How an Online Course Can Add Value to Your Business (When Selling)

Online courses are becoming increasingly popular for various reasons. For individuals, online course creation provides an excellent way to earn passive income. For businesses, online courses are digital content that attracts new customers and retains current ones. 

In this article, we’re going to focus on the latter. You’ll learn how an online course adds value to your business. 

Let’s get this ball rolling.

1. Boosts Your Authority

You’re an authority if you’re a thought leader in your niche or industry. A high authority results when a brand gains the trust of the audience. It can do this by regularly offering expert advice in its field. 

That’s where an online course comes in.

An online course adds value to a business by portraying that business as an industry specialist. When you give expert advice regularly on online course platforms or other channels, people will see you as someone knowledgeable in your field. So, when you promote your product, they are more likely to believe what you say and make a purchase. 

Here’s an example.

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Adobe’s Digital Learning Services help learners and their businesses to deliver the ideal experience to every customer. The company offers 4 levels of training, from “Qualified” all the way to “Master.” By teaching learners everything to do with design and content editing, Adobe has set itself as an authority in the design and branding industry. 

In addition to this, you need to make sure what you teach is related to what you’re selling, though. So, don’t come up with a course on the best hiring practices, for instance, if you’re selling content marketing software. For people to purchase your software in the first place, you need to establish yourself as an authority in content marketing first.

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Here’s another example of a brand that uses online courses to boost authority.

HubSpot sells marketing tools. So, it offers free marketing lessons through its Hubspot Academy. Its Social Media Marketing course, for instance, is free training given to HubSpot’s site visitors and potential customers. The coaching sessions are led by marketing specialists with years of experience in social media marketing

With the course, Hubspot doesn’t just give valuable content to potential students and customers throughout their learning journey. It also helps build HubSpot’s authority in the social media marketing industry.

Note that it doesn’t matter if you sell physical or digital products. Online courses can give you the same authority benefits.

2. Educates Your Audience about Your Product

An online course adds value to a business also because it allows you to show your audience and potential customers how to use your products. 

When customers know how to use your product, they’ll get better results when they use it. This will then boost brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for more. 

Salesforce is an example of a brand that offers quality product educational content. In fact, many brands take their staff through the Salesforce training so they can get the most out of the platform. 

Once the staff completes the training, they can get a certification.

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Hootsuite is another example of a brand that offers an online course on how to use its platform for maximum productivity. The user can decide to take the course for free or pay a premium price to get a certificate after the course. Payment is done mainly with credit cards.

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Through the training, Hootsuite doesn’t just have a passive income stream. It also establishes its tool as a must-use in the social marketing industry. It gives its customers a good experience with its brand, too. People who bought their software won’t have any reason to complain about the tool’s steep learning curve.

Once your customers love your products, they are more likely to recommend them to other people they know. They are also more likely to recommend your course to potential students. In other words, you can get online course sales, too.

If you decide to create a course on how to use your product, make sure you give your students a way to contact you before the course ends. You can, for instance, give them your digital business card with a QR code that directs them to your latest product blog post. This way, they have all the information they need to make the most out of your product.

3. Aids in Establishing a Community

Online learning goes hand in hand with community building. Your students will feel like they belong in an online community as they navigate your sessions and come up with solutions together. They end up feeling a sense of belongingness and purpose over a period of time. That’s a good thing because this leads to brand loyalty. Why do you want brand loyalty? Your loyal customers are the best promoters of your brand.

To make the most out of your community, create another full-length online course around the issues highlighted by your former students. This way, you hit two birds with one stone: you further strengthen that community’s bond and ensure good customer support. Here’s an example.

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Salesforce provides several different courses that allow users to learn how to use Salesforce products better. This strategy not only improves customer experience, but it also allows customers to have their FAQs answered in detail within each course. When learners feel that their concerns are taken into consideration, they are likely to become loyal members of the brand’s community.

You can also create multiple communities from your original set of students. Canon, for instance, developed online courses for upcoming photographers. Because its students come from all over the world, Canon came up with customized lessons (with their respective online communities) per region. 

To strengthen the bond among its students and alumni, regardless of where they come from, Canon also created a single official Facebook account. So, you’ll find posts in different languages on that account:

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Online courses add value to a business through audience engagement as well. You can ensure this audience engagement through the building-a-community benefit online courses bring.

4. Taps into a Global Audience

Online courses also add value to your business by letting you tap into a global audience. Online courses have no geographical limitations because they’re, well, online. So, a person from New Zealand, Germany, or any other country, for instance, can take a course offered by Microsoft provided the user has internet connectivity.

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Another example is Meta Blueprint. Meta offers free online courses and exam certification in several languages, including German, Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Japanese. People from all nations who speak various languages can take the courses, learn how to use Meta products more effectively, and grow their businesses.

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How is this a good thing? Well, the more people you reach, the more brand exposure you get. The more brand exposure you get, the more possible conversions for you.

To reach people from different parts of the world effectively, consider having your online course topic and full-length course translated.

5. Generates Leads

Your online course students are a lead base that cannot be ignored. Any time you build video courses, the people that sign up grant you access to their contact information. So, you can grow your email list and nurture this audience even after your course ends. You can give them future updates about upcoming courses and product launches and, ultimately (hopefully), turn them into paying customers.

In addition, as current students go through your courses, they can see the value that your products or services bring. This way, they become motivated to purchase from your physical or online business. Through your courses, you also get the chance to upsell to your ideal customers. 

With the right strategies (like giving students a great learning experience), you can convert learners into customers over time. Happy customers can then give testimonials as social proof of how your course or products enabled them to achieve their goals. This can help further boost your conversion rate.

In Closing

From our discussion in this article, it is evident that online courses add value to the business. 

To recap, as online course creators, you can expect a boost in your authority. An online course also allows you to educate your ideal audience about the products you offer. You get a chance to teach them how to use your products effectively for the best results. This ensures you give them a good customer experience and support. 

With an online course, you can also reach a global target market and grow a vibrant community of students and alumni. The community can be a source of leads for your business as well as a source of ideas about the new courses you can create in the future. These ideas may come from community queries and comments.

Now that you know how successful online courses add value to a business, start creating one. Make it part of your business strategy and reap the best results. 

Find Out How Much Your Online Business is Worth

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    Martin Gessner is the Founder of Focus on Force. He has spent over 10 years working in various Salesforce roles including business analyst, project manager, consultant and solutions architect. Along the way he has earned twelve certifications, published "The Salesforce Career Playbook", and helps Salesforce professionals learn more about Salesforce, develop their career and prepare for certifications. LinkedIn Gravatar: [email protected]

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