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TikTok Marketing for Online Course Creators: A Beginner’s Guide

  • Jesse Young ElJesse Young El

A challenge many course creators face when it comes to TikTok is understanding how to use it effectively for marketing their online courses.

With all the buzz surrounding TikTok and its comparison to other platforms like YouTube and Instagram, it’s hard not to wonder if TikTok could be the next big thing in social media—and possibly a powerful marketing tool for course creators.

If you’ve wondered this yourself, read on to learn more about TikTok marketing and how it can help you sell your online course.

How to Get Your Online Course Seen

As an online course creator, you probably already know the struggles of trying to get your courses seen by the right people.

You’ve likely tried a variety of marketing techniques like blogging, Facebook Ads, YouTube videos, influencer marketing and more — only to find that they don’t always work as well as you’d hoped.

Although TikTok can be a powerful tool, it won’t necessarily render results for you out of the box. It’s critical to know how to properly use TikTok to get the most out of it.

But with its combination of live video, catchy soundtracks, creative filters, and the strategy you’re about to learn, TikTok is a powerful tool for engaging potential course buyers

Before we dive in, let’s look at some real-world examples of successful course creators on TikTok.

Successful TikTok Marketing Examples for Online Courses

TikTok marketing for online courses can be extremely effective when done correctly.

But it’s always helpful to see examples of what’s worked well for other online course creators.

Here are a few examples of successful TikTok marketing campaigns for online courses:

Kirstie Taylor

Kirstie Taylor writes about relationships, dating and self-love — and her TikTok channel is full of hilarious and relatable videos about all three topics. She’s racked up over 228K followers—all of whom she can constantly market to with new TikTok videos.

Here’s an example of one of her videos which has over 713K views:

@kirstietaylorr

asking for needs isn’t needy! but make sure to ask for them in the right way! #datingadvice #relationshipadvice #communication #anxiousattachment

♬ original sound – Kirstie Taylor

In this video, Kirstie quickly gives a great tip on how to address unmet needs in a relationship.

Foe example, one of the points covered in her course “Anxious Attachment Workshop”  deals with setting boundaries and addressing needs.

This is a perfect example of how to use short TikTok videos to market your course.

This one TikTok video alone likely generated at least $43K in course sales for Kirstie.

Dr. Rachel Paul

Dr. Rachel Paul teaches people how to lose weight and achieve their best body — for good.

One of her most popular TikTok videos is a snappy recipe guide for making a breakfast casserole:

@dr.rachelpaul

#ad Share your breakfast casserole creation and find more recipes at realcaliforniamilk.com/recipes/ #RealCaliforniaMilk

♬ I THINK I’M FALLIN’ (ALTERNATE EDIT) – Dominique

Clicking on Dr. Paul’s bio link takes you to her site where you learn more about Dr. Paul and ultimately are introduced to her “Best Body” program.

Within the “Best Body” plan, members can access Dr. Paul’s Complete Mindset Training course.

And with well over 5 million views combined, Dr. Paul has built a TikTok marketing machine that’s likely making her money even while she sleeps.

Joe Parys

Joe Parys dubs himself a self-made millionaire who teaches success & money secrets.

He’s built a TikTok following of over 1Million followers and leverages TikTok and YouTube to funnel his followers to his Crypto Course.

Here’s one of his most popular TikTok videos:

One key item to note is the marketing funnel strategy Joe uses by combining both TikTok AND YouTube to attract leads to his Crypto course.

Notice the link on Joe’s TikTok profile links TikTok followers to Joe’s YouTube channel where they can get more in-depth, long-form information from Joe.

This may seem counterintuitive at first because it’s almost human instinct to compare which platform is best to use. But Joe harnesses the power of both platforms to generate thousands of leads for his courses.

This video has close to 1 million views and counting, which captures a ton of potential students to be introduced to Joe’s Crypto Course.

How to Use TikTok for Marketing Online Courses

Online course creators need to understand the importance of TikTok as a marketing tool because it is an extremely powerful way to reach potential students.

TikTok can be used to create engaging videos that will capture the attention of millennials and Generation Z.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short videos of themselves. These videos are typically between 15 and 60 seconds long.

In recent years, TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps with over 1 billion monthly active users. It is particularly popular with millennials and Generation Z who make up a sizable portion of TikTok’s user base.

Because TikTok videos are so short, it becomes a great way to teach lessons in concise small bite-sized chunks — without needing to give away too many details.

The details are usually what you want to save for the course.

TikTok also has a live video feature allowing for long-form 60-minute live sessions. These live videos are an excellent way to build trust with your TikTok audience.

I’ll cover how to utilize Live Videos in more detail later on in this guide.

Use TikTok to Build Trust and Stand Out From the Crowd

The TikTok app is filled with tons of creative content and users who are curious and hungry for new ideas.

As an online course creator, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd and build trust with potential students if you want TikTok to be an effective marketing tool for your courses.

