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30 Popular Ideas to Help You Promote Your Online Course

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As distance learning and remote work have turned people’s homes into classrooms and workspaces, online courses have become more popular.

Because of that, the market for online courses is more saturated than it once was. And there’s more competition for your audience’s attention. Fortunately, there are many ways to successfully market these courses.

That’s not to say promoting online courses is easy. But you definitely have options. You just need to find the right fit for you and your course.

Below, we’ve outlined 30 winning strategies to promote your online course, but they all center around one central theme — proving your knowledge and authority on a subject. That’s the best way to convince someone that your course is worth the investment.

Let’s dive in.

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1. Start blogging

The first and most straightforward strategy would be to start a regular blog on your website where you discuss topics related to your course. A blog post can act as a gateway to your course. Re-use existing course content as a blog to get more ungated content to help you sell the course.

Realistically, people who want more information about your course topic will search online for answers. If they find your blog, and it’s well-written and informative, they’re more likely to respect you as an authority and invest in your class.

2. Produce video content on YouTube

YouTube can be an excellent platform to prove your knowledge and expertise. By appealing to visual learners who might not want to read a blog post (TL;DR, anyone?), you’re casting a wider net that can attract more potential students.

It’s also an excellent way to give your audience a taste of what to expect.

Optimize your videos for search to get the most bang for your buck.

Analyze your competitors with a service like VidIQ, shown below, to figure out how to dominate the search. You can also use YouTube shorts to create short-form, attention-grabbing content.

An example from the VidIQ tool

(Image Source: vidiQ)

Bonus Tip: YouTube can also become a viable revenue stream that’ll help you supplement your courses once you reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over a 12-month period.

3. Paid advertising

Run paid advertising campaigns on platforms you know your audience frequents. For example, if your prospective students primarily use Facebook or Instagram, run targeted Meta ads that can zero in on prospects based on their likes, preferences, and online habits.

There are also Google PPC (pay per click) advertising and online course marketplaces that will feature you for a fee. Additionally, try advertising special promotions and offers on coupon websites. Just make sure that the platforms you choose are‌ popular with your audience.

4. Create a landing page

All paid ads need to point somewhere. That’s why you should have landing pages with information specific to the courses you’re promoting and the promotions you’re running.

If you’re offering multiple courses, the homepage of your website might not be specific enough for these visitors. As a result, they may not be able to find what they’re looking for and leave, causing your bounce rate to spike.

Additionally, you can produce specific landing page imagery to accompany your promotions. For example, a holiday promotion landing page could have snow and Santa, while a summertime course promotion could have beaches.

However, the information you provide is what truly makes an effective landing page.

When you share information with potential students on your landing page, it’s important to be thorough. In fact, by providing a clear sales playbook, you can give them even greater visibility into the course, increasing the odds of a purchase.

5. Run an SEO strategy

Your SEO strategy will determine how easy it is for potential students to find you. That’s why the best strategy is to work with an SEO professional who understands the Google algorithm and will properly optimize your content for relevant keywords.

An SEO Checklist

(Image Source: WordStream)

SEO takes time and effort, as shown in the checklist above. It’s a constantly shifting process that’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of campaign. Make sure you have either the knowledge and experience or the budget to hire someone who does to see that it pays off.

6. Email marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective direct marketing strategies. For example, creating an email newsletter and sending subscribers personalized information with compelling subject lines on course promotions can generate a buzz around your services and get more students into your classes.

If sending personalized emails to everyone sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Marketing automation software platforms allow you to access customer and lead data with the push of a button and generate messaging specific to the individual. Popular messaging services play a pivotal role in modern marketing strategies, offering direct and instant communication channels with potential customers. Platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat boast billions of active users worldwide, making them invaluable tools for engaging with audiences on a personal level.

7. Use professional networks

If your online course’s target market is businesses or business professionals, you can generate interest and awareness using professional networks.

Let’s say you’re running an online course for HR professionals that teaches about some of the most recent developments in remote work and how to find candidates internationally. You can find professionals interested in your services via professional networks like Linkedin.

8. Develop a mobile app

Creating a mobile app around your online courses can make the entire experience more accessible for students.  

