Courses, Creators Economy

Here’s why your online courses fail (and how to fix it)

This blog will walk you through 7 solid reasons why online courses fail and how they can be avoided. With so much...

Written by Sara Illahi Panhwer · 3 min read >
on why online courses fail, elearning related imagery

This blog will walk you through 7 solid reasons why online courses fail and how they can be avoided.

With so much competition in the world of online courses, failure isn’t unheard of.

Creating courses and watching them fail can lower morale, and make you question why you saw this dream in the first place. The good thing, however, is that the failure of your courses is totally avoidable.

a note on why online courses fail

Below are some of the reasons why course creators fail. Avoiding the following reasons can save you from failing again.

1. Lack of extensive market research

Some course creators function on the mere assumption that because people are looking for a certain course in the market, they need to jump in with their own tailored course despite lack of expertise and a suitable audience to sell to.

This is the most naive way to go about creating and launching any product, let alone online courses. High demand in a niche usually means more competition and it is difficult to stick in that competitive market as a newbie course creator.

Decisions made on mere assumptions and no market research lead to a big waste of investment, time, and effort. As a course creator, therefore, it is imperative that you thoroughly survey the market.

🔥 Also read: How to determine course market fit for your digital course

2. Low course quality

One of the reasons course creators fail to sell their course is by not focusing on the course quality. Even if you manage to find a course niche of higher demand and lesser competition, you won’t succeed unless your course is result-driven. It is a fact.

Mere marketing is not involved in the success of an online course; course content and course outcomes matter, too. Value has to be provided and expectations need to be set and met through a course.

So, when your online courses fail to deliver results, as promised, they fail generally. They can also end up earning a bad name for the creator and their course.

3. Not using a course sales funnel at all

Building a funnel, from top to bottom, is a great way to understand and move potential customers through different stages to a final sale. Most creators don’t follow the funnel.

It is true that even without a course sales funnel, you can direct leads to your website or landing page. However, just landing the leads on your sales page is not sufficient; you need to get your leads’ email addresses to keep them in the loop for the next few weeks, in order to finally get them to buy your course.

From there you need to engage them in different stages of the funnel, until they finally purchases your course. If you’re putting up ads, collecting emails of students via forms and then not following up with them via call or email, you must review your strategy again.

4. Not sticking to a marketing strategy

Shifting the minute you produce average results on a marketing campaign won’t get you better results. Several course creators make the mistake of abandoning their marketing strategy out of panic, and they make a habit out of it. But, consistency is key in marketing.

Not to say that you shouldn’t experiment, A/B test, but keep the approach slightly narrow in the beginning. Try different things out and see what works best for you and your business.

Hence, give your campaigns (unpaid or paid) time to warm up and engage people before they’ve even had a chance. Abandoning them midway and shifting gears barely lands neither leads nor direct sales.

5. No use of lead magnets

Lead magnets are a perfect way to gather a warmed up audience as well as their emails. Many creators disregard it and jump to the final step – generating course sales. Unfortunately, this almost always backfires. Course selling is a process and processes take time & patience.

Lead magnets are one of the first and foremost steps to your funnel. Selling the course is always the last step. One can’t avoid the first step and start working on the last step. This is one of the strongest reasons for the failure of online courses.

There are several lead magnets you can can offer for free in exchange for emails. Try webinars, ebooks, templates, cheat sheets and more of such stuff to hook and reel prospects in.

6. Not having a specific pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is one of the most important building blocks of any course selling strategy. Pricing describes your course’s worth. There are a number of factors that you must take into consideration and weigh before you move to decide on a specific course price.

One reason online courses fail is the lack of an in-depth pricing strategy. If your course’s price outweighs the benefits and results in your course offers, it will end up failing. Balanced pricing is key to a successful online course.

7. Not delivering what the audience requires

This resonates with the very first point of this blog post. Thorough market research is not just to seek high-demand and low-competition niches for course creation. Market research helps tell us what the learners are looking for.

Not adjusting your course objectives as per the audience demands, despite constant feedback, leads to failure of online courses. Therefore, it is super important that your course objectives are aligned with what the audience requires.

If you are an aspiring course creator or someone who is in the process of creating a course, consider these factors to avoid course failure.


But if you’re sure you have an course that’ll win an audience over, why not start making it on Airschool? It’s free to create. 😉

Written by Sara Illahi Panhwer
Constantly striving to help course creators become a monumental part of the billion dollar ed-tech industry. Profile

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