Here are a few ways that you can build this trust and stand out:

  • The first method is to raise your quality. An easy way to create high-quality videos is to avoid low-quality lighting and background noise in your videos. You’ll be amazed at how an inexpensive ring light, webcam light or softbox video light will improve your video quality.
  • The second is to be consistent. Post videos regularly so that your TikTok audience knows that they can rely on you for new content. A good rule of thumb is to post at least one video per day, but feel free to post more if you can. Your TikTok followers will begin to trust you’ll be around with them for the long haul. Over time they’ll begin to depend on you to guide them to the solutions they need (your courses).
  • The third method is to treat TikTokers like a customer first. It’s crucial to emphasize this strategy of focusing on relationships before transactions. No one likes the experience of being sold to, especially if the sale is coming from someone they barely know. TikTokers can sniff out the money-grubber types a mile away.

Remember to serve your TikTok audience as if they are already paying customers in order to win their trust.

This means providing them with the best ideas, strategies, tools and resources long before ever selling to them.

Take this one bit of advice seriously and selling, later on, will seem effortless.

Take Advantage of TikTok’s Algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is built to quickly put your content in front of the best viewers of your content.

All you need to do is upload short videos consistently and frequently, and TikTok will reward you by propelling your content to the top of your followers’ video feed.

Also the more content you post consistently around your course topics, the better TikTok learns and understands your content. TikTok will then be able to better match your content with the right audience.

This ensures that your TikTok videos are seen by the people who have shown interest in what you teach and are more likely to buy your courses in the future.

How to Create a TikTok Account

To make the most of TikTok for marketing your online courses, it’s important you have an account on TikTok that’s set up correctly.

1. Create Your TikTok Account

Creating a TikTok account is easy and free — all you need is a valid email address to sign up.

Once you have created your account, you’ll be prompted to create a username. This should be a short, easy-to-remember handle that’s directly related to your course topics.

2. Add Your Profile Picture and Bio

You’ll also need to upload a profile picture and fill out your TikTok bio with some basic details about yourself, and your credibility.

This information will help TikTok users learn more about you and what you offer. That’s why it’s important to take the time to fill this out accurately.

Your profile picture needs to be an image that’s easily recognizable and pertains to your course niches.

For example, if you’re selling a course on launching a landscaping side-hustle, using a photo of your cat isn’t going to be the best option for a profile picture. 

This will only confuse audiences and make your profile less memorable to them.

3. Insert Your Profile Link

This part is crucial, so pay close attention:

Do not simply link to your home page or course sales page.

From your perspective as a course creator, it makes perfect sense to do this.

From the TikTok users’ perspective, it’s much more helpful for them to link to your About Us page, an in-depth blog post or landing page for an extremely valuable free resource.

SIDE NOTE: It takes a lot of data and experimentation to nail the perfect catch-all Home Page. Unless you’ve gone through the lengthy process of shaping the perfect Home page, I’d strongly advise against it.

Later on in this article, we’ll go into much greater detail about why linking to an “About Us” page is so effective.

How to Create Videos for Your TikTok Account 

Learning how to create videos for your TikTok account is essential for getting the most out of this social media platform and marketing your online courses.

To make the most of TikTok, your videos must be high-quality, engaging and relevant to your course topics.

Here are a few tips for creating videos that achieve this.

Creating high-quality TikTok videos for your online course marketing.

TikTok is all about visuals, so your videos must be high quality and visually appealing.

Lighting: This doesn’t mean that you need to have Hollywood-level production values. Still, your videos should be well-lit, in focus and free of any major distractions.

Remember the ring light, led webcam light, and softbox lights mentioned earlier?

Use them! It’s crucial.

Camera Quality: If you’re using a smartphone to film your TikTok videos, be sure to use the highest quality settings possible to ensure that your videos look as good as they can.

Conciseness: In the world of TikTok, high quality also means videos that are short and sweet, so keep your TikTok videos quick and concise.

TikTok users have very short attention spans, so it’s important to keep your videos short and sweet—no more than 60 seconds in length.

This may seem like a daunting task at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it once you realize how much valuable content you can actually pack into 60 seconds.

Creating engaging TikTok videos for your online course marketing.

Photo by Bruce Mars

The goal of TikTok is to create interesting, engaging content that compels TikTok users to share and engage with it.

One way you can do this is by creating videos that appeal directly to your target audience’s interests and needs.

For example: If you’re selling a course on baking gluten-free treats for people with dietary restrictions like Celiac disease, TikTok could be a great place to post recipe ideas or other tips for preparing delicious desserts that fit into any diet plan.

By appealing directly to the needs, interests, and problems of your target customers, you’ll be able to build trust with them and make sales when they are ready to buy your online courses in the future.

Creating relevant TikTok videos for your online course.

The key to TikTok success as a course creator is creating videos that are relevant to your online courses.

This means your videos should be directly related to the topics you’re teaching in your courses. They should also be helpful or entertaining for TikTok users who are interested in learning more about those topics.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a course on mastering social media marketing. TikTok could be a great place to post tips for using various social media platforms, case studies of successful social media campaigns or even just funny behind-the-scenes videos of what it’s like to work in the social media industry.

By posting relevant videos that offer value to TikTok users, you’ll be able to position yourself as an expert in your field.

