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How YouTube Helped John Purcell Become a Udemy Bestseller

youtubeLately, there’s been a lot of talk here on the Udemy blog about YouTube…and for good reason.

When it comes to promotional channels for your Udemy courses, you have a couple types:

1) Ad Hoc tactics that lead to quick wins

2) Long-term tactics that lead to long tail sales

To further clarify, an example of an ad hoc, quick win tactic is where past instructors sent out a coupon code for 75% off and made it available only for a limited time. This tactic attracted hundreds of students from that one announcement within 24 hours. That’s what you would call a quick win.

On the other hand, you have long-term, long tail tactics, such as YouTube. The expectation with YouTube is not that you will post your first video and get 100 students signing up for your course immediately. YouTube is slow and steady, but Udemy Bestseller John Purcell can attest that after investing about a year on YouTube, he’s consistently growing his Udemy course sales month over month.

I spoke with John to find out why YouTube is his best channel for attracting new students to his brand and courses. He shared great tips that anyone can use—from beginner to advanced.


John’s Story before Udemy

johnpurcell_photoPrior to publishing his first course on Udemy, John Purcell:

  • Left his full-time role as a software developer and contractor for over 14 years in the UK and Netherlands to build his own business
  • Published articles on Java programming on his content site
  • Trained individuals on Java programming over Skype
  • Started making YouTube videos to promote his individual Skype trainings

Publishing & Promoting his Udemy Courses

By the time John published on Udemy, he already had his website for 1.5 years.

He really saw things picking up when he started uploading videos to YouTube. At first, the videos would take about a month to get 100 or so views. Then, he uploaded a video on Multi-Threading in Java, an advanced topic, and the video got over 1,000 views overnight! From that point on, John’s YouTube video views increased.

Here are a few things John does with his YouTube strategy:

  • Mentions, “I’m John from Cave of Programming.com” at the beginning of each video
  • Offers incentives for people to visit his site; he posts code there so people have to visit to get it (Alternative: Offer incentives for people to visit your Udemy course page.)
  • Includes his URL in the first line of his video description box (Include a link to your Udemy course page in your description boxes.)
  • Embeds each YouTube video along with the source code on its own page on his website, and he links to it from the caveofprogramming.com home page



  • Occasionally creates playlists of his content
  • Adds free content regularly—posting on average about 2x per week

John even has an idea of his conversion rate for his YouTube videos: “For every 200 YouTube views, I get about 1 sale.”

Furthermore, John credits his YouTube channel as driving the majority of the traffic visiting his website and Udemy courses. He says, “People should realize that YouTube can massively help you [promote your Udemy courses].”



  1. Create a coupon code with YOUTUBE in it so you can track going forward.
  2. Create your YouTube channel.
  3. Upload your Udemy course promo video to your channel.
  4. Place your YOUTUBE discount URL in the first line of your video description box.
  5. Upload short (2-3 minute) “how to” or tutorial types of videos to your channel once a week or so.
  6. Watch your new students slowly roll in.


Market Your Udemy Course on YouTube (6 Easy Steps)

Youtube Marketing: You’re Doing It Wrong

See all of the courses on Udemy that John Purcell teaches, and see John’s Cave of Programming YouTube channel.



Leveraging YouTube to Drive Sales and Traffic ($34% off)