In a previous post in which we discussed options for researching online course ideas, one recommendation we made was to find niche topics that are not yet highly competitive, and/or pick an increasingly popular and growing niche topic for which you could carve out a place that is differentiated from other competitors.
This week we are bringing you some examples of niche course topics we found that have few Udemy competitors, but which include courses with “Hot and New” badges – demonstrating there is some level of demand for the niche. We’ll look at whether or not these topics are viable as a niche strategy and why, and discuss why courses in them might or might not be successful.
How We Created This List
We looked at the TeachinGuide database and picked out niche courses that have received a “Hot and New” badge from Udemy, and which also do not have many Udemy competitors. We wanted to see if these courses had a chance at success.
As a reminder, Udemy’s “Hot and New” badge indicates that a course is one of the most purchased amongst a pool of similar new courses. It means the course has been published in the last 60 days and is in the top percentile of its Category’s new course revenue.
This last point is key because you will see that despite being in a Category with lots of other Udemy competitors, some of these courses are doing well because they are sub-classified into a niche topic within that Category.
We decided to look at a wide variety of niches in order to give you a feel for what’s out there and what is possible, or not. Following are 11 niche topics with descriptions of the “Hot and New” course as well as a brief analysis of the niche opportunity.
The Ultimate Guide to Digitally Painting Everything is a new course in the Category of Game Design. Game Design itself has just 295 courses, which is not too bad competitively speaking. However in this course’s chosen topic of “Digital Painting” there are just 46 courses. It would appear that this course instructor has gained an edge over its Udemy competitors by gaining nearly 12,000 students and 189 reviews with high ratings in just a couple of months.
The author also has several other courses in the same topic group. Therefore, it is likely that he is building a student base within this niche to which he re-markets new courses. Out of 46 courses on this topic, only 11 have more than 5,000 students and 6 of those belong to this instructor.
This is evidence that choosing a fairly popular Category but with less competition, and creating multiple courses in a niche topic with even fewer competitors can lead to success on Udemy.
This topic has just 17 Udemy competitors. The Ultimate Guide to Whatsapp for Business is the only “Hot and New” course in this small niche topic. This course is almost a niche of a niche – Whatsapp being the niche, and Whatsapp Business being the sub-niche.
We can see that this instructor is doing promotions, which is a good idea if you are creating a course that is a “niche of a niche”. And while the course has almost 4,000 students now, it would appear that this instructor may have his work cut out to actually make money. The majority of the other 16 Udemy competitors have less than 500 students, so we would have to assume that most of the 4,000 students have come from free coupons. It remains to be seen how many will pay for the course.
These low student enrollment numbers for competitors could mean that this topic is not actually all that much in demand. But it could also mean that with some heavy marketing and a high-quality course, this instructor could eventually own this topic.
We all know that any Data Science and Analytics related course will have a multitude of Udemy competitors. It’s definitely a hot topic. So how can you stand out in a sea of analytics courses? Well, putting your Data Analytics course into a niche topic is one way. There are just 14 courses in the Regression Analysis topic group.
The creator of the “Hot and New” course Machine Learning Basics: Building Regression Model in Python could have just lumped his course into the hugely popular Python Category and hoped to get a slice of the large demand. But with over 17,000 new enrollments for this course, it looks as if the classifying this course in a niche topic is paying off. The author has created a very similar course for the “R” language and put it in this topic niche. It is doing well too.
So, this a great example of taking a highly popular topic and cleverly carving out a niche position.
Research Paper Writing
This is the kind of topic that would make you might wonder if anyone would be interested. Well to be honest, with just 21 Udemy course competitors for this topic it might seem tempting to give it a go.
Then again, between these 21 courses, there are just 12,000 or so enrollments in total, with courses ranging from 0 to 2500 students. The “Hot and New” course How to Write an Effective Research Paper has about 1700 enrollments, so not terrible, but not great either.
This is a good example of how you really need to do your research to know if there is an audience for your chosen course topic. It’s not enough to choose a topic that has few Udemy competitors. In this case, there is a multitude of free resources and tools online that assist with writing research papers. This might be affecting course demand.
So just because you don’t have a lot of Udemy competitors, doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of external competitors. Do your homework on external competition as well.
Music related courses are both fairly popular and abundant on Udemy. Guitar as a sub-category is pretty popular with some 426 courses. So you might think, why create another guitar course? Well, the answer is, if you can find a niche topic like Guitar Chords, which has just 23 courses, you might do OK.
The “Hot and New” course Learn Guitar/Discover Sound on Your Guitar has the most students for this topic with 3,700 enrollments and more reviews than its direct Udemy competitors. But with recent promotions of 100%, it remains to be seen if this niche will make money for this instructor.
Etsy is such a popular website you would think there would be more than just 34 competing courses on Udemy for this topic. The “Hot and New” course in this category is actually a Turkish language course A-Z™ |Sıfırdan İleri Seviyeye Etsy Satış Eğitimi. Another great example of avoiding competitors by creating a course in a niche AND in a foreign language – so for a very specific audience. But with just 477 students enrolled, we wonder if this course will make much money.
That said, an interesting observation about the Etsy topic group is that the courses offered vary widely in focus. There are several courses focusing on how to sell specific products, such as art or printable quotes. Then there are courses on how to set up your Etsy shop, courses for Etsy marketing strategies, and more.
So this is a great topic example that shows if you can find the right subject matter by choosing a slightly different focus than the competitors, you might do pretty well. Other examples of niche topics like Etsy include eBay Selling with 51 courses and eBay Dropshipping with just 34 courses.
