Here’s How They Did It… No. 2 – How instructors earn $200, $500, $1,000/month through self-promotion


We asked key instructors how they consistently drive $200, $500, $1,000+ per month to their Udemy courses through their own promotions.

See how instructors are using Udemy as their storefront and enrolling new students into their courses.

Below is Part Two of this series. Keep scrolling down to read all three instructor stories—one earning $200/month, one earning $500/month, and one earning $1,000+/month. Every story has a “Here’s How You Can Do It, Too…” section where we summarize action steps you can take today. We’ll continue publishing new parts to this series as we hear from more instructors sharing their methods!

Instructor driving an average of $200/month

nicolehennig_photoNICOLE HENNIG 

Who is buying your Udemy course(s) through your instructor coupon codes? And how exactly are you getting students to enroll into your Udemy courses consistently, month over month?

I teach online courses through two venues: Simmons College Graduate School of Library & Information Science and the American Library Association. Both offer online courses as continuing professional education for librarians.

These are offered a few times per year for 4 weeks at a time. I put the same materials that I made for these courses on Udemy as the “self-study” version of each course.

Here are the two splash pages I have for my courses:

People find out about my courses through the two organizations mentioned above. Some sign up for the live version and some for the self-study version on Udemy.

When students finish the courses that they took through ALA or Simmons (not Udemy), I give them a free coupon for the same course on Udemy, so they can have ongoing access to the materials. I’m not charging them because it’s the same materials they just finished with. That adds to the number of students in the courses, which gives future potential Udemy students confidence that it’s worth signing up for. I also give a discount to my students for the other course on Udemy (the one they haven’t taken yet).

There are also a few other tools and tactics that I currently use:

  • Over time I’ve built up a small email list that consists of all the students who have taken my courses and other people who signed up via my website:
  • Last month I started a free newsletter as a way to get more email subscribers:
  • Soon I will offer a free document called “10 Tips for Finding the Best Apps” – as an incentive for my newsletter.
  • In the past I have offered another free giveaway (via Gumroad): App Review Checklist (guidelines for writing reviews of mobile apps).
  • I also have followers on Twitter (the same target audience of librarians & educators), and I tweet my course links from time to time.
  • I recently finished a self-published ebook (PDF) called Best Apps for Academics. This book also mentions my Udemy courses in the further resources section.
  • I have a traditionally published print and e-book coming out in October called Apps for Librarians that will also mention my courses on Udemy.
  • I also speak at conferences about these same topics, see:
  • I put my slide decks on Slideshare and in these I often mention my courses on Udemy. Here’s an example.

In August I’ll be doing a series of 3 one-hour webinars for librarians in the state of Florida. They found me by googling for “apps for librarians.” During those I plan to promote my Udemy courses as well.


Here’s How You Can Do It, Too… 

STEP 1 –  Incorporate your Udemy courses into any live, online or offline classes you teach. If you are teaching classes, workshops, webinars, etc. at colleges, meetups, or for hire, then remember to include an invitation for your audience to join your Udemy course to have lifetime access to the material and dive deeper into the topic.

STEP 2 –  Start an email list, and offer a free newsletter and an incentive/reward for people to join your list. Direct people you interact with at live speaking events online and offline to join your email list.

STEP 3 –  When you publish an ebook, be sure to include an invitation to your Udemy course. You can do this a number of ways. You can include a direct coupon code leading directly to your Udemy course page, or you can include a link to an email opt-in page where they can get access to “bonus materials,” including an invitation to your Udemy course.


Instructor driving an average of $500/month (averaging $4,500/month incl. Udemy-driven earnings)

jonathanlevi_photoJONATHAN A. LEVI 

Who is buying your Udemy course(s) through your instructor coupon codes?

First I have to say that the majority of our students come through Udemy promotions, so thank you very much for that. With that said, I realize that Udemy has been promoting our course heavily since day one chiefly because we did a great job showing them the course’s potential on our own. In fact, we made a strong push to create impressive sales figures in the first 30 days. In doing so, we had a pretty good strategy.

