6 Reasons Your Online Course Isn't Selling

There’s nothing worse than putting a ton of time into building an online course, publishing it, and seeing zero sales - trust me, I know from experience.


I built 6 online courses before I was able to make one that sold itself on autopilot. During that time, I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.


Today, I’m sharing with you 6 reasons your online course most likely isn't selling along with how to fix each one of them.


Let’s dive in!


Reason #1: You Don’t Understand Your Customer Well Enough


This is probably the biggest reason out of all 6. In order to sell products, we need to clearly understand who we serve and how we serve them.


The better you understand your audience, the more sales you will make because you know what they find valuable.


Here’s what to do…


Create a document with 3 categories: 

  • Pains, Challenges, and Frustrations (What keeps them up at night?)
  • Hopes, Dreams, and Desires (What do they long for more than anything?)
  • Obstacles, Barriers, and Uncertainties (What’s stopping them from getting what they want?)


What we want to do is fill each of these categories with as much REAL language as possible from your target audience.


There are many ways to do this, here are the best:

  • Survey your email list (check out SurveyMonkey.com)
  • Post polls on social media in groups with your target audience
  • Pull insights from live coaching sessions
  • Interview your target audience
  • Study what people are saying about your topic in forums like Reddit and Quora


Any and all valuable information you find put into your document categories.


For example, if you find a comment from someone saying “I just wish that…” and it’s related to the problem your course solves, copy what they said and put it into the right category.


Over time, you will have a valuable document filled with words and phrases your target audience actually cares about so you know what topic to build your online courses on.


Reason #2: Your offer Isn’t Compelling or Clear Enough


The main culprit for creating offers people don’t care about is poor customer research (refer to Reason #1).


A great way to test your online course before you spend months building it is to create a detailed course outline and share it with your audience for feedback.


If the name and content of the course are compelling, they will let you know.


This is how you can have people “waiting in line” to get your online course when it officially launches.


Reason #3: Your Course Priced Too High (or low)


There is a phenomenon called “price elasticity” which basically is a measurement of the change in consumption of a product in relation to a change in its price.


For example, imagine a rubber band being stretched. At some point, that rubber band can’t be stretched anymore and it will snap - the same is true with pricing your online course.


If the price of your course is too high, and you haven’t communicated the value well enough, people won’t buy.


The same is true if it’s too low, though it’s not always the case. 


If something seems “too good to be true” it can push people away.


The first thing to do is to notice other people in your space selling similar online courses. What are they priced around?


I’m not saying you should necessarily copy their price point. Price is a bit of an anomaly because you can charge as much as you want for something so long as you can back up the reason for a higher price (aka the value it brings).


That’s where your copywriting comes into play when selling an online course, which is the next reason your online course isn’t selling.


Reason #4: You Haven’t Developed Your Copywriting Skills


In the world of online marketing, copywriting is everything. It’s your emails, content, sales page, website, etc.


One of the biggest reasons online courses don’t sell is because the sales copy sucks. This was my problem for the longest time until I learned more about copywriting.


The best part about copywriting is that you don’t need to be “the best”, you just need to be good enough.

The way to get better at copywriting is to study great copy and practice.


I highly recommend buying a copywriting course, joining a copywriting newsletter, and practicing writing more.


Personally, I started emailing my list an extra day each week and blogging to get in the habit of writing more and to practice my writing skills.


What can you do this week to start improving your copywriting skills?


Reason #5: You Haven’t Built Enough Trust Before Offering Your Course


Trust is the lifeblood of your business. If people opt into your email list, they’re trusting you with their personal information. The same goes for when they give you their money.


Would you give your money to someone you don’t trust?


Didn’t think so.


The question is… how do we build trust before offering our course?


The answer: Consistent quality content.


Adding value to this person through a blog, podcast, or youtube channel is an amazing way to build trust. With free content, people get to “try before they buy” to see if you’re legit.


For example, if someone applies what you taught them in a YouTube video and they get results, they’re most likely going to come back to learn more and be interested in your online courses.


On top of that, your lead magnets should build trust.


When people opt-in to join your email list, you should offer a lead magnet instead of saying “join our newsletter!” (topic for a different day).


Delivering on the promise your free guide will give them will build trust.


Then, if you’re doing what I teach, your copywriting will build trust.


Once someone opts in, that should trigger an automatic “welcome” email sequence that adds value and then transitions into offering your online course.


I created a full blog post that walks you through how to do this. Click here to check it out!


When done right, you can have this process fully automated so that by the time people even find out about your course, they already feel they know, like, and trust you enough to invest in your online course.


This leads us to the last reason your online course isn’t selling…


Reason #6: There’s No Social Proof or Guarantee


When you buy something online, what’s one of the first things you look for, other than what the product can do for you? Reviews!


People look for reviews when buying things online which is why buying things online is so popular now compared to the early 2000s.


When it comes to selling online courses, we don’t need to have hundreds of testimonials. Instead, we just need 3-5 focused testimonials that highlight what your course can do for people.


The more specific, the better.


You want your testimonials to answer these questions:

  • Where was your student before using your online course
  • What did they learn and apply during the course
  • What have they achieved after using the course


Keep it simple.


You can run a lower-cost beta offer to get some people in your course and, in exchange for a lower investment on their end, they give you a testimonial answering those questions.


In terms of a guarantee with your online course, just do it.


People are afraid to offer a guarantee because they feel they’ll lose money but ironically, the opposite is true.


Adding a guarantee forces you to build better products, better products mean people will be happier with their purchases.


Guarantees also give people peace of mind and, if you’ve built a great product, they’re not going to ask for a refund.


Every now and then, people will ask for a refund because life happens. It is what it is.


If someone asks for a refund, you have to give it to them!


30 or 60 days is what I do, but some people do 1 year.




Now you know the 6 main reasons why your online course most likely isn’t selling and how to fix each one of them.


Here they are again:

  • You Don’t Understand Your Customer Well Enough
  • Your Offer Isn’t Compelling or Clear Enough
  • Your Course Priced Too High (or low)
  • You Haven’t Developed Your Copywriting Skills
  • You Haven’t Built Enough Trust Before Making Your Offer
  • There’s No Social Proof or Guarantee


For right now, focus on just ONE of these areas that you feel would make the biggest difference in your business right now, then come back and work on the next.


Take what you learned here, use it, and start selling your online courses!

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