A couple of years ago I put a few video tutorials on Udemy and I was amazed by the results. I wouldn’t say it was easy but it’s definitely possible. Read on to learn more on how to make money on Udemy.
Fast forward two years and I’m making an average of $5000 a month passive income on this platform. That’s not unusual. There are many other Udemy instructors earning much more than that.
I’m inundated with requests from people wanting to know how to make money on Udemy.
Typically, what people do (and this is a big, big mistake) is to put a course on Udemy with no audience, platform or marketing of their own and … well, nothing happens.
So this is how you can start making money on Udemy:
Marketing starts before product creation
Don’t hide yourself away and work on your video course in isolation. Get out there and ask people about it: “I’m creating a course on xyz, what would you like to see in it?” This would be a great question in a relevant Facebook group, LinkedIn group or, even better, to your email list.
This is not only audience research but great marketing. People need multiple exposures to a product before purchasing. This plants a seed in your audience’s awareness that your Udemy product is imminent.
Communication with your following (on your blog, your social media channels or on Udemy) continues for the entire product creation process and then afterwards. Continually answer questions, monitor feedback and create the course accordingly.
Make money with Udemy? First step: Create an awesome course
Of course, this is easier said than done and great video comes with practice. Try to match – as far as you can – the same production values as the highest quality TV documentary.
There’s a great course by Udemy called How to Create Your Udemy Course and the Wistia Course Creation Compilation which will help you on video. Creating YouTube content is a great introduction to Udemy (see later).
And read this article: Essential Tools For Creating Video Courses That Sell.
Make multiple courses
Maybe someone became an overnight sensation on Udemy with just one course but I’ve never heard of them. All successful instructors have multiple courses.
Product creation is a process not a one-off event.
Your first video course will never be your best one. So make sure you keep creating courses and don’t give up after your first or second attempt. This is a long game – just like blogging, just like business, just like life.
Make free courses
Just as my advice on multiple courses usually falls on deaf ears, this suggestion is often ignored: Make free courses on Udemy. Everyone loves receiving stuff for free – not everyone loves giving it away.
Free courses are the best way to build a following on Udemy. They fill up with people very quickly. If people enjoy your free course they will automatically search out your paid content.
You can turn a free course to a paid course at a later date and then you will be able to promote to the thousands of people who joined your free course. (See later how to promote to your existing followers via the Udemy announcements system).
Collect email addresses
Your new paid course will not be sold on Udemy unless you find buyers initially. The best way to get people buying the course is with your own email list. Create a lead magnet on a branded site where you deliver great free content.
Email marketing is so important. If you’re not collecting email address, you need to start yesterday. If you are collecting them, you need to work on increasing conversions. I have a free course to help you do this: Email marketing with AWeber and MailChimp.
I started by creating a YouTube channel, posting tutorials, saw what did well and monitored the feedback from YouTube users. This was excellent audience research for Udemy. However, if you are on Udemy, you should add 20-30% of your paid courses for free on YouTube.
YouTube videos are great teasers for your courses. Add a special discount coupon in the first line of the video description and you’ll get some sales from that.
What sort of videos make money on Udemy?
The individual videos in your courses should be 4-5 minutes in length. Each of the videos should stand on its own as a valuable account of how to perform a task or alleviate a problem.
Start the video by saying what you’re going to do in the video, do it, and then finish the video by saying what you’ve just done.
Brand the beginning and end of the videos with your brand, your face, your logo, your web address. Don’t brand the videos with the course name, don’t mention Udemy’s name, don’t mention anything else. This way each video can be repurposed for other platforms or, indeed, other courses.
Avoid “death by Powerpoint” at all costs. Just reading through slides is not enough these days – why not just give the students the slides? If you’re doing slides make them attractive and change them often. Intersperse them with screencasting and to-camera talking head material.
What sort of courses should you create?
Create courses on subjects you know about. The greater the tangible benefit to the student, the better it will sell.
So compare the title “How I Make $2000 A Month On YouTube – And No Filming” with a course simply about YouTube. Try to prove the tangible benefit to the audience.
For this reason career skills (Excel, Photoshop, web design and development, etc.) are easier subjects than soft skills (management, leadership, etc.) But don’t let that put you off. There are successful courses on Udemy about yoga and cookery. Just make sure you provide value and leave the audience with a useful skill.
Further reading: The Subject Matter of Successful Udemy Video Courses.
The anatomy of a Udemy course
Make sure you are taking the students through a process which, at its conclusion, will give them a skill that is of benefit.
Udemy have done extensive audience research and have found that an introductory and concluding video (or “Lecture” in Udemy parlance) is mandatory. Furthermore, we can divide Lectures up into Sections. These Sections should have a short (1-2 minute) introductory and concluding Lecture, preferably with the course creator talking to camera. And, a quiz is recommended at the end of every Section as well.
Course title, description, image and promo video
Titles should communicate the benefit of the course to the potential students. Alun Hill is the master as this. Read his book about Udemy: How I Make $4,000 A Week: Uploading Simple Online Courses To Udemy And Only Working 1 Hour A Day – No Camera Required.
Then the subtitle, description and lecture titles should be worked upon and optimised with the benefit to the audience in mind.
