Then you can pick the perfect course-delivery tool without having to build it on your site. These tend to be very user-friendly for creators and students.
Cons. It CAN get expensive and complicated if you use other external tools for things like memberships, landing pages, and eCommerce.
When does it make sense to do this? If you sell other things on WP (digital products) or if you build your funnels on WP. Selling right on WordPress will make tracking sales and conversions easier.
Popular Tools you can do this with: Membervault, MembersPro, Teachable, Thinkific, Zippy Courses (not the plugin)
5. Create and sell your course on a course delivery tool
How this works. When you use this approach you send people to a course creation tool outside of your site to buy the course AND consume the course. Other than linking to the course page from your site, .
Pros. It can be cheaper if you don’t a Zapier connection or special plugin. This makes it technically easier. Not having to connect Paypal or Stripe is always a nice treat!
Cons. It can get confusing when it comes to tracking sales. There can also be a disconnect between the sales page on your site and the purchases page.
When does it make sense to do this.
Popular Tools you can do this with: Membervault, MembersPro, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, Zippy Courses, MightyNetworks
Um … now what? There are a lot of options in here Susanna!
There really are aren’t there!?
And I’ve only mentioned a small number of all the course delivery options available!
For now, start by picking 1 of the 5 approaches. Choose the one that is the best fit for you.
Then look into each of the options available.
The ones I’ve mentioned here are the most popular. But there are many more.
Start with the ones I share in this blog post.
If you find one that you like, I can’t urge you strongly enough not to go looking elsewhere!
There are literally HUNDREDS of options. And if you’re not careful you can literally get sucked into a rabbit hole you’ll never get out of!
P.S. This post is jam-packed with affiliate links. What that means is that if you click on one of my links, and go buy the product within 30-90 days of clicking on it, I’ll get a lame one-time commission of 10% (ish) of your purchase.
It still hasn’t happened. But a girl can hope.