Top 7 Reasons Why Online Courses Fail: Check & Not Do These

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Article by Gevorgyan

Content writer

Published 10 May 2022
12 min read
Top 7 Reasons Why Online Courses Fail: Check & Not Do These

It is not a secret that the e-learning industry is at the top of its success and will remain there. Every single day, more and more students discover the advantages of self-paced e-learning and prefer online courses over traditional ones.  

However, this industry is very dynamic and evolving. Therefore, if you want to be in competition and actually have clients, you have to avoid certain mistakes that can lead to failure.   

So, if you are ready to know more, let’s start!


Let's take a look at some statistics. According to statistics, even though more students now prefer online learning, they still drop out of most courses (40-60%). Another thing is that not every course is going to be purchased, and some will fail without even getting visibility. Why is that happening? After completing some research and reading various forum posts about why students stopped taking the course, here were the two most common reasons. 


Well, if you create not engaging content, of course, students won't be motivated to continue the course and complete it. Secondly, if you fail to explain the material well enough or provide additional resources, syllabi, learning outcomes & or objectives, that also will contribute to the failure rates. Make sure to make your course engaging, use the right voice intonation, body language, warm-up games, quizzes, and other motivational factors, including personal feedback. 


Besides students failing or not wishing to continue the course, online courses may fail due to the wrong marketing strategy or not having one at all. Sharing it on social media with paid advertisements is not a strategy. Your marketing strategy should be based on research, and you should know your niche, audience, needs & wants, alongside the overall demand of the course in the market. Also, it will be good to know what software and equipment to use.   

Now let’s take a look at some other common reasons for course failure, and find solutions that will help you to succeed. 



#1 Not validating course idea enough

Course idea validation is a long process. You cannot do one poll on Instagram and with few people voting for you to create a course, think that it is a good idea. Whenever you want to create something, check out the overall demand on the market. Also, it won't be enough to ask a few friends about your idea. To succeed, you have to employ several methods; let's take a look at some.   

What you can do: 

  • Do market research. How to do quick market research? Well, email marketing, surveys, forums, focus groups, all those are here to help you.
  • Analyze. Check out the overall reports and analytics of your and your competitor's websites, courses they offer, and which ones are currently most popular. Also, this will help you to understand the changing marketing and sales tendencies.
  • Ask your existing audience. If you already do have a customer base, then great. Do a survey, send them through email, and analyze the overall results. 
  • Pre-sell your course. Start sales and marketing before your course is even ready, and establish a date when it will be. This way to will not only check out the demand, but you will also not make any huge investments of effort and time into the creation of the course that won't be purchased. This method will help you to understand the strong and weak suits of your course and marketing strategy giving first-hand insights into what further improvements you have to make.   

Read 7 Easy Ways To Validate Your Online Course Idea.

#2 Low focusing on the work

Another reason that can lead to a potential failure of the final course is the low focus and high levels of distraction. What is your actual work, and what are you trying to achieve? It is very easy to get distracted while working on something and leave everything at the last moment. And guess what, that is not okay. In this competitive market, you have to make sure you offer high-quality materials; every element should be worked out, and each detail is vital.   

For example, if you start to shoot a video with no ready script or cheat sheet, then you will get distracted, forget about the important study to mention, etc.   


What you can do: 

  • Set goals. It is quite simple when a person does something without knowing a specific reason why they do it; at some point, they lose interest and motivation. To avoid low focus and demotivation, just set clear objectives.
  • Set deadlines. You can work on the same task forever, and that is no secret. Why is that so? Is the task really difficult? No, in most cases, those are the simplest tasks; we just tend to procrastinate in order to avoid procrastination and set deadlines. Also, a little tip, you can share the deadlines with your audience so that you will feel more responsible for following them.
  • Work in the right environment. Of course, you will be distracted if the room is full of people, especially if those are your friends or relatives. Find a quite nice place where there is a chair, a desk, and a full empty room where the mind can fly and grab creative ideas. By the way, quite helpful can be to put on some lo-fi music  
Low focusing

#3 Offering standard solution

You can provide high-quality courses as much as you want, but unless you offer something different, it will be extremely difficult to promote. One of the most common reasons why courses fail is the absence of USP. Each product needs its USP; in the case of courses, it can be a teaching method, a new game never employed before, etc.   

What you can do: 

  • Find your unique selling point or create one. 
  • Your unique selling point can be your voice intonation and body language, which makes people want to listen to you.
  • USP can be a teaching method, engagement techniques 
  • Check out what your competitors offer to analyze the effectiveness and grab some inspiration.  

There are lots of ways to be different; brainstorm some ideas and find out what it is for you. 

#4 Ignoring digital marketing & branding

Let’s say you have created a great product, but you don’t have sales. Why is that so? Well, let me ask you another question. What marketing strategy did you use? Oh, here is the problem. Not paying enough attention to digital marketing and branding results in the failure of a course. So, let’s take a look at what you can do about these all.   

