Published On: February 13, 2024By
What LMS features can help subject matter experts build and sell courses online? Find out on this episode of the Talented Learning Show podcast!

EPISODE 73: LMS Features to Sell Courses Online

Christian Gainsbrugh - CTO LearningCart - Talented Learning Show Podcast

Christian Gainsbrugh, CTO, LearningCart

If you want to create and sell courses online, what kind of system should you choose as an operational backbone? Can an employee-focused learning platform rise to the challenge?

More and more instructional marketers are asking questions like these lately. So that’s why I’m excited to dig deeper with a learning technology innovator who focuses exclusively on helping businesses develop, market and sell courses online.

Join me as I explore this topic with Christian Gainsbrugh, Chief Technology Officer at LearningCart on The Talented Learning Show


 

LMS Features to Sell Courses Online – KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The massive instructional content market continues to grow, as companies of all sizes look for ways to sell courses online. An LMS designed specifically for this purpose can play a key role in your success.
  • Online businesses depend on sophisticated e-commerce capabilities — and it’s no different with selling training online. Other marketing functions are equally important, so you can attract, nurture and convert leads, and sustain profitable relationships over time.
  • Specialized content creation tools are also vital to expand your training business reach. For example, you’ll want to ensure content portability, right from the start.

 

LMS Features to Sell Courses Online – Q&A HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome, Christian. For those who aren’t familiar with LearningCart, why don’t you tell us a bit about where you fit into the learning systems landscape?

Sure, John. LearningCart is an LMS — but it’s really much more. Our goal has always been to provide a platform with all the necessary tools to help organizations market, sell, deploy, and track learning.

That includes the LMS component, but also a comprehensive integrated e-commerce platform. So you can sell training and also physical products, digital downloads, virtual and live classroom training, all sorts of things.

It also includes a content management system so our customers can create content and optimize their LearningCart site for search. It brings together all the pieces you need to be successful in this space.

Makes sense…

When we started a decade ago, people would ask, “Why should we sell our training?” But clearly, this market has caught fire. And over the years, we’ve been working with customers in all sorts of spaces. So our platform has evolved to meet the real-world needs of organizations that want to monetize their training programs.

 


Want to learn about LearningCart LMS? Check the vendor profile in our Learning Systems Directory for our hot-take review, along with an in-depth demo, capabilities details, videos, screenshots, case studies and insights.


 

What kind of organizations want to sell courses online? Tell us what you see…

That’s one of the things I love about our platform. We work with Fortune 50 companies all the way down to individual subject matter experts. And our clients are in all sorts of industries. Some are in very specific niches, like storm runoff or state air quality standards.

But regardless of the size or subject matter, all of our customers want to engage and train an external audience. And most of them have experience with other LMS platforms.

Many previously tried using an internal LMS to sell courses online, but found it didn’t have all the necessary tools to market and sell training to external audiences.

Let’s dig deeper, starting with tools needed to market training content. What does that involve?

To sell courses online, think of your business as 50% instructional design and 50% marketing.

With a traditional employee-oriented LMS, you don’t have many good tools to do that. You may be able to set up course descriptions and a register button, but that’s it. You don’t really need more because with internal audiences, training is just a job requirement. It’s usually mandatory.

But for external audiences, that doesn’t work. There are endless options available to people who want to pay for learning. So it’s important to put on your marketing hat to define and educate people about why your training is best for them.

Our content management system lets you build really rich instructional product descriptions. You can offer product bundles. You can test and tune pricing strategies. Also, we’re integrated with Google Analytics, so you can track conversions and understand how well your marketing efforts are working.

So with Google Analytics, you can see how many times people visit a landing page and how many times those visitors buy something?

Exactly. And all that data automatically rolls up into reports, so you can see all kinds of key metrics like your top-performing products and total sales.

And we integrate with other helpful online marketing products. For example, Hotjar creates heat maps of your site so you can see where people focus as they move around a page. And you can use these real-time insights to tailor your pages so they’ll be more successful.

 


Find out how companies of all kinds rely on specialized learning platforms to sell courses online. Get inspiration from dozens of success stories in our free LMS Case Study Directory


 

Interesting. For TalentedLearning.com, I do that through our WordPress site. But you bring it all together?

Yeah. When building LearningCart, we found a lot of people were using three different platforms. For content management, they used WordPress, Wix or an internal system. For e-commerce they used Shopify or some other system. And also they had an LMS.

But all those pieces were disconnected. So we bring all those elements together. This makes it easier to sell training online because you can manage everything from one interface.

And with these pieces tied together, you can track conversions consistently through the entire process — from the product landing page to the product details page to the payment page to launching and progressing through a course. All that data is unified in one place.

Wow. I’m the poster child for juggling different systems. What about email marketing to communicate with people throughout the customer lifecycle?

Yes, that’s another common data silo. So we integrate with third-party mail applications like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign or whatever to help customers natively generate notifications that pull people in and keep them engaged, based on data about their previous behavior.

We know if they’ve left the site without completing an order. We know what products they’ve purchased. We know what courses they’ve attended. So we can make it easier to stay connected with people based on their interests and history.

Excellent. So let’s talk about the content creation side. What’s important to consider?

As an LMS vendor, we think it’s great if somebody builds content in our system, because it’s locked into that platform. It’s easy to do. You don’t need any authoring tools. So it’s becoming very common.

However, for our audience, content portability is key for successful licensing deals. If you build your content within a specific LMS’s authoring tool, you lose portability.

Right…

That’s why we’re big proponents of SCORM. It’s still the workhorse of the training industry. And if a large organization wants to purchase your content, they’re going to have a SCORM-compliant internal LMS.

Microsoft, Netflix, Apple. These companies are not going to send their employees to your LMS. They’re going to say, “Hey, we’ve got an internal learning system. It’s tied into our HR system and it’s secure. We love your content. But we want to put it in our system.”

That’s where a lot of our clients make big money because with that model, they can scale very quickly. So SCORM gives you great long-term options.

Interesting. So let’s talk about affiliates as a marketing strategy. How do they fit in?…

 

…For complete answers to this question and more about extended enterprise training solutions, listen to the full 30-minute podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Google Podcasts, on Spotify, or right here on our site.


 

Learn More:

Get to Know LearningCart LMS
Want to find out more about the platform we’re discussing on this episode? Check our Learning Systems Directory for the LearningCart vendor profile, including a hot-take product review, case studies, and more. Or visit the LearningCart website.


 

Need Help Finding a Great LMS to Sell Courses Online?

Submit the form below to request a free initial consultation call with our Lead Analyst, John Leh:


About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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