This is a question all Udemy instructors will ask themselves sooner or later: how to sell courses on your own site and NOT on Udemy!
Udemy is one of the world’s leading online learning platforms and was set up in 2010. It now has over 20 million users. I have been selling courses on Udemy since 2013. I have made 6 figures profit, got 1,406 reviews (4.5 stars) from 90,567 students in 194 countries with Udemy!
But … and it’s a big ‘but’ … It’s Udemy’s platform, they make up all the rules, they keep the customers’ email addresses, and they sell most of your courses at $10.
The money is addictive. But, like most addictions, it gives you bad habits. And selling courses for $10 is a bad, bad habit.
I’ve tried to sell my courses at high prices and opt-out of the Udemy’s 25% and $10 promotions. But Udemy customers tend to consume the high-priced courses within 30 days so that they can get a refund. Udemy customers expect cheap courses. This is yet another reason why selling on Udemy isn’t a long-term business strategy.
You need to sell courses on your own site so you can charge proper prices, and keep the customers’ email addresses so you can market to them in the future to get repeat sales.
Get customers off Udemy and on to your site and social channels
But, how do you get customers off Udemy and on to your site? It’s not easy… but here are some ideas …
Make sure you have consistent branding. Make sure it’s the same name on your Udemy profile, your website, your YouTube channel, and your social media accounts.
And, brand everything: video intros, lower thirds, video outros, downloadable materials, Udemy announcements, etc., with your website domain.
So, for example, my profile name on Udemy is “Rob Cubbon”, my website is RobCubbon.com, my YouTube channel is called “Rob Cubbon”, my Twitter, my Facebook page and so on. So my Udemy students can easily find me elsewhere.
Also, remember, Udemy lets us send students to our website or squeeze page where we collect email addresses in the last video of our courses. But many students, alas, don’t make it to the last video.
In many of my course videos, I use my own site and offers as “examples” to explain something I’m teaching. This way Udemy customers see my site and offers within the course.
A great idea is to start Facebook Groups in the subjects of your courses. You can send them to your Facebook Group in the first or second video of your course. This is really effective.
Selling courses from your site – Thinkific, Teachable, LearnDash and Kajabi
Personally, I use Teachable but I would recommend Thinkific. Both platforms allow you to set up a Learning Management System (LMS) on your own domain, meaning you get some of the SEO-juice from your site for your school .
If you have a WordPress blog already, then you could consider LearnDash, which is a WordPress plugin. LearnDash will work with most WordPress themes and is the cheapest option.
With the above options (Teachable, Thinkific and LearnDash), you would need to purchase hosting (if you want to use your own domain) and email marketing system to work properly. I would recommend Aweber and MailChimp for email marketing, as they are the cheapest options.
Kajabi is another option but is much more expensive. True, it combines the hosting, course selling, blog, and email marketing in one platform. But it is more expensive than buying these elements separately. If you already have a site and email lists, getting Kajabi would be a big mistake in my opinion.
There are other options. New Zenler, Podia and LifterLMS. Sorry, I don’t know anything about these. A job for another day.
So, how do you beat the Udemy addiction?
In the video below, I explain how you kick the Udemy habit and start selling courses on your own site:
This is what works for me: make two versions of a course. A good version, and a lite version.
The good version of your course should be maybe 4+ hours of video, more access to Q&A with you personally.
The good version is a more immersive course. It really gives the customer the benefit of all your experience in the subject of that course.
The lite version of your course should have 50% less video, less material, and no access to Q&A with you personally. It only teaches the student a basic outline of the subject of the course but doesn’t give that immersive experience.
Of course, you put the cheap lite version on Udemy. You don’t promote this course. But you do the announcements on Udemy to promote the Udemy courses to your Udemy followers.
And you put the expensive good version on your own sites, and you charge $99, $197, $297, or $499, or whatever. The sky’s the limit.
Funnel all your promotion to the course on your own site. How do you get to the level where you can do that?
For me, it’s all about the email list
You need a few thousand email addresses in order to start making a decent amount of money selling courses from your own site.
Your email list of a few thousand addresses needs to be “hot”. That means have just got the email addresses and you need to be giving them good content through emails as well so they trust you.
How do you get email subscribers?
Well, I’ve found one of the best ways to get email addresses is through offering free courses.
I find it best to offer a FREE, half hour long, “taster” course so a student can experience your teaching style and see if they like you.
By signing up for the free course, they are automatically signed up to one of my email lists. And, hopefully, they won’t mind getting emails from me as long as these emails provide value.
The most important thing is to grow the email list, and that takes time.
It’s not going to happen overnight. You can’t flip a switch and go from making money on Udemy to making money on your own site.
It’s going to take a while. The transition is going to be gradual. You will make money on Udemy as well as your site at the same time. So there’s no great hurry, take it slow.
You’ll have to work quite hard on blog posts that get traffic, YouTube videos that get traffic, and Facebook Groups that get traffic. And, what do you do with that traffic? You point that traffic towards your free course to get the email sign-ups.
I can’t go into it all in this blog post, but I have free courses and one of them tells you exactly how to do this: How To Make Passive Income With E-books And Video Courses.
Feel good about providing value!
You’ll feel good about charging different prices for the same course because it’s not the same course! The better version of the course is charged at a higher price. The lite version of the course on Udemy is charged at a cheaper price.
For me, the secret to a successful business is to enjoy providing value to your customers.
What do you think? What is the best way to maximize income from your courses? What is the best way to help the most people? Please add your comments below …