How to profit from online courses - find out our top tips

How to profit from online courses - find out our top tips

Once you've set up your online courses the next step is to monetise it. We have put together examples of communities that have done this to show you how to promote and profit from online courses. By reading through the 9 examples, you should be able to get ideas on how to follow a similar path. If you can apply these marketing techniques, you have the potential to turn your community into a goldmine.

A Year With My Camera

This started as a website and the creator, Emma Davies, has now launched her own app for her online courses as well as her community. It's a photography course for beginners and it takes a year to complete. This community grows through the personal progress of the members. The more individuals learn and improve through the online course, the stronger the feeling of unity is within the community. It's a fantastic way to share your progress and feel as though you are not going through this alone. There is also a free email newsletter you can sign up for. This gives pre-course tips and a sneak peak of what you can learn. It's a great way to draw members in with a free taster to get them interested. If you have some initial content, you should apply this technique to attract more customers.

man on mountain taking photo

Kayla Itsines

Not only does Kayla dominate the workout world but her fitness app is the #1 for women in the App store! She is a powerhouse and caught the world's attention through her fitness programs. On her app, she offers a 30 days course that costs $19.99. It lives up to its name 'SWEAT' by challenging users and helping them create a daily routine. She aims to encourage women to become more confident, healthier and happier through her online course. The fitness star used social media to promote her online course. Use this strategy to target your existing community. It allows you to reach your audience and get users to share the content. Try and get hashtags trending to encourage members to share it on their own account. This is a simple, free and effective way to get more people to know about your online.


Have a spare 10 minutes every day to learn a completely new language? Duolingo has been created for just that. It's a language app that offers over 30 languages to over 300 million learners. They offer free online courses but you can also upgrade for $6.99 a month. The upgrade gets you no ads, offline courses and progress quizzes that are custom-tailored. These are only a few of the features offered. This brilliant app has monetised its community in a truly seamless way. Once users are hooked and are determined to progress their learning, $6.99 is a small price to pay for what they gain in return. You can apply this technique to your own online courses. Create a free version that has great content and captures the audiences attention. Once they are hooked, it's easy to progress them onto a paid version where they can unlock even more content.


Coursera offers online courses where you can gain university-level qualifications. The app, which was founded by two Stanford professors, provides users with courses from esteemed universities such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Duke. It's a great way for people to gain certificates from top schools while being able to work as well. On several courses, they state that the time commitment will be around 15 to 25 hours a week. These flexible online courses offer alternative options for education for people who cannot do the traditional. This community of learners has moved onto courses that are gaining them real-life qualifications. The lesson to learn from these online courses is the value of great content and an end goal. Users want to finish the course and have something to show for it. In this case, it's a qualification. Try and find something they can achieve once they finish the course to add value to what they are learning.

group of people graduating

Note Trainer

Ever wanted to become musically talented? At only $3.99, this app offers courses to improve your ability to read music. This started as a community of music enthusiasts and became an educational platform. The courses range from beginner level to advanced. This means that you can go from not knowing a single thing to building your way up to a higher level of compositions. Also, you can track your progress to focus on areas that need more improvement. These online courses have everything you need to reach your goal. The techinique you can apply to profit from online courses here is that it's useful to have multiple skill levels. Not online does this lower the barrier to entry and allow more individuals to take the course, it also creates progression. You are creating a goal by using multiple levels. This will drive engagement.

Fitbit Coach

This is yet another top-rated health and fitness app that has received rave reviews through their dynamic workout courses. The content is only one aspect that drawers users to this community. They also offer feedback, goals and adaptive workouts. In other words, what you get is personalised. This is based on your age, weight and takes into account the past workouts done within the app. By personalising the content, users will feel they are getting a premium service. Therefore, this can increase user experience and lead to positive feedback. The more reviews you can get, the better this is for attracting customers and making profit from online courses.

Rod Stryker

Rod is the founder of Parayoga, one of the largest online yoga communities in the world. With such a large established community it makes sense to then take this and create a community app with courses that you can purchase. This was a space where he could offer practices of meditation and yoga Nidra. At $9.99 a month, the app is called Sanctuary with Rod Stryker. By having his online courses in an app, this has not only made the online course popular, but become part of the community. This is a great technique because the course then becomes only one factor to creating profit. Once members because involved in the course, you can then monetise through events, merchandise or even paid subscriptions.

woman doing yoga on beach


This companies motto is 'meditate and live mindfully'. At anywhere from $7.50 to $137, you can achieve this. Claimed by Oprah to be the best way to start your day off, she follows the four easy steps the company sets out to successfully meditate. This is an extremely popular wellness community. They describe themselves as a healthcare company and partner up with several firms specialise in this as well. For example, Anxiety UK is one of their partners and referred to the app as a 'gym membership for the mind'. This is another great technique to promote your online course. Find platforms that are willing to share your course and get the word out to their own members. It's helpful to find communities that share a common interest to your own.

What techniques can you use to profit from online courses and why

This article should have pointed you in the direction of how to take an online course and turn it into a successful, engaging way to monetise your community. Below, we have provided you with a number of different techniques which you can apply to your own course and why they are useful:

Offer freemium content

Why? It gives the users a taster of the course. This can be a great way of drawing people in.

Use your social media apps

Why? If you already have a community set up, this should be your main channel to promote and sell your online course. Use your resource!

Create an end-goal

Why? You need to motivate users to take your online course. If they can gain something from it (e.g. a qualification) they are more likely to purchase it.

Create progression for users throughout the course

Why? This creates a sense of reward within the course. By creating a graduation scheme, users will feel as though they are getting better with each level they pass. Encouragement is key.

Use personalised content

Why? Users will feel as though the course is tailored for them. This creates a sense of getting a premium service.

Reach out to other communities to create partnerships

Why? This will help build your network and promote your online course. By reaching out to a larger audience you can gain more users and ultimately, more profit.

Use bold content

Why? You need to stand out. If you want to make a profit from online courses you need individuals to chose yours above the others. This decision will largely be based on the content you have to offer. If you can draw users in and keep them engaged then you are set.

Using a community app to create the ultimate experience

Using a community app is the best way to go above and beyond an online course. You can incorporate your course into your community while simultaneously building up your community. This can lead to further monetisation by selling merchandise, event tickets and memberships. An online course is the first step to turning your community into a goldmine. Focus on increasing engagement, inspiring users and selling your product.