And for many of your followers who trust you and the content you share, buying your course becomes the next logical step for them to solve their problems.

Tips for Using TikTok to Market Your Online Courses 

Here are a few tips for using TikTok to market your courses:

  1. Only give away “what to do” and “why to do it your way.”

An essential goal for course makers is to sell their course, so naturally, the marketing content you create will be closely related to the content within the course itself.

But how do you draw the line between what you give away for free on TikTok and what should remain sacred within the course?

By only giving away content that tells “what to do” and “why to do it your way”.

Avoid telling exactly HOW to accomplish a goal or task — learning “how” is what your paid course is for.

For example,  if you’re selling a course on Gluten-free diets, you might post TikTok videos with general tips on “What to eat” and “Why you should eat gluten-free”. You can even teach the inverse such as “What NOT to eat” and “Why you should NOT eat gluten products”.

But you wouldn’t want to give away detailed recipes or meal plans that show users “How to cook gluten-free meals” or  “How to plan out & follow a gluten-free lifestyle” if these are vital lessons within your paid course.

By saving the “how” for your courses, you give TikTok users a taste of what they can expect to learn from you. This entices them to buy your course and learn more.

Think of this as creating boundaries for yourself so you don’t spoil the valuable content within your course.

  1. Take Advantage of Live Videos

TikTok live videos are a great way to build an audience and connect with your target students on a personal level.

Live videos also tend to get more engagement than pre-recorded videos, so they’re a great way to increase your TikTok following and arouse people’s interest in your online courses.

When you go live on TikTok, try to make your videos as interactive and engaging as possible. For example, you might ask viewers to respond with specific emojis or take polls on different topics related to your courses.

This will help create a sense of community among TikTok users who are interested in your courses, making them more likely to convert into paying customers in the near future.

  1. Properly Use Your Profile Link

Remember earlier, when I said:

“Do not simply link to your home page or course sales page.”

From your perspective as a course creator, it makes perfect sense to do this.

But from the TikTok users’ perspective, most home pages are too vague to keep the short attention span of a TikTok user. 

And most TikTok users aren’t quite ready to buy your course just yet. This means that sending them to a sales page will feel like you’re coming on too strong for them.

Instead, send TikTok users to a detailed “About Us” page that clearly tells your story, your credibility, and why you understand the problems and solutions of the visitor. 

And as you mention solutions to their problems, you can link the text directly to the sales pages of a course, ebook, or another valuable resource. 

This way eager TikTokers who are ready to invest in your courses can do so immediately, while the majority who just want to learn more about you can do so without feeling like you are just trying to sell to them.

Can you see how important and powerful linking to the right page is?

BONUS Alternative: Send TikTokers to a landing page designed specifically for TikTok visitors. 

The title of the page should say something like “Hey TikToker, {add whatever you want to say to welcome them}”.

This simple gesture will earn the TikToker’s attention for at least another 10 – 30 seconds.

This sort of personalization goes much further than just sending a user to a generic home page.

  1. Collaborate with Other TikTok Channels

TikTok is all about collaboration, so don’t be afraid to team up with other TikTok channels that are relevant to your courses.

For example, if you’re selling a course that teaches fashion design, you might collaborate with a TikTok channel that’s all about fashion trends.

This is a great way to introduce your courses to a whole new audience and get more people interested in what you have to offer.

Plus, TikTok users are more likely to trust and buy from a creator that they’ve seen collaborate with other TikTok channels. That’s because it helps build your credibility and show that you’re an expert in your field.

  1. Use TikTok Stitch
@tiktok

Now Introducing: STITCH! Make the ultimate collab with your fav creators 🎬

♬ original sound – TikTok

TikTok Stitch is a feature that allows you to combine clips from other TikTok videos with your own.

This is a great way to leverage popular content from other TikTok channels and get more views for your own videos.

Returning to the gluten-free example, you can take a viral clip from a TikTok like this:

@heatheryahomie

Will I ever stop eating food I’m not supposed to? No. #fyp #foryoupage #gluten #dairy #diet #bloated

♬ original sound – Heather Bradshaw

and stitch your reaction or opinion regarding gluten allergies.

Stitching this video with your reaction teaches TikTok a bit more about you and your content—and ultimately who would relate to it best.

And the more TikTok learns about you and your content, the more opportunities TikTok will find to expose your content to larger audiences.

  1. Duets

Duets are TikTok’s most popular method of TikTok collaboration.

Use this feature to collaborate with other TikTok channels that are relevant to your audience, content, and courses.

By collaborating with others on TikTok and giving away valuable content for free, you’ll be able to build a larger following and tap into others’ existing audiences.

Just as with Stitching, Duets sends signals to the TikTok algorithm about your content and creates more opportunities to expand your reach.

Final Thoughts: TikTok Marketing for Online Courses

As you can see, TikTok marketing for online courses is a powerful and effective method of truly connecting with your target audience.

With so many unique features are tailored specifically to video and social media marketing, TikTok is a tool that should not be ignored by any course creator looking to grow their student base.

So if you’re looking for another way to market your course, why not give TikTok marketing a try?