4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Udemy (or any marketplace…)

Wondering if you should put your new shiny online course on Udemy? Think again…

Don’t roll your eyes. You’ve already thought about the pros and cons of these marketplaces.

Let me try to put an end to the wondering.

Reason -1

I know what you thought reading the title of this article. “Na-na-na because of the commission they take right? Na-na-na [insert more self-reinforcing thoughts]”.

Yes, these marketplaces are going to take their cut. But hosting your course on your website or on platforms such as Kajabi isn’t free.

If anything, the commission is an argument in favor of using these marketplace platforms since they’re only taking money when you make money (and not before anything else, like your income tax).

Sorry. But one way or another, you have to pay to play. Loosen the grip on your wallet. There. It’s ok

Reason #1: Control

Do you want more control? You know you do, who doesn’t.

If you’re going to spend time putting an online course together, ignoring messages and calls (sorry mom this is important!), then launch it, you want to be able to customize and create it the way YOU want to!

Online courses marketplaces have rules you have to abide to. Things you can’t do, even if it would make you more money. They don’t care. They’re selfish that way.


But this is your business (your passion?). So, for once, it’s ok to be a control freak. To not compromise. It’s not ok to give up freedom. [dramatic/emotional sound effect]

Reason #2: Customer ownership

Imagine you just got your first student on Lynda.com. All excited and juiced up, you login to see who that person is.

Probably someone very smart. You know. Because they paid for your class…

But all you can see is a picture and a username. Who the hell is “guiso243”?

Although they bought your stuff, these students are not your students. Lynda.com, or whoever, owns them. They own their email address, their details, etc.

You have no idea where they come from, how they got your course, what else they may be interested in…

An old marketing expression says *puts cane down, tiny reading glasses on*: “The money is made in the backend”. The most expensive thing is to acquire a new customer, turning them from a prospect into a buyer. You may even lose money the first purchase around, when computing all the advertising it took to sell them. But at least you know you have them on your buyer’s list and can sell them more things later.

But with a student on a marketplace: Nada. Nothing. Niente

In sum, it’s hard to build a brand, create a feeling of community, continue to bring value.

In the short term you make the sell, but you’ll always be fighting an uphill battle to make more.

Reason #3: extra visibility is a lie

One of the arguments for getting your course on a marketplace is that they will do the marketing for you. YES! Finally, you can just sit back and enjoy their traffic, existing students, paid advertising…

Hold on there. Easy. Just putting your course there and waiting for the sales to come will not work. Just like pushing your website live does not ensure it gets traffic. This is “Hope Marketing”.

The extra visibility you get there is very fickle. How long is your course going to stay in the “New” section, or category front-page? To be featured you need first to have students, not the other way around.

My point is, either way you still have to work to drive people to the course page, so you might as well have your own platform.

And if you don’t have any audience, you’re probably better off putting that content out for free on YouTube, Instragram, etc. And start building an audience for yourself…

Reason #4: Harder to stand out

To put the final nail in the coffin, I would argue that it can even hurt you to put your online course on a marketplace.

The reason is that people will also see other courses: your competitor’s.

And even if you know you’re better (yes you are *pat on the head*), as soon as people get options, it triggers the “feature” brain.

This is when they start comparing classes, bonuses, fancy e-books, shop around, and not buy. Too many options, analysis paralysis and all…

So, you may end up in a situation where you’ve educated your audience, provided loads of free value, replied to their tweets, AND… they go for your competitor. Or no one at all…

It’s hard enough to stand out in a noisy market, don’t make this harder on yourself.

All in all, these platforms are not terrible. Of course, they provide an easy way for both students and teachers to meet. But the truth is, they don’t really make up for the hard work it takes to successfully sell online courses. So, bite the bullet. There is no easy way.

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