Selling courses on eLearning Marketplaces vs Online Academy

Written by Shalini Saxena on 01 September 2017

Being an edupreneur is not just another job, but a 24*7 responsibility only a few can handle. If you intend to become an instructional leader and don’t mind walking that extra mile then this post will help you take a leap forward towards that goal.


So are you planning to sell your courses online or are already in the league? Do you face the dilemma of selling the courses through an eLearning marketplace or create your own online platform? Well we have the secrets to your questions. This post reveals all the insights eLearning marketplaces would never want you to know.


Below are the pros and cons associated with an eLearning marketplace, along with a tip on how your own platform might be the better choice:


Setup Cost – Spending Smart


Selling courses online in today’s competitive world is a challenging task and that’s the reason many edupreneurs may have to deal with failure in their initial years. While selling on a marketplace appears to be a low-risk option it certainly has cons too:


Pro – Initial investment in marketplaces is lower than the setup cost required for your own Online Academy.

Con – The course fees you charge needs to comply with the policies of the marketplace you opt. Most platforms have very specific rules for pricing the courses based on the hours, credibility and field.


In case of an Online Academy, you own the platform so though the investment required is slightly higher, you have full control over the pricing you’d like choose for your courses and you don’t have to give a share to anyone.


Audience – Finding your Learners


Your audience i.e. your learners are the ones who can make you successful. Reaching out to the right audience with the planned budget is what every entrepreneur dreams of. But then this is real world and no ideal scenarios can be promised ever – only dynamic practical solutions work! An eLearning marketplace may come with a large audience base but then the completion rate is high too, here are both sides of the coin:


Pro – Marketplaces gives you an opportunity to reach out a large audience base and also to go international from day one!

Con – Though you have better chances of selling your courses to more learners, sooner or later you will realize that it’s not your audience. The learners don’t identify your academy or your brand, they just recognize the platform.  And the platforms give learners many other options similar to your courses – the competition rate is high.


Though you may start with smaller numbers, you can build a stronger connection with the audience. Even if the initial reach is limited, your learners will identify your brand/academy and as they are your learners, it's rare that you will lose them!


Marketing – Reaching your Audience


Whether your course offerings are unique or they are one among the many – you need marketing efforts to succeed. There’s no alternative, no shortcut. It may seem easier to leave the promotion and advertising to the eLearning marketplace, but heads up there’s a catch:


Pro – Saves you from planning and implementing your marketing. Even claims to cut down your overall marketing expenses.

Con – People don’t identify your academy as a brand so though you pay additional fees to promote and sell your courses the return on this investment is short lived and limited. They know the academy, it is difficult to stand out among so many educators selling their courses. Thus you face more competition and need to be the best to prosper!


Starting from scratch – that’s the only option you have if you are setting up your own academy. You need to plan your marketing strategy based on your target audience. Decide the overall budget and individual budget for various channels. Getting started will take time but in the end, all the investment will pay off as learners will recognize your platform as a brand.


Sales – Earning Profits


The ultimate goal is to sell your courses to the right audience with minimal marketing expenses/efforts. Again the advantages associated with a marketplace are short-lived but in the longer run, your academy will give you the real profits:


Pro – You sell quicker with course hosting platforms. You may have conversions from the very first week.  

Con – Though you have chances of selling more with the marketplaces, the basic plans on popular eLearning marketplaces involve 3-5% transaction fees. This percentage is higher for premium plans and thus a percentage of your revenue goes to these platforms as payment processing fees or other charges mention in their terms.


With your own academy sales may take time to shoot up but once your academy gains popularity then you don’t have to give away a chunk of it!


Then what’s the ultimate solution? You just need to make a smarter choice by using the course hosting platforms as just another marketing channel for building your learner base with free courses. Become an instructional leader by setting up your own Online Academy!!


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