Online course platforms are becoming increasingly mobile-centric, with many students preferring to access them through smartphones and tablets. Therefore, investing in mobile app design is crucial to ensure that your course reaches the maximum number of students.

Choosing a learning management system (LMS) that offers a mobile app builder is critical to today’s education landscape.

With the increasing demand for mobile learning, having a mobile app for your course can enhance student engagement and accessibility. You can also add a video call SDK to your app to streamline teacher-student communications and make the app even more user-friendly. If you find that your students prefer mobile courses and don’t take this step, you’ll lose out to someone who has.

If the student has a choice between your course and one with an app, they might choose the app, even if it’s more expensive. Therefore, investing in an LMS with a mobile app builder can be a strategic decision for improving the success of your courses.

The Duolingo app

(Image Source: Condé Nast)

Take the popular language learning online course system Duolingo as an example. It’s an online course presented through a mobile app that sends push notifications that remind students to continue and lets them take courses with family and friends. It’s an incredibly effective and convenient course that sets the bar for the entire industry.

9. Publish transcriptions of past courses

One creative way to promote your course is to make transcripts of previous courses available to the public.

Providing transcripts for your online course can make it more accessible to a wider audience. If you’re unable to create transcripts yourself, consider hiring a transcriber. Just make sure you proofread everything.

10. Create stunning visuals

When creating landing pages or running paid ads, you want to ensure the imagery and colors can capture the audience’s attention.

One way to ensure this is by using a collage maker tool to create visually engaging promotional material — like flyers or ads. You can also explore using free flyer templates to streamline the design process.

For example, create a poster or collage that highlights the various modules of your course, the benefits of taking the course, or testimonials from satisfied students. Then, use these posters or collages in your social media posts, email newsletters, or website to generate interest.

11. Develop lead magnets

A great way to gather valuable contact information and marketing data on your potential pool of students is to create lead magnets for them.

A lead magnet is a piece of gated content valuable to a specific audience. Lead magnets are usually free of charge with a caveat. Typically, the prospect has to exchange information, like their email address, name, phone number, and zip code.

You may later decide to add a process for reaching leads to your sales playbook after you’ve obtained all the necessary contact details through lead magnets.

What lead magnets work best to promote an online course? Choose from:

  • A free ebook
  • An instructional video series about your niche
  • A resource guide
  • A specialized tool integrated into your website

Consider including a QR Code in your resource guide or specialized tool integrated into your website. This QR code (preferably created using a custom QR Code generator) can lead to a dedicated landing page, offering valuable insights or a preview of your course content.

12. Make your mark on social media

Social media channels are vital to your success in promoting an online course. Just about every target audience frequents these platforms. That means your audience is out there, and you need to reach them.


(Image Source: Instagram)

Canva is a perfect example. They’ve organized their Instagram profile into Stories for their visitors. Fans and followers can check out FAQs, see what other Canva fans are up to, and learn new tips and tricks for using the tool.

Canva knows what its audience wants and where it hangs out online. It meets them there and delivers — and 1.7 million loyal fans followed.

Depending on where your audience is, you can create a Facebook group or LinkedIn community. Show off your knowledge in these spaces and demonstrate your expertise. You can prove your worth as an instructor once people see you as an authority in your niche.

13. Appear as a guest on industry podcasts

Another way to prove your authority and expertise is by appearing on popular podcasts within your industry.

Podcasts are a popular way to reach your audience, with over 100 million people in the US listening regularly. And that audience is only growing, as shown in the following graph.

number of active podcast listeners 2024

(Image Source: Demandsage)

People trust the hosts of the shows they listen to, and they form parasocial relationships with them. When a podcast host turns the floor over to you as an expert, the audience will believe them, giving you instant credibility.

Plug the course on these shows, but focus more on the information. If what you provide is solid, the course will sell itself.

14. Start your own podcast

You could always cut the intermediary out entirely and start your own podcast.

Let’s say you’re running an online course for real estate agents. Start a podcast centered around the topic of “How to Get Leads in Real Estate,” which is one of the most frequently asked questions on Google related to the industry. With a search volume that high, you won’t have to worry about generating interest.

Here, you can share valuable insights and practical strategies with your listeners. Or reach out to industry experts, such as successful agents, property investors, or mortgage brokers, who can offer advice on lead generation techniques or effective marketing strategies for realtors.

