using influencer marketing to promote online course

When you are just getting started to sell courses online and do not have an audience yet, leveraging influencers and piggybacking on their existing audience can be very effective in getting the initial eyeballs on your course.

This is even truer if your course targets a young audience. In fact, 50% of millennials trust recommendations from influencers.

But, how do you go about it?

In this blog, we will discuss the ways to leverage influencers as a powerful marketing strategy for selling online courses and maximizing your profits.

Let’s dive in.

5 ways to promote online courses through Influencers

1. Identify influencers in your niche

The first step to successful influencer marketing for a course is to find the right people relevant to your niche.

The key word here is ‘relevant’.

It is futile to rope in an influencer with a million followers from the beauty industry when your course teaches, say, ‘Email Marketing.’

The way to go about identifying a relevant influencer is to start by identifying the platform where your target audience exists.

It is wiser to focus on one or two marketing platforms for the most impact rather than spreading yourself too thin trying to reach your audience across various media.

  • Look at your competition. On which platforms are they channeling their marketing efforts?
  • All social media platforms have search capability. Plug in your course topic or keyword closest to it and see how many posts or people show up.

If the number is significant and you see several people (belonging to your target audience) engaging with the posts, you are on the right channel.

find an influencer on twitter for promoting your course

So should you choose the influencer with the highest number of followers? Well, it only makes sense that you’ll have the widest reach, doesn’t it?


An influencer with a high follower count doesn’t actually translate to high ‘relevant’ followers. Several influencers inflate their follower count by:

  • Buying followers
  • Publishing posts irrelevant to the industry
  • Using ‘follow for follow’ strategies
  • Using bot

Therefore, a good metric to niche down on an influencer is to see the engagement metric. A consistently high engagement on posts related to your niche is a good sign of a suitable influencer for your online course promotion.

2. Connect with the Influencers

Once you’ve shortlisted the influencers you’d like to work with, it’s time to reach out to them.

Here we would like to stress the fact that you should see the collaboration beyond a transactional partnership.

Think long-term and build strong relationships with the influencers even if they don’t end up working with you right away.

Do not:

  • Ask for their commercials in your first message
  • Set up a meeting right away to see if they can collaborate


  • Drop a compliment for a recent post
  • Describe yourself and your work
  • Discuss values and mutually beneficial goals
  • Build a long-lasting relationship
  • Make it worth their time and effort to collaborate with you
email outreach template to connect with influencer for promotion of your course

//Image: An influencer outreach template. Source

3. Decide payment terms

The amount you invest in the influencer marketing campaign should align with your long-term goals. While budgeting, make allowance to reinvest in a campaign or an influencer where the ROI has been high.

There are several ways you can compensate for the partnership. Again, ensure to decide on the terms mutually.

  • Fixed Fee: You settle on a flat fee for a one-time activity. This can be one blog post or one Instagram Reel.
  • Campaign-based: This is where you pay for a series of posts closely related to one topic. Most campaigns are decided based on seasonality and are time bound.
  • Sponsorships: Sponsorships are long-term engagements with you and the influencer. The topics chosen for the posts can be a little broad but still relevant to your niche.
  • Affiliate commissions: This is a great incentive that is output oriented. You pay a commission based on actual course sales. Influencers receive a small percentage of each course revenue.
  • Free Products: Here instead of actual payment you offer a product or service free of cost. It could be unlimited access to your courses or a physical product they’ll find beneficial.

4. Craft the marketing campaign together

illustration of strategies use for marketing campaign of your course

You know your product best. The influencer knows their strategy best. Therefore, it is only intuitive to plan the campaign together.

This also goes a long way in building relationships. Instead of bulldozing the influencer with your ideas and suggestions, it is wiser to hear what works for them and see how your idea can be incorporated.

Strategies that you can implement for an effective campaign:

  • Giveaways: You offer giveaways for people signing up for your course during the campaign. Put a cap on the number of giveaways. For example, the first 5 people to sign up, get a product absolutely free.
    The products can be books
  • Discounts: Your influencer partner offers discounts on your courses. Make this compelling by bringing a sense of urgency. Such as the offer lasts for two days only.
  • Bundling: Aim to increase the average order value by introducing a bundle offer in the campaign. As the name suggests, you offer a group of products or courses together at a lower price point. This increases the perceived value of the course and is extremely effective in increasing your revenue.
  • Up-sell and cross-sell: In this strategy, you offer an additional purchase at a discount after their initial purchase. For example, buy this course and get the next one at a 20% discount. Similar to the bundling strategy, this method increases the average revenue per customer.
  • Sponsor a social cause: This strategy is very effective for people who want to do good for society. In this, you can offer to share the proceeds (whole or a percentage) of the course sales to a charity or a social cause.

5. Check campaign analytics and iterate

The task is not done once the campaign is over. It is equally vital to check what worked and what can be improved in the next campaign.

Once the campaign is over, connect with your influencer partner to analyze the performance.

Pull in the campaign data from the platform analytics and contrast it with other successful campaigns. Take notes and implement them in future campaigns.

Note that the time to see effective results will vary from platform to platform. An IG reel or a tweet will reach a wider audience faster than, say, a blog post.

Next Steps

By now you would be well-informed and ably armed to launch an effective influencer marketing strategy. However, be aware that all marketing campaigns will not work as expected. The success will depend on seasonality, trends, platform algorithm, and even as specific factors as the time of publishing the post.

Just like every other marketing strategy, engaging an influencer to drive course sales is an iterative process. You repeat till you identify what works and double down on the strategy.

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