Oct 18, 2018

How to Use Video Effectively to Sell Courses Online

Many universities, colleges and training providers have embraced the transition to the digital world. The internet has enabled educators to reach people on a global scale and market their institutions in a way that wasn’t available in the past.

Course promotion and sales is one key area that has benefitted immensely from the online behaviors of customers. Whether the course itself is in-person or virtual, smart marketers have been able to engage their target audience and fill up courses like never before. And as online marketing continues to evolve and grow, video has emerged as an effective tool to sell courses online.

Using video offers your institution benefits that won’t be easily executed using other methods, but it's essential to follow some proven strategies to make the most of your efforts to engage with students - current and future.

Why Use Video to Sell Courses?

Before getting into the ‘how,' it's important to explore the ‘why,' to have a firm grasp of all the reasons to use video to sell courses.

In today's marketplace, videos are searchable and are indexed and ranked the same way web pages are. Keywords and detailed descriptions can be used to describe videos so that they can be found just as easily as regular web pages or blog posts. Video is also becoming the trendy way to advertise, which means you run the risk of being left behind by your competition if you don’t follow suit.

Another reason is that people love video is that it has the potential to make a more profound psychological connection with students. When messaging is brought to life through a compelling video, it adds another dimension and makes your institution seem more 'real.' Videos can educate and inform, and they can also entertain in a way that written messages can't.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to use video to sell your courses online from a business perspective is that it works. YouTube alone has over 30 million visitors per day, and more than 5 billion videos are watched on a daily basis. As the move to video continues to grow, it just makes sense to be part of that movement.

Types of Videos that Get Great Results

Types of Videos that Get Great Results

Like any other form of selling, it's not effective to post a video pitching your course and expect to get positive results. There are a handful of different types of videos that you can create to sell your courses online, and each one will appeal to different people.

The Classic Sales Video

It’s easy to argue that they are all sales videos since the ultimate goal is to make a sale, but this type of video uses classic sales tactics to appeal to emotions like fear and desire. In a sales video, your institution can describe the course, let people know the benefits from studying, and let them know what they will miss out on if they don’t take advantage of the opportunity. It should also include a definitive call to action at the end, so there is no doubt about what you want them to do next.

The News and Commentary Video

With this type of video, you want to show that you are a thought leader in your industry by relaying news or providing commentary on recent events that have taken place. You can also review a product or service and give your opinion to let your prospects know you are on their side and want what's best for them. News and commentary videos help to build trust and establish your institution as an authority in your industry, increasing the likelihood of students purchasing your course.

'Tips and Tricks' Video

If you show prospects a tip or trick related to your subject matter, you will be seen as an expert in the field, which will help lead them down the road to making a purchase. If your course deals with science, then give tips and teasers on how to solve issues related to your industry. If you are selling a plumbing course, then introduce a few common issues and show tips on how to solve them. Remember to tie any tips or tricks back to your course, so they know that’s the real place to find the answers.

Behind the Scenes

You may not want to try and sell your course directly through videos, and if this is the case, a “behind the scenes” format may work. Going behind the scenes to show what you or your university or college does on a daily basis will make people relate to your institution better. It gives you a chance to showcase personality and give insight into the values and beliefs. This approach won’t be effective for every type of course, but it works wonderfully for many.

Testimonial Videos

Featuring testimonials from people who have successfully completed the course can go a long way toward securing a sale. Everyone loves social proof when making a purchase, and even if the course is well known, seeing real people speak highly of it makes a difference. Make sure you don't use actors for this type of video; it's vital that everything seems genuine and the people have actually taken the course.

Useful Tips and Tactics

Useful Tips and Tactics

Create Personas

Creating detailed personas is a common exercise for inbound marketers, and should be created before making any videos to sell your courses online. A buyer's persona is essentially your ideal customer and should include information like gender, age, profession, salary, family details, hobbies, goals, and so on. When you have a persona to work with, it will be easier to choose the type of video to use and the type of language and information that will yield the best results.

Be Genuine

In the world of modern online marketing, people want transparency and want to purchase from people and organizations that seem genuine. Try not to come off too "salesy" and speak as you do in real life, so your prospects can relate and will feel comfortable. Many educators and program directors choose to be in the videos themselves, and even if you’re not interested, be sure whoever is in the video is as genuine as possible.

Start Your Own Channel

Having a place that acts as a depository for videos will help boost sales and brand awareness. Start a YouTube channel and add videos selling your courses as well as any other videos about your school or company, education trends, job openings, or anything else you think is valuable.

Look the Part

It should go without saying, but as you are trying to sell courses directly or indirectly through your videos, it is essential to make them look as professional as possible. That doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune making them, but it's crucial to enusre that both the video and sound quality are good, there is an appropriate backdrop, and keep the overall feel and look consistent.

Different Ways to Increase Engagement

You can use your videos as part of some cross-channel marketing to increase the audience for your courses even more. Try promoting videos through these channels for even greater engagement:

Social Media

Adding your video to all of your social media platforms will help increase exposure and the likelihood of people sharing it with their networks. You can also include the video as part of paid ads for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.

Email Campaigns

Consider sending your video to your email list to help increase conversions. The fact that they have already opted in means that you have their attention, so promote your courses via video to them as part of your email campaigns.


Add videos to existing blogs that are based on a similar subject matter or make them stand-alone video blogs.

There's no reason why your college, university or training provider shouldn't use video to sell courses online and see impressive results. Follow the tips and information in this article to drive engagement and enrollments.


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