By building a relationship with your audience, you can establish yourself as an authority in the field and nurture trust. During each episode, you can also promote your real estate courses, resources, and services‌.

15. Create an affiliate program

Affiliate programs are an effective way to use popular personalities, like the podcasters we mentioned earlier, to your advantage. In an affiliate program, a blog or website lists an affiliate link to your content, which they promote.

When a student clicks on the link and enrolls in your class, the affiliate makes a small commission off the sale. So, if a popular podcast host directs listeners to his website and instructs them to click on an affiliate link to enroll in your class, you and the affiliate win.  

This program is highly efficient because it’s a no-risk scenario. Your affiliate marketers only earn on what they sell, so you don’t incur any upfront costs.

16. Answer Quora questions

Quora is a popular website where people can ask just about anything. The various question categories tend to rank well on Google.  

screenshot of Quora

(Image Source: Quora)

By finding questions associated with your niche and providing valuable, actionable answers and advice, you can prove your authority, and Quora readers will be clamoring to learn from you. Ensure you include a link to your course and sprinkle in relevant keywords. You’ll have maximum visibility if your answer appears as a Google-featured snippet.

17. Conduct webinars

Webinars are mini-workshops you conduct for free to provide valuable information to your audience while showcasing what you offer.

Many people use webinars as lead magnets. If someone wants to take your webinar, they must first provide contact information, like an email address. You can then send them follow-up materials on the full course.

One huge benefit of a webinar is that you can offer it live, engaging potential students and answering their questions directly. Of course, you can also record webinars, so the information is available anytime.

Here’s a prime example of an effective webinar: Form Health offers products and services to people interested in losing weight and living healthier lives, but it also partners with physicians.

Form Health webinar

(Image Source: Form Health)

It even offers a 30-minute webinar on “Obesity Management for the Busy Physician,” free on its website. A valuable freebie like this will no doubt sway many doctors to contact Form Health and partner with them. It’s a brilliant move you can repeat.

18. Create software tools

If there’s a tool you can create to benefit your potential students, sink some time and money into launching it as a complimentary service on your website. Just make sure it works flawlessly.

Take the weight loss course example from before. Something like a calorie calculator that tells users a daily calorie range to lose weight can provide a related value. It’s a service that potential students of a weight loss online course would benefit from, one that could be a beacon drawing people to your site. Once there, they can view your messaging and learn more about what you do.

example of a software tool - calorie calculator

(Image Source: Legion)

You don’t have to use the tool as a lead magnet. You can make the most of it by surrounding it with valuable information. Try adding other services and tools that’ll keep potential students on the site, like in the image above. The calorie calculator is in the center of the page, with several different tools listed on the left-hand side.  

Now, you’ve demonstrated value to the customer and shown that you have even more to offer beyond it. Go, you!

19. Become a presence in niche community spaces

We mentioned before that developing social media communities would be a great idea. But you should also participate in other social media communities adjacent to your niche.

When you join these communities, you’re not there to be an ad bot spouting off nonstop about your services. Engage with the community — be a part of it.

Do something subtle, like putting your job title on a nameplate in your profile picture to help show everyone who you are and what you do and offer.

Opt for a professional headshot to enhance your profile and leave a positive, lasting impression.

This creates opportunities to gain new students from these communities. But you can also get referrals from other members who have come to trust you enough to recommend you to friends and family.

Just don’t set up shop in communities run by your competitors. That never ends well.

20. Contact the press with newsworthy stories

If your course results in or leads to a particular success story or charitable venture, contact the press to get coverage. Your audience will want to hear about stories like this, and the press is the perfect way to share.

Put together an immaculate press release covering the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your story. This should include quotes that reporters can pull from and your contact information.

The template below can give you a better idea of how to lay out a press release. You’re more likely to get published if the editor doesn’t have to rewrite your release.

press release template

(Image Source: WPROMOTE)

Follow up with these news outlets and ask them directly if they can use a human interest story. Make sure that your chosen outlets are popular with your target audience. For example, if you’re marketing to medical professionals, try to get a story in a publication or website that caters to the medical community.