With just 31 courses and a subject that is a pain point for a lot of people you would think this niche could work – especially if you launched a course on this topic a few months before tax returns are due. And it’s not just English speakers who have problems with taxes. The “Hot and New” course in this topic group is Declaração de Imposto de Renda – IRPF a Portuguese language course.
That said there are just 7 courses with more than 1,000 students out of the 31 Udemy competitors for this topic. This is another example of a niche where you would have to do a good amount of audience sizing to determine if it would be a worthwhile topic for a course.
Unreal Engine Blueprints
What’s that you ask? We had the same reaction. And no wonder, with just 8 Udemy competitors creating courses for this topic you may have guessed that it’s a really small niche that few people may know about. Suffice to say that Unreal Engine Blueprint is a gameplay scripting system. If that makes no sense to you, then you probably should not consider creating a course in this niche 😉
The “Hot and New” course Create a Battle Royale game using Unreal Engine 4 Blueprints is even more specific than this very unique topic itself. We think that this might be a bit too niche for making any huge amounts of money. Indeed thus far the course has just 400 students.
We don’t see that this instructor has been promoting this course with coupons, so it may be that is the real issue. Since it is such a narrow topic, A LOT of marketing is required to gain momentum.
This topic is a bit like Research Paper Writing. You wonder do people really take courses on this stuff? Well with 51 courses and a few hundred thousand students enrolled in courses on Speed Reading, apparently this niche topic is of interest to a good amount of people.
The “Hot and New” course Súper Cerebro: Lectura Rápida, Súper Lectura y Foto Lectura is once again in a foreign language. It’s not yet doing great though, with just 200 students enrolled, but relative to other SPanish language courses in this niche, it may be doing fine.
That said, a closer look at this niche shows that even courses with ratings below 4.0 have upwards of 5000 students or more. And the top seller is light years ahead of its Udemy competitors with over 100,000 students.
Thus, if you can find a new angle to teach in a fairly unusual category like this which has decent demand, and build a high-quality course that provides results for students, it may just pay off.
With 84 courses in this niche topic group, you might be tempted to think that that’s too much competition. But actually, a look at Google search trends indicates that this is a growing topic of interest to people. So this could be a situation where the niche is growing and if you get in early you stand to gain more. Additionally, this topic allows for a multitude of sub-topics to build a course around. An example of this is the “Hot and New” course in this group.
The “Hot and New” course Passive Income: How I Make 3 Figures With Affiliate Marketing was only launched 2 weeks ago as of the writing of this article. And as far as our research shows, it has not been promoted. So it’s not too surprising that it has just 110 students enrolled.
That said, it is a good example of taking a slightly more competitive, but also more popular niche topic and then creating a more specific course (Affiliate marketing) within that topic to minimize competition.
We can see in this category that there are many instructors who have created courses on specific/differentiated ways to earn passive income, each of whom have a few thousand students.
With just 5 courses in this topic grouping, we could not resist taking a closer look. After all, Photography is a popular Category. So with so few competitors in this niche, perhaps with a decent course you can just own this topic, right?
Well, the catch is that the infamous Udemy instructor Phil Ebiner holds the #1 spot in for this niche topic. Do you dare take him on? Maybe you should. Here’s why. There is actually just one other English language course on this topic out of the 5. The other courses are in a foreign language, including the “Hot and New” course.
And Phil Ebiner has 35,000 students, so clearly, this topic is of interest to someone. The next competitor has 3700 students.
Neither result is bad for such a small niche. You would want to take a closer look at both courses and decide why there is such a difference. It would be worth considering how you might create a course that is a little different in a niche like this with so little competition.
Not every niche topic we looked at here is an obvious choice for avoiding competitors on Udemy. However, some examples we’ve given do demonstrate the potential success of using a niche topic strategy in conjunction with other key strategies to create a reasonable opportunity to earn money. Here are the takeaways to remember when thinking about choosing a niche topic:
- Audience size – Don’t forget to think about this. Research external competition, especially free sources of learning and information. Look at what the competition has in terms of enrollments to gauge audience potential as well. Do enrollment numbers appear to be growing or stagnant? You can gauge this by looking at the latest reviews and dates for those, the number of reviews and when the course was last updated.
- Ask yourself if you can do it better than your Udemy competitors – If there are just a handful of true competitors, take their courses or look at their reviews and ratings. Check if their courses are up to date. If you can do better, go for it.
- Promotion is critical – Don’t think you can aim for a smaller audience and somehow Udemy’s organic traffic will work magic. Many of the niche topic courses we’ve looked at have not done promotions and it shows in enrollment numbers. If your topic audience is small in number you must reach as many people as possible! This means starting promotions and marketing well before you launch your course, creating a sales funnel, etc.
- It may pay off to find a niche topic with more Udemy competitors – Following on point number 1, if you are looking at a few niche options and one is larger, but is a more trending topic, do a little research on Google. Find out if it is a growing topic and consider picking a more competitive, but growing topic.
- Consider a niche within a niche – Again keeping in mind potential audience size, consider tackling a more specific aspect of the topic at hand as long as it doesn’t narrow down your audience to really low numbers.
So we hope that you’ve learned a little about the pro’s and con’s of using a niche strategy. Remember that a lot of our information comes from the TeachinGuide database. If you would like to give a niche strategy some thought, why not do a free trial and see if you can find some less competitive course ideas?