How to Create a Udemy Course That Will Turn into Your Passive Income Machine | by Frank Andrade | Aug, 2022
Creating a course is easy, getting people to buy it isn’t. Here’s how to create a Udemy course people would buy.
If you’ve taken an online course, probably you know about Udemy. Udemy is an online platform where you can find courses about anything from personal development to web development.
The best part about Udemy is that there are already many students on the platform and you can even let its ad and affiliate programs promote your courses. This makes Udemy a great place to generate passive income. You only need to record a course once and it starts generating passive income for you.
The problem is that on Udemy anyone can become an instructor, so there’s too much competition on the platform. Selling online courses is profitable, but only a few take a good piece of the pie.
I’ve created 6 Udemy courses so far with thousands of happy students. One of them became a bestseller and some others got the “highest rated” badge.
Here’s how I created Udemy courses that students would buy.
1. Build a Newsletter
No matter what type of course you plan to create, you need people to buy it. If you publish a course on Udemy and almost no one enrolls in the course, Udemy won’t promote the course as much as it’d promote a course that already proved to be worth it.
If you send people to your course page and they buy the course, this will send a positive sign to Udemy that tells there’s a market for the course and there are students wanting to buy things from you.
How do you get people to buy your courses? With a newsletter.
Social media followers and subscribers don’t always read what you post because of the ads and posts of other content creators. You need a less noisy place where very few people have access — your follower’s email inbox.
Here’s a screenshot of one of the landing pages I use to collect emails from people.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t built the course yet, if you collect emails months before the course is live, you’ll have already made that connection with followers through emails, and selling your course will come naturally.
Keep in mind that if someone buys your course on Udemy without using your referral link, you’ll get only 37% of the revenue. This is why a newsletter is so important. Some email marketing apps like Converkit have a feature that we can use to automate the promotion of our course (using our referral link) to new people who join our newsletter.
2. Figure out what you should teach about by searching keywords on Udemy
Regardless of the many or few topics, you think you can teach about, you should search keywords on Udemy.
Why? Some fields are just too crowded that if it’s your first time on Udemy, your chances to sell a course would be little to nothing. One of my Udemy courses is about data science, while another is about web scraping (which is a subfield within data science). Guess which course got me more students so far? The second course, of course.
If you search the keywords “data science” and “web scraping” on Udemy, you’ll see that the first one has already many best-seller courses (see below) with hundreds of thousands of reviews — that’s very hard to compete with. In contrast, the second one has very few best-seller courses with only a couple of thousands of reviews.
Do you see the difference? It’s not only about the quality or the length of the course, but analyzing the market too.
Go ahead and write down the potential topics you can teach about and then search the keywords on Udemy. Those niches with little competition are worth it.
3. Take care of the title, cover, and preview video of the course
A Udemy course is like a book — people will judge the course by its cover.
In the beginning, you can use websites like Canva to design your own cover, but then you should consider paying someone to make a professional cover for your course. Take a look at the covers of some best-seller courses to get some inspiration before designing your own cover or to have an idea of how you’d like your cover to look.
A Udemy course is also like those articles you read online.
If the title isn’t attractive enough you might not click on it. Of course, sometimes students will click right away on the first best-seller course they see, but they might also be looking for something in particular like a crash course, workshop, A-Z course, etc. You can even play with the names, so instead of creating a course titled “learn algebra” you can name it “become an algebra master.”
Finally, the preview video of the course has to motivate students to buy your course. In a few minutes, you should explain the benefits of the course, major topics the course covers, the ideal student for the course, etc. You can find more tips about the preview video here.
Last but not least, to let Udemy (and Google) know what your course is about, don’t forget to write your target keyword in the title, subtitle, and course description.
4. Release 20% of your course for free on YouTube (only for long courses)
If your course has 8 hours or more and you don’t have anyone to sell your course to, consider uploading a few hours of the course on YouTube.
As I mentioned before, I have a newsletter, but I have a niche whose emails I don’t collect — Spanish-speaking people. They have less purchasing power and don’t have the habit of reading emails as much as Americans do, so what I did was publish a few courses I have in Spanish on YouTube and leave my referral link in the description and comment section.
That’s free promotion! Obviously, not every viewer is going to buy the course, but the number of people who are already bought my courses makes all of this worth it.
If you don’t have a YouTube channel, you can create one and try luck, but also you can publish your video on other people’s channels. For example, freeCodeCamp has more than 1 million subscribers and lets anyone submit videos about programming to its channel. The videos can get rejected, but fortunately, part of this and this Udemy course that I submitted were accepted.
Just like freeCodeCamp, there must be channels in other niches that open their doors for new content creators.