21. Gather user-generated content

Creating content is a neverending process, and it can get exhausting. That’s why many marketers turn to user-generated content to help promote online courses.

If someone took your cooking online course and starts posting photos and videos of all the incredible dishes they’re making, get permission to share that content. It’s excellent social proof. People will trust the word of a peer over business messaging every time.

22. Work with popular influencers

Influencer marketing involves working with popular celebrities or social media users with massive followings. In exchange for promoting your course, the influencer can receive free products, a commission on every sale, or an upfront payment.

Obviously, the upfront payment option carries the biggest risk, but this is typically what more prominent influencers want. A commission system is the safest option as you won’t incur upfront costs.

23. Gather reviews

Reviews can be influential when used appropriately in your marketing plan. At the end of each course, encourage students to leave reviews. Take the particularly positive and well-written of the bunch and use it to showcase the value your course can bring to a person’s life.

Written reviews are great, but video reviews are even better.

When a potential student hears a peer talk about how your course helped alleviate pain points they share, they’ll be more open to trusting you.

24. Translate courses into other languages

Don’t limit yourself to just one market. For example, if you’re marketing your course in areas where other languages are common, have it translated to break down the language barrier.

Automated services can do this, but that’s never a good option. Different languages often work with vastly varied sentence structures, so hiring a human translator is always best.

25. Engage on social media

There’s more to social media success than having a business profile and posting regularly. You also need to engage your audience. If they leave comments or mention you in other posts, respond.

You should even be responding to negative comments. By showing your willingness to work with an unhappy student, you’ll be able to show the quality of your service and your commitment to excellence.

Just have a look at what you’ve typed before posting. Autocorrect can be a nuisance. Remember – the words you enter into social platforms ultimately represent your brand.

26. Get listed on a best courses list

Industry-related blogs use listicles so often because they can create excellent SEO opportunities. If you can get your service on such a list from a reputable website, it’ll give you an added boost in prestige and legitimacy with readers.

example of a

(Image Source: Intelligent)

If you’re running an affiliate program, including you on a best courses list can be an excellent way to insert promotional links.  

27. Run a free course giveaway

Everyone loves a contest. Competition is in our blood, and the allure of a free course can be hard for your target audience to resist.

Have potential students enter to win a raffle, with the grand prize being a free course giveaway. Sure, you’re bringing in a student paying nothing, but everyone who signs up for this contest wants to take your course. And, if you make it a lead source, you’ll now have their contact information to follow up‌ with.

28. Become a source on HARO

Another way to‌ gain more visibility is by becoming an expert source on HARO. This website’s title is an acronym for Help A Reporter Out, and it’s a resource page where journalists can connect with experts in certain fields.

screenshot of HARO registration

(Image Source: Cision)

As a HARO source, follow the steps in the image above, and you could provide expert quotes to a reporter working on a story in your niche. You can then share copies of that article on social media and your website, showcasing your authority and credibility for all to see.

29. Create a payment plan to make the course more affordable

Price will always be a significant hurdle for many, but it’s an objection you can overcome with some work and flexibility.

Offering an installment payment plan for students can make the entire experience more affordable. For example, someone might be unable to afford to spend $1,000 all at once. But four installments of $250 could be a lot more manageable.

30. Conduct cold outreach (not cold calling)

Cold outreach shouldn’t be your first option for online course promotion, but you also shouldn’t ignore it as a potential lead source. Reaching out to someone unprovoked via email or a social channel like LinkedIn can help you connect with people who might have missed your ads completely.

Just be respectful and patient. Don’t spam them. A simple email, comment, or direct message will suffice. And for Heaven’s sake, personalize it. No one wants to get a copy-pasted form message like the one featured in the image below. They’ll report you under suspicion of being a spam bot.

cold email outreach template

(Image Source: Neil Patel)

Note we said cold outreach and not cold calling. This is because people view cold calls as incredibly intrusive, and they aren’t nearly as effective in the era of direct messaging and texts.


Selling an online course can be a fruitful and beneficial business venture if you know how and where to market it. We’ve only scratched the surface of available options here.  

Focus on the marketing opportunities that sync up with your unique audience, and you’ll be able to bring in students and make your course a smashing success.

Get long-term ROI.

We help you grow through expertise, strategy, and the best content on the web.