Our course was developed partly based on crowdsourced information from my own personal networks (past students, colleagues from university and graduate school, and so on) as to what they wanted, what they would pay, and what factors would make them more comfortable with such a course. I built up a great deal of anticipation and interest in the course on my personal Facebook page, and to a lesser extent on my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blog. I leveraged my personal brand and reputation to inspire confidence in friends, family, and colleagues. From there, I assembled a list with everyone who expressed interest along the way by commenting, retweeting, or Liking. On launch day, I sent all of those people a message with a discount code on Facebook. The beauty there was that everyone replying (though a bit annoying) catapulted the message into people’s awareness. I also did a promoted post on my own timeline. Unlike many other instructors, we did NOT give the course away for free. Even friends and family members paid – and they paid a pretty respectable price, too! [Pro Tip: If you have an existing audience, do NOT give free coupons to your audience. Why? Since they subscribe to you and are most familiar with your brand, they’re the group MOST likely to pay full price for your course.]

From this push, we sold about 300 courses in the first month, and Udemy took the lead after that. The bottom line was that once we proved to them that this course could sell, they really were a great partner and have helped us reach heights we never imagined. Every month, they ask if we’d like to be included in a promotion, and every month, we are blown away by the sales numbers they deliver.

How exactly are you getting students to enroll into your Udemy courses consistently, month over month?

Realistically, I post once in a while on my various social networks, I reply to a few posts on Quora, and I post on a few groups on Facebook. That’s it. I think this is a testament to the power of building an engaging, high-quality course based on a real market need that you’ve observed. Quality courses sell themselves. We built this course because probably a hundred people asked me how I read so fast – we knew that my network was our target market. That makes it much easier to market to people.


Here’s How You Can Do It, Too… 

STEP 1 –  Validate the demand for your course and drum up interest and anticipation long before you launch. Survey your audience of friends, family, peers, colleagues, subscribers to find out if/what they want to learn from you. Build buzz prior to your course launch so you have everyone ready to pounce when it goes live.

STEP 2 –  If you have an existing audience, do NOT give them free coupons to join your course. They’re your biggest fans, so they’re most likely to purchase your course at a discount or full price.


Instructor driving an average of $2,500+/month


Who is buying your Udemy course(s) through your instructor coupon codes?

I have two websites and my husband has a website, as well. So, we have three substantial email lists. In addition, I have a thriving Facebook community, Pinterest followers, Youtube subscribers and accounts with Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ Twitter and Tumblr. When I create a coupon I make sure I am offering it at several of these outlets at once. The more exposure the better.

How exactly are you getting students to enroll into your Udemy courses consistently, month over month?

The best response comes from newsletters sent to my email list with a coupon code and a time frame. I write my own sale copy, including benefits of the program as well as testimonials and offer a “half-price” coupon with a limited amount of time to respond. After the initial email I send a reminder email towards the end of the time period. It also helps that my Udemy program is consistent with my message. I am always talking about health and wellness with my audience. So, they know my course will give them more of that information with greater detail. A consistent message with your audience is a very good thing. I also occasionally put coupon codes on FB with a specific time frame but these get a lower response. The email list is where most of my students sign up.

What do you need to learn/do to continue growing your monthly earnings on Udemy?

I would like to create a few more courses in order to grow my Udemy earnings. I will also be partnering with a few other people in the health and wellness industry so they can offer my course to their audiences.

Here’s How You Can Do It, Too… 

STEP 1 –  Cross-promote your course among several of your social media platforms. Utilize the following that you’ve developed on multiple social media platforms to announce new courses and upcoming promotions.

STEP 2 –  Pushing a consistent message that is inline with your brand is key. If your fans love your social content then they’ll love your course! Keep your messaging consistent. If you’re a health instructor and teach a yoga course then create content focused on health tips, inspiration, motivation, etc.

STEP 3 – Create strategic partnerships.  Reach out to a new audience by working together with influencers in your industry to help promote your course through multiple channels and across an array of platforms.


This is Part Two of an ongoing series; check out Part One and stay tuned for future tips!