What you can do: 

  • Focus on branding. Choose the right color palette and logo, and build a website that communicates the message of your brand.
  • Share everywhere. When you create an e-learning business website or launch a course, make sure to share it on every social media platform. Also, ask your friends to help you with that.
  • Paid ads. After identification of your niche and target audience, set paid social media and Google ads for the promotion of your website and course. 
  • Listen to feedback. Customers are your most valuable assets because they can either help you to succeed or fail. Make sure to build good customer relationships, ask for their opinions, and create good experiences so that they will share a good opinion about your services. Thus, this will create a positive public image and increase brand awareness. 

#5 Setting non-relevant price

Setting prices too high or too low is an equally failing strategy. It would be best if you analyzed all the aspects of your course, including the time you spent, the money you invested in it, overall goals and expectations from it, and additional materials and resources you provide with it in order to establish the correct price.   

The wrong price is the reason many courses fail. For example, if a customer sees a course that is too cheap, they tend to think that you do not offer enough quality or your course is not “serious.” Suppose the price is too high, especially if you are a beginner, they just do not find any good reason to purchase the course. So, how to set the correct pricing for your course?   

What you can do: 

  • Know your market’s pain points. This is important in every aspect of course promotion. When you are aware of the pain points of your customers, you are better able to meet them. Therefore, you can offer a compelling solution in a way that will let you sell the course above the average price and still get a good amount of sales, meeting the equilibrium point. 
  • Know your client. If you want to set the correct price and have high sales, you have to consider factors such as demographics, income level, location, overall GDP, etc. 
  • Your time and experience. If you are a new coach without many testimonials from previous clients, then you must realize that your first task is to gain trust and build reputation rather than profits. So you have to offer courses primarily for 15 to 30$ (can be higher depending on the industry) to gain first clients, testimonials, and build up brand awareness. On the other hand, if you are an expert and already trusted, your prices can be higher. 
  • Materials. Another thing that can help you to set the correct price is the additional materials you offer with the course. If you offer an e-book, extra resources, or syllabi, all of those affect the final pricing.   

Check 5 Tips To Price Your Online Courses and Make Money


Setting pricing

#6 Choosing many unnecessary and wrong tools

Let's sit back for a moment and think. Do you really need that editing app for videos, the other one for presentations, zoom for video conferencing, and a virtual classroom is entirely different spaces? Will it make you more organized? Or will it just be time-consuming? The correct answer is the second one.   

All of the extra apps that promise to make your life easier just make it harder and scattered instead of organized. And this inefficiency of using too many tools affects the quality of the course and the learning experience of the students, which can result in failure of the course.   

What you can do: 

  • Choose a platform such as Uteach that offers everything from one place. Thus, it makes your life easier, time saved, and students' experience better. With Uteach, you can hold live lessons with integrations such as Zoom, InSpace, etc., control email marketing, set automation for routine tasks, save time, and have a blog. Also, you can publish as many courses as you want and have unlimited purchases from an unlimited number of students. Basically, you gain control over every area, including course marketing, from one single easy-to-use dashboard.   

#7 Not waiting for the results

You tried it for a week and gave up? What else did you expect all this huge work to pay off in one week? Sorry, but in our competing reality, it will not happen, and as soon as you understand it, the better will it be. Because when you get it, you will be able to stick to the long-term strategy of achieving success. Remember, success isn't a one-time thing. It is constant.   

What you can do: 

  • Try different methods. One promotional strategy did not work? Fine, try another one. Was the goal not achieved? Focus on identification and improvements of the weak spots. 
  • Work on your patience. If you truly want to be a successful first-hand skill, you need patience. It will definitely work out for you; just try once more, and keep being focused, organized and flexible. 
  • Flexibility. If you try the same thing over and over again, it is like making the same mistake and complaining that the outcome is the same. Stop ding it, and change your plan or strategy. What worked for someone else may not work for you, but you will find something to market and sell your course just as successfully as other demanded courses on the market. 


Waiting for the results

Failure isn’t the end

No matter what happens, remember the importance of keeping trying. Of course, there is no need to hit the same wall over again, be smarter, and find a way out by following the tips we provided.   

Also, remember, if a baby falls 50 times, they will stand up and walk again until they are able to do that perfectly. None of them will give up on walking till they can, so you follow your dreams and try as many times as needed to succeed. 


Most importantly, choose the right course creation platform to help you with further promotion. For example, one of the best platforms is Uteach. WIth Uteach, you can create a full-featured website in under 2 minutes. It offers:  

  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Blog section with all the necessary fields for SEO optimization in order to rank higher 
  • Live lesson automation 
  • Email marketing tools 

Basically, with Uteach, you get everything for the successful management of your online course business from one place. 


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