Nov 13, 2021 4 min read

How to Get Students to Join Your Course

How to Get Students to Join Your Course

So you've built a great course, and now it's time for students to enroll. Our experience is that getting students is the hardest thing.

It's similar to building a great product, and it's time to look for users. It's easy if you already have your audience.

BUT what if... you don't have? How can you get students to join your course?


TL;DR. Here are helpful tactics that won't cost you any cents:

  1. Start with Your Network. I'm pretty sure you have at least 500 followers, subscribers, connections combined in your social media.
  2. Create an Awesome Referral Program. I'll tell you how.
  3. Join Communities. Hang out where your market is.
  4. Create in Public. Attract and influence those around you.
  5. Offer Free Mini-Workshops. Give value and they'll come.
  6. Try Ex-deal. Guest post in newsletters, blogs, podcasts, events, etc.
  7. List Your Course. in public listings such as Cohortland, CBC list, etc.

And if you have a budget, advertise with course listing sites to help you promote your course. Cohortland can do that for you with 3 awesome packages that will help you earn more from your cohort-based course.

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One major question of professionals who want to start creating courses is.. where and how to start? Should they design the modules first, create a landing page, or find students who will try their course?

This is similar to the chicken and egg problem.

Content vs Audience. Which one should comes first?

Based on experience, starting a course should do both building and marketing at the same time.

Errr, sounds difficult. Hmm, a little bit--yes.

But there are hacks to make this less hard. Let me break it down for you:

1.  Start with your network. How many social media accounts do you have? How many followers, subscribers, connections do you have when you combined all of them? Start posting about your course on your social media and see how many will be interested.

Let's say you have at least 500 people in your network. 50% of them are irrelevant to your course niche. So you have 250 people to target. Not everyone will be interested in your course. Around 5-10% only might convert.

Having <25 students to start with is a good number for a cohort-based course.

Start by experimenting with this <25 students, conduct your first cohort for free or with a minimum payment, up to you.

2. Create an awesome referral program. After having your first cohort, now is the time for feedback. Remember that cohort-based courses are designed to transform your students from 0-1.

You're their fairy godmother who will transform them into what they want to become. So make sure your course will be learner-centric, transformational, and valuable. Why?

Because those <25 students will be your indirect marketers! They can refer you to their network, communities, family, etc. You can use their stories and testimonials as your "wall of love".

If you're generous enough, you can also try out what we've tried before – create a paid referral program.

Offer a referral bonus of $20-$100 for each student they will refer. It will increase their motivation to help you promote your course.

3. Join Communities where you can find your audience. Hang out to those online places (or communities) that have your target market.

For example, you're teaching Yoga. Where can you find those people who want to learn Yoga? Which communities should you look for? Once you signed up, write your profile, introduce yourself, and don't forget to link your course.

Become an active member in the community by attending events, messaging members, and posting topics that are helpful to them.

Getting near to your audience will help you find their likes, dislikes, pains, and dreams.

4. Create in Public - This is the best tactic to be accountable for what you're creating. A lot of professionals don't succeed because either they don't finish what they started, or they give up easily.

Creating it in public--by posting on social media, in communities--will increase your motivation and discipline to keep doing it.

Because... you don't want to lose your face in public, right?

This tactic will also help you attract and influence the right audience for your course. Fortunately, there are more online consumers and watchers than creators. This is your time to shine!

5. Offer Free Mini-Workshops. Now that you're done with your first cohort and telling the world what you're up to, it is time to tease them on what to expect in your course.

Offer free mini-workshops by co-hosting events in your community, or just you hosting a workshop on your own.

Yes. I say "mini" which means 1-2 hrs workshop to get a secret look at your course. I suggest making it free or adding this as a freebie for those who are on your waitlist.

6. Try Ex-deal - Identify what you can offer to others, and what you want from them. Some of these examples are guest posting in newsletters, blogs, podcasts, events, etc.

For the newsletter, try LetterHunt.
For events, try EventBrite.
For podcasts, try RSS.
For blogs, hmm. I leave it to you.

And lastly,

7. List Your Course because there are gazillions of content, products, courses that can be found on the web. And curating has been a popular trend.

Listings are so helpful nowadays. They help us to save more time in going into the rabbit hole of the internet.

For cohort-based courses, there are a few course listing sites that can help you in promoting your course.

  • Cohortland - find the best cohort-based courses on any topic. You can feature your course, join the CBC community, and receive a weekly newsletter. You can grow and scale your course by reaching more students through awesome packages.
  • CBC List -  a collection of CBC landing pages, featured in ProductHunt.
  • CourseNest - browse handpicked CBCs across the web. They can feature your product for a max of 70 days.

That's it! I hope this helps you in some ways.

If you enjoyed this article, kindly show support by retweeting this thread I shared on Twitter.


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Janica Solis
Janica Solis
Edtech enthusiast with 5y experience in education. Worked in an iNGO that promotes global education, and in Edtech startups that design bootcamps and online courses.

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