Marketing your online course is not always easy. There are a lot of choices you have to make. One of those choices is to use paid marketing or organic marketing. There are experts that disagree on this completely. In this blog post I am going to share my view with you and why I have that view. But first let’s touch on the difference.

Paid Marketing vs Organic Marketing

What is Organic Marketing?

To put it simply, organic marketing is building your audience without using paid ads. You can do this with content marketing, such as a blog or on social media. You can also do this for a local business by passing out flyers or going to speak at events.

You are putting yourself out there where your ideal audience is hanging out and letting them get to know you. You are providing free content of some sort that they can check out and even join your email list to learn more.

Organic marketing is hard, but free for the most part. Yes, it can be a big investment in your time. In fact, you may even consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you with your marketing. That would still be considered organic marketing.

What is Paid Marketing?

Paid marketing is when you pay for ads on social media or some other sort of advertising. Running an ad in your local paper would be considered paid marketing. Running an ad on a podcast would be paid marketing. Paid marketing will get your ad in front of a lot of people, for a price.

Paid marketing is definitely effective and can be used to sell online courses. But it is going to cost you. So what are my thoughts on both of these.

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Organic Marketing Pros and Cons

There are many pros and cons to organic marketing. Here are a few things to consider when you are doing organic marketing.


  • You will build trust with your audience with organic marketing.
  • You can create several pieces of content to attract the right people.
  • There are many methods, like SEO, social media, and networking, to get yourself found.
  • If you do a good job, this type of marketing will last a long time. With quality content, once you put in the time, it will keep working for you.


  • It is slow to start and takes a lot more time to attract people.
  • Organic marketing requires consistent content creation and a schedule.
  • Content marketing can become a job in itself.
  • It can be hard to reach your audience if you are not posting in the right place.

Like organic marketing, paid marketing has many pros and cons as well. Here are a few things you will want to consider if you are thinking of using paid marketing to sell your online course.


  • Reaches a bigger audience faster.
  • It is easier to target your ideal student if you learn how to use the tools.
  • You will be able to see the results of your marketing quickly and know if it needs changing.


  • The biggest con is cost. You could lose a lot of money fast if you do not know what you are doing.
  • There is a big learning curve on how to target the right audience with the advertising tools.

If you are interested in paid marketing, I had a guest expert share her thoughts on my YouTube channel. You can check out that video here.

Using Organic and Paid Marketing

My favorite approach is to use paid and organic marketing together. My system and the way I recommend my clients go about it is to use organic marketing first. This gives you time to get to know your market and your students.

It also gives you time to test out your sales pages, lead pages and other parts of your sales funnel to make sure they are working well first. You do not want to be wasting a lot of money using paid ads to send leads to a lead page that does not convert.

Once you have a good conversion rate on your sales page and people are showing a strong interest in what you are selling, that is the time to use paid ads. You will also have the demographics of who is buying to plug into the paid advertising tools to make sure you are getting better leads for your money.

One more note on paid marketing. I strongly recommend that, if you are not familiar with using paid ads, hire an expert to help you get started. It can seem like a big expense, but it is totally worth it. One mistake in paid advertising can end up costing you a lot of money.

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