A Simple Formula for Attracting The Right Audience to Your Online Course

It always amazes me how course creators will put massive amounts of effort towards creating and developing a course, but fail to think twice about WHO they’re trying to sell the course to (a.k.a. their ideal client).

Before you continue reading, let me ask you: Who is your existing course attracting? Are they beginners? Are they experts? Are they people starting a business? Or are they people with an established business they’re trying to grow further?

If you still don’t have an answer to these questions, it’s time you start thinking about it! Knowing your target audience’s problems, frustrations, and challenges is key to create a course that gives them a solution to these.

It’s a simple formula:

  • Identify your target audience: Know their problems, frustrations, goals, and challenges
  • Market and attract this audience to your course
  • Solve their problems with your course.
  • And boom! You have yourself a successful and profitable online course.



A target audience is the foundation of your course business strategy. Who your target audience is, determines where and how you market your course. It affects most of the decisions you will take when building your course too, such as language, graphics, and technology being used. 

To help you do this, I’ve created a four-step guide on how to define your online course’s target audience:

1. Who Are You Helping?  

Chances are, you already know the answer to this question—even if it’s a little fuzzy right now.

Take a moment to think about why you’re creating a course in the first place. Sure, the money is a huge perk, but there’s more to it.  

You’re creating a course because you believe your expertise is worth something.

So now let me ask you, who is your expertise valuable to? Are they a specific age? Profession? Are they part of a community? What kind of lifestyle do they live? What’s their day-to-day like? What does their level of expertise look like? How would they benefit from your content?

Uncover your target audience’s problems. Know why they’re taking your course in the first place. Find their expected outcomes and what they are aiming for. Do they want to upscale their career? Are they taking your course to feel more confident about what they’re currently doing? 

You need to understand the mindset of your audience in order for your course to be successful.



Imagine you have a Facebook course with 20 lessons, and your first lesson already starts with expert content. To an expert, your course is great! But to a beginner? Not so much. If you market your “Expert” course to “Beginners,” then your audience will feel overwhelmed by your course material, resulting in low completions and a high refund rate. Conversely, if you market a “Beginner” course to “Experts,” the same thing will happen. Your course will have a high refund rate and terrible engagement.

2. Do Your Research: Qualitative & Quantitative

Once you have a general idea of who you’re selling your course to, the next step is to gather everything you can about your audience.  

If you’re still in the development or launching stages of your course, feel free to survey your audience. Use tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Formstack to collect feedback. You can also use Google Forms or pool opinions on social media.

If your course has already launched, quantitative tools are your best friend. Google Analytics will help you track who’s currently subscribing to your content, giving you behavioral and demographic insights.

Regardless of the stage of your course, I also recommend you use Facebook pixel on your webpage. The Facebook pixel is a few mere lines of code that you can add to your webpage to help you better connect with your audience. The pixel will track the Facebook profiles of your site visitors, giving you a treasure chest worth of consumer data.

With the pixel, you’ll also know what pages your prospective students are visiting and how long they’re staying on your site. (You can set up a pixel now following Facebook’s step-by-step guide.)

I recommend you fill in the following demographic data on your ideal customer:

  • Age:
  • Gender:
  • Location:
  • Education:
  • Occupation:
  • Relationship Status (Married/Single):
  • Kids (Y/N):

Once you’ve figured that out, answer the following questions on customer psychology and behavior:

  • What are their motivations and goals–professionally and personally?
  • What are their feelings/fears/frustrations with their current situation?
  • What are they doing to remedy their situation?
  • What courses are they taking now/have taken before?
  • Why are they taking action now?
  • Who do they follow on social media? Brands/Influencers:
  • What blogs/sources do they go to for information?
  • What experiences are they looking for in a course?
  • What are some reasons they may be hesitant to try YOUR course?

Once you’ve answered everything above, also take the time to research your competition. See what people have to say. Read reviews. The good and the bad. Get a feel for what customers like and dislike about your competitors. This will help you better position your own course.

Additionally, you should also pay attention to your competitors’ promotions and advertising.  Understanding their marketing and pricing strategies will serve as a useful benchmark for you when executing your own business plan.

Read more: How to Research Your Course Audience

3. Create Your Customer Avatar to Represent & Attract Your Ideal Students!

At first mention, “customer avatar” sounds like something you’d expect to find in a video game–but allow me to explain. Essentially, a customer avatar is your ideal student. Your customer avatar represents and embodies your target audience’s demographics and behaviors.

Creating a customer avatar is a great visual exercise to help you put a face to your audience. Take all the information you’ve researched in step #2 and lay it all out. You’re going to create something similar to a Facebook profile. Give your “person” a name, find a picture that represents him/her, and create a bio for them (the more specific, the better!).

Understanding your customers’ buyer persona will give you insight into how and where to market your online course. You’ll know what tone to feature in your taglines and ad copy, as well as what platforms to utilize for your advertising. Knowing your target audience will also make you a better creator since you’ll be able to cater your content to your clients. By using a similar tone of voice as your target audience and referencing relevant examples your audience will understand, students will feel your course understands them and their needs best.

Tools like xtensio can help you create a tangible audience persona bio. Let’s say you’re creating a bio for someone named “Carolyne.” Carolyne may not be a real person, but that doesn’t mean her interests and motivations aren’t. Her profile represents the profiles of your target audience. When you address your message to Carolyne–explaining how your course will help him develop personal/professional success–you’re also speaking directly to your target audience.

As a result, it’s important to be as descriptive as possible when constructing Carlolyne’s bio in order to market your course effectively. The more a student is like Carolyne (or whatever person you create), the more receptive they’ll be to your course message and content.

Also read: Market Your Online Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

4. Center Your Course on the Student’s Outcome: Transform Your Course from a “Luxury” to a “Necessity.” 

Your students are paying for your course for a reason: they believe your course will produce results that will help them in their personal/professional life.

In order to create value for your course, you need to make sure it creates outcomes. But before you can even do that, you first need to know what that outcome is.

Understanding what your target audience wants out of your course will help you better position it in your market. Be sure to directly mention the specific outcome and explain how your course will produce results for your students upon completion.

Tip: The more niche your target audience and tangible the outcome, the less competition you’ll have.

Don’t waste your time and energy creating and developing a course if you haven’t even defined your ideal client yet. If you’ve already started creating an online course, then take a step back and define it before resuming.

Believe me, not only will you save time and THOUSANDS of dollars, but you will attract, connect, and sell exponentially more courses with a defined target audience. Knowing who your content is for is essential to creating a successful business plan for your online course. Having insight into your audience will also help you create better leads and content for your course moving forward.