Avoid a sterile, perscriptive list of the course’s modules. Instead, provide attractive, eye-catching promotions of the content. Look at successful course titles to see how this is done:
|SEO: improve your site for search engine spiders||SEO: GoogleBoost startup – how I get 1,000 visitors a day|
|YouTube: Advanced techniques of video sharing||How I Make $2000 A Month On YouTube – And No Filming|
|How to create and sell video courses online with Udemy||How I Make $4000 A Week From Udemy Courses With No Marketing|
So, always put yourself in the shoes of your target market and communicate value to them with the course’s salespage. Unfortunately, Udemy aren’t allowing “how I make $xxxx a week” titles any more. 🙁
Not a graphic designer? No problem. Udemy will create a course image for you. 🙂
The pricing of Udemy courses
Udemy’s constant discounting and promotions means customers never expect to pay full price. You can read more about this here: Udemy’s Discounts & Commissions Work – Why Fight Them? The upshot is that you should price courses quite high.
|Length of course’s video content||Suggested price|
|1-2 hours||$49 – $79|
|2+ hours||$79 – $199|
Some people might blink at selling 150 minutes of video for $199. I did at first. But it’s important to realise the average price paid for a course on Udemy will be around $12-17 (my estimate).
Use of Udemy coupon codes
It’s not just Udemy who can sell your courses at a discount, you can do it too! You can create coupons to your paid courses. This is another extremely powerful Udemy tool. These coupons can be free or at a discounted price and they can expire at a specified date. This is extremely powerful.
You can offer courses at a discount for a limited period of time. You can make these offers via social media, to your email subscribers or to the students on your Udemy paid courses…
Use of Udemy’s announcement system
There are two types of announcement – promotional and educational. These announcements go direct to your student’s inboxes unless they have unsubscribed.
The above video shows you how I make over $1500 using Udemy promotional announcements with a coupon reduction.
Promotional announcements can only be sent to students on your paid courses and they’ll typically contain a coupon offer. You’re not allowed external links in promotional announcements.
Educational announcements can be sent to any of your students. They can’t contain coupon links to your courses but they can contain links to external sites – including your own, as long as it provides some relevant value to the students. Educational announcements are not allowed to go to affiliate links, sales pages or squeeze pages.
Create relationships with other Udemy instructors
Not only should you be continuously communicating with your own audience during the course creation and marketing process, you should also talk to other instructors.
The best way to meet other Udemy instructors online is via the Udemy Studio Facebook Group. This is a great place to post any questions you may have about Udemy or the course creation process.
You will find you’ll soon get to know other Udemy instructors who’re creating similar courses to yours. There may be opportunities to cross-promote each others’ courses… with a reductions, of course.
Create relationships with potential affiliates
Udemy has a comprehensive affiliate scheme managed by Rakuten LinkShare. Affiliates can create links to Udemy courses with coupon reductions.
There are Facebook groups where you can woo potential affiliate: Udemy Affiliate Partners (unofficial) and Udemy Affiliate Program (official). Here is a Course Marketing Checklist For Udemy Instructors for places where you can market your course.
After you publish – ensure student happiness
The last thing you want is no one viewing your course once they’ve purchased or accessed with a free coupon.
Adding thousands of students to your course with free coupons used to be considered good for social proof. However, now I think it’s more important to only add free students who’re going to find the course useful and are likely to leave a review.
Continual engagement with students via the discussion or messaging system will ensure increased customer satisfaction and, hopefully that will result in good reviews and good feedback.
If Udemy think your students like your course then they’ll make it more visible in the marketplace. Think about that.
Further thoughts on selling your Udemy course
This is what has worked for me, in order of preference:
- Create a value-packed course with tangible reward to the student, ie. deliver saleable skills with proven benefits. And liaise and engage with the students who take the course to ensure great feedback and reviews. Not only are reviews important to the internal Udemy algorithm but there is a feedback form that pops up while students are taking a course which is of even more significance.
- Sell course reductions using time-limited coupons to your email list
- Sell course reductions using time-limited coupons to your existing customers on Udemy (via promotional announcements)
- Get other instructors to cross-promote course reductions using coupons
- Sell course reductions using coupons after teaser videos in YouTube
- Sell course reductions using time-limited coupons on social media
- Get affiliates to cross-promote course reductions using coupons
Udemy are focussed on the end user experience. Those end users are the customers / students more than the course instructors. So their success is your success.
Subscribe to John Colley’s Online Learning Podcast for enlightening interviews with course creators and sellers. Episode 100 was an interview with Frank Visciano Head of the Instructor Team at Udemy which is worth a listen.
Some books to read:
- How I Make $4,000 A Week: Uploading Simple Online Courses To Udemy And Only Working 1 Hour A Day – No Camera Required by Alun Hill
- Udemy: Make $10,000s Online Selling Self-Published Courses by Chad Tennant (I haven’t read this myself yet)
- How to Make a Great Living Teaching Online by John Purcell
- How To Sell Video Courses Online by Rob Cubbon
- Teach Online: Make Money Doing What You Love by Phil Ebiner
How To Make Money On Udemy – You can do it
You can create courses and sell them at Udemy. Just don’t think it’s easy and think about the students! More advice in this video …
See the exact step-by-step processes that makes me over $5000+ each month passive income in my new free course About How I Earn $5000+ a Month Passive Income Selling E-books and Video Courses. You can see exactly where I make my money, learn how you can sell your expertise this way, and, how to make money on Udemy as well as generate new leads at the same time.
(Image: Tumbleweed, Jez Arnold, CC-BY-SA)